Southern Maryland Photographer- Mentoring sessions: Beth!

Mentoring Sessions- Beth S.

I started offering mentoring sessions when I was asked to be a mentor through an auction with Thirst Relief International.  A few dozen photographers all around the country were asked to take part to raise money to provide clean drinking water to third relief countries and that’s when it started.  Through that auction, over the last 3 years, I have met some amazing photographers and have been so grateful for a chance to educate them, even if just a little.

This year, I decided to put it out there that I would offer one on one mentoring sessions for beginning or starting out photographers, or those who feel they just need a little boost in certain areas.  I will be honest, I was a little nervous to offer these because while I do believe I have been successful in what I do, I also don’t know that being a “teacher/educator” with this is my strong suite.  Having done several now in different formats, I can tell you that I love it. I get nervous before every one, just like my weddings and sessions, but it’s because I want to give my absolute best and truly give you everything you need and more from me.  It’s a lot of pressure, of course, but I wouldn’t offer them if I felt like I didn’t love them and all those I get to meet in the process. It’s been pretty amazing and I am so lucky to have this opportunity.

I met Beth when she emailed me about helping me with my personal project and also asked about mentoring sessions. What an exciting email to get! She is so positive and upbeat and a natural smiler, which I love. She will tell you that when she smiles really big, her eyes nearly close and I giggled when she said that because if you know me, I say the same thing about myself.  I consider that an awesome thing and was excited to photograph her and her beautiful smile.  We started chatting at my home, going over things like SEO, the basics of Lightroom (which overwhelms nearly everyone for the first couple tries), how to move your business (she will be moving next year!), and how to go from portfolio building to making money and getting the clients you want.  We had a good 3-4 hour chat and then she and I went to lunch at a local cafe here. Once lunch was done, we headed over to a favorite spot of mine and photographed her headshots and then following that, I invited her to photograph a couples’ session with me with Shannon and Ricky.  I may have made her step a bit outside her comfort zone during this session with shooting, but I am so glad I did.  She excitedly emailed me and told me how much she loved the images she had taken at that shoot and how crisp and sharp they were.  That made me smile the whole night!  I can’t wait to see what she continues to do- I know it will be amazing!

 These are some of my favorites from her headshot session:

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This is the laugh and the smile! So awesome!

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I must have been funny! :)

Here is what I asked Beth about the session and her goals in general coming into it:

What were your main goals going into the mentor session?

My main goals were to master manual-to get those gorgeous sharp photos (Which I did!!)
See where I need to improve, speed up my workflow, and learn what is needed to make my business successful.
What do you think you learned the most from the mentor session?
Oh my goodness! I learned so much!! I was able to achieve my goal of mastering manual to the point of getting those tack sharp photos and gained a ton of confidence while shooting! No more relying on AV mode!! Yea! I feel like I can walk into a shoot and take control and feel confident while shooting! I learned great tips on speeding up my workflow. I learned what I need to do to finalize making my business fully legitimate (tax, proper paperwork, business accounts)
How do you think you’ll take what you learned and implement it into your business?
I have already started (slowly, but at least started) improving my business practices. I have two accounts set up for the business, got my business license and the big one= all manual shooting!! I am re-working my packages to help improve profit and cover overhead.
What can you tell others about the importance of education within a business?
Education is the key to success! I know cheesy right?! But so true! Your business won’t grow if you don’t grow as a person. It is always well worth the money to further your education. It is priceless! Plus it fosters great friendships and networking within an industry that is sometimes overwhelming and scary when you are first starting!

So beautiful, Beth! Thank you so so much!

Southern Maryland Photographer- A little announcement

I’ve been holding onto this for weeks now and I cannot hold it in any longer.  We wanted to make a little announcement-


maryland photographer pregnancy announcement


We are so very excited to be welcoming a new little Mcnugget into our family next year and we can’t wait to share more throughout this pregnancy with you!  So far, it’s been the complete opposite from my pregnancy with Luke.  I have morning sickness, many more little aches and pains, hip and tailbone pain, heavy fatigue (especially around 3-4pm-right when Luke wakes up, haha) etc.  We had a sonogram done a week ago and all looked great and little one had a strong heartbeat.

