Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hello world!

My father-in-law is this awesome, supportive guy. Who very kindly asked if I wouldn't mind blogging some more. :-) I don't know what it is, but this is just the most insane time. I think in general Fall is a busy time for people for some reason, but for us in the atpanda household its been unusally insane. Ryan's taking classes outside of work, I've got a class outside of work (boo, but more on that later down the post), I've got this new business (which is not only sucking up my waking hours, but the hours when I'm supposed to be sleeping as well), we're off to NYC next week for the big 9/11 firefighter run, and if that's not enough we've been fundraising for the run like crazy. Oh, and I built a website, which I cannot tell you how proud I am of myself for doing. Seriously, you visited it, right? In addition to the wedding portfolio, you can now see my own work under the 'About' page. Although all the stuff in the wedding portfolio is mine too, but I'm hoping that will change soon.

We are FINALLY done collecting for our 9/11 charities. I collected over $1000 all on my own! All together with that and the carwash we are able to donate just over $3000! Here's my baby bro at the carwash. He was really working the girls in the passing cars...

Oh! And in other big news, one of my good girlfriends gave birth to a little baby boy, Jonas, last week. He's #3 in her litter and he's got a lot to live up to with the adorable older brothers he has! Here he is at about 30 hours old:

And in business news, I got a ton of messages from people with advice on photographing babies as well as encouragement, which I swear I need more then is healthy. I really just want to do a good job and have people look at their pictures and fall in love. I know I'll get there eventually, and until then its practice, practice, practice! Oh, and buy, buy, buy. Because lord, does it ever cost a lot of money to start a business. And I've got a really simple business! Batteries, memory cards, new lenses (not that I'm complaining about that!), lighting equipment (yikes! That was expensive), website, business cards, advertising, business software, tax lady, blah, blah, blah. It kind of takes the fun out of the whole thing when you've already spent the profit from your first three events, and they haven't even happened yet! But... the thing that makes it all worthwhile is when you come home, as I did today, to find a brand new, shiny lens on your doorstep. Behold! The ultimate portrait/low light lens! My new 50mm f/1.4. Ahhhhh! I've wanted it forever and I figured I OWED it to my brides to have it. hehehe. My first picture with it:

I was just thinking a bit ago about how quickly this NYC trip snuck up. I'm leaving a week from today?! Shouldn't I be more excited or something? Instead I'm just losing sleep over wedding photography. Seriously, the other night I evidently shook Ryan awake in the middle of the night and was talking to him in my sleep about sales tax and aperture and focal length. He had to physically wake me up so that I'd stop. Ugh.

This week at my work (BLOOD SUCKER!) I am taking a Rotor Technology class. Why you ask? I mean why would a DEGREED engineer need to take a freaking aerospace class? Oh, did I mention this was on MY OWN TIME? My boss basically told us that we all had to take outside training (on our own time) in order to get a good review for the year. So (on my own time) I was at work from 3:30pm-8pm last night after working my regular day, then I'm back in class again (oh, on my own time) this Saturday from 7am-4pm. Figures its the first day since like March that its forecast to be less then 90 degrees out. *sigh* Could I go to HR? Sure, but my boss would just insist that it wasn't REQUIRED, mearly HIGHLY SUGGESTED. I call bull.

Phew! I forgot how good it was to get all the whining out. Maybe if I blogged more often my once-every-two-week posts wouldn't be so complainy. :-)

I will end by saying thank you to my favorite cheerleader Kel for being excited that I entered some photos in the State Fair. Can't wait to drag you with me to see them girl! Anyone else going to the AZ State Fair? Look for my stuff!


Monday, September 03, 2007

Is this for me?

Oh man. The joys of owning a business where the outcome is so personal to someone...

I had my very first family portrait session this weekend as part of my business. I did it for free to get the experience, and I felt really good about being able to do that because it was such a sweet, new family. But boy, was it a learning experience.

First, I stressed for weeks about how to get a 15 month-old to be happy in the pictures. I thought I'd considered everything. Let the family pick a place familiar to them: check. Bring toys for distraction: check. Start early to avoid the heat: check. Have the baby dressed in something comfortable: check. But oh man, the things I just don't understand about kids....

This kid was teething. I know that means they're usually unhappy, but this kid was PISSED. He really didn't want to be there. And also? I thought having the photos at a playground near their house would be a good idea, but this poor guy had never been to a playground before. I never would have thought that would be a factor. I had them race down side-by-side slides to get him loosened up but it terrified him and his parents were totally uncomfortable doing it. I had his dad put him on his shoulders, but I don't think that had ever happened before either, so again I misjudged. And worst of all, I didn't account for the fact that the grass would be totally wet. So I took a kid who was unhappy to start with, I made him go down a slide, then I made his behind wet. It was just this side of disasterous.

And did I ever beat myself up over this whole thing. I stressed about it like you wouldn't believe. And then I got to my computer to see what I had and I found that even in the pictures where baby was actually looking at the camera (not one single smile), most of them found the dad with his eyes closed. I'm just heartbroken over the whole thing because I really wanted to do something nice for these people, and I desperately wanted it to be a good experience.

When all was said and done, I found just 2 family pics that I liked, and I sent those with a mess of others that they might like (baby alone, baby on shoulders, baby looking adorable with mom). And then I waited. And waited. And then I got a very kind email from Mom thanking me for my time, but basically they didn't like the pictures. I nearly cried. I so wanted to do a good job for them....

Then I lost sleep, wondering if this business is for me after all. And I adore my husband, but I was afraid him telling me I did a good job was because he just wanted me to feel better about it.

I don't know. I'm having serious doubts about this whole thing, and I really don't want to base it on this one experience, but I'm having nightmares. Last night I dreamed I showed up for my Oct 5th wedding and the wedding place told me I wasn't on their approved photographer list.

Did I make a mistake? I hope not.

At the very least, my Photoshop skills are stellar (can you see the fix I made? Hint: I hope it makes the Mom very happy and its the same thing all magazines do to supermodels...):

about me

  • CLICK HERE to visit my wedding, portrait, and event business website

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    Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

    I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.

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