my why...

2018-01-30_0010 I found myself in a rut. I had such a disconnect from my work and the photography I once loved and craved became something I had no feelings for... like nothing. Numb was the only word I could use to describe how I was feeling.

What had gone so terribly wrong? How could I spend a lifetime with a camera in my hand and all of a sudden find myself with my "dream job" and have these feelings towards it? It took a lot of self discovery. It took isolation to hear inside my heart. It took confusion, tears, anger and basically giving up to figure out... I COULDN'T give up! It wasn't in me. There was this pull to continue doing what I loved so much I just had to find a new way to go about it. I had to shake myself free of the doubt, the rules, the expectations I had placed on myself to "play it safe". I had to let go of that "people pleasing" mentality and do for ME. It wasn't easy and it wasn't quick.

To be honest with you, it took almost two solid years to get it all out of my head and get right with my creative voice. I am not going to say it wasn't painful. But what came out of it...what came out of that muck was so much clarity. Not only for my photography work but for my heart.

The thing I discovered most about myself (although I did already know it, I just didn't know how to express it) was that I am super upbeat, fun, optimistic and an overall happy personality...but I am just a little "deeper" than most. I don't know how to even explain it. It is just who I have always been... I don't just hear the beat to a song, I feel the words...type deep. I see beyond the surface of people and truly feel their heart.

I am very aware that everyone has a "story" and not in a cliché kind of way...like a REAL story. Life isn't always pretty. It sure isn't always easy... and no matter what the story is, whether I even really know the details or not...I capture it.

I like to look at my photography as way to capture a FEELING and a MOMENT...it isn't about your hair or your makeup...it is about YOU and YOUR STORY.

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new year...new adventures

2018-01-11_0003 this Christmas we were at a loss for what to get my 12 year old. She is "too old" for toys but still "too young for tech stuff or clothes" and I struggle with material things...I am a BIG believer in MOMENTS and MEMORIES.

 

so. this year we decided her BIG gift was going to be a mom and daughter trip to the Big Apple... the city that never sleeps...yes New York City!! the flights were booked, the hotel was reserved the broadway shows were picked out, the only thing left to do was ride through Central Park in a horse drawn buggy....we had our jackets and even the snow boots packed. we were ready! our flight was in less than 10 hours....

 

and we got that email...

"your flight has been cancelled due to weather" NOT ONE flight was available into NYC or surrounding areas that day or the day after. her little heart was broken. the tears starting whaling up in her eyes the more it looked like her dream Christmas gift was going down the drain...

 

I panicked. so I called the airline and we found a flight to LA. within 8 hours of take off we were throwing the snow boots out and digging for our flip flops!

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we landed at 11:30am went straight to get our rental car...a convertible of course (they upgraded us to a BMW) which was totally fun and now my daughter decided that is what she wants as her 16th birthday present...dream big baby girl, dream big!!

top down, we drove straight to the coast. our first stop was the Santa Monica Boardwalk where we rode the ferris wheel and of course...funnel cake!

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that afternoon we went into LA and checked into The Line hotel for the night. The biggest struggle with this trip was A.) I am not that familiar with the area and "things to do" & B.) up until a few hours prior...we weren't even thinking LA so I had NO PLANS! we took the evening in the room and around the cute hotel, ordered room service and did just that... we made a plan!

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that next morning we  got ready and headed out to grab coffee and a yummy breakfast off Abbot Kinney at The Butcher's Daughter and then took PCH1 to Malibu. found a beach and spent most of the day playing in the waves!

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she had so much fun in the pacific she decided she wanted to go at it again... although the fogged had rolled in and I thought she'd be a little disappointed,  she casually said "mom I love the fog its kind of mysterious" that is when my heart burst and I KNEW she was a girl after my own heart! a few hours beach hopping and ice cream searching we then headed back and stoped to eat at Malibu Farms over looking the water and back to settle into our super fun and quirky hotel in Venice, The Kinney this time.

