Thankful for All of My Work Experience
Being thankful. This seems like an easy topic for November, right? Yes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t worth writing about. Sometimes you need distance from a situation to get clarity. In my professional career, I’ve transitioned from one administrative position to another. All basically lateral moves to a new area. For instance, I’ve worked in a variety of departments such as marketing, attorney recruiting, and as an executive assistant/coordinator. To say I’ve learned a lot about a wide variety would be accurate. To say I’ve mastered any of these positions would be inaccurate. Don’t get me wrong, I was very good at all of these jobs. But at the end of the day, I’m a Jill of All Trades and Master of None. That didn’t bother me for a long time because I enjoy learning new things. But recently I’ve felt that it has hampered my long-term career growth. It’s great to pick up new skills, but if you always go with the flow of where you are needed you are not taking control of your own career.
But you are a photographer you say. Well yes, I’ve pivoted in that direction and all of my office skills are coming into play for running my business. I still have so much to learn but it is on my own terms. I’m driving my career boat and not floating downstream. There are many talented photographers out in the world and my skill level isn’t the same as those who have been shooting for many years. (Yet!) Is it risky to try this path–yes! Am I excited, and maybe a little nervous, about taking control of my own path–absolutely! For now, I still do freelance office work but again it is on my terms, doing the type of work that I enjoy and find to be challenging and stimulating.
Know Your Limits and Pay the Experts
I see a lot of new photographers asking in social media groups about taxes and if they should form and LLC or do sole proprietorship for their business, etc. I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your limits and to pay the experts! When I decided to go down the path of starting a photography business, I knew that I did not want to take chances of messing up any paperwork. So, I hired an attorney (Horenstein Law Group) to help me with my LLC formation and it was worth the price for the peace of mind to know it was done correctly. I also have an accountant (Shields Tax). My husband and I have used them for years for our personal taxes. Before forming my business, I met with our accountant to go over all of my tax questions. Everyone’s situation is unique and each state has different laws. Trust the experts and pay their fees. Welcome to business ownership – it takes a village.
Many photographers struggle with their own pricing and will seek input from peers. The community responds with ‘know your worth and charge for your expertise’ I say the same for taxes and legal questions! We need to support experts in their field and be willing to pay for their expertise, just as we ask our own clients to pay for our expertise. And, it is also a great networking opportunity.
How Has Networking Helped Me
So many people believe the sole goal of networking is to get clients and future work. In my opinion, that couldn’t be more wrong. Networking is meant to be an opportunity for people to meet and become referral sources for each other. That may look like paid client work or helping to spread the word about a job opening at an organization, or an opportunity to volunteer in the community. It is a two-way street.
This pivot of mine into photography has been helped tremendously by my network. I’m finding other like-minded individuals who want to support each other on their journey. I’m so lucky. I will be the first to admit I have a lot to learn in the photography business but I know I also have a lot to offer. There are many who see other photographers as competitors and do not want to help them grow. I’ve found an amazing group of ladies (Viewpoint Collaborative) who are all about lifting each other up, helping them grow, and supporting each other’s journey. It’s nice to have this group not to mention that it is great to be able to refer clients. Interested in scheduling a photo session with your newborn or do a boudoir session? I know some great ladies who specialize in those areas and have no problem referring them. Networks are important. Always be authentic and open.
At the end of the day, I’m so thankful for the road that led me here. Where will this new path take me? I’m not sure but I’m really excited for the journey!
#Photographer #PNWphotography #Portraits #VancouverWA #VancouverPhotographer #SeniorPictures #FamilyPortraits #ProfessionalDevelopment #Thankful #Network #LifeLessons #Goals #BigDreams #TakingAction #UhaczPhotography #OfficeSkills
When life hands you lemons, you make lemonade. When COVID-19 cancels your wedding, you elope and have your wedding photos taken later. That is exactly what Kaelin and Dylan decided to do in the middle of March when their wedding was cancelled. I introduced you to them in my March blog post. Their original wedding date was scheduled for April 5, and was canceled due to the pandemic and shelter in place orders. They had a small window of time before the state “closed” so they decided to elope and figure out a reception once people were able to travel and gather in groups safely again.
