Beautiful Edge Photography: Blog https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog en-us (C) Beautiful Edge Photography (Beautiful Edge Photography) Tue, 08 Sep 2020 21:37:00 GMT Tue, 08 Sep 2020 21:37:00 GMT https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/img/s/v-12/u618501549-o869117696-50.jpg Beautiful Edge Photography: Blog https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog 120 80 Branding Photography for people who hate social media https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/9/branding-photography-for-people-who-hate-social-media I know I'm not alone in my desire to spend as little time on social media as possible, though I may be the first branding photographer to ever openly admit it.  I do not like to spend my days being an observer of other people's lives - I want to engage!  I want to meet up for coffee and see your kids in person - not in your iPhone snaps.  I want to have deep discussions and talk about your goals and dreams.  I want to hear about your struggles face-to-face....not read about them in a one dimensional post.  I never EVER want to respond to your joy, heartbreak or sorrow with an emoji.

 

So that is one of the reasons I do what I do.  My belief is that the more diverse and colorful your catalog of branding photography the less time you actually have to spend strategizing and posting on social media. 

 

This post is meant to illustrate how much you can communicate in photos - no narration necessary.  If you have a good collection of images that show who you are and what you do social media becomes less distracting and time consuming.

 

To start with, a good headshot is important for any branding catalog.  I like to give my clients a tight crop as well as a few 3/4 shots for versatility.

Next we want to give our audience a sense of who we are by showing our work environment.  My office is the most "me" room in the house.  What does this room tell you about me?  That I love a white, clean asthetic.  I'm obsessed with Christmas and love everything to feel super cozy (even though I live in Arizona).  I like to mix in an organic feel with reclaimed wood to prevent things from feeling sterile.  Texture is important to me - I touch everything when I shop which is why I am the only person I know who hates to shop online.  I love creating little nooks where I can hide from the world and recharge.  I'm an introvert hiding in an extrovert's body.  I love books and soft lighting. 

Now lets look at HOW I work.  I love to collaborate with my clients.  This isn't a one-way relationship, we create as a team.  You bring your ideas and visions and I bring mine and together we create something amazing. I don't show up in a dress, though I'm always envious of photographers that look like models when they work.  I show up in clothes appropriate for the setting whether that is steel toed boots and jeans or rompers and comfortable shoes.  I'm there to work and I don't want to feel restricted by my clothing.  If I need to lay down in the dirt or jump up on a table I want to be prepared.

 

Working with me is a relationship.  I don't show up and bark orders. You don't show up and wait to be told what to do. We get to know each other and work together to get a quality end result.  A lot of my clients actually end up being super close friends.

SONY DSC

SONY DSC

Next let's look at more subtle forms of branding imagery - look at how much these detail shots tell you about who I am and what you might expect from working with me.  My favorite coffee mug gives a glimpse into my sense of humor. You can see my casual side bumping right up against my desire to hustle and succeed.  I always say if you want to get to know a person just take a look at their bookshelf.  In my case that is spot on!  

Candid and action shots give the audience a chance to get to know me but they also lay a neutral frame work for any type of messaging I might want to create. I like for my branding sessions to give a client as much mileage for their money as possible.   

and finally, some fun shots that get people's attention and show my personality, as well as my photography and editing skills.

When you are preparing for your own branding session make it a game.  Be creative in looking for ways to create images that speak for themselves and deliver a message about who you are and what you care about.  Great images speak volumes on your behalf - almost as loud as lousy ones do.  This is true for ANY industry.  

 

Let's make social media fun, not stressful or time-consuming.  I can attest to how much easier managing my social media accounts is when I have lots of great quality, relevant images to post. 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/9/branding-photography-for-people-who-hate-social-media Tue, 08 Sep 2020 21:32:56 GMT
What type of headshot fits your Brand? https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/6/what-type-of-headshot-fits-your-brand

We are talking headshots today!  Headshots are my JAM. I have always loved the process of setting up a shot, of getting the lighting just right to create an image that reflects personality, character and passion. Basically the role of your headshot is to capture your entire Brand in one single image.

Boy, as I write that I realize what a huge undertaking a headshot actually is.  Well, I always liked a challenge.

Selecting the type of headshot that is right for you is key. To simplify the process we are going to discuss two basic options - Environmental and Studio. 

Environmental Headshots are, well.... just that.  You in your environment.  A teacher might be photographed in a classroom, a CEO in their office, a librarian...you guessed it...in a library.  These types of images tend to have a more modern feel and the context of the setting helps to convey so much more than a traditional (Studio) headshot.  Environmental Headshots invite more creativity to the process.  Lighting can be selected with less rigidity - we can use studio lights or natural light depending on the look we want to achieve.  We can allow more contrast and shadows to deepen the mood or use full window light for a clean and airy feel.  Composition of your Environmental Headshot is completely up to you, do you like a little blank space?  Prefer a half body versus head and shoulders?  Done!  We can photograph anywhere - from your living room to a coffee shop to your car - there is no limit to what we can do. An environmental headshot of a baker may take place in a messy kitchen with a bit of flour on their cheek.  Environmental headshots do not require perfection as much as they require personality.

On the other end of the spectrum we have Studio Headshots. Don't let the name deceive you.  A Studio Headshot isn't always photographed IN a studio.  However they are traditionally taken on a white, black or gray backdrop. Studio Headshots are generally cropped to show mainly the head and shoulders of the subject.  Lighting is fairly even on the entire subject, utilizing studio lighting.  Composition is most commonly a vertical crop with very little blank space in the shot.

I've photographed both types and there really is no right or wrong answer.  It is subjective based on your personality and the message you are trying to convey.  Studio headshots with a dark backdrop tend to read as more conservative or traditional.  "High Key" studio shots are done on a white backdrop and are helpful if you want the ability to take that image and replace the background with something else later.  High Key images are versatile but they lack an organic quality that might be important to your brand.  For example, a photo of you taken on a white back drop and then "placed" in a field of lavender will never read as authentically as if you actually had your headshot taken in that same lavender field.  This is why Environmental Headshots work so well for creating connection and relatability with your clients.

As social media continues to blur the lines between business and personal life, Environmental Headshots coupled with great Branding images become a natural and effective way to connect with your audience in a lot of situations.  However, there will always be room for Studio Headshots, especially if you are a model or sitcom actor and you do not want anything in the shot to distract from your face. Some industries, such as banking or government also lend themselves to the Studio Headshot due to their perceived formality and conservative nature. However, if you are an artist, a chef, an interior designer - you should look at having a bit more fun with your headshots.  A dynamic shot showing context and character will draw the attention and ignite more interest.

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Arizona Branding Photographer Beautiful Edge Best Headshots Branding Photography Content Photography Headshot Photographer Headshots Phoenix Phoenix Branding Photographer Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/6/what-type-of-headshot-fits-your-brand Mon, 15 Jun 2020 20:14:00 GMT
Why Brand Photography Matters https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/5/why-brand-photography-matters

I can’t be the only person daydreaming about taking a little vacation after 2 months of self-isolation.  

 

I’ve spent several idle hours looking at VRBOs on-line trying to find a nice spot out of the heat to spend a few days with the family.  

 

I type the criteria into the search bar and wait in anticipation of all the dreamy vacation homes that will light up my feed and validate my decision that “this is a GREAT idea, this is going to be WORTH the money I am going to spend!”.

 

Almost inevitably I am let down.  My feed isn’t full of images of light, bright, welcoming homes – instead I see a list of poorly exposed, low quality, dingy looking, UGLY looking homes.  Photos of homes that MIGHT possibly be very nice places to stay but the IMPRESSION left by the images flattens my desire to leave my very comfortable home and spend money to GO THERE. 

 

Anyone who doesn’t fully understand the value of Brand Photography can certainly understand it in this context.  Your images speak FOR you before you ever meet your potential client.  Poorly thought-out or badly executed imagery literally dulls a prospective customer's appetite to spend money even when they are looking for EXACTLY what you have to sell! The images you use on your website, social media and marketing may actually deter a customer from giving you a chance as they scroll right by your business to one with a more eye-catching image.  One that invokes interest.  One that expresses quality. One that tells the message of a thoughtful brand. 

 

Don’t let your business be the “ugly house” when a potential client googles the service you provide.  Make sure your brand images stand out and scream QUALITY. Make it easy for people to choose YOU over your competitor.  Take a look at your current images and see if they couldn't use a little "spring cleaning".  If you need help creating more visual content - I can help!

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Branding Photos Content Photography Content Photos Headshots Phoenix Photography Website Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/5/why-brand-photography-matters Wed, 13 May 2020 20:50:24 GMT
The irrevocable impact of the last 60 days https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/5/the-irrevocable-impact-of-the-last-60-days The last 60 days have had an impact on each one of us.  Some have lost jobs, some have lost loved ones, some have lost hope.  But on the other side of that equation, are others who have FOUND time, passions and truths that otherwise might have gone overlooked. I feel it is incredibly important to give equal air time to uplifting and hope-filled messages betwixt all the loss and chaos.  I do hope you will indulge me and please comment and share your own revelations.  

 

Through the confusion and misinformation, through the challenges and the fear, you will find small and LARGE victories. Though the screeching halt of activity and "busyness" you will the incredible stories of love and encouragement that surface through the din - buoyed by hope and grit.  I personally have found clarity in my priorities, in a world that has lowered its volume by a few decibels I can now hear and see more clearly.

 

  1. Health, in all aspects, is a treasure to be valued and thankful for every single day. My morning routine of prayer, journaling and exercise has become a non-negotiable over the last 2 months.  I understand now more than ever that true “self-care” starts from the inside out.  Who cares if you toenails are painted if your thoughts are a mess?

 

  1. Appreciate your family – even the weirdos. This is the only family you have and you better spend less time wishing they were different and more time being grateful they haven’t yet voted YOU off the island.

 

  1. If not NOW then WHEN?  Your biggest dreams will become your biggest regrets if you don’t take charge of your time, saddle up your fears and simply DO THE THING.  As I used to tell myself when fumbling over my manual transmission Celica back in the 90’s - “Just Grab a Gear and GO!”. You will figure it out once you get moving.

 

  1. Every moment is an opportunity to nudge the trajectory of your life UP or DOWN. We have limited amount of time and we should absolutely make the most of it.  Does this mean we have to be uber productive all the time?  No, but we should be INTENTIONAL with what we choose to do.  For me this means spending as little amount of time on things that don’t line up with my priorities as possible. This is the reason I am so adamant about utilizing a strategy for social media. This is why you will never find me taking a Buzzfeed Quiz on Facebook.  The only time I’m on social media is to grab a quick photo from my branding catalog and drop it into the feed before beating a quick exit and moving on to something that provides nourishment to my soul.

 

Even as life  upshifts again to the “new normal” these truths will hold true for me.  That is the irreversible effect that COVID 19 has had on my life. 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/5/the-irrevocable-impact-of-the-last-60-days Mon, 04 May 2020 19:15:55 GMT
How to spend LESS time on social media https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/how-to-spend-less-time-on-social-media

This may get me kicked off Instagram.       

I meet a lot of small business owners that say the same thing about their on-line presence.  They know they should devote more attention to it, but they simply don’t.  Either they don’t have the time,  don’t believe it is effective or (as is more often the case) simply don’t know HOW to do it.

  

So I want to share a secret that could potentially cost me in the end. I do not enjoy social media.  I feel like it steals my time, my peace and my inspiration far more than it adds value to my life.

 

As a brand photographer I’m pretty sure that is absolutely NOT something I’m supposed to say.  

 

But let me explain the one thing that I really want you to know. The whole reason I focus on brand photography is to DECREASE the amount of time and effort you have to put into social media.  When you have access to a large variety of quality images it makes it so much easier to post and move on with your day.  When you have a strong brand message in every photo it isn’t necessary to write long narrative.

 

I believe my mission is not ONLY to decrease your reliance and time on social media – it is actually to remove it as a stress point altogether. 

 

In case you are feeling overwhelmed with dread about your next post or simply desire to remove something from your to-do list,  I can help.  I make social media easier.  I give you your time and your peace back.  I create the visual content so that you can focus on what is truly important to you.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Content Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography Visual Content https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/how-to-spend-less-time-on-social-media Mon, 27 Apr 2020 18:15:00 GMT
Working from Home during COVID 19 https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/working-from-home-during-covid-19 I feel like the internet has become so RICH with content since the start of the COVID 19 outbreak.  Very talented and intelligent people sharing information for free of any taste, flavor and style.  Whatever you are suffering from, or looking for inspiration to do – you can educate yourself for free on the internet.

 

Sidenote…AMAZING.  What a huge blessing to have so much positive information available at our fingertips!

 

So I don’t want to waste your time writing the same old thing that others have already done far more eloquently that I ever could.  But I do think I can add some value in the area of creating a work-conducive environment in your home.

 

I have worked from home for 2 years now.  I started out with an office that was sparsely decorated with just a desk and a computer.  I almost never worked from that space.  It wasn’t nice to be in, didn’t make me feel productive or inspired. I generally ended up hunched over on the couch or hunched over at the kitchen island.  There was a lot of hunching, a lot of back pain and a lot of restlessness.  In 2018 I had the opportunity to completely redesign my office last year with the help of Havenly, an amazing on-line interior design service (this is NOT an ad, just my experience).  Over the course of about 3 weeks I had a completely redesigned office within my budget.  Magical. It is the room of my little girl dreams. And it is white and perfect and no one is allowed to come in.  So really it creates the perfect balance between self-imposed isolation and the reality that no one wants to play with me anyway.


Now, not everyone has the ability to do this, or even has the extra space in their home to set up a true office. But there are a few things you can do to make your space work for you during this time. 

Computer and chair set up:

  1. Make sure your computer screen is at the proper height and distance. The top of your screen should be at your eye height.  Your monitor should be approximately arms length in front of you.
  2. Your keyboard and mouse should ideally be a few inches above your thighs so that your arms are at a 90 degree angle with your elbows at your sides.  If you are working exclusively on a laptop it may be worth it to buy a separate keyboard to avoid injury.  You can get a basic USB-wired keyboard and mouse from amazon for $15.  Never rest your electronics on your lap directly.
  3. Adjust your chair (or borrow one from another room) so that your feet rest flat on the floor.

 

Now for the little luxuries that make it truly enjoyable.

  1. Make sure you have adequate but soft lighting.  
  2. Turn on music that helps you to focus and creates a comfortable atmosphere
  3. Use essential oil diffusers or open the window and enjoy the fresh air if the weather allows.
  4. Let your dog in.  For the longest time I didn’t even allow my sweet little dog in my super plush white-on-white-on-white office.  Then I realized how lonely it was to have him laying outside the door scratching my floor boards. Look at how he {almost} lays on the blanket I put out for him.  What a good doggie.
  5. Schedule and protect your Focus Hours.  Focus hours are the times during the day you are at your most productive. Make sure you schedule these, make them known to the family, and plan your most important work during this time. 
  6. Get up and stretch every hour.
  7. Drink all the water.

Most importantly be grateful for the work you have to do, the home you have to do it in and the time you’ve gotten back that you used to spend on your commute.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/working-from-home-during-covid-19 Mon, 20 Apr 2020 21:59:35 GMT
Can you afford NOT to hire a photographer? https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/can-you-afford-not-to-hire-a-photographer

A picture is worth a thousand words...if it's the right picture.

When businesses share images on social media or on their websites quality, consistency and relevance matter far more than just quantity.

It's tempting to post that underexposed cell phone photo just to keep pace with the feed, but you could be doing more damage than good. Posting carelessly and without a strategy is a terrible business plan.

How long would you follow someone that was constantly posting boring images with a mediocre narrative?  At some point you jump off that sinking ship, because why waste your time?  

Just because social media is "free" doesn't mean it doesn't come with a cost.

Think back to the days when ALL marketing was paid for - people put a lot of thought into what they wrote on a direct mailer or a newspaper ad back then. They didn't just chuck a photo of their dinner salad on a billboard and call it "marketing". 

A professional photographer will not only give you great looking images, they will help you to refine your focus and direct your brand. Solid, brand-driven images will give your business an air of quality and refinement.  They help showcase what is most important to your client.  Your images say who you are before your client ever meets you.  Your images will give you a jumping off point for all your marketing and add richness to your social media posts.

You need to approach EVERY post you create as if it was a paid advertisement for your business.  

Even as we are all looking for areas to cut our costs in our businesses, we have to keep in mind that careless imagery, unfocused brands and sloppy media posts do have an impact on your potential clients. Whether it costs you money upfront or costs you customers on the back end - nothing is FREE.  