2018-01-11_00062018-01-11_00182018-01-11_00112018-01-11_00192018-01-11_0007we went to the Third Street Promenade for a little people watching and dinner before we went to bed to get good rest (which is important with a 12 yr old...let me make sure I point that out ;) ) 2018-01-11_00042018-01-11_0005

our third day in LA we wanted to stay in the city and see all the things... so we drove to Hollywood and did the star walk of fame the wax museum and then found the HOLLYWOOD sign! we checked into the next hotel...Mama Shelter and went to the rooftop to grab lunch and the view! that evening we went to the Little Damage ice cream shop for some BLACK ice cream and walked around The Last Book Store before heading back and packing up.

2018-01-11_00022018-01-11_00212018-01-11_0022 2018-01-11_00232018-01-11_0008it truly was such a last minute trip I could have never anticipated it going as well as it did for us. we got sun and fog. we got the coast and the sites of LA... bust most of all...MEMORIES with my girl!

the master tour

2017-09-27_0013 I had posted on Instagram a few options for new bedding and got such an overwhelming response from you guys! I was looking for something simple but with texture, similar to my last one...but with white and 3 stinky dirty teen boys and a daughter who loves to lay in my bed to do homework...they don't last very long. I went to my few "go to sites" West Elm (which was where my previous bedding was from and I LOVED it), Anthropologie which is always a win win, Urban Outfitters,  Pottery Barn and a few others...

 

this one from Anthro won out however I can't link because I apparently bought the last one...anyways, I shared the final result on my IG story and my inbox was flooded with people asking to see more of my bedroom...so here we go!

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This is my room...so lets talk about it for a second... I am sure you have seen a few of the houses we have flipped in the past. We truly have been blessed with some of the most amazing homes ever. I try hard when designing each home, to give myself time to really feel the home and let the house itself dictate the end design. When we moved "home" the market doesn't lend itself to many options... so we pretty much had to take what we could find and oddly enough this house is ending up to be one of my top favorites.

There are things I'd love to change, but again in this market it can only hold so much being invested into it knowing financially we wouldn't get a return on it... so the carpet stays...along with a few other things I am learning to have to work around. In here, my solution was to cover it the best I could with a textured rug and layering bedside rugs over that.

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I am a lover of white walls... and using my decor to add the color. This home doesn't get great natural light either so even when this room was painted a soft mustard by the previous owner, it still was too dark for my liking. so paint was the first "fix" to make this room a little brighter!

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and plants... plants make EVERY space feel more ALIVE! and please don't judge the dust and finger prints...clearly I didn't clean before I took these pictures!

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The most unexpected MOST USED piece we have in our room was this mirror from Ikea...at any given time you can find at least one if not all FOUR of my kids checking themselves out in it! I just draped a strand of patio lights from Target oared it and apparently it just draws them in for a look and occasional pose! (or snapchat selfie...whatever!)

 

Also I have gotten a lot of questions about this buffalo painting... I saw the print on Pinterest and it was crazy expensive for the size I needed so I got out my paints and painted a canvas and framed him myself for literally a 1/10th of the cost...and so what his legs are a little off...we won't look at that part! ;)

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Wall paint: White Dove by Benjamin Moore

Headboard: West Elm in Cayenne

Bedding and colored throw: Anthropologie Throw... other bedding option was: THIS ONE

Black and White Throw: Dot and Bo ( a few years ago)  but THIS one I love too!

