Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Coast of Riviera Maya

May 20

coast2

When you get your first film scans back from your new camera. This is gonna be fun, you guys!!!

20 Things I Wish I Would Have Known in 2008

May 18

I started my business in 2008 the summer before my senior year of college. Here are 20 bits I would have loved to know then.¬†My hunch is someone in the universe could stand to read a few of these things. If that’s the case, I hope this finds its way to you!

20

  1. Quit the comparison game.¬†I am begging you. First and foremost. You have no business in comparing your story to someone else’s highlight reel.
  2. Save for taxes.¬†Just do it. Save 25% of every paycheck to put towards taxes. This way, you won’t plow through a travel size bottle of Tums come the month of April. I’d love to sit here and tell you that I’ve been hugely successful at this in the past but that would be a big fat lie (hey, I’m not saying business ownership is easy!) but I’m honestly making strides to improve in this area.¬†I will thank the hours I spend a day listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast for that. My dad would be so proud of that endorsement.
  3. You don’t have to go into debt to build a successful business.¬†You really don’t. My advice would be to rent gear to help build a portfolio before buying something you can’t afford. Growing a business is hard enough.¬†If possible, and I encourage you to find all means possible, avoid putting the pressure on your art to perform so that you can pay a credit card bill every month.
  4. Forget the numbers. No one cares how many likes you get or followers you have. Just stick to putting meaningful work out there and the rest, with patience and persistence, will take care of itself.
  5. Ask as many questions as you can.¬†Know how many people in my immediate circle know two things about business ownership? Zero! I literally knew nothing about owning a business when I first started out in 2008. Ask a ton of questions and don’t be afraid of looking dumb. I’m still asking them every day. We all have to start somewhere.
  6. Quality over quantity. Focus on your clients.¬†Instead of focusing so much energy on how you can book more clients, focus on treating your existing clients really well. ¬†Send them a hand written note. Check in on them. Ask if there’s anything you can do for them. Whether it’s one client or fifty – ¬†manage and exceed their expectations. One happy client will take you much farther in your business than chasing others.
  7. Find what works for you and own it. ¬†I made an expensive mistake in my first few years of business. I bought the newest camera body at the time just weeks after it came out because everyone else was buying it and I ended up hating it. In fact, that camera sat in my bag collecting dust up until a few weeks ago when I traded it in for a film camera. To this day,¬†my set up is minimal. I don’t have all of the lenses and camera bodies and gadgets in the world. I’m okay with that. I’ve still built a brand with a strong heartbeat that I’m incredibly proud of. I found what works for me right now and I’m confident in it. Find what works for you and have confidence in your system, too.
  8. Never let your business come before your family and friends. Your business should serve your life. Not the other way around. Keep your loved ones closer than your work.
  9. Cheer her on, too. There are tons of talented people in the world. (Including you.) Remind them of that.
  10. Slow seasons will never go away. Plan accordingly.¬†Indiana never disappoints. Always crappy conditions for photos in the winter and somehow I’m always “surprised” by this. Lol. But the beautiful thing about slow seasons is that they give you a chance to recharge and regroup. Have a project and some extra work lined up for the colder months. You will be grateful you did.
  11. Done really is better than perfect. ¬†Photography might be one of the worst professions to go into if you’re at all a perfectionist –¬†“Maybe if I slave away on these photos for another five hours, THEN they will be perfect!” –¬†Your photos will never be perfect. Good news is your clients didn’t hire you for that. They hired you for your eye¬†and your heart. Focus on delivering those two things and you’ve done a solid job for them.
  12. Stop over¬†thinking it.¬†Honestly, there have been so many times recently where I’ve talked myself out of sending a nice email or leaving an encouraging comment on social media because I was worried what others might think of me. Seriously? That’s a bunch of garbage. Don’t overthink kindness. If you have something nice to say, say it. You will feel better.
  13. No one cares what you’re doing. ¬†“In a good way!”¬† [said like the elf in santa’s workshop from the movie Elf) ¬†Really though, most people are just worried about themselves and don’t have time to worry about what you’re doing. I recently read Elizabeth Gilbert’s¬†Big Magic¬†and my favorite chapter¬†talks about this journey of being paralyzed from fear of what others may think of you in your twenties only to realize in your fifties and sixties that no one ever gave a crap what you’re doing. It’s so true! This of course feels so¬†liberating as it frees you up to do those things you love without reservation. Just do things that fire you up and get out of your head.
  14. There’s a great big world¬†out there. Don’t forget it.¬†Perspective is powerful.
  15. You can’t please 100% of the people 100% of the time.¬†I once woke up to an angry email from a very disappointed mother of a bride who was devastated I didn’t get a photo of the flower girls.¬†That particular wedding day felt very rushed and despite my best efforts, I admit I fell short and didn’t get that photo for her. I felt awful. Or how about the time I lost half of a ceremony photos from a wedding, including the first kiss, and the intense urge to sob that followed when I first came to the realization? What can I say? I’m human. Mistakes happen. But I will say these are two I haven’t made since. You learn, you give yourself grace and I’m here to tell you life does go on.¬†As will your business if you choose to grow from it.
  16. You will fail often.¬†Behind every social media account is a long¬†list of failures that lead to their success. It’s just part of the equation. Keep on keepin’ on!
  17. ¬†It’s a process. ¬†If overnight success were a thing, everyone would do this.¬†You won’t experience overnight success but it is up to you to count your successes and celebrate them along the way. What’s that saying? “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” ¬†Why do I feel like that could be the only content for a book on business ownership? Just one page, one line. That about covers it. It really is a process, so enjoy the ride.
  18. Stay in your lane.¬†You have no business fixing anyone else’s problems but your own. The best thing to do is work hard, be kind and stay in your lane.
  19. Show gratitude.  To your support system. To your cat, Pazzo. To your clients for supporting a dream of yours. To all of the people who have help you travel up to this point. Open gratitude attracts wonderful things. Be grateful.
  20. ¬†Remember how far you’ve come.¬†I remember being stressed out about paying $300 rent fresh out of college. My first wedding I charged $500 and just last week I had an insanely awesome couple fly me out to Mexico to shoot their wedding! Hard work pays off so just keep going. A friend of mine sent me a wonderful card last week with an illustration of a cartoon atop a hill with the words behind her reading, “Remember how far you’ve come.” Take stock in where you’ve been and revel in all that’s to come. If you let it, it will blow you away
Why I Invested In a New Film Camera

