Monday, April 28, 2008


Last weekend I attended a shootout in Milwaukee's Third Ward and got to meet and shoot alongside a bunch of local photographers. I had a lot of fun and got some awesome images. Thanks to Harmony for being a good sport and a great model in the chilly temps down by the lake.

Enjoy the slideshow!

One of the photographers I met at the shootout (Molly of M Three Studio) tagged me on her blog. It seemed like fun and I was able to learn a little more about Molly in reading it. So I thought I'd take the time this morning to play along!

1. Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 5 songs you are embarrassed to admit to others you like and tell why.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
4. Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Well, I like music but I'm not a fanatic like my little brother. A funny thing is I will make up new words to a popular song and sing it to Drew. Here is an example "don't you wish your baby was cute like mine? Don't you wish your baby was smart like mine? Don't cha? Don't cha momma don't cha?"

Here is my embarrassing song list:

1. Ice Ice Baby - Vanilla Ice :: reminds me of meeting my hubby while dancing to this song in college.

2. Shake Ya Tail Feather - Nelly :: just something about it makes me wanna dance!

3. The Hot Dog Song - Mickey Mouse Club House :: same as above, and I here it sometimes two times a day...

4. Commercial Jingles :: I seem to know the words to many, many jingles - and that is embarrassing!

5. Be My Lover - Le Bouche :: yeah I know....

Now these people are tagged!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Engagement Session :: Joanna & Ben

Joanna and Ben drove down from the Twin Cities to have their engagement session last weekend. It was the first time meeting the pair in person because they booked me for their July wedding over the phone after seeing my website.

The weather the morning of the shoot was cold and rainy. Luckily by the time the arrived the rain subsided. Our session started at High Cliff State Park. About 45min into the session and after learning more about the couple we decided to head downtown Appleton to do even more photos with an urban feel.

We took a break at a coffee house and chatted about their interests, their jobs and their wedding day. I love getting to know my couples!!! Joanna and Ben love life and love living in Minneapolis. One fun fact about each: Joanna is fluent in Spanish and Ben was a golf pro - he asked her to marry him in Spanish on the beach in Mexico - Awe!

Here are some of my favorite shots from the day. I cannot wait to shoot their July wedding!
High Cliff State Park

kiss in the alley

so serious - but I love it!!!



rain cloud

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I've been blogged!!!!!!!

Offbeat Bride ( blogged a few photos of mine from the wedding I helped shoot in San Francisco. It makes me excited to have my photos featured!!!!

Check it out for yourself!

The rings


WPPI :: Last blog entry

Day 6

The next morning came way to quickly! But I was up early enough to get my coffee and a good seat in Michael and Anna Costa's platform class. I absolutely LOVED this pair!!! The information I soaked up in this class is going to be so very useful to me this season.

Today was the first full day of the trade show. I visited so many booths....some of the vendors I researched included: KISS, Forbeyon, Jill•e Bags, Canon, DNL Photo Packaging, Studio Cloud, Triple Scoop Music and much more! After a few hours at the trade show my roommates and I decided to venture to the MAC Cosmetics store to have our makeup done for that evening's party hosted by Photo LoveCat and PIF photography. We had a lot of fun and even squeezed in a mini photo session at the store. The MAC Cosmetics professional store in Las Vegas is the largest in the world!!!

The last class of the evening featured Jesh de Rox. We arrived early so we could get good seats... we got there over an hour and a half early and scored 4 first row seats. Jesh's talk was amazing. He talked more about being a good person - being there in the moment. He had us do a visualization - he had us close our eyes and think of someone who we love and who loves us. He asked if we felt any kind of tingling sensation when we were imagining that person. That feeling of love and exhileration is free, real and love... that is how we should live our lives and approach our photography. It was really inspirational - especially when Amy Seely performed - she is AMAZING! I felt like I left that class with a clear mind and a better understanding of why I do what I do.

Check out these videos!

As if the night couldn't get any better.... we were invited to the Pay It Forward / Anne Ruthmann / PhotoLoveCat party at the Palms I-Bar. We arrived a little early so we could help Anne with some last minute preparations. While were were enjoying the open bar I met Michael and Heather Krakora from Madison. They were a neat couple and look forward to meeting up with them again.

One awesome thing about this party was that they were giving away a ton of prizes!!! I won a 16x20 gallery wrap, but decided to PIF (pay it forward) to someone who could really use it. Other awesome prizes that were given away by many great sponsors - to read more about it visit the PIF blog.

