Friday, December 21, 2012

Submitting to HBO's True Blood Stylist

It's a twisted show. It's mysterious, sexy and it leaves you going 'what just happened'?! At least that's the best way I can describe True Blood. It's dark, but not in a scary, horror movie way...or you can bet your sweet behind I wouldn't be watching it!! But dark is not my 'thing' with photography so I had to put on my thinking cap to figure out what I could submit that would be a good fit for this show.

And "Bloody Mary" came to mind. She's a statue in the cemetery near the house where I grew up. I learned to ride my bike in this cemetery and many hours were spent just hanging out here with friends. To some it's strange, but to us neighborhood kids, it was just the norm. But there was this statue; she captivated our imaginations. She had us telling the tallest of tales about her and how she died. I've honestly meant to research this statue for years, but never seem to remember. Maybe now I will.

Anyway, "Bloody Mary" is what we dubbed her and I'm not sure why. She is a full body statue of a woman in a dress. She is holding the broken end of a torch and the torch end is down by her feet. There are obvious burn marks up her body and on her face from this torch. Her eyes are hollow and seem so sad. She still captivates my imagination. She belongs on the set of True Blood.

So for my True Blood submission, I took a close up of her face to capture her eyes and emotion. Instead of naming my piece "Bloody Mary", I named the photo "Let Her Cry" as it seemed much more appropriate to how she really looks.


Now I had to come up with some genius idea of how to get this photo onto a wearable item. I tried a T-shirt. Special thanks and shout out to "What's Your Sign" printing company in Onsted, Michigan.
But the shirt didn't feel right. It didn't feel moody enough.

Then I found this pendant and it felt right. It's a gold tone, so the vampires will be safe. See, I'm thoughtful.


There you have it folks. My submission for the stylist of True Blood. Now keep your fingers crossed that it gets picked to be worn on an episode. And if it doesn't, that's ok too. I'm so grateful for this, and all opportunities I have with The Artisan Group.




Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gifting Alison Sweeney

I had another fabulous gifting opportunity with The Artisan Group in August. This time for the inspiring Alison Sweeney, best known for her role as Sami on "Days of Our Lives" as well as her hosting spot on "The Biggest Loser".
To try and get to know Ms. Sweeney's tastes, etc. I got to digging on her website and found an awesome article that just so happened to have a photo of her with her two children...in their home kitchen. JACKPOT! I zoomed in on this photo and loved the rustic feel, there is a horse photo, rooster decor and what I noticed right away, the cow salt & pepper shakers.

Click on the photo to read the article!

Immediately I knew she'd be getting my "Horse in Fog" photo as well as my "Happy Goat" photo, but I had to figure out what type of products to fit within our size guidelines. Of course she would get my new prized product, my handmade wine stopper and I felt the goat looked cute on top of a bottle. So the horse photo became a 4"x4" ceramic tile with a cork backing. She could easily display the tile on an easel or use it as a spoon trivet, or for a coaster to set a nice glass of wine! A handmade, handwritten card with the goat attached to the front, for easy removal and framing, accompanied the products in their gift pouch. For a different type of packaging, I padded the items and wrapped them in a pink bandana. As always, I sealed the package with love and sent it on its way.

Click on the image to shop custom wine stoppers!
Ceramic tiles coming to the shop soon!!


I would like to give you the opportunity to have your own Happy Goat wine stopper to add some whimsy to your kitchen!! 
All you have to do to enter to win, is comment on this blog post with your first and last name. Please note that I have the comments set up to be moderated to keep from spammers, so you may not see your comment right away, but please only comment 1 time as I will publish it ASAP (generally within a couple hours of your commenting, unless of course it's the middle of the night! LOL).
You must also be a FB fan to participate. (http://www.facebook.com/laughterandlovephotography)
There is free shipping to the Continental United States only.
You will have 24 hours to claim your prize, I will not track you down!
The winner will be selected via Random.org & announced on Saturday September 29th @ 9am(est).

Thank you for your continued love and support!! Good Luck!!

There were 16 entries:
1. Jennie H.
2. Amy B.
3. Cortney McD.
4. Amanda W.
5. Susan D.
6. Ronda C.
7. Erika Z.
8. Brandi K.
9. Tara S.
10. Anita M.
11. Michele C.
12. Tova F.
13. Michelle V.
14. Lisa B.
15. Lost in the Valley
16. Therese L.

And the winner is:



















Congrats to Anita M.!! You have 24 hours to contact me with your address.
Thanks again to everyone that entered! Stay tuned for more celebrity gifting that will include opportunities for you to win the same items!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Gifting Amy Poehler


I have the great honor of gifting another celebrity via The Artisan Group. This time around, it's funny lady Amy Poehler. You may have seen her on Saturday Night Live, Mean Girls, Baby Mama or her current hit show, Parks and Recreation.

