Monday, December 30, 2013

Playlist V

I've always loved music and because I spend a huge amount of time working and editing on my computer, I absolutely can't live without it. I recently purchased Spotify Premium and it is the best thing in the entire world. I haven't bought any music in months because I can listen to whatever I want on my phone, iPad, computer, etc. I have saved a whole lot of money because of it. So today as I was editing I realized I had discovered some fun new artists lately and wanted to share them with you! I made a big playlist for your entertainment. Feel free to listen to that here!!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sharing Life Together

I've taken a step back from my personal Facebook, as I was considering deleting it the other day. I decided it wasn't worth it to delete it, because of how connected I am to so many different people on the site, but that I didn't need to spend as much time scrolling the endless news feed that fails to feed me anything substantial. Facebook easily becomes a time suck and an inspiration suck for me. It's easy for me to compare myself and especially my photography to people I follow because their beautiful pictures are always floating around. It's not a bad thing that these incredible pictures come up on my newsfeed; it's a bad thing that I never give myself a break from seeing them. We all need to take a step back sometimes and find inspiration by simply removing ourselves from the source of the problem, which can often be the internet. So I'm doing a bit of that when it comes to my personal Facebook.

Lately, Kinfolk has become that inspiration that I needed and was looking for. I purchased the online subscription about six months ago and am just getting around to reading all the volumes. I'm currently on volume three and each story, each photo, each recipe, and each person that shares a little about what they do in their daily life, gives me an excitement deep down for experiencing the same thing when I someday own my own home, have my own kitchen, and am better able to invite friends over. 

In Kinfolk, dinner time, meals, and sharing life together in the home is greatly valued. Unfortunately, dinner time wasn't ever something my family put first and because of that, I think we missed out on a lot of special bonding time that only happens over the table and a good meal. Whether or not I ever have a family of my own, I hope I open my house to people and am always happy to have guests come over. I think it's so special when people are welcoming enough to where you know you're not a burden in their home. I can't wait for that. What kinds of things are you excited about when it comes to owning your own home?

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Michelle + Matthew | Charlottesville, Virginia Proposal Photographer

I got a call from one of my mom's friends, similar to the text I received from Aaron for the last proposal I shot. It went something along the lines of, "Are you free on December 21st?" Marianne didn't tell me what it was for but I quickly figured out when she said it was "an engagement thing," that her son was probably going to propose. After many emails passed back and forth about the plan, I met Matthew at UVA on Friday to see the dorm room where he was planning to propose and to figure out where I'd need to be so I didn't spoil anything. Matthew and Michelle live in Santa Barbara now but both lived on the lawn at UVA their senior year, almost directly across from each other on opposite sides, so Matthew wanted to propose in the room she had lived in, 20 East.

I arrived early on Saturday to ensure I was ready since I wasn't 100% sure what time Michelle's flight from California would land. I eventually got a text from Matthew saying they had left Richmond, and then about an hour later, that they were walking from the bookstore to the dorm room. I made my way across the lawn as I saw them, pretending to photograph the rotunda, and then when they had their backs turned, I started shooting. Apparently Michelle was jokingly going to try and open her old dorm room, having no idea that it would actually be open for them, of course. She felt strange after it opened just a couple inches but proceeded to peek inside and once she saw the set up with her favorite flowers, candles, and rose petals in the doorway, she probably stopped believing she was intruding on someone else's space. :)

I loved watching Michelle's reaction and seeing her excitement. I was overflowing with happiness to be able to yet again, witness (and photograph) something so incredibly special. No one else, besides me, actually got to see the proposal happening from afar, and that's the best part about it all! And now I get to share what I saw through my lens with everyone else, which is just as fun, so without further ado, here is Matthew and Michelle's UVA proposal.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Emily | Staunton, Virginia Portrait Photographer

I feel like I say this every time I meet a new photographer but one of the coolest parts about this job is that I have a reason to meet people and it's not the slightest bit weird. "Hey, we should meet up for coffee and then go shooting." "Okay!!! When?" It's the most normal thing ever for me to Facebook message someone I've never met and ask to hang out. Haha. Weird? Noooo. More like awesome. I have been Facebook friends with Emily for a long time and for some reason we've never met up, despite being forty minutes away from each other! WHAT? I've met people from other states but not from a town I go to often?! So we finally got together and met halfway in Staunton, got coffee, and went shooting for a few hours. I was afraid when we planned this that it would be -157 degrees but the weather in Virginia is doing some crazy things and it was in the 60s! It was perfect! Emily, I'm so glad we got to meet and hang out! I had such a fun time with you and I can't wait for next time!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


