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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

{ Lightroom 3 Tutorial Session } -- AZ Photographer

{ Lightroom 3 Tutoring }

Take your photos from wonderful to wowers!!

{1} 1 Hour Private Tutoring Session
at a local Starbucks

{ Drink is on me! }

Alicia: 480-399-3030

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

{ My Journey as a Photographer } -- AZ Photographer

{ Growing }

It's exciting to see growth in your work and have the satisfaction of knowing that you're getting more knowledgeable with what you're learning.

I see this whole photography experience as a journey.

I'm not where I want to be yet, but I'm definitely not where I was.

I wanted to write this blog to inspire other photographers who are just getting their start in photography. Obviously, I have a long way to still go to get to where I'd like to be. But I believe that I WILL get there. For now, I'm learning and growing into this role of "photographer" and I wanted to encourage others who were just getting their start, that they can get there too!

When I first started shooting photography, it wasn't a perfect start and there were a lot of learning bumps along the way. Now that I have started, I keep going and I hope that this encourages you to keep going too. This is my photo journey from where I started and where I am at today....and I can't wait a few years from now to post where I will be, Lord willing! : )

YEAR: { Pre-historic age....wasn't high school forever ago? }
When I first started shooting photography, it was years ago as a high school yearbook photographer. It was my first attempt at photography, but definitely not something I was considering as a career. { Looking back, I wonder why I didn't consider it then, since it gave me such a thrill and joy, even back then when I was 15 years old}.

YEAR: { 2000 }

I had a LONG period of not photographing anything. I was too interested in learning how to figure-skate and was too wrapped up and focused on becoming an animator. I wanted to be an artist and photography hadn't even entered my mind. But, my college was offering a class on black and white 35mm photography and I needed a creative class for my degree, so I decided to take it.

Something happened.

Something sparked inside of me and just like when I was shooting photography at age 15--I felt happy and alive. I loved seeing my pictures after they'd been developed and couldn't wait to shoot more and more pictures!

But I HATED developing pictures. The "stop" chemical stunk to the high T and I hated standing for so long in a darkroom. Oh boy, booooring. I loved shooting pictures, but hated developing them. So, photography went back on the shelf and I kept pursuing a degree as an artist.

YEAR: { 2003 } -- Enter Digital Cameras and My First Attempts at Photoshop....Gulp.

{ Be kind please }

I didn't know the first thing about digital cameras or Photoshop and my amazingly sweet photo subjects were so patient with me while I tried to figure out how both of them worked.  My first year was a little disasterous.....

I honestly didn't know what I was doing and I wasn't taking any classes to help guide and direct me. I was purely a try-and-fail student. And oi.....'nough said. ; )

BUT! { Yes, there is a but! Thank goodness! }

YEAR: { 2005 }

2005 rolled around and I had continued to try-and-fail with my camera and Photoshop and I started to get the hang of things more and more. I was shooting photography as a fun side hobby, but it wasn't something that I was considering as a career at that point, because my images still weren't looking how I wanted them to. Closer, but not close enough. I took a portfolio photography class, but failed it. A big fat "F." A photographer? NO. Definitely not at that point.

YEAR: { 2008 }

I continued shooting as a hobbyist and found myself liking photography more and more, but still hadn't considered it as a career...Until....I took a wedding photography class with Jen O'Sullivan ( and learned the business side of photography. That was it! I could marry (no pun intended) my love for entrepreneurlship with my love for being creative! The perfect left-brain/right-brain balance which was perfect for me since I'm a left and right brain mix of person!

I was hooked!

I had my first "real" engagement photo shoot with Jen's class and found stuff just "clicking" (again, no pun intended, lol. I'm just full of those tonight, aren't I?). ; )
Suddenly, I wanted to photography everything all of the time!

Still, I didn't have the confidence that I could make it as a photographer. I was terrified that I would be like one of those people on American Idol that THOUGHT they could sing and really couldn't....I didn't want to say, "I'm a photographer" and have someone tell me that I wasn't, so I held back.

But with the encouragement of others, I started to look inside for confidence. I told myself, "No one is perfect when they first start. You CAN do this. You'll have to grow into your role, but you know that this is what God is calling you to do and you CAN do this."

I still wrestle with that sometimes because I'm not where I'd like to be, but I have to constantly remind myself that it's a journey and show myself just how far I've come. I don't have to look to the outward (people's comments) to tell me whether I can make it or not. I believe now that I can. It will take a lot of hard work, but I know that I'm called to this and will grow into my role, just as I have been doing all these years.