Throw pillows: Target

Light up Cinema Board: Urban Outfitters

Live your story ring dish: All the Wire

It will all work out print: People I've loved

Paper Rock print: Urban Outfitters

Letter board: Letterfolk

White ceramic floor planter: West Elm

 

 

homecoming bonfire

2017-09-28_0001 It is homecoming week. So in small town spirit there was a homecoming carnival followed by a bonfire and the crowing of the Homecoming King for class of 2017/2018. Let me tell you, I went to a very small school. We graduated with 160-ish students. It was a school where you might not had been best friends with everyone in your school, but you for sure knew everyone four years above and fours below you. You could play and shine in more than one sport, and most did.  (well except for me I couldn't contain all this athleticism even with all that offered) haha

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so when our sweet little town grew into a "city" we found this sweet town... now hear my heart, I have fought this town...hard. I love it for everything it has to offer my kids, but we are in the middle of nowhere, we have to travel at least 45 minutes to a decent grocery store or a Target, dr appt, lets not even get me started on a mall... and my clients are all about a 2 hour drive away...so Ideally for an adult with a busy life raising 4 kids, running a business, and trying to keep up with a home life...the placement and opportunity isn't ideal.

BUT what I didn't take into account was the heart this town had. Oh it is hard when you are an outsider. You don't have the history like you do in your own "hometown".  And lets just address the *insert the rest of that saying here bc I have no clue with it is, but I will make it up* unicorn in the room... ME. I am a little different than your typical small town Texas gal. The only "cowboy boots" I own come from Free People and aren't made for walking in dirt.

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But what I do know is my heart. I see how this small town loves on my kids...and honestly how these small town kids love on me and my family. In a time where the world seems out of its ever loving mind... I feel so blessed to be surrounded by every shade of skin color in the rainbow...becasue no matter that, the smiles are ALL. THE. SAME. and those hugs feel no different than another. and for me, that is ALL that matters.

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Here, we all pray and glorify the same BIG GOD that created us all to be equal. These kids call me "momma" and to be honest, I am. my heart sees then just the same as my own. Here we respect adults, we honor each other and we smile in passing. Here we stand and show respect for our country. We pray for our visitors. Here we love.

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I did a thing...

2017-08-14_0009 I had a problem with storage in this tiny converted sunroom office. I knew I needed shelving but I also needed a desk space... I found the perfect solution on Pinterest. I decided why not try it for this space...

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I went to my local hardware store, and got the adjustable shelf tracks in the closet organization aisle. Mine were ClosetMaid Brand like the ones HERE. I just got the white ones (they also come in black and silver). I measured the wall and knew how many I needed. You will also have to "map out" your shelving unit to know how many brackets LIKE THESE to purchase. (I actually bought a few extra to have around incase I felt like changing mine up from time to time).

Once I got them home I pre-measured the width of my wall and made sure the hight for all were level with the floor. This took a little brain work because I am not that great at math and numbers and straight things. And because NOT ONE hole fell on a stud, I made sure to use sheet rock screws to hold the weight of it all.

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I lightly sprayed the tracks and brackets with Rust-oleum spray primer for metal. Once it was dry, I then did 2 coats of this pure gold metallic spray paint.

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Clearly my set up wasn't science... if you don't know enough about me by now, you should know when I have an idea I am a "jump in and make it happen, lets think about logistics and all that dumb stuff later" kinda gal... sometimes that works for me....sometimes not so much! ;)

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Then I put it all up and measured the 1' x 4's **I opted to use real wood instead of the pre-made plastic-y looking precut ones they have available with the units. You can ask the hardware store to cut them for you. mine were measured in 2" foot and 4" foot sections. (because my spans were 2" foot)

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This is the most "brown" stain I quickly found browsing the stain aisle (because very little of this was thought out for this), I got an old sock...don't judge me...and ran the stain over the cut boards, let it dry and put them up. I also only did one coat because, well I was super anxious to get it done and that is just how I do things. I didn't secure them to the brackets, that again would have taken more time and yah...we have gone over this already! I felt the weight of the wood was fine. **the bottom shelf is wider 1' x 4" because I needed it to fit my computer (keep in mind those brackets need to be the longer ones as well).

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there you have it. I made this entire unit for under $200 and in less than 2 hours. Any questions? If I can do it...with one hand while drinking my wine...anyone can do it...so go...build you a desk people!

