Archive of ‘Personal Life’ category

Getting Organized! my custom photography planner

Portrait_Wedding_Photographers_Photography_Planner_Calendar_OrganizationBeing a wedding photographer means I have my life planned out two years in advance (well, at least the summer weekends!)  Being a list-maker and visual person means I crave having a place for all this information to exist together – reserved dates, editing deadlines, upcoming payments, etc.  And of course… it had to be pretty. 😉  I spent a lot of time searching for a photography planner that fit the bill (a place to make goals, plan promotions, track quarterly and yearly progress) and I came up with nothing.  I’ve always been one for “if you can’t find it, make it” so here we are!  74 pages of monthly spreads with social media and blogging deadlines, monthly goals, quarterly goals, and a way to track progress specific to how our photography business works.  I’m in the process of filling in deadlines and upcoming payments as well as writing my goals and promotions for February and March – but before my scribblings took over, I thought I would share it on the blog.  Such fun designing something new, and even better when it solves a problem. Cheers to the new year!

Personal Post: my idea book and honoring your thoughts

Idea_Book_Art_Journal_Green_Bay_Collage_DrawingI was not one of those kids in school who was “such a good drawer”; I didn’t seemed destined to create perfect likenesses, I didn’t garner compliments from classmates or artwork hung in the hallway.  Instead, I was a kind of the weird kid – the one who did homework in crayon, doodled in class, and got in trouble for daydreaming and breaking project rules.  I was full of messy ideas that didn’t always make complete sense.  But, regardless of all of this, I was absolutely in love with the possibility of making things and sharing my ideas with others.  It was a way of thinking that drove me toward art rather than a skill-set founded in pencils and paint.  I loved making, and thinking about things that others had made, and I knew it was something that would always be a part of me.

Entering college as an art major meant many introductory courses focused on skills and repetition; and though I valued learning my craft, I also resented the rules that restrained what media I could use, what size I must draw, and what subject I must work from.  Amidst these classes (and all number of boring gen-eds), I had a Design Methods course taught by David Damkoehler (since retired) in which we were to spend a semester solving problems through critical thinking and artistic innovation.  The class required the purchase of a Moleskine sketchbook which I found shockingly small (just larger than my hand) and filled with smooth, bound pages.

On one of our first days in class Professor Damkoehler delivered a lecture about how each one of us was born with our our own style of drawing, and instead of raging against it, or pressuring it to conform, we should learn to appreciate it and work with it.  Our Moleskines became our idea books, and freed us from the pressure of what a sketchbook had to be.  Instead of detailed graphite and charcoal drawings, we made lists, and collages, and doodles and tiny thumbnail paintings. Any idea that came to us went into our books unedited and in ink to prevent us from erasing it out of fear that it was stupid or unimportant. We were taught to accept the mistakes and value the messiness of our own thoughts.  The pressure was off, and the result was students who trusted their gut and created more meaningful work.

I am a strong believer that rules can be a hindrance to ideas – whether these rules were set by someone else, or unconsciously set by ourselves.  Whatever your job is, wherever your interests lie, we are made of ideas.  And these ideas dare us to create solutions, think critically, chase our goals, and be honest with ourselves.  They are valuable.

Since that class I have always kept an idea book.  It travels with me, sits empty when I feel uninspired, and opens up when I remember that working is how you make inspiration.  It is a way to challenge myself, recharge my thoughts, and let go of things I can’t keep inside.  There are drawings, and journal entries, and random sleep-inspired scrawlings, and I can feel good about all of it – the madness that makes up who I am, unedited.

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This summer I will be teaching a class on Discovering Your Vision for Photography in which we will be doing a lot of thought exercises, building toward understanding our ideas and brainstorming how to visually translate them. It will be a great introduction to how to begin an idea book and how to use it as a tool to create. The class will be held at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek and requires no previous photography or art experience.  I would love to share this process with you. http://www.peninsulaschoolofart.com

Personal Post: christmas on shawano avenue and a challenge for the new year

Christmas_Downtowon_Green_Bay_Entertaining_Host_PartyA client and friend of ours once gave me a little psychology test in which you find out, at your core, your central philosophy for living daily life.  As the test begins the questions seem silly and unimportant and you answer immediately from your gut.  But as it continues, you hear your responses become serious, even defensive, because you have hit something important.  Mine came down to finding a way to connect with others – to see things from the perspective of people other than myself, to feel what they are feeling and understand what they need.  Perhaps this is true for all introverts, as we are watchers and noticers.  As I meet with clients, hear about wedding plans and session visions, as we capture moments together and I meet your families and share in your celebrations (and the occasional tough moments that life brings), I feel personally connected.  And in this relationship we have, I think it is important for me to share a little of myself in return.  This is why I post personal blogs – to invite you into my life as well.

