oklahoma city wedding photographer

Rachel

The title says it all.  Rachel.  I know the moment my phone lights up and displays her name, there is a beaming beautiful girl on the other end.  I am honored, truly honored to have met Rachel and her husband Brandon last year.  I was chosen as their wedding photographer, and what a great time we had.  From engagement photos, to Bridals, to their actual wedding in November at Noah's Event Center, to more Bridals... we were all too happy to take pictures.  Their wedding was gorgeous, but also private- however I CAN share Rachel's gorgeous Bridals that we took here in-studio.  We had planned this for awhile, and wanted to photograph her in her traditional dress.  

There are no words to describe how wonderful the shoot went, and how freaking spectacular the photos turned out.  Her makeup was meticulously applied by the wonderful Ciara Amir.

Not only was this bridal shoot a lot of fun, but we are trying to come up with reasons to shoot again!  I can't wait for next time! 

Happy Shooting!

She said "YES!"

It all started January 20, 2016 when I received an email from Austin.  He was planning on proposing to his girlfriend Chelsea on March 5th, and was wondering if I could capture the moment.  I was immediately excited, and quickly replied, "Yes!!"  I could tell by the mood of his emails that he had been thinking about proposing for a long time.  Chelsea means everything to him, and he wants this thing planned out to the T!!  Heck I couldn't wait to meet Chelsea, I felt like we were already good friends, we hadn't even met! He works hard in Texas all week, while she is here finishing school; on weekends they are inseparable.  

We went back and forth a few times, working out a date and time in February where he could sneak away to discuss the details of the shoot.  

Along with his proposal, there are a few things I have to plan for as a photographer.  

  • Where are we doing this?  (What vision do you have for the photos themselves)?
  • What time of day?  
  • Where are you going to stand? 
  • How are you going to ask?
  • What are your plans afterwards?

So on February 20th, we met, and discussed all of the above.  You absolutely have to have a plan for the moment.  The proposal itself goes by so fast, that you really really really have to be on top of your game.  He sent me photos of him and Chelsea together (awwwww!) and a photo of the location itself with a clear vision of what he was aiming for.  Austin was definitely very organized, and knew exactly what he wanted.  This helped me out a great deal.  (When clients tell me exactly what they want complete with pictures, believe me- it's extremely helpful)!  We talked about the direction we wanted him to face, where we thought he should stand, how he was going to start the proposal, and what we were going to do after the surprise had ended.  

The day we met was beautiful.  I had never been to the Skydance Bridge in Oklahoma before, but I plan on visiting a lot more.  At the time of this blog, I've already shot there twice!  It's a magical spot!!  At this point, we are all extremely excited.  Austin is laughing and excitedly talking about the moment, and how happy he'll be when they can just celebrate!  We offered to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to celebrate, and we were off to the races, looking forward to March 5th! 

March 5th arrives, there is less than a 30% chance of rain.  Skies are a bit overcast, but othewise perfect!  Shane and I are in our usual stealth positions, pretending to take photos of the bridge with our 70-200's. (LOL).  Shane signals to me that they have arrived and are walking towards the bridge.  What happened after that, literally had tears running down my face.  I didn't even realize I was crying.  It was one of the happiest proposals I had ever witnessed.  Genuine love? YES.  Genuine surprise and excitement? YES.  Complete and utter shock.  YES. YES. AND MORE YES.  

So there you have it.  The longest secret proposal EVER.  It was TORTURE!  I am so glad that I met them both, and I hope to work with them again when it comes to their wedding.  What a gorgeous couple.  

On a technical side note, I used my Mark III with the 70-200 to capture the proposal from a distance, and after the surprise was finished, I switched to my Fuji X-T1 and 56mm which worked like a dream!  Sharp, LIGHT, and just plain awesome.

