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Hey guys! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and have been enjoying yourself. I have definitely been marking off resolutions off my list this year already and I couldn’t be more proud of myself. I can’t even begin to explain how excited I am right now! Even the word “excited” feels like an understatement. This whole re-branding has been a long time coming, and I don’t know why it has taken me this long to put this in someone else’s hands. From the beginning I always just thought I could buy my logo off of Etsy and that would be the end of it (definitely not a bad thing, so don’t get me wrong). But I was realizing that once I bought it and used it for a couple of months it was not me, and got rid of it. After jumping on the RESTART workshop bandwagon (so glad I did), I realized that your brand is not your logo- it is  what defines you. So with that in mind, I knew that instead of picking a pretty logo, I needed to sit down and do homework on what represented me and my photography business! I ended up finding a wonderful graphic designer name Lindsey (love ya, girl!) who worked with me for a couple of weeks and we came up with the new Melanie Shea Photography! So to all you photographers who are not wanting to take the plunge or are scared to.. I say DO IT! It will be one of the best decisions you make in your business! I can truly say that when potential clients click on my page they will see a true glimpse of me and my style, and hopefully this will attract my new potential clients or repel the ones that were not meant to be!

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Laying here in my big comfy bed with the smell of freshly brewed coffee ready to be devoured ( at 6:00 P.M. ) I can’t help but smile when I hear the slight noise of crickets… ok.. almost crickets, but my little noise maker is with her MeMe at the moment so that means other than hearing Doc McStuffins blaring from the living room that I forgot to turn off before I hoped in bed, it’s pretty darn quite, and that’s nice. These past couple days have truly been hectic for James, Gracelee and I. We are not sure if it has anything to do the craziness from the Holidays or some type of growth spurt, but whatever it is, we have lost great amounts of sleep over it. If I had to guess she is preparing us for when Laken gets here!

This post is very exciting and nerve racking for me to write at the same time. Thinking about the goals I want to set for myself personal and business wise is very liberating, but on the other hand I need to remember that not everything will probably be met and that’s ok. If anything I know first hand what it feels like to fail at something multiple times. However with that being said I don’t think if I didn’t fail I wouldn’t be so passionate about what is in front of me. One of my absolute favorite photographers said something in her workshop that struck me so deep because every single word is so true and powerful. She says ” The more you fail, the more you succeed.. so here’s to many more failures.”

Here are my business goals for 2015. I have SUCH  a good vibe about bringing on the new year, and I know that 2015 is going to by MY year.

1. Book 15 weddings (already have 5 booked :)!!! )

2. Book at least 1 destination wedding

3. Network my business more

4. Create more photographer relationships

5. Shoot at least 4 personal projects to keep me inspired

6. Learn how to say no to lifestyle sessions

7. Attend more workshops! Knowledge is power and I’ve been craving it lately!

I can’t wait to come back to this post and see what all I accomplished, and also see if I added anything to this list. I hope everyone has a wonderful Holiday, and I hope 2015 is a good year to all of us!

XOXO-
Melanie

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One thing I love about my job is the ability to do personal projects for my creativity. I believe that for artists this is a must to keep your creative juices flowing. Katherine ( who I absolutely adore more than anything ) let me use her boyfriend Michael and herself to take part in a personal project. At the time I was in a serious funk and needed to get out, and this help me do so. I so wish I could of posted this a long time ago, but honestly I was waiting for the right time. Now having such a clear focus on where I want my career to go I think now is the time to get this beauty out there for the world to see! I am so ready to have my other project finalized and up in moving soon!

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Last Friday was such a beautiful day for a couples session. Not only that, my all time FAVORITE thing to shoot is engagement/couple sessions for the simple reason that they are so laid back and so much fun! Isn’t this couple just gorgeous? And no, I am not being biased because Justin is my cousin ;)! Justin got with me awhile back saying he wanted to surprise his girlfriend Jordan with a photo session. Once he gave up the surprise she was super excited ( as was I ) to get them done! One thing I definitely wanted to do with their session was to have a section of their photos done with them sharing an ice cream. How stinking cute did that turn out? Definitely sit back and enjoy this beautiful session! I cannot wait for Justin and Jordan to get the rest, and if you guys are reading this I LOVE YA!:)

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First Looks.