Keeping her sense of humor in mind, as well as the fact that she has two young sons, I decided to go with one of my favorite photos as well as one of my best sellers in my Etsy shop, the Curious Giraffe.
I did take a quick poll of my Facebook fans and friends and he was recommended time and time again.




I attached a 3.5x5 image to a card that can be removed and framed. Then I chose the most popular item in my Etsy shop, the iPhone 4/4s case. Whether she has an iPhone or not, of course I don't know, but she can easily wrap it and gift it to a friend. Since the case and card are small, I was able to put in one more item, my new handmade wine stopper. I think every kitchen should have a Curious Giraffe to add a touch of whimsy and humor! I wrapped it all up in bright flowered paper, tied it all with a ribbon and sealed the package with love and sent it off.

I would like to give you the opportunity to have your own Curious Giraffe wine stopper to add some whimsy to your kitchen!! 
All you have to do to enter to win is comment on this blog post with your first and last name. (I have the comments set up to be moderated to keep from spammers, so you may not see your comment right away, but please only comment 1 time as I will publish it ASAP.)
You must also be a FB fan (http://www.facebook.com/laughterandlovephotography)
There is free shipping to the U.S.
You will have 24 hours to claim your prize.
The winner will be selected via Random.org & announced on Tuesday July 24th @ 7pm(est).

Thank you for your continued love and support!! Good Luck!!

There were 23 entries:
1. Erika Z.
2. Samantha M.
3. Sara L.
4. Kim J.
5. ntague
6. Mandy F.
7. Amanda W.
8. Michelle J.
9. Kristin I.
10. Kila R.
11. Kim B.
12. Crystal R.
13. Jeanne
14. Amy B.
15. Jennie H.
16. Tova F.
17. Kristin A.
18. Tara S.
19. Stephanie L.
20. Cortney McD.
21. Dave H.
22. Kelly F.
23. Alaina E.

And the winner is:
















Congratulations Crystal R.!! You have 24 hours to contact me with your address.
Thanks again to everyone that entered! Stay tuned for more celebrity gifting that will include opportunities for you to win the same items!


Saturday, July 21, 2012

Every trend comes to an end.

