Hey Photographers, It's Okay To Say No

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Hey Photographers, It's Okay To Say No

 

A friend and I were chatting today about when you just know you should say no yet you don't. In the world of social media we see so many people doing so many things. It seems like everyone is traveling, buying new gear, getting their hair done, going to epic locations to do epic shoots, and the list goes on. 

It makes us want all those things. And trust me, it happens to me every day. 

But you have to know that every time you say yes you are also saying no to something else you could be doing during that time.

For instance... I have had an unusual amount of inquiries for births lately. And I LOVE shooting births. So much intensity and joy to be captured. However, if I said yes to two of the births I was offered, I would literally have to forego all travel this summer with my family. Not okay.

But I considered it. Then I took pause and said "Elena, get your priorities straight. You only have 10 summers before Cooper goes off to college, use them wisely." 

Or another example, a beloved past client asked me to photograph her dental office. I LOVE this client and I considered doing it for her because of how much I love her. But I realized that this would be be satisfying to me which would in turn lead to me doing sub par work, not good for her or me. So I referred her out. 

So remember, even though new opportunities are shiny and enticing, it's okay to say NO and important to stay true to yourself. 

Believe in you and know that I believe in you. :)

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Baby A | Seattle Newborn Photographer

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Baby A | Seattle Newborn Photographer

 

Going into the hospital to capture a newborn is everything to me. There is nothing more magical then the first few hours with your new baby. I hope to do many more fresh 48 sessions in the future. 

This little family was so happy with their new baby girl. They were in complete awe of her. I left this session with a full and happy heart. 

Enjoy. 

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Seattle In Person Photography Workshop

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Seattle In Person Photography Workshop

You know what I always, every day remind myself? That we all started in the same exact place. I remember when I was first starting out seven years ago with a crop sensor camera, a 50 mm lens, and a big dream. 

It seemed like everyone around me was moving at light speed and I was still trying to figure out how the heck to focus.

Not to mention the fancy gear everyone else seemed to be able to afford! We were on a tight, barely making it budget so I had to make it work with what I had. 

My editing was all over the place and I was taking every session offering that came my way. Headshots, birthday parties, newborns, kids, families, and everything in between. I just didn't know what called to me. 

Some days I wanted to be a posed newborn photographer. Some days high school seniors. Then, the next month, families. Finally, I learned where my passions were and I went there. But it took a freakin long time! 

And I don't regret a single moment of the process. I am glad it took me a while to find my way. I am glad I failed and continue to fail. I am glad I tried so many different things before I realized where my heart is.

Funny things is, I had a time when I HATED family photography and that is now my main focus. What I learned is that it was how I was approaching family photography that was the problem, not family photography itself. 

Friend, don't rush the process. Be patient with yourself. Sure, maybe someone you follow seems to be an overnight success, but I would venture to guess that they aren't. ;) These things take time. 

I want to invite you to come to Seattle and hang with me for a day for my Family As Art Workshop. This is the only in person learning experience with space that I will be offering this year. 


This will be a day filled with so much soul searching and learning. We will have two shoots, one newborn and one sunset family shoot. We will talk about how to craft a meaningful and authentic brand that your families will love. Most importantly, you will learn how to infuse your work with emotion and connection, turning your work into Art. 

If you know me you know I am an open book! This will feel like you are hanging out with old friends and really diving into why the heck you got into this business anyway. 

I hope to see you here in Seattle in August! It's going to be amazing! 

In person not in the cards? Not a problem, I have you covered. Check out my online workshop that starts in May. 

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Allison and Cody | Seattle Maternity Photographer

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Allison and Cody | Seattle Maternity Photographer

It is always so much fun to meet a couple for a maternity session before we meet for their newborn session. It really allows me to get to know them better before I come into their home during such a transitional time. 

I met Allison and Cody at the beach. It was a sunny but chilly winter evening. Allison looked absolutely gorgeous in her black dress, hat, and incredible blue booties. Pregnant women will always fascinate me. What incredible work their bodies are doing never seises to amaze me. It is no small feat to grow a human with your body and I think it should absolutely be celebrated and maternity photography is a wonderful way to do that. 

