Happy Halloween & Hello! My name is Shady (a.k.a Shadyful and Shady Wadey)! I am the king of the house and I have my mommy and daddy wrapped around my paw! I am the luckiest and sweetest black kitty cat in the world! My mommy and daddy love Photography and so you will be seeing me A LOT more from now on. I am BOO-tiful! Have a happy Halloween!
Welcome to the first installment of the Newlywed Game (our version!). Oh the moments of being a newlywed. Chad and I have been married for 16 months now (married on June 2, 2012) and it has been wonderful, interesting, difficult and memorable. Every month we will be having an installment of the Newlywed Game and we will post one thing we have realized about one another and then we will do a battle of the sexes and post our favorite photos from a wedding/shoot! :) THIS SHOULD BE FUN! I can’t wait!
I will go first…
Amanda – What I have learned about Chad:
One thing I have realized over these past months is that Chad takes F.O.R.E.V.E.R to do the dishes. What would normally take me 10 minutes takes him an hour. SO OCD…but at least the dishes are REALLY clean when he does them. I still love him though! :)
Chad – What I have learned about Amanda:
She does household chores in kamikaze mode! How are towels folded at warp speed supposed to live up to my OCD standards?!
Battle of the Sexes:
Since we just had a beautiful styled shoot we will pull some images from that shoot! So which one is YOUR favorite? :) Let’s see who wins…me or Chad..
Just comment below with your favorite and put Amanda’s favorite or Chad’s favorite! :)
So as you have probably already seen we recently had a coaching session with Katelyn James in Richmond, VA! :) It was such a wonderful experience! To see the post, you can go here: http://bellamandaphotography.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/our-katelyn-james-coaching-session/
Since it had been so long since we had any free time, had gone on a date, or had been on a vacation we decided (last minute) to make the most of our trip and make a little mini vacation out of it. I am so glad that we did because we had an amazing time! We had no idea where to go first, but my grandmother had always talked about Colonial Williamsburg so that was the first place we decided to check out. We arrived to Williamsburg and found this cute little location first! We had to check it out and of course have fun posing and taking some photos!
After spending some time there and believe me it was so hard to leave because the lighting at that location was so beautiful! ANYONE who would be interested in having some photos taken there next time we visit??? We are so up for it! Williamsburg is so beautiful! We walked around, looked at the old buildings, took some photos and visited a little shop to pick up some souvenirs. We always try to pick something up from wherever we go. A favorite of mine to find is Christmas ornaments from different locations! :)
We were not ready to leave and we wanted to visit one more place before leaving to go home so we decided we wanted to see the beach. We drove around for a little while and got lost. In fact, we almost went into Fort Eustis. That was interesting, however after driving around and getting lost two/three times I got my handy dandy Iphone out and googled a location with a secluded beach. It brought up Grandview Nature Preserve in Hampton and some directions so that’s where we had our heart set on. The directions ended up being wrong but somehow we ended up finding this place. Finding this beach was such a blessing! Absolutely gorgeous! It felt so good to feel the sand between my toes. It had been so long since I had the opportunity to do that. We had a blast just taking it all in, taking photos, running on the beach, and watching the sun set! I have never seen a sunset so beautiful and vibrant!
We also got a greeting from this little guy!! isn’t he the cutest?
As I mentioned before the sunset was so vibrant! This is the first time I have ever seen something that beautiful!
We left Richmond around 10pm that night after having dinner with a friend and ended up arriving back home around 5am. We were so exhausted but I wouldn’t do anything different or trade it for anything! I’ll always remember this trip for many reasons and I can’t wait to go back! Check out the blog about our dreams. I mentioned a lot of things I would love to do for our business and it includes Williamsburg and this beach! :)
When first starting my business I wasn’t sure how much to open up to the public. It was kind of a scary thought. For a while I have had doubts about myself, not necessarily about Chad and I as a team. I always beat myself up and fear failure. As I have said before when you fear doing something (especially when it could be beneficial) you should hold on tight and just do it. During our mentoring session with Katelyn James she mentioned that we should announce our dreams publicly. She brought up that we need to talk about our dreams even if they are crazy ones because if you just keep them private you are losing out on opportunities to make your dreams come true.
So, I am ready to get over my fear and announce these wild and crazy dreams…..
1. We want to shoot weddings/engagements/bridals..basically anything to do with a wedding day! We are currently rebranding our business to specialize in this area and I really want to succeed!
