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andrea & drew: mallard island yacht club


this blog has become pretty barren from the busy wedding season of the summer. between sleep and awake has been filming lots and lots, which (good news) also means there are a lot of highlight films to share.
i’m looking forward to the fall months when i can spend more time with my husband, catch up on editing, and most of all…disney world! cannot. contain. excitement.

for the next week or so i’ll be updating the blog with the most recent highlight films, starting with andrea & drew. they were married with the most perfect weather at the mallard island yacht club on long beach island, new jersey. i loved the personal touches they included; andrea was gifted an awesome photo book from her bridesmaids, and each of their parents were remembered throughout the day.

andrea and her sisters spent a lot of time sea-shelling with their father, who is no longer with them. as a nod to him, they took those same seashells and tied them to their bouquets. the sweetest idea.

when (and how) to say “no”

when i started my business, i was keen on saying YES. every inquiry was an accomplishment. it didn’t matter who the client was, or where it was located. i was so excited to be solely responsible for my creative outlet that i took every inquiry i could.
then the hard work set in. the expenses, research, and editing piled up. i realized that i was spreading myself thin and that physically, my assistant and i could not do a wedding every weekend. each year, i dialed it back more and more. here are ways to first decide if you want to say yes, and what to do when you decide that you don’t.

getting the inquiry

  • finding the perfect fit
    no matter how cool it may seem, or how much it pays, some projects just aren’t meant to be. you need to look at each aspect and decide if you’re the best fit for the client, and vice versa. a phone chat or a coffee date is sometimes the best way to do this.
  • interfering with the big picture
    ask yourself if doing xy and z will interfere with ways that will improve your life as a whole. will it take time away from spiritual things, family time, or self care practices? if the answer is yes to any of these, then you already have your answer!
  • need vs. want
    its hard to say no to money, simple as that. the majority of the time we really do need it. in this for-instance, its not about the basic necessities (food, shelter, clothing), but rather do you NEED the money? will it improve your life? could you cut back on a few things to live a little less money-stressed? the more money we obtain, there is the risk of filling that extra cash-flow with things that aren’t really important. aka: a vicious cycle.
  • being realistic with your timeframe
    “i’m pretty busy with projects at the moment, but this one will only take me one day. i can handle that.” you’ve thought it, said it, committed to it, and then five to ten days later, you are lying awake at night because you just. didn’t. get it done. being realistic with your timeframe will not only allow you to say no to things that you can’t realistically complete, but it will also help you schedule your time more effectively.

how to say no

  • let it marinate
    sometimes things come along that i have to confirm with my calendar, obligations, or my husband. if you’re just not sure, tell them. reply in a way that is honest and pleasant. specify a date or time range for when they can expect to hear back from you. its better to respond honestly and right away then to just ignore them completely. if they’re sincere in their request, they won’t mind waiting for a small while.
  • give an alternative
    giving another option can soften the blow of “NO.” for example, if its a client whose wedding or project you are declining, give them a few of your favorite colleagues that you know and trust. i have a draft under my google mail at all times for when i’m “unavailable” and it has other cinematographers i admire who have similar styles to my own. that way i am able to respond quickly and effectively, all while networking at the same time.
  • gauge your obligation
    are you saying no to a potential client, or a workmate? these factors could change the way you respond as to why you’re unavailable. for example, if the reason is because you’ve had a recent death in the family, you may feel okay explaining that to a past collaborator, but not necessarily to an inquiry from someone you don’t know personally.

its never good for yourself, relationships or your business to over-promise and under-deliver. just say no! the rest will come.

July 11, 2014 - 11:50 am

Jennifer - I love this!! As a photographer who works full time elsewhere as well, I definitely sometimes feel the pressure to say yes way too often! Thanks for the reminder :)

may goals and a rainy highlight film

i meant to post this on may 1st, but didn’t.
which brings me to goal number 1: BLOG MORE FREQUENTLY. good lord, why is it so difficult?!
2. wake up earlier
this is something that i jot down on my weekly/monthly/yearly goal list and its still something that i have to work on. this girl comes from two ultimate night owl and nap-takers. yesterday i stumbled across this pin and i love the idea of keeping my alarm clock (phone) plugged in across the room.
3. be more mindful of my thoughts
kind of an ironic sentence, but what i mean is being more conscious of how my thoughts affect my mood. we can all be so hard on ourselves, and we would never talk to our friends the way we talk inside our heads. i’m trying to be more mindful that thoughts can turn into very real and tangible things. positivity for the win!
4. garden more, stress less
housework and i have a love/hate relationship. i spend 95% of my time at home (seriously), so even though it seems mundane, working on our property is a huge aspect of our lives. its important to us. but when you spend serious hours on pinterest looking for that “perfect french door” that your husband also likes, is the right size, is energy efficient, and in your budget – i want to rip my hair out.  on the other hand, working in the dirt and growing things from the ground up is different. its relaxing, its calming. this month i want to make an effort to work on the things around my home that i enjoy the most, and not stress so much about the details.

and now for a highlight film from a wedding that i enjoyed SO MUCH. kristin and jesse had an outside wedding planned and literally pulled it off with seconds to spare. kristin handled it with such grace, and jesse had perfectly-planted jokes in his personal vows. it was perfect.

sarai & henry: the loft at jack’s barn


i’m back, i’m back! i was dying for spring to get here, and now that its here, it feels like its going too fast.

there are lots of films to share, but i wanted to start with the first highlight film of my wedding season. sarai and henry are both such soft-hearted people, and their love is quiet and romantic. henry kept saying “thank you” to everything. if i filmed anything he would give a little “thank you…” and we all thought that was totally adorable.

sarai is a free people girl through-and-through, so we got along right away. she even gave me a little gift for the stanley greenhouse; a paving stone with hand-written “second star to the right”. i seriously couldn’t think of a more thoughtful gift. these little things made me that much more happy to create their highlight film.

this day was also the day i met keely, a sweet traveling-photographer from arkansas whose work is simply STUNNING. i was so happy sarai got us together, i thought we made an awesome team!

2013: a year in review

as 2013 comes to a close, i wanted to look back on what a huge year it was. i quickly went through all of the footage, and began clicking-and-dragging pretty much whatever i felt.
anything i liked, anything i remembered being a special moment, anything that made me smile. i tried not to think about “my brand” or how long each clip was. and what i ended up with was surprising to me: a black and white minute of laughter, first kisses and ping-pong. sometimes when i think of my films overall, i think of them as serious. and this short video sort of changed all that.

i’m looking forward to exploring more of this in 2014, along with my AWESOME couples.