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/can-you-afford-not-to-hire-a-photographer Mon, 13 Apr 2020 16:47:19 GMT
I'm not scared....you are. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/im-not-scared-you-are

Yesterday was a dumpster fire.

 

Tears, slamming doors, yelling and threats of running away....and the kids weren't exactly saints either.

 

My desire to win at homeschooling led to over-management of the kids' schedule, judgement of their teachers' aptitude for WebEx and a Stalin-like reign of terror over their school work. Even the hour I scheduled for "Fun!" become decidedly "Not-Fun!" as I attempted to control exactly how that fun would be obtained, enjoyed and appreciated. I ended the day, as my friend Jamie would say, hollowed out.  I had run my well completely dry in an exhaustive effort to forcibly manipulate my day, my kids and my environment (say hello to rage cleaning!).

I stomped around, complained to anyone who would listen, sent passive aggressive emails to people that I deemed were "doing it wrong".  I complained that I didn't have a "moment to myself" and then when I finally got it I just sat and stewed. When things didn't go as I planned I allowed myself to return to vices I know don't serve me (social media scrolling, news, unconscious snacking, alcohol).  I let my thoughts run free and wild without practicing the mind management that I KNOW is vital.  

Basically I allowed my fear of what is happening in the world to manifest into an obsessive need to control others and when that didn't work I turned on myself.  Can anyone relate?  After really spending some time with this today (fresh day / fresh perspective) I realized that the truth is, I am trying to control others because I DON'T TRUST MYSELF TO BEHAVE UNLESS OTHERS BEHAVE THE WAY I THINK THEY SHOULD.  Wow - that was a tough realization and even tougher to admit.  But I say it because at the root of everything that holds us back...is ourselves.

I know this isn't a blog that directly relates to business and branding...but maybe it might help someone else who is struggling.  I truly don't have any answers, but I do know that with realization and admission you can move forward towards something better.  I definitely wish to move towards something better today and I pray the same for everyone out there.

 

 

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Fear Parenting Phoenix Self Awareness Self Discovery Self Improvement https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/4/im-not-scared-you-are Fri, 03 Apr 2020 16:32:17 GMT
Life has not been cancelled. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/life-has-not-been-cancelled

In light of the unique circumstance we find ourselves in, it is easy to get locked into a mindset of "when this is all over" or "when things get back to normal" and remain in a limbo of waiting for our lives to start again. But what if we didn't surrender all our power so easily. Didn't allow ourselves to be at the mercy of the unknown. What if we all simply acknowledged that this IS life. It may look a bit different than it did a week or a month ago but when has life every NOT changed?  When were we ever guaranteed our predictable routine?  While we may have experienced cancellations and postponements in our calendars over the last few weeks, LIFE is still going on.  LIFE is not on hold.  LIFE has no pause button. 

LIFE HAS NOT BEEN CANCELLED.

We are living in an unprecedented time that will one day be documented in history books for our grandchildren and great grandchildren to read.  A time when the world came together to solve a problem.  When the needs of many became a priority over the needs of one. When even the most self-centered of us realized that our decisions and actions matter greatly to others and theirs to us.

So my question to you would be, when you look back at this time in your life - what will you wish you had done with your time?  What might you regret doing or not doing?  At the top of my list would be "I wish I'd documented it". All of it.  Even the seemingly mundane details of an exceptional time in history. As a photographer I experience life through photos and I've chosen to use my camera to capture all the unique, lovely, weird, crazy moments before they become "just the way we do things". 

During this time of self-isolation I wanted to capture what I've dubbed the "Going the (social) Distance Running Club" (still workshopping the name).  Before the virus hit a few of the ladies in the neighborhood would MAYBE run once a week, now we meet almost every day.  Keeping appropriate and responsible distance between ourselves but allowing our hearts to connect, our bodies to move and our souls to recharge before another day of uncommon life.

Trips to the store which would never be photo worthy - except at this moment in time, as I memorialized the survivors guilt I experienced in getting one sacred rationing of toilet paper before they ran out.

I wanted to remember our new process of bringing home food and supplies and then wiping everything down before it entered our home. Then there was the evening Chris came home TRIUMPHANT with a 17# frozen turkey - the only meat left at the store and we were grateful for it even though it took up half our refrigerator and took 5 days to thaw.

As difficult as it is, I never want to forget having the unique opportunity to teach my kids.  To see with my own eyes their talents and skills in math, science and reading.  To help them work through their frustration in multiplying mixed fractions and having to relearn the skill myself so I could help them. 

As resources have become stretched the appreciation for our food has grown tenfold. Instead of mindlessly snacking we find ourselves preparing good healthy food with intention and eating with gratitude.  When we couldn't get eggs at the store, we reached out to friends that have chickens to get these BEAUTIFUL fresh eggs, aren't they marvelous?  Why did I think eggs had to be white and PERFECT and pasturized?  I had no idea what we were missing. Many will say "you should have always been doing this" and they are right.  We have been spoiled into complacency, but this situation has taught us to be much more responsible in avoiding wasting food and paper products.  I will want to always remember the DAY I spent making ONE napkin as our paper towel supply began to run low. It was something I'd always intended to do but just never found the time.  Well now I have the time AND the motivation.  Not only is it better for the environment and respectful of our resources but it also taught me that I can MAKE THINGS, with MY OWN TWO HANDS, and they work just fine. By Christmas I should have a full set.

I would challenge anyone who is struggling with too much worry on their mind and too much time on their hands to ask themselves the question "what will I wish I had done with this time".  Whether it is playing games with the kids, reading a great book, learning a new skill or maybe just moving your laptop outside and breathing the spring air while you work from home.  Don't just "wait" for this to be over.  A lot of life gets wasted that way.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Document Life Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/life-has-not-been-cancelled Tue, 24 Mar 2020 23:58:43 GMT
Manage your mind. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/manage-your-mind Today your most important job is managing the thoughts in your head.  

From your thoughts come your emotions.  

From your emotions come your actions.

From your actions come your results.

If your head is full of fearful thoughts you will, without question, create your reality from fear, which serves no one, especially you.  To quote one of my favorite lines in Point Break (and I have a LOT of them) "Fear causes hesitation and hesitation causes your greatest fear to come true".

Here are a few ideas to help manage your mind, today when things are crazy nuts and tomorrow when things are just the regular kind of nuts.

1. Write down every thought in your head, really sweep every stinky one out from the dark corners of your mind. You can’t manage your mind if you don’t recognize what is feeding it.

2. Go through each thought ask yourself “is this a fact?” If it is not an absolute irrefutable FACT then draw a line through it. That thought has now been nullified. Write a new TRUE thought to replace it and practice that thought throughout the day.

Example:  The world has gone crazy.   This is a temporary problem that we are all working through together.

3. Turn off the news and refrain from indulging in fear-based chatter. Your brain is very sensitive to potential danger and by watching/reading/hearing about all the opinions and worst case scenarios you are giving your brain a nonstop stream of DANGER signals. When your brain thinks you are in danger it sets off a very effective and explosive chain of internal reactions to protect you.  Right now you are pickling your internal organs in all the stress hormones and chemicals that are released when your brain believes you are in danger.  You HAVE to turn off the firehose of fear.

4. Be of service to others.

  • Offer to help a neighbor with their kids.  Especially if you are a single without the concern of exposing young children. Give a tired momma a break for even 30 minutes.  It makes a difference.
  • Plan neighborhood activities to help keep the kids occupied while out of school.
    • Neighborhood bike rides
    • Sidewalk chalk competitions
    • Scavenger hunts around your neighborhood
    • Create a lending library
    • Plan group fun runs
  • Offer your time to older people that need assistance.  They may not have the technology know-how in order to live-stream their church services or they may have a pet that needs walking or prescriptions or groceries that need to be picked up.  
  • Offer to help at local food kitchens.  They are in deep need as a lot of their normal volunteers are not able to help right now.  If you do not have a concern of exposing vulnerable family members then maybe you could jump in and fill in where others can not.
  • Be a connector.  If your situation does not allow for you to physically help out then connect community needs with people wanting to help.  Many people are just waiting to be activated.  Make it easy for them by finding a need for them to fill.  Let's use social media for something useful for a change.
  • Focus on all you have that allows you to weather this storm and show plenty of gratitude.  Do not complain about a missed concert or a cancelled flight when there are people that are struggling to survive.  

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Arizona Branding Photography Arizona Headshots Beautiful Edge Photography East Valley Photographer Gilbert Photographer Headshots Mesa Photographer Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/manage-your-mind Mon, 16 Mar 2020 14:48:35 GMT
Busy is a Choice https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/busy-is-a-choice

I met a friend for coffee the other day.  I, of course, rushed in 5 minutes late, all flustered and bursting to tell the "story" of how my morning had gotten away from me.  It sounded something like this "TRAFFIC! blah blah blah DOG! blah blah blah SPILLED COFFEE! blah blah blah".  My energy can only be described as frenetic.  So here I am, showing up to see a close friend I haven't seen in months and I rush in with my hair on fire requiring her to spend the next 20 minutes trying to put me out.

After she assures me that I'm ok and listens to me recount my morning in every self-indulgent detail she asks, "How are you?"

'BUSY!" comes my immediate response.  What a conversation starter.  I begin our long-overdue coffee date by making her feel like she is a burden, as if this time spent with her comes at the cost of something important that I should be doing instead.

Does this sound familiar to anyone?  How many times have you called a friend only to have them answer the phone sounding annoyed by the disruption.  Or maybe it is you that is always in a hurry to get somewhere or rushing through a conversation. Missing the opportunity to have a quick chat with a neighbor because "I'm sorry but I'm in a rush".  Pushing the kids out the door with harshness instead of hugs.  Impatiently tapping our feet in line at the grocery store.  Driving too fast while talking on the phone and changing the radio station while eating a burrito (that one was me...but like...weeks  um...years ago).

Life was not meant to be spent frantically rushing, perpetually busy.  I left my corporate job and started my own business so that my time would be my own.  So that I could set my own schedule, enjoy my family, do what I loved.  To live at a more intentional, leisurely pace where I could be present with the people and activities that I loved the most. I wake up every day feeling so utterly thankful of the life I have but yet I can still manage to "busy" myself to exhaustion. Oh and guess what goes with exhaustion?  Impatience and irritability, hello my old friends.

I believe with absolute certainty that being busy is a choice  There are, of course, things we really should do, yes.  And there are those of us in a stage of life that is much more busy than others (cheers to you mothers of small children!)  But overall - the "busiest" people I know are 100% self-created.  Including myself.

Busy has become a chronic societal disease.  We compete over our busyness and wear it as a badge of honor.  When in reality, it is draining the joy out of our lives. Being "busy" is used as a tool for avoidance. If you are "busy" you can't deal with your struggling marriage, or the fact that you aren't taking care of your body.  Being busy is an excellent way to distract yourself from having to deal with your feelings of loneliness, anger or fear.  If you are busy you can't be expected to take the next step with that business you wanted to start, or that book you wanted to write or that conversation you've been meaning to have.  Being busy also allows us to create a false sense of identity.  A busy person gets a certain amount satisfaction from being "so productive" by checking things off their to-do list (no matter how menial), not to mention that extra dose of self-importance that they are the only one that can do "all the things".   Busy is also a handy excuse to use when you lack commitment or follow through or the ability to say no to something you didn't want to do in the first place; "I was too busy to make it to the party" or "I'm too busy to return that phone call".  

What are we all so busy doing?  What has got us all so wound up we can't we make eye contact with the person we are speaking to, can't put down our phones, listen to our partners, play a game with our kids, or dream about a different future for ourselves. 

Being busy, rushing around from thing to thing and person to person - self-detonating explosion after explosion - keeps us in a state of reaction.  There is no intentionality, no opportunity for dreaming, goal setting, proactivity.  We run around in a fluster and become sloppy with our emotions.  A rushed life also tends to be an unconscious life.  Who wants their obituary to read "I don't know what they did but they sure were busy".

Busy allows us to eat unconsciously, sit at a desk for 8 hours without moving, avoid connection with others and then sooth ourselves with alcohol, tv or other distractions because the day was "so crazy busy and we deserve a break". 

I was stuck deep into this super unhealthy cycle of busyness for a long time.  Now I have some sure fire ways to keep busy at bay.  I take time every morning to sit and pray and journal.  To just be still.  To set an intention for my day. To listen for any instruction from above. I also spend this time REMOVING things from my to-do list. This is the absolute best habit i have adopted over the last 3 years and it has changed my life dramatically. Removing items that may appear to be necessary but are, in fact, distractions to doing the things that actually matter based on your priorities.

I hope everyone has some sort of daily ritual that allows them to ground and re-center themselves, and if you are just "too busy" then you probably need it the most.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photographer Branding Photography Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2020/3/busy-is-a-choice Wed, 11 Mar 2020 14:25:08 GMT
Drift https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/9/drift Have you ever discovered a new healthy habit that seemed LITERALLY life altering.  Maybe you started getting up earlier and discovered new levels of energy, slept better at night and found time for some form of self care before everyone else got up.  If you are like me, you then became an evangelist to others about how amazing this new habit is "I mean SERIOUSLY friends - have you ever tried meditation? It is THE BEST".  Gratitude and goodwill runneth over. The power of this small change impacted everything in your life - you had more patience with your kids because you filled yourself up with positivity first thing in the morning.  You were more centered and loving, you felt so proud of the positive direction your life was starting to move.

 

A few weeks later you were still going strong...until you took a short family vacation or maybe got busy with work.  With slight shifts in your routine you let your circumstances determine how your day began. It wasn't an obvious and dramatic downshift necessarily, but you let outside influences erode this tiny bit of time you had carved out for yourself.

 

As days and weeks go by you slowly began sleeping a bit longer in the mornings.  You started making deals with yourself - instead of 30 minutes of leisure you'll give yourself 15 minutes before everyone else got up.  Then slowly, before you even realized what was happening, you began hitting the snooze button again.   Now your life doesn't instantly plummet into despair, you aren't RADICALLY worse off by having slipped off track.  But things are just slightly less awesome.  You are less patient and a maybe even the teensiest bit resentful toward whatever, or whomever, is now getting the first moments of your morning. It can happen so subtly we don't even know when or how it occurred.  This "great new thing!" you had discovered in your life, the habit that had excited you and made you feel wonderful, just slowly fades into the white noise of an average life.

 

This is what happens when we stop intentionally directing our lives where we want them to go.  We drift.

 

Drift happens in every area of our lives the second we drop our focus.  Just like driving a car down the freeway.  Your attention may lapse for just a moment and the car starts to drift to the side of the road - thank God for rumble strips.

 

The answer always lies in recognition.  Recognizing where you have drifted away from positive routines and then intentionally reprioritizing is just part of creating a better life day by day.  It NEVER stops.  If you've been on a healthy eating plan - remind yourself every day of why this is important to you and recommit.  If you've been working on building a business, getting out of debt, learning a new skill or improving your thoughts.  Whatever it is - watch out for drift.  It is subtle and almost seems insignificant in the moment but it is truly devastating to your dreams. 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Arizona Branding Photographer Arizona Photographer Beautiful Edge Best Headshots Branding Photography Entrepreneur Headshots Phoenix Photography Small Business https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/9/drift Tue, 03 Sep 2019 16:42:11 GMT
What I want to tell you. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/8/what-i-want-to-tell-you

This is a tough post to write, because it is about someone I love.  Someone that I want to succeed.  Someone that I truly want to help...but they didn't ask.

I wonder sometimes how many people have felt that way about me - they have seen me say or do something that they KNOW is holding me back in life but they are too polite to comment.  It's the circular reference of mentorship - how do I know to ask for help if I don't know I need it and, conversely, how do I offer my help if you don't ask?

This week at church our Pastor discussed the importance of mentorship in all areas of our lives.  Proverbs 27:17 "As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another."  We were never intended to do this journey alone.  We were never meant to figure out how to navigate marriage, parenting, crisis, faith, heartbreak or career without support or guidance.  And yet we live in a society where we all either dance around each other, afraid of overstepping OR we walk right into each other's space uninvited and stomp all over their pretty white carpeting.

My question, and it truly is a question I am asking myself this week, is "how do we find the right mentoring relationship?".  I've had some lovely mentors over the years, and they all happened very organically. But if right now, today, I am struggling with something specific that I need support and guidance on - how do I go about finding the right person?

Like so many things in this world the answer comes to you if you put it out in faith.

If you want to find a good mentor, BE a good mentor. 

