Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 - What a great year!

I'd describe 2008 as an amazing year... some more descriptive words I could use would be - fulfilling, adventurous, successful, impressive and memorable. The year went by so fast, looking back on all of the things that we experienced as a family and in my business I am so grateful for all the wonderful moments.

In 2008 I shot double the amount of weddings I shot in 2007. Each one of my weddings was so very special to me and I am so happy to have been invited to document so many new marriages.

I also welcomed my newest assistant, Natalie Rueber. Natalie has been great all season. Not only does she assist me at weddings, but she also comes into the studio once a week to help with welcome packets and processing orders. Natalie is a senior in photography at UW Oshkosh and has a bright future ahead of her.

This year Ardent Photography embarked on a very special endeavor. I launched a new side of my business which allows me to concentrate on a genre of photography that is tender, sweet and sexy all in one. In May 2008 I launched Unveiled Portraits - a boutique boudoir photography studio that caters to women of all ages and body types. My goal in creating this new side of my business is to reignite the confidence in every woman. I want them to be able to feel great about themselves and their bodies just as they are. Please visit www.unveiledportraits.com to see more photos and to inquire about a session.

I expanded my business as well as my knowledge by attending many workshops in 2008. The one that impacted the most in my shooting was a two day workshop with celebrity wedding photographer Mike Colon. Mike inspired me to shoot in 100% manual mode, to see the "light" and to make beautiful portraits in less than desirable places. Some of the other seminars/workshops I attended included JB and DeEtte Salle, Mitche Graf, Ed Pierce, Bob Davis, David Jay, Jasmine Star and Zack Arias - all speakers who inspired progress in my photography and in my business.

Many of these workshops allowed me the opportunity to travel around the US. I traveled to Chicago, Atlanta, Las Vegas for workshops/seminars. My photography has brought me other places I've only dreamed of... including Boston, New York City, San Francisco and Hawaii. Andy was able to join me for one of my trips to Boston. It was the first time we went away together without our son Drew. One thing that was hard about so much travel in 2008 was leaving behind my cute kiddo and husband. Knowing that Drew was well taken care of by both Andy and family members (thanks Mom!) made my leaving a bit easier.

Drew turned two this fall. He is such a smart and good boy. At 18 months he already new all of his letters and would stop me at stores to spell things out. Drew started swimming classes just before his second birthday and by the end of the session he could go completely under water. For Drew's birthday party we invited all of his cousins and aunts and uncles over to our home. The theme was Handy Manny/Dinosaurs and we rented a humongous bounce house for the backyard. It was so much fun and he still talks about it to this day.

Drew rang in the new year as a Big Boy. On New Year's Eve Andy converted his crib into a toddler bed. He didn't fall out, but he got up at least four times... Andy and I are soooo lucky to have such a good little boy!!!

This year I was able to network with a bunch of amazing wedding photographers in the Milwaukee area. I was invited into this tight knit group of people. We meet monthly and discuss our businesses and we refer our clients to each other when we are booked. We recently launched our website www.thecollectionlist.com and were mentioned on The Morning Blend morning show on WTMJ by Jessica Quist. It is so great to be a part of The Collection... I am excited for the friends and contacts I've made through the group.

I had the opportunity to second shoot for David E. Jackson on two occasions in 2008. He is a fantastic photographer, daddy and overall person. He is amazingly successful and I am proud to call him my friend. I also had the opportunity to shoot with Rachel Hadiashar of MERGEweddings.com, Gwyneth Colleen of www.gwynethcolleen.com, Marina Miller of www.redheartphoto.com, James and Bev Rubio of www.jamesrubiophotography.com, Samantha and Aubrey of www.everylittlemomentphotography.com, Michael Lee of www.mikeleephotos.com, Robert Janes of www.janesstudio.com, and Carl Stevens of www.artists-eyes.com. Every chance to shoot with another professional photographer gives me the opportunity to grow as a photographer. Thank you for the wisdom, guidance and support in 2008!

Thank you to all of my clients! To the high school seniors who will be graduating in the spring... thanks for trusting me with immortalizing you for your yearbooks. Thanks to all of the families... capturing the way you interact with each other was such a joy. Thanks to all of my boudoir girls... you helped build the foundation of Unveiled Portraits. Thanks to all of my newlyweds... it has been an absolute pleasure to get to know each and every one of you!

View a small selection of my favorite images here: [link coming soon]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Friday, December 5, 2008


To see what I've been up to this week visit refreshrenewexplore.com/hawaii