Archive for January, 2012

SuperBowl Week: Concerts, Babies and Baskets

January 31

Oh, this week. What an exciting week for my hometown. Indianapolis has been so spoiled with gorgeous weather as of late (today is a high of 61 and a low of 46, in JANUARY!) ¬†and I’m so thankful for this extra incentive for visitors to get out and explore our beautiful city. I’m realizing more and more just how big of a deal it is for us to host Superbowl XLVI. ¬†We all know how huge the Superbowl is and the amount of press it receives annually but until it comes to your hometown, you can’t fully imagine. Indianapolis has been slowly transforming over the past year to accommodate the tens of thousands of expected visitors. This city has come alive and it is so thrilling to see Indy showcased in such a remarkable way. Whether or not you’re a football fan, there is so much to enjoy in this great city this week.

SuperBowl Village kicked off last week and I was so ecstatic for my brother’s band, Blue Moon Revue, who played in the heart of it all. Their show was sandwiched between acts from DJ Pauly D and Bret Michaels. I mean, truly, it was a once in a lifetime opportunity for them and I didn’t expect how full my heart would feel when I saw my big brother, David, playing his guitar on this gigantic screen (taken with my iPhone):

That is MY BROTHER. We SHARE THE SAME BLOOD! And he’s rocking his heart out for thousands of Superbowl Fans?!!? Seriously? Whoah. There’s not much like seeing those you love pursuing their passions and when I saw Dave on that screen, I knew it was a big moment for him and BMR. That night is one I’ll never forget…

…partly because it is also the same day that sweet baby Nell came into the world! Nell is Noah’s little cousin. It has come to my attention that because I love my little nephew to the stars, I will now love everything that is special to him and more. He is only 9 months and can’t fully understand how awesome this time is in his life but when I saw Noah hanging with his cousin for the second time, my heart couldn’t help but melt at his reaction. His face says it all (also taken with iPhone):

Do you realize the amount of awesome that is around you ALL of the time? Or are you numb to it? ¬†Sometimes it ebbs and flows but for the past year it feels like my life has been in a constant state of AMAZING. Every week there is excitement, growth, meeting new and exciting people, challenges, new friendships, blessed opportunities, anticipation and movement forward. Sometimes I wish I could could press pause. I am so happy. This is the best time of my life and I feel God working in my life like crazy. He’s everywhere.

I love this:

“If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” ¬†-Booker T. Washington

Oh, hey Booker T.! I see you! And I kinda love you!

But for real, Booker. You would have been so proud of us yesterday. Yesterday I had the BLESSED privilege of photographing Super Baskets of Hope downtown at the Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. In a nutshell, SBOH ¬†(thanks to hundreds and hundreds of volunteers) put together 7,000 baskets of hope for cancer patients nationwide. The baskets are being distributed ¬†to all 32 NFL cities this week thanks to the incredible volunteers at UPS. Tony Dungy, ¬†hugely influential in starting BOH in Indianapolis, stopped by to see the action and visit with the volunteers. It was humbling to be a part of this event: meeting and photographing selfless volunteers, working with Riley Hospital, meeting and photographing Tony Dungy and seeing the greater city of Indianapolis come together for such a noble cause. It makes me so incredibly proud and happy! A full and more in depth post to come but I wanted to share with you my favorite shot from yesterday. Tony Dungy taking in the hundreds of volunteers hard at work for SPOH:

Football (and a sweet maternity session) will come, too, on Sunday! For now I’ll soak up some Vitamin D and good friends tonight at the Superbowl Village downtown. Make your day amazing…

X

Caitlin

Peers in the Industry: Leveraging Their Dreams

January 23

Aren’t you scared it will take away from your work?

Are you nervous you’ll lose potential clients?

Shouldn’t you be promoting YOUR work?

Ack. What a terrible way to think.

There are two sides to everything and if I have anything to do with this post (and it just so happens that  I have everything to do with it since I am writing it!) Рthen I will choose to see the glass as half full. In the same spirit, I choose to look at the positive side of the wedding industry. There will always be a competitive side to any industry but I will continue to focus on our side that looks out for one another, refers business, supports each other and speaks highly of each other.