I can't wait to meet their baby soon. 

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Community Is Powerful

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Community Is Powerful

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Hi friend! I hope you are having a great week. This week, I don't have any hot tips for you. But I have a very full and heavy heart. For a few reasons that if you care to read I would love to share. 

Last month a fellow photographer in the community was suddenly and unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. What? How? Not fair. She and I have only known each other in the online space, however this feels very personal for me. Why? Well, she is me. And perhaps she is you too. She is a photographer. She is a mother of three. She is a wife. She is a human. I tend to be one who wears my heart on my sleeve and who easily absorbs others troubles. And after being a nurse for 10 years it became easy for me, something I did and carried. But this hit me hard. It hit a lot of us hard.

Alix found out her tumor was the size of a lemon so she coined her cancer as Alex's Lemon and has been bravely blogging about it. Yesterday the global community of photographers that I am so proud to be a part of rallied for her. We all took a photo with a lemon in it to brighten her spirit and to show her that we are in fact behind her. Weather that be with positive energy or thoughts, or perhaps prayer. I could quite literally feel the energy vibrating around me yesterday and it made me cry on multiple occasions. At the end of the day she received amazing news. That the cancer is much more treatable and that her life expectancy went up in a huge way. Again, tears. Energy is powerful. Faith, however you define or practice it is powerful. We are powerful. 

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT ALIXSLEMON

Never be afraid to jump into a community. Never be afraid to be kind. Never be afraid to give.You never know when you might need to tap into that energy from all around the world. 

On a lighter note but from the same sentiment my best friend Bre Thurston and I hosted our third retreat this past month in Austin, TX. Holy moly! That city is so rad! 

But again, I was reminded about the power of community. We laughed, we cried, we ate too much, and we bonded. Each incredible woman there had a breakthrough which is magic to watch. Just being about to help foster these communities and help guide through this very complex process that is being an artist brings me a joy and fulfillment I didn't' know I needed. 

Then, this past weekend I had the honor of speaking at The Reset Conference. It was so invigorating to be surrounded by so much talent and positive vibes. Best of all, I ended up having the best time making friends with a few gals who I felt like I had known my whole life. I have been feeling a little down all week and I think it is because I know I won't be able to see many of them for a long time, which is hard. :( 



So enough from me. I just wanted to reach out to you, my people and say, I hear you, I support you, and I am you. We are all one in the same, just on a different part of the path. 

Much love to you all! 
XoXo,
Elena
 

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Clickaway 2016 | Seattle Urban Family Photography

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Clickaway 2016 | Seattle Urban Family Photography

I have had the absolute honor of teaching at Clickaway for the past three years. Clickaway is an international photography conference where like minded photographers come from all over the world to learn, inspire, and connect. 

Speaking at a conference was not a goal I set for myself. I owe this honor all to Clickinmoms, an amazing company that has helped me grow as a photographer more than I ever could have imagined. When they asked me to be a main speaker in 2015 I was shocked but I gladly accepted. Since then I have gone on to speak at other conferences and have learned that speaking is quite rewarding. To be able to reach a large amount of people all at once and in person is an amazing thing. I am truly grateful for this opportunity. 

This past year Clickaway was here in Seattle, which was super fun. My role this year was as a small group instructor where I took about 50 photographers to the streets of Seattle to watch me work with families in an urban environment. I also did a few indoor shoots as well. 

I knew I wanted to use this little family as models. They are very special and very much full of love. I met Aubri when I was still working as a nurse and have always enjoyed her company. She has such a unique personal style that I knew would fit right in to the Seattle scene. 

Enjoy this little family. They are such great subjects for my class. 

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You Are Not An Impostor | Photography Advice

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You Are Not An Impostor | Photography Advice

Hey Friend,

Have you ever heard of impostor syndrome? No. Well let me tell you a little bit about it. It's that little voice inside your head that says "hey you, are you crazy? Don't you see all the other bad ass artists out there who are so much better than you. Who do you think you are?" 

