Recovery is the Mama of Reinvention

I've seen lots of reasons for people starting over...divorce, laid off, disaster, sickness, getting well.  Sometimes it's simply a change in circumstances.  An empty nest,  you tried something and it just didn't work out. 

For me starting over is the fun part.  It's like seeing an old house and imagining it all fixed up or an empty field and seeing the garden.  Starting over is imagination and dreams!  I've started more than a few business and helped others do the same.  Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.  I've come to realize that all my business are just one long story of a creative life.  From making vintage styled dresses out of old tablecloths to wedding flowers, interior design and as a management consultant for the antique business...it's all been about creating, styling and reinventing from the resources at hand.  I can use all those abilities, I can be all those things for my business and to help others with theirs.

This last year I helped a daughter establish her photography business.  I assisted her as a second photographer at weddings, styled sessions, created a brand and assisted her with her new brand as well.  The photography is new as a business (although I've loved it for years).  But everything else is a result of what came before.  I created window displays for the shops that sold my vintage styled wedding dresses as a teenager then did them for boutique owners who offered to pay me to help them.  An owner of a chain of boutiques hired me to do window displays, then another hired me and trained me in retail boutique management and branding.  The newly developing Antique Mall business needed managers and branding so I started a new adventure building on my skills teaching owners to start, brand and run their businesses while designing displays, store setups and often owners homes.  Somebody liked the flower arrangements I made for an open house and asked me to do wedding flowers.  Somebody else liked the food I served for a grand opening and asked me to cater their wedding as well.  There wasn't a creative idea I didn't want to try at least once.  

I've made my share of mistakes some big ones!  I've learned some big lessons as well.  The most important one is learning how to be "directing my blows so as not to be striking the air".   It's the planning stages that determine if an endeavor will be successful.  

My circumstances have changed, my daughter has gone off on her own with her husband now as Samantha Smith Arroyo Photography.  I cried my eyes out but it's the nature of things. I raised my kids to be their own person, have their own lives but I am still a creative person, a stylist and a photographer.  I know how to run a business.  Do you know what it starts with besides a plan?

A spot to put the plan in place.  A spot to work out the details, to be inspired, to take calls and to stay organized.  The very first thing you do is the first thing you did when you started school.  You find your desk, you sharpen your pencils and you get your paper ready.  The 2014 version includes a computer and Instagram!  It also helps if your work area (no matter what size) looks great.  Here's the Instagram version.

To my photography friends who need a little inspiration on reinventing their business, listen to this guy...he knows his stuff!   ( Interview with Zack Arias )  Lots of people will give you their opinion on the internet.  Make sure you listen to those who have already been successful after having made a few mistakes.


Styling a Photography Session for a Wedding Blog Feature

Such exciting news today because my styling work has been featured on Green Wedding Shoes today!
I work with my daughter styling the engagement sessions and we really wanted to do something that showed off her evolving film photography style.  We live near the Idyllwild California which is so pretty and the community is very artsy.  There is a tunnel of branches in a spot called Double View which we decided to use for our stylized elopement session.  My son in law is a very talented film maker for wedding and adventure videos so it was a fun family project.

My job was to create the setting and the flowers for the session.  It is something I have done as an event planner.  So excited to do this because I feel like an elopement can be a wildly romantic thing to do without Las Vegas or an ugly courthouse.  I have done these before, they are so much fun for a few close friends and family to share in!
 You can even include your dog!  We used the cutest VW bus, the dog got to wear a hat and it was all inspired by a book by Jon Klassen...I Want My Hat Back!  Wait til you see the dog in her red hat.

What's more romantic than a dinner for two in a pretty secluded spot at the end of the day?  Idyllwild has Bed and Breakfast Inns, cottages to rent and you could even camp after your nuptials for an incredibly memorable honeymoon.
We were also inspired by some amazing paper mache hats on Etsy.  The link for the masks is in the blog post.  The theme tied together perfectly.  You can see more by going to Green Wedding Shoes.  Don't forget to watch the video!!! 

I also made some forest pop tarts with home made peach preserves.  I'll have to post the recipe tomorrow on my recipe blog... The Vintage Recipe Smith


Other People Say Such Clever Things!

So I am back to blogging because I am a pretty sick puppy and can't sleep with the growing sack of concrete in my abdomen.  So I read posts in photography groups.  Yeah, there are lots of groups on the internets but I have to say...photographers are a funny bunch of people.  The crack me up in the middle of the night while I sit perched on my swivel chair listening to the rythmic snoring of my old man.  

One such discussion started with someone asking about Kinfolk Magazine and Anthropologie.  Us photographers notice imagery and often have our favorites.  We note trends to use in our wedding and portrait work to make our clients happy.  They like when they feel like they are magazine worthy.
Some of us noticed that maybe our favorites are a little bland and repetitive and this is my favorite comment...(I gave it a heading...my new inspirational poster).  

A note about ARTISANAL.  I chose it over Artisan because I associate the latter with Starbucks Baristas and their tendancey to pronounce it Artesian.  There's a difference between Handmade and Water!  With all the college education amongst Baristas working so hard to pay off student loans, you would think they could properly pronounce the word!

Back to the funny photographers...more cleverness ensued.  I asked to quote Ms. Christina and she replied with this gem...

Now I find this even more perversely funny with the recent controversy in the photography world by a certain rockstar photographer instructor regarding plagiarism.  (Google Jasmine Star and plagiarism if you must know).  I certainly did not want to participate in such a hot button issue as a word thief.  So I've immortalized her words and will repin them as well.

In the spirit of irony, I leave you with one of my creative endeavors which I'm thinking of printing really big and hanging in my dining room as sentinels during dinner parties.  I promise not to text invite anyone after others have cancelled.  I hate that!  http://www.pinterest.com/pin/168110998564456945/


So it wouldn't be fall without orange...

fall senior picture

In the deserts of Southern California there are no fall colors.  We have to wait til spring to see the orange poppies cover the hillsides. So to create a fall senior portrait we use fall colors in clothing and props.

My new favorite spot is a lake dug in the 1800's for water usage wit native drought resistance trees and plants.  Very natural and the light is amazing...just 5 minutes from my house and with so much variety for backgrounds in a small area.

Alicia is wearing a vintage orange overdyed 70's blazer for fall color.  This girl is my senior rep for this year and is an amazing girl.  She is the primary caretaker for her father who has advanced parkinsons...her mother visits on occasion.  She considers it a privilege to take care of the man who has been her sole provider. She handles bills, taxes, running the house and his health care. Alicia is beautiful inside and out!
You can see more fall images featuring orange at Iheartfaces.com!iheartfaces button to use for challenges