As I look at the areas of business that I would love to have advisement on I also realize that there are other battles that I've long since fought and won that I could help someone else overcome. As I look at my shortcomings and desire for wisdom as a parent I KNOW that I've learned valuable lessons that I would love to share!  Though I am in my infancy as a Christian I bet there is someone that might benefit from a clumsy prayer from my heart.

So this is my declaration that if you are someone that is struggling with something in life that you think I might be able to help you with or just bounce ideas off of - I am here for you.

How can I help?

 

 

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Arizona Photographer Beautiful Edge Branding Photography Content Photography Gilbert Photographer Mesa Photographer Phoenix Photography" https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/8/what-i-want-to-tell-you Tue, 13 Aug 2019 01:57:25 GMT
What to expect from a branding session with Beautiful Edge Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/7/what-to-expect-from-a-branding-session-with-beautiful-edge-photography You have decided your business would benefit from branding photography (I agree wholeheartedly!). You have done your research, found the perfect photographer (if it's not me then this just got awkward) so....now what?


 HOMEWORK 


The first thing that we would put together is information about your business and your objectives.   I've created an easy to use on-line questionnaire or we can schedule an in-person meeting or a call, whatever is most convenient to you. I need to understand your brand, which means YOU need to understand your brand, so that I can create a custom experience for you and you will get the result you are looking for during our time together.

But what if I am not sure of what my brand is?  

The point of the questionnaire is to help you focus in on the aesthetic and messaging of your business - to define your "brand identifiers".  Having this information is going to benefit you long term, not only when it comes to photographs, but in all aspects of your business.  Completing the questionnaire will take some time and thought, I really encourage my clients to fully engage in the process and allow themselves to drill down in order to make the sessions as successful as possible.  

If you already have a well-established brand then it may simply be a case of ensuring that your current messaging and photographs are on-point and then recreating the same look and feel but with a fresh perspective.  

Once completed, this information will go into your customized Brand Review.  It will become your guidepost as you move forward in marketing your business.


PLANNING THE SESSION


We will work together to determine the right location, time of day, color palette and props to use in your session.  We will also determine at this point if you want to include other team members or even hire outside talent in order to showcase what we've determined will be most effective for your goals. If there is a product you want photographed or "action" shots we will make sure we detail those out well in advance of our session.  A comprehensive shot list will be given to everyone that is participating in the session.  

If you are working with a web designer this is a great time to bring them into the mix.  They may have specific compositions they need for your site, perhaps a banner or a specific direction you need to be facing for a particular set up.  All of those details are very important and should be included on the shot list.


VARIETY IS KEY


I know it's sometimes hard enough to select ONE outfit when having photos done, but I am going to ask you to have at least 5 or more at the ready.  You need to get the most mileage out of our time together so we can't have you in the same outfit in every photo, it just simply wouldn't make sense.  A good branding session has to have longevity.  So variety in your wardrobe, accessories and props will help with that.  Depending on your objectives we may shoot in your home, office or at an event - or all three - and we want to make the most out of each location. 


PREPARE YOUR LOCATION AND YOUR TEAM


Once we have determined where we are going to photograph your session you will want to spend some time decluttering.  A clean backdrop is always going to make for the most successful session.  If we have to spend a lot of time cleaning before we get started there will be much less time to actually capture the images.  We also want to make sure that your schedule, as well as any other team member or family member that is involved, is clear and you have set aside the time to dedicate to the process.  These sessions are not something you can "fit in" between client visits.  Similarly, if we are shooting in your home it will be important to have planned child care and/or to have someone watch your pets if they tend to be underfoot.  Don't short change yourself, schedule the time in your calendar and be prepared to invest your energy and focus for the length of the session.

Communicate clearly to others that will be participating about the time commitment, as well as with direction on what they should wear, what the schedule of the day will look like, what will be expected of them and how they can best prepare.  Directing multiple people is a challenge in any setting so it is best to ensure everyone comes with a positive attitude and is prepared to be a willing participant in the process.

In the end these sessions will allow you to create an entire catalog of images that can be used for social media, your website, printed marketing material as well as bios for speaking engagements.  If we put the time and energy into the planning and the execution then you will be left with tangible assets that will add value to your business.

I can't wait to get started!
 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photographer Branding Photography Gilbert Arizona Headshots Mesa Arizona Phoenix Phoenix Arizona Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/7/what-to-expect-from-a-branding-session-with-beautiful-edge-photography Tue, 16 Jul 2019 14:52:43 GMT
What if I don't know what my "Brand" is? https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/what-if-i-dont-know-what-my-brand-is Is your business brand having an identity crisis?

Maybe you aren't even sure what the heck a brand is.

First let's establish what it is not

  • It is not your logo. 
  • It is not the colors or fonts you use for your website. 
  • It is not your tag line. 
  • It is not your product or service. 
  • It is not even (yes, I am going to say it) your photos.

These are tools that support your brand, but pretty colors and fun logos do not a brand make.

Ok, so now that we know what a brand is not, let's talk about what it IS Your brand is a targeted representation of your values. 

I'll use myself as an example.  There are many dimensions to my personality and my life. I have a passion for my family, my faith, inspiring others, education and self-discovery.   Now my business brand does not need to, nor should it, encompass all of these bits of me, but it SHOULD contain some of my key principals that speak to the ideal client I am trying to attract. 

Did someone say Ideal Client? 
("No, please Susan - no one said it.  Please don't talk about the whole Ideal Client thing... please, oh have mercy!")

I heard for YEARS that I needed to identify my "ideal client".  I witnessed people crafting vision boards and creating avatars to represent this mythical unicorn of a customer.  It seemed so "woo woo" and hey, I was SLAYING it out there swinging my marketing bat wildly and hitting...well, almost nothing.  So I ignored all the wisdom around me and smugly continued to market to everyone and to no one.

I did social media on the fly, based on my moods (which you can see are PLENTIFUL).  My messaging, and ultimately my brand, changed from day to day, which is a terrible marketing plan.

After years of spinning my wheels I finally admitted I didn't really know what I was aiming at and committed to doing the work of identifying who I was actually trying to reach with all my on-line efforts.  You do have to go deep into this type of discovery in order for it to be fruitful.  Demographics, hobbies, income, preferences...I even suggest naming your ideal client and ask yourself every time you go to post or send an email - "would she (or he) be interested in this information?"

It can be very tempting to try and keep your business completely separate from who you are as a person.  I mean, that feels like it keeps you safe right?  It doesn't force you to put yourself OUT THERE.  

...except that people don't really like dealing with faceless businesses. If there is none of YOU in your business HOW do you make it feel special? How do you connect with people? How do you compete with other businesses that are creating meaningful connections with YOUR potential customers?

As a small business owner you need to create relationships.  Relationships require connection and connection requires authenticity.

Once we identify our brand then we work on the tools to support it.  That's where brand photography comes in.  Brand photography is your opportunity to have a visual conversation with the world.  How many of you are reading this only because the photo caught your attention?  The average adult human has an attention span of eight seconds. EIGHT SECONDS - which means virtually no one has made it all the way down to the end of this blog.  Sad.

For the few superhuman that did - I would love to talk to you further and see how I might be able to help you focus your brand and create the visual content to support it.

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/what-if-i-dont-know-what-my-brand-is Mon, 17 Jun 2019 23:50:21 GMT
Every yes is a no. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/every-yes-is-a-no I’ll be honest – the reason owning my own business appealed to me was because I really wanted to be able to say “no” more. 

4pm staff meeting? – "No thanks." 

Can you take over managing this irritating task that no one else wants to do it? – "Nah."

Here is what Monday would look like as a person – she will now be sharing your cubicle – "NOPE."

I was so naïve – thinking that the word no would come so easy once I was my own boss.


But that's not how it happened - I still said "yes"....a lot.  Not because I was presented with unlimited amazing offers but because I was worried that saying "no" meant I was going to miss out on opportunities, acceptance or experiences.  I lacked the necessary level of discernment.  I hadn't clearly defined what my priorities were so somehow...everything became one.

At one point I looked at my calendar as a newly minted entrepreneur and realized that I had a full schedule and I quite literally dreaded each and every thing on it.  I had taken meetings of little or no consequence.  I had accepted invitations to networking events that weren't relevant.  I had said yes to photography jobs that were not my area of interest or expertise.

The result was that I felt very "busy" but there was no satisfaction, no feeling of freedom. I might have been running my own business but I was not feeling in control of one single bit of it.

What I hadn't stopped to consider was that every "yes" i gave out of fear came at a cost.  The cost may have been a more fitting opportunity that I now had no time for, or it might cost me time with family, or a night to myself.  And it ALWAYS cost me just a bit of my peace.

Sometimes the "yes" was seemingly noble - just ONE MORE family session after I had officially closed the books for the holidays.  Or maybe the "yes" felt obligatory and minimal in terms of time, but I realized that this wasn't an issue of time or of effort.  The real problem was that the negative impact of saying yes to things that were not in-line with my priorities was running parallel to the negative impact of saying no to all the things that WERE.   

In short, all my "yes" responses were actually having a double negative impact on my life.

I had to learn to build my “no” muscle.  I had to develop a level of confidence and faith in God's timing so that I didn't look at every opportunity as the last opportunity. 

You have to know where you are going in life so that you can quickly identify when something is going to be an obstacle or a distraction from that goal and say no immediately. Don't play - don't waste time - don't gather an arsenal of excuses. 


Don't give them a lukewarm "maybe next time" - just a clear and firm "NO".


I'm still not perfect at this but I'm getting better.  A big step for me was just simply knowing that no WAS an option.  I have gone through 43 years thinking that in order to say "no" I had to have a great excuse....which a lot of times meant crafting a LIE...which led to Three's Company level of ridiculous shenanigans (seriously was Jack Tripper hiding under a bed in every single episode?). 

In life and love and business - protect your yes by saying no.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photographer Business Branding Chandler Arizona Gilbert Arizona Headshots Mesa Arizona Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/every-yes-is-a-no Tue, 11 Jun 2019 16:00:16 GMT
Make it easy to say yes. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/make-it-easy-to-say-yes

Be prepared to have your mind blown.

People do NOT buy the "BEST" product or service. 

First of all, "best" is subjective.  Second, "best" is impossible to decipher no matter how much consumer research someone does.  Third, "best" might be sold by a real pain in the butt who makes it difficult to do business with and even makes you regret giving them your money.

So all the comparison misery you put yourself through is for NOTHING.  As a photographer I can spend hours looking at what all my competitors are doing, how perfect their composition is, how nuanced their posing, the sharpness of their images, how creative their social media feed looks.  That comparison might even prevent me from creating AT ALL.  It might stop my dreams before they are ever realized. You might be a hairstylist or a life coach or an artist.  You may be wasting precious time and energy telling yourself that you won't ever succeed because you aren't as good as others in your field.  Let me say this again "best" is subjective and you actually don't have the right to decide for all those potential clients out there if your talent is worth their money.  

Here is what people DO buy.  They buy convenience.  They buy from business that make them WANT to buy from them.  They buy from people that make it easy to say "yes".  

When a potential client calls or emails you, they want you to be the answer to their problem.  They are literally leading you into success if you will just let them.  They do not want to call 10 other businesses.  They do not want to have to go through the effort and time of telling their story over and over again in the HOPES that someone will take their burden and provide them an answer.  They want you to be their answer.  So, how easy or difficult are you making it for them to say yes?

Here are a couple of things to think about.

How many steps does a potential client have to go through in order to get to you? 

1. Is your phone number and email readily available on every page of your website? 

2. Does your personal Facebook and Instagram link back to your business page and does your business page link to your website? 

3. Do you have an About section that clearly states exactly what you do in one paragraph or less. 

4. If someone reaches out with a question how many times do they have to go back and forth with you before they get the answer they are looking for.

5. What is your response time?  

How do you respond back to an inquiry?

1. Is your tone friendly, professional and welcoming?

2. No matter what the method (DM, Text, Email or Call) are you communicating in a conversational way?  I think of this as the 4 G's.

  • Greeting - Warmly welcome this new potential client and FRIEND to your business.
  • Gratitude - Express THANKS for their time and interest.
  • Give - Oh my gosh - GIVE them the information they are asking for.  Do not dance around if they are asking for a price - give it them.  This isn't a scavenger hunt.  You will either invite their business or repel it by your answer - either is fine and saves you both time.
  • Gather - Ask for more information and an opportunity to speak with them more about their needs.

How do you respond to a "No"?

Remember back to your dating years (or if you are in them now -Huzzah!) when a nice guy (let's call him Todd) asked you out and you were so tempted because, man, Todd seemed so respectful and kind but it just wasn't a good time for you to start dating?  You told Todd you really did appreciate the invitation and you were truly flattered but maybe another time?  Even as the words were leaving your mouth you felt like MAYBE you were making a mistake?  Maybe Todd could be "the one" and you were so glad that Todd was the kind of person who would obviously accept rejection like a BOSS and his reaction would probably draw you to him even more?

And then Todd's smile sinks into a sneer  "I only asked you out because I felt sorry for you anyway" and then he walks off never to be heard from again. You are left feeling relieved by your "no" instead of questioning whether you made the right decision.  You close the door on Todd for good, because now you see him for who he really is - merely another opportunist looking for a yes, ANY yes.

Don't be a Todd.

So, stop worrying about if your product or service is "as good" as someone elses.  Be the absolute best you can be at your OWN DARN THING!  Remember that your business succeeds or fails based more on your customer service than your product, so make it easy for people, be kind and take rejection well.  You will be leaps and bounds ahead of your competition.


 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photographer Branding Photography Chandler Arizona Entrepreneur Gilbert Arizona Mesa Arizona Phoenix Photography Small Business https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/6/make-it-easy-to-say-yes Mon, 03 Jun 2019 15:00:22 GMT
Resistance means it is working. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/resistance-means-it-is-working Mental resistance is a shapeshifter, it takes on many forms.

From a general lack of motivation to a sense of foreboding to an honest-to-God physical pain.  Your brain will go to great lengths to "keep you safe" when you venture into uncharted territory. 

You know that feeling when you commit to something and immediately start to come up with reasons not to do it?  Maybe you even turn it into an opportunity for anger "I can't believe these people want me to commit my time, don't they know how BUSY I am?"

Or when you decide to FINALLY attend that Meet Up with people in your community and suddenly start to "come down with something".

Maybe you decide to publish some of your writing on social media and are struck by a sense of foreboding so you delete it one second after you hit "post". If you are like me you might do it a few times Post / Delete / Post / Delete - drink some wine - Post / Delete.

Starting a business, ending a relationship, making new friends, sharing your art - it all seems SUPER scary to our primitive brain and it will throw up all types of roadblocks to try and convince us to retreat.

It's is like digging a hole and suddenly hitting rock.  Too often we take it as a sign to give up, when really it's a sign to dig in. 

When you start to recognize the shape that mental resistance takes in your own life you are not only able to recognize it you can celebrate it, because it means you are making progress.  You are on the right track!  If you stop moving forward every time you come up against resistance you will NEVER GET ANYWHERE.  You have to break through at some point - it might as well be THIS TIME. 

THIS TIME you need to refuse to take your foot off the gas.  THIS TIME you need to keep pushing even when it gets uncomfortable.  THIS TIME you need to keep the commitments you made EVEN IF they feel scary.

