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

 

 

Krista + Raymond Part 2 – Historic Fillauer Lake House Wedding – Cleveland, TN Wedding Photographer –


Get ready for Part Two of Krista + Raymond’s gorgeous Fillauer Lake House Southern Wedding.  Re-visit Part 1 Here.

It was a wedding filled with beautiful details from the flowers, the centerpieces, the table of family member’s images and wedding portraits, the delicious popcorn bar, custom cornhole boards, to the self-manned photobooth, and of course the lovely antiquities that are throughout the Fillauer property nothing was overlooked.

Then once the “I do’s” were said the real fun began…portraits!  My favorite part of the day are the Bride and Groom portraits.  Why?  Because once they’re together it’s as if nothing else matters and everything is just so much more fun!  Especially with these two and their crew!

The smiles just did.not.stop. nor did the laughter.  Joy.  Absolute joy fills these two amazing souls, and capturing love like theirs reminds me of why I’m so blessed to use all I’ve been given to tell their story in still life for their future generations.

Through the first dance, the cake cutting, right through until they exited an aisle of sparklers lined by their closest family and friends it was all a beautiful kick-off for the start of a Happily Hanlon After!

Congratulations Krista and Raymond, and thank you for choosing me to capture it all!

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Special thank you’s go to all of the amazing vendors who helped make Krista + Raymond’s day a smashing success!

Officiant/Minister: Mike Hubble
Venue Coordinator: Nancy Sellers
Florist: Ivy Lane Florist
Wedding Gown Designer: Allure Bridals
Bridesmaids Gowns by: Watters Originals
Guys Suits Or Tux Rentals From: Men’s Warehouse
Hair: Brandi from  Sheek and Sassy
Make-Up: Kathryn Golden of Sephora
Wedding Cake Bakery: Kimmees Cakes
Linens: provided by Fillauer Lake House
Caterer: Tasteful Gatherings
Bar Tending: Elizabeth McAmis
DJ: Jon Bessom

Krista + Raymond Part 1 – Historic Fillauer Lake House Wedding – Cleveland, TN Wedding Photographer –


Ever have so much goodness one of something just won’t do?  Well that tis the case for this Happily Hanlon Ever After so you’re getting not one, but TWO blog posts.  One just wouldn’t be able to contain it all…or load on most phones or tablets 😉

The day I met Krista and her mother at my studio I had an immediate draw to her wedding.  Perhaps it was her relaxed demeanor, laid back attitude, or that infectious smile as she talked about the details of her Wedding Day to Raymond.

There was just something about her, like all of my Brides really, that whispered there was something magical about these two.

I first met Raymond at their engagement session that started out on the Chickamauga Battlefield, and ended on the Market Street Bridge in Downtown Chattanooga.  It was a stunning Fall day, and from the moment I saw the two of them together it all fit, they fit.

When you’ve been in the wedding industry for as long as I have you pick up on certain “tells”.  These two couldn’t stop smiling, laughing, or just cutting up.  I KNEW I liked them for a reason, and couldn’t wait for their wedding day, they were a breeze to photograph.

It’s so easy to see when a couple doesn’t feel comfortable during their session.  Whether it’s with the actual person taking their portrait, or the whole situation itself, but from the moment we started until we were through they were completely comfortable in front of the camera.

Incandescently happy to do whatever was asked because on this day they were to marry their best friend!

The guys played cornhole out behind the barn while the ladies got dolled up in the upstairs of the majestic Southern Manor complete with Mimosa’s and music.

The bridal suites are simply to die for, and more tears were shed by her girls as Krista got into her gown than possibly all of my bridal getting ready moments combined…well…close 😉

The portraits started of course out on the balcony, where all good Southern portraits should start of course.  We then moseyed down stairs where the light coming from the foyer, and the mirror hanging on the wall in front of Krista, just seemed to easily stop time like a moment from a movie.

Laughing and crying at the same time seemed to sum up the portraits as mother, sister and friends, couldn’t even look at each other without tears welling up.  Truly precious friendships and family!

As we wrapped with the ladies the fellas were waiting, and eager to begin their hamming it up for the camera antics.

These two chose their Bridal Party wisely as they picked people who would do anything for them, right down to joking about blocking off exits, and a piggy back ride 😉

I don’t believe I’ve ever laughed harder or longer shooting men than I did with Raymond and his G-men.  Almost like it was their mission to have everyone within ear, or eye, shot in hysterics.  Another testament to the sweet sweet spirits they have, and of the people who love them most.

We wrapped with the men, and headed off to snap a No-peeking shot from the balcony of the manor just before Go-time.  Like something out of Romeo and Juliet he waited below, threatened if he so much as dared to look up, as she peered down at him from above grinning ear to ear.

It was time.

The ceremony flowed perfectly, and as she ascended the aisle Raymond’s face couldn’t have been anymore in love.  Those are the magic moments I live for.  Whether private and hidden during a first look, or as she walks the aisle amid their guests, that reaction says everything.  Everything you need to know about a couple, and for Krista and Raymond it was simply pure bliss.

