Muy Bueno Photographer

Muy Bueno Photographer.

via Muy Bueno Photographer.

Muy Bueno Photographer

January 24, 2012

Who is our photographer? Have you noticed the majority of our photographs are pretty darn beautiful? I honestly wish I could take credit for them, but I can’t. In the beginning when I had this crazy cookbook/blog idea my talented photographer friend, Jeanine suggested she photograph our dishes. Sheesh! Talk about an amazing offer. I jumped on that offer so fast and Muy Bueno emerged. The photography on our site is what thankfully has caught the eye of many and for that we are eternally grateful to Jeanine.

Jeanine has taken pictures of my family for years, and even traveled with us to Mexico to photograph our destination wedding in Playa del Carmen.

My sister Veronica fell in love with her work too.

Here is one of my favorite pictures of mom, Veronica, and I last year during one of our holiday photo shoots.

She is an amazing photographer, friend, and now is more like familia. We truly love her and her family.

We love that she has a passion for Mexico just as much as we do. Throughout this post you’ll see photos from her recent family vacation to Todos Santos, Mexico. Her photography never ceases to amaze us.

Today, we’d like to introduce you to Jeanine Thurston, our amazingly beautiful photographer in every sense of the word. She has a wicked sense of humor, loves Mexican food as much as we do, and has the ability to capture the essence of her photographic subjects, whether it is a wedding, portrait, fashion, or food. We love everything she captures. Who is Jeanine Thurston? Now let’s get to know the women behind the camera shall we.

How long have you been a photographer?

I’ve been photographing since I was a kid…with my first camera I purchased by selling greeting cards, of all things. Professionally I photographed my first wedding when I was 17 years old while still in high school. I then went off to college where I pursued a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts & Photography, simultaneously working for a photography studio while attending college. I started my own business in 1992. So, it is hard to count ~ but professionally I’ve been photographing for 24+ years. Still love it.

What inspired you to become a photographer?

I’ve always been interested in the arts and was an oil painter first. Photography was something I could do and combine it with my love of being around people. While I always admired works from people like Ansel Adams, I really did it more for the pleasure I got out of photographing (and still do). But what pushed me was when I was taking photography into a local pro-lab and the owner came out one day and said “have you ever thought about doing this for a living?” It was really the first time it crossed my mind that I could actually do what I loved most and support myself with it. It was a huge trigger, that I immediately joined the local professional photography groups and Professional Photographers of America and started making more contacts in the professional community. I have to give a huge credit to Lenny Dixon who was one of the top wedding pros at the time for taking me under his wing and teaching me everything ~ and giving me the confidence that I needed to make it all happen.

How did you begin working with the Muy Bueno trio?

I photographed Yvette’s daughter Maya when she was only a year old, and Yvette’s wedding and well ~ you tend to just fall in love with her whole family. But I actually saw a post where Yvette mentioned something about a cookbook and I immediately said ~ “Let’s do it!” I love Mexican food enough as it is…and well ~ their food is amazing. Besides…they feel like family to me now, it is all too exciting to see this cookbook all come together.

Do you have a favorite Muy Bueno recipe you photographed?

This is a trick question I’m sure. There are way too many to narrow down…let’s see:guacamoletacos, and well ~ every single drink they ever make. This is from someone that really hardly ever drinks. Seriously though…I couldn’t pick just one.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

I have been a photographer for so long; it is really hard to imagine what I would be without it. Of course I love working with children and a child psychologist is what I also went to school for. But, I love traveling and spending time with my kids the most.

When not photographing how do you spend your time?

I love movies, traveling (Mexico in particular), spending time in the mountains, and above all spending time with my two sons.

Any fun up and coming projects you’d like to mention?

2011 was filled with so many projects, including another cookbook I photographed called The Feed Zone Cookbook, and I also had the pleasure of working on a couple of bridal inspiration shoots. It has been so much fun.

2012 projects will be dedicating my time to Muy Bueno of course in addition to my portrait and wedding photography business, and preparing and photographing for a book I’m working on that is two years down the road. I’m not passing out too many details yet ~ but excited about getting things in the works.