Our Shawano Avenue Christmas this year was one with friends gathering over wine, snacks, and a rockin’ hot cocoa bar.  It was a mix of old and new friends all with exciting news (travel, engagements, and the upcoming arrival of a baby girl).  It was quieter than a Christmas party would normally be because everyone wanted to hear what the other had to say – people meeting and connecting and reconnecting.  It felt so special to have these friends close at hand and it got me thinking about value.

Christmas day with my family has always been fairly low-key; it is reserved for pajamas and chain-watching movies.  This leaves plenty of time over the long weekend for games with family, trips to the coffee shop, and free moments to reflect after a busy fall.  This Christmas, as the day was coming to a close, It’s a Wonderful Life was playing on the television and I spent the full length of the movie working in my idea book and drinking hot cocoa.  It felt good.  And I began thinking about how long it had been since I had worked creatively with my hands.  There are many things that I don’t give myself enough time for – reading, writing, daydreaming – and because they get pushed aside, I sometimes forget their value.  It is easy to fill time (I am the worst at this) with Facebook cruising and Pinterest searches, and somehow it is Monday morning again, or 11:00 at night, or the end of a Netflix series (whichever speaks to you), and we wonder where the time went and what we have to show for it.

If Christmas is a time for reflection and New Years is a time for a fresh start, I am challenging myself and others to *make the time* for what we need – whatever that means for you.

I will be sharing a few of my own resolutions over on Instagram @kaseyandben – feel free to stop over and post a few of your own!

Personal Post: three years of marriage & i still do

Anniversary SessionI got the idea from a photographer’s group I follow.  It was truly an excuse for Ben to buy a new suit and for me to get back in my wedding dress, but I loved the idea of an “I Still Do” session.  Our wedding day was wonderful – something I will always treasure – but there was a lot of pressure to do things bigger and more dramatic because of the idea that it’s your only day to really celebrate coupledom.  Our wedding involved hair appointments, a church ceremony, two location stops for photos, and hours dining, drinking, and dancing.  It’s a lot happening at once, and as any bride can attest to, it goes by so fast that it’s hard to remember any of it.

Our “I Still Do” session was a way to celebrate our love story – to reflect on what brought us together and all the ways we have changed in our individual lives and grown together.  Three years brought us many travels (although there can never be too many), a cute, little rescue pup who has us wrapped around her tiny paw (as all our Instagram followers know), and an ongoing renovation of an abandoned 1920s craftsman style home.

Our relationship is one of pushing each other to take risks and chase ideas, and although I love looking back on our beautiful wedding photos, I don’t feel quite like the same person I see in them.  Our anniversary session gave us a chance to share who we feel we are today: a little older, a little smarter, and with less pressure to pretend to be anything we’re not sure we are.  No rhinestone jewelry, no manicure, no ill-fitting rental tux.  The cold, rainy fall day was a reminder of this – that we are not perfect, timing is not perfect and we can either sigh and complain or we can enjoy this moment we have for ourselves and revel in how good and right the imperfection feels.

If three years in my own life has taught me anything, it’s that you don’t have to have all the answers, and when you’re not sure how you feel or what you want, it’s empowering to say “I don’t know”.  If three years in our marriage has taught me something, it’s that being together doesn’t just mean curling up on the couch with someone, it means challenging them and helping them see their own strengths – to give them the boost they need to chase something down.  No pressure to have it all figured out right now.

Happy Anniversary, Ben. Thanks for being a hard worker, for always looking to learn something new, and for believing that the impossible can always be made possible.  <3

Special thanks to our friend and amazing photographer Katie Bobber of Katie Leigh Creative, the very talented (and incredibly sweet) Nichole Campbell of Petal Pusher Floral, and my fantastic hairdresser Amber Funk of Edit Salon.  It’s a blessing to be surrounded by talented people.