True to form they smiled and laughed through the whole ceremony; even when the candles had blown out and were struggling to stay re-lit for their unity candle, they laughed and seemed to communicate secret thoughts through their beaming glances.

With their vows and rings exchanged, and the symbolism of two separate lives now being put out to now shine as one they were now husband and wife.  Mr and Mrs. Hanlon.

And with their first portraits as Mr. and Mrs., and the reception to follow, this is where I’ll leave you…wanting more for part two tomorrow!

So stay tuned….I promise you they’ll all be worth the wait 😉

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Special thank you’s go to all of the amazing vendors who helped make Krista + Raymond’s day a smashing success!

Officiant/Minister: Mike Hubble
Venue Coordinator: Nancy Sellers
Florist: Ivy Lane Florist
Wedding Gown Designer: Allure Bridals
Bridesmaids Gowns by: Watters Originals
Guys Suits Or Tux Rentals From: Men’s Warehouse
Hair: Brandi from  Sheek and Sassy
Make-Up: Kathryn Golden of Sephora
Wedding Cake Bakery: Kimmees Cakes
Linens: provided by Fillauer Lake House
Caterer: Tasteful Gatherings
Bar Tending: Elizabeth McAmis
DJ: Jon Bessom

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

Impatiently Patient – When “YES” Really Means “Wait”


I am the Impatiently Patient Single. The Impatiently Patient Photographer.  The Imaptiently Patient…you name it.

I’ve become OK with waiting.

I gave up putting timelines on anything a long time ago as it’s simply not up to me.

Planning things, setting deadlines, adding in time to try to make sure I’d be early only to still be late, all of which just simply proved to be in vain.

This is a new kind of hard though.  Just when I’d come to grips with the monumentous call God cornered me with last September.  Just when I had started researching, planning, taking the necessary steps….

Sometimes a “YES” from God isn’t a “yes” of action, but instead a “yes” of obedience.

Sometimes a yes from God results in the answer of “Just wait…I just needed to know you were ready”.

I’ve become an expert at waiting, but still those are by far the hardest “yeses” to give.

We’ve jumped. We’re ready.

The anxiety and doubts have been put to rest, finally, we’ve made peace we’re about to be gloriously shaken up…thrown in the deep end, finally ready to swim.

“LET’S DO THIS Lord!!”

“Wait!” -God

“But I’m ready NOW!! I KNOW you are calling me to this? I’ve already started preparing! I’m READY!”

“I know…but wait!  It’s not perfect just yet.  Behold, I am doing a new thing. Do you not see it? It’s already started, but you must wait!”  -God

By far the hardest words to “hear” when you’ve already braced yourself and leaned in, ready to weather the storm.

Excitement and expectation turn to sadness and longing.

You were ready…or so you thought.

That’s where I am. Where I’ve been.

I was ready.

After all He broke me DOWN.  Sent me to a beautiful place with speaker after speaker driving the nail further in to prepare me for a life changing journey.  One full of so many things I’ve wanted for so so long.

I bucked. I wrestled. I FOUGHT.  For MONTHS. Harbored bitterness and resentment at all this was going to change…all that it would complicate.

Finally one night though “What are you waiting for?” Was asked by sweet Mary Marantz down in Rome, Georgia in a small chapel packed with 150 something Jesus loving women.  “What are you letting fear hold you back from?”

I was DONE. Floodgates opened from my eyes. Feet that didn’t feel like mine walked me to a stage turned alter where I knelt and WEPT.

#UGLYCRYING in hard.core. Holy Spirit fashion.

Peace. Precious peace I received the day I accepted Christ way back in December 2001 washed over me….because I let go.  It’d been there all along, it always is, but I was fighting…until then.

I was ready.  Finally.  Running, wrestling, trying to hit God with the “flaws” and “impossibilities” of His plan ended.

“Be not afraid.  I did not give you a spirit of fear.”

“Yes, Lord!”

I started trying to prepare, and then….*SMACK* I hit a wall this past week.

I looked for ways around the wall, over it, under it.  It was the week of my 32nd birthday…it was TIME!

Time to get started having a LIFE, maybe not in the order I wanted it, but in God’s beautiful, non-sensical to me, timing.

The wall only grew.  Taller, longer, wider.  No way over, around, or under.  This wall wasn’t meant to move.

“Wait. Not yet. I just needed to know you’d be ready.”

So here at the wall I wait. Ready to charge forward when He brings it down.

Time after time He’s brought walls down for His people, His plan, and He’s going to do it again.

He just needed to make sure my heart and spirit were ready.

Sometimes a “Yes, Lord!” isn’t meant to be an action, right then, it’s just simply a “Yes, Lord!” and *crickets* as we wait.

I feel someone else reading this is here too.  You’re beyond ready.  You’re broken. “…but wait.”

Lean in harder. Stand ready.  Enjoy the beauty of the stretching, trusting, breaking.

Because when that “Yes” of obedience becomes an action “YES! It’s time!” hold on!

It’s going to be the best ride you never could’ve imagined.

XOXO,  B

The Impatiently Patient Single