Day 7
We slept in a little... after coming home at 3:00am I needed to sleep at least until 8:00am - but Kelly and I woke up early enough to sneak into the end of one class. After that is was more trade show - Tradeshow sooo many booths!!! So little time! Got to meet Jessica Claire, Mathew Jordon Smith and while walking around the booths! I signed with the album company Forbeyon and am very happy to bring this high end album to my clients. Later that evening we attended a platform class by Jared Bauman. He is only 27 years old and is speaking on running a successful wedding photography business. I was lucky to be a part of a "dance off" and won a instructional dvd from Me Re Koh ;-)

After the last class of the night we headed to In and Out Burger. This restaurants concept is to have everything fresh - never frozen. They make the french fries from real potatoes right in front of your eyes. They pride themselves on high quality meats and great service with a retro feel.

In and Out Burger

This was our last night in Vegas so we decided to have some fun jumping on the bed. We were inspired by a photo we saw in class that day and HAD to do it ourselves - see more fantastic bed jumping photos at

bed jumping

Day 8
Kelly and I woke up early and headed to the airport. We were happy to be "leaving Las Vegas". It was a long trip home - I was happy to see my family after 8 days away!

Monday, April 21, 2008

WPPI :: Vegas Slideshow III

Here are even more images from the Neon Graveyard Shootout... I have even more to get through from the Nelson Ghost Town session. I'll post a slideshow very soon....

The photographers seen shooting in this slideshow are Kelly A Lee, Justin Haskins and David E Jackson.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

WPPI 2008 :: Rockstar Photographers

Day 5 - Sunday

Our WPPI 2008 Flickr Group had it's very first meet-up at the Venetian Hotel's Grand Lux Cafe. Those in attendance were Kate Nadine, Danielle, Zach (Goody), Kelly A. Lee, Corey Ann, Kelly, Aubrey, Samantha Nicole and Melissa Brown. After we ate and chatted we walked the shops at the Venetian and saw the Gondolas.

A group shot of the WPPI 2008 Flickr group:

From left to right: Kelly, Amy, Melissa, Kelly, Corey, Kate and Danielle.

That afternoon the trade show opened, the first class was taught and the parties began. We were invited to the Robert Evans - Photography Mentor/Sara France GoBee Party in a penthouse suite at Mandalay Bay. The party was really cool. They had a photobooth and a airbrush tattoo artist. Many amazing photographers also were in attendance - I got to have some pretty cool conversations with Anne Ruthmann, Jesh de Rox and Becker. I also got to meet some amazing up and coming photographers such as Mel Barlow, Abby Rose, Pepper Nix and Punam Bean.

Some photos from the party:

Jesh and the Flickr Girls
Photo by Anne Ruthmann
Aubrey, Melissa, Jesh, Samantha and Amy

WPPI 2008
Photo courtesy of Melissa's point and shoot.
Samantha, Aubrey, Becker, Amy and Melissa.

WPPI 2008
Photo courtesy of Melissa's point and shoot.
Amy, Aubrey, Mel, Melissa, Jesh and Samantha.

Photo courtesy of Foto Cabina Photo Booth - SOOOO much fun!!!!

We snuck out of the Photography Mentor Party to check out the Pixel 2 Canvas party. We were able to meet Kevin, the inventor of the RadioPopper flash trigger device. I was able to test the RadioPoppers on my camera...all I can say is it is so very cool. I cannot wait for mine to be shipped!

Kevin - the brains behind Radiopopper!

That night we stayed up quite late... but it was sooooo worth it ;-)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Vegas Shootout :: Slideshow II

This couple got married the day before this "fearless bridal" session took place. Enjoy!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

WPPI :: Vegas Shootout

Day 4 - Saturday

16x20 Awards of Excellence Print Competition judging started at 8:00 am. Wow! This was an awesome experience. There was a panel of about 8 judges who punched their numbers into a keypad... if the print scored an 80 or higher the print won an Accolade of Excellence and the entire audience clapped! Then the moderator/head judge would ask two of the panel judges to comment on why they scored the print the way they did. It was so amazing to me that they would take the time to critique every single print. Sometimes prints didn't score well because of print quality, mounting of the print, tonal range, composition...

I sat in on the Premier Division of the competition - it is the division that I entered two prints in. The Premier division was for first time entrants of an international competition. My prints scored a 77 and a 78. I was lucky enough to be in the audience for the critique of one of my prints. After sitting through countless prints I knew that my print wouldn't score 80 or higher. It wasn't that the photograph was bad - the photos that I entered were actually very good!!! But, they didn't fare well with the things that judges were looking for. My prints were high-contrast, edgy composition and high-gloss mounting. Now that I know what the judges are looking for I will better be able to select my images for next year's competition.