Anyone else have any surprises coming up?  Give me a call.  I can keep a secret. :-)

~Leia




Photo Con 2016

I attended Photo Con 2016 right here in Oklahoma City on Friday, and it was awesome!  The vendors were great, ranging from Canon to Nikon, Sigma, Radio Popper, Bedford's (of course), Sony, Lowepro, Westcott, and a number of speakers.  I was able to go in stealth mode with my Fuji, and shoot from the waist.  You see, the X-T1 has a tilt screen, so I can take pictures of what is going on, and people think I'm just fiddling with my camera.  

I finally got to meet Xavier from XP Photogear.  He was great to talk with, and was happy to show me all the latest and greatest.

Radiopopper and their line of triggers.

Sigma had some beautiful new lenses on display!

Met Eric Epperly, and yes, I thought this photo was hilarious.  Didn't catch it at the time, but hey, I was a journalist today. 

There was a lot of folks on-hand to educate.  You could bring your camera, ask questions, test out new lenses, it was awesome!

The Sony rep (pictured right) was awesome.  He showed me the new Sony Alpha a7R II (they are currently running a special price during the expo if you wanted to get one).  Wow, what an amazing system.  I seriously regret not checking them out before I upgraded to the Mark III.  

Need a tripod?  Well... here are a variety that you can try out BEFORE you buy, and here is the one guy that knows them all like the back of his hand.

I did get to see Robert Trawick and Jim Felder in action using that cool Podcast machine.  Being interviewed is a Canon rep, he was talking about the new Canon printer that had come out this year.  If you stop by their booth, they will print out a photo for you! Check out Robert and Jim on their Fotofacts Podcast (available in iTunes).  They are a wonderful bunch, and interview so many great photographers and vendors.

I wish I could have stayed longer, especially since Sue Bryce was there.  I actually saw her when she had first arrived, and I should have approached her then, but didn't.  I was trying to be as much of a photographer today as possible, but at 3 p.m., mom duty calls.  There is dinner to be made, and kids to pick up from school.  My friends are posting photos online of her speaking, and I am totally jealous- but that is ok. :-)  I know when the time is right, we'll meet again.  Was it a great experience?  Sure!  Many vendors on hand to answer questions, and to let you try out the products firsthand.  I had my mind set on a few things, but after playing with them at the Expo, I changed my mind.  Which was awesome, it saved me time and money.  So yes, today was a success because I got a chance to network, try things out, ask questions, and see the new and upcoming toys.  

I did walk away with a couple of things:  The MagMod Basic Kit, I'm interested to see what it can do to change my OCF (off camera flash).  I love being creative with light.  I especially love the selection of gels it comes with, and the cool magnetic feature.  I also got a TetherTools Kit- something I have been wanting to try for YEARS.  They say it will prevent Lightroom from quitting and kicking me out while I'm tethering during a shoot.  This is SOOOOOO annoying- not to mention embarrassing.  Will I be returning next year?  Probably.  I say it was worth the $75 ticket.

Until then, happy shooting!

~Leia

My Second Love.

I'm coming clean this week and letting my friends know that I can't hide anymore.  Time to call it what it is.  I started my marriage with Canon 10 years ago.  It was a handsome silver little point and shoot that lured me in.  I moved forward through the Canon line.  Just over 2 years ago I was introduced to the Fuji x100 online. It made me a better photographer.  It forced me to do things I had never done with Canon.  I took chances, risks, shooting was fun again, it was liberating.  We hung out downtown, in parks, it fit into my hand so nicely- we were a match. We went to weddings together, and the shots of reception details were fantastic.  I couldn't tell what I shot with my Canon vs the Fuji.  Yes, it is THAT good.  Friends wanted to know more about Fuji, I happily shared stories and photos of the moments we shared together.  

I took a serious cross country road trip with it, leaving my trusty Canon behind.  Scary? Yes.  Worth it?  SO MUCH YES.  The photos that came out of that trip were so gorgeous, sharp, and clear that I published a book with them.  In print- wow.  You can't even imagine.  I wanted more.  I moved on to the Fuji X100s, then the Fuji x100t.  My husband and a few close friends were really surprised I didn't move straight to the X-T1.  But I had my reasons.  