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TOOLS NEEDED:

drill and bit to pretrial sheetrock screw holes.

hammer to get those plastic sheetrock screw things in.

Phillips head screwdriver to put said screws into said plastic things in said holes.

sock or rag for stain.

*wine is optional but highly recommended.

SHOPPING LIST:

shelf tracks (I used 4)

9' brackets (my unit layout used 14)

18' brackets (I used 3)

1' x 2" boards (I used 4)

1' x 4" boards (2 were used here)

1' x 2" x 4" piece of wood (I think that is how you say it...the bottom piece of wood for my "desktop") *I found this piece in a precut section of HomeDepot it was actually Birch wood but stained still matched the pine shelves.

stain of your choice.

spray primer.

spray paint.

artful chaos 2017

it is time. time to announce my one and ONLY solo workshop this year!

SpankiMills_1996 I HATE calling it a workshop because it truly is so much more than that.

this artful chaos will be a little different than last year. last year I said it was "senior inspired/focused" but in the end what I realized was we pretty much covered everything, no specific niche. bottom line, what we do at an Artful Chaos weekend is more so discovering YOU. Friday evenings we all meet up and have a chance to visit and get to know one another. we have dinner together at our home for the weekend (when I say "home" I mean... "ARE you kidding me we are staying HERE"), when dinner is done, we get our jimmies on and open the wine! we will sit around a camp fire and get into a few prompted discussions where I am working hard to peel through your layers and get back to the WHY. I want to know why you are here. we dive into each of your creative souls and really focus on how you see and feel your way through the world and everyday life...once we discover who you are as a creative, we can best navigate you through what you are doing as a photographer. Friday night is full of deep thoughts and conversation and lots of laughs.

Saturday we take our time visiting over coffee and get dressed for the day...starting it off with headshots so you can SEE and FEEL what it is like to be on the other side of my shooting...then we spend a full day dealing with the "business" part of your journey. we unearth the WHY behind your motivation (or lack thereof). Whats that saying?? "whats a goal without a plan...simply a WISH" we are NOT here to wish ourselves success...we are here to put a PLAN in place and get you going on the right path. we will do things like sit together and work through a year marketing schedule, we will work on welcome emails or website wording, pricing, etc...we will have several open discussion opportunities as well. my main goal for Saturday is to put processes into your workflow that help you lessen the burden of "work" when you get back home. you will get a TON of info...but if I send you home completely overwhelmed...what good does that do? so we spend the day discussing and IMPLEMENTING what we work through. then like a REAL workshop should be... we are back to the wine and relaxation part! ;)

Sunday we go into Austin to explore a little of "classic ATX", grab a coffee, stroll the streets, shop, visit and enjoy the morning with candid open talk before we meet up with our models and spend the evening shooting and portfolio building. we will work on posing, directing, communicating, finding light and adding movement and EMOTION to your images, etc.

This year will be a little different simply because of our AMAZING location!! This place is a highly sought after "glamping" experience that up until now... with a little begging and pleading of myself...no photography has been allowed at. BUT we get to not only stay there, but we also get to shoot amongst the yurts, vintage airstreams, and spartan. SO we will be doing headshot and shooting our models on location!!! THINK FREE PEOPLE & ANTHROPOLOGIE come to life through our lens!!

**MODELS will be chosen upon request...what does that mean? it means if you want to shoot a senior, we get seniors...if you want to work on family posing... we bring in a family! this workshop is about YOU!! I will talk with each person who signs up and hear your heart before I finalize the details because I want to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want out of this weekend with a "Spanki twist"

 

I hope you join me in AUSTIN!!!

May 19-21 / Austin, TX

I am in!

*Dinner Friday & light breakfast, lunch and dinner Saturday included.

*Payment is NON-REFUNDABLE, if you can not attend you may sell your seat...there is typically a waiting list to this workshop.

