My “why”

I went to a new networking/business support group last night. It was the first meeting and I’m really excited about the whole thing.

What kind of meeting? It was the first meeting of Missoula Mom Owned Businesses. We brainstormed and talked about struggles and supported each other.

Having a business is hard, y’all. This year, I rented a studio space. And I’m hardly ever there. It says “by appointment only” on the door. Why?

Well, sometimes I’m impulsive and I just do things. Sometimes it’s great and other times, not so great. One of my kids is still preschool age and my schedule still revolves around him. I love him to the moon and back and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

So…that’s where I am. Next year, he starts school for full days and that might have been a better time to jump in with both feet instead of tiptoeing in with half a foot. haha. Anyway… I work there, around our schedules and I have had some gorgeous sessions in the space. There are things I love about the space and things I have noticed are deal breakers for me. That’s another post though…

Last night’s meeting was awesome. And at one point, someone said something about helping people find their “why”. You know…the reason you do the thing. The thing that makes you keep going when you feel like giving in or things are super hard.

My why.

Yeah…I kept meaning to sit and really figure it out. I’ve floated along for a long time just bouncing from one photography genre to the next, trying to find it. Except weddings…I do love shooting weddings. Do I need a why for that? Eh…probably something more than I love people in love and shiny pretty things. haha So far that has seemed to work ok. ūüėČ

Last night on the way home from this meeting of badass moms who work so hard to balance family and business … a voice popped into my head. And it made me cry.

At my last boudoir session I heard something from my client that has been said to me lots of times. But I really heard it this time. Maybe I need a few times hearing something to really hear it. She came in to have a session to give as a gift. And at the end of the session as she was leaving she said, “You know? This ended up being as much for me as it is for him.” ¬†She felt so good about herself and her body that she was thanking me for reminding her of herself.

There it is.

Ladies, you are my why.

We don’t see ourselves clearly sometimes, for whatever reason. Or we have forgotten to take time for us because we’re so busy with our work or caring for others, or both.

I understand these struggles. My body is changed after having children. I’ve hit my 40s and I’m noticing my face is a little different now. We suffered a loss last year and ate our feelings, so I have found extra of me this year on my…everywhere. haha ¬†I spend a lot of time with my children and husband and my business gets pushed to the side. Again…I choose this and I’m not complaining. I wouldn’t change that. It would be great if I had a time-turner like Hermione.¬†

But this is what we do. We run the world.

Nothing in my business makes me happier than hearing that I have reminded you of your own awesomeness. That I have used my gifts of extreme awkward goofiness and empathy to make you feel so comfortable with me that you might forget there’s a camera. That connection in your eyes in a photo is everything.

So, look for a couple of changes to the website in the coming weeks.

Because, you, ladies, are my why and my website needs to do a better job of representing that.

The 2017 Montana Made Wedding Fair!

Hey! I had the best time at the Montana Made Wedding Fair this year. I love to catch up with other vendors and meet all the brides and families as they’re walking around.

I did something this time that is way out of my comfort zone. I signed up to give a workshop on posing. Posing people is definitely my comfort zone, but public speaking is not. hahaha There was a microphone. I had to use a microphone. I literally almost ran away instead of going through with it. I was nauseated. So…yeah. Not my favorite thing. I ended up thankful that there was a lot going on in there and turning off the mic so I could talk to a couple of ladies who were there by the stage. OMG I was on a little stage with a microphone. Nope. ¬†Everyone said I did fine, but that they couldn’t really hear it. I’m so thankful for that. hahaha

Otherwise, it was a great time. The booths were all amazing like last year, and there were so many fun people walking around. It’s great to hear about your weddings and I’ve already had some contact from people I spoke with at my booth. So that’s great.

My booth (taken with my iPhone):

The lights were turned on later, but I didn’t get a photo after.

This year, I brought albums, large prints, and THIS:

The Portrait Box. It’s a beautiful box that can fit 18 mounted 11×14 images. I can make them with different cover options, including metal printed image covers. I’m so excited about it! It’s so gratifying to touch your photographs with your hands.

 

Well, the wedding fair was awesome and now I’m ready to smash my 2018 goals. Let’s get to it!

A review! Sleeklens Forever Thine Wedding Workflow presets

A while ago, I was asked to review a set of presets for wedding editing that are compatible with Lightroom…the Forever Thine Wedding Workflow by Sleeklens.

First, I have never been asked to review anything before, so I feel pretty great about that. Thank you, sleeklens!

Second, I should note that I don’t regularly use presets in Lightroom or actions in Photoshop in my wedding editing workflow. I have some presets and actions I made myself of things I do to every raw image and I apply those to speed up my editing process so that I don’t have to do the same things over and over. Other than that, I do everything myself and by hand. I have tried presets and actions before though, so I have some previous knowledge to work with.