Last week I decided to finally try the X-T1 with the 35mm and it is everything I imagined, and more. So. Much. More.  

Fuji X-T1 with 35mm attached, Fuji X100t

Fuji X-T1 with 35mm attached, Fuji X100t

Just in the 2 days I've been shooting exclusively with the X-T1 I can see the appeal.  From the shutter speed, the tilting screen, the fact that you can CHANGE LENSES, the array of options and settings- it's incredible.  This morning I took some amazing headshots with it, and I just love the ease of use.  My triggers connected easily, and I was in business in minutes.  I love the way I can control the light- in my opinion my lights are easier to control with the Fuji line, than they are with my Canons.  It's like they just KNOW what to do with the light.

The tilting screen is going to be excellent for those times when I need to get a nice wide overhead shot- I can tilt the screen so that I can see what I'm shooting!  

The tilting screen is going to be excellent for those times when I need to get a nice wide overhead shot- I can tilt the screen so that I can see what I'm shooting!  

It is a crop, so any lens you get, you've got to remember what it really is after the 1.5 crop factor.  The 35mm that is attached is really a 52.5 and that is perfect.  50mm is really my most used focal length and this was the lens I wanted to start out with.  

Anyone who is curious about anything Fuji really should follow Zach Arias on his blog.  He is an absolutely fantastic Commercial photographer and I've secretly stalked him for years- since his One Light days.  He can tell you what is what when it comes to Fuji.  He shoots with a Phase 1, and I see that he is slowly getting out of Nikon.  He primarily shoots all of his Editorials with either his Phase or his Fuji's.  

Am I breaking up with Canon completely? No.  I believe we can all live in the same house together with minimal disagreements. :-)  You see, I use my Canon for everything, but I'm learning that I can use the Fuji for everything too.  At 8 fps, RAW/jpg, transferring photos wirelessly (oh yeah-it has built in wireless)- that in itself is already more than my Mark II can do.  I'm really excited to be flying to Chicago this week to shoot Bridals for one of my brides with this camera- of course I'm taking my Canon too- but this is going to be a wonderful opportunity to really see what this baby can do!  I can't wait to post the photos from my latest adventure, but that probably won't be until late March- after her wedding.  Hope you all have a fabulous week!

See you on the next shoot!

~Leia 

New Year, New Me.

Everyone has that one candle that they've never burned.  It's ok to admit it- I know because I have them all over the place.  This one is from Mom from 3 years ago, it smells great, I want to save it forever.  This one is a pretty color and I may not find it again anywhere- so I'm saving it. This one over here has a really good smell that is sold out, I'm saving it.  I started really thinking about all of the things I'm saving.  Saving for what?  After I had my accident last year, I started thinking about the house, and the way I left it.  Unburned candles, an unopened bottle of wine, a few shirts that I want to wear someday but haven't found the right occasion.  I don't care what anyone thinks of that, but I care.  What am I doing? What am I waiting for? You never know when your number is up.  I guess the point of this blog is some sort of written affirmation that I plan on living.  Although last year ended a little rough, this is a new beginning.  A rebirth of sorts. I'm letting go of the bad of 2015 and starting fresh.

After the accident, I had some pretty bad internal injuries that needed to be urgently addressed; it was a miracle I was able to work like this and it wasn't even until this month I actually started feeling like myself again.  You have no idea how important your health and wellbeing are until you temporarily lose them.  Your health is everything.  EVERYTHING.  Don't ever look at someone and think that just because they look fine on the outside, that the inside matches.  I'm proud to say that I have one more month of medication and I'll officially be 100%.  I never let my injuries affect my job.  Six days after the accident, I was shooting another wedding, then another.  

