Lessons I've learned from my parents...

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. I’ve traced my family history pretty far back and have noticed a common theme in small business ownership, mostly among the men (until recently).

My parents each have owned their own businesses since I was really young and I got a lot of my work ethic from watching them.

I saw my dad and my mom both wake up early and stay up late working.

I saw them prioritize family and rarely miss a family event.

I watched them being honest, fair and truthful with their clients every single time and only sold to them what they truly believed in.

I saw them stay true to their beliefs and always take Sundays off to go to church and be with family.

I noticed how financially responsible they were, never living beyond their means or putting on credit what they couldn’t pay off.

I’ve seen the hours they put in learning and getting continued education to be the best at their craft that they could be.

I observed how they supported each other and encouraged each other.

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I’ve watched and I’ve learned. And what has stood out to me the most, was the dedication and passion they’ve put into their work not just for their clients or for personal goals, but for their family. They saved up large jars of coins to take us kids on an annual road trip every single year from MI to FL (imagine that mini van with 7 of us in it for 26 hours+). They made sure we ate healthy, nourishing food and always had lunch money. They kept up on medical, dental and chiropractic visits for us, despite the basically non-existent health care plans small business owners struggle with. They encouraged us to have instruments and play in the band, take piano lessons and join whatever sports we wanted to. And when we were old enough, we were taught to put in the work with weekend/night/summer jobs.

Because of all of the sacrifices made and hard work put in, the lessons I’ve learned from my parents over the years have helped shaped who I am and how I now run my business. I may still be learning how the balance part works, but I know when to put family first. I know when to say no and how to be financially responsible. I apply honesty and kindness to everyone I work with and constantly educate myself to give my very best to my clients. I know that I can’t undervalue or undercharge for my services because my family will take the hit.

Mom and Dad, for the lessons you’ve taught me (without probably realizing it), I’m very thankful for them and for you. xoxo

What about you? What lessons have you learned from your parents or family members? I’d love to hear in the comments below!

Winter Travel Dates

I’m singing the song “I’ll be home for Christmas” over and over in my head as I write this because I’m so excited it’s actually accurate for me this year! It’s been a couple years since I’ve got to spend the holidays with my family (and even longer since all of my siblings have been together for Christmas) so we’ll be traveling to Upper Michigan December 15th-26th.

I only have 3/5 available dates still open for photo shoots while I’m in the Houghton, MI area so if you’re ready for new portraits, head over to the contact page right now to get the conversation started! Whether you want to update your business/branding photos, lifestyle family photos, need engagement/anniversary photos, or just want personal portraits - I’d love to plan a fun winter photoshoot with you! Heaven knows we’ve got enough snow in the U.P. to build some snowmen outside and then come in for hot cocoa and snuggles. If this sounds like fun, let’s talk!

These dates won’t last long and I’d love to get you in before Christmas Eve so we can both spend the holidays celebrating with our families! Click HERE to send me a message!

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Natasha | Buti Yoga Photo Shoot in Upper MI

While I was back in my home town in Upper Michigan's "Copper Country", I met up with Natasha for some branding photos. Natasha is a Buti Yoga instructor and will have you dropping your jaw at her strength and flexibility. In case you're wondering, "Buti Yoga is a dynamic asana practice fused with primal movement, tribal dance and deep core engagement." (www.butiyoga.com). As Natasha stretched, flowed and danced - I grew more and more inspired. The human body is so beautiful.. just look for yourself.

xo

Tipsy Tuesday | How to Prep for my Photo Session

It's Tipsy Tuesday and today's tip is on feeling prepared for your photo session. While you should trust your photographer (if you've hired a professional you love) to help you to look your best, it's natural to still feel a little nervous and unprepared before your session. Here are 5 quick tips to help smash those jitters!

1. Bring an extra outfit, accessories, jewelry and easy-to-walk in shoes. Even if we don't end up using them, having options in the car is helpful in case you have a wardrobe malfunction, want to change up the feel of your photos or want to venture off the beaten path in something other than those adorable new heels you just bought.

2. Dress accordingly to the weather and/or bring warm-up gear for breaks. Warm jackets and boots, hand warmers, dry socks and a thermos with a hot beverage. If we've made a day of it, feel free to bring snacks to ward off the hangry dragon.

3. Communicate clearly with your photographer in advance if you have a specific vision in mind that you want created in your photos.

4. Create a SOS bag with chapstick, bug spray, spf, lotion, safety pins, hairspray and a comb for quick touch-ups in between in case rain or weather gets you down.

5. Hire a professional stylist and hair and makeup artist if you can! This will help immensely when it comes to choosing colors and outfits that look good on you, as well has having photo-ready hair and makeup. Professionals can help your look to look killer and last longer. 

I hope these 5 tips help you feel a little more prepared before your upcoming photo session! As always, my online door is always open if you have any questions! 

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Karen | Branding Portraits at UW

When I first moved to WA, I only knew about 6 people in my area. Hallelujah for the gods of cyberspace because I just so happened to connect with Karen in a Facebook Rising Tide group. We immediately bonded at a coffee shop, discovering we are both photographers who share a passion for capturing as much realness as possible. Every week since we've met, Karen and I have met up to catch up on life, talk business, encourage each other to keep rocking the girl boss status and study new camera/lighting techniques. She's an awesome soul with a generous heart, an open mind and creative eye. You should seriously head over to Kirsch Photography to check out the latest yoga studio sessions she's been photographing... ahhhmazing!

Being a WA local, Karen has introduced me to one of the best coffee shops (and now I'm craving a Herkimer americano) and toured me around the area, pointing out history and sweet photo spots. Including the cherry blossoms at the UW campus, which ended up being the perfect place for me to photograph her for the first time. As always, that Seattle rain showed its familiar face and we chose to break out umbrellas and dance in the rain because that's how it's done with photographers like us. Ladies and gents, say hello to Karen!