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Moving things along

June 20, 2009

Unfortunately, this blog has become quite defunct in the past months. 100% my fault as I have realized there are two sides of the coin in this business: One is working on your imagery and the other is working on your brand. I have spent a lot of time on my images, my look and my quality. A blog is an essential piece of sharing the work I do. Hands down, though, a blog is a key tool in developing a strong and accessible business. I’ve also put a lot of time into things like my main portfolio site, http://www.nataliegphotography.com and creating a graphical ‘look’ for myself and my business which communicates what I am about. But this site just doesn’t cut it as a congruent piece. I wholeheartedly think that free WordPress is hands down awesome, I had my personal blog on here for 2 1/2 years. I feel it is essential that the blog portion of my business be a strong presentation and representation of my photography. So I decided to move it onto a hosted server with a new address and spend some significant time designing and developing a blog look and functionality that performs exactly how I want it to. Here I feel like I’m using a butter knife to cut my steak- it does kinda work, but not as well as it should. Apologies as the process is taking far longer than I would like. I am a mom of 3 kids all under 4 years old, after all. The plate in front of me can only hold so much, and I would rather focus on the shooting side of this business and, more importantly, my family. Gears are turning, things are in the works, and a whole new look that will blow your mind will be rolled out soon! I promise.

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Melodic Metal

February 23, 2009

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When Emily, the front woman of the Metal Band “If I Were a Gladiator” approached me she stated she dug images which fuel her aesthetic of the grungy urban- she said, “I love contrast, dark backgrounds, and industrial sites….” That phrase alone just tickled me with excitement, as of course, that is right up my alley (literally, as you will see from these images).

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She describes her band’s sound as Melodic Metal, a bit of edge with some soft intrigue, so that is what we went for in these pictures. A bit fashion, a bit grunge, lots of contrast. We spent our time cruising around the Pioneer Square area, found some great impromptu locations which were just awesome to add a good amount of feeling and emotion to the portraiture.

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For me, this was a great opportunity to give me something really cool and different to work on. I love making images where the client comes back and says, ‘oh my gosh- this is exactly what I had in my head, you so captured what I was going for.’ Emily was really a great Model, in the most traditional sense of the word. She knew exactly how she wanted to pose, exactly the right look with her eyes and body language. She was incredibly responsive to my coaching and suggestions of ‘hey, let’s try this!’ I am really pretty excited to show these, as I think they turned out great. Mostly, I really hope they aid Emily and her band in making a huge impact as they release their first CD next month.

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My favorite part of the shoot was the shots we got from this awesome parking garage. Actually, I shouldn’t say awesome, because the garage was actually downright nasty- it reeked of urine, was scattered with discarded trash and other unmentionables. However, it made the best backdrop as the entire back wall was windows, flooding the space with tons of natural light while framing the portraits with a dilapidated and total inner-city feel while illuminating Emily’s skin with a soft and creamy light. Couldn’t have been more perfect! These last two shots are my favorite:

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New look!

February 20, 2009

I was super excited when WordPress released a new template recently. One that actually allows for bigger images. I have found the constraining factor with free WordPress (or I guess any blogging services, for that matter) is that the vast majority of the available templates only allow the widths of images to be a certain size, most of them under 400px. I like to post my images really HUGE, which has been the deciding factor in selecting a Flash-based Portfolio site (set to launch next month, by the way!). Now, if I were super fancy and really going strong as a business, I would probably consider purchasing hosting space and buying a really nice template. Actually, I shouldn’t say if, I should say when. Some day I will get there. Right now this whole thing is still in it’s infancy- baby steps. Right now it is all about building my branding and I know just how important a website is to define who you are as an entrepreneur. I, of course, still have a lot in front of me, a lot of goals set. I am trying to remain grounded in reality, with the expectation it takes about 2 years to really build a successful business, and I fully plan to give myself that much time. So that makes me all the more glad for this new template- I get to go from 500px wide images to 675px, and I don’t have to incur any additional overhead to achieve that. YEAH!