I want to start this with letting anyone reading it know that the following are my opinions. It does not mean that I am right and it does not mean that anyone else is wrong. They are simply my preferences when it comes to photography. But the funny thing is, I could go on an opinionated rant about just about anything besides photography and it wouldn't bother so many people. We photographers are funny people. We're opinionated and protective of our work. We're sensitive to criticism and we will defend our work to the death, even if we look at our own work and know that it needs improvement. We're a hard-headed breed and it's hard to get us to admit that we have room for improvement. There are many photographers that take constructive criticism very well and learn from it and make their work that much better. But the majority of us, myself included, will not take criticism from just anyone. There are a few people that I value their opinion enough, or their work enough to consider their criticism. That does not mean that I feel superior to people, it simply means that I'm my own worst critic, so chances are, before anyone else can point out a flaw in my photos, I've already picked it out and am dwelling on it. I rip my own work to shreds, not publicly of course.
However, with all of the opinions I am going to state, the opinions that matter to any photographer are those of their clients. At the end of the day, the client has to be happy. They have to like the work being done. Looking back at the work from when I was starting out, I cringe. There was so much I had to learn and so much that I was doing wrong, but my clients LOVED their photos and that's what mattered to me. And that is exactly what should matter to each photographer, old, new, etc...their clients opinions are all that should matter. Well, a photographer should always be proud of their work and not work solely for their client, they should have a mind and a style of their own, but that's a blog post for another day.
So with that said, here are my thoughts on some current photography trends that I do not understand the appeal.
First up, the sky. One of my favorite things about summer is the bright blue sky, occasionally full of fluffy white clouds. I loathe everything about winter and the drab skies that loom reminding me of the gloom. So when spring and summer come along, I am full of hope and happiness again. The sky has a lot to do with this. And when I see photos with a sky any color but blue, it confuses me. Especially pink, I do not understand a pink sky because when I was a kid, I was taught a pink or green sky meant we should take cover because there was a tornado coming! LOL Seriously though, white skies also confound me. In photography terms, that's called 'blown out'. The sky has been overexposed to allow for enough light on their subject's face. There are many ways to make sure the sky stays blue, but a lot of the time, it seems the blown-out sky is the easy way out. And I'm seeing these skies on very seasoned professional's photos...pros with 10s of thousands of Facebook fans. It was pointed out to me that these may be creative decisions during the post-processing and while I get that, I do not understand it. Skys aren't white and in my opinion, they distract me more than a pretty blue sky because all of a sudden the color in the photo just stops. Sometimes it can be so whited out that the pixelation is visible in the white. That is not appealing to me. But this is my opinion...I like blue skies.
Next up, skin tones. There is a major trend in post processing right now that has the photo getting a vintage feel. I love this trend, to a point. Many of the actions people are using yellow out the photo, make it look aged...however, skin shouldn't be yellow. Sometimes the skin takes on a green cast as well. I just do not understand why anyone would intentionally make someone's skin yellow or green. If this is not a post-processing choice, then my other conclusion is that it is an error with the white balance. I tend to shoot with my white balance more warm and I have to adjust back so that skin isn't orange. I've seen many people that their style is very cool, so skin tones take on a blue hue. These are simple fixes in camera, or even simple in post processing. I know that there are clients out there that seek out the vinatge photos. But I will never understand why anyone would consider yellow or green hued skin tones acceptable. This is aside from naturally colored skin tones, such as my own olive tone. I'm talking about really obvious strange skin colors. If it looks yellow or green on the computer screen, it will print that way as well. I personally would never hang a photo of my family with weird colored skin. But this is my opinion...I like skin colored skin.
Let's keep going, I'm on a roll...
Overly decorated and staged sessions. I am guilty of this on occasion. I have a basement full of props and goodies that have never been seen because when it comes time for the session, I opt for natural rather than staged. I have seen some amazing staged photos. And I have seen some staged photos where all I could see was the props and the subject got lost. Props are fun and can make or break a photo. I guess my opinion on this is that I prefer moderate staging unless there is a theme trying to be achieved. But when every single shoot I see from a photographer has a different set-up that overpowers the subject, I start to wonder what the sessions are about...the props or the clients. But this is my opinion...I like moderately staged sessions, as well as natural no-prop sessions where the focus is solely on the subject.
On the subject of props, here's my opinion on newborn photography. Newborn babies are squishy and fuzzy and occasionally pimply and scratched up. That's what makes them special. Their fingers and toes are tiny and precious. Their butts are often fuzzy and dimply and adorable. Their lips are usually perfectly shaped hearts that make you want to pucker and smooch them. All of these details are what I love about newborns and those details are what I like to see in newborn photos. I do not like big headbands or great big silly hats on a newborn. I've done it, but I do not specialize in newborn photography, so maybe I'm the idiot and this is what all new moms expect their newborn photos to look like. But I doubt it. Babies are perfect without being dressed up like dolls. But this is my opinion...I prefer natural and naked babies with the focus of the photos being the baby's special details and not their goofy hat.
It's apparent that I could go on and on about trends these days, but I'll simplify it. It's taken me almost 3 years of following trends and trying different styles before I realized that my style and my preference is natural, classic and timeless photos. Next year the trends will change and there will be people that look back on their photos and wrinkle their nose. They are going to wonder why they ever thought a white or pink sky was a good decision. They are going to wish they'd never over-exaggerated that vignette because in printing, that vignette goes away anyway. They are going to wish they'd never done spot color because they now realize how cheesy it is and it works in very few photos. I am guilty of every single thing I've mentioned...and then some. My point is, trends change and we all look back and think 'what was I thinking?!'. I feel this way every time I look back at hairstyles, but that's because I was raised in the 80s and perms were cool *shudder*. I have never been a very trendy person and it's mostly because every trend comes to an end.
I have finally realized that I like clean, simple, classic editing in my own photos. Occasionally I go a little artsy with them, but I've realized that the photos that stay hanging on the walls the longest are the ones with blue skies, green grass, skin colored skin, etc. The over-processed photos get taken down because they are no longer 'in'. And the one trend that will always be in style is black & white...that is timeless. That is classic and when in doubt, it's a good choice. Those photos will be cherished forever, whereas the weird colored photos will be looked at with confusion some day.
But these are my opinions and it does not mean that I am right or that anyone else is wrong. It means I am old-fashioned and my preference in photography is to highlight the beauty of my clients rather than over-process or over-stage and lose the focus being on my client. This doesn't mean I'll never do it, because I have and I'm sure I will again. And it means that while I'm perusing the internet looking for my next photographer to capture my family, I will be looking for someone with a similar style.


Disclaimer:
If this has offended you, I sincerely apologize. My intent is not to hurt anyone's feelings or put anyone's style down. I do not wish to make you feel bad about your choices or your knowledge in photography. I am simply stating my preferences. And being true to me, I state them, publicly even. I do not keep my opinions or feelings about anything all bottled up inside. This is what makes me who I am. And it's what makes people either love me or hate me. I am a photographer, not a writer, so I don't always articulate my opinions as gracefully as I'd like. But I can promise that my intent is never to demean someone. Maybe my intent is to challenge people to look at their work and see if they will stand by it forever. Will you stand by your style? Do you have a style? Do you have a preference in sky colors?! I do, it's blue.
I don't think that there is anything wrong with following trends. I am only challenging people to realize that trends come to an end and if you've based your business solely on the current trend, what are you going to do next year when trends have moved on...

