Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Spring Cleaning... what to do with the old Bridesmaids dresses...

Do you have any old bridesmaid's dresses in your closet that are just collecting dust bunnies? Have you thought about donating them? Our bride Nadia has found the perfect solution, and she's celebrating her birthday this month by getting as many people involved as she can. Here's what she emailed us:

"For my birthday at the end of March, I want to help make a donation to a great cause, the Fairy GodMother Project of Massachusetts.

The following are what they are looking for:

Donations of formal dresses, shoes, purses, jewelry, gift certificates and money are accepted throughout the year. We also accept new, unopened makeup and nylons."

We want to encourage anyone who has any of the mentioned items (or money :)) to donate them to the Fairy Godmother project. To make Nadia's birthday extra special, be sure and let Fairy Godmother know that you're making the donation in Nadia Jackson-Avila's name...

Thanks Nadia for letting us know about this cool cause!

Here's Nadia - isn't she beautiful!

Boston PUG... Cool Prizes!

Enna and I are the leaders of the Boston PUG (Pictage Users Group) and we are very excited about our next PUG meeting! The Center for Digital Imaging Arts in Waltham is generously sharing their space for the PUG on March 11th. This will give our photographer friends who have yet to visit the school a chance to see its facilities, and for the students of the school to meet local photographers. Eric Laurits will be presenting his ShootQ online studio management workflow. ShootQ has also given us 50 codes to give to those who wish to use the program. With the code you can sign up online with ShootQ. ShootQ only releases about 100 codes per month and they sell out within hours every time. So if you are interested in ShootQ you shouldn't miss this PUG. Here's a shot of me in front of my computer after opening the mail with the 50 ShootQ codes to hand out at the PUG.

We will also have some amazing give aways that will be raffled off as door prizes. We have mentoring sessions, free workshop passes, books, software programs and awesome DVD's donated by photographers such as David Greene, David Jay, David H. Wells, Mike Larson, Liana Lehman, Christopher James, Enna and I, and hopefully more to come. Stay tuned for more details as the date approaches, you wont want to miss this love cat PUG meeting!

Enna and I would personally like to extend a HUGE thank you to all of the photographers who have donated prizes as well as Mark & Erin and Andrew & Rachel of Lacour Photography for giving us so many ShootQ codes to hand out!

Be sure to RSVP for the PUG here:

Monday, February 25, 2008

another zoo day

Will's spending the day with mommy so here we are at the zoo again... Here he is face to face with the big daddy of the gorilla family - it's so cool to see them at the window because they are literally about an inch away from each other!

Friday, February 22, 2008

David Beahm Design: custom, personal, creative event design

Bloomingdales at Chestnut Hill recently hosted the one and only David Beahm at their store for a one night event in which David talked about his design philosophies and gave brides who attended design consultations for their own wedding. Those who attended took full advantage of this rare opportunity and were given top notch advice on how to follow their hearts and show their personality to make their wedding uniquely theirs. I shot the event for La Bella Bride Magazine and it will be featured in the next issue.

David prepared an arrangement in person and answered questions while he worked his magic. The arrangement he created was amazing! Some of the flowers were presented horizontally tied together with a wire, with the roots still attached. It was a perfect example of how David does not like rules, but instead follows the inspiration that lies deep within himself.

The brides who took him up on his offer for a consultation loved every second of it.

Here are two table designs David arranged for the evening... aren't they gorgeous?

Bloomingdales gave gift bags to those who attended and look what's inside... La Bella Bride Magazine!

At the end of the night the beautiful arrangement and it's William Yeoward crystal vase was given away to a lucky bride.

David Beahm Design
William Yeoward Crystal
Tables of Content Catering
Rentals Unlimited
Jack Falvey Associates Lighting Design
La Bella Bride Magazine
Grazier Photography

Business of Wedding Photography Lectures

Enna and I were invited to speak at 2 schools this week, and we had so much fun! On Wednesday we gave a talk to about 30 students at the New England School of Photography, and Thursday night we were at the Center for Digital Imaging (Boston University) in Waltham. Both events had huge student turnout and were a lot of fun. Thursday night's talk at CDIA actually drew about 150 people!

We spoke for about an hour, and focused on the importance of having a business plan. We see too many photographers jumping into wedding photography not knowing how to price themselves and/or have a good plan to create a sustainable business that will ensure they and their clients will be happy.

At both schools we found the students to be very eager to learn more about good business practices, and we loved being able to share our philosophy with them! The students at CDIA asked questions for a good 30 minutes, and our next Pictage User Group meeting will be hosted in their large open studio space too!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ronan's Playground: A Barrier-Free Playground in Westford, MA

(photo by Ronan's mom)

Some of you may know that we are volunteers with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, an organization that provides photography services to families faced with losing a child. It was a difficult decision for us to sign up with this organization, but we feel very strongly that we want to offer our gift of photography to people who can benefit from what we do.

The first session that I was called to do was for baby Ronan, who suffered from a very rare neurometabolic disorder... I was overwhelmed at the openness and generosity of spirit that Ronan's family displayed during the photography session. I will always be impressed by the way Ronan's parents supported each other and those around them during such an intensely sad time.

