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

 

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

 

 

 

First Dance Lyric Canvas – Newly Engaged Advice – New Year, New Bride to Be Wedding Planning 101


Hello Brides to Be! Here’s a Beautiful BJP Incentive to hopefully get your attention!

Read on to find out how you can get this stunning $400 16×24 Professional Canvas Gallery Wrap with your First Dance Lyrics as your very own….A gift from BJP to you this January!

BJP Studio Wedding Products - BraskaJennea Photography-2

In talking to my Pro Wedding friends we’re noticing a disturbing trend for 2015 Weddings…Brides booking their venues, and then stopping there. Not going ahead and booking the top level, most important vendors, and setting up the budget/payment plans to get everything paid…without a last minute budget blow.  Not to mention the dream shattered of having the memories captured on the big day like those Pinterest Board images flittering around in your dreams.

It’s happened so many times it makes me cringe…that e-mail 3-4 months before the wedding date searching for a photographer. Then the inevitable “We’d absolutely LOVE to have you, but just can’t come up with $$$$ in so little time.”

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You just got that ring, plan ahead so you don’t get Vendor heartbroken! Book as soon as you know your date…and ask about payment options. You can read more about why it’s important to book early here.  Honestly though last minute bookings can be charged “Rush Fees”…as everything we do for our Brides over the course of 9-15 months is now time crunched, bumping our plans, and other obligations, to fit you in.

BUT there’s good news too to help soften “budget blows” (But really ya’ll budgeting a minimum of $2,500 for your Professional Wedding Photography in any market is a minimum you should just go ahead and prepare for), read on below…

Caitlyn + Brandon - Mint Springs Farm Wedding - BraskaJennea Photography-124A little freebie budget tip for you: If the venue is $2,000+, as most are even here in tiny town Tennessee, you need to at least double that budget for the only thing that will capture not only you, and the details you’re paying hundreds/thousands on that dress for, but that gorgeous venue.  The only way you’ll have to remember that precious day…and all of the money you spent making it your dream day, is through your dream Photography! Check out this popular BJP Post on Choosing Your Wedding Photographer, and what you need to know before you do so.

Now, here’s the good news!  A beautiful new trend is unfolding with Vendor Registries…you can register for products, services, even gift certificates, to help pay off your Wedding Photography!  BraskaJennea Weddings is proud to offer this exciting new Wedding Registry (Baby Registry coming soon!) for 2015 & 2016 Weddings.

SO, book early, ask about payment plans, and ask about Registries…because who needs 5 toasters when you’d rather have a stunning Professional Legacy Canvas hanging over your bed, or a few hundred dollars off your Photography Collection’s final balance?

Still hanging in, waiting with baited breath to find out how to get that GORGEOUS canvas featuring your image and your lyrics….on the house?  It’s easy!  Book your new 2015 wedding with BraskaJennea Weddings by January 31st, 2015 within 7 days of contacting us, and it’s yours… yours we say!

Happy Wedding planning lovelies!  May it be the beautiful blessed day you’ve always imagined!

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!

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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!

 

Wedding Wednesday – Picking Your Battles (Clients) & Breaking Traditions


I’m going to try to make this a weekly, if at least bi-weekly, series to share my passion…weddings…with those not so “in the know”.  So, subscribe and stay tuned for off the cuff, real talk, wedding advice for not only Brides, but for photographers as well!

Weddings are the jam to my biscuit ya’ll…and this Southern female photographer LOOOVES her some biscuits! HA!  I may not be the master Wedding Photog I’m still hustlin’ to be…yet ;)…but I do know weddings…and I know them WELL!

That being said, let’s get this party started…Welcome to Wedding Wednesday’s First Post: “Picking Your Battles & Breaking Traditions”.

Don’t misunderstand…I LOVE traditions like I love weddings, traditions can be sweet, sentimental and fun, but they shouldn’t be relied upon to make or break your day.

Recently I spoke with a bride and groom, and both of their mothers. I adored the Bride and Groom, we were on the same page…they were without a doubt a “BJP Couple”…I didn’t book them. And I didn’t lose sleep over it!

“WHAT!?” Let me break down the scene….

We were talking about flow of the wedding day (something I’m a *bit* of a control freak about) and I asked 1) How long their reception was (only 3hrs would remain for time in the reception venue top to bottom after ceremony!), 2) how much time they wanted to have to Dance and party with their guests before their grand exit. (They wanted to “get there and party ASAP!”)

Both of these are basic, but important, questions because they tell me where their priorities lie…and I loooove brides and grooms with great priorities!!

“How does that tell you about their priorities?” Well, it tells me if they are more bent towards spending time with their guests who gave up a day, many of which probably had to get a sitter, use a sick or vacation day, etc… to come celebrate their special day, or not.  I prefer the former!  

Wedding Guests DO give a lot to share in a wedding day, and I’m not just talking about gifts here…I want couples who recognize, and appreciate, those sacrifices, and want to get down with those people to show some appreciation. 

I’ve been a wedding guest many times, and it’s true they DO want to interact with you… if only for a few line dances out on the dance floor. 