Thanks Jeanine and be sure to check out Jeanine’s blog.

Mexico – 2012.

Dreamy sunsets almost every night - it's a great way to wind down in the evening.

I’ve been traveling to Mexico to photograph weddings for about 10+ years – I only remember this because this past year I had to re-new my passport!lol  But, in all seriousness… as much as I love photographing weddings in Mexico – it doesn’t always leave much (if any) time for exploring.  However, I have spent some time in and around Cabo/Todo Santos area – mainly because we have family that live in Todo Santos.

Jill Logan's Gallery located in the heart of Todo Santos

I wanted to take a minute to “plug” the Todo Santos area for a few reasons.  One reason is that it “feels” like Mexico to me.  You drive into town and it looks as it may have looked 80 years ago.  The restaurants are open air – no air-conditioning, the dogs are wandering the streets.  You drive by sheep & cattle along some dirt roads close to town.  There are plenty of “taco stands” around every corner.  Just on the far side of town –

Fun shopping the "Mexican sweets"

I always look forward to visiting the Dolceria for some sweets & pastries.  On the weekends they have a little market with fresh hand-made tamales and sometimes some sausages and meats for sale… along with some arts/jewelry.  It is also becoming quite the artists’ town – with galleries all over the little town.

Fresh tamales at the open market - worth getting up and heading out to on the weekends!

From quiet beaches with not another person in sight, to Pescadaro close by where the surf is amazing.

So if you happen to want to go somewhere that isn’t “all-inclusive” – but relatively easy to get to for some great food at Cafe Santa fe, see some amazing art, and get the Western Mexico feeling – I encourage you to make it a destination.  Besides, the tortillas, tamales, and yummy treats they will whip up for you will keep you coming back.

Ok… well – if you think this sounds too cut off – it doesn’t have to be.  There is an amazing little cafe on the edge of town with wifi, and only a short drive from Pescadaro for an internet cafe as well.  But don’t expect a TV in your hotel…. not many have them – but don’t be afraid, there is always plenty to explore and do with your time!

Catch a latte and a little wi-fi to catch up with reality back home.

Here is a great site that gives you more information about Todo Santos.

A letter on my door step: Picture the results

Well – after a much needed break from blogging this past week, I wanted to get on with post #4 of the series.  The waters have calmed a bit – but I am so grateful for all the people that have seen the positive light that came from the original post/letter.

This was a candid shot sent in by one of the people that read my blog. Thank you so much for sharing!!!!

At first I was just going to post photos that people did – as a result of reading the letter; but, I found it was actually used in many different ways other than just taking more images.  One way that really stuck out in my mind was a photography instructor that used the letter to present to students – to get their opinion.  I have asked to share the link to their blog and Bruce was kind enough to respond – allowing me to link back.  I just really think the perspectives that are coming from these students are fresh, direct and honest above all else.  Keeping an open mind & using what we see/find to learn is an amazing way to grow and become better people.  What I liked best is the question Bruce posed by stating “After reading it, what are your thoughts and feelings? Should this photographer have published this, or kept it to herself? Why?” – To me personally – the most important question was the last he posed… WHY?  When we feel something – it is so important to be able to explain “why” you are feeling a certain way – no matter what your reaction may be.

You can link directly to their post by clicking this link:
Coeur d’Alene High School

For today’s post– We are going to tae a short break from looking at the work of the advanced photography students work. Every once in a while I come across a true gem on the interwebs about photography and the importance of it. THIS is one of them. Photography is more than paper. Read through this letter that this photographer received. After reading it, what are your thoughts and feelings? Should this photographer have published this, or kept it to herself? Why?

Here are the first 25 responses – and of course you can view their entire blog post with all of the 75 comments by clicking on the link as well.

75 Responses to “Finish copyright, Test Friday on it”

  1. m!cHae7 $chMidT says:

    This is extremely deep. I do believe photography is a lot more than just a piece of paper. The memories and the feelings people feel are extraordinary behind every picture. It is a very sad letter but I glad I had a chance to read it. I am also glad it was published so people will think twice about getting their picture taken. Photography captures a moment in history where it can never be repeated. Its a once in a lifetime opportunity.

