Rachel and I met at the end of this summer when I reached out to her to shoot. Of course, I was entranced by her awesome purple hair and pretty green eyes. We shared an instant connection because of our deep love for pretty makeup. Basically the rest is history and she is now one of my close friends and most favorite of people. This particular day we spent hanging out at the mall and she bought this amazing blue fur jacket. Once we got back to my place we decided to do some makeup and a last minute shoot. We shot these photos in five minutes time so we could have time to eat tacos before she had to leave. These photos ended up being some of my favorites in a long time. Thank goodness for amazing friendship and last minute photo shoot inspiration!
From start to finish I was completely obsessed with this set of photos in collaboration with Grace! There is a wide range of light and texture represented in this shoot which made it extra special. Grace is one of the most talented models I have had the opportunity to work with. She is also just the sweetest thing and ran across a muddy field with no shoes and barely any clothes on just to help me find my cards that I thought I lost. Turns out they were hidden in my bag all along. Classic Marissa.
Rae and I connected over Instagram recently. She is one of the first bloggers I have worked with, and it was so much fun. Not only is Rae a fashion blogger, but she is also a curve model. Her body-positive Instagram is so inspiring, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to meet her. During our shoot her positivity and confidence had such a huge impact on me. She is one of those people who spreads joy everywhere she goes and has the ability to make a huge impact on a person in even just an hour’s time. We were able to get tons of stunning shots for her modeling portfolio. She ended up moving to LA a couple of weeks after we got to meet, which I was pretty sad about, but I guess I will have to travel to LA sometime soon to work with her more! If you are a photographer in the LA area and are looking for an amazing model to work with then Rae is your girl!
A couple months back Abby and I decided to take some portraits. There is something so charming about a black shirt, blue jeans, and Colorado’s gorgeous scenery. All three together make for some magic photos. Abby and I found this awesome area tucked behind some homes. If you love great photography go check out Abby’s photography as well. She has such an amazing eye!
This shoot with Laura was nothing we expected it to be. Usually I like to go into my shoots completely prepared. I have always been much more of a “wing it” type of gal but I have found that organization with these styled shoots is very important. For many reasons this shoot did not go as planned. Most of them were not in Laura’s or my control. I am so thankful for Laura’s easy going personality. With all the forces that went against us she still rocked the shoot and made my job easy! Things to note while looking at these photos:
- Laura’s hair is freaking amazing.
- She has Disney Princess eyes.
- Girl is gorgeous!
When Brittany and I got in contact I was so freaking excited to work with her. She is so stunning! I am thankful for her trust in me considering we met, and I basically drove her to the middle of nowhere in the mountains to shoot these photos. I was blown away by her confidence and versatility while shooting. She could make a paper bag look high fashion. It was so hard to go through these photos and pick my favorites because she slayed these! If you like these photos, then you are in luck! She and I will be creating more awesome photos together again soon.
I am so excited about how these beauty shots of Heather turned out! It was a gorgeous night at Chatfield Reservoir and the lighting was perfectly overcast. Heather is such a natural beauty and she can rock a posed look or a candid look! Do I even have to mention her insanely gorgeous eyes? A very special thanks to Heather’s man for dunking her head in the water so her hair could be wet, and also to Abby for being an awesome assistant!
I was extremely excited when I found out that Kaitlynne was the winner of my giveaway! Her and I had never met before, but as soon as we sat down for our first cup of coffee we were instant friends. I adore her bubbly fun personality! She is working her way into the fashion industry as a short model and I am so excited to see where she goes in the future. She is extremely talented and so stinking gorgeous! By the end of our session it felt like her, Alan, and I were instant best friends. I fell so blessed that my giveaway gave me the opportunity to connect with her and we will be doing many more projects together in the future.
We were very inspired by Clueless in this shoot! Enjoy!
Outfits are from the following places!
|Shorts: Forever 21|Bralette: Victoria Secret|Shirt: Calvin Klein|Top & Skirt Set: Pretty Little Thing|Socks: Pretty Little Thing|
Last year I almost completely gave up my photography business. I shot over 30 weddings in one summer and was completely exhausted and burnt out. Just to be clear, it had nothing to do with the couples I worked with. They were beyond amazing, and I had a blast meeting so many new people. At the time I was just not mentally ready to take on such a high work volume, and honestly I didn’t have thick enough skin for the critique that came my way. I walked out of the summer fully prepared to hang my camera up and kiss photography goodbye. Silly me, within a few months of recouping, a lot of tough love, and some serious refocus I was ready to pick up my camera again and work harder than ever to do what I truly love. The year of exhaustion, stress, hard work, break downs, and almost completely giving up on my heart’s greatest passion taught me some of the most valuable lessons about myself as a photographer and my business. Here they are!