Since the groom’s family lives in Texas and was unable to travel quickly to Washington for a micro-wedding before the shut-down, they decided an elopement was the best option. They didn’t want to leave anyone out of their special day, so even though her family was in town they kept it to a quiet elopement. The groom is in the military and had leave already scheduled, so they thought it would be best to get married while they had the time. If you have ever served, married someone who served, or have known anyone who has served, then you understand how challenging it can be to schedule leave. For the civilians out there, “leave” is vacation time and it is much harder to get the approval than a civilian job. So, they eloped and their honeymoon was a shelter in place staycation to avoid the pandemic.
They say rain on your wedding day will bring you good luck in your marriage…I can only imagine the incredible luck these two will have since they had a pandemic on their wedding day.
How They Met
Kaelin and Dylan met while she was managing an apartment complex and he was a renter. They hit it off right away and that was the start of their love story. She now works for a local dentist in their town. She’s a local Washington girl and he’s from Texas. They have the military to thank for helping them meet. They are a fun and energetic couple who loves the great outdoors and exploring the beautiful world we live in.
The Photo Shoot
We talked about rescheduling their wedding photo shoot for later in the summer when it was safer. We had no idea what life would look like so we were patient as we waited for updates about closures and restrictions. They wanted to do the photos at the original venue Island Lake Park in Poulsbo, Washington. Once we finalized the shoot date, they again kept it to just the two of them since not all of the family or bridal party would be able to travel and attend. It was a beautiful July day when we had our photo session. Being the Pacific Northwest, I had umbrellas handy just in case it decided to rain.
You can see the love they share when they look at each other. It just shines in these photos. She kept her wedding dress hidden so we could do a traditional first look. They may have already been married but the look in his face when he saw his bride all dressed up for the first time was priceless! While the family of the bride and groom were not there to share the day with them, they will always have these photos to look back on and share with their family.
This couple was so much fun! They incorporated masks and a couple of bottles of Corona into the photo shoot. They were up for being silly and romantic so their gallery of images included some piggyback rides, twirling and dipping on the dock, and a mock runaway bride series.
Summer mornings at the dock on the lake–we should have known we wouldn’t be early enough to beat the rush. It was occupied with a few fishermen when we arrived but they immediately offered to move their stuff so we could get some pictures. They were all married men and wished them many years of happiness. They occasionally shared some of their wisdom with the new groom. Umm...that was very interesting and all in fun!
At the end of the day, these two missed out on a traditional wedding and making those memories with their family. But they know they made the best decision for themselves and their families. So, while they didn’t get to experience having the bride’s father walk her down the aisle or the groom having a mother-son dance, they are all healthy and looking forward to a time they can have the family all together for a celebration.
Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Bullard! Wishing you many years of happiness and adventures together.
#TheAdventuresoftheBullards #TheBullards2020 #CovidWedding2020 #WeAreTheBullards #BullardFamily2020 #BullardFamily-Established2020 #brideandgroom #wedding #covidwedding #weddingphotos #happycouple #bride #groom #CovidCantStopUs #weddingbells #wedding2020 #marriage #lovestory #military #militaryfamily #lovestory #uhaczphotography #vancouverwa #pnw #portraitphotographer #portraits #pnwphotographer #pnwphotography #VancouverWAPhotographer #WashingtonPhotographer
There’s a New Artist in Town
This summer Seaside, Oregon has a new artist in town. Full disclosure - it’s my husband and he’s awesome. He’s new to the game of sand art but he has picked it up quickly. Less than two months ago, Kelly said to me “I want to rake the sand” and he did. I must tell you I was a little confused at first about what he meant by rake the sand. He found an image he thought would be fun to draw in the sand, then grabbed a rake, some string, and a stick and set out to create something fun for people to enjoy as they strolled down the beach. He has a talent for taking the image off his phone or paper and translating it onto an 80- or 100-foot design in the sand. Artists run in his family, though most of them are painters. Kelly loves photography and as a civil engineer he also does design (roads, etc.) so he has an eye for drawing.
Behind the Scene
It all starts with checking the tide tables to determine when low tide will be. About an hour or so before low tide he will then pack up his tools of the trade and head out. Generally, his designs take 1.5 to 2 hours to complete. Sometimes we are rushing against time to get the pictures before the tide comes in and washes it away. It has all been a learning curve with the timing and locations to get the most area to draw.