May 12

film

It started over a conversation with a friend in the industry months ago. I told her I wanted to experiment with film a little more. I remember filing away in my brain that my mom had some of Grandpa’s old camera bodies stashed away at my childhood home. Collecting dust and waiting to be used. One day while visiting with my parents, we raided the collection looking over tons of old camera gear – camera bodies, lenses and old school camera straps.¬†More than anything, I was pretty touched to know my grandpa had used all of the gear. My grandpa passed away when I was just a few years old. I have¬†very few memories of him and yet going through all of this gear with my mom made me feel like we¬†knew each other for a lifetime.

I picked up an old Minolta SRT-101. I toyed around with the camera body¬†–¬†looking through the viewfinder and instantly feeling refreshed. When you use the same camera for shoot after shoot, even with lens changes in between, I found it to be insanely refreshing to look through this new viewfinder. ¬†It felt like an old friend. I cleaned up the Minolta, bought a $10 battery and a few rolls of film and took off. As they say with film, all it takes it one good shot and you are hooked.

I concentrated in photography in college and what that really came down to was that I took more photography related courses than any other in my art major. So I had plenty of experience in the dark room and with film cameras but hey, that was a while ago. While the Minolta was a wonderful vehicle to dive back into the world of film photography, I wanted to take it take this excitement more seriously. I did a lot of research, took a leap of faith and very recently invested in the Canon 1v 35mm film camera for my business growth.

The thing with film is you only have one shot. And that shot will cost you roughly .30 to develop with a film lab. With 36 exposures per roll ($10 per roll),¬†that adds up. Which is all fine and good – film photography isn’t cheap but it certainly does force you to be much more intentional with your art. Which I’ve loved so much. And the final product? It really is unmatched and nearly impossible to replicate with a digital camera.

