Monday Lovin’: Summer Photo-Focused Goals

And just like that, it’s another Monday! However, if you happen to be a teacher in the NE Ohio area…this Monday is EXTRA special because IT’S SUMMER BABY!!!!!!! As a result, today’s Monday Love is going to be dedicated to all things summer:

Images courtesy of Pinterest

Images via Pinterest

WOOHOO!!!!! :) :) :)

Now, while I’m super-loving the fact that I’ve already read 2 books, seen a movie, been to the beach twice, photographed two sessions, and not thought about a single lesson plan (wait that’s a lie…I already have notebooks for each of the courses I’m teaching next year & have LOADS of ideas for ways to make my second year of teaching even BETTER than this first :) :) ),  the MAIN thing I’m lovin’ about this whole summer thing is the ability to COMPLETELY focus on this little ol’ business of mine!

If you’ve been following along, you already know that I really started making things official back in March. Looking back on it, I definitely can see that that probably wasn’t the ideal time to begin blogging & website design & logo design & all the other branding / business parts that I dream about pretty much 24/7; however, I knew I needed to just take the leap. I kept telling myself to wait until summer, to hold off on it, but then I realized that it wasn’t really teaching that was keeping me from diving in. It was fear. And ya know what, I was tired of letting FEAR keep me from doing what I love — tired of insecurities telling me I wasn’t good enough to be “legit” — tired of listening to all the million excuses my little brain loves to make!

And ya know what? It’s been really GREAT! Yes, it was a little crazy at times, but I knew that going in! Balancing teaching 180+ high schoolers with STARTING A BUSINESS is a lot!!! So yes, I am definitely loving this chance to be an almost-practically-full-time photographer for the next 10 weeks, and you BEST believe that I am going to take advantage of every single little moment I have :) And in order to make sure I do, I am going to share my to-do list with you all and give you updates along the way! So, here goes nothing! This summer, I’m loving that I will get the chance to:

  • organize my business finances with awesome cute files and folders :)
  • improve and standardize my workflow
  • become an LLC officially
  • blog 3+ days a week and have an internet presence 5 days a week
  • purchase a new external hard drive
  • meet and network with other NE Ohio photographers

And, last-but-definitely-not-least-because-I-am-SO-STINKING-EXCITED:

  • LAUNCH MY NEW BRAND!!!!!!!

Guys, this is what I’ve been working on since March. And it’s BIG!!! We’re talking a new blog/website, logo, headshots, business cards, look — EVERYTHING!!!! I CAN’T WAIT!!!! No more random wordpress sites and non-uniformity, but rather one COHESIVE look — modern, full of life, and to the point! I’ve been / will be working with awesome people like Lane Baldwin, Taylor Schumann, and AnnaRose Girvin, and I really just can’t wait to see it all come together :) I don’t have an exact date for the launch at this point, but it will be within the next month or two, and it will be amazing!

So that’s it. Those are my big photo focuses — along with learning more and becoming better at what I do, of course! I want to take every moment I can this summer to cross all my Ts and dot all my Is so that I am ready to go even when I’m teaching during the school year! Photography isn’t just a summer passion for me — it’s a life passion, and I want to be the best that I can be. No more listening to fear and worry. :)

Be sure to check back later this week for some non-photo focused goals as well, and some beautiful sessions and sneak peeks from this weekend! And because I just really loved this moment, I’ll leave you with this shot from Jerome and Ashley’s wedding this weekend. They chose to not do a first-look, but wanted a chance to pray together before the craziness of the day began, and I loved it!

2014.6.7 Ventura Wedding Facebook Red-4830_STOMP

Happy Monday!

Sami

Advertisements

Friday Favorites: Five of My Must-Read Blogs

It’s 2 o’clock on a Friday and NOT ONLY am I still in my jammies, but I’ve already finished a book and I am surrounded by THREE different mugs/cups full of tea with honey, chicken noodle soup, and lots & lots of water! Not your typical Friday afternoon, right? Me neither. Oh the joys having no voice!!! Allergy Season has been kicking my butt these last few weeks, and it pulled out a new trick on Tuesday as my voice slowly got more crackly throughout the school day only to completely DISAPPEAR Wednesday morning!! Yeah, slight problem as an English teacher & phone-chatting addict :( Haha!