REVELATION lies just on the other side of resistance and you do NOT want to miss it.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Brand Photographer Branding Photographer Branding Photography Chandler Arizona Gilbert Arizona Mesa Arizona Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/resistance-means-it-is-working Wed, 29 May 2019 23:56:05 GMT
The Struggle is NOT real. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/the-struggle-is-not-real

The first time I heard the word "incongruency" I had to google it.⁣

"A discrepancy between our perceived and ideal self."⁣

Yeah, sounds about right. I've come to find that this seems to be more prevalent in women than in men. And who can guess what life events exacerbate this condition?⁣

Becoming a mother and pursuing a big dream.⁣

Sit with that for just a minute. ⁣

Joyce Meyer calls it "new levels new devils". When we stretch ourselves and our perception of what is possible in our lives suddenly we are confronted by resistance, self-doubt and fear. "Who am I to think I can do this BIG THING?" You've heard the phrase Imposter Syndrome. Well it's a real thing and it is keeping us in a state of struggle and keeping us STUCK.⁣

After 40 years of telling myself "I'm not good with kids" I became a stepmom of twins. I felt the incongruency like a punch in the face every morning. 𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐆𝐆𝐋𝐄. I had to level up my thinking. I had to realize that I had created the lie "I'm not good with kids" in an effort to protect myself from the heartache of possibly never becoming a mother. ⁣

When I started Beautiful Edge Photography I realized that I couldn't find a voice that "felt" right for my brand. I felt like a person pretending to be a business owner..."now what would that sound like?" 𝐒𝐓𝐑𝐔𝐆𝐆𝐋𝐄. Everything felt inauthentic and awkward. I was looking at what other business owners were doing and then mimicking them. I was like a bad xerox copy of myself from a machine that was low on ink.⁣

One of the most glorious moments of my life was when I realized that the struggle was of my own making. It wasn't only unnecessary, it was sabotaging the life I was meant to lead.⁣

I don't know if anyone will read this but I am finding my voice and uncovering my deep desire to help other women find theirs so I'm going to keep writing if that's ok with you. It's here if you ever need it.⁣

To shorten this down to a sound bite - To achieve all that you were made for in this life - hard work is necessary, but struggling is totally optional.
 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Branding Photographer Branding Photography Chandler Arizona Gilbert Arizona Mesa Arizona Phoenix Phoenix Arizona Photographer Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/the-struggle-is-not-real Thu, 23 May 2019 15:01:04 GMT
What is Branding Photography? https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/what-is-branding-photography

I get asked this a lot, specifically by my mother who still doesn't think I have a "real job".

A brand is so much more than your logo and your headshot.  A brand is the perception that you want customers to identify with your business. Your brand should tell a story, it should tell YOUR story in a way.  It should give your customer something to connect with, to seek engagement with, and it should encourage loyalty.

As a brand photographer it is my job to capture imagery that creates that connection point between your business and your audience. Branding sessions include photos of you, your team, your products, your process, your space and other things that make your business unique.

So you might ask "I have a headshot.  That's enough right?"  There was a time that a headshot was all you needed, but now it is just a piece of a much larger branding strategy.  A headshot is static, one dimensional.  It's like wearing the same shirt at every business meeting you ever attend.  People start to think "do they think we don't know that they only have shirt?"  "Yawn, I'm bored of that shirt, I want something else to look at."

It is so important for you as a business owner to make sure your brand is represented well on social media.  Consumers trust businesses far more if they are active and engaged on-line.  Think about the last service or product you bought - I'm guessing you did your research on-line, read their reviews and stalked them heavy on Facebook before you bought.  On the flipside, a few months back I was looking to get my cabinets refinished and got a quote from a company that had ZERO on-line presence.  Even though their email communication was impeccable and their pricing competitive, I was highly suspicious by the lack of information available; more specifically, the lack of consumer reviews (we are all in this together right?).

Branding Photography makes your business more relatable, it creates consistency and it increases brand recognition.  If you are thinking "I wouldn't know where to begin" let me reassure you that I do.  I will work with you to find the voice of your brand and create the images that best reflects that voice.  You will never again be stumped about what images to post on-line or what to say.  

If this sounds like something you might be interested in please drop me an email or give me a call. I'd love to help.

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Photography Branding Photographer Branding Photography Chandler Arizona Photography Gilbert Arizona Photography Mesa Arizona Photography Phoenix Arizona Photography Scottsdale Arizona Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/5/what-is-branding-photography Sun, 19 May 2019 23:08:14 GMT
Bukata Family Photos | Cave Creek, Arizona Photo Session https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/bukata-family-photos-cave-creek-arizona-photo-session I met Stephanie Bukata a few years back when I was hired to do headshots at her office.  She is one of the most kind and genuine people I've ever met - the kind of person that makes everyone around them feel good.  I have been honored with the opportunity to do photos for her family for the last two years - once with her extended side of the family - and this year with her husbands.  Both times I've been nothing short of awed by the love and kindness they have for each other and the respect and graciousness they show towards me.  There is such a high level of character that starts with their parents and trickles down to them and to their kids.  If you could bottle this type of integrity and heart you could make millions.  But that's the thing - you can't buy these qualities, you must be given them and I want to say thank you to the wonderful parents that gave such a lovely gift to their kids who will pass it on and on and on.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Cave Creek Photo Session Child Photographer Family Photographer Family Photos Generational Photos Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/bukata-family-photos-cave-creek-arizona-photo-session Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:46:25 GMT
Fox Family | Arcadia Family Photo Session https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/fox-family-arcadia-family-photo-session I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing the Fox family for several years.  I worked for Sam for a time and we always seemed to enjoy a nice balance of humor, sarcasm and the VERY occasional accomplishment of me completing a task for him without completely mucking it up.  Between Sam's energy and drive and Emily's INCREDIBLE heart, they have created two of the most amazing kids I've ever met.  Well-intentioned, respectful and kind but also dynamic, motivated and interesting.  I absolutely love any opportunity I get to spend time with this crew.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Arcadia Family Photos Beautiful Edge Family Photographer Phoenix Photography Scottsdale Family Photo Session https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/fox-family-arcadia-family-photo-session Mon, 21 Jan 2019 20:31:20 GMT
Walling Family Photo Session | In-Home https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/walling-family-photo-session-in-home I have known Farris for a few years now and am always thrilled when she calls looking for photos.  This time was especially sweet as she wanted to get family photos done featuring her sweet girl, Maddox.  Maddox has been with Farris with 14 years.  Through thick and thin - heart aches, tummy aches, laughter and tears.  Maddox has felt everything right along with Farris, including falling in love with Brian, Farris' fiancé.  Maddox loves Farris with a deep protective heart.  She was wholly suspicious of my camera - the big soulless lens staring her down.  I tried to hide it from her, by ducking into hallways and bathrooms, behind bushes.  I tried to act uninterested..."nothing to see here"...but Maddox is sharp and she may not having much in the way of hearing but she is a keen observer and she made sure I knew she wasn't a fan of the camera.  However, the second I set it down she came right over with a nuzzle and trusting eyes.  Dogs are amazing that way - maybe we should all be a bit more suspicious of the technology in our hands and more interested and loving towards the humans behind it.  

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Family Photographer In Home Sessions Phoenix Photography Scottsdale Photographer Scottsdale Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/walling-family-photo-session-in-home Fri, 18 Jan 2019 15:26:11 GMT
Owens Family Photo Session | Hyatt Gainey Ranch | Scottsdale, Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/owens-family-photo-session-hyatt-gainey-ranch-scottsdale-arizona I was so lucky to pop up in Minda Owens' google search!  Her entire family was coming Arizona for the holidays and, as is their tradition, they wanted to get family photos while they were here.  I was able to get permission from the amazing team at Hyatt Gainey Ranch to do these photos on their gorgeous property. Minda and her family were so kind and fun - and fantastically photogenic.  The boys were having an absolute ball with each other, and they all loved doting on little Emerson, the little girl of the group, who proved herself to be even more rugged and adventurous than the boys.   I love seeing families coming together for the holidays.  Seeing their joy in watching cousins build bonds that will last a lifetime.   Watching Grandparents (if you can believe that Minda and Rick are old enough to be grandparents) enjoy their kids and grandkids.  Such an honor to be a part of their lives for just a moment - to capture these memories.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Family Photographer Family Photos Hyatt Gainey Ranch Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/owens-family-photo-session-hyatt-gainey-ranch-scottsdale-arizona Fri, 18 Jan 2019 14:48:57 GMT
Lange Family Photos | Scottsdale Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/lange-family-photos-scottsdale-arizona What can I possibly say about this family.  I have had the absolute privilege of photographing them for the last 3 years.  Michelle has been a dear friend for all of my adult (and not-so-adult) life.  Her children are two of the most dynamic, funny, fascinating, intelligent kids I have ever met.  They are whip smart and quick to love on you - and just as quick to size you up, figure you out and work you over.  Seriously smart kids.  Michelle has an absolute heart of gold and is obviously beautiful - I enjoyed photographing her even when all I had was a little disposable camera in my hand.    

Michelle is one of those amazing moms that can laugh right along with her kids, even when they are making a mess or acting less than perfect.  She loves them as opposed to lessons them.  I have tried (and failed) to model some of my own parenting after her.  Michelle knows how to prioritize and not get stuck on every little thing.  

I can't even begin to describe how much I love these images of this amazing family, in their beautiful home overflowing with love.  I am absolutely blessed to get to capture them each year and watch them grow.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Family Photographer In Home Photography Phoenix Phoenix Photographer Photography Scottsdale Photographer https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/lange-family-photos-scottsdale-arizona Fri, 04 Jan 2019 21:09:00 GMT
Vakharia Family Photos | Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/vakharia-family-photos-four-seasons-resort-scottsdale This was my last family session of the year - and it was such a good one.  The Vakharia family had traveled from Atlanta, GA to Scottsdale to celebrate their Father's 75th birthday over the Christmas Holiday.  The grandkids were absolutely adorable and so full of excitement over...well, everything!  From the surrounding mountains to the holiday ahead to the camera in front of their faces "Mrs. Photographer take a picture of me!".  They were hilarious and I had so much fun documenting this moment for them.

I hope that I was able to capture a bit of the magic of this family celebration for them to keep forever.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Desert Photography Family Photographer Four Seasons Resort Phoenix Photography Scottsdale https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2019/1/vakharia-family-photos-four-seasons-resort-scottsdale Thu, 03 Jan 2019 14:44:55 GMT
Don't be such a baby! Family Photo Fear #1 https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/9/dont-be-such-a-baby-family-photo-fear-1 I can't tell you how many times I've heard potential clients say that their number one concern with getting their photos taken is that their kids are young and unpredictable.  I'll be honest, when I was a new photographer it was my biggest concern as well!   I wanted more than anything to capture that "perfect" photo for my clients and, well..... babies and toddlers just don't cooperate (though sometimes us adults aren't all sunshine and rainbows either...just say'n).  Kids cry, pout, wrestle, refuse to look at the camera.  Who wants that much reality in a family photo!?!

Ok, it sounds funny to me now.  My belief about my role as a photographer has evolved right along with my experience and my own changing family life.  I have two kids now and understand better that capturing THEM being THEM is exactly what I SHOULD be doing.  They are not perfect little robots with clean faces that enjoy making eye contact with a camera lens.  They are fussy and impatient and silly and weird - they are "perfectly imperfect" as my sister would say.  Really, aren't we all?  We adults know how to put it on for the camera - but that doesn't make for the best photo either.  I would rather get one authentic image of my family - in all our unglamorous glory - than a dozen perfectly posed, vacant-eyed ones.

So along that note I wanted to nominate a previous family into my "Hall of Fame".  The Chocron's, who braved the unknown by scheduling photos with their one year old last year and came ready to roll with the punches.

First I must point out - our Momma, Luisa, is SPOT ON with her outfit choices every year.  Not to withhold credit from Jason, but I'm just guessing the pink fedora wasn't his idea.  The neutral gray punctuated with the pink is perfection.  The added statement necklace gives Mom the spotlight - which is what we always want.  Imagine this photo without it, that one accessory truly balances the image and brings the eye up to Mom's face.

During our session little Charlee kept us all on our toes.  She was busy and had very little interest in sitting and smiling at me.  She was investigating and playing and RUNNING.  Mom and Dad and even little/big sis knew the score - and they all let Charlee set the tone.  They just kept smiling and playing and loving on each other.  They didn't put any undue pressure on themselves or me for that illusive "perfect" shot.  They understood that the images we captured were going to perfectly represent their family, just as it was in this moment.  The result - authentic, joyful, beautiful images.  

 

So the moral of the story, get the photos done - revel in your family just as they are right now.  Capture the chaos, the mess, the love.  It's all part of your story.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Children Culinary Dropout Family Photographer Family Sessions Holiday Photos Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/9/dont-be-such-a-baby-family-photo-fear-1 Thu, 13 Sep 2018 16:20:17 GMT
Picture Perfect Makeup Tips https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/9/picture-perfect-makeup-tips

I was told by a very wise athlete "never try anything new on race day".  The same rule applies for your makeup before a photo session.  Now is not the time to try fake eyelashes (unless applied by a professional) or do a spray tan, or get your eyebrows waxed.

1.  Start off right.  That means get plenty of sleep, drink more water than you think you need, and exfoliate your skin and your lips.

2.  A few days prior to the shoot is the time to think about your pearly whites... - I highly recommend the generic CVS or Walgreen's advanced whitening treatment, the strips stay in place better than some of the name brand white-strips I've tried.

3.  Use a primer.  This will smooth out your skin and allow your foundation to glide on easily and stay put.

4.  Stay away from mineral makeup.  Mineral foundations are typically loaded with ingredients like mica which reflect light like mad - imagine a thousand glimmering specs all over your face.

5.  Choose a concealer that is no more than half a shade lighter than your foundation.  

6. To camouflage a zit, tap a bit of concealer right on top of it with a synthetic-bristle brush, don't sweep it back and forth as it will simply build up around the blemish.

7.  Keep your makeup color choices neutral.  You want your photos to be timeless and your natural beauty to show through.  No room for regrets with a classic and clean approach. 

8.  Make sure you have given yourself a fresh manicure and keep your nail color neutral.

9.  Use oil absorbing sheets to blot shine throughout your shoot rather than applying numerous layers of powder.  

10.  Apply your makeup with a light hand.  Nothing is worse than having people notice your eyeliner instead of noticing your eyes.  

11.  Use a moisturizing lipstick or a tinted balm in a color than enhances your natural lip color.  

12.  Most importantly, top it all off with a beautiful and sincere smile.  

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) makeup for photos makeup tips https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/9/picture-perfect-makeup-tips Wed, 12 Sep 2018 17:29:25 GMT
Forget Everything You Think You Know (And Hate) About Holiday Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/8/forget-everything-you-know-and-hate-about-holiday-photos Holiday photos are just around the corner and I feel like all my clients come in with some battle scars from previous photo sessions gone awry.  I wanted to jot down a few pointers that just might make the process easier and maybe even a bit fun.

1. Find a great photographer.  Whether it's through a trusted referral or someone you found on-line.  Make sure you have seen a portfolio of their work so that you know their style and that it fits your vision.  Any reputable photographer will submit a thorough agreement that outlines session details, pricing, timelines and deliverables.  They should also talk with you prior to the shoot and get to know you and your family.  Do not choose a photographer based solely on who is the cheapest, anyone who is charging pennies for their work is not going to provide a quality experience or a quality end product.

2. Select the time and location of the shoot based on your family's needs FIRST and your vision for the images SECOND. You may want a sunset shoot but have an infant that is normally asleep at that time.  Sacrifice the sunset in exchange for an early morning shoot when your child is normally happy and awake.  Never schedule a session during nap or meal times.  If you want photos of your children by themselves then you need to select a location where they can be set down SAFELY.  Desert backdrops are beautiful but full of hazards for infants and toddlers.

3. Don't be all MATCHY MATCHY.  I have seen strong fierce women brought to tears by trying to force everyone in the group have the "right" shade of blue on for their photos.  This is nothing to lose your lunch over.  Throw out a general color scheme and let people interpret and individualize.  Mix patterns, solids and layers for a modern look.  Nothing looks more dated than a group in varying shades and fades of one color.  

4. Eat, Drink and be Happy.  Do not, let me repeat - DO NOT make your family wait to eat until after the session.  Hungry kids (and Dads) are often times uncooperative, unengaged and irritable.   Everyone should come with a full belly and plenty of cool water at hand.  

5. Manage your expectations.  If you have a one year old, do not expect that they will decide to have mercy on your soul and be wholly cooperative and happy just because you paid to have photos taken.  A good photographer will let the youngest set the tone for the session, and that means the rest of the family has to roll with it.  There is nothing good that has ever come from trying to force a toddler to sit and smile.  You may not get the "perfect" posed shot where everyone is smiling so be prepared for an alternative of candid shots of you all playing with, or chasing, your littles.

6.  You look great.  Stop it.  You look great.  No, really - stop it.  Wear something that makes you feel like a million bucks, put a smile on your face and trust  your photographer to capture you at your best.

7.  Don't over think it.  Wear a tried-and-true outfit that doesn't pull, tug or gap.  Where that blue scarf that people always say brings out your eyes.  Do your makeup simply and with a light hand.  Plan something fun to do with the family afterward.  Give lots of hugs and kisses.  Don't threaten or bribe.  These photos should be something you all want to remember, not forget.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Family Photo Tips Family Photographer Holiday Photos Phoenix Photography Tips https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/8/forget-everything-you-know-and-hate-about-holiday-photos Sat, 25 Aug 2018 22:50:56 GMT
Family Photos are a pain, do them anyway. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/8/family-photos-are-a-pain-do-them-anyway Every year about this time I start thinking (and stressing) about my own family photos. I think about how much work it takes to find time in our schedules, I think about navigating the moods of two 8 year olds and a busy husband. I think about picking the "perfect" location, the "perfect" outfits and the 5lbs I really should lose beforehand. By the time I'm done I've almost talked myself out of doing photos all together. So I thought it might be a good time to remind myself why I put myself through this every year..and why I will continue to do so.