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CHRISTINA // mentoring

when you mentor with me...we get to play and do really fun headshot! :)  

for those wondering what a mentorship is like...well YOU decide that. I am an open book so before we meet I will visit with you to get an idea of where you are struggling, what you are searching help out for and how I fit into that picture. we typically spend half a day talking business and mapping out goals to get where you want to be and the other half of the day is spent shooting a model and YOU and then fishing up with workflow and client process. Don't let me forget to mention LOTS of good eating, visiting, and laughing is had!!!

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shane // photographer headshots

2016-01-23_0034 every Sunday morning I would walk my little babies to sunday school and the halls were filled with youth. teens seaking out Gods word. I knew the faces and I watched as they grew... they grew into adults before my eyes. as the years passed by I became friends with this what seemed to be kid at the time, he was passionate, he was creative, he was a photographer.

a friendship has grown. he has became a man. and our passion of photography has bonded us. Shane is everything I can only hope my sons grow to be. we have so much fun together. we do some pretty crazy things, we laugh, we stay up way too late, we visit, we dream... it is so crazy how years ago there seemed to be such a gap between that youth that walked the halls, but today we are friends...where age differences don't matter (unless I am making him edit out my gray hair in his images of me) where we have this common ground of photography... where all that matters is a genuine relationship of friends.

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terri // photographer headshots

2016-01-23_0003 YOU MAKE THESE CONNECTIONS. IT IS FUNNY HOW IT HAPPENS. BUT WATCHING IT UNFOLD IS ALMOST MAGICAL. I MET TERRI A FEW YEARS AGO ONLINE AND WE BECAME FRIENDS. SHE FEW TO AUSTIN TO MENTOR WITH ME AND SHE EVEN STAYED IN MY VERY UNFINISHED HOME REMODEL...LIKE NO KITCHEN NOT FINISHED. WE EXPLORED AUSTIN, WE ATE, WE LAUGHED, WE STAYED UP SUPER LATE PLAYING WITH CAR LIGHTS, CAMERAS AND SPRINKLERS... IT WAS A WEEKEND OF EVERYTHING I NEEDED PLUS SOME.

 

WHEN SHE SIGNED UP FOR THE SENIOROLOGIE SHOOTOUT I WAS TEACHING AT I WAS THRILLED TO GET TO SEE MY FRIEND AND SPEND TIME WITH HER. BUT WHEN SHE HIRED ME TO DO SOME UPDATED HEADSHOTS FOR HER NEW SIGHT I WAS BEYOND HONORED AND HUMBLED. TO BE ASKED BY AN AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER TO SHOOT THEIR HEADSHOTS...THE ONES THEY WILL DISPLAY TO REPRESENT THEM TO THEIR FOLLOWING IS HUMBLING. IT WAS COLD, IT WAS GLOOMY, IT WAS PERFECT.

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desert dreaming....

a year ago when I attended WPPI  a few of my photographer friends and I decided to call up some models and go out to the desert and shoot since that terrain isn't anything like what we have here in Texas. it was a small group of us so we all got to shoot...a lot. So many people have swooned over those images...as did myself... I thought it would be fun to do it again this year! A few of my friends were talking about it and we decided it would be more fun if YOU got to come too!

So here is what we planned. FOUR photographers specializing in high school senior portraits....that means FOUR different shooting styles to learn from!

TRUE MOUA   CHRISTINA RAMIREZ   LATASHA HAYNES  SPANKI MILLS

EIGHT senior aged models... I am NOT kidding when I say you are going to DIE when you see these girls...

and one of Nevada's most sought after locations to not only shoot at but just to see while you are there... Nelson Ghost Town. Y'all. old abandoned buildings, plane wreckage, desert sunsets...are you kidding!!!

we will break off into four small groups, each group will get one shoot "leader" and 2 models. you will then be broken into 2 smaller groups to shoot. we want a VERY small shoot/model ratio to ensure you each get the shots you want and have time to instruct and pose your model before switching to the next model and rotating groups. the shoot leaders will be there to help field questions, give suggestions, help pose, etc... we are there to HELP so come with questions! :)

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Sunday March 06, 2016 

4 hours of SMALL group shooting & 1 hour of open Q&A for all the instructors.