Personal Post: anniversary trip to chicago

Chicago_Travel_Photography_Navy_Pier_MuseumFall is our busiest time of year, so sneaking away for a bit over our anniversary can be a challenge as it lands right in mid-October.  This year we decided to plan just a mini-getaway for a couple days to Chicgao to celebrate three years together.  Despite only have a few days, we fit in a lot: a few museums, an opera, millennium park, an architectural riverboat tour, a piano bar, and the thing I’d been waiting for since I was a child: Navy Pier.  I have been to Chicago many times, but it has never been in the plans to make it to Navy Pier to ride “the wheel”.  I am completely fascinated by the story of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair and it seemed of great importance for me to ride the ferris wheel in the city that created it.  Although our trip was a rainy one, our day at Navy Pier gave us good weather and we were able to ride the 150 foot ferris wheel and look out across the city skyline.

We took the train into Chicago and stayed at the Sheraton Riverfront Hotel, which was wonderful because everything was in walking distance – we had beautiful views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.  And we pretty much ate our way through the city – German beer flights, deep dish pizza, Chicago-style hotdogs, and a special anniversary dinner on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building.  It was just enough to tide me over to our next travel adventure, and a wonderful way to celebrate three years together. 🙂

 

Personal Post: toy cameras and liking what you like

Travel_Film_Lomography_Mini_Diana_Double_Exposure

With photography as a career and a first love, sometimes it’s hard for me to remember how to “play” at creating artwork and documenting my life.  We focus so much on getting “the shot” –  what the best lenses, lighting gear, poses would be, that there isn’t much of a chance to toy around with just plain liking something and wanting to capture it.  I think one of the best art assignments for idea-book-keepers like myself, is to make a list of things you like.  There is no pressure to love something, and no specifics as to what can or cannot be included.  The list will start with obvious things your friends could list for you: coffee, pizza, the beach; but a few pages in you start to get into stranger, more specific territory: new ballpoint pens, having someone wash my hair for me, finding things that were lost.  I think there is something to this – something about being able to just like something, to enjoy it without the need to explain or analyze.

This is what I love about my Lomography cameras.  They are film cameras, but they are created like cheap, toy cameras – plastic, no batteries, the only adjustment for exposure is sunny or cloudy.  These cameras allow me to “play” in my interaction with the world.  I don’t have to consider my lenses or gear; I don’t have to worry about how it will look in post-processing.  Each frame is a surprise.  It could be a double-exposure; it could be filed with light-leaks or vignettes.  There is a joy in not needing to know the end result, and there is a joy in not editing my actions.  I haven’t gone through the process in my head to determine that the shot will be no good and isn’t worth taking.  I follow my impulses, and I honor my likes.

All photos above were taken this summer with my Lomography Mini Diana Petit Noir camera on 35 mm film (one roll of b&w, one roll of color).

Personal Post: summertime on film

Door_County_Film_Photography_Family1 Door_County_Film_Photography_Family2

Ever since I was a child, summer meant traveling up to the farmhouse in North Bay with my family.  It meant watching the leaves flutter overhead as I looked out the window driving through Jacksonport, turning the corner into Baileys Harbor where the view opens open to the unbroken horizon of Lake Michigan, and finally pulling in the gravel path lined with cedars.  These feelings remain unchanged for me as an adult.  It is still where I go to connect with my family and explore nature.

During the summer I spend a lot of time shooting with my Nikon F4 35 mm film camera.  This camera was bought second-hand and chosen for me by a stranger, and there is a part of me that feels like it had to be a bit of destiny.  I went to college knowing I wanted to do something artistic, but certain I would choose an emphasis in painting and study graphic design to support myself.  I had never owned anything but point-and-shoot cameras, and everything changed for me the day this little Nikon F4 arrived and I started Photography 101 with Sarah Detweiler.  Having this camera and this amazing professor, completely altered how I saw the world around me.  Things I never questioned, I found reasons to investigate, and things I never saw connection between began to form relationships.  That was it: I was a photographer.