And if you have a sense of humor about photography, I encourage you to check out Wootness as they too mention the trends that have gotten me in a fuss. So there, I'm not alone in liking blue skies. ;)
https://www.facebook.com/Wootness1

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Time Out

"I will spend eternity knowing my children as adults. But tonight, right here, right now, and for the next precious years, I have the rare privilege of knowing them as a child. What a gift to experience the children in our lives as children! For a brief moment during the journey of mortality, we get to watch them laugh, learn, experience, grow." ~Author Unknown
You may or may not have noticed I'm barely on my FB page anymore. You don't see a whole lot of sessions being previewed & I'm not posting ploys to get you to book with me, such as contests or discounts. I'm not blowing up your news feed to try and stay fresh in your mind. I have struggled with this blog post for over a month to try and explain 'where' I am. Then I found the above quote. That says exactly what I didn't know how to put into words.
I'm slow this summer with my photography business because I have made the conscious decision to be so. There are many factors that have gone into me deciding to back off a little, but the main reason is my family. For 2 consecutive summers I was booked, nearly every weekend and I missed out on playing with my kids a lot because with photo sessions come a lot of editing. I do not like to edit when my kids are home because if I'm staring at the computer, who is paying them attention or keeping them from playing in the street?! They spent a lot of time at daycare and I did not have children so that someone else could raise them. My husband and I agreed when I was pregnant with our son, that I would be a stay-home mom. I *thought* by starting my own business, I would be contributing to our lifestyle. Boy was I wrong, this photography business was so time consuming, I didn't even have a chance to enjoy life...or my family...and they let me know about it. Many 'discussions' have been had about how much time I've been away or stared at the computer instead of participating in family rituals, such as the bedtime routine. My husband has always been 110% supportive of my business, although he hasn't always been pleased with how much time away I've spent from the family...between sessions & editing, it seemed we were never all together.
Well poo on that. I love what I do and I will continue to run my business as I see fit. So this summer I'm enjoying my family & I'm enjoying the weather, hot as it may be. I'm booking a very limited amount of portrait sessions. And I'm still updating my Etsy shop and doing all I can on the 'artsy' side of my business to promote sales. But I'm not marketing my portrait business until I'm blue in the face like I have in the past. I'm letting the other photogs in the area do that; they can miss out on their family time, I've learned my lesson.
I will continue to chase my dreams, but I will NOT do it at the cost of my family's happiness, or my own for that matter. There will be plenty of time when my monkeys are older and in school for me to market myself. For now, I'm Mommy & wife first, photographer second.
 

Friday, May 4, 2012

Gifting Jordin Sparks



I am so honored and humbled to be a part of such a wonderful group as The Artisan Group. In a very short couple months of being a member, I've been able to include my business cards in Earth Day swag bags to 25 high profile celebrities, have an ad in the MTV Movie Awards event guide and now gift the very beautiful and talented Jordin Sparks. I'm still looking around at the corn fields that surround my community and wondering how in the world little ole me is able to have such amazing opportunities. But I'm not going to question it any further. I'm going to accept the opportunities with appreciation and continue riding this train until the wheels fall off...or however that saying goes.

I have to be honest, I didn't know much about Jordin Sparks before this opportunity. I knew she was gorgeous and could sing her heart out. I knew she won American Idol, although I'm not a follower of the show. And I knew she was starring in the movie "Sparkle" along-side the late, and great, Whitney Houston. So I got busy and did my research to try my best at picking a photo from my collection that would best fit her taste. As soon as I read that her favorite color was purple, which is in my top 3 faves too...I instantly knew the photo(s) I'd be using.

I mounted a metallic print of the "Busy Bee" photo to a 5x5 maple board that is ready to hang. I then put together a double-sided pendant with the "Busy Bee" photo and coordinating "Romance" photo. I'll admit the little beads that I added to the pendant, an amethyst and a bee, gave me fits and I'd like to have pinched my fingers off with the pliers. I'm a photographer, not a jeweler, but I gave it my best! I had to include a personal note and it seemed appropriate to print my own note card with the "Romance" photo that only had a small debut on the pendant.



So there it is, a photo block, a necklace & a note card that could easily be framed as art as well. I wrapped it all up with fancy black and white damask paper, attached the pendant in a velour jewelry bag & tied it all in purple ribbon. Sealed it with love and sent the gift on its way...




I made an extra pendant and I'm giving it away to 1 lucky winner! Free shipping to the US.
All you have to do to enter to win is comment on this blog post with your name. You must also be a FB fan (http://www.facebook.com/laughterandlovephotography)
The winner will be selected via Random.org & announced on Sunday May 6th @ 7pm(est).

Thank you for your continued love and support!! Good Luck!!