So…after saying that…This is a pretty great workflow set. It’s not just a set of presets. It’s a big set of presets AND a set of brushes. There are 11 SETS of presets and 5 SETS of brushes, with a bunch in each set. The presets: All-in-ones, bases, exposure, color, tone/tint, polish, vignettes, film, fashion, matte, vintage, and black and white. The brushes: color, face, haze, light, wedding.

You can start with a preset, tweak it how you like, and then use the brushes to do fine adjustments. They send you a PDF with a few recipes to do just that, to get you started.

I chose a few images from one of my weddings this summer to do a few examples.

First…This was my edit from this wedding. The one I sent my client.

This next one is the one I made using the Forever Thine Wedding Workflow:

This is “Base – warmer” with “Tone/tint – Fading Dream” with a bump in tint, clarity, and temperature. This formula is pretty much straight from their instructional PDF.

Honestly, I don’t love it as much as the one I sent my client. But I could probably tweak it a little more and get it there.

Here’s another of my own that I sent my client:

 

And one I made using the workflow:

This is “Wedding Film – Breakfast at Tiffany’s” with “Fix Over-exposure” brush on their bodies.

I know, they’re not the same. But it could be done. I’m trying to showcase what can be done with their presets, not my own editing. ¬†This is more like an editing style that is popular right now. Muted greens and grayed tones. If that’s your thing, this set of presets has a few muted tone and film style looks.

And here’s a look at a raw version of another photo with my edit:

And two versions from the workflow:

This is “Wedding Film – Gone with the Wind” with the “Add Golden Sun” brush on the left and “All-in-One – Best Man” with the “Add Golden Sun” brush on the right.

These are both beautiful as well.

A black and white of my own:

Another popular style…the dark and moody black and white. This one is made using “Repulsion” (They may want to reconsider that name? haha), using the brush “Fix underexpose” on the face and shoulder area, and pulling exposure up a bit.

There are so many things you can do with these presets. Depending on your style, it would be really easy to come up with a formula and dramatically reduce the amount of time you spend editing. And for $31, it’s pretty much a steal to get this many presets and brushes.

What do I do with my images?

What do I do with my images?

That’s a new menu I’ve added to the website tonight. I’m still working on the images because I need to take more photos of things I make for you lovely people. With my big fancy cameras instead of my phone. haha Hey, the best camera is the one that’s with you, right?

New goal…more “after” photos on the website.

Basically…

Put your faces on your walls. Exist in your space. Have me make albums of your gorgeous weddings. Put your images in beautiful portrait boxes on your tables and shelves.

It’s good for you to see how awesome you are. And I love that I get to do that for you.

Gratitude!

This summer I had some really amazing weddings. I will finish blogging about the individual weddings (I’ve already done one here).

At the end of every one I’m a combination of exhaustion and elation. When I deliver to my clients I’m like a kid at Christmas. After delivering one wedding this summer, I said this to a friend, “I wish I had weddings every weekend so I can be this happy all the time!”

So this post is really to say thank you for a beautiful summer wedding season. Here’s to a 2018 season that is just as awesome!

Before and After Photos

You know, I was never a fan of before and after photos. I don’t know…I guess I always thought it was a little bit like ‘look how crappy this person looks in the before photo and how amazing they look after I got a hold of them…so much better than they usually look.’ ¬†So that’s real nice. hahaha

But…I have changed my mind. I was thinking about it all wrong. The point is not that you look crappy in the before photo, because of course you are beautiful anyway. The point is that anyone…absolutely anyone, can look like they’re a supermodel gracing the pages of a magazine and it’s about the experience.

In fact, I’ll admit that before I didn’t even think professional hair and makeup was actually a necessity for a session. Because I truly and fully believe that we are already beautiful and do not need to be edited until we don’t even look like ourselves.

But I seriously missed the point.

How did I change my mind? I had never experienced what I do for other people for myself. So I gave myself part of the experience.

I put a few outfits together for some new headshots for my website. I didn’t go too crazy here. ¬†I mean…if you know me, then you know I’m like a colorful mermaid or something. Who wears a lot of black. There isn’t really a category. Let’s just go with it. I’m Beth. Hi.

And then…I made an appointment to have my hair re-colored. Then I booked hair and makeup. For myself.

I can tell you now…it’s not at all about not looking good every day. It’s about having an experience and doing something…just. for. you. About you. It was really fun!

And then I took some photos of myself. I will share some of them later. But for now…I’m going to share my before and after. I didn’t even change my shirt yet!

Now, my daily look is sometimes really good and sometimes “I have a preschooler”. And my makeup artist didn’t even go all out on me, but I felt amazing. And I got a million compliments for the rest of the day. I probably should have made a day of it and gone out with my husband for dinner.