  2. ;0hn (0nr*y says:

    It is probably a good idea for her not to publish this letter. It is kind of private and if she decides that is is, then it shouldn’t be shown. This made me feel sad and touched about what an influence this photographer has been.

  3. 2@cH 05m@n5ki says:

    I think that it was the right choice for the photographer to publish this and share it with public. Pictures do last a life time and one thing that I hope to leave behind to my children and rest of my family is a lot of great memories. I think that by posting this letter she has made people realize what they should value in their life and to not take anything for granted because it could end at any second.

  4. aLy_N*a3gl3 says:

    I believe that the choice of the photographer to publish and post this letter was a good decision. The women that wrote it even said to pass it along to anyone who cancelled their session so she obviously didn’t want to keep it only between her and the photographer. Now the words that she has written can be a valuable lesson to everyone, even her kids one day when they are old enough to understand large concepts, can look at this letter as a reminder to not value materialistic things and rather enjoy what truly matters. This was a very inspiring and touching story and I am really glad that it was chosen to be shared with everyone.

  5. S@_@nth@ Sh@f3r says:

    This letter is very touching. I felt very sorry for the lady who gave her the letter and I couldn’t help but think about how many times I have spent money on pointless, unnecessary things. I think it was good that she shared this letter because it gives people an example of how being selfish can really take its toll. It also shows how fast things can change and how your life could be over in the blink of an eye.

  6. C@!+1!n Mu11@1y says:

    I think this was a very sad story. The fact that this lady is dying and leaving behind two little kids is really sad. It also makes me realize that I need to cherish every moment and picture now because you never know what will happen. It’s good to have things to remember your loved ones because they won’t be around for ever. I think it’s okay that she shared this, because it will touch other people like it touched her. I don’t think there is anything in this story that that lady wouldn’t want other people to read, so I think it was harmless.

  7. M@rk N(tte1m@n says:

    This made me sad that the lady was dying from cancer. I am glad the photographer shared it because it makes me think of what I am doing with my life and what we take for granted. I am glad she did not just save it for people who cancel photo sessions with her.

  8. Z@ch Bai13y says:

    I think that the woman should’ve gone with the pictures instead of buying all those things. All the things she bought would only last for so long, but the pictures last for a lifetime. I think that the photographer should’ve posted this, because if there’s anyone who feels like canceling a photo shoot so they can spend money on other things, then this could change their mind. It could show them that the pictures would last longer, and would be worth all the money they would pay for it.

  9. k@ss!dy C@rls0n says:

    Im glad she decided to share this letter, it will also get more customers, and respect. It also shows on how important her photos were, it could mean just as much to somebody else. It was very sad but touching. It makes me feel bad for wasting money on unneeded things without appreciation. That letter proves that a photograph isn’t just a simple piece of paper, its more then that, its a memory.

  10. K!o*urt^ney McF.a11 says:

    That letter was very inspiring. You may not realize what you have or what how little of things can mean to you until it comes down to never having them again. A picture can mean a thousand words. She realizes that passing a family photo down to her family after leaving them will mean so much to not just her but her family as well. Certain things in life a lot of people take for granted. This showed me that photos are priceless and are a memory to have forever. I think it was right for her to post this rather than keeping it to herself to share with others the meaning of photos.

  11. K311en H@nN0n says:

    Wow that letter was brutal, it’s amazing the things we can take for granted when there’s stuff like this going on around the world. She’s going to be leaving her family and friends with regrets and no pictures for the memories. That would be terrible. I think that he was right to release this to the public because she gave him permission to send it out to people anyway and I’m sure she would be fine with it.

  12. $@r@ W@1k3r says:

    That is such a touching and amazing story. I think this is such a sad story, it just makes you think of all the stuff we take for granted on a everyday life. I think it was a for the photographer to published this. It sure touched my heart. If that photographer didn’t publish this, nobody would actually know what happened to her. But it is not about the money, it is about the family, shelter, and friends, and about the memories you make!

