business

refreshed website + moving back to canada!

For the last little while, I've been working on giving my website a refreshed look for 2014 and today it went live! My portfolio is freshly updated, there's some new content, and it features all new images by the incomparable Andria Lindquist. Please, take a look around if you've got a few moments.



In related news, Brian and I are wrapping up our time in Madison and will be moving to Toronto in two weeks! I'm very excited to start wedding season and start shooting in the beautiful weather. My 2014 season is nearly booked up, and I'm now open for booking 2015 weddings. I'll have some availability for portraits and engagements once we're back in Canada, so please get in touch if you're considering booking a shoot!

And now, because every post is better with images, here are just a few of my favourite photos from my shoot with Andria in Seattle. 






A special thanks to my friend Jordan Puopolo for designing my site, and for helping me with the updates as well!

august update

Well hello friends! I'm reporting to you live from the busiest month of my photography career to date, and I thought I'd pop into my blog to give you a little update on what I've been up to. This morning I'm in Vancouver, sneaking in a few hours of work on one of my few days off. I'm sharing a suite with Brian and our friends, Zach and Dan, and we're enjoying every moment on the wonderful west coast. We're all in town for our friends Trevor and Sophia's wedding, which I couldn't be more excited to photograph in Chinatown this weekend.

Last weekend I was in Toronto to photograph Nicki and Adam's wedding at St. George's Golf and Country Club. That wedding was a really cool experience for me because I had a very special second photographer helping me out — my mom! I've mentioned it before, but my mom is a photographer too and taught me so much of what I know. When my go-to second shooters weren't available for this wedding, I asked my mom if she'd consider working with me. Luckily, she was up to the job and I was so happy to have her by my side that day. It was just lovely. A special thanks to my best friend Jennie for the photo of us on the right, below.


With a wedding every weekend this month, each one in a different city, I'm constantly learning remarkable things about time management, strategic packing, and just generally keeping myself together in the busiest of times. I have lots of news and so much new work to share with you. I hope your August is going beautifully!

how to balance work and travel


Photo of me and my friend Mark by Brian, taken earlier this week.

When I read this post about combining work and travel as a freelancer over on Breanna Rose's blog today, I felt relieved. Breanna touched on several points that have been on my mind lately. She shared some great ideas, and also talked about her own work habits and how she makes things work.

Although the freedom of a flexible schedule is wonderful, for those of us who really love what we do, it can be hard to leave work behind or deviate from a set workflow. Like Breanna, I've found that planning in advance and working when you can is the best way to allow yourself to take and enjoy time off.

So, as weird as it might have felt to be working until midnight many nights last week and even over the weekend, I'm more than happy to do so because it means I will be able to breathe a bit, turn off my computer, and relax when visitors arrive.

As of next week, Brian and I will be heading back to Canada, where we'll be staying (apart from one short trip back) until late September. Wedding season is about to kick into high gear, and I also have a lot of portrait, editorial gigs, as well as a handful of secret new projects on the books. While on one hand I can barely contain my excitement, I'm a bit nervous about not really having a set "office" (or even city) from which to base myself. To temper my apprehension and to hopefully help you out, I thought I'd share a few tips that I've picked up from past work/travel experiences that can help you prep, stay focused and happy despite a vagabond lifestyle.

Make a plan

I'm currently in the midst of planning out my own work schedule for the rest of June. It does feel very nerdy to map this all out in advance, but I'm committed to staying on track, while still allowing for quality time with family and friends. I'm blocking off a set number of hours per day to work, and I'm also writing a rough plan of everything that needs to be done this month. Everything is subject to change, but even having a basic idea of what I want to do gives me some structure, and will hopefully set me up for more success than just going with the flow every day.

Find a room (or at least a corner) of your own

This is one of the hardest aspects of being on the road. There are so many unfamiliar spaces and also other peoples' spaces that you don't want to crowd, making it hard to feel at ease in your work. I'm planning to stake out/request a work station as early as possible in each city I visit, so I know where it'll be time to get down to business.