Honestly, any other time of the year (including next week, so this better be gone by then!!) I would have been SCREWED, but thankfully Wednesday I had scheduled a partner review-guide day & Thursday was all in-class essays & tests to wrap up two HUGE units, so it actually wasn’t quite as terrible as it could have been. And while a few students tried to act up and take advantage of the situation, you better believe I perfected the dreaded TEACHER LOOK and even threw in the finger snap as an added bonus! Mwahaha! :) But really, they actually were so great & I am gonna miss all my kiddos so much in just a few short weeks!!

ANNNNYWAY, back to the jammies/way-too-many-cups/reading-extravaganza, I decided it was definitely necessary to take a day off from ALL speaking as opposed to the forced whisper I’ve had to rock the past two days. I can already tell a difference and am praying for some quick recovery for my surprise wedding proposal shoot tomorrow and all the other fun long weekend plans :)

And, in the space of trying to let my voice heal, there has been a lot of netflixing and reading going on at the Os these past few days. While I obviously love a good book (or two or three..), another favorite pastime of mine is reading blogs! Obviously my most-visited blogs are photography related, but I also LOVE checking out food blogs, organizing/decorating blogs, and faith-based ones as well! The best bloggers really let their personality SHINE in their writing, so even if the main focus is about something I know nothing about (cough cooking cough), I still feel pulled to check out their latest posts — and learn a thing or two while I’m at it :) So, for today’s post I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite blogs with you and tell you all about why I love them!!

1. The Real Life RD

Screenshot 2014-05-23 13.46.06

 

I ran cross-country with Robyn in high school and we were in XC bible study together, but she was a grade above me & I never really knew her super well! Fast-forward 5 years to right around the time when I was getting in to blogs: one of her posts came up on my Facebook newsfeed, so I decided to click on it — and I am SO glad I did!! Not only does Robyn share her perspective on food/nutrition (and some GREAT recipes while she’s at it!), but she also isn’t afraid to share her heart, and I LOVE that! I also love how consistent she is — I always know I can look for a new post ever Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, which is something I am SO looking forward to organizing for myself once the craziness of school ends!!

2. Dear Sweetheart Events

Screenshot 2014-05-23 14.34.02

I found Kat’s blog by entering a giveaway she was doing back in February and crazily enough I WON!!!! Love my coffee mug she shipped my way a few weeks later & luckily I fell in love with her blog even more!!! She is SUCH a sweetheart (obviously!) and her love for life, weddings, people, and the Lord is just so obvious in her writing! She just launched her new website today — and it is actually through her rebranding process that I found the gal who will be creating my new log as well!! Can’t wait for some Letters of Grace calligraphy to grace my business as well :)

3. Jamie Sangar Photography

Screenshot 2014-05-23 14.29.06

I can’t even tell you when I started following Jamie’s blog…it seems like it has been forever! She took photos of some of the kids I babysat in high school, and I was instantly a fan!! I remember showing girls in my photography class at LN her blog and we would all just sit in class trying to find our favorite pictures to share :) This continued in college as I lap-topped my way through many (boring) education classes and my classmates would always ask about the AWESOME photos I was looking at!! Jamie was and is SUCH an inspiration and role-model to me — I am SO glad I found her blog all those years ago and that I eventually took the leap to send her an email and ask if she needed an assistant!! Second-shooting with Jamie for two summers was one of the best experiences of my life — not only did I learn SO much from her, but I gained a great friend :) She was SOO patient with me (like that one time when I bent over and my camera swung off my shoulder into a thing of ranch dip which then spilled all over the Mother-of-the-Bride’s dress…or the time I left my camera battery at home….) and I will forever be thankful for all of her generosity and encouragement!!!! She actually just posted an AMMMMAZING wedding this week — you should definitely go check it out :)