  13. k@telyn_j0hns0n says:

    This was pretty sad. I think it was a good idea that you published this. I was touch by this letter as well as other people. It makes you think of things we take for granted. It was very touching.

  14. J@C0B_B3HM says:

    It was so sad that this women has cancer. It really makes you think about how life can be so unpredictable and changes at an instant. We just take life for granted when we should be enjoying and capturing every moment of it. It also makes me realize that people spend a lot of money on things that they could get for a lot cheaper such as haircuts and expensive dinners and not on the things that people actually treasure such as photographs. I think it is good that the photographer published it because it is good that people read this and it really makes people think.

  15. R8chl_jston6 says:

    After reading it, what are your thoughts and feelings? Should this photographer have published this, or kept it to herself? Why?
    After reading this, I am sad. I don’t think the photographer should have published this, because what that lady wrote was very personal and you can tell it was hard for her to write. I think family photographs can be nice to save and show your children and grandchildren, but memories are more important than pictures. I think you should cherish memories and pictures are nice too but memories are something that belong only to you, and they are free. Pictures let you remember the way someone looks, but memories let you remember their personality.

  16. BARRI B0CKMAN says:

    that is extremely sad and reminds me of my grandmother. I loved my grandmother a lot yet i only met her a couple times a year. she was a heart felt women who care for everyone but her slef no matter what they had done. i made a lot of memories with my grnad mother all though we didnt take many photos some people dont understand the pain and sorrow that comes from losing a friend or family member but i do. i have lost many of them. i wish i had the opprotunity to take photos with them for that one more memory. this is a tear jerker for me and i hope every one else. death is hard for evveryone even if you do not know the person who died very well or even at all for that matter. i think its great that you send this to the people that cancel on you because life goes fast and you need to make memories. you need to live life to the fullest no matter how crappy it is.

  17. Dy!!@n B@rn3s says:

    This is a really sad story to hear about… It is kinda hard what to think about to comment on something like this. I think that it shows like a lot of courage out of her to send this letter to the photographer and express what is going on in her life. Especially because from my point of view she does not barely even know the photographer very well so it must have been hard for her to open up so much to her. I think that this just really shows the “butterfly effect” in action. Because now she is regretting the fact that she did not get the pictures done and instead she went and got some girl stuff done. I do not think that she should really regret it because she did not know any better or that she had cancer at the time. And i think she should just look at it in a pocitive way that she got all that done and just enjoy what little time she has left.

  18. Jo3h says:

    This was a very touching letter. Its sad to talk about these things out in open to the public for everyone to see the pain that they had in the family. I’m glad that the photographer put this story up for everyone to see to show that little things in life matter.

  19. R@(h3l (h@ff33 says:

    THis is a really sad letter, there are things that i don’t see coming and it hits me like a semi-truck. I can relate to that story because thats just like how my Grandma left us. Its sad and heart breaking but life does happen and you need to look at life every way possible.

  20. R0m@n Kl@n9 says:

    This is a sad story but i personally thought the story about the dying father was sadder. The moral of the story is to not waist your money on things that do not last. Instead spend your money on things that your family will remember forever. Very sad story.

  21. Ja5on m0rris says:

    After i read this i must say i felt very sad. It made me think of all the people i have known that have died and i wish i had more photographs and memories of them. Although i do not think that the photos were needed. I think if she wanted to leave behind memories of herself then she could have just taken pictures with her family and had it be much more personal. But i feel bad she did not get to have it done even though she wanted to afterwords. I think the photographer should have published this just so others could read it and think about it.

  22. $@m !_EE says:

    I would be devastated to receive this letter. I would feel so empty to know the extreme regret that this lady felt for not having the photo shoot. I think the blogger was right in publishing this letter. It serves as a great lesson to everyone who reads it that we should think more on the long-term results of the decisions we make today. The temporary pleasures we enjoy now will be of no benefit to anyone but ourselves, so we need to focus on what will be of the greatest benefit to those we love in the future.