I'm going to say this: I'm burning every candle in my house.  Yes, even the beautiful candle picture above from my mom.  It smells amazing, and I'm enjoying it.  I went on a photoshoot this week, and wore a bright red blouse that I love.  I picked it out because it was daring, beautiful, the material felt good, it made me feel alive in the dressing room- but I've never had the guts to wear it anywhere.  Why?  I don't know- so much of my job is 'blending in.'  This week I put that blouse on and felt good about it.   2016 is going to be different- I'm going to live more this year than I did last year.  I'm making every moment count.  

I have some personal goals this year with my photography as well- and I can't wait to put them into action.  I have implemented new software this year that is really going to streamline my studio- quotes, invoices, workflows, contracts, EVERYTHING is going to be online.  So far the response from clients has been wonderful.  The studio has really jumped ahead by leaps and bounds- not only has it made the first week of the new year so much easier, but it will really keep everything organized and in one spot- not only for me, but for clients as well.  You will be able to access your invoices and contracts all online- so if you happen to lose anything- there will always be a copy online.  All existing clients should have received an email last week introducing the new system.

So my friends, don't be afraid to live this year.  Don't be afraid to burn that special candle, and bask in the ambiance.  Don't be afraid to let your hair down and enjoy life!

See you on the next shoot!

~Leia

Why I kicked my laptop to the curb and embraced my tablet

I remember 10 or more years ago when people were wondering if they could ever work off of their laptops completely without their desktop.  Fast forward to today- when tablets are quickly taking over as the new portable way to bring work with you!

I was completely against a tablet.  In fact my husband forced me to get one.  I didn't even want a new one because I was absolutely sure that I did not want one in the least.  To get my feet wet, we went to a pawn shop and bought an iPad.  I played around with it.  Still surfing the net on my phone. Checking email-on my phone.  Doing everything I'd always done-on my phone.  That iPad must have sat on a shelf for 2 or 3 months collecting dust.  It wasn't until I had coffee with a friend (who lives on nothing BUT his iPad) that I started to see some benefits.  He excitedly poured over all of the cool apps he had, the awesome blogs he was reading, the colorful galleries he had set up.  All of a sudden- the iPad was AMAZING!  I went from not caring about a tablet at all to completely embracing it.  

Needless to say- I loaded some great photography apps, was able to keep up with other blogs easier, and best of all, it was so light and thin that I could easily slip it into my bag when I was meeting with clients.  Showing them full galleries was a breeze- although I loved my laptop- I realized taking it with me to client meetings was a little cumbersome.  A tablet was better.  So. Much. Better.

A few apps I love: Feedly (great for keeping up with blogs all over the net!)  It keeps them all in one spot without having to surf your favorite sites.  Dropbox, Weatherbug, Twitter, Pages, and Pocket just to name a few.  Most of the apps I have are specific to my photo galleries, and my web hosting company.  

To solve the keyboard issue- because I NEED to type on a keyboard- I bought a Clam Shell case.  Yes, they are a little pricey- but totally worth it.  It's one of the best cases I've ever used.  

With everything we need to take with us nowadays, I can only imagine slipping my iPad into my messenger bag, along with my albums and studio samples.  I can no longer imagine bringing my laptop along.  

Really accepting my tablet was one of the best things I could have done.  I know it sounds ridiculous to some- but in all honesty- I'm very busy.  I don't have time to waste.  Tablets are quick, easy, light, small, and in my opinion a necessity for photographers.  I am interested in trying out Cam Ranger with it someday too- because I hear that is absolutely fabulous while you are shooting!! 

Until next week!

Frequently Asked Questions...

This week, I thought I'd answer questions that I am frequently asked.  I get emails, and facebook messages  asking question after question mostly from other photographers.  First off, everyone has their own style of shooting.  Everyone will use a different lens for a different job, everyone edits differently, and lastly- everyone is priced differently.  For the most part- this has been a very expensive and calculated game of trial and error.  These questions are in no particular order.

Q:  What camera do you use?
A: My husband and I both shoot with Canon 5D Mark II's. We have a 5D classic as backup, and also shoot with our Fuji.  We are upgrading our main bodies next year and will use our Mark II's as our backups.