Here is a shot from the competition:
Awards of Excellence 16x20 Competition - my print of Janelle!

Neon Graveyard shoot
My Flickr group coordinated a shoot at the Neon Boneyard in Las Vegas. Corey Ann organized the entire shoot and secured the location - this place isn't they type of place that just lets people come and hang out with cameras... We had to sign waivers and pay a fee just to shoot on the property for 2 hours.

The location was just a dream! There was old neon signs from old Las Vegas, the people who ran the place think of it as a museum. We had to be VERY careful while shooting because there was broken glass and exposed neon everywhere.

We had more than 15 photographers attend the shootout. We split into two groups - one group had a real bride and groom that were married just the day before and the other group had a funky couple with lots of body art. There was also a lone "groom" who was there trying to get shots to use in his modeling portfolio. I had so much fun shooting all of them... actually, the bride and groom brought along some of their friends to watch. I grabbed two of them and for a little impromptu "engagement" session - it turned out sooo awesome.

Here are some shots:
focus on blue

Tattoos in Vegas

walk the line

get it on

Nelson Ghosttown shoot
After the amazing session at the Neon Boneyard we drove about one hour away to a Nelson, Nevada ghosttown. There, we met up with Vegas' local photographers Jamie and Tim Jackson. They were awesome and found a couple of models willing to pose in the desert for some amazing shots.

During some of the shooting I slammed my hand and left leg into a cactus. Those things look cool but man can they cause some damage!!! I had to take in a deep breath and pull all the thorns out of my hand and leg. My very first experience ever seeing a cactus and coming into contact with one is another reason why I actually like living in Wisconsin!

Towards the end of this shoot the sun was setting fast behind the hills. Dave Jackson was sooo awesome and let everyone try out a one-light flash set up using all of his equipment. Most of us have never shot like this before and it was stunning to see how our images were looking with a little bit of added light.

Here is a shot of Michelle using the one light technique. (slide show to come)
Michelle in the Desert

Saturday was an event filled day!!! Some of the best shooting locations and light I've ever photographed!!!

Stay tuned for more...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

WPPI 2008 :: Mike Colon's Plus Class

I am finally getting to my blog entry on WPPI 2008 in Las Vegas. After I returned home after 8 days of being away... our entire family was struck with the stomach flu for Easter and pretty much the entire week after. Andy and became healthy enough to attend another two seminars in Chicago last weekend. My brain is SO full of so many ideas I feel like I am going to burst!

I would like to tell you about my experience at the world's largest photography convention and trade show and to help me stay organized I will write recaps of each day.

Day 1 - Wednesday
I arrived in Vegas late at night. I was unable to get a hotel room for that night... luckily Danielle was kind enough to let me stay in her room for the evening. We ended up chatting about photography until after 1:00am... little did I know this was going to be an early bedtime compared to the rest of the week!

Day 2 - Thursday
It took forever to find the room for Mike Colon's Plus Class. But once I arrived I was finally able to see what the "man" is all about. The class was pretty awesome. We talked about some of the fundamentals of photography. It was a good review for me and he also challenged us to shoot completely in manual mode - as well as manual white balance. I was up for the challenge.

The class had two models come after lunch. The group of 20 photographers headed outside and shot the models on the grounds of Bally's. Shooting alongside of Mike Colon was pretty cool! His colleague Ray Santana (aka Uncleray) was very helpful and encouraging to us. After a long day of sitting in a classroom this 2.5 hour shootout was a ton of fun!!!

Day 3 - Friday
This was the second day of the Plus Class with Mike Colon. Just a background on Mike, he is a "rockstar" photographer. He is all around awesome. His approach to shooting, his technical abilities and his all around charm make him one of the best photographers in the industry today.

On this day Mike actually took time to critique some of the images from the day before. He choose several of my images to critique. I am going to be honest and say some of them were not very good. I was sooooo focused on the technical side of shooting in complete manual mode that I lost touch with the artistic side. I learned a lot from his critique.

Right after lunch two more models came and we were able to go out and shoot again. This time my game was on. I had sooo much fun shooting. The technical side came sooo much easier for me and I was getting some rockin' shots.

Here are some of the highlights:

Mike Colon is a chimper ;-)

Mike Colon

wind blown


beautiful model from Plus Class



Krystal and Andy

Krystal and Andy

Mike Colon's Plus Class - WPPI 2008

Friday, April 11, 2008

Vegas Teaser!

Here is a slideshow of one of the photo shoots I was on while in Vegas!

To view each photo individually click on the control tab on the lower right, then click on the button that looks like a grid.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Album Slideshow

Janelle and Eric - July 14, 2007