You Are Worthy! – Introducing “The Worthy Project”


You are here for a divine purpose, and appointment.  You are here to hear truth, to be renewed, reminded of your beauty, your worth, that you are loved, and if you’re a photographer that you have an enourmous responsibility as one who calls themselves a “Photographer”.

You see for so so long I lived under the banner that I wasn’t worthy.  31 years of it actually. Until last year when I wrote this post.

God was stirring.  He was up to something grand, and I didn’t know, just then, what it was.

He’d just thrust upon me a booming Clothing Boutique that ended one of my life long battles, and contributing reasons to my feelings of unworthiness, with FINALLY being able to afford and source truly trendy, FLATTERING, clothing for my curves.

The struggle then became finding manufacturers who made beautiful, flattering clothing over a size 12/Large. A task still proving so difficult that some weeks I just can’t fight the frustration so I don’t shop for the Boutique at all.

When you research though to find out WHY it’s so hard only to find that while an overwhelming 67% of Americans are a size 14 and higher, but only 30% of the entire WORLD’S manufacturers make anything over a Large/12 it compounds the frustration…and the anger.

I trudge on though because getting messages like this make it all completely worth it.

” I cannot EVEN tell you how thankful I am for you and your boutique !!! Three compliments already, and the day is still young! It was so very nice to dress with confidence this a.m. I actually feel good about my body the way it is. Clothing DOES make a difference! I am wearing the charcoal hanky hem swing shirt with blue jean jeggings and clogs. Although it will look much cuter with my cork sandals, I am actually happy with the way I look today in my clothing. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you AND your business!!” -S.S.

And this: “Here I am shooting a wedding reception in sweltering 95 degree heat, cool as a cucumber in my Buxom Boutique ensemble!” – C.H.

You see I’ve always, ALWAYS, been large. Thick is more like it 😉 Truthfully I’ve always sort of resented it too.  “Why can’t I lose weight!?”,  “Why do my calves have to be so big?  I just want to wear tall boots!”, “I hate my arms!  Why do they have to be so big? I can’t even wear most bracelets!” Magnolia Market Waco, TX Adventure - Houston Wedding Photographer - BraskaJennea Photography-45FIX

Until a few weeks ago though it didn’t really click until…

Two of my girlfriends and I, all three very thick and curvy ladies, decided to go raft the Hiawassee River.  Now, I’d been down it last year for the first time, and I’ll take the Ocoee over getting stuck on every.single.rock. in that river any day.  Nonetheless we went, and of course, got stuck on just about every rock cluster, and grass cluster ;p, that river had…and we went early in the day at the highest point!

Fast forward about half-way through when we slam into a bank, a tree branch swings back and knocks A* right into the freezing rapid, with boulders on both sides, feet over head. Of course at that point there would be absolutely ZERO rocks in that river. None!

Now I don’t know if you’ve ever fallen into a river filled with giant boulders and little rock piles covered in sometimes a lot, but usually only a little, rushing water, but I can say from experience it’s NOT one you really want to put yourself in…especially without a helmut or some sort of means to protect your head. IMG_4276.JPG

J* held on to A* by the life jacket as I one paddle paddled us to a nearby “island”.  Nope…no rocks there either…just a bank wayyy too steep that A* couldn’t climb up onto. So, frozen, and still a little in shock, I tightened her life jacket as tight as it’d go, and informed her I’d be pulling her up into the raft. J* used the nylon roll of cord I fortuitously brought along “just in case” to wrap around a tree limb and semi-anchor us for the operation.

Now, a little backstory.  Beginning with the vessle choice earlier in the day they wanted to opt for the one and two man inflatible kayaks. I just didn’t feel right, and even remember telling them “How would we get back into that if one of us were to fall out?” hahaha!  Oh little did I know!

She promptly informed me “Dude, there’s no way you’re going to be able to pull me in!”

She clearly didn’t know what I knew…that God in His infinite wisdom/sense of humor? made me a SHE-HULK…through no training of my own HA!  SO, I informed her that I would indeed be able to pull her into the raft. We were still hoping for a rock, anything she could step onto for at least a little leverage, but, alas, no.such.luck.

With her head and shoulders barely out of the water, feet not very steadily, and flatly on the bottom or a shallow rock/root I counted to 3 and she “jumped” what tiny bit she could.  I yanked her up onto the side of the raft, she assumed a rather hilarious “Superman” pose between my legs, while I adjusted to bring her on in the boat. IMG_4365.JPG

We laughed then once the diar-ness of the situation had passed, and replayed the now funny scene of HOW A* fell off the raft in what seemed “slow motion”.  It was in the laughter that I uttered what would be my new revelation…

“I guess THIS is why I’m built like this!  Because God knew at some point in my 33rd year I would have to deadlift my friend’s behind out of a river.” We laughed again, but I let that truth sink in.  I mean I know there are other reasons, but had I have been as thin and small as *I* want to be it wouldn’t have happened.