Do I want to be successful in my business? Absolutely.

Do I want my peers and friends to be successful, too? Just as much.

Wanting and promoting success for others in your field, in my opinion, lifts you up more than anything else. ¬†You will go much farther in your career when you help nourish a friend’s business and dreams. Any of those times you find yourself stressing about whether or not you’re doing it¬†(whatever it may be) right, take the focus off of yourself and do what you can to lift a friend up. Think you’ll find that in doing so, you’ll lift yourself up as well.

Last week I posted about a couple of my favorite blogs to follow and the importance of promoting other artists. Today I wanted to share some of my peers with you here. Worrying that an inquiring bride will see this post and then choose one of the following to be their photographer instead of me is the last of my worries. In fact, if I can help a bride find her photographer¬†– the one whose work sets her heart on fire, that’s even better. I care about these people and want the very best for them. And, I should add that this list continues to extend rapidly. The wedding industry has allowed for some wonderful friendships to blossom in my life and I am so grateful. These are simply a few on my heart today and in no particular order.

Please stop by and leave them some love.

Molly Marie Williams РI met Molly at a Jasmine Star workshop. We connected after the workshop and have kept in touch since. She lives out in Carlsbad, CA and is an amazing mama to the cutest little man (aside from my nephew) in the world РNico.

April Foster Events¬†– One of the most creative ladies I’ve ever met, April is an amazing planner and even better person.

Amanda Fales Photography РOh, Amanda. Cute as a button. Such a wonderful friend and can always put a smile on my face. Her work gets better by the minute.

Openfield Photography¬†– Lauren and Robbie might be one of the more adorable couples ever but that’s neither here nor there – they’re so talented and have the most lovable boxer named Homer. Today is Lauren’s birthday so that’s even more reason to hustle over and leave some love! : )

Jennifer Eileen Photography¬†– I met Jenn at the Making Things Happen workshop in San Francisco in November 2010. Although we only spent one day together, I’ve kept up with her work and I’m blown away by her talent.

Megan W Photography¬†– There isn’t much to say other than I adore Megan – as a person and her endless facets of talent. She is a dear friend of mine and I will have her back until the end of time. For reals.

BDP Photography РI met Ben a little under a year ago. Such a great guy with so much talent and such a fun attitude!

Northernlight Filmworks РJohn and Jen make the most beautiful wedding films. Like, give-me-goosebumps-every-time-I-see-one films. I am blessed by their friendship!

SB Childs Photography¬†– I’ve known Brock and Stef for a couple years now and appreciate their friendship so much. They’re incredibly talented (love their engagement sessions!) and are currently expecting a baby boy in the spring. Can’t wait to meet you, baby Rhett! : )

Nicole Green Photography РOh, I love Nicole! Aside from being a wonderful photographer, Nicole is simply the kind of person you want around. Always. Okay, accompanied by her fiance, Dan and their adorable basset hounds, Otis and Penny, too. What?!

Cynthia Kain Photography¬†– I’ve only recently connected with Cyn. I met her because she, too, was rebranded with Making Brands Happen and has now has a beautiful brand to match her beautiful work. We’ll be meeting on St. Patrick’s Day in D.C. to run the Rock N Roll Half Marathon together! YAY!

Gail Werner Photography¬†– Please find me one person who doesn’t love this woman! Gail is the epitome of an amazing friend. She is loyal, eclectic and so talented. Oh, and an amazing writer and photographer as well.

Micah Bell Photography¬†– Micah is a great guy with a great attitude, great talent and a great family. Okay, great won’t cut it. Wonderful! His sweet little girl, Campbell, is precious and hilarious. So excited for them as they’re adopting two little ones and will hopefully get to meet them come this spring!

Turtle Pond Photography¬†– When I first fell in love with photography, it was Nate & Amanda who photographed the wedding of a dear friend of mine. I noticed their work at my friend’s wedding and reached out to Amanda after the wedding. She let me come over and pick her brain years ago. I’m so blessed to call them friends now and am SO thrilled for them as they’ve just adopted the sweetest little man. Oh, ¬†I can’t wait to squeeze little Ruben’s cheeks!