….they might possibly be the best new thing since sliced bread, well to me anyways :). When I first heard about doing a “First Look” I thought to myself…”that is neat… but I’ll NEVER do it for my own wedding”.  Ohh I can be SO wrong sometimes! Not only did James and I share a First Look on our wedding day, I also encourage ALL of my couples to do one too! First Looks are amazing and SO incredibly helpful to photographers! They also help your wedding day run so much smoother.

There are many reasons why brides do NOT want to do First Looks: 1. Momma won’t approve 2. The Bride wants that “AHH!” moment to be when she is coming down the aisle and 3. It’s just too non-traditional  (most grooms say this)

Well, my answer to brides that are unsure  is this…. 1. I know you love your Momma, but if this is something you want to do, it’s your wedding and you should go for it! I am sure is she knew how important it is to you she will not have a problem. 2. I understand wanting him to be completely shocked and in awe of you as you come down the aisle…that’s understandable, I wanted that too! But here’s the thing, he is going to be “in awe” of you coming down the aisle no matter what! James still had a hard time keeping it together when I came down the aisle, even though we had seen each other before the ceremony. That moment is so incredible and it doesn’t lose that special feeling if you see each other before hand…. believe me! James would tell you that even though we saw each other beforehand, when I came through the back doors of the church and walked down the aisle, it was still one of the most powerful moments of our ceremony! and 3.  True, this is a VERY non-traditional concept but it’s AMAZING for several reasons:

1. Your guests will not have to wait over an hour for you to arrive at your reception! When a bride and groom wait to do ALL of their portraits after the ceremony, (family, bridal party, romantic portraits and then travel to the reception) that usually takes an hour and a half, sometimes longer if the couple wants a ton of awesome portraits of just the two of them! Because this is so time consuming, it often leads to rushed portraits and can cause a little stress for the Bride and Groom because they aren’t enjoying their portraits together, they are worrying about their guests having to WAIT.

2. A first look allows you to have time with JUST your husband.  When couples decide to see each other for the first time in private, it is an emotional moment that the two of them share and it’s so incredibly intimate. I get to stand off to the side and document it! This is a time for the couple to love on each other, for the groom to tell his bride how STUNNING she is and this moment serves as an once in a lifetime photo opportunity!  What most brides don’t realize is that when a bride walks down the aisle, her man may think she looks fabulous, but he is unable to tell her that until AFTER the ceremony! The first look allows couples to embrace and just be together for a few minutes on their wedding day and that is priceless!!

3. Couples that choose a first look always end up with 40% more portraits than those who do not opt for the First Look AND the bride’s makeup is still in tact (sometimes tears from the ceremony can require a makeup touch up and this can take close to 15 minutes of time).

4. It calms nerves…. BIG TIME. This is huge for the groom.  Almost ALL grooms that have experienced a First Look admit that seeing their bride beforehand eases the wedding day jitters and allows them to relax and actually enjoy their ceremony! (James would agree!)

5. Last but not least, a First Look is the answer to the wedding day timeline crisis!  It creates ample portrait time and allows the bride and groom to celebrate freely.

Attention all  late fall, winter and early spring brides…. you will most likely run out of natural light for portraits after your ceremony….a First Look is a great solution for this issue!! While I LOVE first looks, I never pressure my couples into doing them. I always tell them all of the reasons why it’s a smart decision but if they really aren’t interested, I drop it. It’s their wedding day! It’s my job to make them happy and to help them plan a great time-line for pictures, but ultimately, it’s their decision.

Here are images captured by my photographer Lauren Kinsey Photography of me and James doing a first look on our wedding day!

 

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