I am by nature someone who likes to document life.  I've felt compelled to do so since I was a kid.  I started making photo albums when I was 8 years old to keep a record of the milestones and the mundane.  To me, photos are memory bookmarks.  Without them I wouldn't remember where things happened, or who I was with or (God forbid) what I was wearing.  There are times I look at a photo and am absolutely astonished that I had completely forgotten about an event or even a person that was definitely worth remembering!

So I hope you'll join me on my little trip down memory lane....


2014. Chris and I were just dating but I still wanted to get a photo of all of us together.  I remember that this was the first time I picked out clothes for the kids.  I was just getting started in photography and, although I cringe at the technical issues I see in the image, I love everything else about it.  Brayden was going through that stage where his camera smile looked more like a pained grimace.  Kinsley looks so sweet and so tiny on her daddy's lap.  I remember breaking into a sweat setting up the tripod, framing the shot, prefocusing and then hoping the remote would work all the while trying to hurry before the kids lost interest.

2015. I had asked a photographer friend of mine, Tammy Zelez, to take our photos.  Though I do have a certain pride in taking our family photos myself, I have to say that hiring another photographer is definitely the way to go!  We took these images at 7:00 am on a Saturday at Scottsdale Civic Center, which means we were all up at 5 am.  The weather was overcast and I was so disappointed because I thought that would ruin the whole thing, we've all been there right?  I think this was probably the second to last time Kinsley ever let me put her in a dress.  The kids were so incredible while Tammy did our photos, I remember being so proud of them and their manners. They kept coming up with different poses and ideas for photos, I loved their interest in the process. To this day this is still one of my all time favorite photos of our family.

Summer 2015.  I was inspired by the new Mad Max movie and the fact that the summer seemed to be going on forever!  I think the whole family thought I was nuts with this one, but they went along with it.  I told them to put on their "game faces" (normally reserved for Bronco games).  I did this image on a tripod with a remote in my hand. In the back of my mind I'm always thinking "this is never going to work"...but somehow, it always does.  When you do photos yourself you have to want that image badly enough to put up with a high level of logistics, stress and impatience from the family.  I guess I just want these images enough to always work a bit for them.

2016 started rough.  This was the night before we had to put our dog, Jasmyn, to sleep.  We were so sad and I wanted to make sure we had photos of all of us together.  No one was in the mood for photos, but I just knew we would regret it if we didn't.  I set up the tripod and we just started loving on our sweet dog and somehow we captured this shot of all of us laughing.   It was probably because Marlie kept doing something silly, like putting her rear in the camera.  Jasmyn was 14 years old and yet we didn't have one picture of all of us together, which makes this such a precious photo.

2016...again.  I decided to hire Josh and Jennifer Koch, our wedding photographers, to do our family photos in a citrus orchard near our new home.  This was the first time I'd actually gone shopping for outfits for photos - of course doing so the night before in a blind panic.  It was fun and weird to be on the other side of the camera.  The night was so absolutely beautiful, Josh and Jennifer were fun and fast.  I loved not having to be photographer and subject, that I could just have fun with the family and not worry about lighting or focus or hiding the remote.  We took the kids to Peter Piper afterward because they were so great during the session.  

2017 was the year that got away from me.  I had incredible intentions of really digging in and being present during the holidays.  I was going to make all the traditional family treats, have the perfect gifts for friends and family, host get-togethers with my precious neighbors, use that damn elf-on-the-shelf to teach the kids essential life lessons, be more fun, be the perfect co-Mom, take the most perfect family photo and send out cards well before the end of the year....  And then all of a sudden it was December 20th and I had done nothing except agonize over that unchecked list of "to do's" and I was running out of time.  I remember the feeling of urgency as I shopped furiously for the perfect holiday PJs (which had been clearanced off the shelves weeks prior).  I threatened and bribed and pleaded with the kids to do what I wanted in order to capture the "perfect" family photo...and we got it.  The perfect representation of our family in that moment.  

So yes, family photos can be stressful, but they are so worth the trouble.  I will continue to make a nuisance of myself to my family every single year to make sure that we get that memory bookmark that will remind us of where we have been and how far we have come.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge family photographer phoenix photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/8/family-photos-are-a-pain-do-them-anyway Sat, 25 Aug 2018 14:31:21 GMT
Senior Session at The Farm at Hunkapi https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/6/senior-session-at-the-farm-at-hunkapi  As promised I am sharing the second session I did with Miss Savannah to celebrate her upcoming graduation.  We were so blessed to get permission to photograph at Hunkapi Farms in Scottsdale which is a sustainable, therapeutic farm dedicated to healing, empowering and employing individuals with diverse abilities.  Savannah has been a lover of horses her entire life so it seemed only natural to include this aspect in her photos.

Savannah's love of animals, her ability to find a deep and healing peace from spending time with them - is as beautiful as everything thing else about her.

Savannah, the world needs your sensitive, loving and open heart.  Please go and spread your magic over everyone you meet.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) animals barn beautiful edge farm horses hunkapi farms phoenix photography senior photos senior portraits https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/6/senior-session-at-the-farm-at-hunkapi Sun, 03 Jun 2018 15:43:40 GMT
The Graduate! Citrus Grove Senior Photo Session https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/5/the-graduate-citrus-grove-senior-photo-session

Oh, that light!  That dress!  That Mona Lisa smile!!!  Savannah has been so important to me for many years now.  I have photographed her from 8th grade till now, her Senior year.  I have watched her grow and mature.  From a very sweet and shy 13 year old to a confident, clever and incredibly beautiful young woman.  Savannah is a faithful and beautiful Christian soul with a sensitive and COURAGEOUS heart.  She is a good friend, a wonderful daughter and just one of those incredible human beings we should all be so lucky to have in our lives.

We did two Senior sessions for Savannah (stay tuned for our next session on the blog which took place at Hunkapi Farm in Scottsdale).  Savannah has such dimension we couldn't possible capture her spirit in just one location.  She is able to fit in beautifully whether in a horse barn or at the beach.  One minute she is draped in fatigues with her Dad on a hunting trip and the next she is teaching me how to apply the most flawless makeup and styling her hair with those perfectly messy wave that makes me wonder why I end up with "Mom" hair whenever I try to do the same.

Savannah has the heart (and face) of an angel mixed with so much spirt and drive.  She has the world spread out ahead of her and would most certainly succeed at anything she puts her mind to.  What has captured her attention and passion?  Teaching. Savannah has always dreamed of being a high school teacher and that is what she will pursue.  I can't imagine a better role model to young adults than Savannah.  

Savannah, thank you for being part of my life over the past 5 years.  I can't WAIT to see the path you forge for yourself.  The world is better for having you in it.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge family photographer high school senior orange groves phoenix photography senior photos sunrise photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/5/the-graduate-citrus-grove-senior-photo-session Sun, 20 May 2018 15:07:52 GMT
Sunrise Yoga Session https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/4/sunrise-yoga-session

When you've been photographing for a while you can get a little "set in your ways".  I have a certain way I set lighting, I am obsessed with accurate skin tones and white balance, my subjects are always the focus of the shot without competing landscapes or props.  I will retake a shot dozens of times until my subject's face finally relaxes for that split second and their eyes allow their personality to fully become realized in my lens.  However, I have to admit that my highly regimented approach to photography can sometimes feel a bit too boxed in, too many rules, not enough free flow.  Anyone that knows me is probably smirking at how life mimics art (or the other way around).   Yoga is the opposite of rigid.  It flows with your breath and energy is created as you unblock (or unbox) yourself.  I've never been good at it, I fight the poses mind, body and soul - no matter how much I want to relax into them and feel the peace and calm that comes from that sort of surrender.  When I was approached by Michelle to do a sunrise yoga photo session I thought it would be a great opportunity to allow myself to play a bit, to throw out my "rules".  I left behind all my heavy, restrictive gear and brought only my camera and one lens... this is what happened.

As the sun peaked out from behind the Mountains, Michelle and I both melded into our respective practices.  She glided from pose to pose as the sun directed her and I allowed the camera to capture her without micro-managing every shadow and highlight.  

We both created space for ourselves that day.  Space to slow down, to create, to be a bit kinder to ourselves and to play.  I fell in love with a new way to photograph that morning. Though I may never be able to downward dog my way to inner peace, I may have just found my own way of unblocking my chokras.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge fitness phoenix photography sunrise yoga https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/4/sunrise-yoga-session Fri, 27 Apr 2018 12:46:47 GMT
Smith Family Session at Mesa Center for the Arts https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/smith-family-session-at-mesa-center-for-the-arts  

The Smith family have proven themselves to be such an important part of our lives over the past 2 years.   They were the first family we met when we moved into our new neighborhood.  The kids and I went door to door with cookies and high hopes of making friends.  We exchanged phone numbers and I remember getting a text the next day asking us to have dinner at their home.  I looked at Chris with cautious enthusiasm "Dinner!  That's like a real proper date."  Turns out the Smiths are about the best people you could wish to live next door to.  They watch out for us, and all their neighbors.  They are generally the first people to let us know we've left the garage door open, to drop a bottle of wine at our doorstep when they know we are having a bad day or to offer up a ladder for us to hang Christmas lights.

Stevie, Aiden and Katie are three of the sweetest kids.  Stevie get so excited about life - to quote Knocked Up " I wish I loved anything as much as this kid loves bubbles".  She just makes you want to twirl and dance and cover the world in rainbows.  Aiden is wise beyond his years, mature, well spoken, kind and respectful.  He follows in his Dad's footsteps of being self-reliant and utterly dependable.  He looks out for his sisters and his mom.  We love having Aiden in the neighborhood.  Katie is just a ball of love and energy and joy.  She dances and sings and hugs with every ounce of her being.  We love our sweet Katie.

Clay and Andrea are such amazing parents, wonderful friends and a great model of a strong marriage.  They have each others' backs, they support and love each other unconditionally.  I was so honored to document their family at this moment of their lives.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge child photographer children family photographer mesa center for the arts phoenix photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/smith-family-session-at-mesa-center-for-the-arts Fri, 05 Jan 2018 19:46:13 GMT
Family Session in Arcadia https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/family-session-in-arcadia

It's no secret that I'm a big fan of the Mackle family.  They are dynamic, wonderfully creative and kind-hearted.  Grayson (aka Pilot) lives in a world ripe with adventure, where there is no room to doubt secret treasure, sea monsters and fairy dust.  His dad, Dennis (aka Kid), meets him there often (generally when the two of them are SUPPOSED to be out running errands or shopping for mom).  Adventure Girl (aka Angela, aaka Mom) does her best to keep everyone just this side of the law, but she too has an itch for the fantastical world of fun and exploration.  The Mackles just added sweet Addie to the family (Kiwi is her alter ego).  Addie is a tiny little sweet smelling ball of adorable until she slips into character - Kiwi shows to have the temperament of a surly sailor.  Her eye on the prize (food, sleep or a clean diaper) like it's her own personal white whale.  Here we see Dennis cowering to Kiwi, terrified for his personal safety.  Feed him to the sharks!

In all seriousness, this family is as attractive as they are genuinely nice.  We always have a ball together and they make me feel like I'm one of the gang (though I've yet to get my moniker yet).  I guess I'll need to work on my ability to believe in magic, to laugh in the face of danger (or a poopy diaper) and to always see life for what it is...a great big adventure waiting to happen.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge child photographer children family photographer phoenix photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/family-session-in-arcadia Mon, 01 Jan 2018 22:40:40 GMT
Family Session in Mesa https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/family-session-in-mesa

We did this 1 year old session with Claire right when she was fighting a bit of sick bug, but she was so sweet you never would have even known. The Stum family have been our neighbors for 2 years and they have three of the most beautiful and charismatic kids.  Claire is just a lovely little girl, so fun and easy.  We decided to give her a session of her own before we tackled the whole family.  

Claire's big sister Eva has so much personality, you can tell she loves having her photo taken...which makes my job so easy!

Big brother Wesley is so incredibly articulate and charming.  He does well to tolerate all the hugs and kisses that go along with having two little sisters who adore him.

Nate and Jamie are such amazing friends and the absolute best neighbors in the world.  We have been so blessed having them in our lives, and being able to capture their family in these images was the cherry on top to 2017.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge children family photographer phoenix photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2018/1/family-session-in-mesa Mon, 01 Jan 2018 21:50:33 GMT
Senior Session in Evergreen, Colorado https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/10/senior-session-in-evergreen-colorado

Colorado is my home town and whenever I get a chance to photograph there I jump at it.  For someone who has spent the last 5 years photographing in the desert it is an absolute treat to work in such a lush and beautiful place, not to mention 40 degrees cooler!  After some exploring (and help from a local photographer who generously shared this location) we ended up in Evergreen at this amazing lake house.  Gorgeous views, wildlife and perfect lighting - this was an absolutely ideal spot.

Cody is the son of close friends, Heather and Bill.  I was so honored to be asked to do his senior photos.  Cody made me look like a very, very good photographer when all I really did was let him smile and tried not to get in his way.  I mean really - can you stand how handsome and effortless this Colorado kid is?  A true outdoorsman that would look just as comfortable in a cabin or at the beach.

Cody goes to Thunder Ridge High School.  He is creative, loves to create, play and listen to music.  He is funny as well as so respectful and kind.  The type of teenager that has been taught how to present himself with confidence but also with a fair dose of humor.  We had so much fun exploring Evergreen Lake.  Cody was game for climbing into the weeds or trudging through the mud in order to get the shot I had in mind.  

 

Cody brought along his gorgeous girlfriend Shelby as well as his folks.  They were so helpful and fun, this was truly an ideal session.  Relaxed and fun - and the finished images definitely represent that laid back atmosphere.  Cody was recently accepted to Colorado Mesa University.  I am so excited to see all the amazing things that this young man will do in this world.  Thank you to the Taylors for allowing me to share this special moment with them.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge colorado evergreen phoenix photography senior photographer senior photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/10/senior-session-in-evergreen-colorado Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:12:23 GMT
Family Photos are a pain, do them anyway. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/10/family-photos-are-a-pain-do-them-anyway Every year about this time I start thinking (and stressing) about my own family photos. I think about how much work it takes to find time in our schedules, I think about navigating the moods of two 8 year olds and a busy husband. I think about picking the "perfect" location, the "perfect" outfits and the 5lbs I really should lose beforehand. By the time I'm done I've almost talked myself out of doing photos all together. So I thought it might be a good time to remind myself why I put myself through this every year..and why I will continue to do so.

I am by nature someone who likes to document life.  I've felt compelled to do so since I was a kid.  I started making photo albums when I was 8 years old to keep a record of the milestones and the mundane.  To me, photos are memory bookmarks.  Without them I wouldn't remember where things happened, or who I was with or (God forbid) what I was wearing.  There are times I look at a photo and am absolutely astonished that I had completely forgotten about an event or even a person that was definitely worth remembering!

So I hope you'll join me on my little trip down memory lane....


2014. Chris and I were just dating but I still wanted to get a photo of all of us together.  I remember that this was the first time I picked out clothes for the kids.  I was just getting started in photography and, although I cringe at the technical issues I see in the image, I love everything else about it.  Brayden was going through that stage where his camera smile looked more like a pained grimace.  Kinsley looks so sweet and so tiny on her daddy's lap.  I remember breaking into a sweat setting up the tripod, framing the shot, prefocusing and then hoping the remote would work all the while trying to hurry before the kids lost interest.

2015. I had asked a photographer friend of mine, Tammy Zelez, to take our photos.  Though I do have a certain pride in taking our family photos myself, I have to say that hiring another photographer is definitely the way to go!  We took these images at 7:00 am on a Saturday at Scottsdale Civic Center, which means we were all up at 5 am.  The weather was overcast and I was so disappointed because I thought that would ruin the whole thing, we've all been there right?  I think this was probably the second to last time Kinsley ever let me put her in a dress.  The kids were so incredible while Tammy did our photos, I remember being so proud of them and their manners. They kept coming up with different poses and ideas for photos, I loved their interest in the process. To this day this is still one of my all time favorite photos of our family.