More than reigniting my love for taking photos, investing in this camera felt like the next step to take and great leap outside of my comfort zone. As we all know, that’s where the best stuff happens.¬†I shot a few rolls in Mexico with this new camera this past weekend (being developed as we speak) and I can’t wait to open those film scans so soon. Stay tuned. So excited to see where this camera takes me this year!!!!

Best Of: Getting Ready

April 18

One of my favorite parts of a wedding is the getting ready stage. Those moments before slipping on your dress with your girls at your side. The anticipation and excitement makes the photos so special to look back on. Narrowing down to my favorite top 10 was no easy task but man do I love these women and these moments so much! Enjoy a few of my favorites moments with brides just minutes before walking down the aisle…

10

Reaves-164

9

PT-81

8

Murrell-62

7

MM-146

6

Brooker-195

5

IMG_6219

4

IMG_0559

3

MichaelaScott-201

2

JenniferJOel-30

1 (!) This image of Gabby kills me every single time!

IMG_3194

Okay and 4 bonus because I feel like it! I was fortunate to photograph one of dear friends, Katie, on her wedding day. I’m biased but of course I love this photo of her.

IMG_5523

KylieParker-87

DanaBrad-74

And I love this photo of Katie holding her mama in one hand and Kate Spade heels in the other. Don’t even care there are boxes of donuts in the back! ; )

IMG_6124

Moon River/Falling In Love

April 1

Their music makes me feel so hopeful and glad to be alive. Happy weekend, friends! Hope it’s a good one! xo

Introducing the NEW Caitlin Sullivan Photography!

March 24

Today is a super exciting day over here! Tons of hard work – pouring over thousands of images, fine tuning, story telling, crying (tears of frustration and happiness as I navigated a program I knew nothing about) and what feels like a million mouse clicks later – I’ve got a NEW website!¬†A desktop and mobile version that I’m thrilled with!

About a month ago I had the idea. If I’m being honest, getting a new website is something that’s been on my mind for some time now. But like anyone who has EVER approached having a new site made or preparing for the creation of one, it’s no joke. It is so much work. Emotional work. It takes a ton of emotional endurance. As a photographer, we have an insane amount of photos we file through to find those few that will make that first impression count.

The sheer amount of work I knew it would take, and the huge leap of faith, scared me to no end. I can’t tell you how much I’ve danced with fear over this in the past three weeks. If I’m being candid, I have a lot to look forward to this year and lots of awesome clients I’m lucky to work with, but my business has felt like it’s slowed down.¬†A lot. And I mean the momentum of it. ¬†I wasn’t as excited as I used to be when I rebranded back in 2011. And that’s when it hit me. I was trying to grow and mold into a better version of myself with a site that didn’t reflect me anymore. The brand still has a very strong heart beat, but the website (in my opinion) wasn’t doing it for me anymore. And I knew if I wasn’t feeling it the way I should be, people coming to the site probably weren’t either. Like all great brands, I have to change along the way too.

So, here we go! Here’s the new face of CSP! Oh it makes me EXCITED again!!!!

 

blog1

What I love so much about the new site is that I really think it’s a perfect reflection of me at this time. Also, instead of flooding the site with photos of clients only, I put a lot in there for me because the images just make me happy and when I’m happy I take better photos. What
ever happened to having a brand that serves us too? I’ve shot some more film lately with my grandpa’s Minolta, and it’s been so fun to carry some of those images and the sentimental value they hold into the new look.

blog2

There’s an awesome new featured gallery that is super user friendly with a built in editorial flair. Have I mentioned how much I love this new site?

blog3

Some really sweet words from past clients : )

blog4

Oh and the mobile! The MOBILE!! I can’t tell you how big of a leap this is. Man, I’m so proud to send this out into the world. That’s the way it should be! Go check it out on your phone¬†to see the looping galleries : )

 

mobile1copy

mobile2

 

This may sound silly but I honestly want to thank the people who kept me sane through this process. You know who you are, thank you!!!