The President at my old college wrote me a personal letter that included that quote that says something like, "Shoot for the moon. Even if you don't reach it, you'll at least land among the stars."

That is my challenge to myself. I'm not in a competition with anyone else because we all have some special gift to bring to the table and all have a special way of interpreting photos. But I am committing myself to learning as much as I possibly can. I want to reach MY highest potential. I want to see where I can go with this.

I owe it to myself to try because I love it so much.

{ May 2011 }

{ May 2011 }

{ May 2011 }

{ August 2011 }

{ October 2011}

{ November 2011 }

What about you? Where are you at with your photography? If you love it, don't give up! Keep trying, keep growing, keep learning and keep burning the fires of passion in your heart and keep dreaming your dream!

If you try, you can only get better and better!

{ I Love Lists } -- Arizona Photographer

{ Lists }

These last few months have been quite a whirlwind for me! Lots of photo shoots, Photoshop tutoring sessions, blogging and fulfilling orders filling my time. I've got some new things stirring up in my mind that I'd love to accomplish by the end of this year. I love organization and love lists! I love the feeling of being able to cross something off my to-do list and say that I've accomplished it.

Last year, when I decided that I wanted to pursue photography as a career and start a business, I created a list. It included things like:

1. Get business cards made.
2. Write a Terms of Service contract
3. Get a website.
4. Start writing a blog.
5. Etc, etc.

It was about a full page of things that I wanted to accomplish before the year was over. It felt so amazing to cross those things off my list and do what I only used to think about doing.

I was committing my thoughts to action.

Now 2011 is in full swing and I am doing the same thing. At the start of the year, I wrote a list of things that I'd like to accomplish. Some of the goals that I've already accomplished are:

1. Get licensing.
2. Become Trademarked.
3. Be part of the Ultimate Women's EXPO.
4. Switch from a full time to a part time job.
5. Get business cards made (this one took me some extra time). ; )
6. Book almost every Saturday.
7. Blog at least once a week.
8. Etc.

There is a { LONG } laundry list of other things that I would like to accomplish this year, some of which I am already putting into practice. Some little dreams, some bigger ones. But whatever size they are, I'm dreaming and putting them down on paper.

I've found that as I've committed my thoughts to action, that I get more done. I accomplish those things that I had only "thought" about doing. It forces me to stretch and grow and accomplish those things I was thinking about doing and to go out and actually DO them.

What would YOU like to accomplish this year?

Have you written those things down?
Imagine how much more you can get done this year if you do!

Friday, May 13, 2011

{ The Ultimate Women's EXPO -- Phoenix, AZ } -- AZ Photographer

{ The ULTIMATE Women's EXPO }

Were you there this year? It was awesome!

On Saturday, the lines wrapped outside and down the sides of the building.

Thousands of women showed up to experience this year's event. Just like last year, you could feel the excitement in the air.

They rolled out the red carpet and wanted everyone who passed through to feel like a star.

They also passed out these amazingly cute damask bags. I have developed a serious love for purses and bags and just HAD to get one for myself!

I was shooting photos for the EXPO this year and got to enjoy taking in all of the details and the excitement surrounding me. Something I noticed this year was that the women who attended were there with others. Some got in the car and had a great Girl's Day Out with each other. Others brought their husbands or their kids. Whoever they came with, they were having some serious FUN!

There was an abundance of free facials, hairstyling, manicures, massages.......

....and every woman's favorite....lots of SHOPPING!!!

As lunch neared on Saturday and Sunday, an energetic buzz began to fill the air and the auditorium began to fill up with women who were excited to see this year's Keynote Speakers. First up was:

{ Patricia Heaton }

She talked about transitions and about how God had changed her life. How the beauty of Hollywood and all the nips and tucks and the this and that didn't matter anymore. She said that she started praying for open or closed doors (the same prayer that I prayed before all these crazy doors started opening for me to do photography--watch out, it's a "dangerous" prayer!) and she said that she was ready to give up acting if God didn't want her to do it anymore. Then all these doors for acting started opening up and she's been an even busier actress than she has been in the past. Lots of opportunities for her.

Patricia also did a Q + A session at the end of her speech to answer any questions that people had for her, which was really nice of her to do. Some vendors gave her a purse with "P" on it for "Patricia" and they were thrilled to see her tote it during the entire Q+A.