Our non-human babies.

Our non-human babies.

Q:  How did you start shooting weddings?
A:  I started out helping my really good friend with his weddings years ago; he is the one who showed me the 'ins and outs' - what to watch for, best places to position yourself, don't be afraid to get in and get the shots you need, things like that.  It was a priceless experience; I shake my head when I see posts on Facebook that start out as "I'm shooting my first wedding ever next month, what lens should I use?"  I think it is very dangerous to shoot a wedding without having the proper experience, without having the opportunity to shoot alongside someone else, without having the right equipment.  

Q: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you first started out?
A:  That is a pretty loaded question.  Naturally I wish I knew everything- it would have saved a lot of time and money!  I think the biggest thing was the 'lens game.' Many people were telling me what lens they thought I should get- without really telling me why I needed it.  I had no idea why I "needed" certain lenses.  I hadn't yet focused my photography to certain areas- so it was hard to purchase anything because I wanted to shoot "everything."  It wasn't until I started narrowing my focus that I realized certain lenses worked very well for certain things.  I have used primes for a long time and I love them.  I will break out my 24-70 or my 70-200 in certain situations but the important thing is that I know WHY I need to use them.  I know what will work for me, from a flash to a stand to a light modifier.  If I know I can't use something on a regular basis, then I don't buy it.  Since my husband also shoots with me- every purchase is discussed from two points of view which is really nice!

Q: So you have four kids!  You must photograph a lot of kids because you have so much experience with kids!
A:  Funny thing.  I don't!  It seems logical to assume that- but I don't photograph kids, babies, or newborns.  I don't cover birthday parties or any child-related occasions.  In the beginning I thought I wanted to focus on that type of photography- but chasing a child down the sidewalk with my camera is not something I want to do.  My kids have grown up in front of the camera, so I have been fortunate enough to direct my kids at very young ages to pose in certain ways with little effort.  They are so used to seeing cameras that it is really not a big deal to take a quick snap, or even stage a photograph with them.  I will post funny or cute pictures of my kids on social media but you will not see any of them on my website.  Taking photographs of my kids is important to me (like it is for any parent) just to have memories of certain milestones.  I love silly staged photos, but I also love the mundane of everyday life.  Their little lives are everything to me.  

Samantha at age 3

Samantha at age 3

Q:  That is so awesome that you and your husband shoot together!  How did that start?
A:  Well... it was definitely unexpected.  I had spent so many years talking about cameras and lenses, and setting up so many shoots that it was hard for him NOT to be involved.  If he was available to hold a light on a windy day- he would.  If he was around to help set up a shoot, he would.  So even if he didn't want to be involved he was.  He had the advantage of living and breathing photography before he ever started shooting.  Three years ago I hired a second shooter for a wedding and he came along as a third shooter.  The shots he got from that wedding were awesome; he has a natural talent-one that I had to really work hard to get.  After seeing what he shot from that wedding I knew that my life partner was now my shooting partner.   Our goal is to shoot full time 7 days a week, but until that happens he is a truck driver (his other passion is driving).  

My handsome partner. During his down time he likes to sunbathe with the reflector. LOL  

My handsome partner. During his down time he likes to sunbathe with the reflector. LOL  

Q:  What is your most favorite lens?
A:  I love my 50 f/1.2.  I use that lens the most and have almost shot entire weddings with it.  It's pretty versatile, and if I need something wider I will use my 35mm.  

Q:  What is one fad in photography that you wish would die?
A:  The Tilt.  It is terrible.  I think everyone goes through that phase though, I did it- but I haven't done it in years.  I think any photograph with people and a horizon line in it that is tilted makes me feel dizzy- it looks like the people are going to fall right off the page.  Now detail shots are different-if it's a ring shot (or something close up) and it's tilted-it could work; shooting people tilted is not a good look.  

