This past month I was invited to “be taught” to learn to cross country ski. If you aren’t familiar, this is where you have skis on each foot and try to slide one foot in front of the other to maneuver … Continue reading
Our Story – What the heck is a First Look?
When Bryan and I had our Engagement Shoot with our wedding photographers before our wedding, Allen and Melissa (our photographers) asked us if we’d be interested in doing a First Look before the ceremony. As a young bride, the first of most of my family and friends to have a wedding, I was clueless as to what they were talking about. My Aunt previously used our photographers for her wedding and chose to do a First Look from which I had seen beautiful pictures, so I was open to it but still not sure what it was. After Allen gave me a quick description of what this was, Bryan and I were on board. However, I had little idea of what I was getting into, and how much I truly would cherish that moment on my wedding day.
As I mentioned, I was the guinea pig bride for a good bit of my friends and family, not knowing what to splurge on and what to save on, or exactly how to do everything other than what I found on Google (before my Pinterest days). I was so focussed and excited about planning each detail of my wedding day, I totally forgot, until the day of, that I was going to be the CENTER of attention along with Bryan – yikes! How did I not pick up on this! I was terrified of all eyes on me…Oh boy. Thankfully, my best friends and closest family were there with me in preparation and before the ceremony pictures, and our photographers were totally chill and soothing in their approach.
After some fun pictures with Moms and Bridesmaids, Allen let me know he’d found a beautiful spot to have our First Look Moment. He led me around to the back garden area behind our Bride’s Preparation room and as I came around the corner I saw Bryan’s Back, where he was waiting for me. Melissa photographing Bryan, Allen staying near me, they captured the very moment Bryan and I laid eyes on each other as Bride and Groom. All I can really share is how I remember this moment looking back.
As I am sure you have picked up on, I am somewhat shy and nervous to be the total center of attention. What this First Look moment gave to Bryan and I was the most beautiful and special intimate moment. It was like the photographers were not even there…no posing, no talking to us, just a moment to be candid and take in the excitement of becoming husband and wife.
The first moment I saw Bryan I felt an immediate sense of peace. There were no distractions, just the handsome and wonderful man I was about to marry wrapping me up in his arms and holding my hand. I had the chance to take in his every expression when seeing me in my wedding gown for the first time rather than worrying about handing off my bouquet, walking up the steps of the altar in my heels or speaking in public. And just as I had the chance to take everything in, Bryan could say exactly what he wanted to when he saw me rather than sneaking a “you look beautiful” whisper in the middle of a ceremony (I feel like with especially men, they are less guarded and show their true emotions in this private moment than in front of a congregation where they have to contain utmost “manly” composure). If you are a sucker for intimate and romantic – you can’t top this private moment filled with excitement and love for one another! What is even cooler, we are blessed with a story telling sequence of multiple photos catching both Bryan’s expression as well as mine, and gosh, I love to look back at them now after only 5 years together, in 50 years they will be even more precious in helping us remember each moment and emotion of our wedding day.
The best part about this First Look in our experience was exactly what Allen had told us. He said “The First Look gives you two extremely memorable moments. The First Look is intimate and private, but you will be amazed at the moment the church doors open, everyone stands, and your eyes meet.”
As a wedding photographer, I don’t push doing the First Look on my clients, but I do share a little bit about what it is if they have not heard of it. I think a bride and groom’s choice whether to see each other or not before the wedding ceremony is completely special and beautiful for them, and I would only prefer to capture their “first look” exactly at the time they are ready. With my own personal experience, however, the photos were priceless, the moment was perfect, and I hope to help brides in making their decision on whether or not the First Look is for them.
Our First Look
(Special Thanks for our Wedding Day Photos to
Allen and Melissa with Image Photography!)
Ashley and Ben’s First Look
Okay, I am curious to know who is like me. Brides planning a wedding, I have a feeling this will be a familiar tune to maybe some of your Wedding planning days. Mom’s – you will relate. Photographers – this is something we have all dealt with. I am reading Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey, and he ironically brings up that infamous situation most of us have faced when working. You know this scenario – where you wake up with an overloaded to-do list, hit the floor running, and then it all goes out the window and you seem to be putting out fire after fire and at the end of the day, you are exhausted, have a headache, and what’s worse, you feel like NOTHING got done! I know almost anyone with any kind of daily responsibilities has possibly had a day, week, or month like this where they are truly the rat on the wheel running and getting nowhere.
Or how about this scenario, you have this pile of things you know need to get done, but you sleep in or avoid doing the tasks that need accomplishing, trying to relax., yet you feel worse at the end of the day. Dave Ramsey even remarks -
“The weird thing is that the more efficient, on task, on goal you are with your time, the more energy you have……wasting a day away, does not relax you, it drains you.”