I am SO glad that I got to meet Patricia, especially hearing about her faith and how God answered her prayer about open and closed doors. That really hit close to home for me.

Next up on the day's roster was:
{ Susan Lucci }

I'll admit, I honestly didn't know who Susan Lucci was before taking her picture last weekend. I am usually pretty busy and my TV feast consists of a few minutes of the morning news as I'm getting ready for my part time morning job and portions of American Idol whenever I'm not busy (Ha! Is there such a thing for me?!?!?!). So, when I saw all these women clamoring to meet Susan, I wondered, "Who on earth is this woman?"

A friend of our family is an actor and has acted in a re-occuring role on Days of Our Lives and that was the only connection I could think of when people said that she was on All My Children. When I took my picture with her, I figured she *must* know him and I asked her if she knew him and she said, "The name sounds familiar." Turns out I was way off and soap operas are not one of the same thing. Days of Our Lives is not the same as All My Children. It's like saying that bananas are like apples because they're both fruit. Two totally different things.


Open mouth, insert shoe store.

The thing that struck me most about Susan Lucci is how gracious and polite she is. I heard her security tell each other, "She didn't say she was going to do this" when she started bending down to touch the hands of her adoring fans who were reaching to get one touch from their favorite soap actress. When she was complimented by someone, she would put her hand to her heart and give a deep-felt and honest, "Thank you. Thank you so very much." It kind of felt like watching one of the princesses at Disneyland. So full of grace and manners. So gracious and thankful.

Oh, how the women loved her! The looks on their faces said it all....

{ Pure adoration. }

If Susan's stage appearance gathered large crowds, then you can bet that the crowds gathering at her Border's book signing was even more crazy.

One woman I was standing next to was shaking a LOT. Quivering, she said, "I'm shaking so bad. I don't know what to say to her. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh." The women LOVED her and stood there like giddy little schoolgirls. Totally makes me smile to see the joy on their faces.

Susan is "their" actress. "Their" role model. "Their" favorite. You could see it in each of them--they stood their with looks that said, "I feel like I know you, yet I can't believe that I'm getting to meet you!"
America's Actress. : )

And of course, there was....


< Enter chants of "Ricki! Ricki! Ricki!" >

I held my breath and got a little star struck when I met Ricki, because I grew up watching her talk show when I was a kid. I have such fond memories of my Grandma and I watching her show together when my Grandma was still alive. It was either Ricki Lake, Oprah or Sally Jessie Rafael.

Ricki was very nice to everyone before taking the stage. Another star that's truly genuine and down-to-earth. None of these ladies had chips on their shoulders that said, "I feel like I'm better than you." Meeting Ricki and the other stars felt more like meeting an old friend that you'd known for years. They are all very real and very sweet.

Ricki has that girl-next-door personality and she is very down to earth. She came dressed in a tee shirt, skirt and flip flops. She is very "real" and relatable and I love that about her. She also okay with it when I reached out to fluff her hair and fix her hat before a group photo right before the start of the show. Instead of getting all celebrity on me, she stood there like, "All right, go ahead and make me pretty." I wasn't sure if I'd broken some unspoken rule about celebrity etiquette, but she was totally unabashed by it. She is unpretentious and very laid back. She's not someone that lords it over others saying, "I'm a star....treat me like one!" Instead, she's reachable and real.

I'm so glad that I got the chance to meet her!

Some other ladies sharing the Keynote stage are the fashionistas that were part of the weekend's fashion show. These girls walked with confidence and purpose and every swagger down the runway said, "Look at me. I am gorgeous!"

And this lady brought down the house--there was such a loud uproar of hooting and hollering. She brought a lot of sass with her class. Classy and sassy all in one. Total diva! I loved her and everyone else did too! ; )

Throughout the entire weekend, I loved seeing this one thing:

{ Happiness + Togetherness}

Ladies, if you've been considering coming to one of the Ultimate Women's EXPOs, then come to the next event! You'll be so glad you did! Where else can you so freely be pampered like a Princess, learn the confidence of a Diva and how to dress as fashionably as a Fashionista? Don't you deserve it?

Grab a group of your favorite gal pals and I'll see you at the next event!

For more information, visit the Ultimate Women's EXPO website:

Q + A:
Will I be seeing you at the next Ultimate Women's EXPO?