Summer 2015.  I was inspired by the new Mad Max movie and the fact that the summer seemed to be going on forever!  I think the whole family thought I was nuts with this one, but they went along with it.  I told them to put on their "game faces" (normally reserved for Bronco games).  I did this image on a tripod with a remote in my hand. In the back of my mind I'm always thinking "this is never going to work"...but somehow, it always does.  When you do photos yourself you have to want that image badly enough to put up with a high level of logistics, stress and impatience from the family.  I guess I just want these images enough to always work a bit for them.

2016 started rough.  This was the night before we had to put our dog, Jasmyn, to sleep.  We were so sad and I wanted to make sure we had photos of all of us together.  No one was in the mood for photos, but I just knew we would regret it if we didn't.  I set up the tripod and we just started loving on our sweet dog and somehow we captured this shot of all of us laughing.   It was probably because Marlie kept doing something silly, like putting her rear in the camera.  Jasmyn was 14 years old and yet we didn't have one picture of all of us together, which makes this such a precious photo.

2016...again.  I decided to hire Josh and Jennifer Koch, our wedding photographers, to do our family photos in a citrus orchard near our new home.  This was the first time I'd actually gone shopping for outfits for photos - of course doing so the night before in a blind panic.  It was fun and weird to be on the other side of the camera.  The night was so absolutely beautiful, Josh and Jennifer were fun and fast.  I loved not having to be photographer and subject, that I could just have fun with the family and not worry about lighting or focus or hiding the remote.  We took the kids to Peter Piper afterward because they were so great during the session.  

2017 was the year that got away from me.  I had incredible intentions of really digging in and being present during the holidays.  I was going to make all the traditional family treats, have the perfect gifts for friends and family, host get-togethers with my precious neighbors, use that damn elf-on-the-shelf to teach the kids essential life lessons, be more fun, be the perfect co-Mom, take the most perfect family photo and send out cards well before the end of the year....  And then all of a sudden it was December 20th and I had done nothing except agonize over that unchecked list of "to do's" and I was running out of time.  I remember the feeling of urgency as I shopped furiously for the perfect holiday PJs (which had been clearanced off the shelves weeks prior).  I threatened and bribed and pleaded with the kids to do what I wanted in order to capture the "perfect" family photo...and we got it.  The perfect representation of our family in that moment.  

So yes, family photos can be stressful, but they are so worth the trouble.  I will continue to make a nuisance of myself to my family every single year to make sure that we get that memory bookmark that will remind us of where we have been and how far we have come.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) beautiful edge family photographer phoenix photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/10/family-photos-are-a-pain-do-them-anyway Thu, 05 Oct 2017 12:55:22 GMT
Ogborne Maternity Session | Wildfire Crossfit & Rancho Manana Golf Course https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/6/ogborne-maternity-session-wildfire-crossfit-rancho-manana-golf-course A belated congratulations to Michelle and Ron who had their first son, Jackson, about 8 weeks ago.  I can't wait to meet him!  These images were so much fun to create, Michelle and Ron share a passion for crossfit, and Michelle continued her WODS right up until Jackson arrived.  Watching this woman handle herself in a gym is no joke!  She approaches fitness like she approaches every aspect in her life - with confidence, control and enthusiasm!  We spent a few hours at Wildfire Crossfit, which is their second home.

After "our" workout we went on to Rancho Mañana Golf Course.  We ended the session with a beautiful sunset and Michelle looking (gasp) breathtaking.  These two truly are partners in every sense of the word - they are outstanding people, lovely friends and awesome parents!  Thank you Michelle and Ron for allowing me to capture these precious moments.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Family Photographer Phoenix Photography Rancho Mañana Wildfire Crossfit https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/6/ogborne-maternity-session-wildfire-crossfit-rancho-manana-golf-course Thu, 22 Jun 2017 12:36:41 GMT
Owen Family Photo Session / Grayhawk https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/owen-family-photo-session-/-grayhawk I had such a wonderful time photographing this family on Easter morning (why, yes I AM a bit behind on my blogging - thank you for noticing). The Owen family was such a blessing and these two little girls were too perfect for words as they smiled for my camera.  David had contacted me to ask if I might be willing to do a session on Easter morning as it was his Mother's birthday.  I found a beautiful spot up in North Scottsdale and the weather was fantastic.  I love that photography gives me the opportunity to meet and spend time with incredible families like this, capturing moments that they will treasure for a lifetime.

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/owen-family-photo-session-/-grayhawk Sat, 27 May 2017 19:14:50 GMT
Lernor Family Dental Headshots https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/lerner-family-dental-headshots  

The team at Lernor Family Dental treats you just as their name would imply - like family.  They are so customer-focused, meticulous and warm.  I have photographed them for the last two years and each time I visit I am struck by how welcoming their office is.  My only objective was to capture just a bit of that warmth and sincerity in their images.  Mission accomplished.

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/lerner-family-dental-headshots Fri, 26 May 2017 16:00:40 GMT
Headshots with Jacob Gold and Associates https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/headshots-with-jacob-gold-and-associates  

I have had the pleasure of working with the team at Jacob Gold and Associates for almost 10 years now.  I started meeting with Jacob when I had very little to invest but wanted to start making the right decisions for my future.  Jacob took so much time to work with me, to educate me and to encourage me.  Never did he make me feel like a "small" client.  His whole team follows his lead. When Ida answers my calls she immediately knows who I am, my family, my story. I always feel like their number one client when I call or come in.  This is the type of group you want to work with, and when they asked me to update their headshots I was absolutely honored to do so.  

 

Whether you are 25 or 65, it is never too early or too late to put together a plan for your future.  Thank you to Jacob, Michael, David, Ken and Ida for 10 years of trust, success and inspiration.  

 

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Phoenix Photography corporate headshots https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/5/headshots-with-jacob-gold-and-associates Thu, 25 May 2017 13:11:39 GMT
The Lange Family Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/1/the-lange-family-photos

I have know Michelle for (gulp) 20 years!  Michelle is the kind of friend that is there for you, no matter what - and that isn't just lip service.  She literally has shown up for me at my absolute toughest moments.  Always ready to help in whatever way she possibly can.  We've been through it all, seen each other at our best and at our absolute worst and loved each other regardless.  Michelle moved to New York 10 years ago and even as I said goodbye to her at her going away party I fully expected her to come back within 6 months.  

Years passed, I visited her in New York and got to know her life (and her love).  Michelle got married and had 2 beautiful kids.  I got married and was blessed with kids of my own.  Then one day; "We are moving to Scottsdale!" and just like that she was back and it was as if no time had passed at all.  

So this photo session was special beyond words.  Getting to photograph one of my dearest friends with her beautiful family.  What could possibly be sweeter.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Children Family Photographer Phoenix Photography family holiday https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2017/1/the-lange-family-photos Fri, 13 Jan 2017 03:11:02 GMT
Sarah Pak Portrait Session - Phoenix Rising https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/11/sarah-pak-portrait-session---phoenix-rising Gateway Trailhead, Phoenix ArizonaSarah Pak Portrait Session

In a world full of cellphone selfies we don't have many opportunities to have truly beautiful photographs taken of ourselves.  Newborns, High School Seniors, Weddings; those are the standards.  So what do you do when you want to document beautiful, pivotal moments in your life?  Well, you call me.  

Sarah is at such an amazing stage in her life and wanted to capture this period of time - this moment - to always remember.  I love doing photo sessions like this, when I get to create images with someone that reflect their happiness, their contentment.  A celebration of their life.

The desert provided the perfect backdrop, especially against that incredible blue dress.  Sarah danced and twirled and made all of us catch our breath as we watched magic unfold in front of our eyes.

As the sun set we got to play with the warm golden light, the rich colors of the mountains, the dimension of the shadows.  This was a perfect night in Arizona, the desert in all of its glory as a canvas to showcase this phenomenal woman.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/11/sarah-pak-portrait-session---phoenix-rising Sat, 05 Nov 2016 18:33:03 GMT
Family Photos - Japanese Friendship Garden https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/family-photos---japanese-friendship-garden Four generations were represented at this family shoot.  Four amazing, funny, good humored and kind generations.  We had an absolute ball planning and shooting this session.  Little Jack wasn't always thrilled to be in front of the camera but it was fantastic fun to chase him around.

This was my last family session to close out 2015 and I simply could not have asked for a better group of people.  We had selected the absolutely beautiful Japanese Friendship Garden as our location and it made the perfect setting.  I have know Ben for years and it was awesome to finally meet his beautiful wife and son.  Not to mention his mom, dad and grandparents.  This group truly loves and enjoys each other, which makes the images so authentic and beautiful.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Children Family Photographer Japanese Friendship Garden Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/family-photos---japanese-friendship-garden Fri, 29 Jan 2016 19:27:49 GMT
Family Portraits, Threet Family at Scottsdale Civic Center https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/family-portraits-threet-family-at-scottsdale-civic-center I absolutely adore the Threet family.  I was lucky enough to photograph Jude's newborn photos a few months ago and was thrilled to capture their holiday family images at the end of 2015.  They just have the best sense of humor and so much love for each other.  They showed up in the absolute perfect outfits for their photos.  I couldn't have planned it better myself.

Jay and his little man, Jude, are just too handsome for words.  

 

Jay's sister was able to join in the fun and is such a big part of this family.  Little Gemma just BEAMS at her Aunt.

Thank you Threet family for allowing me to capture these moments for you!

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Children Family Photographer Photography Scottsdale Civic Center https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/family-portraits-threet-family-at-scottsdale-civic-center Fri, 29 Jan 2016 00:20:21 GMT
A Walk In The Woods - Huskey Family Portraits Munds Park, Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/a-walk-in-the-woods---huskey-family-portraits-munds-park-arizona I adore showing off beautiful people, and these ladies are just that - inside and out.  I have know Delayne and her daughters for many years.  It has been absolute pleasure capturing their big moments over the years.  This year Delayne, who is a VERY talented event planner, took over the preparations and decorating for my wedding in Colorado.  I can't even begin to describe how hard she worked to make it the most special day of my life.  A few months back Delayne did the same for her daughter Cheyenne, who married her high school sweetheart. 

Savannah is Delayne's youngest.  Savannah is a Freshman in high school.  Creative, kind and full of spark.  Savannah took over the role as makeup artist at my wedding and she ROCKED it. 

These ladies are such wonderful examples of beautiful, independent, dynamic women who are living their lives to the fullest.  I am so blessed to know them.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Family Photography Munds Park Sisters Snow Winter Photographs https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2016/1/a-walk-in-the-woods---huskey-family-portraits-munds-park-arizona Thu, 07 Jan 2016 20:57:48 GMT
In Home Family Photos | Newborn | Threet Family https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/7/in-home-family-photos-newborn-threet-family

I met Lauren when I began shooting commercial fashion photography for Ava Rose Designs.  Lauren is just about the prettiest person I have ever met in real life.  A successful model with a down-to-earth sense of humor and a huge heart.  Can you believe she is an amazing elementary school art teacher to boot?  I loved this woman from the word go.  When she gave birth to Jude I was dying to capture her beautiful family.  Lauren and her husband, Jay, welcomed me into their home, comfortable, friendly and about as gracious as they come.  Their daughter Gemma is a modern day Shirley Temple, and not just because of those curls.  She is funny, sassy and sharp as a whip.  Baby Jude was just a sight to behold, beautiful features, a sweet disposition and just sort of...well,  COOL - as Lauren says "I love your subtlety sir" and that sums him up perfectly.  

I can only hope for another opportunity to photograph this lovely family again.  Lauren and Jay - thank you for sharing your world with me.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Family Photographer In Home Family Photos Lifestyle Photography Newborn Photography Newborn Photos Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/7/in-home-family-photos-newborn-threet-family Mon, 13 Jul 2015 00:31:09 GMT
Picture Perfect Makeup Tips https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/6/picture-perfect-makeup-tips

I was told by a very wise athlete "never try anything new on race day".  The same rule applies for your makeup before a photo session.  Now is not the time to try fake eyelashes (unless applied by a professional) or do a spray tan, or get your eyebrows waxed.

1.  Start off right.  That means get plenty of sleep, drink more water than you think you need, and exfoliate your skin and your lips.

2.  A few days prior to the shoot is the time to think about your pearly whites... - I highly recommend the generic CVS or Walgreen's advanced whitening treatment, the strips stay in place better than some of the name brand white-strips I've tried.

3.  Use a primer.  This will smooth out your skin and allow your foundation to glide on easily and stay put.

4.  Stay away from mineral makeup.  Mineral foundations are typically loaded with ingredients like mica which reflect light like mad - imagine a thousand glimmering specs all over your face.

5.  Choose a concealer that is no more than half a shade lighter than your foundation.  

6. To camouflage a zit, tap a bit of concealer right on top of it with a synthetic-bristle brush, don't sweep it back and forth as it will simply build up around the blemish.

7.  Keep your makeup color choices neutral.  You want your photos to be timeless and your natural beauty to show through.  No room for regrets with a classic and clean approach. 

8.  Make sure you have given yourself a fresh manicure and keep your nail color neutral.

9.  Use oil absorbing sheets to blot shine throughout your shoot rather than applying numerous layers of powder.  

10.  Apply your makeup with a light hand.  Nothing is worse than having people notice your eyeliner instead of noticing your eyes.  

11.  Use a moisturizing lipstick or a tinted balm in a color than enhances your natural lip color.  

12.  Most importantly, top it all off with a beautiful and sincere smile.  

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Makeup Tips Makeup for Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/6/picture-perfect-makeup-tips Sun, 28 Jun 2015 22:01:30 GMT
Miller Family Photographs | Phoenix AZ https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/4/miller-family-photographs-phoenix-az

This was hands down one of the most fun shoots I've had the pleasure of doing.  The Miller siblings had given their parents the gift of a family photoshoot for Christmas.  What an amazing and thoughtful gift.  The whole family showed up in great spirits, ready to have fun.  This makes SUCH a difference in the images we create together.  We met at an absolutely gorgeous location and were able to get individual shots of each of the kids as well as plenty of group shots before the sun set on our fun.  I don't know when I've laughed so hard.  It was obvious how much everyone in this family loves and respects each other.  Thank you Miller family for allowing me to share just a bit of time with you.  It was a pleasure.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Family Photographer Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/4/miller-family-photographs-phoenix-az Sun, 19 Apr 2015 23:40:14 GMT
Family Photos Phoenix Arizona - The Knapp Family https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/3/family-photos-phoenix-arizona---the-knapp-family

I've had the pleasure of working with the Knapp family twice over the last few months.  Once to do headshots for this dynamic husband and wife law team and once to capture their family photographs.  Gorgeous weather, a beautiful view and an absolutely lovely family made for a great shoot!

These two kids are just amazing.  The love they have for each other is apparent.  I loved watching their interaction.

I could have continued shooting all evening long.  The setting and sunset was absolute perfect to create something beautiful.  

Thank you Knapp family for letting me into your lives and into your home.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Family Photographer Phoenix Photography Sunset Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/3/family-photos-phoenix-arizona---the-knapp-family Tue, 24 Mar 2015 00:04:02 GMT
The Adventures of Pilot, Kid and Adventure Girl, Family Photos The Saguaro Scottsdale AZ https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/3/the-adventures-of-pilot-kid-and-adventure-girl-family-photos-the-saguaro-scottsdale-az

The Mackles looked like any other normal (unbelievably good looking) family.  They arrived at The Saguaro hotel for our photoshoot full of smiles and good humor. We took some beautiful shots, Grayson was simply adorable - little did I know he was on the lookout for ADVENTURE!

Grayson was obviously in charge of this operation.  He went by Pilot, and had given his mom and dad their own aliases; "Kid" and "Adventure Girl"  were his trusty sidekicks and they were thrilled to be included in Pilot's imaginative adventures.

I remember my own amazing adventures when I was a kid.  When my tire swing was the only way to get over the hot lava pit.  When the trampoline served as everything from a  deserted island to my winning moment at the Olympics (Mary Lou Retton step aside!)  When all I needed was a hairbrush to transform into a pop sensation.  Life doesn't just get harder as you get older, it gets a lot less fun.  Unless you have a Pilot in your life to remind you that things aren't always what they appear.

Until next time to Pilot, Kid and Adventure Girl!  Until next time....

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Children Family Photographer Phoenix Photography Saguaro Hotel https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/3/the-adventures-of-pilot-kid-and-adventure-girl-family-photos-the-saguaro-scottsdale-az Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:03:33 GMT
DIY Engagement Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/2/DIY_Engagement_Photos

I'm here to talk to you about getting INTO your photos; whether it's with your family, your kids, a special event like an engagement, or just every day moments.  While it is wonderful to be able to hire a professional with the proper equipment and know-how for your special once-a-year (or once-in-a-lifetime) occasions - what about all the days in between?  