  23. L3V! M^RT3NS says:

    what are your thoughts and feelings? Should this photographer have published this, or kept it to herself? Why?

    I think you don’t need photos to make and keep memories. If you think you absolutely think you need photos then buy a camera because it is a lot cheaper. I think if she published it she would be seen as good but bad. The bad is that people might think that it is a form of advertisement . The good is that she is a nice person. If it was me I would publish it and show it to the world. My main goal would be to find the family some how.

  24. *@b !g@!1—$+e 3D* says:

    I think that it is fine for her to publish the letter if she doesn’t put the ladies name on it and makes sure it is anonymous. This shows that pictures are really meaningful and say a lot more than just what is in the photo. Something very big had to happen to this woman before she notice not to take things for granted. She can teach others a valuable lesson.

  25. 43!_1 p@_^ says:

    That is really sad. Especially when she has kids. I think it was good that she published it. Whenever you have a professional photo shoot or take any picture for that matter, if comes with a memory. Those memories would have been so much more easier to forget with the picture. Even though the pictures seem expensive at the time, they are worth the memories. They pay themselves off very quickly. I’m glad she shared this, because it showed many many people how much pictures are worth.


Making time for my family.

This is one of the hardest balancing acts of all. The work/life balance. So many people work so hard (have to work so hard) – long hours, and are exhausted and yet still want to have time for their families. I’m the same. I have regular days that I photograph, and then always tend to add a few more days in. When I’m home, I’m still checking my e-mails and editing on my computer between cleaning the house, picking up after my kids, or making play dough snakes. A photographers life, like many other professions demands working on the weekends – which is when my husband is off work to watch the kids. I am thankful that I can and do work, and while having your own business is a freeing job, it also means long hours and late nights. So a couple months ago we planned a family week. I’m required to be unplugged for an entire week starting tomorrow. I have a feeling it will be challenging, and yet very necessary as it is the longest I’ve been unplugged in over 7 years. We will be spending some time with a couple of the grandparents and my kids are so excited.

I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll be sure to still have my camera on hand and will post some photos of our time off at Grandpa and Grandma’s house sometime soon after I return to my computer.


I was so excited to get myself into the studio this morning.  I photograph newborn babies quite often – typically around 100x year, but for some reason – I was jumping up and down for this session today.  Partly, because I LOVE photographing siblings.  There is such a unique connection between sisters & brothers… it is a very intangible thing that makes me smile.  Anyway – short post, but had to share photos of these two lovely ladies from this morning!!!

A letter on my door step: waves formation.

I’ve decided to continue on with 3 more posts on “A letter on my door step.”  This will be post 3 of 5 total before the end of this blog heading. I feel like after the mass distribution and hundreds of thousands that have graced the pages, e-mailed me, and all of the amazing stories that I’ve had the chance to read, that I need to follow through for all that have started following my blog because of the post.  In case you’ve missed any up until now, here is the order or far and what to expect coming up.

1. A letter on my door step: Portraits are more than paper

2. A letter on my door step: The follow-up

3. A letter on my door step: Waves formation (the post you are on right now)

4. A letter on my door step: Picture the results (coming soon)

5. A letter on my door step: Family (coming soon)

So obviously I’m sure to most that have been reading my recent posts and seeing the mass response – my personal view of what has happened is best described as a wave formation.  Lovely description of such a thing in nature can be found at Action Sports Maui.  I have personally had such extreme highs and lows the past 3 days – but I stand strong in the fact that I believe I did the right thing by posting the letter.  The stories/experiences/feelings that came pouring in to me are overwhelming, while giving me such renewed faith in human nature and the the value of family, love and the healing power a photograph can give to them.

Emotions that have been expressed mostly by communications to me from viewers: Belonging – Love – Sorrow – Pride – Calm – Gratitude/Thanks – Empathy – Will… and that is just to start.

Call to action was what amazed me the most.  I’ve had so many people telling me they picked up their cameras to photograph their loved ones immediately.