His gear now also includes an extension pole and Go Pro camera. He mounts the Go Pro on the extension pole to take the final images. At first, we used our iPhones but quickly realized we needed more height to do these drawings justice. A drone has too many restrictions, so we have decided to use the extension pole. It can extend up to 23 feet and his phone can control the Go Pro. Who knows, we may end up with a drone someday. Only time will tell.
What Kind of Sand Art
A few of the images he’s done so far include a Goonies tribute, anchor, sea turtle, and a variety of mandalas. One image in particular, the compass rose, caught the attention of Seaside, Oregon (Instagram at @SeasideOregon) and Clatsop News. Clatsop News interviewed him on August 8th and the article was posted on the 9th with several images. During the interview a passerby stopped to admire the work and was interviewed. It was a lovely article and can be found here http://clatsopnews.com/2020/08/09/new-sand-artist-shares-his-gift-on-seaside-beach/
He’s not sure how long he’ll be able to work before the weather turns bad and keeps him inside. He’s already got a few fall and holiday ideas. You can message him on Instagram or comment below for requests!
Where to Find Him
You can usually find him on the weekends down between Avenue U and the Cove. He does this for fun and to bring smiles to those who wander on by. He’s always happy to have folks stop and take photos so don’t be shy! You can follow him on Instagram at @seaside_sand_art or by searching social media for #SeasideSandArt. If you share any of your photos, feel free to use #SeasideSandArt in your post. We love seeing what you’ve captured!
We hope you enjoy your summer and have a chance to stop by Seaside, Oregon to check out his latest designs.
#GoPro #GoProPhotography #iPhonePhotography #photography #SandArt #Artist #SeasideOregon #PNW #OregonCoast #SummerFun #SeasideSandArt #SandArtist #BeachLife #PlayingInSand
As father day approaches, I’m reflecting on the time I had with my dad. We lost him to cancer in the summer of 2017. That same year, I lost one of my aunts (dad’s side) and two other friends to cancer. It was a very hard year. One that had me rethinking my priorities about life and spending time with loved ones. This is one of the reasons I decided to start my photography business, I do not want regrets later in life and I want to help create happy memories for others.
My dad served in the military. He enlisted just before the Vietnam war and spent over a decade in the service. He met my mom while stationed in San Diego, California and they had a couple of kids (I made my appearance). Then he was transferred to Norfolk, Virginia where they had another child. While there, I attended some elementary school and developed the cutest little accent, and ultimately my father was discharged from the service. We then packed up our family van and had a very adventurous road trip back to San Diego (oh - my mom was very pregnant with my youngest brother for the road trip). At the age of 15, my parents divorced and shortly after that my dad moved back to his hometown in Michigan. His mom and sisters still lived in the area. We (siblings and mom) remained in Southern California. I didn’t see much of my father after he moved. This was back in the day of long-distance phone charges and US postal mail only. No social media or free long distance calls on your cell phone (we didn’t even have cell phones!). That made staying in touch even more challenging. My dad suffered from PTSD like many other vets but didn’t get the help needed. We had a strained relationship. I’m sure a lot of children of vets can relate. It is a tough road to navigate.
Summer of 2017
After years of working on building a better relationship with my dad and step-mom, I was beginning to feel like we were on the right track. We were having fun conversations and he even opened a Facebook account a year or so earlier so we could share even more of our lives with him. I would share stories about my travels and he would comment – sometimes he would mention places he went while in the service. Growing up he never talked about his time in the service so this was something new and connected us even more.
In early July 2017, my step-mom sent an urgent text asking the kids to call my dad ASAP! They aren’t overly dramatic people so when I saw it was urgent, I knew I needed to call. It was the middle of a work day (I had an office job at the time), but I stopped working and made the call. When they said he just found out that he had stage 4 cancer it took my breath away. I was glad to be sitting down for the news. It didn’t seem real. They were going to do more testing to see if it was possible to try treatment and see how far it had spread. After a tortuous week or so, which seemed like months, we finally got the news that the cancer wasn’t treatable and they didn’t expect him to live more than six months. Somehow I just knew time wasn’t going to be on our side.