You are not him/her or anyone else for that matter, so stop trying to be.
This is something I struggled with a lot in the last year. I am a huge Instagram lover, like many other photographers. I use it as a way to gain inspiration and have found some of my favorite photographers on it. The day I found India Earl I was sucked into a black hole. Her work is incredible and so unique to her. I wanted so desperately for my photos to look like hers. I would edit, and then edit some more, then re-edit 4 more times, and then finally shut my computer in anger because no matter what I did I couldn’t get my photography to look like hers. It got to the point where I started hating every photo I took because I thought if it didn’t look like hers it was pure garbage. I lost all confidence in myself and the individual talent that I have. Friends, this is so unhealthy! If you are doing this, STOP right now. Unfollow the person. Shut down your Instagram for a hot minute. Do whatever it takes to step away for a while. Take some deep breaths. Refocus yourself and figure out who YOU are and what YOUR strengths are. Begin to focus on what it looks like to push yourself to create better art that you love and are proud of because it’s genuine to who you are. Once I did this I began to fall in love with my own work again. I realized I didn’t want to be like anyone else. I just wanted to be the best at what I do. In the end this will be better for you. In a market that is crazy saturated, find what makes you unique and stop striving to have your work look like everyone else’s.
Don’t waste your time and energy doing what you don’t want. Don’t book a job just because it’s paid.
I never started my photography business with the intention of having it all be about a paycheck. It was always about a creative outlet for me. It was a way for me to share my heart with the world without speaking a word. Eventually, I decided I wanted to make a living with my photography and do it full time. First, let’s just stop and take a moment to realize that being paid as a full time photographer can takes years of work, advertising, and busting your butt (If you are just starting your business this one is not as much for you. Here is your advice: Shoot as much as you can, work hard, invest in good equipment, and get good enough to charge a decent price for your work.). For those of you like me who have been in it for a couple of years and have a wide range of stuff in your portfolio, start realizing that you are good enough to charge and that you can say no if you feel that someone does not fit your aesthetic. I know sometimes it’s frustrating when you haven’t booked anything in a couple of weeks and someone approaches you to do that one thing that you really hate doing and really don’t want to do. It’s easy to say yes in desperation because you feel like no one is going to hire you. Don’t waste your time or energy. You are a great photographer, and you will find the right clients in time. I would suggest reaching out and booking some shoots that will challenge you in the specific niche area you want to work in, even if this means not making any money. Build your portfolio to be what you want it to be and continue to get better. Show people what you want to do and eventually you will get booked for it. I stopped putting pressure on myself to make money and started pushing myself to be creative and shoot what I loved. Since then, I’ve noticed business naturally flowing my way. Even if I’m not making any money I will still create because it’s what I love to do. No pressure, just passion. Don’t let an obsession with making money take away from the real reason that you are doing photography.
It’s okay if they don’t like your work.
I used to really struggle with this, and I still do. I mean, who doesn’t hate rejection? At some point I had to realize that if someone wasn’t happy with my work it wasn’t the end of the world. Usually it was them picking my style and then realizing in the end it wasn’t what they actually wanted. If I took offense to every negative thing I would probably throw my camera in the trash and curl up in a ball while cuddling a chocolate cake. I once had someone rip me and my photography to bits in an online review. It was devastating at the time. I was embarrassed and hurt. After a couple of these I began to question if I would be good enough for any client that booked me. I eventually realized my style isn’t every person’s cup of tea. I am cool with it at this point. I love what I do and it reflects who I am.
Show up prepared.
This is your business; be professional. Gone are the days where you just show up and wing it. That doesn’t work, and if it does then you got pretty lucky. Take the time to research outfits, makeup, hair, etc. Create a mood board and search for inspiration. Drop some money on making the shoot exactly what you envisioned it to be. Put thought into your work. Don’t half-ass it. Go a couple of hours early and scout the area. Create a clear timeline of what outfits you want to shoot and the location you will shoot them at. Bring an assistant to help keep you organized if this isn’t a strength of yours. Analyze lighting and prepare for every possible outcome. This will alleviate a lot of your stress and clear more mental space for creativity, which will lead to bomb photos.