So it came as little surprise to me when I learned that Ronan's family is working hard to build a Barrier Free playground in his memory. This playground will be a place where all children, regardless of their abilities, can play. You can read more about the playground plans here.

This playground will be funded entirely by private donations. $280,000 needs to be raised, and every penny counts. So please consider making a donation - all donations large or small will be appreciated by Ronan's family and friends.

Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground is operating under the umbrella of the Westford Friends of Recreation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations to the playground are tax-deductible. To make a donation, please mail a check payable to WFOR-Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground.

Ronan McElligott Memorial Playground

P.O. Box 2011

Westford, MA 01886

Ronan's Playground:
Boundless Playgrounds:
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (Infant Bereavement Photography):

~ Enna

Water for 10,500!

The Thirst Relief photographers' mentoring auction succeeded in raising $33,546.55! That's enough to provide clean drinking water to 10,500 people!

We're really excited about the couple who submitted the winning bid on our mentoring session! Mike and Kate are great photographers and we're very flattered that they chose to bid on us... we can't wait to get to work with them. The cool thing about mentoring Kate and Mike is that they also have two kids (well, one plus another who is on the way!), so we feel that we have a lot in common with them... hopefully they can learn from our mistakes! The other cool thing about working with them is that they are local, so we'll be able to keep tabs on them and provide a little more coaching than we could give in a single session to someone who lives farther away.

So, Kate and Mike.... practice those breathing exercises, but also take a few minutes to sit someplace quiet and work on your "pre-mentoring session homework" that we sent you.

First Wedding of 2008!

Sadie and Loc had such a beautiful New Year's Day ceremony on a small hillside in Andover Mass. We were able to drive to the top of the hill, and from there we all had to hike out to a special spot where 20 of Loc and Sadie's closest friends and family joined them for their wedding vows. The snow was coming down heavy and fast with a good wind, and the group's spirits could not have been any higher... I couldn't have asked for a better wedding to start off the new year.

I love making images that show the environment at weddings. I think this image of Loc and Sadie's ceremony from a distance during the storm is just amazing. It says so much about them and the love their friends and family have for them. Loc and Sadie's closest family and friends stood steady in the storm, freezing (my hands froze up) and getting soaked to the bones to show their support. I know that as years pass the spiritual connection to this spot on the hillside will grow not only for Loc and Sadie, but for all who were there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Green Reading

Hey folks, it's time! Santa brought this little book to us, and it is chock full of smart simple ideas to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

A few favorite suggestions: Switch to fair trade/organic coffee... just one household switching to certified coffee for a year is enough to protect 9200 sqare feet of rain forest. If everyone in Seattle switched to certified coffees, a rain forest area the size of that city could be saved every year.

Use bar soap rather than liquid - if every U.S. household replaced a bottle of body wash with a bar of soap, roughly 2.5 million pounds of plastic containers could be diverted from the waste stream.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Photographer Mentoring Auction... just a few hours left!

There are just a few hours left in the Photographer Mentoring Auction to benefit Thirst Relief! Bidding on a mentoring session with Matt and I ends at 10:45 p.m. tonight. We can't wait to see who wins the auction, and start our mentoring.... we have big plans for you!

A note about the auction: This auction has an Anti-Snipe Feature. This means that if a particular auction is experiencing a bidding war at the time it is SUPPOSED to end, the auction will stay open instead. As long as bidders are willing to bid on a mentor the auction for that particular mentor will stay open until no one bids any more.

Good luck!

Enna & Matt

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mentoring Session Auction Starts Today!

Thirst Relief International is a charity that provides clean drinking water to those in need around the world. Matt and I are passionate about this cause as well as our efforts to help our fellow photographers achieve their business and personal goals. So we are excited to join more than 50 world-renowned photographers in offering mentoring sessions to other photographers in March, to benefit Thirst Relief International. Most sessions will take place at this year's WPPI Convention in Las Vegas March 17-19, but one need not be at WPPI in order to participate: our session can also take place over the telephone, email, or in the Boston area. All proceeds from the auction will go directly to Thirst Relief International.

In addition to the 90 minute session in March, we will provide a website/portfolio review, a follow-up mentoring session to check on your progress towards your goals, and a complete set of our own studio promotional materials.

The auction goes live at 10 a.m., and ends on February 12. You will have to register in order to participate in the bidding. Click here to register. This auction differs from some other types of online auctions in that if there is a bidding war, the auction will continue until bidding ends.

Matt and I love one-on-one mentoring and portfolio critiquing, but we don't have a lot of time to offer this kind of mentoring very often. So we're very excited to participate in this auction and give one person/studio a lot of time and attention. We will tailor your mentoring sessions to your needs and requests. The topics that we are most passionate about helping other photographers with are branding, relationship marketing, self-worth and pricing, and following your heart.

Learn more about Thirst Relief International here.

Happy bidding!!!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Vera June is Here!

Our friends Tabitha and Larry just welcomed their second sweet baby into the family! Here's the picture that new mommy Tabitha took of me and Vera when I visited them on Sunday. Tab and Larry are such model parents that they had baby favors that they were giving out to other kids who visited to meet the new baby and her big brother Eldon. Isn't that the most thoughtful thing ever? Ollie and Will are in love with the little robots that Vera gave them.