There were 35 comments, some were duplicates. There were 30 actual entries:
1. Randi R
2. Lori K-Bowen
3. Christina D
4. Peggy
5. R Miller
6. Jennie H.
7. Erika Z.
8. Brandi K.
9. Heather J.
10. Kaitlyn B.
11. Cortney McD
12. Lisa N.
13. Anita M.
14. Sarah
15. Crystal K-T.
16. Jana W-L.
17. Elizabeth H.
18. Stephanie L.
19. Robin R.
20. Tara S.
21. Laurie M.
22. Jenefer L.
23. Karrie E.
24. Crystal R.
25. Sara L.
26. Jenn P.
27. Teresa J.
28. Kelseh S.
29. Jessica A.
30. Amanda H.

AND THE WINNER IS....

 Karrie E. you have 24 hours to contact me to claim your prize!! Congratulations!

Thank you so much to each and every one of you that entered. Many of your comments left me humbled and teary-eyed! I appreciate the love and support more than you can imagine! <3










Monday, April 23, 2012

Creating Vintage Charm

On March 20th I was contacted by the Editor in Chief of Creating Vintage Charm magazine to see if I'd give permission to have my "Pink Hydrangea" photo printed in the Marketplace section of the Spring issue.



Um...no brainer...YES!
A couple of weeks went by and I anxiously waited for the announcement that the Spring Issue had been published. On April 5th I received a link to buy the magazine for myself...DONE.

The day it arrived I squealed like a school girl and ripped open the package. The cover was gorgeous. Every page I turned I was more in love with the Shabby Chic style than I had been before.


And then, oh my goodness, there it was, MY photo published in a magazine...in the top right corner of page 6.



My husband was home and just kept laughing at me and kissing my forehead..."I'm so proud of you" he said "That's awesome!" he repeated over and over. I don't know if it was the feeling of holding the copy in my hands and seeing it there with my own eyes that made me feel so elated or hearing his words...but either way, I was on cloud nine.
I got an overwhelming feeling of reassurance. All the time, hard work, money and tears I have invested into my passion, my art...it has all been worth it. This is one of my proudest moments and I will never give this feeling up...Laughter and Love Photography is here to stay.

To get your own copy of Creating Vintage Charm magazine: http://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/366701







Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Just Stop!

A couple weeks ago a local business woman that I greatly admire posted a blog about the phrase "just sayin'" and how negative it was. I realized I was guilty of using that phrase and that it was in fact negative every time it came out of my mouth. I vowed to stop using it so much, except when teasing my husband. ;)
Since that blog post I've started to notice how often I, as well as many other people use the word "just". I am just a mom. I am just a photographer. I am just a wife. etc, etc...
I've started to sit back and watch as it's been posted on Facebook, or listen as it's being used in a sentence and very rarely does it have a positive connotation to it. Last night I vowed in front of many to stop using the word "just" and I asked them to do the same.
Last night was my cheerleading banquet for my JV Competitive Season. Often times my girls are referred to as JUST the JV team. They are hardly recognized for the good they do and they are overlooked because of our Varsity team. I get that the Varsity team is the elite and I get they are better when it comes to skills, etc, so I'm not trying to take away from their talents or achievements. Many of those girls were once MY girls and I'm as proud of the Varsity team as I am of my own JV team. What I am trying to bring attention to is that if my girls are JUST a JV team, then why do we have a JV program at all? Is it really that bad to be on a JV team?! When I was in high school it was assumed that as a freshman and even sophomore you were going to be on JV before earning the Varsity level position. And being on a JV team was better than being on no team at all. Maybe I'm wrong and alone in this thinking, but when did being on JV become such a bad thing??? Or is it only in cheerleading?! I'm not sure how to answer my own questions and I'm sure I'm opening a can of worms with the statement "why do we even have a JV program if it's such a bad thing?". But as a coach I feel it's my job to not only teach my girls the sport, to guide them and motivate them, but also to protect them. I get very attached to MY GIRLS and when being on a JV team is made out to be a negative thing, I get defensive.
So anyway, last night at the banquet I stated that they are way more than JUST a JV team. They are/were a great group of girls that looked at obstacles as challenges. They proved what working as a team was all about. They stayed positive all season and they continued to improve and prove even me wrong when I had nervous feelings about certain rounds and skills. They continued to outscore several Varsity teams at meets, but never once did they get congratulated or acknowledged for that...besides from me and their parents of course. My little team of 9 girls has a lot to be proud of and if nobody else will acknowledge it, then I will shout it from the rooftops for them. I'm proud of all of the Onsted Cheerleaders, from 7th grade on up to Seniors...we have a wonderful program that I am honored to be a part of.
I'm off subject as I often am...the word "JUST"...
I stood at the podium last night and asked for my team to not be referred to as JUST a JV team again. I said that if you refer to someone as JUST this or JUST that, eventually they will start to believe they are that and will settle. Instead I have a Junior Varsity team and I expect them to learn Varsity level skills and perform at a Varsity level. And they do.
When I state that I am JUST a mom, or JUST a coach or JUST a photographer, etc. I am limiting myself and my identity. I am all of those things and more. I am a mom and a coach and a photographer and a wife and a friend and a sister and a daughter, and on and on and on. When I state that I am JUST something I am limiting my own ability at being anything else and I am lowering my own expectations to be anything better. Why in the world would I want to limit myself? Why in the world would anyone want to limit themselves? Why in the world do we use the word JUST?
I am vowing right now to do my best to eliminate the word JUST from my vocabulary. It's negative and it does not belong in my conversations. I have big dreams. I have big ideas and big goals. And as I have stated before, I will not stand in my own way. So while I'm JUST Angie in small town Michigan, I AM ANGIE IN SMALL TOWN MICHIGAN and I challenge you to eliminate the word JUST from your vocabulary as well. JUST STOP!