This little Nikon film camera stayed with me all throughout my undergraduate degree, traveled to Italy on a study abroad program, and finally road with me on my month long Route 66 trip.  Now, with photography not only as my artistic expression, but as my career, capturing my personal life on film keeps me rooted.  It reminds me to take the time to get each shot right and to find the moment where the image “solves itself”.  It calls forward everything I love about photography and it refreshes my spirit.  Funny how something so simple can mean so much.

Captured on film this summer are lots of little events with the people I am closest with: Ben crawfishing with my cousins (and the miniature crawfish boil it led to), hay rides to Cana Island, Door County parades, and a train ride in the northwoods.  It’s the everyday moments with the people in our lives we love most that remind us of who we are.  Holding onto these moments helps me remember that.

Newborns: welcome new baby hazel

Green_Bay_Newborn_Photos

 

Newborn photos are one of the most important photographic moments a family will ever have.  Many times people refer to weddings as the only once-in-a-lifetime event, but I want to offer up a little thought.  Although you will have many photos taken of your children throughout the years, you will never again have that week old baby – those first few moments as a family.  That is a once-in-a-lifetime event.

I many be a bit biased in thinking that Hazel is just about the sweetest little girl of all time (she is my goddaughter), but she really is just that wonderful.  She settled into the poses easily, and, although her little arms were incredibly strong, she let us move her about and lay her down without any fuss.  We are looking forward to seeing how much bigger she is by fourth of July weekend; by then the six pound, sleepy little girl will be something different altogether.  Welcome to the family, baby Hazel; we’ve been waiting for you! <3 <3 <3

Summer Classes at Peninsula School of Art

Throughout the year I offer Private Mentoring Sessons to help aspiring photogs learn more about their gear, work toward artistic and photographic goals, and clear up any questions they have along the way.  During the summer I also teach at a few local art schools including classes for both youth and adults.

My first class this summer is at Peninsula School of Art in Fish Creek, WI.  For those of you unfamiliar with PSA, it is a gorgeous studio and gallery, and an amazing place to teach.  I am starting off the year with a class on the Basics of Your DSLR Camera which is running from June 23rd-25th.  This class is all about getting your beautiful digital single-lens-reflex camera off of auto mode and learning to be in complete control.  We will learn the fundamentals of how to capture light and choose the correct shutter speed, aperture, white balance and ISO settings. Whether you are looking to get serious with photography or planning for better images of travel or family, this comprehensive class will get rid of the confusion and send you home with your camera settings as second nature.  You will have the skill and confidence to create stunning images without the guesswork!

The great thing about this class being early in the summer, is that it offers the opportunity to take a follow up class that will take it one step further in July: Adapting to Outdoor Lighting in Portraiture .

There are many other classes to check out, including one I am very excited for on the historical, ethical and theoretical implications of photographs.  You can check them all out here:  https://www.peninsulaschoolofart.org/photography—digital-arts-workshops.html

Now is the time to take risks and build toward what you are dreaming of.  See you this summer!

 

Personal Post: danielle’s baby shower

Last weekend, my family and I threw my cousin Danielle a baby shower for what will be the first great-grandchild in the family. We didn’t know the baby’s gender, so we decided on a soft pastel, handmade theme (with plenty of inspiration from Pinterest of course!).  Weeks ahead Danielle’s dad brought over fresh fish for a little family dinner, and as we finished eating, we all gathered around for baby shower crafting.  Everyone got into it: grandpa, and fathers, and husbands all making pom-pons and tag banners – their hardworking precision applied to something so sweet and feminine.

We wanted the decorations to be a surprise for Danielle, but little did we know she had a surprise for us.  For months she had been so sneaky, keeping the baby’s gender an absolute secret – it was all we could do to keep from gossiping wildly about what we thought it would be.  As we set up for the shower, Danielle pulled out a beautiful cake made by the same bakery who did her wedding three years ago. The cake was to be a gender reveal!  After patiently waiting through games, gifts and food, I had the honor of cutting the cake and announcing to all the guests that there would be a baby Hazel entering our family in May.  Many congratulations to Danielle and Reggie!  We are looking forward to your maternity photos this weekend and baby Hazel’s arrival in a few months! 🙂

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