Friday, April 18, 2014

does today mean anything to you?

Just the other day I saw an instagram post in which the person wished their followers a happy easter--
if they celebrated it.
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And their simple caption hit me.

How today, Good Friday, and Resurrection Sunday mean absolutely nothing to some people.
They are hope--the reason to live, for me.

"You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly."

Jesus in our place. 
Jesus in my place.
Jesus in your place.

He paid the atonement for our sin, in full.

"For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, 
much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life."
[ Romans 5 ] 


I serve a risen Savior.
We are raised with Him.
Death is dead, love has won, Christ has conquered.
So much to rejoice in this weekend.

If you are reading this and realizing, 
I don't have this Hope.
I am a filthy rotten sinner..overwhelmed by guilt.
Mindlessly wandering through life.
Wondering if anyone can have assurance of where they will spend eternity.

He calls you now.
He is the answer.

Whether you are already a Christian or not, take ten minutes and watch this video by Eric Ludy.
Powerfully convicting.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

grow your gift.

Awhile back someone sent me the link to this message, and suggested I listen to it while I was editing.
I did so, and wow--so good.
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So whether you have a mountain of editing, or laundry, dishes, etc, to hash through, :)
I would recommend you do the same.
Titled 'Grow Your Gift,' it is by the pastor of Elevation Church in NC, Steven Furtick.

One point he makes in there that will forever stick with me was this -- 

David was so good at his craft [harp playing] and people knew how skilled he was, 
that when King Saul needed someone to play for him, David was the first person they got.

Stop and think about that for a minute.

Whatever gifts we have, or talents we possess--are we growing them?
Like David, are we as Christians skilled enough that when people have need of a certain talent
to use or incorporate in ministry, they think of us?
[convicting, right?!!]

I listened to another of Steven Furtick's sermons awhile back which was also good,
but since I haven't listened to every one I can't endorse them all at this point. :)
He also just came out with a new book, "Crash the Chatterbox," which I'd love to read at some point.

I usually listen to music while I'm editing, but here and there in the past I have listened to sermons instead,
and I want to make that more of a habit this year.
May as well multi-task! :)

hope you're having a beautiful Thursday!

~H. Elise

Monday, April 14, 2014

some things I've learned : part 2

Well, this post started out with just some thoughts on inspiration, 
and then I started adding other random things to it soooo I'm just calling it another 
"things I've learned post, and hopefully my ramblings will be helpful to at least one person. :)
Sometimes I get going on a topic and I just have too many things I want to share..
it's that or the fact that I enjoy talking and get fired up about these things!
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We are all inspired by each other...literally every day.
You hear someone talking about how they get up at 4:30 am to exercise, 
and you think "jeepers, I need to get out and start moving."
Or you see a good friend with an adorable skirt, and then suddenly feel like the urge to storm target 
just so you can join their 'maxi skirt club.'
And inspiration is everywhere in the photography realm as well.

Just the other day someone asked me for tips on taking pictures of families,
as they hadn't had much experience taking pictures of people. 

I remember when I was preparing for some of my first sessions,
I would draw stick people or print off little thumbnail images on a piece of paper,
stick it in my Jotote and use as my inspiration sheet.
And I still do this a lot..stick figures for the win, haha!

I always sketch out on paper the family, and put the person's name initial next to the stick figure.
This especially works well for large families because I don't have to freak out and 
decide how in the world I am going to pose them right at the session,
I already have the layout determined for standing and sitting shots,
so I just whip out my paper and say, "okay, I want Brian on the far left, then Jill, 
Mom can hold baby next to Jill, then Makayla, Dad, etc, etc."
Sometimes I make changes to this while I'm shooting, 
and it's not like I use the sheet the entire time, but it really helps to have something to work off of right away.
I also try and memorize all the kids' names and the sibling order beforehand.
Knowing names is a huge asset...especially for extended family sessions!!

You can also print off a sheet of thumbnail images you like, or just whip out your smartphone and use the pinterest app
to make a specific board for an upcoming shoot.
Obviously your goal isn't to have your clients where the exact same clothes, lean against the classic brick wall,
and mimic the same smile as 'such-and-such' photographer did,
but follow the work of the professionals, and notice how they're posing and capturing genuine expressions.
This is going to train your eye to shoot like they do, and your work will steadily improve.

One example is this photo (the left shot), my awesome friend Caitlyn took:
I loved the idea of having the girl on the steps twisting back..
so at Liz's senior session years ago, I played off this same idea and here is how my image turned out:
So if you're just starting, and feel clueless at times with posing families, seniors, etc, get on pinterest and start studying.

How did they position dad sitting in the photo? 
What is mom doing with her hands?
What creates visual interest in this photo?
How can I help my clients relax and interact like they are in this image?

One other simple tip I have been learning over the last year or so in regards to photographing families, siblings, etc,
(really anytime you're working with two people or more!)
is to get them as close as possible, and one way to do this is to tell them repeatedly "move in closer--have your heads touching!"

In this shot, the family is grouped close, but notice there is some space between Mom and Dad..
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So I told Dad to lean his head against Mom's and you can feel the difference and connection so much more in this shot
just because of one change!
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I think this principle applies in all areas of life--that we can always be learning from each other. 
Whether it is organization, exercising, branding, cooking or photography.
We all are doing life together, and I think we would all grow faster if we stopped thinking of everyone as being on different levels, and just gleaned from people whether they have just started this craft,
or been doing it for years. 

