Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Summer Engagement: Chris & Katie

June 8

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I should start this post by saying this is part 1 of Chris & Katie’s photos. The next half will come soon¬†when I get some more scans back but for now, would you just look at this beautiful couple! Spoiler alert: I went to high school with Chris. When we initially met in the the colder months to chat about their wedding, not only did we hit it off immediately but I reminded Chris how he once teased¬†me in Chemistry class for the pink Yankees jersey I was wearing at the time. Isn’t it funny the things we remember? I’ve healed since then. No I’m kidding, I actually told Chris I would have made fun of me too. I only got that jersey¬†because it was pink and I love sports. Not at all because I like the Yankees.

These two and their families are the real deal. Chris’ mom even came along the first half of these photos to help get their dogs to look at the camera AND she had a cooler with bottled waters in tow! You’d think after years of shooting I’d know to bring water with me and I promise you I forget to 85% of the time. Thanks for the assist, Carole!

I really had a blast with these guys. Sweethearts to the core. They really made me love this job even more. Stay tuned for part 2 (those involve a hot pink dress!) but for now, let’s admire their impeccable style and good looks and then take serious notes. Talking to myself here. Chris and Katie – so excited to be there in September! You two are a blast!

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Riviera Maya Wedding: Liz & Mike

May 24


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Hi friends! You might remember this sweet couple. Seems like forever ago that they first emailed me about flying¬†out to photograph their Riviera Maya wedding. I remember where I was when I got the email. I had my laptop with me and was working from Cakebake that day. Just a glorified excuse really to buy myself a hot chocolate and macaroon. I’m not that fancy but that place makes me feel that way. Anyway, it was a cold day with tons¬†of sunshine pouring through the window next to me¬†when Liz’s email found it’s way to my inbox. I clicked my way through and saw she was a close friend of a past bride (hi Amy!) and knew that meant she was good people. I met with Liz and Mike the next week, hit it off and marked off May 7th, 2016 in my calendar to photograph their wedding.

Their wedding was nothing short of wonderful. Heartfelt is really the word that comes to mind for the entire weekend.¬†When you have dozens of people fly out to Mexico to celebrate your wedding with you, you know you are well loved. That was the case with Liz & Mike. I felt completely at home with them and their friends the entire time. What’s the saying – you are the company you keep? 100% the case with Liz and Mike’s awesome family and friends.¬†The first full day we were there, I had friends and family come up to me at a pool party saying, “You’re Caitlin right? We’ve heard so much about you!” I was blown away honestly. As a vendor, when someone treats you this way, you really just want to knock it out of the park even more for your clients. Such sweet people.¬†Every single person at this wedding made the celebration that much more¬†enjoyable.

The real stars of course being Liz & Mike. I’m having a hard time coming up with words special enough for them. There was a time, years ago – maybe seven or eight, when I first entertained the thought of pursuing photography seriously. I once dreamt about what it would be like to have a couple fly me out to their photograph their wedding in a beautiful place. All I can say is I couldn’t be happier it truly happened for the first time¬†with Liz & Mike. In an industry that is so saturated with so many photographers, it has meant the world to me to be with you guys during this time. Thank you for the honor of documenting your special day. You guys are the best of the best. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you guys!

Special thanks to El Dorade Royale for the accommodations and for helping Liz & Mike’s wedding run through perfectly. Also special¬†thanks for the many, many cheese quesadillas. You’re the real MVP.

For those keeping up with things around here, you know I just invested in a new film camera. When some of my first scans came back like this one below, I was pretty giddy with excitement for what’s to come. The most beautiful thing about film? This image is untouched.

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A film shot of the stunning bride that I love so, so much. I can imagine her kids seeing this some day and honestly being blown away by how gorgeous their mom is. You know when you get old enough to care about these things? I can remember coming to an age where I’d come across a photo of my mom in her younger years, and it may be that I’m drawn to photography already, but I just remember thinking, “Dang! My mom was a knock out!” I feel like this could be one of those photos for Liz & Mike’s kids. So timeless and effortlessly beautiful.