Molly Connor Photography¬†– Why, Molly might be one of the most authentic people I’ve ever met. She’s original, driven and so talented. I think of her and one word comes to mind: FUN.

Happy Monday, sweet friends. Do what you can to spread some sunshine – in big ways and in small.

Xxoo

An 8 Month Old Noah: What Being an Aunt Has Taught Me

January 19

He came 8 months ago today. The number 19 has special meaning now in my life. A couple years down the line, we won’t pay attention to when he is 5 years and 2/3/4 months! But for now, I will revel in each month of his first year along with his parents and everyone else who adores him. So much happens in the first year. You don’t have to be a mom to see it, either.

Noah George changed my life before he even arrived. I couldn’t possibly have dreamt up a more adorable child. Sure, I’m biased. I’m allowed. But seriously, he’s pretty darn cute, right?! : ) At 8 months, Bugs is almost crawling, loves to be outside and has two of the cutest teeth in all the land.

Being an Aunt is the most fun ever. Any kind of visit from my nephew is the best: planned, surprise, 5 minutes, fall asleep in my arms (rare, but it’s happened) visit, sleepovers, bath time, one on one babysitting time. My favorite memory with him so far is when we snuggled next to a glowing Christmas tree as he slept in my arms with xmas music in the background. Noah brings so much joy to my life and he’s taught me a couple things:

There is something new to discover every day. At the risk of sounding a bit SAP, Noah reminds me of all of the wonder in the world and he keeps me from being jaded and closed down. Stay open minded and it will change your life.

 

Life is fun. It’s as simple as that. Don’t get it twisted. You are what you make of your life.

Yoda is nerdy. You put Yoda on a baby and not only is Yoda made cool,  you also get the most perfect blend of stupid cute and squeezable.

There is no such thing as too many hugs, too many kisses, too many loves. Make your love known. Tomorrow is never promised.

 

I love you to the stars and back, sweet boy. I’m always here for you.

All my love,

Auntie Caity

From my Godmama

January 18

Do you have that ringer on your iPhone, too? ¬†The “Glass” ringer that alerts you when you have a new text message? ¬†I call it Bing-Bong. So does my sister and now it has caught on with some friends too.

Hey, you bing-bonged!

Was that me that bing-bonged?!

Yayyy! I bing-bonged!!!

They should just change the name to Bing-Bong. That is, after all, what it sounds most like. Not glass. Am I right? Up high!

Colleen is my godmom. I love her so much. She lives in DC with her husband Chris and their adorable little ladies, Riley and Chloe. I typically get to see her a few times each year. I wish it were more often, although distance makes getting together to visit more difficult. I’m simply thankful for her in my life.

Four days before Christmas, Colleen texted (ahem, bing-bong’ed) me. It read:

I mailed something in a priority envelope. I want you to know how much I love you, how talented you are and how much I admire your pursuit of something you love. I hope our gift is a reminder of all those things. It’s very small but comes with a ton of love!! God bless you always. Xxoo

Cheers to pursuing our passions. We deserve nothing less.

So much love. X

Blogs to Follow: Promoting Your Friends

January 17

Yesterday, I wrote about what I’ve learned about blogging. Today I wanted to share a couple blogs that I love to follow. You know, and give you all reason to procrastinate a bit more. We all need that, right? : ) But really, these beautiful people will help you slow down, take a few minutes for yourself and stay inspired.

A Beautiful Mess 

Ahh, Elsie Larson – so adorable you’d like to bottle her up and carry her around in your pocket. So much personality to the square inch, Elsie blogs regularly for her readers. She is an artist in the truest sense of the word and inspires me to no end. If you are engaged, planning a wedding and looking for inspiration, read about Elsie’s wedding (she is married to one amazing musician, Jeremy Larson) and watch their wedding video. It’ll make your heart smile, I promise!