I am only a little over 8 weeks, which generally is pretty early to announce, however, I really couldn’t hold it in anymore! For those of you who don’t know, we did have a miscarriage before our son Luke and it was heartbreaking to have to announce, but it was important for me to have the support of others through a terrible time.  Of course, this is absolutely not the stance everyone else takes, but I am aware that this is an early announcement and there is always the unfortunate chance of bad news.  We are choosing to go with it, stay positive and be happy instead of worried, as hard as it may be to push aside.  We hope you take this ride with us!

This will not affect my shooting schedule that is already planned either, I will still be shooting until about 36 weeks or as far as I can.  With my son, I photographed until 37 weeks and only took 3.5 weeks off after, but with this one I plan to shoot as long as I can and take 4 weeks off after at least!  Until then, things go on as scheduled!

So, if you see me somewhere and I am sleepwalking- this is why ;) Just come over and give me a little nudge!

We are the Survivors-Personal Project|Terri B.

I met Terri through a care service for babysitting and dog sitting.  I was looking for a dog sitter for the times we have to go out of town and we can’t take our little furry guy with us (the dog, not the kid-hehe).  She has dog sat for us several times and loves all of our animals as if they were her own. She takes such great care of them that I am shocked they are even interested in us when we do get back home.

Shortly after she started pet sitting for us, I emailed her about availability with a sad response back saying she had just found out she had breast cancer and would be starting treatment. Hold the phone. What?!  I couldn’t believe what I was reading and I am sure she probably couldn’t believe what she was typing, either. I assured her everything would be ok but to make sure to let me know if there was anything I can do.

Sometimes, it’s hard to find the right words to say to someone in this position, but in reality, you don’t have to say a lot other than you’re there for them and thinking of them. Support is the only way to make it through and have a positive attitude….even if it’s from people you don’t know all that well. Knowing there are people who have your back and are thinking of you during times like these are the little things that make a big difference.

Terri had Breast Cancer- Stage I.  She found out at her annual mammogram. The one she almost skipped. She was due to get one in February and pushed it off and thought she wasn’t going to go, but some reason made her go in June and she went with it.  It’s a good thing too because they had mentioned to her that if she had gone in February, it would have been so small that they probably wouldn’t have even picked it up.

Having lost her mother and brother to cancer, Terri knew immediately upon finding out that she was not going to let it take her, too. Numbness took over, but strength and confidence rose above.  Her husband Doug, her main support system along with her son and daughter in law, sister, friends, and various other family were there for her, trying to be strong. There comes a point where everyone breaks down a bit though through this and Doug had his moment a while after the initial diagnosis, which is hard for anyone.

Surgery was July 29th 2013 and then 6 weeks of radiation. Driving to Annapolis every single day for a 5 minute treatment and then the drive back.  Radiation can be tough on some and not as tough on others, Terri wasn’t one that was as affected through that process.  She has a 25% chance of recurrence but per a doctors recommendation, she opted out of a Chemo treatment and though it was a hard decision to make, she felt confident doing so.

When I talked to Terri, who is similar to me with the advice section of these questions because she feels as if she was one of the lucky ones who didn’t have to suffer or be burdened with too much pain, but she did offer this.  Being positive is number 1. Being ready to fight and being positive was her goal, attitude is everything.  As for the caretaker, or the spouse (she took care of her mother as she was fighting her battle as well) is to be strong for them and be present. It’s hard to watch them go through something so difficult and lots of things can bubble up, but you just have to be there for whatever they need, even if it’s just to yell or talk about nothing.

Terri is one of those people that I believe would give anyone the shirt of her back. She is so kind, so open and honest, and so strong.  I am grateful to know her and to have spent time hearing her story. Thank you Terri or so openly sharing with me in your home and for taking care of my animals anytime we needed you.  You are so loving and genuine and it’s been a pleasure getting to know you, your family, and that adorable little grandson of yours!  We are all so thankful that you are clear and in remission and doing so well- here’s the the rest of your life, to being happy, and to enjoying that wonderful family you have!  Cheers!

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