To read the blog post "Just Sayin'" by Erika of Tecumseh's Boulevard Market visit:
http://blvdmarket.blogspot.com/2012/03/just-sayin.html

Monday, March 12, 2012

Beautiful and Brave - SMA Survivor

A couple months ago I saw several of my Facebook friends 'liking' and commenting on a Youtube video that was circulating. I'm nosey. I checked it out and was instantly in tears. I knew who this young lady was by name and by face, but had never met her. Watch her video and keep your Kleenex at the ready!



As a mom, my heart broke for her. I wanted to hug her. I wanted to do all that I could to help her. I unrealistically wanted to make her all better. I couldn't imagine going through what she had gone through and was still going through. Her illness isn't cured, will never be cured and her body will never be the same again. As a woman, body image is a constant struggle, let alone having scars and tubes as permanent reminders of what you've been through. I just wanted to hug her and tell her she was brave and beautiful and so inspiring!

I was racking my brain on how to help her. How in the world could I be a voice for her? This brave young lady had already put herself out there on her self-made video. All I knew to do was to help her spread this video and gain awareness. To try and drive people to her Facebook page and hopefully get them to buy a wristband or donate to NORD. I reached out to her to do some photos with her. To help tell her story with photos and plaster her face all over my business page to try and get people's attention.

We started Facebooking and brainstorming ideas, then decided to meet up to go over a few things. As if it wasn't crazy enough that we lived in the same community and had never met, it turned out that she lived across the street from me. We are neighbors, who would have thought?!

We had our first photoshoot 2 days after her 9th surgery. I was ready to cancel it because I was sure she wouldn't feel up to it. HA! This girl is a girly girl and was too excited to have her photos taken. There was no way she'd let 'a little surgery' stand in her way of feeling beautiful. Hmm, maybe that's just the survivor in her?! Anyway, we played dress up. We tried a few different poses and I tried a few new ideas that I wasn't really sure if they'd work. They worked. And to date, this is one of my favorite photo sessions ever. EVER! 

Click to see all of Courtney's photo session


Her goal in these photos was to feel like a beautiful woman despite the scars and tubes. To be a positive role model to young women with body image issues. To say that you ARE beautiful despite anything your head might be telling you. But her main goal was to get people to see that she is a survivor. That despite the illness that she will battle her whole life, she will live as normal a life as possible. She will keep fighting, she will keep wearing makeup, she will keep being a girly girl. She will still wear a bikini and proudly show her battle wounds. She will not let SMA keep her from loving and living life.



Miss Courtney Slatick, it's an honor to know you. It's an honor to have photographed such a strong young woman. You ARE beautiful and you ARE inspiring! Keep on fighting!!

Please take a moment and become a fan of Courtney's SMA Facebook page to keep following her story. Here you can make arrangements to buy a SMA Awareness bracelet for $1.
SMA Syndrome Awareness Page

To get more information about NORD or to  donate in Courtney's name visit:
NORD

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

So What Wednesday!

Ah, it's So What! Wednesday and I haven't written one of these blogs in months. I'm chock full of 'so what's' today as they've gotten pretty built up, but I'll try to keep them limited and not get carried away.

So what if I'm a photographer and have a blog that I barely use, even though as a photographer you're 'supposed' to blog. I have many reasons for it, but mainly because I have a website and a Facebook page to manage, not to mention my 2 online stores. I get my info across to fans in FB, so why do it twice?! More work but less productivity. I am going to (try) to blog more about random stuff and not just my business information. I need an outlet other than my husband and I'm sure he'll appreciate me rambling on here rather than when he's trying to go to sleep. ;)

So what if I stopped looking at local photographer's fan pages to see 'what they're up to'. I do not care anymore. I have realized I'm confident with my own work and the direction in which my own business is going. It's counter productive to drive myself crazy with what the locals are up to. I have my own business to run; I do not need to worry about how they're running theirs. There's a statistic that says 95% of photographers fail at running a business...well I'm here to tell you, I'm not going to be in that stat. I will not fail because it's not an option for me...plain and simple. And worrying about what others are doing is only feeding the chance of failure...spending time worrying is not spending time wisely. so simply put, I.DO.NOT.CARE.