Q: On the business end, what is the first thing you thought was really important?
A:  I applied for an LLC, started collecting sales tax, and hired an accountant.  In that order.  I felt like it was really important for me to start out as a legitimate business early on and respecting it as such.  I know there are thousands of photographers out there who work under the table but I wanted to work with professionals in the community- and I felt (and still feel) that a professional (lawyer, doctor, business owner) will more likely hire another professional.  Of course there are thousands of professionals who are NOT professional- but I'm not worried about them.  lol

Q: What do you like most about this job?
A:  I never would have met the people I have met- had it not been for this job.  I think any professional photographer that has been doing it long enough will agree that we find ourselves in really amazing places, working with truly amazing people.  There are many benefits in this line of work, I get to make my own schedule 90% of the time which is important when we have a house full of kids.  I get to volunteer for their field trips, I get to network with other photographers and meet clients during the day- which are all things I couldn't do if I were working for someone else.  

Q:  How do you handle the stress of a wedding day?  I could NEVER do it!!                                                      A:  Yes, weddings can be stressful, but I can handle it.  I honestly believe having my four wonderful kids has helped prepare me for any wedding day.  If I can handle them and herd four kids through life, then I can certainly control a wedding party! :-)  Taking charge, and being (for all intents and purposes) a 'day of coordinator' is really something I was born to do.  I've made timelines for weddings, I've taken charge of the entire day!  Of course I only step in if/when the bride wants me to- I would never dare walk into a wedding with unsolicited tips and timelines! If the bride and groom need help- I will step in.  If everything is under control-than I hang back and document the day.  Most of the time brides will look to me asking for help though.

Behind the scenes.  We will do everything in a short amount of time, light testing, photographing dresses, arranging formals, coordinating first looks... you name it- we do it.  I think that's why we're so exhausted the day after. :-)

Behind the scenes.  We will do everything in a short amount of time, light testing, photographing dresses, arranging formals, coordinating first looks... you name it- we do it.  I think that's why we're so exhausted the day after. :-)

Q:  What are you doing the night or day before a wedding?  Your prep must be stressful!                              A:  The day before a wedding I am cleaning lenses, checking equipment, charging batteries... it's not stressful- it's fun.  I enjoy it and can't wait for everything to start.  You have to understand, I have worked so closely with most of my brides over many months that by the time their wedding day comes they have become my friend.  We are so comfortable around each other I really feel like this is just another day together, only they are wearing gorgeous clothes.  

Q: What is the first lens I should buy if I'm just starting out?
A:  It really depends on what you want to shoot and what kind of a budget you are working with.  I started out with a Tamron 28-300 because I wanted the versatility and at that time-I could afford it.  I think once you figure out what you want to take photographs of- it is easy to see what lenses work best for that job.  If you want to photograph portraits in a studio- you probably don't want to use a lens most used for landscapes.... You just have to get on the internet- research- ask questions- network- etc.  

Q:  What was the first L lens you bought?
A:  It was my 24-70.  I still have it and use it on occasion.  It took me 5 years to save and buy my first L lens.  

Q:  What lenses do you use now?  
A:  I use primes, my husband loves zooms.  We have a variety of both.  

Q:  Craziest question you have ever been asked by a potential client?
A:  Years ago, I was approached by a lady who flat out told me that she really liked the style of another photographer here in the city but she couldn't afford her prices, so she asked if I could copy her style.  That blew me away lol.  

Q:  When did you know you 'made it?'                                                                                                                   A:  I think 'making it' is a work that will always be in progress.  I don't think I've made it and can just sit back and relax with a fruity umbrella drink.  I think that I have really worked hard to get where I'm at and while I do enjoy certain successful moments in my career I don't think "I've arrived."  I don't know if I'll ever "arrive."  I sit up really late at night thinking about what my next step will be.  My brain never stops.  I have insomnia and most nights can't sleep before 2 or 3 a.m. I'm not sure if my photography business is what started my insomnia or what- but it's really hard for me to just sit back and relax.  I'm always thinking of the next client, the next shoot, the next technique, the next this or that.  