 

Wit & Delight

Fun fact: I met Kate Arends through Irish Dancing. Yes – you read that correctly! Kate and I both danced for separate schools and were competitive. I’d see her and her sweet younger sister, Allie (who was in my age group and I competed against) at various competitions. We were all friends! Now, Kate runs a wildly successful blog that I just can’t get enough of. Fresh, simplistic, clean and incredibly thoughtful with an edge- Kate helps you slow down even for just a second and look closer. ¬†I appreciate her blog so much for that.


 

Making Things Happen

Oh, these ladies. I love them so much! Lara Casey, Emily Ley, Gina Zeidler and Natalie Norton (whom I have yet to meet in person) are just beautiful women with a heart for encouraging others. Making Things Happen was a catalyst in making my new brand happen and subsequently the BEAUTIFUL life I live now. Just, please, instead of 5 minutes on Facebook, Twitter, TV or any other social media (I am guilty of this, trust me!) take 5, maybe 10 minutes of your time to visit this blog instead. Their posts are such a gift. You’ll be grateful for these women, too. I promise you! (Fist pound.)

The Pioneer Woman

Ree Drummond, what can’t you do!? I first became hooked on Ree when my sister introduced me to Black Heels to Tractor Wheels – ¬†Ree chronicles her love story with her beau, whom she lovingly refers to as Marlboro man. She’s so real and so authentic. I crave that so much in a blog. When she blogs, it feels like I’m sitting across from her at the kitchen table with a hot cup of tea in hand. Lest we forget, girl can cook too! She is a rad photographer (photos of her food are my favorite) and she has a precious family and some adorable pets, my favorite being an adorable pup named Walter whom you can see here wearing some fancy nerd glasses. So handsome, Walter!

So great, right!? ¬†Ah, these blogs make my heart sing. Would love to hear your thoughts on these. I think it’s so important as artists that we support one another. Promote each other often as you’d want others to promote yourself. Stay inspired.

So much love and a Happy Tuesday to each of you!

X,

C

What I’ve Learned About Blogging

January 16

Ahh, writer’s block. I can remember suffering from writer’s block SO MANY TIMES in high school. I’d sit down to write a paper and stare at a blank screen as the cursor flashed before me – reminding me each time that I was going nowhere and fast. ¬†But I had my name/professor/date and header typed out already. Oh, I was well on my way!!! Not at all, actually. The best was when I’d sit next to a student during class who was rounding out his closing thoughts as I’d be sweating bullets next to him, painfully trying to eek out an introductory paragraph. There were many late nights writing papers in high school for this girl! I had some predisposed thought that the best writers knew how to perfectly articulate their thoughts on their first try. Wrong. So wrong. I’d sit their and angst over finding the best way to convey my thoughts on my first go around before typing anything out. What I’ve learned over the years, though, is that some of the best writing, in my my opinion, comes from throwing out all of those rules of grammar and writing just to write. For you. ¬†I can hear my sweet 8th grade English teacher, Mrs. Chapman, cringing through my computer right now. Never start a sentence with ‘but’! No ending sentences with a preposition! I’ve broken at least one of those rules already (high fives!)..¬†It got messy at times, but I started to just write as if I wasn’t being graded and this was one of the greatest lessons I’d learn – I do my best work in life when it is for me, first.

In light of writing more and a promise to myself that I’ll blog consistently, I wanted to share a few thoughts on what I’ve learned about blogging today. There are a few blogs that I follow religiously. When I sit down and look at what it is about these blogs that brings me back each time, I notice a thread of similarities that I strive to emulate myself and use to enhance my own blog.

First (and foremost in my opinion)…Write for YOU.

There is nothing more painful than pretending to care about a topic that you’re blogging about simply because you think your readers will find it entertaining. To have a successful blog, you’ve got to blog for you first. I don’t care if blogger X blogged about wildebeests (sure, why not!) and that post got over 100 comments – that doesn’t mean you should. Unless of course, it interests you and fires you up. Make sure to blog to your hearts content.

Write as though you’re chatting with your best friend!