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Meanwhile, handsome Mike getting ready in front of an orange wall that I love very much.

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Cheers! It is certainly not very often that I have a beautiful beach to photograph so I took full advantage even in full sun.

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Mike looking so handsome. The guys spent the first part of the day hanging out in the pool having drinks. Not a bad way to spend the morning of your wedding.

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Liz’s dad was with her all day : ) what’s better is that’s Liz’s mom holding the bouquet. I love small details like this.

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Moments before her brother walked her down the aisle..

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Liz, you looked flawless.

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Look at all of those beautiful people that came out for this celebration!!! Seriously, if this isn’t a testament to how wonderful this couple is, I don’t know what is. These guys were a blast!!! And that view? Take me back!

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The new Mr. & Mrs. Seidl! : )

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Towards the end of the night, we were told about surprise “fireworks”. I was told they’d last 15 seconds and if I’m being completely candid, I didn’t know how impressive they would be seeing as we were on a resort. But then this intense flash of light started, sparks were flying and these two were dancing around like crazy. Everyone was cheering! It moved SO fast and all I could think was how awesome this moment was for them! All credit goes to my assistant, Ben, for capturing this awesome moment. What a way to end the night!

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Thank you so much to my talented second shooter, Ben, for all of your wonderful help. Have a great night guys! xo

PS Liz & Mike’s engagement session at Oliver Winery for a trip down memory lane.

PPS I appreciate you!

Coast of Riviera Maya

May 20

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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!

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  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
A Couple Cooks

May 16

Hi sweet friends!

Something a little different today but oh man these make me happy. I recently connected with my new friends, Sonja & Alex, from A Couple Cooks РI brought along a roll of film and an enthusiasm to capture them in their element. These folks make beautiful food and have a strong heartbeat to their brand that will inspire you to get in the kitchen and have some fun. It was fun to see their process Рfrom pulling all of their ingredients together to snapping a photo of their creation to share with their following. Enjoy a few photos of them and their adorable pup, Luna, in their magazine worthy kitchen. Seriously, how can you not want to be in there all the time with all of that white and natural light?

On the menu this particular day? Thai salad with peanut sauce! So colorful and yummy!

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Why I Invested In a New Film Camera

May 12

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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…

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

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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.

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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! ; )

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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!!!!

 

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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.

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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?

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Some really sweet words from past clients : )

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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 : )

 

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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!  : )

Engaged: The Podcast

February 5

Almost a decade ago now (insane) I studied in Florence, Italy for a semester with my friend, Kali. Some of my favorite memories ever were spent roaming the streets of Florence together, eating way too much gelato and pasta, dance parties in our kitchen, and traveling around Europe on the weekends when we weren’t in class. Life has taken us our separate ways, but Kali is engaged and started this super awesome podcast about the process of being engaged, planning a wedding and the whole spectrum of emotions that comes along with it. Planning a wedding is a blast but it’s also a lot emotionally to process, and I can’t say enough how cool it is to have a bride-to-be (and one I love very much) open up this dialogue. I think it’s so brave and it was such a breath of fresh air to chat with Kali about my experience as a wedding vendor. Listen closely and Pazzo even chimes in with some input.

Thank you, Kali, for this! Cannot wait to photograph you as a bride come October!

Find more at http://www.engagedthepodcast.com

Make Them Glow

May 20

One of my favorite times to shoot is just before the sun sets but really, as long as the sun is out in any respect, I’m able to achieve a look I think has in a way become a trademark of my brand.

Putting my subjects with their backs to the sun. Doing so makes your subjects glow and pop that much more in your images.

Photographers – if you’re looking for a way to add depth to your images, I’ve found this to be hugely successful. ¬†Find a good patch of shade and place your subjects just where the sunshine meets the shade and put your subjects’ backs to the sun. Just one step into and out of the light can change your entire image.

How beautiful is the O’Brien family?