Yeah. Impostor syndrome is mean. 

But all I can do to push past it is believe in myself. I take risks. Sometimes I fail. But I learn so much from those failures. 

Nearly seven years ago I took a leap of faith and started a business in a very saturated market. I juggled my job as a registered nurse, my role as a good wife, all with a toddler at my heels and a newborn in my lap. It was freakin hard. But guess what? I came up on top after falling down many, many times. 

You can too. I know you can! 

To push past imposture syndrome I put my head down and I do the work that I know is so important. I don't care if I am not the best artist in all the land. I don't care if my work isn't on trend. What I care about is my heart and the heart of my business which is to create meaningful and connected photography for all the families who trust me to capture them. 

What we are doing as artists is important work. Just think about photographs that you have of your own childhood. They are absolutely priceless.

Photography matters. 

So next time you feel like an impostor do me a favor and remember this. There is only one you. Only you can make the art that you do. Only you can see things the way you see them. What you are doing is important and meaningful. You have a unique and beautiful gift that needs to be shared with the world. If you didn't, you wouldn't even have the urge to make it. 

So don't give up! You are not an impostor! We are in this together!! 

I wrote a blog post about this a few months back. You may find it helpful. Click HERE to read it. ;) 

Love,
Elena 



 

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Gina & Brian | Seattle Maternity Photographer

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Gina & Brian | Seattle Maternity Photographer

I don't eve know where to begin with this session. We had to reschedule a few times but finally we set a date. We met at one of my favorite Seattle locations that is usually packed but for some reason we had it all to ourselves. 

Maternity Photography Matters

I know many hesitate to capture this time in life, but I promise, it is important. You will soon forget your round belly and the intense excitement that is present when you are expecting a baby. 

Gina & Brian recently moved to Seattle and I just know it was meant to be for me to be their photographer. We had so much fun at their session. It felt like I was getting together with old friends. We laughed, we explored, and we got to know each other. 

As you can see, their relationship is genuine and sweet. Gina is a stunning pregnant mama and was very natural in front of the camera. 

We have since done their birth space and full newborn session but each session deserves a blog post. So until then, enjoy her gorgeous Seattle maternity session. It was magic. 

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Argal | Seattle Family Photographer

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Argal | Seattle Family Photographer

The Argal's and I go way back. 

Back to New Mexico, actually. Gen and I are both from New Mexico, both nurses, and both photographers. However, we never knew each other in New Mexico. We met here in Seattle. Such a small world. 

She let me practice my photography skills on her little lady nearly seven years ago when I had no idea what I was doing. I am forever grateful for those who let me try out my skills in the beginning, for because of them I am where I am today. 

We met on a sunny fall evening back in November. We only had about half an hour before the light faded away. It was the perfect amount of time. 

Life is strange. There are constant changes. But if you open your eyes, you will realize that those changes lead you right where you need to be. 

 

 

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Fritts | Seattle Family Photographer

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Fritts | Seattle Family Photographer

You have seen this family all over my portfolio. It's because they are dear friends of mine and they grace me with their faces in front of my lens every year. We met 16 years ago at Seattle University. Alicia and I were in nursing school together, along with her twin sister. We spent so many hours together studying and getting through nursing school. It was so hard but it was so fun. I am so thankful for her and the relationship we formed all those years ago. 

Well fast forward to now and Alicia and Jeremy have three of the cutest kids alive and are kick ass parents. We try to see each other as much as we can but as you can relate, life gets busy. I brought my girls along with me on this shoot and we had so much fun playing in a very muddy Christmas Tree Farm. 

I have been messaged many times since posting images form this session if I offer Christmas Tree Mini Sessions. The answer is no. I can't do mini sessions. I am literally not capable. ;) I can't be limited to a time frame or minimum of images. While I am pretty fast, I need to be able to capture everything I see, every moment. When you do a shoot with me you get all the images I edit, you never have to choose your favoorites. BUT, if you want to do your annual session with me at a Christmas Tree Farm, let's do it! 

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