We are providing transportation from the MGM Grand where WPPI will be hosted, to and from Nelson's. We will also provide light snacks and water. 

$599/person

JOIN US. SIGN UP HERE!

or email us at: wppiseniorshootout@yahoo.com

more detailed information will be sent upon registration...like pick up times etc.

SEE YOU IN VEGAS!!!

 

and now we are horse people...

what a Christmas it was... so let me explain. one of my twins has been a "horse" person from day one. the kid ate drank and breathed horses. he would watch horses in the neighboring pasture, he wanted stuffed horses and stick horses and plastic horses and every kind of toy horse he could get his little baby hands on. when he ran, he galloped...and I am pretty sure he'd neigh a time or two...he was a HORSE. but, like anything a real live, big, eating, pooping, running, pasture going horse is a BIG responsibility. and as parents with 4 kids it wasn't in the cards for us to get him his own horse.  

until now.

 

and the very day that horse stepped hooves into the pasture...the twin brother was wide eyed. he wanted to ride, he wanted to saddle, he wanted to brush...all of a sudden...he wanted a horse too.

so. for Christmas Santa did good. he did real good. and there hasn't been a morning yet that I haven't woken up to see two little boys out riding and laughing and bonding as brothers on their horses.

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and even our beloved Buster boy loves the new additions... he also may or may not be sleeping in the barn with his new buddies!

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its that time of year...

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so it is that time of year...where the excitement of all things re-newed and that overwhelming sense of  the "what if's" fill our minds. the dreams, the goals, the motivation to change. to do better.

 

I am with you. this year that feeling seems to be a little stronger... it seems to be pulling a little harder and the cheers seem to be a little louder in my mind. that "Spanki, you can do it! you can dream and you can plan and this year YOU WILL SUCCEED" has got me so excited for the year to come. I am not sure why this year I am more excited, more ready to face whats ahead, maybe it is God telling my soul "You got this"...but I am. I am ready.

 

this year I will let go... let go of the things holding me back. let go of that voice saying I am not enough. let go of things I can not change. let go of other peoples opinion.

this year I will love... I will love and nurture relationships that are worth investing into. I will love harder and with more intention. I will accept the love I receive and I will accept the love I give...it is enough.

this year I will live... I will live richer. I will take life in. I will breath the air around me and be aware of every moment as it passes.

this year I will feel more... I will cry harder and longer. I will smile bigger and laugh louder. I will allow myself to really feel each moment.

this year I will push myself... I will push myself physically. I will push myself mentally. I will challenge myself and I will challenge those around me. to do more. be more.

this year I will not allow someone else to defeat me... I will not be frozen by words. I will not let others determine my self worth. I will not.

this year I will take control... I will stand up for myself. I will listen to my dreams. I will believe in myself.

this year I will travel... I will pick two places I have never seen before and do everything I can to get there. I will explore my own city. I will discover something new. I will be enriched by this world around me.

this year I will slow down... I will live in the moment. I will relish the good and learn from the bad.

this year I will give my life to God... because in the end no matter what I want and hope for myself...HIS plans are grater...so if none of the above happens the way I want...it is okay because I know HE is in control.

 

ok and here are a few personal legit real ones..

I will accept that age is just a number...especially around October 15th when I turn a year OLDER! that being said... I will religiously keep up with botox, bc if age is just a number I should be able to look any age I want to pretend to be right?

I will stock pile some root touch up kits, lets get real if I don't have wrinkles thanks to botox, I shouldn't have gray hair either.

I want to BADLY take my children on a road trip... and I KNOW that after about 10 minutes in the car I will be rethinking this dream BUT I plan on getting us to san fransisco and do the Hwy 1 road trip down the coast.