I guess from here, I would love to share a few images from my readers out there.  If you happen to have picked up your camera and have taken a shot of a family member because of reading this post – or if you had some images taken at a portrait session, please share.  Feel free to e-mail them to me at my gmail account:  I of course can’t post everything everyone sends, so don’t feel slighted if I don’t post yours – but would love to post a few on my next post.  I’ll just take the first 6 or 7 images I receive.  Please – if you send something that a professional photographer took, also send a release with it and if you are the photographer, please include a logo on your image so you get credit.  Only rated “G” photos please!  If you have a little paragraph to go with an image about you or how this impacted you – I would love to add a little about it too.

Jeanine Thurston Photography


NEWBORN Casting Call – March 2012

I’m planning a newborn baby inspiration photo-shoot in March 2012.  I’m looking for 5 or 6 tiny newborns that will be around 6-8lbs during the last week in March this year.   Ideally we will have actually about 8-10 newborns on site for the shoot, and then work with those that are cooperating the best for the final inspiration image.  During the shoot I always try to take a few individual images as well, and each newborn that participates will receive a $50 print credit for compensation.

If you are due soon, please message me as soon as you can to let me know if you may be available… I photograph a lot of newborns, and know that dates are only approximate… but if you are due anytime in the next few weeks, I would love to get you on the list of potential little models.

Details and exact date are coming soon! 🙂

Thank you!!!


Creativity control.

There is nothing more exciting to most photographers than shooting something creative, out of the ordinary, unique.  As business people we know that we need to appeal to our clients, know what they would like best to be a profitable business – as well as put a smile on their face when they see images they are happy with.  But – what drives me as an artist are those people that walk through my door and say – “Do what you do best – I trust you.”

2012 is my year of creative control for me.

Each year, instead of making a new year resolution – I try to decide one point of my art/carrier/life that I will take focus on, and then make sure it will still strike a balance that includes my family.

Early in my career I made calendars and timelines that I stuck to strictly for marketing/mailing & never really faltered from the “plan.”  I have to say – it worked/works – and many of us creative minds really need the map to keep us on course.  Then I had children – and realized no matter what the calendar said, family was controlling my calendar and in the beginning I felt very restricted and even sad at how little control I had over my life.

In 2011, I finally got my “creativity” flowing again.  I made some new connections and lasting friendships with others in my industry and we had an amazing time creating and playing – doing what we do best.  It is refreshing working with other vendors where everyone is let loose to make their own creative decisions and in the end we all have smiles on our faces and feel so satisfied with what we created & photographed.

2012 I have decided is my creative control year.  As always, I shoot for my clients… what I know they want, what they think they want, and then toss in a few of what I want.  It is a great formula & I know it works for me.  I encourage any photographer to use this formula if they need to support themselves doing their craft. After a couple decades doing this, I’m just changing the order of priority.  Why change it?  For one, I’m finally finding that what I want is more and more what my clients actually want in the end.  So I’m popping a little more inspiration into my shoots, and asking more questions ahead of time so that I can be 100% prepared for getting EVERYTHING I can get from each shoot.

That being said – I’m so excited for some inspiration shoots we have coming up… and I don’t want to give anything away quite yet, but I’ll be keep you posted on what’s ahead coming in March-October this year.

A letter on my door step: The follow-up

Ok – honestly, I had absolutely no idea what would happen over the last 24 hours.  Although I’ve been in professional photography for around 24 years – I did not set out to post something that would be passed along to so many people.  Today, my e-mail, blog & twitter were turned upside down with mass communication beyond comprehension.  95% of the voices I heard through Facebook, Twitter, E-mail as well as blog posts were a grouping of similar stories, people who could really relate, and thankful people that loved the reminder to give a little more love an attention to those that you love around you.  About 3% were questions about me, about the family, and about photography.  That left a very small 2% that found the blog post offensive and questioned my integrity in doing so.  Looking at the percentages – I will say that there will always be a few nay sayers and negative people, but the astonishing positive and thankful feedback actually has left me in tears over half the past day.  So I went to the studio with no make-up, hair in a mess and nice big puffy eyes – and am grateful for all of the stories shared from all corners of the globe.