I had completely forgotten freelensing existed until a few nights ago when I was up at midnight and had a strange urge to do some macro shots. I had loaned my macro lens to someone so I didn't have it and then it occurred to me that I didn't need one because my lenses can act as a macro of sorts! :) If you take the lens off your camera and turn it around so that the front is facing your sensor and you get really close to what you're shooting, it will work like a macro. It's tricky because the slightest movement will make it out of focus but if you practice, it does work! You do have to adjust ISO and exposure manually because your lens won't be connected and it's also not going to be tack sharp like a shot taken with a macro lens would be but it's so much fun to play around!! Freelensing also works without turning the lens around and just holding it slightly away from the sensor, with the front glass facing how it normally would! If you play around with tilting it, you can get cool light leak effects and mess with the plane of focus. Here are some freelensed shots I took recently.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Aaron | Waynesboro, Virginia Portrait Photographer

Remember Aaron from the proposal?! Well, I have had the pleasure of getting to chat photography with him quite a bit lately and this past week we decided to get together for a shoot in downtown Waynesboro. Shooting in the winter can get boring because it seems like everything is brown and dead but I was out exploring in the rain the other day and I found this great location full of greenery!! It ended up being perfect and we also explored a good bit of downtown, finding unique walls and alleys I didn't even know existed! Such a fun afternoon getting to shoot with a fellow photographer friend!! Be sure to check out Aaron's page!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Let's Do This Together

Read more (if you usually read fiction, read non-fiction and vice versa)
Take one day at a time
Take advice from others, even if you don't like it
Give to strangers (buy someone a coffee or tape a few dollars to a car in a parking lot)
Go to the gym or take a walk
Donate to Goodwill/the Salvation Army
Be slow to anger
Spend less time on your computer and phone
Meet new people
Teach others
Write a message to yourself, put it in a bottle, and don't look at it for ten years
Clean your house
Get up earlier (go watch the sunrise)
Support your farmer's market
Tell those who mean a lot to you that they do
Be brave and face your fears
Tell someone you love them
Break a bad habit
Don't buy anything for a week (unless you absolutely have to)
Bake/cook a new meal (pick something difficult)
Go to the SPCA and play with the animals (and maybe buy one?!)
Encourage someone you don't know well
Listen more; talk less
Don't judge
Invite an old friend out for coffee
Drive to a new city, walk around, and take pictures
Forgive often
Make something for your neighbor
Say hi to people you see in stores
Smile more
Do that one thing before the year is over that you've been scared to do
Send someone an anonymous note (full of nice things)
Spend a day in silence (turn off your phone, leave your computer on your desk, don't listen to music, and do something that doesn't involve noise)
Journal more
Send a few gift baskets to a nursing home
Offer to babysit or watch a couple's child for free while they go out
Follow your heart
Grow to like black coffee
Be positive
Write down ten things you're thankful for
Turn up the music in your house and shamelessly dance
Donate to a charity (research it first)
Record a video of yourself singing along to your favorite song (you don't have to show it to anyone but don't delete it!)
Be honest
Tell someone your story who doesn't know it already
Write down something you're holding onto and need to let go of and then throw that paper in the fire or rip it up
Shovel an elderly person's driveway when it snows or offer to buy their groceries
Be spontaneous
Laugh more
Work hard
Take trips
Remember that it could always be worse
Live a full, memorable, selfless life

Monday, December 9, 2013

You Are Just Beginning

The other night as I started to journal, I had so much on my mind that I didn't even know where to start. But I started with the fact that I was mad I haven't had the opportunity to travel much in my life. I know so many people who grew up with me and are now living across the country, people who have the opportunity to take numerous vacations overseas each summer, and people who I follow online who shoot weddings and portraits in different cities each week. After years of being bombarded with beautiful photos and everyone's incredible travel stories, one starts to get a little jealous. I do, and I won't deny that. 

I have a lot of dreams (many of which involve travel) and I want to start making them a reality so my first goal was to write those down last night. But here's what I realized as I was writing them down... I'm 19 and I hate that I haven't been able to travel but my life is not over and as far as I'm concerned, it's not ending anytime soon. It's not bad to want to do things while we're young but we don't need to rush. We're too much of a "get it done, hurry up, there's no time, rush, rush, rush society." I have many great years ahead of me to see the world. I need to be patient for those times to come.

The last thing I wrote in my journal was, "You are NOT OVER, you are JUST BEGINNING." 

There are a lot of people my age who have been so blessed to see things that adults don't even get to see but I have hope in God's plan for my life, hope that my life is just beginning to unfold. I know that he will give me the desires of my heart.

"Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart." -Psalm 37:4

So if you're like me and spend a lot of time dwelling on what could be, start dwelling on what will be instead.