I knew I had Italian roots somewhere in my blood line... but I found out in 2015 that I am in fact one quarter italian... thats a LOT, which leaves me to believe I need...MUST travel to Italy to visit my heritage. So a girls trip to my mother land is on my list for 2016.

I dream of collaborating with some amazing photographer influences and inspirations this year...some of which are already in the making....eeeeeek!

what else???  I am sure I will think of a few more as soon as I hit "publish" on this post...but this will hold me over for now!

 

HAPPY NEW YEAR friends...here's to an amazing 2016!

share with me at least one of your new year goals/dreams....

 

 

 

30 day IG challenge...

social media. it is a funny thing isn't it. like many of you I just dove in...head first. all my friends were doing it so I should too right? ;) today I am starting an Instagram challenge and I invite you to join me.... over time I have noticed the difference between doing it "just because" and those who are "doing it right"... here is what I have discovered (just my own 2 cents, *disclaimer: I am not a professional social media interpreter*). I have read and researched a few different ways to reach your followers via instagram and I am totally intrigued and want to give it a try!

after research I have discovered that you have to have purpose, that you must have a clear definition of what you are wanting as an end result from your instagram. If you are just wanting to document your everyday so nanna can see how the new puppy just chewed your coffee table, then that is fine...but what I am more interested in is as a business... how am I connecting to my followers.

a few things I have realized... like anything else in life, there needs to be a plan...I know, plan shman...but lets give it a try. I mean...whats 30 days right?

I have been a little confused by my instagram feed. I love looking at very pretty and visually appealing feeds however, when I tried to make my own instagram "pretty" I noticed not many people cared about my perfectly frothy latte and homemade gluten free pop tart sitting perfectly on the distressed wooden table in the perfectly moody light. I know, right? I mean that makes for one "perfectly perfect" image am I wrong? but not one comment. nothing. just a few likes and that was it.

 

so do my followers not want "perfect and pretty"...I have realized I am not defining my followers. I had no clue who they are and why they are there, following ME? it wasn't until recently that I have started getting a little more clarity as to why they are there...but I am always learning more...

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so lets make a plan...

 

STEP ONE: lets find out WHO our followers are! Why are they there, why did they hit that "follow" tab and why have they stuck around.

 

STEP TWO: lets define why YOU are there? why do you have an instagram and what is your message? I read that you need to treat your IG like you would a blog and create categories... be consistent and have a REASON behind each post... ok y'all we can do this. let's write down FIVE categories you want to break your IG into. what do you want to share? I read somewhere about "percentages" of what content you should post and I'd like to keep that in mind but I am not getting that technical about it sooooo if you are a numbers person and a "rule follower" go search that out. I am just going to try being generally aware of what I am posting and why. :)

mine: 1. photography (my work) is my main category 2. my personal life, who I am, my kids, my home life, etc 3. travel images. 4. local attractions/food, I love visiting and sharing fun places in Austin that I love! 5. behind the scenes, at work, on shoots, basically "a day in the life"...it is as simple as that. but now I know where to begin when I am needing to post!

 

STEP THREE: create a theme... it sounds similar to what we just talked about but it isn't... a theme that isn't content related but COLOR and MOOD related. having a feed that is color consistent is just more visually appealing and more likely to make people like it and stick around to see more! so write down a few words that describe your overall feel. I love IG feeds that are bright and airy, but that isn't me... I am a little more moody and muted so that is what I post...and remember to be consistent, once you commit stick with it!

 

STEP FOUR: commit to 30 days of interacting with other instagrammers... respond to your commenters and maybe comment on a few posts you follow... interact with others.

 

STEP FIVE: be intentional with your bio. let people be clear who you are, what you do, and for the love of all things holy if you run a business PLEASE list where you are located! There are so many photographers posting their beautiful work, work I'd love to hire them for but I have no clue what state they are even located in... i know it is easy for people to "figure it out" but make it simple, don't lose potential clients bc they don't have the time to dig and play clue.