The lingering question is if I go back and update all my old posts with bigger photos… For those of you with an RSS subscription to this blog, that may mean every single old post might be regurgitated and popping up in your inbox again. Sorry in advanced if I decide to waste spend the time on that update.

Otherwise, what do you think of the re-design? Does it make a difference??

Zach and Joann’s E-Session

February 20, 2009

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This post could have also been titled, ‘the upswing’. Yup, it is that time when we start emerging out of the dead and slow winter into spring and then (finally!) summer (which in the Pacific Northwest doesn’t actually start until after July 4th). I can honestly say I have liked being slow over the past few months, it was actually planned that way as I launched (err, relaunched?) this business thing. But I also like being busy; I have really liked how things are picking up. Senior Portraits and Wedding Season are just around the corner! In the last two weeks I have been up to my ears in images needing my attention, which also means this space gets to pick up the pace, too. Yippee! Because I have been having a TON of fun meeting new people and shooting thousands of new images. Zach and Joann have been a huge highlight in my life this month. Here are a few favorites from their shoot:

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This couple drove all the way up from Tacoma on what ended up being a super frigid day. They even brought their dog! We tried really hard to pretend we all weren’t freezing our butts off.

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The beauty of working multiple times with clients is the relationship you build and ease of the session. This Engagement Session was Part 1 of the Wedding Package, which gives us a chance to work together before their big day. My biggest goal, as with every shoot, is that I was able to capture the true, natural essence of this awesome couple and the love and fun and deep caring they have for each other.

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She is so cute, and he is constantly making her crack up. But that’s just Joann. Caring, free-flowing, and kind. And the best part of Joanna is, well, Zach. He just makes her better. And vice versa. I love the way he looks at her!

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I’m thrilled for their wedding this June, it is set to be a very unique affair. They are both musicians and plan on playing and having a bunch of their musician friends play at their reception. I especially knew I would be looking forward for something a little different this summer when they commented that the church won’t let them have pyrotechnics… Not set to be your cookie-cutter wedding, that’s for sure! And even more so, I’m stoked to be working with these guys!

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Hey, baby!

January 24, 2009

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I LOVE babies. Don’t get me wrong, some of my favorite shoots are the ones where the kids are running around having the time of their lives so I get to capture all of their personalities and spunk and energy. But Babies, well, Babies for the most part sit still. They are relatively immobile, so you are able to plant them in one spot. Usually a spot very strategically selected to optimize the best outcome of the shots rather than my usual style of quick-on-my-feet constantly adapting and rolling with whatever is thrown my way. There is an energy to that, but I appreciate the calm side too.

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While kid’s often take a while to warm up to the camera, the little ones are so intrigued by the big, black shiny lens being pointed at them. Their eyes just take it in, getting wider and wider, what is that thing? The eyes are the best part, no? So deep, “windows to the soul” revealing there is a real human being in there.

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And the skin! So soft, smooth, bright. I like shots that are about the baby, the little person and all the potential of who they are going to become- no fancy props or extreme photoshopping- just pure, sweet babe. Love it.

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Also, all images were taken with natural light- no flash, nothing but a window.

Break.

January 6, 2009

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It was so nice to take a break for the Holidays and focus on Family and celebrating together. Sometimes it is just essential to turn inward for a bit, that time always comes at the end of the year for me. It gave me a chance to reflect on the soft-launch of this business and be truly thankful for being able to take it slow. I am looking forward to this new year and really beginning to build from the awesome sessions and people whom I got the opportunities to photograph this year. Also, it was really great to receive back so many of my images in Holiday cards. How rewarding is that? I know they are being enjoyed!!

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The best part of this last month were the crazy (yet amazingly fun) snowstorms we have gotten here in Seattle. ‘Arctic Blast 2008’ left us with nearly a foot of crisp, white snow to play in with my girls! And just this last Sunday we launched into ‘Arctic Blast 2009’ with another 3 inches, which is sadly all gone now. Snowdays have an amazing way of making adults as giddy as kids, and I can say we truly had a ‘Blast’ in this freak frozen weather! (well, most of us, Miss T, our 20-month old, had a few freak-outs when we first set her down in the white fluff) But what a treat to have a true White Christmas.