I AM “Fearfully and wonderfully made!”

The other ignition point came back in March at WPPI.  The world’s largest Professional Photographer’s Convention in Las Vegas.IMG_0359

I looked around at two enourmous ballrooms at the MGM Grand filled to the brim with Photography vendors showcasing everything from albums and prints, to web design, and equipment.IMG_0279.JPG

Having a clothing boutique unlike any other around that equally, sometimes more, carries 1XL thru 3XL Clothing I’ve become unusally intune with whether or not other businesses are ignoring the 67% of the population who are the “average” and a size 14 or larger.

I was sort of taken aback that an average sized client or larger never once appeared in any marketing displays, samples, or portfolios. None.

Nowhere did I see MYSELF represented in any of these companies that were vying for my business. It’s a good thing my self-esteem is pretty high 😉 Ha!  I just chalked it up to they wouldn’t be able to handle all of the business if they were to put my lovely mug in their marketing 😉

So now, along with knowing there was size bias in the Social Media/Blog/Magazine world, I was grossly aware my industry was perpetuating the notion that if you’re not a certain age range, or size/version of “small” you’re not worthy of showcasing a product or business.

Even more infuriated when I heard one of my, now former, older, female, photography idols talk about “Pretty people sell”, and how she wouldn’t put her own portrait on her website, though her before and after glamour portrait was STUNNING, because “no one wants to see that”.

What?!?! YES!  YES THEY DO!

People, women especially, WANT and DESERVE to see themselves represented in media…in photographs!   Women NEED to see that no matter their age, their wrinkles, their stretch marks, THEIR STORY, that they are WORTHY of having their legacy captured…WORTHY of an image that makes them feel as beautiful as they truly are…EXACTLY as they are!

We just don’t see “ourselves” represented, if at all, well enough to get the message.

Why do we think it’s so hard to get mother’s to pose with their babies?  Why is it so hard to get Boudoir and Glamour clients to walk through our doors?  Why is it we always hear the same sad words from client’s mouths?

“Oh I’ll break your camera!”

“Did I break your camera?”

“I’m just not photogenic enough”

“I just don’t feel good about myself.”

“My _______ is too ________.”

“You know it’s been probably 20 years since I had my picture taken!  I don’t look good enough anymore for a photo.”

Because THEY DON’T SEE PEOPLE LIKE THEM, BEAUTIFULLY AVERAGE PEOPLE, REPRESENTED…ANYWHERE! 

Want to know how bad it really is?  Go scroll through the popular Wedding Instagram accounts and blogs.  Go check out the Online and Print Magazines devoted to our industry.  Tell me how many MONTHS you have to go back to even fine ONE.SINGLE.IMAGE of a bride, family, senior, etc… that would be described as our national average or above of a size 14 or higher…hey, try to even find one over a size 8.  I looked through FIVE Instagram accounts, all of the “big” well known Wedding Blogs, I found ONE in only three of them…going back over 25 weeks on each.

One day I want a grand wedding, I’ll certainly have waited long enough for it.  I’ve planned, did floral design, and photographed enough of other bride’s days that I know what details and looks get published.  The sad truth is though, even if I have Kaitlyn, or Justin and Mary, or Jasmine, Leslee, or Kristyn, or Zach and Jody capture it, I’m fairly certain, given the state of our industry now, that it would never get featured all because the industry, and the American culture we live in, doesn’t see ME and those like me, as worthy.

That makes me angry.

YES it absolutely takes extra time posing, angling, lighting, coaching on clothing, etc… for a curvy client, but if you don’t want to take the time to capture their beautiful spirit in the most beautiful way possible the same as any other client, then send them to me.  I’ll be happy to show them what a TRUE Professional Photographer SHOULD be able to do!Magnolia Market Waco, TX Adventure - Houston Wedding Photographer - BraskaJennea Photography-49fix

I saw and blasted a male Boudoir “photographer” this year in a Photography group who literally admitted he told a size 26 woman who came into his studio asking to “be photographed as beautiful as she feels” that it “wasn’t possible” because of her size.  No, I’m NOT even kidding.

Who the hell do we think we are either verbally, or by refusing to showcase them, telling clients that they have to be a certain size or age to be beautiful enough to be photographed?