When you're stuck, switch up your space

Sometimes you need some fresh air to break up your day, and infuse some new energy into your work. If your creativity is stuck in neutral, head to a library, coffee shop or another friendly place and try working there for a few hours instead of your usual space.

Set office hours

When you're on the road, particularly when you're a guest in someone else's home, it can be really challenging to carve out time to get work done. The best way to do it is to go to one of your designated spaces and set a certain amount of work time for yourself. Turn off social media, cut the volume on your phone, and focus. It's amazing what you can accomplish in just a few hours a day. The best part? Once you're satisfied with the amount you've accomplished, you can go back to spending time with your hosts and not be rude by constantly staring at a screen.

Take advantage of mobile tools

I've mentioned some of these before, but when you travel and work, mobile tools invaluable. My favourites are Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, and SignNow. You can access them from anywhere, and never leave a file stranded on a desktop computer again!

Prioritize

Try as you might, sometimes it's impossible to do it all. In extra busy moments, it's okay to set aside some tasks, but important to make sure you're still committed to delivering what's most important. For me, items like brainstorming, new project development, social media, and even my blog take a backseat to responding to client emails, editing photos, and delivering images on time.

Don't forget about fun

There's no point in travelling or visiting if you're going to bury yourself in your work the whole time you're away from home. Get your work done, then move onto fun and soak up all the quality time you can!

If you're a fellow freelancer, I'd love to know how you prep for time off, and/or how you manage work on the road!

INSPIRATIONS: my wedding clients

From: Jennifer
To: Me

Hi Dallas! 

I have been diy'ing all our wedding decor and it's kind of taken on a different look than I initially envisioned many months ago. I have crafted all these gold framed chalkboards and made gold dipped feathers. My chalk art is becoming pretty good! I also made wedding madlibs and we will print them on kraft paper. I have a gorgeous burlap aisle runner, table runners and all these stunning mercury glass votives and black and white striped napkins and paper straws. 

It's all very modern rustic, yet sophisticated vintage but in my mind incredibly romantic. Its hard to explain but all the pieces fit in my head beautifully. Its quite a departure from Big Fish and more an unintentional happy accident. I just wanted to share that with you. I know you like to take inspiration from the wedding style to inspire your photography.

Now that is the kind of message (from Jennifer, who will marry Jay this September) that just lifts me up and reminds me again how much I love my job.

Wedding photography is unlike any other type of photography assignment. It is the most deeply personal of all genres. Not only is a photographer invited into the most intimate moments of the event, but he or she also spends the most time with the couple of any other family member or guest during the day. The stronger the connection between photographer and clients, the better the photos will be. A good connection allows the photographer to not only understand her subjects personalities and tastes, but also to have a clear picture of the way they see the world, and see each one another.

I feel incredibly fortunate that my clients and I have found each other. They have opened their lives to me, and I try to repay their kindness with images that come from the heart.

When I receive messages like Jennifer's that fill me in on the theme and decor; when I receive beautiful invitations and save the dates that hint at the event's overall aesthetic; when a bride consults with me about wedding dress options or accessory choices; when a client sends me a link to a documentary she thinks I would like; when emails are exchanged about the perfect shade of red lipstick that's glossy, not trashy glossy, but moisturizing glossy, but with staying power, and we track down the perfect one; when a groom tells me that their wedding venue has its own Street Fighter arcade game and that the Chinatown Night Market is right outside; when I read my client's questionnaire and learn about the serendipitous way in which they met and fell in love; when I hear about the possibility of a gypsy band during cocktail hour; when a couple has so many best friends that their wedding party weighs in at 27 people; when a client sits basically in the trunk so I can have a seat while she and her fiancé drop me off on their way to dinner; when, if I continued recounting all the amazing moments I've shared and look forward to sharing with my clients, this post would go on forever... well, those are the moments that mean the world to me.

Suffice it to say I am grateful, elated, truly inspired and so excited for the rest of this year!
 

Photo by Lisa Griffiths, taken at Johanna & Mason's wedding.