Q:  Did you ever want to give up?  
A:  In the beginning, yes.  Quite a few times.  Did people tell me I couldn't do this? Yes.  Was I told my photography sucked (in the beginning of my career) and I have no right to be called a 'photographer' yes.  While I moped around the house for a few months after that, I realized that I wanted this more than anything so I studied and worked my ass off.  Years later here I am.  Looking back I'm glad those other pros pushed me.  If someone pushes you, you either give up or work harder.  I chose to work harder.  It was the defining moment of my career- I almost don't think I'd be the same photographer had I not been through that tough wakeup call.  

Packing up and leaving my full time job was not an easy decision- but I was bound and determined! 

Packing up and leaving my full time job was not an easy decision- but I was bound and determined! 

Q:  Was it easy to give up your full time job to pursue your photography business?                                         A:  No.  It wasn't easy at all.  To leave the security of a steady income was very frightening- but my husband encouraged me to take the plunge.  

Q:  Your kids must all want to be photographers!
A:  Only one of them.  My oldest daughter has shown a lot of interest, I am going to start showing her the basics this year.  Who knows, maybe one day she'll take over!  My son wants to be an artist, my middle daughter wants to be a dentist,  our youngest daughter just wants to be happy and eat macaroni and cheese everyday.

Q:  What is one thing you wish you could photograph?                                                                                       A:  I wish I could photograph an entire wedding in black and white.  I love how black and white photos really just focus on the subject- colors or surrounding objects can sometimes be distracting and take away from the subject but black and white really just keeps things simple and classic.  

Q:  What is ONE piece of advice you would give to anyone new starting out- something you wish someone would have told you?
A:  There are so many things.  Here is one: It's ok to look to other people for inspiration, advice, etc. but at the end of the day you have to shoot in a way that makes you happy.  You will never be able to fully copy someone else; learn and keep learning.  Research and keep on researching.  It never stops.  Don't look so hard at what other people are doing or NOT doing.  Look at yourself, keep your nose to the grindstone and work hard. We have all compared ourselves to other professionals in whatever job we have at one point or another-but I think if we're not focused on what we are doing, constantly comparing and watching everyone else will destroy you.  If you want this bad enough, you will find a way.  It's what I tell my kids.  If you want it, you will find a way to get it.  Oh, and be nice. :-)


***It's been nice to take care of FB messages and emails all in one blog post!  :-)
Hope you all have a fantastic week!

New Website, New Client Experience!

As you have probably noticed, many many changes have taken place on my website in the last week.  I made a big move.  After hearing Robert of Trawick Images rave about his website, I was interested.  What really gave me the push was a client who was flipping through one of my wedding albums who commented on how sharp my images were in print compared to how they appeared on my website. Ummmmm. WHAT?  This needed to get fixed immediately!

Needless to say, I started my journey to figuring out what I needed to change to give clients the best possible viewing experience.  Unfortunately it didn't come without a learning curve, lots of emails to customer service, 3 or 4 calls to my good friend Robert, and 24 hours of hard work, configuring, sweat, failures- and triumphs.  I built my last website and the sheer amount of work that goes into something like that is an experience that you just don't forget.  Digging through hard drives trying to find images from 2 or 3 years ago, writing a new bio for your 'about me' page- wording it so that you sound sincere, but wanting to be quirky, funny, and relatable at the same time- then realizing that you can't transfer any of your blogs, you will have to completely copy and paste everything over one by one- then...... and the list goes on.  

If you hang around me long enough, you will know that once I put my mind to something- that is IT.  Consider it DONE.  Did I go from not knowing anything about Squarespace at 9:30 a.m. to having nearly a complete website by 9:30 p.m.?  Yes.  Yes I did.  It was totally insane- and while images were loading what was I doing?  Laundry, breakfast, laundry, lunch, folding said laundry, dinner, playing with the girls, I was on fire Wednesday.  The idea that my current and future clients might reach a 404 "page not found" error was horrifying- so I knew I had to get as much done as I could stand.  Now....the logical person, the smart person, would have had this new site set up already BEFORE they let their other site go- but not ME!  I like to keep life exciting- you only live once right?! 