SO, back to the story of the unbooked Bride & Groom…

Those questions and their answers (They wanted to interact and party with their guests!) led to this exchange that went something like this:

Me:  “I see! So getting to the reception ASAP is of utmost importance to you huh?”

Them: “yes!”

Me: “and before the ceremony we’ve basically got the whole day at the venue?”

Them: “Yes! Isn’t that great?!”

Me: “That’s FANTASTIC! Now, in order to get you to your reception we’ll need to shoot as much as we can beforehand.”

MoG: “Oh yes!! We are thinking 30 minutes after ceremony until they enter so as much as possible before is great!”

Me: “Ok wonderful! After ceremony it usually takes about 10 minutes for everyone to wander out of the ceremony site, so that’ll give us about 15-20 to do a few pictures with the Minister, and any family shots we had to postpone or couldn’t grab earlier (there’s always a family member or two who can’t make pre-ceremony pictures!)….

HALT….the MoB interrupts me: “We can’t do the family shots before the ceremony…it’s bad luck for them to see each other! Thats what the 30 minutes after the ceremony is for!”

*in my head: “WOW! Bless her…she clearly has no idea!” *

I chipperly chime in “OH! I see. So you all don’t want to see each other before hand?”

*the couple look at each other like deer in headlights* then the bride speaks

Bride: “whatever will get us to our reception in a hurry! I was in _____’s wedding and we were taking pictures for an hour after the ceremony because they had to do all the bride plus groom, whole bridal party shots AND all the family. I want to dance!”

Mother of Bride: “Well we’ll just rush and do that all in 30!”

*me in my head: “BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!”

Me out loud: “Unfortunately just the family portraits alone take a minimum of 20 minutes…and we can’t start those until everyone is rounded up and the area we’re shooting in is clear…that usually takes a good 10 minutes. If you add in doing just the Bride with her family and just the groom with his that’s another 10 minutes.  That’s the whole 30 just for family, and the most important images are those of the Bride and Groom which is a minimum 15, but I prefer at least 20-30 for dress positioning, moving locations, etc.. 

(side note: can someone explain this to me? If the marriage were to fall apart do people still keep those wedding photos of the bride and her family, Groom and his family? I’m honestly curious why so many mothers insist on not including their child’s new spouse in all the family portraits…aren’t they now too part of the family? Just curious because I’d feel like that was a slap in the face if my Groom’s family insisted on an entire set of images without ME!)

Mother of Bride: “OH we definitely want pictures of just her with our side!”
Mother of Groom retorts: “Us too!”

*Bride and groom exchange a pained glance, I felt their pain, and know I’ve got to reign this in before it turns into a scene from “Monster in Law”*

Me to the Bride and Groom: “And What are YOUR thoughts?”

Bride: *I wanted to just squeeze this lil peach!* “Well we don’t really see the point in extra time for those…it’s not like, Heaven forbid, something happened that we’d still want those, plus I know from my friends’ weddings how long it takes to position the dress, pose everyone, corral kids…there’s no way we can do that plus allll the family photos in 30 minutes! I vote let’s do one of those 1st looks and knock it all out before!” 
Groom: “I agree! I want to hit the cocktail hour before the cocktails get gone. haha!”

*insert evil glares from BOTH moms to them*

Me: “Lovely, you hit the nail on the head! I always say if you’re relying on luck to get you through your wedding day then you don’t need to be getting married!”

*Bride and groom laugh and nod in agreement. Moms look less than amused.*

Me: “Plus the two of you will be so much more relaxed. I mean really if time isn’t an issue after the ceremony I don’t mind not doing a First Look, but the benefits are immense, and BONUS more grooms tear up during private first looks!!” I continued to explain  “I’ve observed, and deleted, sooo many images of the Groom as his bride walks in, when all eyes are on her gliding in, he’s repeatedly glancing away…I assume to try to stifle the emotion with so many spectators, instead of letting go and just taking in his bride like we all want him to.  Those are the images I delete FIRST…no Bride wants to see those! Plus when it’s just the two of you, and I’m hidden, you only see each other…no one else to make “obligatory” eye contact with as you pass them down the aisle…and THEN…MY favorite moment…you actually get to hug!  You’re not stifled to only getting to hold hands for a few brief moments before the big kiss and then you’re whisked off to immediate picture frenzy with no time to just HOLD each other…to literally just breathe each other in.”

Groom looking at his Bride to Be:  *I wish I could’ve cloned this fella lovers!  He was truly thinking ahead and using past weddings as a guide…which is RARE for a Groom LOL!!*  ” I would love to just be able to hold you for a few minutes with no one close by. I thought about that in ______’s wedding when they didn’t get any alone time until they got in the car we saran wrapped *he chuckled a sly chuckle*, and I don’t want to just hold your hand for a few minutes the first time I get to see you.”

We chit chatted a few minutes more, they oooo-ed and ahhhhh-ed over my samples, were so excited, nudging each other, putting their bridal party into the pictures they saw, and imagining what their’s would look like…then I was ready for the close…asked them which Collection they wanted to book.