This is something I needed to see in a different light and I am hoping you will find Dave’s easy tips at least a little helpful.
My personal biggest problem is that when I do sit down and write a list, it is impossible to finish the tasks in one day, and I end up feeling worse after seeing my defeat on paper. I love the idea Dave mentions from Dr. Stephen Covey of first separating out each task into Four Quadrant Categories:
- Important and Urgent
- Important But Not Urgent
- Not Important But Urgent
- Not Important and Not Urgent
Obviously, Quadrant I items are extremely easy to identify and of highest priority. You have to have them done that day or your deadline is missed, you go out of business, you displease clients, your reception venue could be booked by some one else, etc.
Quadrant IV is also easy and should be on lowest priority.
What I found most helpful was learning to properly identify Quadrants II and III.
Quadrant III I relate to a situation I personally deal with and call Email and Facebook Traps. I am trying to complete a task, and I get an email from a fellow local photographer, or a ding of a new update or message on my Facebook…and before long, 3 hours later I am out of my Facebook Vortex, no accomplished work to show for my time. Aghh! It felt like I should respond right away, but in the grand scheme of things it was not important that I spend time on it at all.
Quadrant II includes things like reading helpful business building books, parenting books, exercising, getting the oil changed, etc. These are things that are important to get done but not urgent where you should stop everything and do them right away.
Nevertheless – I suggest digesting this idea and seeing what falls into each category for you. It has truly helped me hold myself accountable in maximizing my time.
What I am really excited to try is Dave Ramsey’s To-Do List suggestions! I am paraphrasing, but here is a list I compiled from his book:
- Each morning make a list of activities that need to be done today.
- Look at the list and by each task that must be done today, put an “A”
- By each task that should be done very soon (today would be best) put a “B”.
- Put a “C” by the remaining activities, and Dave says if they haven’t been moved up to A or B in a few weeks stash them in an idea file.
- Now, by the most important “A” item, put a “1” by it, (will now be
“A1”) then the next most important A put a “2” and so forth.
- Repeat with the “B’s” and “C’s”
So simple yet so Brilliant! I love that Dave calls the number one item A1, and comically nicknames it “Steak Sauce” in honor of the steak sauce A1. He challenges readers when a distraction comes our way to ask ourselves – “Is this Steak Sauce?”
I LOVE THIS lol!
I can’t wait to try this myself – let me know if you try it or have been doing this and how it is working for ya!
It is me again…I do apologize for being on vacation from blogging for far too long! The truth is, I love to vacation, and Bryan and I don’t go on vacation often, but we had a very special vacation recently for our 5th Wedding Anniversary! We took a 7 night Disney Cruise on the Brand New Disney Fantasy Cruise Ship!!! This was my very first cruise ever – and it definitely set the bar high!
First of all,
We booked our cruise this way, and
A) it was the cheapest price for our cruise anywhere online
B) it included a FREE Digital Photo Album voucher so that you can design a memory photo book with pictures from your trip
C) We earned a $190.00 COSTCO CASH CARD simply by booking through them! WoooHooo! Skeptics don’t over analyze, I already made my photo book and received my cash card within weeks of my return home…no work on my part!
I am so glad I got the Seasickness patch, because I wore it the whole time and did not even get sick except for one time, and the funny thing is there was no rough seas…so you can imagine if I did NOT take it!
After boarding the ship and before we set sail towards the Eastern Caribbean, we immediately ate lunch at the Cabana restaurant – which is a wonderful casual buffet style layout with everything from Pizza to Lamb and Fruit to dessert! We ate outside on the deck and soaked up the sun
After lunch we met on the big deck where the AquaDuck is and joined the other 3100 guests for the Set Sail Deck Party! We then headed up to deck 11 to the very front of the ship to get our first relaxing view of the ocean.
The things I like most about cruising on the Disney Fantasy are:
- Gorgeous Decor throughout – it is truly amazing the amount of detail in the decor of this magnificent ship! From our comfy and well laid out room to the Lighting and dining decor all the way to Glass tile mosaic Murals of Flamenco Dancers and Bull Fighters in the Restrooms!
- I have never met so many delightful employees as I did on this ship! The cleaning was impeccable, the service was perfect and speedy, and the interaction between us and crew members was top quality – we left friends behind when we returned home.
- Free Fountain Drinks 24/7…and Soft Serve Ice Cream most of the time!
- All inclusive meals and entertainment on board. This I think is one of the first vacations where I got to witness Bryan truly relax instead o stress about where to eat, what to do and how to arrange our Itinerary – with all that sorted out ahead of time – he could truly kick his feet up, shut his eyes, or just be relaxing!