So. That’s what I want for you. Get a mani/pedi. Do something fun and new for yourself. Whatever that means for you. I got a new tattoo and a hair re-color and I felt super awesome…hey, we all have our things we like. Then…come into Beth Waldron Photography and have another awesome experience that is all about you. We’ll do your hair and makeup and pick outfits together. We’ll make beautiful portraits. Then you can go out and do something fun while you’re feeling…extra. Make a day of it. For you.

For this shoot:
Hair color: Alysson King at Fabrik
Makeup: Meg Hansen at Fabrik
(Love those ladies at Fabrik)

I painted this unstretched canvas as a backdrop especially for myself and this selfie shoot. Because I’m also an artist and I wanted my headshots to reflect that… Look! I’m not even wearing black!

Emily + Ron – Hamilton, Montana Wedding July 2017

Are you ready for some wedding blogs? The software I use to make albums has a blog collage feature! What an awesome thing! This is a fraction of the photos, but I can post so many more this way!

Ok. Enough about me…

Emily and Ron’s wedding, you guys! Not only are they completely adorable with each other, their wedding was super. It was on private property in the Bitterroot with a glorious view of the mountains and a private little field. They couldn’t have asked for a more gorgeous sunny day (we could have turned the heat down a little…100 degrees most of the day) and during the ceremony we got some clouds which made for really nice light.

They had this RZR driving around that was super fun, and they had a horse and carriage! The guys rolled up on the RZR for the ceremony and the ladies were brought over in the carriage. So many cool details at the reception area too. There was a big sitting area with hay bales and a chandelier next to the dance floor and there was a sweet little family memory area.

And the most important part. All the love going around all day. So much love from friends and family and for each other.  Everyone should have someone who looks at them the way Emily and Ron look at each other. <3 <3 <3

Vendor information for their wedding:
Planner/Coordinator: Erika’s Event Planning
Catering: Caffe Firenze
Flowers: Flower Happy Florals & Gifts
Cake/Cupcakes: Petals & Pastries (Red Rooster Artesian Bakery)
Music: RMF Entertainment DJ Services (Jordan Waldo)
Horse/Carriage: Pioneer Carriage Services ¬†(I don’t think they have a website, but they’re in Corvallis ūüėČ
Rentals: Hamilton Party Rentals 

The Paige Marie Photography workshop!

I know I mentioned it before, but I absolutely love continuing education. For one thing, it’s important to remember that you can always learn something new. And it’s really fun to meet other photographers and see how they do things.

So, someone couldn’t make it to their spot at the Paige Marie Photography workshop at The Loft a couple of weeks ago and they posted it on Facebook. I snapped it up. Lots of fun things to talk about, a styled shoot at The Loft and in Greenough Park by Soir√©e 99 Events, tips from Brian Powers, a talk and Q&A session with Aimee Miklovic, an SEO guru who helped us with our Instagram accounts (seriously, check her out @assistantextraordinaire on Instagram).

The light at the end of the day was magical with cottonwood catching the sun (and my sinuses haha), so the styled shoot in the park was perfect. And we ended with dinner at Cafe Dolce, which is amazing. It was a very good day.

If you’re looking for a local workshop with a “rising tide lifts all boats” kind of feel, then I can’t recommend it enough. It’s so great when people work together.

Here’s a list of vendors for the day and styled sessions:

Venue: @theloftmissoula
Cookies: @upthehillcookiesbyjill
Rings: @rogersandco.finejewelry
Invites and Graphic Design: @heytayler
Floral: @soulandstemfloral
Dress: @velvetbride
Coordination and Tablescape: @soiree99events
Makeup: @skinchic406

Trying a new blog image layout…what do you think?

Booking for weddings and sessions is here. I’d love to talk to you!

Sunset styled shoot/workshop!

I strongly believe that once or twice a year, you should continue your education, even if it’s in small ways. I pay for yearly access to an online wedding school, buy classes on Creative Live, and take workshops when I can. Never stop learning!

And so last night I attended a sunset styled shoot/workshop given by Jackie Haugen of Jacilyn M Photography. The weather was uncooperative, to say the least. haha It poured! But the couple was gorgeous, the dress was seriously amazing, and the bouquet was one of my favorite ones I’ve ever seen…with CACTUS! I have¬†such¬†a soft spot for cactus.

The field was filled with flowers, there were dramatic storm clouds and occasional spots of light, and it was windy. You might think the clouds and wind would be bad, but wedding photographers shoot in all kinds of weather. I personally love dramatic and gloomy weather.

The dress was from Velvet Bride, the makeup was done at Skin Chic, and the oh so lovely bouquet was made by Habitat Floral Studio.