2. One day I (Amanda) want to teach! Ever since high school I have always enjoyed teaching others so one day I want to be able to pay forward what other photographers (such as Evan Sturgill , Katelyn James, and Kaitlin Hebert) have taught us. Us doing mentoring sessions would be amazing but we have a long way to go!
3. To pay off all of our debt. To be debt free would give us both such an amazing feeling and give us so many more opportunities to grow our business. We would also love to add on to our current home or be able to afford a home with more room! I totally love our cozy little home but we are busting the seams already!
4. We would love to be able to shoot destination weddings! We both love to travel and whether it be in the US or not in the US we would be thrilled! Dream locations are Colorado (favorite place), Arizona (Sedona is beautiful), Hawaii, California (oh Yosemite and the mighty Sequoias), Martha’s Vineyard (for the nautical love in my soul and one of my favorite things are LIGHTHOUSES – what a beautiful backdrop that would be) , Ireland, Switzerland, and Italy..(oh Venice!). It would also give me the opportunity to overcome my fear of flying! haha Any takers??! :)
5. To go sailing! :) I love the water and have always wanted to do this!
6. To go to a Katelyn James Coaching Reunion, United and P31! If we get the opportunity to make it to the Coaching Reunion we would love to meet up with some photographers in the area or schedule some sessions maybe at Williamsburg or the Grand View Preserve! That would be amazing! I have always wanted to go to P31 and we would love to make it to United. Hoping to get the chance soon.
7. To shoot a proposal! :) Planning a special proposal!?! Anyone proposing during the upcoming holidays?? We would love to capture it!!
There we sat trying to decide if we were truly ready for a Katelyn James Coaching Session. It was one of my dreams to be able to not only meet Katelyn, but to further invest in our business and make it a better experience for my clients! We were both nervous of the possibility but also extremely excited as well! I have always been told that if you have a fear of doing something you should do it anyway. That is so true! I knew that if we allowed our fear to hold us back then we would never do it so we purchased the session and therefore starting planning! I knew it was going to be an amazing thing for us!
The day finally came for us to make our trip to Richmond. We made it there and settled into our hotel but I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned for most of the night! I was so nervous! One of my dreams was about to come true the next day and I was feeling so many emotions! Eventually I did manage to get a couple of hours of sleep and I woke up so excited and on edge I couldn’t stand it! Deep breaths… deep breaths…dancing…yes dancing in the hotel room. I couldn’t wait..the day was finally here!!!!
We were to meet Katelyn at an Italian restaurant called Bertucci’s so we decided to arrive a little early since that always helps with nerves a little. We went ahead and got our table and waited for them to arrive. To be honest, I felt like I was going to faint from being so nervous but as soon as Michael(Katelyn’s husband), Katelyn, and Ashley Link(the other photographer that would be joining us that day) came through the door and hugs were exchanged the nerves went away! Everyone made us feel so comfortable and we had a great lunch! Spectacular lunch actually! The food at Bertucci’s is delicious and of course the company was fantastic!! :) Seriously, we probably could have stayed there the entire day and just talked about everything, but it was time to leave so we could go take some pictures! :) Katelyn took us to locations I would have never expected to get wonderful photos in, but of course she showed us how to make the most of any location and get beautiful images! IT was amazing to watch her and we learned so much about posing, lighting, communication and making your clients feel comfortable! After we took some photos (behind the scenes) and after Katelyn took headshots of us and Ashley it was time for our one on one Q&A session at her home. We said goodbye to Ashley (Ashley was the sweetest and so talented! Anyone who hasn’t seen her work is missing out (http://www.v-a-photography.com/) and made our way to Katelyn’s house.
Her home was so inviting and beautiful! She has the cutest office and we were also greeted by…Bokeh!! :) We were looking forward to meeting him! He is just the cutest! Our Q& A session was so enlightening and inspiring! It was the breath of fresh air we needed! I had five pages of questions, but Katelyn is such a wonderful teacher and had already answered so many of our questions. We talked about everything from workflow to working together as a husband and wife team. For so long I had been having doubts about the business being successful, but Katelyn gave me the motivation to keep going. I could never thank her or Michael enough for helping us and making us feel so welcome! We can’t wait to put all of her advice to use in our new business!