- Adult Entertainment was wonderful and still clean! How Refreshing!
- Adults only decks, lounges, spas and pools we SO Nice!!!! Days at sea were just as eventful as days at port due to well-organized and multiple options for entertainment day and night!
- Easy to avoid being around children for couples, and there are so many kid’s activities and awesome crew members helping with children activities that parents can enjoy both time to themselves as well as family time!
- Very adequate lounge chairs both in the sun and in the shade. We would lay under a cabana and fall asleep watching the moon and listening to the wind and water!
- As many cruise guests are on the ship, you feel like you are the only people there sometimes since the activities and organization are top-notch.
- Top notch Broadway quality musical shows that appeal to the entire audience from men to children.
- Unsurpassed dining service, with 5 course meals and a good mixture of casual and formal dining. Oh and the dining restaurants are unreal! From one that makes a cartoon out of every dining guest’s cartoon drawing to eating in a garden and watching the stars come out while beautiful flowers are lighting your table and opening as dusk draws near!
Everything on this ship was above and beyond my expectation! We spoke to a Travel Agent who was on vacation herself and she had take cruises on many different cruise lines. She remarked that aside from having to pay for alcoholic beverages on this ship, the value and excellence of what you get with Disney is incredible and incomparable.
We visited St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and Disney’s Private Island Castaway Cay. My favorite for scenery is definitely St. Thomas, and we had much to do at Castaway Cay. All in all, and as frugal as Bryan and I are, we both highly recommend taking a trip with the Disney Cruise Line and plan on doing so again in our future. As expensive as they may seem, there is no doubt that it is an awesome value and a guarantee for a fabulous vacation. I am including a little video I made especially or Bryan highlighting our trip and some of the Portraits we had made by Dustin Prickett with Sunglow Photography down in St. Cloud, FL during our visit.
Dustin is a wonderful wedding photographer from Lakeland and was gracious to work us into his schedule! Oh and that reminds me y’all! I purchased a groupon from MetalPix and for $45 FLAT I was able to order a gorgeous 16 x 20 Metallic Art Aluminum Print ($150 Value) of one of my favorite portraits of Bryan and I. I received in her in AK within 3 business days! Super impressed with their product and I will definitely be purchasing from there again. Anyways, sorry I am now rambling, but mainly I just want to share great experiences when I have them so that you will try them and enjoy them as well! I will write again soon! Take Care in the mean time and feel free to shoot questions about any of this!!!
Hey! I am so excited to watch Zach and Jody from Nashville at their Wedding Weekend Creative Live Seminar in the comfort of my own home! Check out their site @ ZachandJody.com … these folks are full of great insights and wisdom. I love successful individuals like these two who are passionate about sharing their experiences and knowledge base to help others! I have run across two types of business leaders and photographers so far, those who realize the influence and benefit of Networking, and those who seem to hoard any ideas or information that is helpful in the least. I find it surprisingly odd – while I understand that we are marketing to the same clientele and it can seem like helping the competition, I find that the idea of having a strong friendship / network with other great photographers can help in more ways than one – a few of my reasons right off the bat include:
Mutual inspiration and education- I love talking with other photographers simply because they are the only group of individuals who are as interested in it as I am! Give me a few minutes of your time, you will burn out of talking about f-stops, ISO’s and exposure shortly if you are not into photography much. There is a reason why we choose friends that have mutual interests – photography is no different! We can inspire one another as well as teach each other helpful tips. Don’t worry about “sharing secrets”. Your styles will always remain very different.
Building Opportunities for Clientele – If I am friends with Susie-Q, a photographer in the Anchorage area, and she receives a call from a bride who is getting married on May 5th, but she has a wedding already booked, or her price point does not meet the bride’s needs…if she then refers that bride to B. Weiss Photography because she knows me, and that I am another reputable Wedding Photographer in Anchorage, Alaska… Bam! I just received a referral – a prospective client who otherwise may not have been directed to my business – simply by networking with another professional. It is necessary to mention that it is good to scratch the back of some one who has scratched yours. If you get referred to by a photographer, keep them in mind! Next time you have to decline a client, refer them!
Obviously the mindset in this ideology is that of “empowering others” and having the heart of a teacher. Think about individuals who have taken the time to teach you valuable information – they become some of the people you most admire and respect! That is why I think so many of us like people like Zach and Jody! And believe me, if I ever hear of a couple looking for a Wedding Photographer in Nashville I am 100% going to recommend they check out Zach and Jody. By being helpful and inspiring, they have created a lifetime walking talking billboard (me) which is the best type of marketing – and it’s free!
I am super excited to continue watching Zach and Jody this weekend and am so thankful for the tips and tricks they continue to share to help photographers keep their work cutting edge!