All the kids (me and my siblings) decided we need to get out to see him right away. We all felt like that we needed to see him sooner rather than later. Our arrival times staggered but we had a day that overlapped all of our travel. For one day, my dad had all five of his kids together again. That had not happened in more than 30 years for a variety of reasons. It was a precious visit with our dad and we were able to get one final photo with all of us together.
During our trip dad talked more openly about his time in the service, how the divorce from my mother impacted him, and so many other little things. I felt so close to him after my visit. And, at the same time, felt cheated because I knew I didn’t have long with him.
A couple of weeks after our visit to Michigan, I got the call that dad passed. One short month from the day I found out about his cancer and he was gone. There were so many things still to tell him! I thought I would have time to share stories about my life and travels. I was stunned and numb.
I wish I had more photos of us together, more cards and letters to re-read, and more memories of visits and laughs we shared. I’ll keep what I have close and cherish it. I’m so thankful for those memories.
Wishing all dads, a very Happy Father’s Day.
In Loving Memory
Thinking of my dad this Father’s Day. Wishing we had more time.
The last couple of months have been complete upheaval for all of us. We’ve had our routines and plans upended. As shelter in place took hold across the globe, everything changed. How or if we worked, attended school, or dealt with big life plans. Once in a lifetime vacations, weddings, graduations, and more all changed or were rescheduled. Schools went on-line, some work was being done remotely, and many others were laid off/furloughed or had to close their business. I haven’t been able to work as a photographer. While my anxiety level has been rising, I’ve decided to take the time to focus on professional development.
You may be wondering what professional development looks like for a photographer. Let me share with you some of the things I’ve been doing. Being a photographer isn’t just taking a photo, it is a business which means all of the business and marketing stuff on top of making images.
I’ve been updating my website and SEO (search engine optimization – so folks can find me online), learning to blog (it’s a work in progress), and creating and producing content for my social media accounts. There is also so much to learn about SEO and best practices. I mean, how can anyone hire you if they can’t find you! So…SEO is very important. I took a workshop, which was great and learned a lot. And now, I’m trying to implement those tips. Whew!
Blogging is new to me. Not going to lie – it’s a little daunting. It is good for SEO – so they say. But it is also a great way for you – my future clients – to get to know me a little better and see if you may be interested in working together.
Networking is important for any business but in the photography world, where many clients are referrals, it is vital. I’m trying to stay connected with my network through social media and virtual meet-ups. While it isn’t the same as the in-person gatherings, it is nice to keep up with folks virtually.
I’ve also been working on my photo editing skills. This is so fun. I love taking an image and really playing around with the possibilities for coloring, exposure, cropping, and so much more. Sometimes you can take a really nice photo and make it into a memorable image with a little editing or save one you thought wasn’t going to make the cut. It’s like the original photo is a canvas and you get to create an image (painting) to share with the world.
If you are looking for free tutorials on marketing, editing, Zoom meetings, and so much more – check out your local library. My library www.FVRL.org partners with Lynda.com to provide access to so many free tutorials. I’ve completed several tutorials and highly recommend them.
That’s how I’ve been spending my time in quarantine. I’m really looking forward to being able to work with clients again to help capture your special moments from senior pictures to new headshot for your job search.
#Photographer #PNWphotography #Portraits #VancouverWA #VancouverPhotographer #SeniorPictures #FamilyPortraits #ProfessionalDevelopment #LibraryResources #LoveMyLibrary
With so many people looking for work, LinkedIn has become the place to network and find new opportunities. It is virtual networking and very important to have a good profile picture. Your photo will be the first impression for future clients and/or employers. I recently read that profiles that do not have a photo are less likely to be reviewed. This will hurt you if you are searching for a new position.
Professional photographers are not yet able to get back to work and some folks may not be in a position to pay for a professional photo right now anyway. I completely understand, which is why I wanted to share a few tips for taking a photo at home now to get your profile updated.
I hope you find these tips helpful for updating your photo. If you would like to chat more about tips or booking a session (once we get the all clear), contact me at UhaczPhotography@gmail.com.
#ProfilePicture #Networking #Portraits #VancouverWA #PNWphotographer
May is the time to celebrate the mothers in our lives. This year, we may not all be able to physically be with our moms to let her know how special she is, but there are lots of ways to show her how much you love and appreciate her. Sure, a box of chocolates or a bottle of wine is a great choice, but I have a calorie free idea! Give her the gift of memories with a new family photo.