It’s okay if you need to take a break.
Sometimes a little refocus is needed. It’s okay to clear your calendar for a month and recenter what it is you want for your business. Just because you take a break doesn’t mean you gave up. Doing this last year took my photography to a new level. If you are burnt out then switch it up and try something new. It’s healthy to take time for yourself so you are in a good mental space to do your best work. This might help you find some new inspiration.
Stop being afraid and do cool stuff already!!
You know, that cool stuff that you have seen but have no idea how to do. The time is now — start doing it. I got used to playing it safe with the weddings I shot. I wanted everything to be perfect, for good reason, so I would always stick people in shade and take some photos. Yes, the photos turned out good, but I never stretched myself and it started to get boring. I would think about using abstract lighting or even something as simple as a reflector and would run the other direction because I wanted to play it safe. Don’t get me wrong, it’s okay to play it safe sometimes. Get the shots you need, but always allow yourself space in your shooting time to move out of your comfort zone. Shoot from a weird angle. Shoot while running. Move the camera and create some blur. Just do something different! Let yourself grow. If your photos suck, then whatever. Try something else next time. One day in the future you will be editing your images and drop to the floor in shock because of how cool of a photographer you are.
Recently I shot a session and tried out some new things. I even used a reflector for the first time. I just about died when I saw the improvements it made in my photos. Just like that I took my photography to the next level. Below are a couple of shots for example.
- The first image (left) was shot in harsh light (my boyfriend’s suggestion). I was terrified at first, because if I didn’t shoot it correctly the photos could’ve been patchy and unflattering. I had the model tilt her face upward, and the light hit her face beautifully. In the end, this was one of my favorite photos from the series.
- In the second image (right), a gold reflector was used to reflect sunlight on the model’s face. This created the gorgeous golden glow you see in her skin, not to mention it gave the most flawless look to her face.
Get close… probably too close.
This one is self-explanatory. It feels weird to get in too close with your subject but these shots always end up being some of my favorites. This is a hard area to master but once you get the hang of it you will love the photos you create!
Thanks for taking the time to read some of my advice. I hope this can encourage you if you are going through something similar to what I was last year.
Let me know if this was helpful and if you would like more posts like this!
Lauren and I always have a blast during our photo shoots together. We shot a few months back and ran out of light sooner than we thought we would so we ended up splitting our session into two sessions. I honestly can’t complain about it! We waited for summer so we could get the perfect glowing light and green mountains. This was totally worth the wait. We finished the night off with Red Robin…I told you I love french fries!!
Also, Lauren isn’t a model but she should probably sign up for an agency because she is a natural. Isn’t she gorgeous!?
I took a break from weddings this summer and have yet to post some of my favorite wedding from this past year. In the next coming weeks I am going to be posting a throwback of some of my favorite weddings I shot in 2016. One of those was Austin & Austen’s wedding. Yes, you read that correct! They both have the same name! From the beginning Austen knew exactly what she wanted in her photos. Our style, ideas, and creativity meshed beautifully together and we were able to create some of my favorite photos to date. I look back on this wedding and can’t help but smile. At the time that I shot this wedding I worked form a company out of Denver and they had contracted out a second shooter to work with me. The second shooter never showed up so Austen and I just went with the flow and still had time to take all the photos on her list. These two have now been married over a year. It’s been a minute since these were taken but I still love them just the same!
Nashville was my first Airbnb experience. I had always been skeptical but my mom and I thought it would be a good opportunity to try something new. It took us about a hundred postings to find the perfect place. We were lucky to find an amazing family of three. I wasn’t sure what to expect going into the experience. I always thought staying in a room at a random persons house would be super weird but I quickly found out how warm and welcoming both Andy and Amanda were. Coffee and early morning chats led us to a random last minute Saturday morning photo shoot. What an incredible family they were to spend time with and take pictures for. If you are going to Nashville and looking for awesome people to connect with then these three are where it’s at! Also I have to give Amanda credit for have an amazing eye for decorating! Here house was stunning!
In may we celebrated mother’s day in Nashville. My sister moved there almost a year ago and I have been dying to get out there to see the place that has so easily stolen her affection. Within a day of being there I could see why she loves is there so much. In fact, I was pretty much sold on moving there by the end of the trip. Funny thing is for as long as I have been taking photos I have never taken any of my gorgeous sister and her adorable husband. Yay for Nashville and my two favorite people in the world! I miss them every day.