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A Look Back at 2012


Highlight Video & Blog

A Look Back at 2012

Highlight Video & Blog

2012 was no easy year – it was a complicated one. For years I had dreamed and talked about being a full-time photographer but just couldn’t get around to pulling the trigger. Lots of things kept stopping me but mostly it was doubt. Doubt that I could ever really do it or “make it” and doubt that I would be able to provide through those means for my growing family. And to a large degree I still suffer from those doubts today. I think about them every day when I wake up and every night when I go to bed.

The transition came like a mighty hurricane – one I couldn’t stop and one I wasn’t ready for. In July I was laid-off from my full-time job. It was a messy lay-off that resulted in a lot of internal emotional and professional struggles, but in the end, it was the best possible thing for me. That job, not the work I was doing, but the company culture and poor leadership was like a cancer eating away at me. I needed to be set free. God knew I wasn’t going to break the shackles; so He did.

Since July I picked up the pieces and began the balancing act with my time, focus, and energies – working to find that comfortable rhythm of life – not only with photography, but also with our music and freelance print and web design. I’m not there yet and I dont know when I will be. It’s the best thing and the most difficult thing all at the same time. Every day is filled with it’s own set of challenges and joys and I’m constantly learning, failing, and fortunately – succeeding.

In all of it, I couldn’t have made it through such a difficult transition without the support and encouragement of my incredible wife, parents, siblings, friends, and especially – my clients. I made this video more for me than for anyone else. I wanted to stare back into the eyes of a year that presented me with a terrifying and stressful life-changing challenge…and I wanted to smile right back in it’s face.

I am blessed in so many ways – This video is for all of those blessings – it features every one of them.

Valenzuela Family


Family Portrait Session

Valenzuela Family

Family Portrait Session

Meet Andres, Kim, and Ana Sofia! There’s not enough good things I can say about Andres…truly someone I admire and respect as both a friend and colleague – and I humbly say colleague. When I first started out as a photographer, I knew nothing (and to a large degree, still feel that way). But in my naivete as a newbie, Andres came along side me and helped encourage and mold me into the photographer I am today.

My first official shoot was a wedding for a friend back in 2008. I had just purchased a camera and knew nothing about even exposing a photo properly let alone how to function as a wedding photographer on a wedding day. So I did what anyone might do in my situation – I called the guy who shot my wedding – Andres. I wasn’t sure how he’d take to my plea for help but I was amazed at his desire to help me out and even offer for me to second shoot for him and tag along on a couple of his weddings to observe and learn.

Since that first year I’ve had the privelage and honor of getting to shoot with Andres at numerous weddings every year and I always come away having learned something new, been challenged, and yet so encouraged. Both he and Kim are such wonderful people and so when I asked Andres to shoot a family portrait session for Lauren and I, I was humbled when he said he’d only do it if I would shoot a family portrait session for them!

Needless to say I was a little nervous on this shoot, but we had such a good time taking turns doing pictures for one another and it was such a great time to visit outside of shooting a wedding together.

Here are some of my favorites from their shoot!

Wood Family


St. Peters Village | Saint Peters, PA

Wood Family

St. Peters Village | Saint Peters, PA

We were so honored to do this photo shoot for our good friends, Lenny and Erin. We went to college with them both at Eastern University where Lauren lived on the same hall as Erin during Erin’s freshman year – the same year that Lauren and I met. Lenny and Erin had a beautiful baby girl, Olivia, a little over a year ago. Olivia, as we discovered, is such a beautiful ball of happiness. She and our son Andy have very similar personalities. So much so that we kind of think that if they were next door neighbors, lots of mischief would go down…lots.

Here are some of our favorites from the shoot!

Beaver Family


St. Peters Village | Saint Peters, PA

Beaver Family

St. Peters Village | Saint Peters, PA

I love my clients. No really, like I LOVE them. First off, they are all incredibly loyal, encouraging, and supportive. Andrew and Kelsie have been no exception. I shot their wedding back in 2010 and ever since they have been some of our biggest advocates. We always love getting to catch up with them and when they asked us to do some family photos with their BEAUTIFUL little girl, Adelle (who, by the way, has the bluest eyes I’ve ever seen.) Their family shoot was a blast and I was so happy with the pictures. The only hiccup in the whole thing was one of the most awkward moments I’ve ever had when trespassing on property to get a good shot – glad Andrew and Kelsie got to witness me being about as awkard and unprofessional as I could possibly be. Man that was uncomfortable.

Enjoy some of our favorites from their shoot!

The Shoemakers


Landis Valley Farm Museum | Lancaster, PA

The Shoemakers

Landis Valley Farm Museum | Lancaster, PA

There’s cute. There’s adorable. Then there’s little Lily Shoemaker. Sorry folks, she’s been spoken for – she’s already betrothed to our son, Andy. Is that weird? We thought so, too. In all seriousness, Lily and Andy are not betrothed, however, the four of us have joked about it as parents enough that one might think they actually are.

Andy and Laura are two of our dearest friends. Andy and I spent a semester of college rooming together in an apartment while at Focus on the Family’s Leadership Institute in the spring of 2005. They live in Chicago and we are only able to visit with one another once every 2 years, but they remain two of our most trusted and beloved friends. We were soooooo excited when they told us this spring that they were going to make the trip out east to visit us so we could all meet Lily and they could meet our little Andy.

Andy and Laura will be heading out of the country as missionary’s to Ecuador in the coming year so it made for a bittersweet reunion as we will probably not get to see them again for another couple years unless we can make it down to visit them – which we hope and pray we do! OR if plane tickets all the sudden plummet in price – then maybe we’ll get lucky! To find out more about what they are doing with their ministry in Ecuador please go to the website listed here. If you feel God tugging on your heart to give to their mission, then please do so. http://www.theshoemakers.blogspot.com/

Everyone, meet the Shoemakers!

David Franklin


Newborn

David Franklin

Newborn

I don’t normally do newborn/baby photos – for one, I’m just not asked very often to do them, and two, I don’t feel that it’s particularly my strong suit. I love newborns and babies and infants, but it takes a special photographer to really capture the essence of a newborn in a photograph. Nevertheless, I’m still asked occasionally by friends to do photos of their newborns and of course I’m more than happy to do it and I just hope and pray they turn out somewhat decent.

World, meet David Franklin (Frankie), born to our dear friends Paul & Abbie who also have a son Anthony who posed for a photo at the end with our son Andy. We took some chili over to visit one evening after Frankie arrived home and spent a few quick minutes taking a couple photos. I think they turned out pretty good! What do you think?

 

Everyone’s a Photographer…And That’s a Good Thing


Everyone’s a Photographer…And That’s a Good Thing

So I’ve been seeing/hearing this a lot these days from photographers – both professional and beginner. “Everyone’s a photographer.” My favorite was, “If you are a human and you don’t own your own photography business yet, just wait, you will.” – Hilarious. Largely because it’s a generally accurate statement – especially in the wedding and portrait photography market. Since the rise of photojournalism as a wedding and portrait photography style coupled with the accessibility and affordability of professional grade or near-professional grade camera equipment, “Professional” photographers have become a dime-a-dozen, so to speak. I don’t believe that this is a bad thing for the industry as it provides a healthy amount of competition to the market, competition controls price, and competition creates a climate of excellence.

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