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This next year holds so much potential. I am really looking forward to branching out more and cultivating this little business into something fun for not only me, but all my clients too. Thank you to those of you who have made 2008 so successful. Yeah for what’s to come in 2009!!

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into the world

November 25, 2008

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Over a month ago, a close friend asked me if I would be interested in shooting her birth. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I knew that this would be not only a very special experience, but an amazing way to serve Sara and her family through capturing these first moments she in particular likely wouldn’t get to be quite as involved in as a Mom would normally like. You see, her pregnancy had been far from normal. She had been on bed rest since July. She had beaten so many odds already, battling contractions since the first trimester and taking all kinds of medications to keep the baby in as long as possible. Then, nearly three weeks before he was born, the contractions became so strong she was put on Hospital Bed rest. A week into that, her water broke at 29 weeks. She had an 80% or so chance of delivering in the first 72 hours of ruptured membranes. But he stayed in for 10 additional days. Each of those days on the inside equates to 2 or 3 less days he is in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I thought for sure I would get a call in the middle of the night or, worse, completely miss the whole thing because premies tend to be really fast labors.

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But thankfully I didn’t, though came quite close. Her husband, Mark, called me about 10:30 am last Tuesday to inform me it looked like this was the real thing. I felt like it was a scene out of a movie, rushing to pick up my husband to watch our girls, then frantically driving across the bridge to the Hospital in Kirkland, just across Lake Washington from Seattle. Mark called me again as I was pulling into the hospital garage. I thought for sure he was going to tell me their little guy had been born. Rather, he in fact had just arrived after battling tons of traffic and it looked like things were slowing down. So I arrive in their room and we chit chat for about a half an hour, thinking we would be sitting around for a while before anything really happened. Boy were we wrong.

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One contraction the nurse monitoring Sara tells her to let her know if she was feeling any pressure, as she had a precautionary light epidural in just in case. Plus Sara was supposed to deliver in the OR. The next contraction, Sara thinks there might be a little pressure and asks to be checked in 10 minutes. The following contraction her eyes get really wide, as baby boy is on the brink of being born. Then the calmness literally jumped out of it’s seat as the nurse gets on the phone, trying to find the Doctor and get the NICU team in place. Thinks get franticly excited, as Mark and Sara are very, very soon about to meet their son. The teams rapidly set up, telling Sara not to even breathe, as this little guy’s head was literally right in sight. Half a push and he slipped right out, completely and perfectly formed, only a wee little bitty thing.

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Of course, being born nearly two months early, he was whisked right away to the awaiting NICU pediatricians, the rest of us getting only glimpses of him under elbows and between white lab coats. He cried right away and worked fervently to breathe. Thankfully, he stayed inside long enough to not have to be on the full respirator, only the C-PAP was used to aid him in getting oxygen.

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Sara caught brief views of her little son from the bed, able to prop herself up enough to watch as they worked on him. He was so tiny amongst the three Pediatricians and overwhelming amounts of equipment surrounding him. 

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Mark got a chance to get in closer, even holding his son’s tiny hand for a bit before he needed to be taken upstairs to the Intensive Care.

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Sara recovered from birth amazingly quickly and within an hour was able to follow her family upstairs to finally meet and touch her son. Zephaniah Isaac was born less than an hour after I got there, 3lbs 13oz. He has been doing extremely well. By that evening he was down to room air then breathing completely on his own since Wednesday. He has been eating well through a tube and will get his IV out on Tuesday. His two older brothers have been in a bunch to see him and they are hopeful to bring him home for Christmas.

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As for me, I can say it was an incredible, if not life changing experience. Before this, I had never been at an actual birth (all three of my girls were c-sections and pulled out from behind the magic blue curtain). I was so honored to be asked to be a part of this with Mark, Sara and Zephan, let alone be able to capture the whole thing through my camera for them to cherish and share.