Your blog is an extension of who you are and an opportunity for anyone who doesn’t know you in real life to be a friend : ) ¬†Chat with your buddies and be authentic in everything that you say. Forget the rules of writing you learned in school and don’t be afraid to get a lil comma happy! I LOVE COMMAS! If you are struggling to find the right words, stop, take a deep breath and start writing as if you’re telling your best friend a story. In my case, that’s my sister Beth. Miss you, sister!

Be positive.

Life isn’t always sunshine and butterflies. We all know that. And while I do think it’s important and necessary to share some of life’s hardships, don’t overdo it. Everyone is fighting their own battles. Be a friend and give your friends reason to smile! You want your readers to feel better after they’ve visited your blog! Even in the toughest times, choose to see the bright side. Optimism is infectious and yours will spread, too.

Embrace typos and the messiness.

You are human and imperfect and at the risk of sounding a bit hippie-ish, that’s what makes you beautiful! Your blog is your public journal. There is no such thing as a perfectly kept, readable journal to the outsider. If there is, I don’t want to read it. What makes you human make you relatable and at the end of the day, your readers are looking for ways to relate.

Blog often….

Think of your blog as a plant – you need to water it every day and give it that sunshine! Otherwise, no growth.

…even when it’s difficult and you think no one cares.

This goes back to writer’s block. I’ll be honest with you – there are times that I’m at a loss for what to blog about and or/ I fear no body will care about what I’m blogging. At the end of the day, I’ve got to choose to push through that writer’s block ¬†and discount the latter because A) I’d rather share than withhold and B) life is too short to care what others will think.

 

Because She’s Worth It

January 12

Caitlin,

I’ve spent the afternoon reading almost every word of your blog. I love the new brand, and it is so refreshing to find a small business owner who is so authentic.¬†
I am currently studying architecture at the University of Cincinnati, but after planning my own recent wedding, I have fallen in love with love. I have always had an interest in photography, but only recently played with the idea of taking pictures for a living. As I sit at my computer working on my studio projects, I find myself getting distracted by wedding photography blogs, and I can’t help but feel that God is pulling me in a new direction.¬†
That being said, I feel overwhelmed with starting my own business. It seems so much easier to continue on the professional path and get an intern job with a company I’m far from passionate about. But I know that God wants more for my life. I was hoping you could provide me with any tips on how to get started. I feel comfortable with my camera, but would not feel comfortable capturing a day as important as a wedding. I also have no idea how to begin navigating a small business.
If you have any advice I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your inspiration!
P.S. If you are looking for a new race to run, the Flying Pig in Cincinnati is a blast! I have only done the half marathon, but I would highly recommend it. 
Thank you so much,
Breanna 

Hi Breanna,
Thanks so much for writing! It means so much that you took time out of your day to share some of your story with me. I’ve been looking forward to getting back with you!
I think the position you find yourself in is so common. I’m happy that with all of these feelings you’re experiencing, the interest you are taking in photography and all of the ways you see God working in your life, you are LISTENING. That is huge, Breanna! And if there is one person who will tell you to go with your heart, it’s me. You deserve to do something with your life that will set your heart on fire.
I certainly don’t have all of the answers. I’m learning every day. Every photographer runs his or her business differently. I’m not advising you to drop all of your plans and thousands of dollars on new camera equipment and set up shop. I will, however, encourage you to think of all of the ways pursuing photography as a career (small or large) can bring you joy and happiness and start taking baby steps. Familiarize yourself with the photographers who live in your area. Meet them and support them. Reach out, ask every question and shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot what makes your heart happy because if it doesn’t fire you up, it won’t fire anyone else up either. Start a blog and post your work. Choose joy and be true to yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other photographers. Take as many opportunities to second shoot for other photographers. Like you, I was scared to take on a wedding of my own when I first started so I assisted every chance I could to build my confidence and my portfolio. Be as authentically you as possible and your stairs will appear. I have no doubt!
At the end of the day, the biggest piece of advice I could give you, Breanna, is to remind yourself every day that you are worth it. Because you are.
Thanks so much for the heads up on the Cinci race. I’ll have to check that one out!
Thrilled for you!
Caitlin
Disney Memories

January 11

I’m back! : )

I had the most amazing week making memories with my family and my Uncle Carl. There was a lot of sleeping in, eating far too much, laughing and  soaking in the sun. Oh and I also ran a marathon! More to come on that soon.