Bride: “I believe we’re settled on…”

Mother of Bride cuts in ” We need to talk about that a bit more actually. We’ll call you tomorrow to let you know what we decide on. Thank you for your time.” and the two mothers rise slowly, glaring at their respective “children” in that “you better be right behind us” stare that only mothers know how to give, and exited.

Years dealing with Momzillas as a planner taught me how to spot them a mile away…and this wedding would have had TWO! I knew at that moment who was controlling this show, and I wanted no part of a Momzilla controlled wedding. Weddings are meant to be fun and beautiful affairs full of smiles, happy tears, and laughter…as embarrassed as this sweet couple was over just a MEETING with a potential vendor I had peace about not taking it. 

The Bride and Groom profusely apologized for their mothers’ actions and “rude interruptions”, to which I reassure them I didn’t take it as such, only that I don’t cater to the parents, no matter who’s paying, but to the actual Bride and Groom and their wishes for THEIR day! They thanked me, assured me they’d be contacting me to book “tomorrow”, and graciously departed the coffee shop.

Now, I may catch flack for that, but trust me I’ve been to, in, and worked enough weddings the last 20 something years that I can recall, to know that the most miserable brides and grooms are the ones who let their parents have total dominion over their day.  Ideas are GREAT, help is WONDERFUL, tight fisted dominion…not so much. Too often you’ll hear them tossing around talk of “vow renewals” in a few years so they can “finally have the day WE wanted!”

In the end the couple emailed me to express their “agony” over not being “allowed” to use me for their big day because the mothers simply wouldn’t pay for me, and sadly they weren’t able to afford the wedding without them….and I was OK with that! Extremely remorseful for the couple, but I was ok!  They lamented both mothers were “adamant” on not budging from a 30 minute after ceremony max for pictures, and NO First Look.  This was NOT a BJP Wedding. 

Why? “That’s business…MONEY LOST!”

Truthfully it’s only money.  Over the years I’ve FINALLY absorbed, and put into practice, all the advice that I’ve paid for, asked for, read, to “Pick your battles, i.e. your clients, carefully, and only work with the ones who FIT your business to the letter.”

I’ve learned too through my studying of God’s word that “luck” has NO place in a wedding…there’s no such thing!  It’s either blessed and ordained by God, or it’s not.  No amount of ritual, ceremony, pomp, tradition, etc… will carry through a bride and groom that’s not already doing great without it!  Harsh? But it’s true.

I’ve sacrificed my standards, and prices, for gigs, for money, in the past (floral, planning, even photography) annnnnd…drum rolllllll…….I was MISERABLE! I had to partake, design, coordinate, MEDIATE, and CAPTURE miserable people…and make it appear wonderful…never again.  

The past few years of full time professional photography only selecting the clients that truly want and FIT BJP have been THE most wonderful years of my life…and THE BEST WEDDINGS!!! 

So, to all the Brides and your fellas out there, if at all possible, stick to your guns and have YOUR day…YOUR way!  Pick vendors who match your personalities and style.  And above all be willing to bend, but don’t break.  

Know that the pictures (and video) are literally the ONLY thing you’ll have when it’s all over, and when we tell you we need a “good three hours” to capture that “Pinterest Inspired” wedding of your dreams, it’s not because we want to torture you (we’ll usually wind up with only 2-2.5 hours due to normal wedding day delays anyway) it’s because we know what you won’t remember until you see the images…and THAT’S why we’re there…THAT’S why we “shoot a million pictures”…so you can remember the day when you can’t remember the day….and that takes time! 

Remember: You only get ONE shot (pun intended 😉 ) so do it your way…and to offer some planning advice prepare for at least 3 hours minimum for hitting all portraits before, or 3 hours total for images before and after ceremony, on your big day just for photography! It’ll make your photographer happy too 😉 

Also, if you, your family, and bridal party crew want to get to the reception in record time, a first look is the best, most intimately sweet, way to do that. If you’re game, and have the reception time, for an hour or a little more, if your bridal party and families are large, then by all means go traditional…just remember that those “natural light” “golden sunset” Pinterest poses you’re in LOOOVE with don’t happen in the dark 😉  Plan and schedule your ceremony accordingly, and consult your photographer for the best ceremony time for after portraits.

To all the photographers and vendors out there: I encourage you to find your ideal clients…only work with the couples who FIT you…your style, your beliefs, your prices, but most of all your personality…and stick with them. They’ll love you more for it, and you’ll love your job so much more for it!

Happy Wedding Planning lovers! Now, enjoy a few of my all time favorite images of Grooms seeing their gals for the first time…

That First Look...
That First Look…
That HUG!  It's what dreams are made of!
That HUG! It’s what dreams are made of!  See more here.
And we LIVE for that "She's MINE" smile ;)
And we LIVE for that “She’s MINE” smile 😉  See more here.
If you give her a twirl we'll all love you forever!
If you give her a twirl we’ll all love you forever!
THIS....
THIS….  See more here.
Easily the wedding I shed the most tears at! Can you see FEEL happy they are!?
Easily the wedding I shed the most tears at! Can you see FEEL happy they are!?  See more here.
The GRIN says it allll...even if the auto-dim glasses did hide his tears ;)
The GRIN says it allll…even if the auto-dim glasses did hide his tears 😉 See more here.