4. Abby Grace Photography

Screenshot 2014-05-23 14.38.37

This is another photographer that has been so inspirational for me, but more so in recent months! I started following Abby’s blog back in March when I did a random google search for blogstomp and stumbled upon her review. I LOVE her work (see this session, and this one, and this one…bah!!) and I love even more the way she is so open and willing to share what makes her business work the way it is!!! I have learned so many things from her “For Photographers” posts: how to improve my workflow, where to get great equipment, Kelly Moore bags, blogstomp, etc etc!! She is awesome, and I HIGHLY recommend any photographers out there to add her to your list of must-reads :)

5. Young House Love

Screenshot 2014-05-23 14.43.11

 

And last but not least, I’ve gotta throw a shout-out to John and Sherri!! If you have never heard of Young House Love, you are seriously missing out my friend. Their blog is full of little tips to make a house a HOME — I love how simple they can make decorating seem & I love how they share their HEART right along with it :) And even better than their blog is their book — my own copy is flagged all over the place and really just makes me want to get out of my apartment ASAP and own a house so I can do all of the cool projects on my list!!! Even BETTER, they now have sweet stuff at Target — my favorite store in the world!!!

So there ya have it. Some of my favorite blogs on this beautiful Friday afternoon :) Other ones that deserve a shout-out are Stephanie Messick Photography, Katelyn James Photography, Addie Zierman, Letters of Grace, Elle & Company…the list goes on and on :) If you have any other blog recommendations you’d think I’d love, comment below!!! The more the merrier — right?!?

Happy Blog Stalking, and an even happier weekend to you!!! Fingers crossed for a healed voice & an awesome proposal tomorrow — and that I don’t ruin the surprise!! Can’t wait to share the pictures with you shortly :)

-Sami

 

List Love & A Spring Giveaway: ONE FREE SESSION!!

Lists. I LOVE them! As a teacher, photographer, wife, daughter, friend, and otherwise creative enthusiast, I am FOREVER making lists. Why you may ask? Well, let me list the reasons :)

5 Reasons Why This Girl Loves Lists:

1. Organization. This one’s pretty much self-explanatory. I wear a lot of different hats throughout the day — lists help me get everything done!! Sometimes just creating one makes me feel accomplished, even if I don’t actually get to a single thing on the list right away!! Grocery lists, Teacher lists, Photography lists, Cleaning lists, To-Do lists…bah, I love ’em!

2. Doodling opportunities. Fun titles, creative bullet points, unique fonts — the list goes on! (haha, the list goes on…get it?!?) This step is one of my favorites as a good doodle always increases motivation to complete any & all tasks on the list in the first place :)

3. Crossing things off.  Where else can you get automatic productivity & sense of accomplishment, no matter how menial a task!? Best. thing. ever.

4. Adding more things to the already created list with the sole purpose of immediately crossing them off :) Come on, I know you’ve done it too. Nothing is worse than staring at a list without a single thing marked off…why not throw in a crossed-out “wake up” or “get dressed” to add in a little encouragement?!

5. And finally, because a good to-do list just makes everything better! (Except for when my students are answering a prompt specifically requesting complete paragraphs, and they choose to bullet-point away. GRRRR!!!)

I used to think my love for lists was a little odd, but thanks to BuzzFeed, pretty much the ENTIRE WORLD loves lists now too! They are EVERYWHERE, and I’m not that upset about that.

Annnnyway, you might be wondering why I am blabbing away about lists…and that is because I am officially crossing another bad-boy off of my photo blogging list today!!! WOOHOO!! :) I am SO excited about today’s list item: my first official GIVEAWAY!! That’s right, I am giving away a FREE PORTRAIT SESSION to one lucky fan!!! This could be a family session, kiddos, engagement, anniversary, senior — WHATEVER! The options are limitless :)

Spring Giveaway 2014 Version 2 Black_STOMP

 

All you have to do to enter is:

1) Share this photo or blog entry on your own Facebook wall and

2) Comment on the photo on Facebook!

**********For a bonus entry, leave a comment on this blog post too :) ***********

I will choose from all the entries and announce the winner on May 1st to celebrate being one month closer to SUMMER!! :) :)

Happy Wednesday, and may the odds be ever  in your favor :P

I’M SO EXCITED! :)