I get it.  I know it’s not easy.  I’ve had more than my unfair share of horrible portraits byx photographers over the years, ohhhh don’t get me started on the “Professionals” and the Studio who later did another session from the horrifc mess that were my Senior portraits.

It is our JOB however to look through that lens and see every.single.different body type, every possible *flaw* they may be self-conscious about, and know or be contemplating as soon as we consult with them on how we’re going to capture them.

How we are going to FLATTER and visually slim or hide those imperfections they worry about themselves, that others probably never see but to them it’s the hump on The Hunchback of Notre Dam, to bolster their self-esteem when they step in front of our lens.

We hold such fragile pieces of each precious soul in our hands.  A soul with a story, a beautiful, unique story, that deserves to be told and encouraged that they are in fact beautiful and worthy of being seen.

We must be ever so mindful of that, and educate ourselves to the best of our ability to not shoot everyone, every body type, the same.  Because honestly you just cannot do it, and make every timid, nervous, aprhensive, delicate, unique being that steps in front of you feel like they are as wonderful and beautiful as they truly are.

So, yes send me your Curvy brides, Boudoir wives or engaged women, Seniors, Families, and Headshots if you feel you can’t do them justice.  Or even BETTER hire me to COACH you on how to do what I do.  Hell, hire me to come style your Curvy Brides and Grooms during Weddings or Bridals!  I’ll teach you in the process!

I can’t do them all though, and honestly I don’t want to because I want YOU to feel that love and gratitude those clients who haven’t ever felt good about a photograph of themselves feel when they see an image YOU captured of them!

So, I introduce you to The Worthy Project.  I want to start a movement in the Wedding, Photography, and Videography industries to right the decades of wrong, and make sure every soul leaves our businesses, whatever the medium, feeling valued…feeling seen..feeling WORTHY!IMG_6164.PNG

Will you join me?

XOXO, B

 

Maybe, Just Maybe, You’re Not Meant To Be A Photographer (or _____)


What I am about to say will probably ruffle feathers, I can almost guarantee it, BUT I hope you’ll feel this through to the end.  See where my heart is, and why I say maybe you’re not meant to be a photographer…or whatever it is you’re struggling to make a go of.

Here’s the deal I get it in this “You can do anything, and be anything you want in life” mentality that this isn’t going to be a popular statement. So just roll with me here 😉

Maybe, just maybe, you’re not called to be a photographer, chef, firefighter, wedding planner, baker, florist, teacher, or ______ (fill in your desired career). *GASP* and cue the lynch mob! Maybe you are, BUT it IS possible that you’re not.

Just because we all own stoves, and loooove to cook, doesn’t mean we’re to become Julia Childs.

You may have a “healing touch” that can soothe just about anyone, but you’re not meant to be a Doctor.

Likewise just because you have a killer boat, fishing rod, and can spend all day on the river you’re not going to become the next Bill Dance.

A gift, an ability, having the right equipment, do NOT always equate to being the gateway to the career you’re meant to impact the world with.

It took me years of getting hooked into “pyramid” companies, many of which ARE indeed amazing and can having mega rewards/paychecks, to realize something monumental.

Yes, the discounts, and the money, are sooooo enticing you see others making so “effortlessly”.  Then, BONUS, I loooove make-up, skin care, chocolate, jewelry, even wine, BUT they weren’t jobs I was sincerely, 100000%, passionate about.  They weren’t gigs I was willing to sacrifice anything for…much less vacations, my own place, dinner out, etc…

You see I was in love with the product, the idea of a quick buck doing something I loved…and getting it for less…not the process and the PURPOSE behind it.

Even answering phones all day in a Call Center is a calling (no pun intended😂)…some are meant to do it, while others almost, or do, suffer nervous breakdowns.

You either see the purpose behind it, love the process, and embrace it to the fullest, orrrrr, like me, you quit.

You quit with no solid back-up plan, no job in line other than this VERY part-time, time stealing, money eating, soul fire burning, hobby called “Photography”.

You quit, jumping blindfolded, ready to fumble it out, because sitting in discontent just for security no longer sounds as appealing as dangerous uncertainty doing something you wake daily thinking about.

I left a steady (AMAZING) paycheck, INSURANCE, retirement fund, bonuses, living in the wonderful Middle Tennessee area so close to Nashville that it was PERFECT…for straight uncertainty.

I had to move back with my parents in East TN, surrender security, surrender luxuries (like health insurance), all to pursue something that FINALLY, truly, FIT ME!

I’d found my purpose, and as awful as it was not having steady, reliable (make people pay deposits ya’ll!!!) income, it just started to naturally role into place.