Now for some behind the scenes photos…. :)
..and now to show some of our headshots that Katelyn took that day! We have been so excited to share these because they are absolutely beautiful and I know a lot of you have been anxiously waiting so without further ado….. (Katelyn James Photography- YOU ROCK!! http://katelynjames.com/ )
Our adventure was definitely a wonderful, amazing, inspiring, fantabulous :) and every amazing word I can think of experience! So blessed to have had this opportunity and meet some new friends! Hoping we get to go to the next reunion and meet all of Katelyn’s mentees and make some more amazing friends! Stay tuned for more photos from our trip to Richmond! :) You don’t want to miss them or seeing us running on the beach! lol
Amanda & Chad
It’s August??? Really?? WOW! Last year we registered our photography business so we are official! :) Needless to say this year has flown by and it’s definitely been a busy year for us. This blog post has been 8 months in the making! (big fail on my part) Life just took off without me and it’s been hard but I’m finally catching up again and I have to say it’s an amazing feeling! Now…on to this post…
We were blessed at the beginning of the year because we were lucky enough to win a mentoring session with the wonderful Kaitlin Hebert from Kaitlin Noel Photography! :) Isn’t she the cutest? (photo credit goes to the amazing Katelyn James Photography http://katelynjames.com/)
If you haven’t seen her work you are SO missing out! Extremely talented and the sweetest ever! She is such an inspiration to me and it was a dream come true. The night I won was an awesome moment for me! I have never won anything….Ever. So I had to do a double take(more like triple take) when Kaitlin sent me a message to let me know I had won. After jumping up and down for quite some time I had a dilemma. My partner in crime(my husband) was asleep and I REALLY wanted to share it with him. I was nice don’t worry..I didn’t wake him up..afterall he had to work early the next morning. I did grab a piece of paper and poured out my emotion to him on it so he could find and read it when he woke up. lol I was a little excited….
After that night we played Skype tag for a while but finally managed to find free time :) We were so nervous when we finally had our online Skype call, but so thrilled at the same time! Kaitlin was so sweet and answered any questions we had. She really made us feel at ease and was so easy to get along with! We just love her! She helped us out so much and we will forever be thankful to Kaitlin for the knowledge she shared with us! It’s hard when you first start out and it’s been especially difficult in our area because it seems there aren’t too many photographers who want to make friends with the newbie photographers in town. That’s why we feel so blessed to have been given the opportunities that we have. Next month we are meeting with a local photographer, Evan Sturgill, and Katelyn James for some more mentoring. We can’t wait to share what we learn from the other experiences and vow to pay it forward! One of our goals is to eventually be able to help other photographers, just like all of these wonderful people have done for us. Kaitlin…you are amazing and a blessing! Thank you so much for all that you do! You most definitely have a gift! If anyone is interested in viewing Kaitlin’s work you can go to her website here: (YOU KNOW you want to… her photos will rock your socks off) http://kaitlinnoelphotography.com/ and she does offer mentoring as well!!!! :)
photo credit: Katelyn James Photography
We must say that we have the best way to share the photos from your session with you! It’s seriously pretty snazzy! Say goodbye to the DVDS, and say hello to PASS! :)
In this blog post we’re going to share with you a recent upgrade to PASS that allows our clients to purchase prints, however we will go into a little detail first about what PASS is. We must admit that at first we were pretty skeptical. Anything new will always cast a little doubt at first until you see it in action. So for the past few months we have been trying out pass with our clients and it’s AMAZING! We love the fact that not only has it made our life easier but it also makes our client’s life easier. That is truly what we want. We don’t just want our clients to end up with photos that they will treasure for a lifetime, we want our clients to have an amazing experience!
So what’s one thing that you want when you have your photos taken? Once you receive them you want to share them! That’s what PASS is all about! PASS allows you to share your photos instantly to Facebook, Twitter, Email or Pinterest! How cool is that? No more having to upload the images from your computer! Now it’s faster and easier!
ALL THE FEATURES
PASS is actually FREE!! However, all of our clients will receive upgraded events!
As you can see with upgraded events, you will get all of your images online for a year! We love this! We always give our clients a flash drive of their images but we also love to have a backup plan! This keeps your images safe online! No worrying about losing your images!
Now that you know what PASS is… lets move on to talk about the recent feature they added that we think is FABULOUS!
You can now order PROFESSIONAL PRINTS at wonderful prices! You can order gift size prints (4×6, 5×7, 8×12) and so can your family and friends directly from your gallery. All they have to do is sign in via Facebook or create an account using their email address and VOILA they have access to download your images and to purchase prints!
