Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New year, new floors {New Braunfels Photography}

I sit here typing with puke brown paint on my fingers. It has a tint of green to it mimicking the color of snot-puke brown to be more specific. It's not a color I would have chosen to paint the walls of my room, but then again, I'm not a 13-year-old girl with a fascination for zombies. I have just finished painting over the "banana pudding yellow" walls that I remember so lovingly painting just 8 short years ago for my then 5-year-old daughter who loved fairies and kittens.

Wow, those 8 years have flown by. I'm beginning to realize what my parents were talking about when they said "time flies." As a kid I would hear that and think "what are you crazy? Time drags like a snail with a hernia." And I guess it did for me as a child. Just like my own children think the time between one Christmas and the next is a painful lifetime that takes forever. A lifetime in which all the toys they failed to get this year will suddenly cease to exist between one December and the next.

This year's Christmas was a whirlwind of chaos as usual. But throw into that the ordeal of getting new floors throughout the house and it spells one mega-holiday nightmare. At first we were told the floors would be in on the 10th and installed within two days of that. We decided to hold off until after then to decorate -- who wants to put up a tree only to have to take it down for a few days then put it back up again.

But shortly before the 10th we were told our floor was on backorder until the 20th. So we decided to decorate, but in modest amounts. We didn't get out the big bouncing Christmas Tigger who says "The wonderful thing about Christmas is, well, Christmas" among other things. And the hamster than sings "Ice Ice Baby" had to stay packed, as did the dancing chicken with a Santa hat. It was a subdued holiday for us. Christmas eve was spent pulling up carpet and getting splintered hands from the horrid boarded nails around the edge. Who's bright idea was it to use nails pointing up to keep carpet in place?

The floors were delivered at 8 a.m. the morning after Christmas along with a nasty headache and stomach ache from the overindulgence of mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, pumpkin pie and chocolate peanut butter cups. They sit now waiting for their installation as I hurriedly paint while there's no carpet or flooring down.

As I throw out the old carpet I can't help but remember all the fun we had on it. All the impromptu tickle sessions. Cuddling up on it with sleeping bags and blankets to watch movies in the dark. I remember how pretty it was when it was new and shiny. Before all the years of spilled juice, potty training accidents, sudden vomiting spells, and that little mishap with The Boy and the acrylic paints. It's okay to let go of the old sometimes. Carpets aren't made to last forever. I'm excited about our new floors. And I'll tolerate my daughter's new puke-brown walls. But I'm keeping a small patch of banana-pudding yellow. And I'll look on it lovingly when she's playing her music too loud or slamming the door to her room of the puke-brown walls. And I'll remember the girl who loved fairies and kittens and ponder how fast time flies.
Lisa On Location Photography

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lessons from the School of Hard Knocks for Brides {New Braunfels Wedding Photography}

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photographyHindsight is 20/20, they say. Regret is a huge burden for a lot of people. Regret is painful and it's so sad when that regret can hurt something as important as your wedding memories. In the past few years I've gotten to know a lot of brides and I've heard plenty of horror stories about wedding photography. I've gotten several heartbreaking calls from tearful brides who got their wedding photos back from a mediocre photographer and were horrified that they were awful. "Can you fix them in Photoshop for me?" they'll ask. I was heartbroken by the call I got a few months ago from the bride who didn't get a single image of her and her new husband alone on their wedding day. Just the two of them. She wanted to schedule a post-wedding session with me but ended up deciding not to spend the money -- she still had to pay off the wedding photographer who didn't do his job.

I've perused the wedding forums and seen the sob stories from brides who were so disappointed that they allowed a family friend to photograph their wedding for free to save them the money of hiring a professional. Here's a sample post: "After waiting almost a month, I finally got to view my pics. I was so sad that they did not come out as nice as I'd hoped. I can't complain as they were done by my brother-in-law's friend and it was his first wedding and he didn't charge us anything but now I wish we had said thanks but no thanks. This will definitely be my advice to future brides - as much as you like the photography of a friend or relative, if they've never done a wedding, don't use them. Get a pro! Wish someone had warned me." --disappointed bride on The Knot forum.

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photography
Then there are those who try to save money by hiring a semi-pro or budget wedding photographer: "So I finally saw our wedding photos but I'm not going to share them because they suck. We went with the photographer who did my son's T-ball photos because his prices were the lowest. Big mistake." --disappointed bride on the Wedding Wire forum.

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photographyA few months ago I marveled at the amazing decor of a wedding at one of my favorite venues. While talking to the venue manager I learned that the wedding was being photographed by a family friend who just got a really nice camera and wants to photograph it as a gift for them. The family had spent at least a hundred thousand dollars on the most amazing decor I've ever seen at a wedding yet they were trusting the photography to a young photo hobbiest with "a really nice camera." Some of life's lessons are really expensive and painful.

Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras have exploded in popularity in the past few years. For about $600-$1,000 anyone can own a camera that takes decent photos. My photography class with the New Braunfels ISD community education is always full each session and sometimes has a waiting list -- full of people who got these cool toys but don't know how to use them. This Christmas, thousands of people will get one under the tree and be hooked on photography. Unfortunately, many of them will hang out a shingle -- or set up a website -- and start charging (or not charging in a lot of cases) to take photos. All kinds of photos -- families, seniors, children, engagements, and weddings. Half an hour and all images on disc for only $50! Wow! What a bargain!

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photography
The truth is, it's not really such a bargain, especially for the brides who hire them. If you're not happy with your family photos, you can always try again. Get the kids dressed up again, find another photographer and try again. But if you're not happy with your wedding photographs, there are no do-overs.

Real professional photographers are kind of expensive (although pay does not always indicate quality as I've seen plenty of photographers who charge more than others without the skill to back it up). Real professional photographers have to be pricier because they've invested a lot in their craft. A lot for education, a lot for equipment, insurance and many years of scraping by to practice and perfect their art.

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photography
Before hiring a photographer for your wedding, look at their past wedding work. Meet with them. Look through their albums and even talk to other brides who've worked with them in the past if possible. Hiring a professional wedding photographer is one of the best investments you can make for your wedding. The food will get eaten. The decorations will be thrown away, and the flowers will die. But you'll have your photos for the rest of your life as a reminder of all the joy and beauty of your day.

Exceptional, stylish wedding photography for San Antonio, Austin, San Marcos and New Braunfels by Lisa On Location photography
And if you're one of the unlucky brides who could have written this blog yourself, call me. Because I know there's no recreating that day, but we can pull that dress our of storage and grab your new husband for a little photo fun that will fill that album!

Lisa On Location Photography

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

And on the 13th day of Christmas, Lisa gets to breathe.

Wow, what a whirlwind! I sat down to take a look at my blog and was shocked to see that it's been 12 days since I last blogged. Bad Lisa! This first half of the month has really flown by. For the past few weeks my to-do list has been multiple pages and I've been forced to prioritize based on who will or who will not chunk mudpies at my house if I'm a little bit late on their project. But I'm happy to say that I made my deadlines, most of the time and that my to-do list is finally back down to one page with just a few projects on it. And no mudpies yet! Yeah!

I have just a few short days of uninterrupted work time left. This Friday marks the end of school for the year and then I'll have a house full of darlings for two weeks. Tis the season to bicker and squabble and tattle to mom that "he's kicking me" and "I was here first" and "she took my seat." Tis the season for speed-dial calls to Santa and "you get that candy cane out of your mouth young man until you eat your peas!"

But I'll be ready for them. I've got my workflow down to a science and the midnight hour is my friend -- that's when I whip those editing jobs out the fastest. I can take the next two weeks, whatever the youngins throw at me. There are still a few sessions on the calendar for the year and one final New Year's Eve wedding. But there's also time to sit down and breathe every now and then. I've got cookies to bake and presents to wrap as well. And those bonbons aren't going to eat themselves!

Here's to peaceful holiday family time. Here's to National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and It's a Wonderful Life. Here's to sugary cookies and Reese's peanut butter trees (because they're so much yummier than the regular kind). Here's to wassail in the crock pot and holiday wreaths made out of paper plates and macaroni. Here's to secret santa gifts and potluck dinners. Here's to green bean casserole and silly Christmas songs about hippopatamuses. Enjoy your season! And take a few minutes to breathe every now and then. Merry Christmas!
Lisa On Location Photography

Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm on it! Rain or Shine Location Photography

I had the honor of photographing one of my favorite teachers the other day. She's one of the sweetest ladies I know and I really wanted to make this a great session for her. So when I woke up that morning of our 7:45 a.m. session to the sound of rain, my heart sank. I love the rain. I love the rain at 7:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning when all I have to do is lay in bed in listen to it. I do not, however, love the rain so much on the morning of a session with one of my favorite people.

I packed up my camera bag and headed out to the Faust Street bridge and found her and her family huddled under an umbrella and ready to get started. She was great about the rain. She loves the rain. And by a wonderful coincidence, her umbrella coordinated perfectly with their outfits. So we got started. We headed under the bridge, I set up some lighting and we managed to get some nice images without getting wet. We could have stopped there. But when I casually asked her if she minded too terribly getting wet on the bridge, and she enthusiastically said yes, I was set. I slapped on my nifty plastic shoot sleeve to protect my gear and we headed up top.

It wasn't so bad. Yes, our hair was flat by the end and everyone had squishy socks, but we had a good time and got some original images for their Christmas cards that nobody else will have. I don't want to shoot in the rain every day. But living in Texas, I don't have to worry about that. I can be thankful for whatever rain we get. And keep shooting.

Lisa On Location Photography