Wasn’t easy.  Still to this day is packed with sacrifices (can’t get a mortgage, chose a studio over my own place because that was a need more than my parents not driving my 30yr old self crazy), sleep loss (though that thankfully has gotten better with outsourcing!), giving up one thing I’ve saved for to replace something more important, and the list goes on.

You see I’ve been told over the years I can “sell you the shoes off of someone else’s feet”, so it wasn’t lack of sales ability that was the problem with those other jobs.

I couldn’t sell any of it very well despite my killer sales pitches, knowledge, and knowing the bonuses I could achieve; because I didn’t TRULY care about it.

THEN when someone else I knew came along to sell the same thing (whatever the new *trendy* sales item was in our tiny town) I was always devastated at how seemingly quickly they took off…how much more they were making than me.

And I wasn’t willing to fight them for it. It wasn’t my absolute passion…and it showed. In my sales attitude, and my business.  Maybe others didn’t see it, besides my recruiters, but I was NOT interested in sacrificing anything to build those businesses or advance positions (unless it was pushed upon me).

I let these teeny tiny speed bumps become giant brick walls blocking my success, and I had no interest in mustering the energy to tear them down or climb over.

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Like Sue Bryce says I had “self imposed mental blocks”, and because those weren’t career paths my soul was on fire for I was perfectly fine letting others just take my business.

Now this part won’t be for many of you, but my faith and belief in God’s divine plan, and His perfect timing, has shown me time and time again that He has a career for us that is designed to fit uniquely us.  A passion, not just a paycheck, that He also let’s pay our bills.

So, you have to decide if you love it so much you’re willing to sacrifice what.ev.er. and do whatever it takes to make this a success.  Decide if you’re willing to fight for it because it’s what you live and breathe to do, or if it’s just an outlet to let you do something fun and creative for little while.

What you fight for is what will manifest. So search your soul, and find the thing that lights it on FIRE! Fight for that! Invest in that!

If it’s not photography then so be it!  If it’s not law school, your teaching certification, your nursing degree, a promotion, etc… then let it go.

BUT, if it is, then I urge you to run, full steam ahead, stop building your own walls by laying the bricks, or letting others lay them for you, and, like the saying says, “get out of your own way”!

I would rather spend every day of my life clawing, scraping, fighting for this gift of Photography, than simply making an easy, secure, dollar.

The risk is great here, people’s memories and legacies are on the line with real lawsuits and consequences possible.   I say that’s how you know you’ve found your soul fire calling…when you know the risks and proceed sacrificing anyway to make it happen.

I can tell you all of this as one who’s lived it.  Is still living it, walking it out sacrifice by sacrifice, but is reaping rewards never imagined.  Rewards that came in form of a thriving Clothing Boutique for Small thru 3XL…another business, another passion, I didn’t ever plan or see coming, but that fits smashingly.

Why?  Because if I hadn’t walked out Photography I wouldn’t have learned all I needed to know to offer a unique eye for outfitting women of all BEAUTIFUL sizes in figure flattering, photographer approved (i.e. will photograph well), clothing.

In the wise words of Yoda: “Do or do not, there is no try”!

You never know what other blessings await as you trudge it out toward the goal line, and you just might miss those blessings if you keep trying to force something you’re just not meant to do.

Make it happen, or find what you’re supposed to make happen, and let everything else fall by the way side!

Xoxo,  B

 

 

Why Digitals and Discs are FINALLY Dying – The Resurrection of Professional Prints


If you’re a client of mine you’ve seen the image below in my BraskaJennea Magazines.  If we’ve met in person you’ve seen the “Oompah Loompah” Wal-Mart and Shutterfly prints, and the “Vampire Grey” Walgreen’s prints alongside their professional lab counterparts. You’ve felt the paper quality differences as well from my Kodak Endura Professional as opposed to “Photo Paper”.

I’m so thankful to finally see the rise again back to full service Professional Photography…helping clients have beautiful, tangible, prints showcasing our works of heart to hang in their homes…instead of just on social media!

There’s a big cry right now for “Give me digitals, or I’m gone!”, but walk into a traditional Portrait Studio that’s been around awhile, and that “disc” you walk out with winds up only being for your own personal computer use.  Most don’t include a print release, and they’re sized so small they look strange on social media, and for good reason.

They, like me, don’t want their beautiful works of art butchered by retail printers and cheap retail ink that’s only going to fade or yellow like those prints your parents have of you in that box in the closet.  Keeping them low res is a necessity because sadly enough if people can jack your work with a shoddy screen grab or download from Facebook that looks distorted from stretching to print a 4×6 then by jolly they will.