So what if I speak my mind and stand up for what I believe in. I'm honest and straight forward. I don't sugar coat and what you see is what you get. And if you don't like me, I'll be ok without you in my life. I have a big heart and a natural giving nature, but I do not take kindly to being disrespected. I have built my business on my good reputation, my honesty and my integrity...and maybe, just maybe, I take good pictures and create art as well. A friend posted on his FB status the other day a quote and I love it. Fits me perfectly: 'Don't judge me until you know me. Don't underestimate me until you challenge me. Please don't talk about me until you talk to me.'

So what if this has turned into more of a rant. Everyone is allowed to vent once in a while. So I'm venting. It's your choice to read it or not. This rant makes me sound like a jerk or a snob or even arrogant. But if you know me, I'm so far from those things. I'm a natural born cheerleader (I'm a cheer coach for those that don't know). I motivate, I teach, I encourage. I share knowledge, I share my own inside tips, tricks and helpful hints. I truly want everyone to succeed. At the end of the day I am still a person, with feelings...very sentimental, emotional feelings. I care too much about what others think sometimes, so the confidence I exude may not always be how I'm feeling. At the end of the day, I just want to be cheered on once in a while...

So what if half of the people reading this have probably formed an opinion of me and now hate me. LOL I'm just standing up for myself. Most of the readers have no clue what this is about, other than a random rant. But there are a few that will know. So to those few, I say to you, I DO NOT CARE what your opinion of me is. I'm doing big things with my business...is it possible you're jealous because it's me and not you? If you spent more time working and trying to improve your work rather than worrying about what me or other people are doing...you would have the same opportunities that I have. I've worked my butt of to get to where I am. And I do not take it for granted. It could all be gone in an instant. So I'm gonna keep doing me. And I'm gonna keep being positive and honest and conduct myself with integrity. And I'm gonna keep on keeping on because failure is not an option and I will not stand in my own way of success.

So, SO WHAT! I feel so much better now that I have all that off my chest. Thank you to the people that have supported me from the beginning; that have believed in me, pushed me to keep going and cheered me on...even when I sucked. HA! Thank you to the people that let me rant and love me for it. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got work to do.
 

Monday, March 5, 2012

2013 Senior Reps

Spring is just around the corner, hopefully sooner rather than later. And with spring comes high school graduation. I'd like to congratulate the Class of 2012, especially the nine seniors that I photographed, on surviving their last year and also wish them the very best in their future endeavors! As the Class of 2012 is preparing to spread their wings, there's another class ready to take their place.

Enter the Juniors...the Class of 2013...and here's where I come in...

Senior pictures are a must-have. They are as important to a high school kid as the class ring, the Varsity Jacket, Spring Break and Prom. And 'WHO' takes your portraits is just as important. You want the photographer to give you options, not limit you to an old fashioned standard of what senior photos are 'supposed to look like'. You want the photographer to capture who YOU are by bringing your personality out in photos.

That's what I do. I take you to YOUR locations, YOUR sentimental places...the places that make you relax and smile from within. I do not limit you to 1 outfit and boring poses. I include your pets, cars, sports memorabilia, anything that you feel makes you, YOU. There are no rules or limits in photography...just time limits.

Now here's where YOU come in. I'm looking for exceptional young men and women to represent Laughter and Love Photography for the 2013 Seniors. Senior Reps enjoy the benefit of 50% off session fees as well as the chance to earn free prints.

In the past I did a first come first served type of applications for the Rep program. But with trial and error comes experience. This year I'm going to ask that the applicants explain to me WHY they feel they should be a rep. Reps will be carefully considered. I'm looking for a male and female from each of the surrounding schools...Lenawee and Washtenaw counties are preferred, but anywhere within an hour's driving distance is eligible.

So Class of 2013, if you're interested in being a Rep, please email laughlovephoto@gmail.com with the answer to the following questions ASAP!
1) full name
2) school you attend
3) all activities/sports/clubs, etc you're involved in
4) why you think you'd make a good rep
Extra Credit: what you'll do to help promote Laughter and Love Photography

Full Senior pricing info can be found at http://www.laughterandlovephotography.com


Thursday, February 9, 2012

700 Fan Giveaway WINNERS!

WINNERS ANNOUNCED!!
 
Wow! I can never begin to thank everyone enough for their participation. I had some generous vendors! I had an overwhelmingly positive response from this giveaway!
And most of all, there were 51 entries to the giveaway!!
 
A reminder of the rules:
Please read the instructions thoroughly to learn how to enter to win!
 
This giveaway will run from Wednesday February 1st at 9AM EST to Wednesday February 8th 9PM EST.  The winners will be announced on Friday February 10th at 9AM EST. If prizes are not claimed by Monday February 13th at 9AM EST, new winners will be selected.