As a professional photographer I ADORE doing engagement sessions and, though we were blessed to have a fellow photographer do photos for us, I still wanted to try my hand at doing them myself.  I have to admit, I was really happy with the final result.  Doing your own photos takes some preparation, a bit of know-how and a lot of patience but there is no reason why you can't have beautiful, crisp, well-compositioned shots of you and your loved ones!  Now I must preface this by saying - there are a dozen ways to approach this but I'm going to give my own personal tried-and-true tips for getting a great shot.

Equipment you will need: A basic SLR camera with a remote and a tripod.  

You can use the self-timer on your camera but a remote is much easier to work with.  Remotes are inexpensive and, if you are committed to inserting yourself into photos, they are well worth the investment.  Get a wireless remote with a 2 second delay button so you have time to hide the remote before the shutter clicks!

First, pick your location and determine the right time of day for optimum light.  For the purpose of this tutorial we are going to focus on outdoor locations.  The first rays of sunlight in the morning and the last of the day are the easiest to work with and the most flattering.  Depending on where you live you might get early morning or late afternoon clouds that will give a totally different quality of light to your images.  Take the time to notice the sunlight at different times of the day and determine what will add to the overall affect you are trying to achieve.  I wanted the golden warmth of the late day Arizona sun for these images. The light was glinting off the clovers in this field creating an image that looks more like a painting that a photo.  Remember that your background matters but light matters more!  If you find a beautiful tree that you want to stand in front of but the sun will be straight in your face...find another tree.

Second, set up your tripod and camera.  Ideally you will have an understanding of manual exposure so that you can set your shutter speed, aperture and ISO for the ideal result.  If not, set your camera to Program mode ("P" on the dial at the top of most cameras) and the camera will adjust the exposure automatically when you focus on the area where you will be sitting or standing.  I recommend using Program mode as opposed to fully Automatic to avoid unplanned pop-up flash, but feel free to try different settings.  I always shoot in Manual mode, for the image above I set the shutter speed to 1/200 in order to bring down the ambient light and allow the beautiful background colors to pop, I set the aperture at f/4.5 to give just enough soft detail to the background and had an ISO of 100 to avoid any grain or noise in the image.  I used a small flash on a light stand to the right of the camera diffused with a shoot-thru umbrella to add a pop of light to our faces since we were backlit in this position (meaning that the sun was at our backs).  Flash is certainly not mandatory, but in this type of setting it allows YOU to be the brightest area of the image without blowing out the background.  

Third, set your focus.  This is absolutely the most important piece of the puzzle.  To ensure you get the absolute sharpest focus I suggest putting your camera into manual focus mode.  You will need something (or someone) in the approximate spot you will be in for the photo so that you have something to focus on.  In this situation I had Chris get into position, focused tightly on his eyes, threatened his life if he moved and jumped into the shot...ROMANTIC ;)  

Turn your camera to the wireless remote mode or set the self-timer and then align yourself on the same focal plane as whatever (or whomever) you set the focus on.   An easy way to understand "focal plane" is if you imagine pushing your face up against a window, that window is the focal plane and whatever you want to be in focus needs to be at approximately the same distance from the glass.  If your face is in front or behind of where you focused the camera, you will most likely end up blurry. 

Now is the fun part - relax, smile and have fun!  Make sure you periodically check your images on the back of your camera to ensure you haven't moved off the focal plane or you will end up with blurry images.  Take a LOT of photos and make sure you spend a few moments really scrutinizing them before you move on.  I took several images where the remote was clearly visible in my hand, thankfully I had plenty of images to pick from.

I hope this encourages you to get into more photos and have fun with your camera.  Photos taken with your phone will memorialize an event but are certainly not going to be framed over your fireplace for years to come.  Beautiful photographs preserve memories and require a bit of thought and effort.  Your family deserves it and you deserve it.  

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Coons Bluff DIY Engagement Photos Engagement How to take your own photos Phoenix Photography Self Portraits Tonto National Forest https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/2/DIY_Engagement_Photos Wed, 18 Feb 2015 00:01:29 GMT
ASU Senior Photos in Tempe Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/2/asu-senior-photos-in-tempe-arizona

Does it get any fresher than this face?  Bright, happy and excited - just as it should be for every college graduate.  Regan's shoot was one of my favorites to date.  We had perfect weather, perfect light and - if one perfect face wasn't enough- she brought her little sister Emily along for some of the photos.  I was in photographer's Heaven.

After getting a ton of gorgeous shots on the ASU campus in Tempe we went over to Tempe Center for the Arts to capture a sophisticated and stunningly beautiful side of Regan as the sun went down.  I am so blessed to photograph graduates like Regan.  Strong, kind and full of optimism for the future.  I am thrilled to have met you Regan!  Thank you for entrusting me with these moments.  

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) ASU Beautiful Edge Graduate Headshots Phoenix Photography Senior Photographer Senior Photography Senior Photos https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/2/asu-senior-photos-in-tempe-arizona Wed, 04 Feb 2015 15:20:32 GMT
Family Photos at the Phoenician Resort Phoenix, Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-at-the-phoenician-resort-phoenix-arizona  

When I was contacted to do a photoshoot for for an extended family of 18 at the beautiful Phoenician Resort I was excited - when I found out it was to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary I was THRILLED.  A celebration of love, tenacity and commitment - sounds like my kind of party.  This family is full of characters, all good spirited and full of fun.  They made my job very easy.  

Lorna and Jim we are so loving and kind, they were very amused by the antics of their sons Jimmy and Garry (and really - who couldn't be amused by these two?).  Their daughter Julie had organized the shoot, and from one detail-centric person to another - she did an amazing job!   Their other daughter Cindy brought the magic with her two little ones, it's incredible how children bring so much light to a photo!  We made sure to get individual family photos and lots of shots of the grandkids.  It truly was a joyous day and I felt blessed to be a part of it.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-at-the-phoenician-resort-phoenix-arizona Tue, 27 Jan 2015 16:42:02 GMT
Local Author Headshots, Peoria Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/local-author-headshots-peoria-arizona

Am I one of the luckiest photographers alive?  Pinch me.  When I was contacted by local author, Lynn Rush, to do her promotional headshots I was just a tiny bit intimidated.  Lynn is a published author, MULTIPLE times over - she also writes under the pen name Reese Monroe, because apparently she just didn't have enough to do.  She is an endurance athlete who you will find enjoying long (very long) bike rides with her husband. The best part about this amazing woman, however, is her sense of humor.  She had me giggling during our entire shoot.  We were blessed to use the book store at Christ's Church of the Valley Peoria Campus as our backdrop for several of the shots.  Lynn's writing include several trilogies including; Wasteland, Violet Night and Touch of Frost.  She is as dimensional and complex as her characters and the nicest person you'd ever be lucky enough to meet.  Can I just mention - THOSE EYES?!  They are as striking in real life as they are in photos.

Lynn thank you so much for the opportunity to capture just a bit of your personality in these photos.  It was a true pleasure.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Author Beautiful Edge CCV Christ's Church of the Valley Headshots Lynn Rush Phoenix Photography Touch of Frost https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/local-author-headshots-peoria-arizona Wed, 14 Jan 2015 23:31:23 GMT
Family Holiday Photos Glendale Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-holiday-photos-glendale-arizona  

I was lucky enough to be referred to the Davison family by another wonderful client.  This astoundingly attractive family was so much fun to photograph! Each one of them is striking and full of personality.  You put them together and you honestly don't know where to look!

Thank you to the Davison family for entrusting these precious moments to me!

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Children Family Photographer Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-holiday-photos-glendale-arizona Tue, 13 Jan 2015 20:02:27 GMT
Family Photos at McCormick Train Park Scottsdale, Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-mccormick-train-park-scottsdale-arizona

Farrah and Jackson picked this location and I couldn't have possibly chosen a better spot.  It was a gorgeous morning to photograph this beautiful Mom and her boy.   I was touched by how gentle and sweet Jackson was with his mom.  He was full of love and hugs and she was happy to reciprocate.  Farrah's wit and good humor is always a delight and she didn't miss a beat on this early weekend morning.

Jackson got a big kick out of the trains surrounding the park and it is wonderful that the folks at McCormick Train Park actually let you climb right on them.  So many places are "look but don't touch" - it's nice to get out and explore a bit!

Really, you just can't put a price on having a photo of your son hugging you without the slightest bit of hesitation.  

I am not a proponent of using railroad tracks in my photography, unless my clients are running for their lives. 

I just adore you Farrah and Jackson - thank you for letting me capture these images for you.  I hope you love them as much as I do!

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Child Photographer Family Photographer McCormick Train Park Phoenix Photography Scottsdale Train Park https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-mccormick-train-park-scottsdale-arizona Wed, 07 Jan 2015 20:50:10 GMT
Family Photos Rancho Mañana Golf Course, Cave Creek Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-rancho-ma-ana-golf-course-cave-creek-arizona

This family was the first that ever entrusted me with their very important holiday photos and I was thrilled to have the opportunity to have them in front of my camera again this year.  We met on the absolutely GORGEOUS Rancho Mañana Golf Course in Cave Creek, Arizona. Darren is originally from Australia and his lovely Mum and Dad were visiting the Valley.  Little Liam was cheery and fun, if it looks like this was an ideal shoot in an ideal setting...it's because it was!

If you ever want advice on clothing choices for family photos Aimee is the person to ask.  She knows exactly what colors will look wonderful together, especially with this surreal green backdrop.  Hard to believe we were quickly approaching the holidays when we took these images, we truly do live in a beautiful place.

Thank you Aimee and Darren for trusting me with your family's images.  I am honored.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/family-photos-rancho-ma-ana-golf-course-cave-creek-arizona Wed, 07 Jan 2015 20:19:14 GMT
Everyday Resolutions https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/everyday-resolutions

 

Every year I meticulously make my New Year resolutions.  I write them down feeling very excited and relish in that 'anything is possible!' energy.... and then I promptly stick that list somewhere and never look at it again.  I want this year to be different so I need to change my approach.  Instead of setting huge goals and noble, but overly lofty, pursuits I'm going to simply try and live each day just a little bit better than the last.  There are small things that I know I need to do each day in order to feel a sense of completeness and satisfaction.  

#1 - Be Present.  We've all had it happen, we drive to the store, park and do our shopping.  We come back out and have NO IDEA where our car is.    Are we really "too busy" to remember where we parked or were we simply not present at the time we pulled into the shopping center. I found myself doing this all the time, mostly due to being on the phone, researching an upcoming shoot or just simply lost in thought.  At the end of the day I felt like I had missed so much, I felt guilty and unsatisfied.  This year I want to be present to whatever I am doing, if it's accomplishing a task then do it fully and move on.  If it is having dinner with the family then that is where my focus will be.  Anything worth doing is worth doing fully.

#2 - Accelerate Business.  For me this means making one meaningful step toward acquiring new business, following up on past business or improving my current on-line presence.  The only way to succeed is with forward movement.

#3 - Learn Something New.  I don't want to just be an "average" photographer.  I want to be AMAZING and that requires daily practice and study.

#4 - Acknowledge God.  Amen.

#5 - Network With Others.  Community is so important, especially when you are working by yourself without the daily social contact you would normally get from an office setting.  An email, phone call or text gives you a bit of connection and can make a big difference in your day. 

#6 - Cherish Family.  What would this life be without them?

#7 - Exercise and Eat Well.  This could also be called "get out of your pajamas and eat a vegetable".  (Things might have gotten a little out of control that first year of business ;)

This list has become my new "to-do" and I mentally check off each one every day.  Here's to living the life YOU want in 2015!

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Phoenix Resolutions https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2015/1/everyday-resolutions Wed, 07 Jan 2015 19:31:38 GMT
Top 10 Photos of 2014 https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/12/top-10-photos-of-2014  

2014 has been a year of photos - more than I ever could have possibly imagined.  Newborns, graduates, brides & grooms.  So many precious families have sat patiently in front of my camera and so many active toddlers have run screaming away from it. I've carried my camera like a new mom carries her baby, always cradled carefully in my arm.  I've annoyed family and friends with constant shutter clicks, I've captured smiles and tears.  I've also captured my fair share of total garbage (thank goodness for digital).  I've gained a life's worth of knowledge in a short time and I've tried to share what I've learned with anyone interested enough to ask.  

I thought about what would be the most appropriate way to close out this first year of business, and what could be more fitting than to do it in photos.  Here are my Top 10 Images from 2014 in no particular order.  Some are personal, some are professional - it was extremely hard to narrow it down to 10 but I held firm.

 

#10 - "We've Got Your Back" - The Vicars Wedding.  The beauty of friends and family cheering them on as they begin their journey as husband and wife is so touching.  I can look at this image over and over again and still feel hope and love emanating from it.

#9 - "Daddy's Girl" - Emma's Newborn Shoot.  I loved the way this "tough guy" doted on his little girl. It was one of my first images as a professional photographer and remains one of my favorites.

#8 - "Butterflies" - Ryan House Memorial.  While writing an article on Ryan House, one of the countries only respite and hospice care center's for children, I took a tour of their facility.  In the back garden is a memorial for every child they have had to say goodbye to, each one represented by a single butterfly.  Far, far too many butterflies.

#7 - "Superman" - Kelly & Noah.   Having the opportunity to take Noah's first birthday photos was especially touching because I am a close friend of his parents.  He has brought so much joy into their lives, and ours.  He truly is a little superman, with a personality that is larger than life.

#6 - "Muse" - Savannah.  This young lady has been an inspiration for many photoshoots over the last year.  Always willing to help me scout locations or model for me.  I just adore this image of her as she prepared to enter high school.  She is a bright shining light and I adore her.

#5 - "Metamorphisis" - Alycia. A beautiful woman with an amazing story.  Alycia battles an unpredictable and ferocious autoimmune disease that wages war against her body in the form of extreme fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness and weight gain.  Over the last year she managed to take control back in many aspects of her life - especially in the area of physical fitness.  She fights through the fatigue to maintain a rigorous workout routine with the help of her trainer.  The results are inspiring.  

#4 - "Remarkable" - John Sittu Senior Session.  Why be average.  Take a look at what this high school senior has accomplished in his short life and be prepared to be amazed and inspired.  I know I was.

#3 - "Boston" - Let's run.  One year after the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, Chris and I headed to Boston so that he could realize a dream many years in the making.  It served as an exceptional experience in both our lives.

#2 - "Are You Sleeping" - Kinsley and Brayden.  I'm a big fan of candid images and this is one of my favorites. Our first "camp out" in the living room.  The kids were starting kindergarten and moving into a new home.  It was a transitional time in their lives and they handled it beautifully.  Always looking out for each other.

#1 - "YES!" - I got engaged.  How could I NOT include this incredible experience from 2014.  It changes everything in the absolute best way.

Thank all of you for being part of the Beautiful Edge journey over the past year.  I can't wait to capture many more amazing images in 2015.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/12/top-10-photos-of-2014 Wed, 31 Dec 2014 18:04:32 GMT
Love letters for Thanksgiving https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/12/love-letters It recently came to my attention that many (ok all but ONE) of my clients' reviews on Yelp.com are not being shown.  Apparently due to some automated filter used by Yelp.  While this upset me from a business owner's perspective it REALLY lit me up because of how disrespectful it was to the clients who took time and effort to write reviews that were never seen by anyone.  

Because of this I wanted to share a few of those letters along with the precious images that go along with them.  I can't thank all of you enough for trusting me with your time, your family, and your memories.  

Let's start with Frankie Walton, review written by her mom, Jaime.

"Susan is truly an amazing photographer. After a very successful family photo shoot, I decided to have Susan take pictures of my 8 year old daughter for a potential modeling portfolio. Just before our shoot my daughter, feeling apprehensive, said, "Mom, I am more of a swimmer than a model." After her photo shoot, my daughter raved about Susan all the way home. "Mom, Susan is like an aunt! She is so fun and nice. I can't wait to do another shoot!" Needless to say, Susan not only made my daughter comfortable in front of the camera, she also cultivated a new found excitement about photography and left her wanting more!

Not only are Susan's pictures beautiful and captivating, her love of what she does shines through in each and every photograph!! We have now used Susan for family photos as well as modeling shots for my daughter and I can say, without hesitation, that she is an incredibly talented artist and we will certainly use her anytime we need professional photos taken!"