Thankfully though people are finally coming back to the realization that those “old school” Portrait Shops have hung onto all along….digital media changes, the technology we had 5 years ago is hard enough to navigate, much less finding readers or software to load discs and programs from 20 years ago.

Computers even now are rumored to start rolling out sans a CD drive at.all.  Children today have no idea what a land line phone or Walkman is!

Who’s to say that in 10 years, much less 100, people will even know what a .JPG file is…or how to view it?

I think my First thru 3rd grade years were made perfect simply by a “Computer Game” on an ooooold, HUGE, Macintosh computer.  The one, the only, OREGON TRAIL!

Up there with programming exploding fireworks later in 7th and 8th grade in DOS Command Prompt those were the highlights of my Elementary School career.

I still remember when that box of O.T. GIANT floppy discs came out of the cabinet!  It was GAME TIME!  I was about to cross some rivers, kill some food, and catch some illness that could take me or my family out all while battling thieves, weather, and busted wagon problems.

They seemed like they were 10×10 back then, but now I know they were really only 5.25″ squares.  Later in school we learned we could save our work to those floppy discs….they were multipurpose!

A few years after that we got those 3.5″ Hard floppy discs. A lot smaller, could hold “a lot” more, and were much more durable than their large counterparts.

I still have a box of my first ever digital camera pictures, and work from high-school and college, saved to those discs.  Ahhhh the memories they must hold.

But…there’s one *TIIIIIINY* problem….

There’s no way to access them!  I tried plugging in an old Floppy Reader a couple of years ago to my laptop….nothing happened.  I made sure they were unlocked so I could read them, and nada.

So, while I get it, we’re a digital society, I must ask you this important question…What would you do if your parent’s or grandparent’s wedding images were solely stored on one of these bad boys?  BJP Weddings Investment Website image4

What if that CD breaks, gets lost in a move, or your child scratches it?  What if your external and/or computer hard drives crash, at the same time, (ask me all about that one!)?

Someone recently said “But we have the Cloud so we don’t have to worry about that!”

Really?  You’re 100% comfortable, and certain, that some unseen super computer server somewhere in the universe won’t evvvver fail?

You’re positive that with all of the recent data breaches stealing credit card info, and leaking images stolen from celeb’s phones and cloud storage systems that your photos are ALWAYS going to be safe and stored?

You have a lot more faith in that system than I do.

I pay my WONDERFUL Online Gallery people at Shootproof.com archival fees each month to back-up my client’s images for at least three-years (after that I think it just gets a little expensive storing hundreds of thousands of images), but if their site, or the Cloud, or Pixieset, or Pass, etc… were to be hacked, or fail, or what.ev.er, how would you view your memories?

My liability is gone after I deliver your products, storing for as long as I do is merely a courtesy.

If your Facebook account got deactivated how would you get those images back that were on that phone you had 5 years ago and never saved?

If your phone got water damaged and refuses to boot up any longer how would you view those images of your child’s birth and life that you had stored no place else?

Yes, if Heaven forbid you had a fire, a flood, a natural disaster, etc… that ruined your prints, digitals might save you…that is if the media format you had them saved on somehow survived, but chances are that disc is gone too.

So, don’t ask me for “Just a CD”.  That’s not the BJP way.  It used to be, but I turned a corner 3 years ago, and I want my clients to have tangible parts of their legacy to pass down.

I wan them to have tangible heirlooms they can flip through at Christmas in a giant box that’s so worn it’s about to fall apart from all the family memories tucked away inside,a nd all of the times it’s been passed around after stuffing ourselves with turkey and pie.

There really isn’t a comparison for professional archival quality prints that you know will look just as vibrant and transcendent long after you’re gone.

Once you see a Bride looking like a sunburned orange fictional character out of Willy Wonka accusing you of tampering with her images, or an image you edited of a beautiful pink, warm, newborn looking grey and lifeless hanging on a client’s wall, that’s it.  You educate, educate, educate, and become a “hybrid” print and select few digitals photography business.

Plus hanging a disc on your wall just looks silly 😉

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Print your client’s memories.  Show them the comparisons in your studio, or online like this one. And if you can find one show them an old school Floppy Disc.  We owe it to them to help them pass these memories on, and stand the test of time!

Happy Printing!

xoxo,  B

Dear Wedding Guest – An Open Letter – Wedding Planning Advice


Dear Wedding Guest,

 

Allow me to introduce myself.  I am a Professional Wedding Photographer.  Your dearest friends or family searched diligently for me, basically interviewed me, then hired me.