All that said, seek to be inspired by and learn as much as you can from other creative people you follow.

And remember don't just limit yourself to just photographers..one of my favorite blogs of all time is MADE,
and I don't even sew!
I love her clean and bright style and that has inspired me for years.

And some instagram feeds I currently am in love with are:
@paisleysprouts || her branding is so killer, and products are hands-down amazing
@gparrish || she is so creative and colorful with her family photos, and just captures daily life so well
@freshlypicked || the owner of Freshly Picked Mocs , which isn't a 'photography' business, but I love her feed because the quality of her products are insane, and she has some awesome marketing strategies..
like giving away a pair of mocs at airport gates to the first person that finds her?!
Seriously here..so awesome.

So who inspires you? What is your latest favorite instagram feed?
I'd love to hear any thoughts you guys have in regards to all this,
and if anyone has other questions I'd be happy to answer them in a future blog post!
Just comment below. :)

love,
~H. Elise
p.s. the lovely Kristin Partin has some other neat examples related to this topic of inspiration here, as well!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

things to woot about : garage sales + hummus!

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+ Green grass..seriously, enough said.
+ 77 degree weather. [hello heat wave!!]
+ Icee's. especially after a photo session..they taste about 10x as amazing, people.
+ Do Life Big by Jamie Grace [man, if she isn't cool I don't know who is]
+ Movie nights with dear friends.

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+ Eating amazing snacks with said dear friends.. :) [i.e. hummus, pita chips, nutella, among oodles of other good things]
+ Hilarious phone conversations.
+ That cabbage/ramen salad..oh goodness.
+ Jane Eyre..y'all, if you haven't read the book yet, consider this your call to action.
+ First garage sale of the year!! My car literally swerved when I saw the sign..and I scored these gems:
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+ And speaking of firsts, my first session of the spring was today! 
Many more to come from this lovely shoot.
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what are you woot-ing over today?!

love,
~H. Elise

Friday, April 11, 2014

my brothers : personal

Well, it's about time I got these blogged..because I only took them 5 months ago--ha!
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For those of you that don't know already, I have seven brothers.
Yes, I am the only girl, but there is no need for anyone to feel bad for me. :)
Pretty much 99% of the time when people hear this they respond with,
"oh you poor thing!"
"that must be awful!"
"how do you survive?!" 
"what's it like living with that many brothers?!"
or something along those lines.

Well, it's the family God had for me to be placed in.
Yes sometimes I wish I had a sister--but I honestly have so much fun with my family and brothers are so great.
Telling ya, we got the movie line lunchtimes down, people. 
#homeschoolperks

We all wish we had the life of someone else from time to time,
but that isn't the life Christ gave us, and we need to be grateful for and relish the fact that we have 'grass' at all,
instead of comparing with how 'lush and green' we think so-and-so's grass is over the fence.

Random sidenote - guys, for 2014, I am so doing school photos for the boys sooner than November...
just putting that out there, haha.
I seriously almost had a meltdown when I was going to do these because I had put this off 
for so long and it was my last weekend of shooting, I had mountains of editing, we were losing daylight, 
I was feeling burnt out, etc. #keepinitreal
Nevertheless, I thankfully got a solid shot (or several of them) for each of the brethren,
AND we have new 8x10's printed and in the frames on our piano.
Can anyone say woot?!
It amazes me how it is seriously so hard sometimes just to print and get photos up around the house.

I have an older brother Erich who lives in Tennessee, and then another brother right below me, Gunther
and then there are 5 little boys who are all two years apart.

Otto..forever my baby.
Can't even put into words how much I love this kid, and I hope he always stays 3 years old at heart.

current obsession : ninja turtles "ledonardo is my favrite"
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Reiner..he cracks me up so much.
This kid could play alone with legos all day long and be totally happy.
He's a fellow nutella lover "can I have some of that chocolate peanut butter stuff?"
and can act out Olaf singing about summer like nobody's business.
current obsession : claiming he's going into the army when he grows up
[or we have building lego creations at disneyland for our backup plan] 
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Jurgen (Burg) is super full of life..the other night we had a laundry-folding-dance-party
complete with hipster headbands and upbeat spotify songs. 
I'm trying not to freak out because he's almost as tall as me... #five1and3/4 #shortgirlprobs
current obsession : the song 'dance' by planet shakers
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Anton (Jimi) is so thoughtful..he genuinely loves and is excited about life.
He has amazing creativity with any objects or string in front of him..anything can be a toy in his hands.
current obsession : memorizing as many verses as possible for Awana.
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Berend is a deep thinker, genuinely cares for people, 
and can totally impersonate Gru from Despicable Me...he's got it down, I tell ya.
ongoing obsession : office supplies
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Mom took a few photos of me and Otto at the end before we headed out..
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I obviously have such a way with children..especially my own siblings:
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"This is so boring..I have a lego set I could be building..you do realize that."
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Man talk about a stare down...I promise he does like me.
#stayfierce #outtakesforthewin
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happy friday! 

love,
~H. Elise

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

a walk to the post office : ii

Thinking I might start making this a new series..my walk to the post office.
I did this once last fall during Boho Blogtober,
and it really is lovely to just stop and document a daily routine.
Especially with the changing seasons.

Today's walk and what I saw:
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love
~H. Elise