The response has been amazing.  Let me explain how huge the response has been.  New brides are reaching out to me simply because of how amazing the images look on their phones, their ipads, their computer screens.  They are sharp, colorful, brought to LIFE!  My images are being seen the way they were meant to be.  I am extremely glad I switched, and so happy that the client flipping through my albums made that comment.  If anyone is seriously thinking of changing their website over Squarespace really worked for me.  I'm completely happy with the way it looks, check it out: www.leiaphoto.com. There is still work to be done; photos still need to be loaded, settings tweeked here and there but for the most part, I'm up and running.  Clients will still receive their online galleries with print purchase and download options- so nothing has changed on that end.

Now, time to get off of this computer and go shoot!  Hope you all have a great week! 

~Leia  

Justin and Tiffany McVay

I have photographed a lot of families over the years, and each family touches a place in my heart for different reasons.  I met Staci a few years ago; she wanted me to photograph her entire family while they were all visiting for Christmas.  They have 5 grown boys-some married with kids of their own so this really was an epic moment-this was the first time she called me.    

Fast forward a few years and I get another excited call from Staci.  Justin who is in the military will be deploying again soon.  Justin, his wife Tiffany and their two beautiful kids are in town visiting before he heads out.  After a small intimate wedding years ago, a vow renewal was very important to them and their family.  On his parents land, they said "I Do" once again.  Tiffany was so excited as she took her wedding dress out of the bag; she explained that this was really her first dress ever.  New dress, new rings, same commitment and deep love for Justin.  

Shane and Heather King

Mother's Day weekend 2013 was the weekend Heather had planned on running in the Color Me Rad race with her girlfriends.  She was in Houston for work and was supposed to fly back to Oklahoma City but her flight was canceled.  Heather and her friends met up at Dan's anyway after the race to hang out; her friend Justin called and wanted to bring his brother Shane along.  

Six weeks later Shane worked up the nerve to ask Heather out for a first date and to say they hit it off would be a huge understatement!  January 17, 2015 was the day Shane and Heather professed their eternal love.   Here are a few photos from their special evening:

We have photographed weddings at Creekside on many occasions and it's always exciting to see how the couple will decorate! 

Get Outta Town!

So yesterday we had a beautiful wedding in Elkhart, Kansas.  That is coming in a later blog post- so stay tuned!  I wanted to share this time just a few snaps from our journey.  I had never been to the Oklahoma Panhandle, and was excited about the trip.  I have studied the Dust Bowl pretty extensively over the last few months and I knew that passing through that area where most of the Dust Bowl took place was going to be totally awesome.  Well. Kind of.  You see, it is very flat, and there is really nothing there.  There is a lot of farming that takes place, so you will see houses here and there- but no major stores.  I'm not even sure where they buy groceries.  You pass a gas station here and there, there were 2 schools we saw, but it is just miles and miles of land as far as the eye can see.  Like this: 

James and Harriet

I met Harriet when we realized that our daughters were the very best of friends.  We hadn't realized the girls depended on each other so much, but they were tight.  Like peanut butter and jelly tight!  Harriet and I became Facebook friends, and because the girls went to the same school, we kept in touch, shared funny stories about their latest exploits (they were both 4 at the time and had life figured out).  Harriet mentioned that she was getting married last year and I asked if she had a photographer, and well.  The rest is history.   Like all of the couples I am honored to photograph, you can instantly tell that James and Harriet are meant to be; they play off of each other and honestly- they didn't even realize I was there half the time.  That is exactly how I want any portrait session to be.  Effortless, easy, comfortable. 

After the engagement engagement session, the excitement for their wedding day began to build.  On March 30th, two wonderful souls became one.  Set on a beautiful piece of property right outside of the city- the most wonderful images were captured.