This will probably offend you, rub you the wrong way, maybe even make you a tab bit angry.  Welcome to my world.  Allow me to educate you on a growing problem, one that you, and only you, can stop.  I’ve resolved to keep it more REAL and RAW this year.  Tip toeing hasn’t worked, so maybe some to the point blunt-ness will.

You see Brides and Grooms have invested thousands in not only this day, my services most specifically, as once everything is done, the glitter has settled, and the sparkler smoke dissipates, my images will be all that is left to remember this day by.  Please allow me to do my job.

Even if the couple doesn’t insist, post signage, or have the ushers and minister advise everyone to keep their devices off because this is one of those AWESOME new trends of “An Unplugged Wedding” act like it is.

You may think this is not new news, you know who I am because you see my equipment and I trying valiantly to as silently as possible traverse the ceremony, so why am I writing you this letter?

You see I’ve been planning weddings and floral designing for them since 2001.  The last 6 have been spent capturing these one shot moments for Brides and Grooms.  Needless to say I’ve been to a LOT of weddings.  I’ve been to close to 75 just as a guest, then I’ve been in about a half-dozen.  I’ve seen it all.

Your behavior though in most recent years is what is so disconcerting…increasingly troubling.  Thus the reason for this letter.

Hear me out, I’m not angry, I can’t stop you from ruining your friend’s or family’s wedding images.  When they ask later why this image isn’t included I’ll show them, explain to them how you ruined it, and that I couldn’t salvage it so it wound up in the unusable pile on the culling room floor. (Photog speak for best image selection process)  I can do A LOT with Photoshop…unfortunately accounting for every.single.rude.thing. you can do to ruin an image isn’t one of them.

Somehow we’ve shifted from a society that respects a solemn occasion where everyone sits politely through the ceremony, actually engaging in the ceremony through their undivided attention, to something more resembling a paparazzi frenzy at the latest red carpet event.

These actions that in far too many cases literally RUIN our one chance at our Bride’s “must have” shot.  And for what?  A horrible, grainy, slightly blurry, iPhone image you stuck your arm into the aisle to catch then slapped a filter on because that’ll make it better? An image where the flash on your new camera shouldn’t have ever fired, which was probably banned anyway by the venue, which I abided by/am equipped to handle, but no not you.  Rules don’t apply to you it seems.

Left: the @BraskaJennea Instagram image taken the day of, Right: The actual camera image they'll have for life.  Note the iPhone's grainy images and orange lighting in the Church Sanctuary.
Left: the @BraskaJennea Instagram image taken the day of, Right: The actual camera image they’ll have for life. Note the iPhone’s grainy images and orange lighting in the Church Sanctuary.

You had to have that image so badly you accidentally flashed the bride so brightly as she passed that not only in your image does she look like a ghost, but in my paid for, professional, image she’s now wearing “white out”.  There’s no recovering from a “white out” spill ya’ll!

Yes, I’m talking about your blatant disregard for the sanctity of the ceremony, and the duties of those who’ve been entrusted, PAID, to capture the day.  On what planet would the iPhone image quality above on the left be worth ruining a B&G’s professional images for?

Then of course there’s your unexplainable urge to shoot over my shoulder during family formals.  Thank you so much for creating “shifty eyes” as people struggle (though I don’t know why they struggle…my camera is bigger, and I’m clearly the professional so they should only look into MY lens but I digress) to choose which camera to look at.  I appreciate the extra work I’ll now have to do to face swap in with another image, hopefully, where they were looking at me in.  Thank you for that.

As for after the ceremony that too is all too often a “feeding frenzy” as the first ant to the picnic wants “Just one picture”, then the next ant shows up, and then there’s a whole “Receiving line” of ants wanting to take “just one”.  To quote the popular YouTube lady “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!”.

We’re on a TIGHT schedule. We’re fighting available day light 99% of the time, and you, being the star of this day, obviously, just HAD to have that “ONE” image.  Thank you for robbing the Bride and Groom of the best light for their portraits.  They’ll cherish your “ONE” over their images together, I’m sure.

Thank you for your grumbling also during the cocktail hour or reception, that my second shooter overheard you annoyed, and loudly, proclaiming “Well I guess the photographer just thinks it’s all about them huh?”, “Good grief I’m starving!  How long does it take to take a few pictures?”, “Well since I’m never going to see them because they think pictures are more important than greeting guests I’m leaving. I don’t have all day to wait around at a wedding.”

Really.  We hear you. Thank you for once again proving you think you are the center of this day.  I’m glad to know the beautiful magnitude of this man and this woman following suit in matrimony isn’t wasted on you. 😉 (That’s a whole lot of sarcasm…in case you haven’t picked up on it already.  Ha!)