My sister’s birthday always falls on or near Mother’s Day. Last year, I decided to surprise her with updated photos of her kids as sort of birthday/Mother’s Day gift. It had been a few years since they had a family portrait done and now the older two kids are adults and the youngest is starting for her teen years. My sister is one of those moms who keeps the loads of family photos on the walls - old and new. I totally love that and seeing all the changes as her kids have grown up. (Crazy how fast the time goes!) After I decided that updated photos would be the perfect gift, I got a group text going with my nieces to coordinate a secret photoshoot.
It took about a month but we finally found a date where we could all get together at the same time without their mom being any the wiser. Everything lined up to have the shoot done on Easter day in 2019. The girls were going to their dad’s house for a holiday dinner so we met up in the middle of the day in Vancouver. The cherry trees were blooming so we took advantage of that; they were a perfect backdrop for a secret photoshoot. (Side note: Once we gave her the photos, we told her about the shoot and she realized that was why they were taking so much time to get ready before heading to their dad’s house and why they were a little late arriving.)
We took a few group shots of all the girls and then individual shots. The girls picked their favorites and I had the group shot printed on a 16x20 canvas and the individual photos of each girl was printed on 5x7 photo paper and put into one larger frame with four individually matted slots. Then, I printed one of the group shots and made it into a birthday card for her. (That card now sits on her desk at work. So, now she has new pictures of the girls at home and work.)
Finally, the big day came to present the gift. We again tried to coordinate schedules so everyone would be there when the gifts were presented–not exactly an easy thing but we managed. My sister was surprised and so touched! There may or may not have been tears…my lips are sealed. My nieces were so excited to do this for their mom, it made for such a fun adventure.
If you would like to schedule a new family photo (once we are able to get out and about again), send me an email at UhaczPhotography@gmail.com.
Wishing all the moms a very happy Mother’s Day! And kids – remember if you can’t get to the store to buy a card this year a homemade card is perfect. In fact, I have it on good authority that they just love those.
#MakingMemories #Quarantine2020 #HappyMothersDay
I do photography work for a local Catholic magazine. The publishing deadline has me shooting images almost two months before the magazine is finalized and distributed. This can be tricky if you need to shoot a spring photo and it is the middle of winter. It takes some thought and planning. In January, I realized the April edition will be Easter (not just any spring photo). My brain immediately thought - crosses and water (lake or ocean). I really wanted to do a shoot of a cross in or around water. (Don’t get me wrong – the Easter Bunny is welcome to stop by the house with some chocolate goodies too! But I thought a cross image would be better for a religious magazine.)
As I started forming my idea for the shoot I talked with my husband about my vision and he offered to help. He does woodworking so I naturally enlisted his help with making a cross. He has a variety of wood pieces, stain, and twine available for use.
I described the type of cross I was wanting to my husband so he could make it for me. The vision was to have it look roughed up and aged with some rope or twine at the center to appear as if it was holding the cross together and to stand several feet high. I was then going to get some flowing white material to wrap around it and wanted to find something to reflect a crown of thorns. If you google any cross images, you’ll see some version of what I just described. But instead of buying one, my hubby was able to make it with some materials he had on hand. His shop is well supplied!
It took a couple of days to make the cross and stain it. Getting the stain to dry was tricky since it was in the 30s outside in the shop. We knew the stain wouldn’t set quickly in the cold so we brought it in the house and locked it in a room to dry out. We have two curious kitties so we had to keep the room closed so they wouldn’t climb all over it and stain their little paws.
Photo shoot day arrived! It was a cold Sunday morning. The cross was done, stain was dry, and I had the other props for the photo. I wanted a sunrise photo, if possible, but it seems fog wanted to hang around so we just went for it. We headed out to a couple of Clark County Parks to find our perfect spots.
I had my coffee, cross, and crew (thanks hubby!) – let’s do this! We found a couple of spots and played around with staging, angles, and lighting. I truly enjoyed taking these photos and working with my husband on this project. I hope you enjoy them.