HOW TO ENTER TO WIN!
Required:
 
1. Use the photos of each vendor to visit their Facebook pages (including Laughter and Love Photography!) and click "Like" to become a fan. Please take your time so facebook doesn't block you!  Then leave each vendor a note saying "Thanks for participating in the Laughter and Love Photography's 700 fan Giveaway!" (copy and paste comes in handy here!)

2. Come back here to the blog and leave a comment letting me know that you liked all the pages. Please include your name and your city/state. (Location is in case I need to redraw for a winner if the winner happens to be out of state and won a local vendor's gift...ie: someone in California wins the tanning salon's prize) Comments will be moderated. They will need to be approved before you will see them posted, so if you don't see your comment right away, don't panic and please only comment once. I will number everyone's name to use in the Random.org selection process.


Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced on this blog. Winners will have 48 hours to contact the vendors directly to claim their prize. If the prize is not claimed, another winner will be selected. Laughter and Love Photography is NOT responsible for contacting vendors, working out shipping arrangements, or any issues that may come up between the vendor and winner.

Please be kind and courteous to every vendor and most importantly, thank you for your participation!
GOOD LUCK!

Below each vendor you will find the name of the winner.
Reminder that the winners will have until Monday February 13th @9am to claim their prize.
Winners must contact the vendor directly to arrange shipping options, etc.
If the winner would like to pass on their prize, 
please notify me ASAP so that another winner can be drawn. 
Entrants are able to win multiple prizes as the generator is totally random.
To see the full note with entrants name and corresponding entry number:
http://www.facebook.com/notes/laughter-and-love-photography/700-fan-giveaway/337625922937127 

AND THE WINNERS ARE:

(custom made bow) #17 Lauren Rasor
(shabby chic fabric flower bow) #12 Diana Policaro


#37 Whitney Aldrich


#22 Shanna Uptergrove


#36 Mandy Floer


#32 Sara Letson


#30 Jessica Seymore


#5 Cheryl Henry


#21 Teri Seal


#44 Lisa Gentner


#25 Brenda Giles


#43 Amy Pelham


(glitter striped hat) #42 Rhonda Froelich
(wrap scarf) #28 Kim Carpenter 


#6 Cortney McDade


#28 Kim Carpenter


#8 Amy Bird


#1 Amanda Wilson


($15 GC) #36 Mandy Floer
($15 GC) #45 Jen Miller  


#1 Amanda Wilson
 

#5 Cheryl Henry


#2 Emily Fraley


#19 Kaitlyn Beyer



 #11 Samantha Meyer
 Amanda Wilson 
$25 Gift Certificate
Thank you for having the most referrals

on my page to get to 700 fans!!




One last time, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your love, support, encourangement and participation with all things Laughter and Love Photography!
I'm so excited to be growing and thriving with such amazing fans and friends.
Sending you all a great big hug!!!
 
♥ Angie

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

700 Fan Appreciation Giveaway!

Welcome to Laughter and Love Photography's Blog.
It's my
700 Fan Celebration Giveaway!
Thank you so much for supporting my business as well as my Facebook page.
Not a day goes by that I'm not humbled by the support and friendships I've made through my little photography business. Words can never express my gratitude, so how about some goodies as thanks!
Also, a big THANK YOU, from my heart, to the vendors that graciously donated!!

Please read the instructions thoroughly to learn how to enter to win!
 
This giveaway will run from Wednesday February 1st at 9AM EST to Wednesday February 8th 9PM EST.  The winners will be announced on Friday February 10th at 9AM EST. If prizes are not claimed by Monday February 13th at 9AM EST, new winners will be selected.


HOW TO ENTER TO WIN!
Required:
 
1. Use the photos of each vendor to visit their Facebook pages (including Laughter and Love Photography!) and click "Like" to become a fan. Please take your time so facebook doesn't block you!  Then leave each vendor a note saying "Thanks for participating in the Laughter and Love Photography's 700 fan Giveaway!" (copy and paste comes in handy here!)

2. Come back here to the blog and leave a comment letting me know that you liked all the pages. Please include your name and your city/state. (Location is in case I need to redraw for a winner if the winner happens to be out of state and won a local vendor's gift...ie: someone in California wins the tanning salon's prize) Comments will be moderated. They will need to be approved before you will see them posted, so if you don't see your comment right away, don't panic and please only comment once. I will number everyone's name to use in the Random.org selection process.



Winners will be chosen via Random.org and will be announced on this blog. Winners will have 48 hours to contact the vendors directly to claim their prize. If the prize is not claimed, another winner will be selected. Laughter and Love Photography is NOT responsible for contacting vendors, working out shipping arrangements, or any issues that may come up between the vendor and winner.

Please be kind and courteous to every vendor and most importantly, thank you for your participation!
GOOD LUCK!