~Jaime Walton, Scottsdale AZ

One of my "regulars", Miss Danielle Puryear, also gave a beautiful and thoughtful review that I would like to share.  I photographed Danielle's maternity images, her daughter, Emma's, newborn images and then her 6 month photos as well.  I hope to have Dani and Emma as lifelong clients.  When you read her kind words and see the lovely images we created together you will see why.

"I had the pleasure of working with Susan for a maternity photo shoot which was an AMAZING experience! She came up with so many great, unique picture ideas that I would have never thought of, but she made sure that she captured all of my ideas & turned them into beautiful images! The photos turned out better than I could have ever hoped for!  A couple months later I got to work with her again to do my daughter Emma's newborn pictures. Any thing involving a newborn is a little more difficult than normal so I was a little nervous for the shoot. Luckily Susan is wonderful to work with and was so patient with the many prop/position changes, diaper changes, spitting up & crying moments.  I cannot wait for many many more photo sessions to come & am sure she will be my family's photographer for years and years to come.

~Danielle Puryear, Phoenix A

Last but not least, I want to share a review written by Miss Sarah Miller (soon to be Gonzalez!) regarding her engagement photos.  Sarah, Mark and I spent almost an entire day together, working to capture the essence of their relationship.  We started at 6 a.m. in the desert and ended the evening in a citrus grove in downtown Glendale.  These images are so incredibly special to me, as are the beautiful words of thanks that followed.

"Susan is an amazing person to work with.  We had such an amazing time on our engagement shoot.  Susan took such care getting to know us; her genuine care for us truly showed during our shoot.  She wanted to make sure that we had a pleasant experience, and we did ten-fold!  I would highly recommend Susan and Beautiful Edge Photography for all of your photo needs."

~Sarah Miller, Scottsdale AZ

So very thankful for all my clients who bless me with these incredible notes of love and support.  As well as those clients who are so astonishingly generous, like Kimberly Caruso who not only brought me a homemade pumpkin pie to her session, but a full tub of whip cream as well!  To Debra Davison who was so generous and thoughtful she actually gave ME a Christmas gift after our family session! And to all of you who have referred me to friends and family - I thank every one of you.  

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/12/love-letters Mon, 01 Dec 2014 23:25:12 GMT
Anniversary Photo Session Scorpion Gulch, Phoenix Arizona https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/11/anniversary-photo-session-scorpion-gulch-phoenix-arizona

Laura and Karl were getting ready to celebrate their 7 year anniversary and realized they hadn't had professional photos done since their wedding.  Life gets in the way of these things sometimes.  Too many of us think we will always "remember" life's big moments and we diminish the importance for photos but Laura knew better.  I was thinking about this as I drove my step-kids to school the next day.   I said to Kinsley, our 5 year old, "do you remember when you and your brother ran in that race?"  Her answer?  "Yes, I remember that picture".  It struck me so strongly and resonated in my heart.  We "remember" in "pictures".  Kinsley didn't necessarily remember running in the race (and falling) and getting up again, but she remembers clearly the photo I took after the race with her holding her metal.  Every bit of her memory is wrapped up in that one image.  

Laura understood this even better than I did.  Photos are a way of capturing a moment in time.  If you underestimate their importance you may find one day that you have a difficult time recalling many important adventures, feelings, and experiences.

When I look at Laura and Karl's images all I can do is smile.  I see such playfulness, love and an obvious shared adoration.  These are not just photos, they are like capturing time in a bottle. 

"

"The dance is over, the applause subsided, but the joy and feeling will stay with you forever."  -W.M. Tory

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/11/anniversary-photo-session-scorpion-gulch-phoenix-arizona Thu, 06 Nov 2014 19:56:59 GMT
Senior Photography Sahuaro Ranch Park, Phoenix AZ https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/11/senior-photography-sahuaro-ranch-park-phoenix-az  

So every now and again I meet someone who really inspires me.  Someone who has such obvious love of life and excitement over the future.  Recently that "someone" was this incredible Senior from Brophy College Preparatory School, John Sittu.  

John is truly a rare breed.  So dynamic and kind hearted with a wicked sense of humor, he had me rolling during our entire shoot.

John has such a bright future ahead of him.  He has been blessed with the gift to lead and inspire, and I believe he takes that seriously.  Wise beyond his years and an absolute blast to be around.  John has a passion for gardening, the environment and, most importantly, for his FAMILY.  I feel blessed to have gotten to know him and for having the opportunity to capture this pivotal time in his life.  

John, I sincerely wish you the best.  Go out and change the world and inspire others to follow your lead.  

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/11/senior-photography-sahuaro-ranch-park-phoenix-az Tue, 04 Nov 2014 22:54:02 GMT
Engagement Photoshoot at Manistee Ranch | Sarah & Mark https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/10/Engagement-Photoshoot-Manistee

Getting the chance to do an engagement shoot for Sarah and Mark was such a joy.  These are two of the kindest people I have ever met. Their mutual respect and love is so apparent as you watch them laugh and interact with each other.  Our day started at the Gateway trailhead.  These two avid runners have found common ground in their love of trail running and their love of their two sweet dogs, Mavic and Roscoe.

Later that day we met up at Manistee Ranch and chased the sun until it disappeared.  It was a beautiful day with a blessed and inspiring couple.   Best of luck to Sarah and Mark as they move through life together.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Engagement Gateway Manistee Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/10/Engagement-Photoshoot-Manistee Wed, 01 Oct 2014 23:50:25 GMT
Tiny Blessings ~ Newborn Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/9/little-blessings

 

Why do I love newborn photography so much?  Let me count the ways.... 

New moms and dads are so overwhelmed with the basic act of survival that those first few weeks fly by in a flurry of diapers and feedings and sleepless nights.  While this is absolutely one of the most special times of their lives, it is also the most difficult and stressful.  I think the biggest blessing you could ever give to a new family is the gift of capturing those first few moments to reflect back on throughout the years.

When you are in the heat of battle (aka trying to get a newborn to sleep) the last thing on your mind is grabbing your camera to capture that beautiful face, or tiny toes or soft baby curls.  Even if you do think about it, the chances are that you will grab your phone and the images will never make it any further than a Facebook post.  They say that this new generation will be the most photographed in our history and yet will have absolutely no photographs of themselves 50 years from now.  Computers crash, phones break and (contrary to popular belief) CDs are meant to be a temporary transport not a permanent home for your precious memories.

This is where a I come in.  I prefer to travel to the home of my newborn clients and use their familiar and comfortable surroundings to create beautiful images that they will have for a lifetime.  Nothing brings a smile to my face more than sweet newborn images.   It is impossible to not be touched by such innocence and pure love.  Angels on earth.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Beautiful Edge Newborn Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/9/little-blessings Thu, 25 Sep 2014 16:05:36 GMT
Not your typical headshot.... https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/9/not-your-typical-headshot Phoenix Headshots - Four SeasonsPhoenix Headshots - Four Seasons

I've truly got a passion for photographing headshots.  I love capturing someone's most authentic self.  There is nothing to hide from in a closely cropped shot.  No props, no extravagant poses.  Just you, your smile and the sincerity in your eyes.

Phoenix Headshots - Four Seasons ResortPhoenix Headshots - Four Seasons Resort Phoenix Headshots - Four Seasons ResortPhoenix Headshots - Four Seasons Resort

I love the challenge of bringing out someone's personality in this single image.  Our headshots are far more powerful than we realize.  They are the first impression that can help us get a job, find us a partner, maybe even help us to adopt a child.  It has to be "YOU" at your BEST.  You may think you are showing your "fun and fearless" side in that Linked In profile picture, but a potential employer might have a different opinion.  You might think that poorly lit, highly pixelated selfie is more than adequate to draw in that special someone, but really - why not put your best face forward??

This particular shoot was a dear friend who is embarking on such an exciting chapter in her life.  She has the world at her fingertips, it is thrilling to watch and to be a part of.  She is a branding expert and understands the importance of having a headshot that is representative of her new business, her work ethic, and her professional and fun personality.

Phoenix Headshots - Four Seasons ResortPhoenix Headshots - Four Seasons Resort Phoenix Headshots - Four Seasons ResortPhoenix Headshots - Four Seasons Resort

If you want to know what kind of impression your headshot is making on the world, ask a trusted friend or colleague to take a look at your social media presence and give you an honest (and kind!) opinion.  

Then call me.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Four Seasons Resort Headshots Phoenix Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/9/not-your-typical-headshot Wed, 10 Sep 2014 23:47:45 GMT
Emma ~ 6 months https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/8/emma-6-months

 

Miss Emma was the first darling little newborn I ever photographed.  As the months go by she simply gets sweeter and even more joyous.  Her smile literally brightens the room, I absolutely adore our time together.  

When we finish our sessions I'm always just a bit sad knowing that the next time I see her she is going to have changed so much, but it is so special that I get to be a part of documenting her first year.

I look forward to the Fall when I will get to spend time with Emma and her mom again.  They are extremely special clients to me and I will always hold them very dear to my heart.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Children Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/8/emma-6-months Wed, 20 Aug 2014 20:26:47 GMT
Be-U-tiful https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/7/frankie  

I've been a bit obsessed lately with the idea of growing up, maybe because I'm about to become an "other mommy" to two amazing 5 years olds and their development fascinates me, as does my own - even at 38 years of age.  I'm especially intrigued by the complexity of girls and the range of emotions, intellect and maturity that they seem to cram into tiny packages.  I was thrilled to have the opportunity to photograph this little one for exactly that reason.  At 8 years old she she is all sweetness and fun, silly and kind.  However, there is also quiet maturity that you might not expect at this age.  A sensitivity to people's feelings and an understanding of subtle undercurrents in her environment.  

I feel blessed to have the chance to capture a small snapshot of her life at this moment.  She is an extraordinary young lady and as she grows I have no doubt that she will move mountains.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/7/frankie Mon, 28 Jul 2014 22:48:02 GMT
B. & K. https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/6/b-k

 

I remember when I first met these two little darlin's.   I couldn't make heads or tails of a word they said but they were so precious!  Now here they are, 5 years old and getting ready to start Kindergarten!

 

I love how Brayden can completely lose himself in bubbles and bugs and counting sprinkler heads.  He is pure joy, he loves people and things intensely and wears his heart on his sleeve.

Little Miss Kinsley doesn't miss a THING.  She is so aware of people's emotions and is smart as a whip.  She has a memory that I can only dream of.    I would definitely call her an old soul in a teeny tiny body.

 

I am thrilled that I get to have a place in these kids lives.  They certainly have a permanent place in mine.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) Children Photography https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/6/b-k Thu, 19 Jun 2014 22:56:13 GMT
Patrick and Alex https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/5/patrick-and-alex

When I thoughts about doing a stylized shoot I immediately thought about Patrick and Alex.  They have such a unique style, both drop dead gorgeous with classic looks that could fit into any era....so why not throw them back a few.    We had such a fun time putting this together.  They trusted me completely and I was ecstatic that I was able to take the idea in my head and bring it to life with my camera. 

 

I would love to do more shoots like this and allow people to show what they are about, what they love. To capture not just "smiles for the camera" but a bit of their personality as well.

Even Bella the dog got in on the act.

 

...and afterwards we had a good old fashioned sing-a-long 

 

Thank you Alex and Patrick - I will cherish these pictures as much as (I hope) you do.

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/5/patrick-and-alex Sat, 24 May 2014 18:08:17 GMT
Ashlee https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/5/ashlee

Recently I was asked to help build a portfolio for a promising young model.  Ashlee is one of the sweetest teens I've met and so unbelievably gorgeous - the kind of beauty you have to see to believe.   

 

I had so much fun planning this shoot and Ashley was up to try anything.  There is nothing like working with someone who truly enjoys being in front of the camera.  

I can't wait to see where Ashlee ends up taking her career, I can only hope she'll remember me when she's big and famous and our fun morning together!

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/5/ashlee Tue, 13 May 2014 21:07:22 GMT
Savannah https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/4/savannah  

The transition from Middle School to High School is a big moment.  It's so hard to believe that Savannah is about to hit this milestone! 

The lighting could not have been more perfect for our shoot and Savannah is just made to be in front of the camera.  This location was absolutely perfect to capture the diversity of her personality. 

Savannah has so much to look forward to and I can't wait to capture many more of these big moments yet to come!

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/4/savannah Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:23:17 GMT
Cheyenne and Savannah https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/4/cheyenne-and-savannah

Catching up on the blog!  I had so much fun shooting these two beauties. Cheyenne and Savannah are the daughters of a very close friend and I had been chomping at the bit to get a chance to get them in front of my camera. 

 

These two have such unique personalities but at their core they are as kind, secure and resilient as their mom.  Savannah has such a big heart and loves all things "girlie".  I wanted to ask her for makeup pointers but I felt like I should play it cool...and then study her photos later and try to copy her technique.

 

Cheyenne has such a great head on her shoulders.  You just know that whatever she puts her mind to she will pull off with style and grace.

 

Love you girls!!  Let's do another session soon.

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/4/cheyenne-and-savannah Thu, 03 Apr 2014 01:16:19 GMT
Dani and Emma https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/dani-and-emma

 

Really is there anything more lovely than a new mom and her baby girl?  I had the honor of photographing Dani and Bennett during their pregnancy and now seeing Dani with her little girl is such a special experience.  We put in a solid effort to do a family photoshoot at the beautiful Sahuaro Ranch Park but our plan quickly unraveled as the temperature climbed and Emma lost patience with me and my camera.

 

So what do you do when a shoot doesn't go as planned?  Well, if you're me, you set up lighting in your bedroom and invite mom and baby to enjoy the air conditioned comfort while you click away.  Dani was such a good sport and we were able to get a few more shots before Emma put her tiny baby foot down and indicated she'd had more than enough of our nonsense.

 

 

Every time I do a photoshoot I learn valuable lessons.   Emma taught me to shoot early, to shoot fast and to be flexible. 

 

Wise baby. 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/dani-and-emma Thu, 27 Mar 2014 18:01:25 GMT
Emma's First Photoshoot https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/emmas-first-photoshoot  

 

This weekend I was so blessed to have the opportunity to do my first newborn shoot with little Emma.  She was so beautiful, patient and well, incredibly sleepy.  She did open her beautiful blue eyes towards the end of our session and WOW did she light up the room. 

 

Emma's Mom and Dad came to the shoot and were happy to allow Emma to take the spotlight, however I did have to capture just a bit of the beautiful love and tenderness her daddy showed toward his little girl.  More to come with Momma and baby just a bit later!

 

 

This tiny little bundle is definitely going to bring such joy and happiness to this family and I can't thank them enough for allowing me to capture these precious moments.

 

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/emmas-first-photoshoot Mon, 17 Mar 2014 19:23:56 GMT
Noah ~ 1 Year https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/noah

 

How can you celebrate the first year of a sweet little boy that came into the lives of his parents, and all of their friends & family, and changed them forever?  How can you capture the personality, the strength, and the capacity for love in this pint size heartbreaker?  You put him in a cape and let him charm the camera..that's how.

 

Photographing Noah presented me with my first opportunity to shoot in my new studio and boy did I learn a lot.  He taught me just how fun everything in the room appears to a one year old...other than the one spot that I actually wanted him to sit.

 

He also taught me that hats are made to be eaten, thrown, sat on and held in front of that cute little face that I so badly wanted to photograph....

 

The most important thing Noah taught me during our time together was that he would give me exactly what I was looking for if I was patient enough and let him be himself.  There is no other Noah in the world - he is a one in a million.

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/noah Thu, 13 Mar 2014 15:18:50 GMT
The Shoot Behind The Shoot https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/-the-shoot-behind-the-shoot As I got ready to launch Beautiful Edge Photography, I realized there was a need to get some photos of me in proper "photographer" mode.  So this is the story of "the shoot behind the shoot". 

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Tammy Zelez, of Tammy Zelez Photography, agreed to capture photos of me while I did a full photoshoot with my model and friend, Melissa Davidson Polit.  Melissa signed on to model before she knew that the shoot would take place in the middle of the desert and that her car would also be her changing room, what a good sport (and yes, those are her legs). 

Tammy captured every angle and moment of a shoot, from the communication and brainstorming between myself and Melissa, to me rolling in cactus trying to get the shot. 

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We had a wonderful time and I was able to capture some truly breathtaking images of Melissa ~ hard not to when someone is THIS beautiful.

 

 

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(Beautiful Edge Photography) https://www.thebeautifuledge.com/blog/2014/3/-the-shoot-behind-the-shoot Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:49:35 GMT