This year Easter will look very different due to the COVID-19 pandemic and quarantine. People will not be able to attend church services to celebrate, but people are finding a way to stay connected and keep their traditions and faith. #stayhomestaysafe
My niece Kaelin was all set to marry her fiancé Dylan on the first Sunday in April. On March 16th the reduced gatherings order was put in place here in Washington. The wedding was still scheduled for several weeks out, but the projection was that the gathering limitations would only get worse. The wedding vendors (venue, DJ, and caterer) all cancelled. A couple of days later, the stay at home/quarantine order was issued for Washington State.
While many brides are also dealing with wedding upheaval, my niece is marrying a member of the military. That adds an extra twist for them. Those who have served or know people who have served understand that a servicemember is not able to plan leave too far ahead. There are also the issues of possibly being separated from your loved one if they are transferred before you get married, or if they are deployed you may not be able to get pertinent updates on them. These are just a couple of things that come to mind.
So, what are they going to do you ask? After much consideration, they have decided to elope and then have receptions at family homes to celebrate when it is safe for gathering in groups again. It wasn’t an easy decision but they weighed the options and ultimately decided it was best to do an elopement. She will not be walked down the aisle with her dad, they will not have both families there to celebrate, the memories will be so different from what they had planned. But they are both rolling with the changes and doing their best to adapt.
When I spoke with my niece about all of these changes (I was going to be the photographer at the wedding so she needed to let me know about the cancellation), I had a couple of suggestions to help still make the wedding special.
These suggestions were about keeping some of the traditions she planned to incorporate into her more traditional wedding day into the elopement. It may not be what they originally envisioned for their wedding but there are ways to still make it special and memorable.
What about wedding photos you ask? Well, we talked about that too. While she will not have the traditional wedding photos, we talked about still taking the time to do a photo session with her getting ready. It would include those special shots with her mother and bridesmaids, a first look, and family/wedding party shots (to the best of our ability). They may be married but it will be the first time her new husband will see her in her wedding dress. No need to miss that “first look” moment! We are going to try and capture as many of those photos that we would have done on their wedding day next month (or when it is safe).
The groom’s grandparents are elderly and were not going to be able to attend the wedding as they live down south and the wedding was going to be in northern Washington. One thing they had already talked about doing for them was a Facebook Livestream. With social media, we have options to share the special moments, even if it isn’t in person.
For all of those couples out there who had to cancel their wedding, reduce it to immediate family, or decided to elope, I hope you find a way to still make your day special. I’m sure your photographer would love to work with you on scheduling an after the event session as well. If not, let me know! I would love to help.
It’s the last weekend in February, the clouds are heavy with rain and there is a chill in the air. All signs that it must be time for the annual FishersPoets Gathering in Astoria, Oregon. This year, the regular photographer was unable to attend the event due to a family emergency. He put out a call for volunteers to photograph the event in his absence. I was one of those who responded and offered to help.
This year they celebrated their 23rd Gathering. Men and women from the fishing industry and their spouses read their poetry, told a tale or two, or sang a song. It is an opportunity to learn about their way of life and the beauty and challenges of making a living off the sea. These talented individuals have unique perspectives and stories to share through different mediums. Some seemed to be at ease in the spotlight sharing their story and others maybe not totally as comfortable. But every one of them was spectacular and left the audience appreciating their stories and loudly applauding.
On Friday and Saturday night, I spent a couple of hours each evening at two of the locations taking photos. The two spots of my focus were the Liberty and Ten-Fifteen theaters. They were dark venues with spotlights on the presenters. This was a little bit a challenge for me not knowing the group and trying to get photos without interrupting their stories or blocking the audience’s view. The lighting in these venues presented an interesting challenge as well (no flash and stage lighting). I was able to get a few photos to share with the main photographer and am sharing a couple with you.
This event has multiple venues and runs Friday through mid-day on Sunday. Friday was busy but not as heavily attended as Saturday. Both nights had incredible talent on display and many if not all of them performed a couple of times throughout the weekend.
The readings were held at several pubs and theaters throughout downtown Astoria and all within easy walking distance to each other. It is a lively bunch and you can see what a close community it is. And if you aren’t in the fishing community, you may not get all the jokes, but you feel welcome just the same.
If you haven’t attended this annual event, I highly recommend it. A weekend in Astoria is always a good idea!