As a reminder, I offer free adoption day family portraits and provide other photo services for free for kids in foster care.
This was an extra special graduation photoshoot! Kaleigh is a young woman in foster care. It’s estimated that only 30-50% of youth in foster care graduate high school and the stats are even worse for going on to college. Kids in foster care have so many hurdles to overcome through no fault of their own.
There are a lot of ways you can help by either donating resources to programs that help kids in care or becoming a CASA (I’m one if you have questions) or becoming a foster parent. There are a lot of kids who need a safe and loving home either as a permanent placement or for a time period while their parents work to get to a place where they can parent again. I encourage you to take a few minutes today to research what you can contribute to making this world a better place for kids in foster care.
This was my second wedding shoot during the pandemic. A third that I had scheduled for this month was postponed for next year, along with others. Both this wedding and my last during the pandemic were downsized to small, intimate outdoor gatherings where social distancing and masks were mandated. While I am grateful that people are following these guidelines, it does create a whole new set of challenges as the wedding photographer!
This wedding took place at the gorgeous Stockton State Park on Stockton Lake in Missouri. The temperature was perfect, the sun was harsh and setting. The bride and groom both wore glasses and masks, along with the rest of the guests. I think you see where I'm going with this... I was also wearing glasses and a mask, shooting into the sun half the time due to where we were positioned on the bluff. So my glasses are fogging up and half the time I'm shooting using muscle memory and faith that my auto focus is focusing where I am needing it to focus. Not ideal, but hey! That's the joy and challenge of wedding photography. It's a game of improvisation and how well you can live in the moment and make the best of whatever is thrown your way!
My advice for photographers shooting weddings during this pandemic? Invest in a great wide-lens camera for socially distanced wedding party photos! The bigger the wedding party, the wider the lens needs to be!
The bluff overlooking the lake was gorgeous but unfortunately the sun was on the less-than-ideal side so when I shot them, Catie & Ryan were just dark silhouettes against the sparking blue water. I knew I would have to do some creative editing to make them work, but thankfully it worked out. I love how their style, the fall colors, and the turning leaves all worked together to create a look that feels both vintage and timeless.
I shot about 1800 images during the four hour period I was there. I edited those down to about 600 which I edited in Lightroom, about half of which I also edited in Photoshop afterward to touch up things further. All photos were delivered within 5 days of the ceremony.
The specialness of getting married in 2020 is the challenges you overcome to get down the aisle any way you can, and the photos taken that document this strange time in history for all future generations. I wish Catie & Ryan a lifetime of happiness and love, and I hope they look back on these photos fondly for many years to come.
I don't think I've ever felt such strong imposter syndrome before this week. It's just been one of those weeks where everything is happening so fast that it feels hard to conjure the special sauce of creation. I had four photo shoots for 12 shirts for Culture Flock and then a wedding, all in one week, plus regular work hours, et all. In short, I felt like a chicken with her head cut off running and shooting and hoping I got the shot, and then editing when not shooting and second guessing myself and re-editing and third guessing myself and re-editing and thinking of all the ideas I could have done but didn't think of in time and then hitting "send" with a prayer and baited breath, just hoping I didn't let everyone down. I don't know... is it at all comforting to know that all these years of doing photography and two years into this being my official business that I'm struggling with feeling "legit" or is it depressing to know that? It is what it is, I suppose. Just a part of the human condition.
This was a great week for my business and I should be celebrating that, instead of beating myself up over all I could have done better... but then, that serves a purpose too, doesn't it? Things to do differently next time so I can create even better work than I have before. This is the process of progress--create, make some mistakes, learn, create better, make different mistakes, learn, create better and so on and so forth until the end. But enough about that! Let's get to the photoshoot itself and these awesome tees on these gorgeous gals!
Working with Culture Flock is always a dream come true--I love their products and I love their mission and I love the creative freedom they give me on these photoshoots. We decided to create four sets with four models modeling all the shirts for each element of the zodiac sign. So Charlotte modeled all the air signs (above)... which had "air swirls" and a yellow backdrop.
Michelle (above) modeled the fire signs and had a fire crown and candles for her set on a pink backdrop. I made the decision to light the candles in post since my studio is a wood paneled basement and the candles were set on wood crates on a paper backdrop... just seemed like that would be tempting fate.
Randa (above) modeled the earth signs (hi! Taurus here!) with plants on a gorgeous green backdrop.
And Kimber modeled the water signs with a blue backdrop, blue floral touches, and vases of water.
These shirts are selling out fast, so be sure to grab yours while you still can at https://cultureflock.com/
And if you're feeling like an imposter at all this week, just know you're in good company and keep trucking along... the feeling will pass, and your talent and skill will continue to improve the more you do it.
PS. Culture Flock's response to the photos was, "I just wanted to say these photos are fucking awesome! Thank you so much! You are SO talented and we love working with you!" So take that imposter syndrome! Take that right to the bank, ya dummy.
When Andrea texted me at 6pm last Wednesday asking if I could create a professional logo for her new pop-up shop, The Local Bevy, I was in the middle of cooking dinner and trying to pay a utility bill online that wasn't going through. She had a lot of ideas for what she wanted, which is good--because it gives me clear boundaries to create within that I know my client already likes. Speaking of boundaries... since I no longer live alone and just work all the time (my partner Kimber is trying to patiently remind me to slow down and make time to relax sometimes too--what a concept!), I have been working to get better at putting boundaries like work hours and more realistic timelines for turnaround so I don't get burnt out so much. It is very much a work in progress for me and something I struggle with--I just want to say yes to every opportunity because I'm so grateful for each one that comes along and I want to get it done as good and fast as possible for my clients! Ho, boy--we got an overachiever on our hands here. Hi. It me. I aim to please. To a fault sometimes. BUT I'M WORKING ON IT. THANK YOU.
So, in this spirit, I told Andrea that I would touch base with her the next day when I had a little more time to devote to understanding what she was looking for. The next day, we picked up where she left off the night before. She sent me some mock-ups she had drawn and created on one of those "instant logo" creation sites. She told me what she liked and didn't like and I went to work creating several options for her to choose from.
I always like to include a few designs that are a little outside of the specifics a client gives me, if I think it will look good, just to give them something else they may not have considered otherwise. In this case, options 1 and 2 were pretty different from what she was looking for, but I liked them enough to include them and give her another option to consider. Turns out, she ended up liking #2 and #6 best, but she wanted to see #6 with the #2 font.
I made that revision and sent her the final two logo designs for her to choose from. See which one she choose below:
Be sure to check out The Local Bevy:
"A temporary holiday pop-up featuring a collection of local handmade art, crafts, and goods located in historic Pickwick Place. Open until December 31, 2020."
I'm Andie Bottrell, a multidisciplinary creative based in Springfield, MO. This blog is designed to give you an inside peak into the process behind my projects and to share my work.