YES, you are literally the bottom priority of this day.  Seriously.  Yes, I just said that.  The LAST priority on a wedding day is the guest.  You are there for them, they are NOT there for you!  Now, before you go off in a tizzy that that’s rude, you “gave up your Saturday”, bought them a gift, etc… let me explain.

On a traditional wedding day the pecking order goes like this:

FIRST, and I mean ABSOLUTELY TOP PRIORITY, are the BRIDE AND GROOM.   I don’t care if you sit there 2hrs because the Bride wants “Oh just this one last shot”…we’re doing it.  I don’t really run this show you see…the groom doesn’t either, trust me he’d probably rather be right there with at the reception talking smack about “how much longer”…the Bride is the one cruising this ship, I’m just along to capture the ride. You can chill.  Pop another shrimp cocktail, toss back a beer, and socialize. We’ll be there literally as soon as we can! (Hey, in most cases we haven’t eaten all day….or drank anything…we’re ready for the reception before the ceremony!)

Next is the Ceremony.  Without it you wouldn’t be here at all.

Post Ceremony the Family comes in third place today, via Family formals.  We’re not really a fan of them wither….trust me….but they’re an absolute MUST for Weddings.  You HAVE to have pictures with His family, Her family, and BOTH together as they are now one family. And of course all the sections of those families as requested by the B&G.

Maybe hate is a strong word, they’re simply just the hardest images of the day to capture.  You see we know most of the people in them don’t want to be there…”I hate having my picture made”, “I’m starving! Can we cut this short?”, “How many more?”, “UGH! I just sat down!” We hear it all, and have to happily photograph faces that rather read of a funeral than a wedding.

Alas, we must all power through.  These images WILL be framed.  If no other images get framed, the family formals will.be.framed!  Gifted to grandma, mailed to aunt Sue in Denver, proudly displayed in dad’s office. These images MINIMUM take 15 minutes…and that’s for small families.  For larger families, or Moms wanting images with extended family who came in for the wedding, we’re looking at a good half hour Max.

From there it’s the Bridal Party’s place in line.  They’ve invested a ton of time and money to stand beside their boy, or their girl, they too were hand chosen to help rock this day.  They’ve stood in broiling sun in 3 piece suits or floor length gowns, they’ve dabbed sweat, fixed hair and make-up, they’ve walked and stood in painful shoes for longer than their feet care to remember anytime soon.

While you were sitting comfortably in a chair or pew, they stood, probably in pain because they didn’t want to tell their Bride the shoes she just LOVED for their dresses made their feet want to bleed…and they’ve been standing for quite a while on this day already.  They deserve killer images with their friends now too.  Sadly they only get about 10-15 minutes as we’re trying our hardest to make the reception ASAP.

Finally it’s back to the first priority I mentioned above.  After everyone is dismissed (read: out-of-the-way 😉 ) it’s FINALLY time for these newlyweds to get their images…the most important images of the day.  This IS THEIR moment.  These are the prizes of the day. What they’ve waited for.

Thankfully many Brides and Grooms are opting to do “First Looks” to knock all pictures out before (barring family portraits unless everyone can there in time beforehand), but still here in the South superstition reigns, so don’t get comfortable that every wedding will have receptions immediately following because you assume they went the First Look route. It’s about 50/50.

Once we wrap those most important portraits then, and only then, is it almost your time.

Before you still reside the First Dance, Father Daughter Dance, Mother Son Dance, and hopefully them actually grabbing a bite of the delicious cake and food they’ve spent so much bank on!

FINALLY it’s YOUR time.  See, last priority of the day.  Socializing with guests. That’s actually what receptions were for!  Did you know that?  The purpose of the reception is for guests to celebrate with the new Bride and her Groom. That’s the time to go photo crazy.  That’s what that time was set aside for. To rejoice with the couple in their new life together!

My job is to capture this day. Not yours. You’re a bonus. I’ve been the “bonus” before. But I promise you back then I never would’ve dreamed to treat a photographer like you all treat us now.  The audacity with which you place your own want for a picture before that of the Bride and Groom’s images.

You’re literally leaning, or STANDING, in front of us IN.THE.AISLE., sticking your arms out, holding your phone, iPAD, even camera over your head, with no regard for the Bride and Groom’s images they’ve invested so much in having captured professionally. (Now, even if a friend or family member who’s new/”building a portfolio” is shooting you still should offer them the same respect…they’re new…they don’t need anything else making this already insanely difficult job any harder!)

