Do you ever go to the grocery store without make up? And scraggly hair? Those are the days that you see people you know. Instead of running up to greet them, I tend to hide behind cereal boxes. I know, it’s probably not my best characteristic, but I just don’t like to be seen at my worst. Two summers ago I was standing in line at the airport in Missoula, MT after a week of visiting my parents when I saw a girl I went to high school with. She was the star singer of the chorus- an adorable petite blonde. I of course, was coming off a week of camping and hiking. ie- NOT my best. I didn’t let my pride stand in the way and called out her name. She was just as sweet as I remembered and we chatted for a bit. Fast forward through the months and we are friends on facebook. She asked if I’d be visiting home this summer and lo and behold, I was going to be there the same week as her family. We took it as fate and she hired me to take her family’s photos. I loved the location she chose and the fact that even though her husband and kids didn’t grow up in Montana like we did, they were so at home. It was a perfect evening that I hope they’ll always remember.
I’m guesting this week on the Little Skye blog! Click here for full directions on how to make this super cute felted flower headband.
When people ask me about my business and what it takes to make it (ie. make money at it) as a photographer, there’s no real easy answer. Where I live, everyone is a photographer. With so much competition how do you set yourself apart? Again, so many answers to this question. Like being yourself, playing to your strengths, communicating your brand effectively. But, one thing so many people skip over is so elemental, it’s easily missed.
Doing what you say you’re going to do. And doing it WHEN you say you’ll do it.
I’m a big fan of under-promising and over-delivering. Which means, I’ll tell my clients they will view about 35 fantastic images after their photo session, the reality is they will view about 50. If I ever find myself in a situation where the photo session is a challenge, I know FOR SURE that I can get 35 fantastic images. That’s my bottom-line. But, I know my average photo session will yield about 50. It’s a pleasant surprise.
Same thing goes with time-line. I promise the photos will be delivered in 2 weeks. That’s if everything in the world goes wrong. 99.9% of the time I have them back in a week. Again, the client is pleasantly surprised.
These very simple things will do so much for your business. If you tell someone you will email them the paperwork tomorrow, do it. If you promise you will call in the morning. CALL. IN THE MORNING. You’ll gain the trust of your clients and you’ll just feel better about yourself, knowing you’re someone who is trustworthy.
Slight change of subject…doesn’t being a parent make this so much easier!? If we tell our kids we will be going out for dinner tonight, we better make sure that is going to happen. They won’t forget! They don’t forget when the friends are coming over or when you promised to play basketball.
This is Jillian and I on a fun girls night out, that I promised we’d do. 🙂
Gazpacho isn’t the only summer soup. I like a chicken soup, pretty much any time of the year. It’s hearty enough to fill you up, but the broth gives it a light feel. When you serve it with a biscuit, and possibly a local honey or jam…it’s so very summery. I make a very simple chicken soup and this time I tried to change it up a bit by adding orzo. Orzo is a pasta that masquerades as rice. It soaks up the savory liquid, but isn’t as cumbersome as your typical noodle. I’m a fan!
This recipe has a case of ‘no specific measurements.’ Here’s how it all goes down. I buy a roasted chicken at Costco (or the local market.) I roughly chop the meat after it’s been taken off the bone. Take what’s left and through it in a big pot. Add water to cover it. Boil it for a little as an hour or as long as 4. See, NO specifics! But, the beauty of it is…you can’t mess it up! I don’t add any flavoring or vegetables. The seasoned skin is enough. I strain the broth into another bowl and set it aside. Using the same pot, I chop whatever vegetables happen to be lingering in the fridge. In this case, I used 1/2 an onion, a few celery stalks and a handful of baby carrots. Add a little bit of olive oil to the pot and saute the vegetables. Add the broth and chopped chicken back into the pot. You may not need all the broth, depending on how much chicken and vegetables you are using. Simmer the soup until 10 minutes before you are ready to serve and then add a handful of orzo. Again, the amount is going to depend on: A) how much of the soup you made B) how much you love orzo and C) how much leftover orzo you have in your pantry. In the 10 minutes it takes the orzo to cook, you can pop some biscuits in the oven, because this soup shouldn’t be served without them!
Summers are mish-mash of playing with the kids, speaking trips for Brent, having friends to my home and frozen yogurt. Lots of Yogurtland. I do actually work in between all that, but I’m lucky enough to plan my own schedule. Sometimes I take a job wherever we are traveling, sometimes I just squeeze photo sessions into the days we are at home before we turn around again. Speaking of turning around again, this week we are at Mt. Hermon. It’s a camp near Santa Cruz. Last year was our first time for Brent to teach at the family camp and it was an unforgettable week! Part of the awesome-ness was being able to spend the week with our friends from the Bay Area. Our kids are all best friends, so a week of non-stop hang out time was like fitting a year of friendship into 7 days. It’s fun.
Last year I took a few photos of the kids having the time of their life…
Between trips to the beach and the local frozen yogurt shop, you need to head over to Rascals to Rebels. They are having summer clearance and the deals are crazy good! I pick up swimsuits for my kids at the beginning of summer and then when they start to look a little ragged mid-summer, I can score a new one for a great price. Especially with the Indian summers we have here…as in: we’re still swimming in October, one swimsuit won’t last all summer!
And speaking of Rascals to Rebels, I wanted to share a few backdrops from over the years. I love to create and these backdrops have been so much fun to make. I only use them for the store, so it makes it extra special for all the Rascals to Rebels customers! When I went through my photos, I forgot how many I’ve done! These are only from 2009 and 2010!!
You cannot let summer escape without making strawberry shortcake. It’s one of those things you crave as the temperatures rise. Sweet berries, rustic cakes and smooth whipped cream is where it’s at. I’ve tried many different variations from angel food cake to a dense pound cake. Biscuits are best in my opinion. You want something to stand up to all those berries! I found this recipe years ago on Food.com when it used to be called Recipezaar.com. How’s that for dating myself! It’s my hands-down favorite….here’s the link if you want to check out the original: http://www.food.com/recipe/strawberry-shortcake-a-la-treebeards-41156
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 4 teaspoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 quart ripe strawberry, washed,hulled and sliced
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 450 degrees; grease a cookie sheet.
To make Shortcake, with knife blade attachment on food processor, process flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, butter and 2 teaspoons granulated sugar until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Pour mixture into medium bowl.
With wooden spoon of paddle attachment on electric mixer, add milk and mix just until it forms a smooth dough.
Scoop dough onto cookie sheet in 6 equal mounds.
Dust top of shortcakes with remaining 2 teaspoons granulated sugar.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove from oven; transfer to wire rack and cool.
To make Filling, in a medium bowl, mash one-half of berries.
Mix with granulated sugar and vanilla.
Refrigerate 1 hour.
To make Whipped Cream, in a chilled mixing bowl, beat cream with confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until it just holds soft peaks.
Add sour cream; beat until stiff peaks form.
Cut off tops of shortcakes; set aside.
Spoon Filling onto bottom of each shortcake.
Cover with Whipped Cream and remaining sliced strawberries; replace tops.
Garnish with a dollop of whipped cream, a strawberry half and a sprig of mint.
I photograph a lot of birthday parties and the reaction to eating cake and frosting for the first time undoubtedly makes some memorable pictures! Lincoln so thoroughly enjoyed his cake that the rest of us couldn’t help but just crowd around and be entertained.
Even Lincoln’s big brother Hudson got in on the fun!