And thank you to all of the wonderful and beautiful and crazy awesome faces that fill my new home on the internet. I can’t do what I do without you, and you will never know how thankful I am for you.

What are your thoughts? Love to hear what you think!  : )

Weleda Skin Food

February 23

weleda

I had never heard of Weleda products until recently. Stick with me here, Nina is my brother-in-law’s best friend’s¬†significant other. Nina is a¬†hugely¬†talented celebrity make up artist who lives out in New York and she is on fire! She recently was featured on Elle’s blog¬†for her success, check it out if you have a few extra minutes. Also, take a peek at some of her commercial work here.¬†¬†Amazing, right?

As you may have guessed by now, Nina is how I discovered Weleda. She recently has been singing their praises online, so much so I knew I had to check out this Weleda stuff myself – in particular their “skin food”. I figured¬†with the insane glow it was giving the skin of these models she was doing make for that it had to be crazy expensive. Upwards $100 right?

No! This was $20 and it is by far my favorite new skin product! Sharing because what girl doesn’t love a beauty secret like this? : )

And to give you an idea of that glow I’m talking about, check out the most recent cover for Elle magazine with Bella Hadid. Nina’s work here – unbelievable!¬†Bella-Hadid-Elle-Brazil-February-2016-Cover-Photoshoot01

 

3 Goals: Productivity, Relationship, Self Care

February 16

SN28791sul020407-R1-017

I recently had brunch with a girlfriend on a snowy February morning. As I held her 3 month old little man, we caught up on our lives and how much things have changed. Especially for her.

She shared some advice with me that honestly has monumentally changed my perspective on my days since. Okay so it’s¬†been less than 10 days since I saw her last but man this stuck.

She said to focus on accomplishing 3 goals each day: 1 productivity goal, 1 relationship goal, and 1 self care goal.

Seems too elementary right? Well it’s POWERFUL. If you’re anything like me, you have a million and a half things on your mental to do list every day and feeling like you have to pluck them all from your brain and achieve them all is well, exhausting and unrealistic. I just end up feeling unproductive.

So today, I wrote down 3 goals.

Productivity: Buy flights for Liz and Mike’s Riviera Maya wedding in May.

Relationship: Message my buddy, April, and find a time to get together for coffee next week.

Self Care: Take Sudafed and Motrin. I’m nursing a really sore knee and coming off of some bug, so I’m trying to stay on top of them both.

It isn’t rocket science. But I thought it might help someone out there.

Happy Tuesday!

 

Amanda on Film

February 11

Remember Amanda? I photographed her family when their oldest, Ruben, was just a little guy.

They have since added another little boy to the mix. Isn’t Louie perfect? So grateful for these people.

 
ablog1

ablog2

Disney on Film

February 10

I have many fond childhood memories from Disney.¬†Most of them are made up of playing air hockey with my siblings at the resort arcade and falling asleep on my dad’s shoulder.

I’ve been shooting more film with my grandpa’s Minolta. Film is much different than digital. Always forcing you to choose your moments carefully. It’s been fun getting outside of my comfort zone!

Here are some shots from my most recent trip in January to run my 6th marathon. I’d give a lot for some of this Florida sunshine right about now!

SN28130sul012202-R3-069

B

SN28130sul012202-R2-054

SN28130sul012202-R3-067

SN28130sul012202-R3-068

SN28130sul012202-R3-071

SN28130sul012202-R3-072

SN28130sul012202-R3-074

SN28130sul012202-R3-075

SN28130sul012202-R3-076

SN28130sul012202-R3-078

SN28130sul012202-R3-081

SN28130sul012202-R3-083

SN28130sul012202-R3-084

SN28130sul012202-R3-085

SN28130sul012202-R3-086

SN28130sul012202-R3-093

SN28130sul012202-R3-094

SN28130sul012202-R3-095

SN28791sul020407-R1-001

SN28791sul020407-R1-006

SN28791sul020407-R1-007

SN28791sul020407-R1-008

SN28791sul020407-R1-012

SN28791sul020407-R1-017

SN28791sul020407-R1-018

SN28791sul020407-R1-020

SN28791sul020407-R1-021

SN28791sul020407-R1-022

b2