Now you might be wondering why 8×12 and not 8×10? In short, it has to do with preserving the original image size and not cropping part of your photo. To find out more, click the link below
What about larger prints and and other products such as gallery wraps or stand outs? Don’t worry, you can still order larger fine art prints and other products from our professional print lab!
SO how do you order PRINTS from your gallery?
LOOK at those INCREDIBLE prices!!!
It’s that easy! :) All you have to do is place your order and your prints will arrive at your door!
PASS IS THE BOMBDIGGITY!
See how great!??! We are really hoping this will give our clients a better experience and we hope you all love this new feature! Feel free to leave feedback! We love to hear from you!
If you still aren’t convinced or if you are still a little confused as to what PASS offers, feel free to watch the video below! :)
So what’s the deal with the 8×12 instead of 8×10?
8×10 is arguably one of the most popular print sizes available however in the new age of digital photography the 8×12 is actually a better choice. You see, most professional digital cameras such as mine (Canon 5d mark II) are full frame cameras and shoot at a 2:3 ratio. What this means is the images that are produced by the camera will not be cropped (in other words you will not lose any part of the image) when prints are ordered in sizes to correspond to that 2:3 ratio. So, an 8×10, not being at a 2:3 ratio, will be cropped and part of that image will be lost when it is printed. On the other hand, the 8×12 will not be cropped and you will not lose any part of that image.
Here is an example of a photo produced on one of my recent sessions……..
Below is the same photo as it would appear on an 8×10 print….(as you can see, part of the image has been cropped away)
and NOW below you will see the image again as it would appear in an 8×12 print……
notice it looks exactly like the image that was produced by the camera. Nothing is lost when the image is printed as an 8×12 and the photo is beautifully represented in print.
and no worries about not being able to find an 8×12 frame. Below you will find a list of retailers where you can purchase them. :)
Places to purchase 8×12 frames:
-Staples & Staples online
I have been going back and forth for a long time…trying to decide if I should share the meaning behind our business name. It hasn’t been an easy decision for me. You see, in order to tell the whole story I have to revisit something painful. At last, I have finally decided to share the story and if it helps just one person find motivation, or inspiration I will be happy.
My business name isn’t what you might think at first glance. I have had several people ask me if it means Beautiful Amanda(Bella=beautiful and then my name therefore Bellamanda) That isn’t the case. The business name has a very special meaning and it is very close to my heart. When I was choosing a name for my business I wanted to include my name in some way but there was already an Amanda Maynard(my maiden name) photography and an Amanda Elkins(married name) photography, and there was even an Amanda Gail(middle name ) photography. I wanted something unique but special and meaningful to me.
This story really starts a few years ago on April 3rd when I had something happen that changed me, devastated me, and blessed me all in a few hours. On the evening of April 3rd 2009 I just thought it would be a normal night but then I started having extreme pain in my lower abdomen and had to be rushed to the ER. I was in such extreme pain that I was literally doubled over. I had never felt anything like it. After they ran some tests I found out that I was 4 weeks pregnant. I was excited and scared too. Why was I in such extreme pain? Was it suppose to be like this? After a few more tests and praying that the baby would be ok, a doctor came in to deliver awful news. The pregnancy was ectopic. An ectopic pregnancy is a pregnancy that occurs outside of the womb (uterus). It is a life-threatening condition to the mother and the baby cannot survive.
I had to undergo emergency surgery to remove my baby. I was devasted. I had to wait that evening and almost all night due to lack of a free surgical room but I spent that time thinking about what could have been,how my life would have changed, when my baby’s possible birthday would have been, if I would have had a girl or a boy, and silently talking to my baby. I didn’t want this to happen ..I wanted to see his/her face and know this special person that God had created.
So in memory of Isabella Kaylynn or Benjamin Alexander..I decided to make my business name special and incorporate the names somehow. I decided to use the girls name for the main business name and the boy’s name I have decided to incorporate in other ways. Therefore….. Bella(from the name Isabella) and my name Amanda =Bellamanda
I also wanted to memoralize my baby in another special way so I decided to name a star for my baby.
The bear sits on my office desk to remind me of the experience, for motivation, and the special blessing that God has given me. Anyone that has ever lost a baby they have never met, a baby they have met, or a child knows the pain that you are left with. It never fully goes away. However, I have peace knowing that the experience has blessed me with a baby that was delivered to heaven and that I will get to meet one day.
Bella or Ben