 

ok so lets start with a fun 30 day Instagram challenge. I'd love to have you join me. use the hashtag #dreambig2016IGchallenge  **change these up a little to best fit your categories, this is geared a little more towers photographers so change it as you see best fit for YOU**

also...I have seen some people do a weekly prompt, for example "on Mondays share something personal, on Tuesdays share BTS of your business...etc) For me, and I haven't at all gotten it all figured out by any means, but I do more so what is visually appealing on my feed, for example, I TRY not to post 2 black and whites in a row or that will line up on top of one another, I also try not to post busy images in a row by breaking it up with a close up or simple/clean landscape etc... so you do what works best for you and your personal instagram goals.

here we go....

 

day 1: selfie. introduce yourself to your followers... I know, I know... a SELFIE! but for real, you get new followers and you can't just assume they all know who you are so TELL THEM!

day 2: get to know your followers... post a pretty picture from one of your five categories and prompt conversation. ASK them about themselves. leave a call to action and encourage interaction.

day 3: #BTS or workspace...let your followers in. share a glimpse of YOU in your everyday environment and ask them a question that relates (ex. where do you get most of your best ideas, while working at your desk, while laying in bed, or while you fold laundry, etc?)

day 4: landscape/places. post an image of one of your favorite views/places... maybe the view out of your office window, maybe the beach, or the skyline to your favorite city...tell us what you feel/remember as you look at this image and ask your followers to tell you their favorite view.

day 5: post an informative image... maybe a picture of "whats in your bag" or "whats on your desk" and ask what is one thing your follower can't live without.

day 6: personal. depending on our personal categories, post a fun "day in the life" maybe you cooking with your kids, or your daughter riding her bike... ask your followers their favorite time at home with their family.

day 7: client. post an image of your recent work. .

day 8: #BTS. of you working...tell us how your week is going and ask others how it is going for them.

day 9: personal. share your "to do list" for the day or the book you are reading or a fun quote that resonates with you at the moment.

day 10: free time. post an image of a hobby or craft you do or wish you did... ask your readers if they had extra time in a day how would they spend it?

day 11: landscape. choose from one of your categories and post a landscape/travel image or food/fun and tell us your favorite places to go.

day 12: everyday. take a picture of something you see everyday, but capture it in a way that is new and unique.

day 13: personal. "day in the life" image of you at home, around family, or just doing what you love to do to relax.

day 14: client. revisit an old client session and post an image you have forgotten about.

day 15: reflection. post an image of something that means something to you or represents growth or change. tell us about it.

day 16: landscape. if you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? post an image and tell us why!

day 17: smile. share your smile and tell us what makes you happy. ask others to share what makes them smile too!

day 18: activity. what do you love to do? jog, knit, bake? share with us what you love or what you have created.

day 19: friends. who influences you and how. ask your followers who their influencers are.

day 20: goals. share your current 3 goals and ask others to share theirs.

day 21: selfie. tell us something unique about YOU and ask your followers to share too.

day 22: street art. capture life. what intrigues you about this image? the light, the people, the stillness? what makes this image speak to you?

day 23: personal. what are you working on? share a client image or anything you are currently working on.

day 24: city. where do you live?  tell us a few things you love about your city and ask others to share about this city.

day 25: #BTS of you working...tell us something fun that made you smile today. prompt others to share too.

day 26: share. tell us something you have learned or something that interest you.

day 27. client. again share some of your work with us.

day 28: personal/business. share one thing that makes your business unique.

day 29: thankful. tell us what you are thankful for and ask others to share their thoughts with you.

day 30: reflect. post an old image. show us how you have grown...personally or work related. you decide.

 

after you do this 30 day challenge, go back and look at your posts. how much interaction did you get? what post resonated with your followers the most? let it help you to navigate through what your purpose is and who your followers are. happy gramming friends. make sure to come tell me how it is going and what you are discovering through this challenge! :)