You’re taking them by the hand, forcing them to take a picture with you as we’re trying to complete their portraits with “it’ll only take a second”, and they never want seem rude so they oblige.

So, I urge you to please control yourselves. Leave your camera at home, or in the car until the reception, turn your phones off and keep them in your purse or pocket.  Trust me they’d rather see your FACE in their images as she’s coming down the aisle than that iPhone, tablet, or camera….plus you just look strange!

PLEASE, for the love of everything beautiful and right with weddings, remember you’re JUST.A.GUEST!  It’s not about you!  It’s about them, it’s about their memories captured forever by the person they’re paying to capture them professionally.  Go crazy at the reception, but before then help me help them.  Be a FACE not a device in their moments.  Most of all JUST BE PRESENT, help them celebrate, and help me (and my fellow photographers) give them only the most emotionally beautiful memories we all can…unimpeded!

Undeniably some of you will still think you’re going to save the day with your second-hand images, so you can win some imaginary game of “I got it first”/(more like you got it worst) so that in mind here’s a list of Wedding etiquette Guidelines to preserve the B&G’s one shot deal memories:

1)  My Brides and Groom’s families and friends get this pep talk after the rehearsal, here it is for the whole world to use.  “Treat the aisle like a roller coaster.  Keep all arms, legs, heads, electronic devices inside the row at ALL times. I’m looking through a lens, normally a telephoto, I CANNOT see you when I’m tracking the stars of this show through it. Be warned: if you’re leaning in, sticking out, etc…  I’m not responsible for what may happen when I pass you and you disregard this common sense rule.

2) Act like your camera or phone hits a wall everytime it tries to come above your shoulders.  If we can’t see it, we can see you, and they’d rather see you than your device! Do not, I repeat DO NOT, hold it up to your face during any of the major moments where you’ll be seen (i.e. Bride coming in, rings, kiss, coming back down the aisle, etc….)

3) KILL YOUR FLASH!  It won’t do you any good from the distance you’re sitting anyway, except to blind the Bride and “white out” her dress.  Put your finger over it just to make sure it won’t pop up.

4) WAIT! Save it for the reception.  You’re not allowed to steal my poses and lighting ideas.  It’s poor taste to interrupt the couple to be needy anyway, and you eating up their prime time lighting we’ve scheduled is.not.cool.

5) If the B&G don’t follow to the reception or cocktail hour they’re DOING PHOTOS!  Chill.  Enjoy the reception music or cocktail hour (if there is one, there’s a reson it’s called an HOUR) because at minimum shooting family, bridal party, and Bride and Groom takes 45 minutes for small families, and that’s only giving about 15 minutes to the B&G…don’t they derserve more than that?  My B&G’s are told to expect no less than an HOUR!  The B&G need a good 30 minutes at least when no First Look is done.

6) Finally RELAX.  This is not.your.day!   If you get zero images for yourself that’s ok! It’s not about you!  Just eat some cake, chug come sweet tea or some punch, and wait patiently until the images they’ve paid me to capture are ready.

Party on party people!  Let’s rock some weddings in 2015!

 

XOXO,  B

 

 

 

Let’s Talk Internship! – BraskaJennea Seeks Social Media Intern


Are you looking for real world training and education in the Professional Photography industry, or just needing to build your resume?

Savvy in the areas of all things Social Media?  Proficient in proper grammar, and tasteful, classy, language? (i.e. You know the difference in your, you’re, there, their, and they’re, and know that profanity really has no place in civilized business and society)  Then this is the internship for you!

Megan-Joel-Savannah-Oaks-Winery-Wedding-BraskaJennea-Photography_0092.jpg

The best part is you can pretty much work from your home, on your own time. WHAT!? Yes, you read that right!

Now yes internships are typically unpaid “work for experience” jobs, but you’ll have opportunities to earn a little commission on the side! (More on that later!)

Still interested? Know your way around Twitter, Facebook Business Pages, Pinterest, Blogging, Instagram, etc…?  Then let me help you with sharing invaluable info it’s taken me YEARS to learn…during this 6 month intern program.

This isn’t something for the lazy, a quitter, or the non-self motivated as there’ll be expectations of certain numbers of tasks to be made on a daily basis.  Serious, self-motivated applicants only, Please.

You’ll need to email me from here, with your Full Legal Name, Mailing Address as listed on your driver’s license, Cell number, current schedule of availability, and a brief paragraph detailing why you want this internship! 

Let’s get this party started ya’ll! I’ll be accepting applications now through the next few weeks.  So, get yours in because I’m aiming to fill this position by Thanksgiving!