For now, a few moments I’ll cherish. I’ve never been more thankful for family and good health in my life. All of these were taken with my iPhone and a point and shoot.

Happy Wednesday, sweet friends. Make it count.

Caitlin

 

 

Scarlett

January 3

Oh, baby Scarlett…

I was so excited to meet this sweet babe. I had photographed Martha and her twins, Stella & Fletcher, months ago and was in awe of Martha. She was very pregnant with Scarlett at the time and running around as we did our best to wrangle in her kids for photos. All the while, Martha had a sweet smile on her face and an awesome attitude. I left our time together with much anticipation to meet sweet baby Scarlett.

She arrived on December 1st making her the most precious early Christmas gift. She is so lovely. Her parents, Kurt & Martha, are so clearly smitten with her and it’s easy to understand why.

K, M & S – Thank you for inviting me into your home to capture Scarlett’s newness and the excitement in your family! It took us a little time to get these shots but I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I so enjoyed chatting and spending the afternoon with you guys. I look forward to watching Scarlett grow and shine along with her big brother and sister!

Much love and appreciation,

Caitlin

 

Permission to Fly

January 2

As I sit here with a freshly lit Apple Cinnamon candle at my right side and the Local Natives playing softly in my background, I watch the snow delicately fall outside my window. I am thankful. There is something so calming and peaceful about watching snow fall. I am reminded to be still and remember these moments make up my life.

The new year always brings high levels of excitement and anticipation for what is to come. This year, and especially this morning, I am finding my heart so completely fired up to do good, work hard, challenge myself and inspire others. My mind races with all that I want to make happen and all of the ways I want to make the world a better place. We have so much potential. Each of us. Every day is an opportunity to change your life. You simply have to make that decision to fly.

I wanted to share a few of my 2012 goals. Writing these goals down and putting them out into the universe holds me accountable. There are many more where these come from, but these are close to my heart today.

Clear the clutter.¬† I work at a much more efficient pace when my surroundings are well kept. I’ve never been a clean freak but I see that urge to be tidy grow the older I get. This year I want to be better about clearing clutter. Clutter only takes up space in my brain that I could be using elsewhere. I’ve started a game with myself because, honestly, cleaning isn’t always something I jump at the chance to do. At any point in the day, I take a couple minutes to put 20 things back where they belong. By the time I hit 20, my space feels more open and I feel lighter.

Book an international gig.¬† Albeit lofty, I am putting this goal out there and willing it to happen. I’m confident God will make this happen when I am ready and the timing is right.

Tune in. It is so easy to go through the motions because that’s what gets us from point A to B. We wake up in the morning and go through XY and Z until we go to bed at night. I read an amazing quote the other day: “Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” -Guillaume Apollinaire. ¬†We plan and we plan and we forget the moments. This year I will slow down and marinate in the moments.

Promote others. The only person I want to be competitive with is myself. 2012 is the year I will promote and inspire others and in doing so, better myself and my work.

Run my 3rd marathon. Okay, this one is a bit lofty as well but I know it can be done and I look forward to the possibilities.

Do a speaking engagement.¬†Whether I speak on photography, running or firing you up, I’d love another platform to inspire. I don’t care if it’s a classroom of 2nd graders or a young business entrepreneur. I simply want to inspire and encourage.

I might not know you.  Then again, I may know you and be close to you.  Irregardless, I want to take a second to tell you in the most sincere and heartfelt way:

You are worth it. I truly think that reminding each other of this is one of the greatest gifts we can give. Encourage one another because we all need to be reminded of our worth from time to time.¬†A little over a year ago, it took one November day and a room full of driven women and some serious work on myself to utter these words: I’m worth it. And let me tell you, it was HARD. Once I did, I gave myself permission to fly…

(photo by Amanda Wilcher)