Just because everyone isn’t rosy and positive doesn’t mean they don’t have a valid perspective, so I feel like I should address some questions in today’s post.  These are answers to only questions I’ve received up until now – and I apologize if I’ve missed something from any of you, and will try to go through and e-mail some people directly as well.

** Were you blocking a lot of negative comments so far?

Actually no. I have currently only “unapproved” 5 posts so far… all of which contained either foul language or I felt were bashing the feelings of sincere people that posted comments on my blog.  I e-mailed a response to each person that I “unapproved” explaining exactly why I had done so, as well as addressing their concerns or harsh words.

** Is Karen still alive? Can you post photos of her and her family?

Sorry to say that she has passed.  I do have images from past sessions and wedding; however I and the family do not feel it is the right place to put faces to her words – as her words speak for themselves.  They prefer not to be recognized, or contacted – especially with young children involved.  Morning and dealing with a sever loss is really a personal matter – and it is a very fragile situation.

** Was the post a marketing ploy or hoax?

No.  The only benefit I feel from this is that others can bond and feel some greater picture.  I have my own family, a full-time business and want to pass along how important loving relationships are or can be to my children.  Cancer has hit close to home in my family as well – and it was a very awakening experience for me.  A reminder of how quickly life passes, and how even I put off photos with my children.  As photographers, we are behind the camera – and the nudge that this letter provided me was to do more portraits with my husband and children…. and ME in the photograph.  It’s about setting aside the thought of a few extra wrinkles, or couple extra pound because you don’t feel like you look perfect and getting in front of the camera for sentiment sake.  Unfortunately I don’t think I could possibly convince some people of this – but I felt like I still needed to try to explain my actual intent.  I by no means believe this was her last “wish” as one so un-kindly put either.  I know her and I also know that she probably sat down and wrote a number of letters to people because that is the kind of person she was.  Loving.

** Do I expect people to spend thousands on photography?

That is quite a personal decision and really – with my own family and trying to support them on a photographer’s budget I have to tighten my belt too.   I am all to familiar with paycheck to paycheck.  So in short… NO… that isn’t something I would demand or expect – or force anyone into.  Many seem to be un-aware that photographers are small business owners – we are no different than anyone else with a job (except we rarely get a steady paycheck).  We have lots of bills, many of us have families, we pay our own insurance –  if we are pros and we also have increasingly large over head expenses with continually upgrading equipment & computers.  We work all hours day and night too.  It is as far from a 9-5 job as most will ever understand.  Many photographers (myself included) have actually lowered our rates or offer payment options or packages to make it easier if a client chooses to hire us for their memories.

I want to make it abundantly clear that at least 90% off all my photographs of my family and children are “candid” on the fly and “in the moment.”  And yes – these are prized by me just as much as the professional looking images.

** Guilt trip?

Well – I guess you can call it what you would like.  Some people have called it a real awakening, some have said thank you for the reminder, and some have said I was a awful person too.

Here is my opinion.. or view I guess you can say:

“Call it whatever you want!  I LOVE MY FAMILY.  I know now more than ever that there are hundreds of thousands of people that feel love for their families and friends.  If yesterday’s post made just ONE of you pick up your camera and take a family photo or a few extra shots of your children or parents/grandparents then that 2% that are disgusted with me, don’t matter – my love and concern is with those that the post touched in a positive way.  I would love to photograph as many people as possible in my lifetime, but it makes me happy just to know that others out there do see value in what a photograph IS.  It is beautiful memories of past lives, the building blocks of who you are today and who you will be tomorrow, and it is stories for  children and generations to come.”

I am very proud to be a professional photographer

I am proud to be in a profession that touches so many people in an amazing – astounding way for generations behind and ahead of me.

I am proud that I can see beauty in everyone…. EVERYONE.

For all photographers out there – professional or not – be proud that you record our history, love and our lives.  For clients or potential clients… we photograph people because we love the spirit and uniqueness of every person.

I wish everyone a beautiful and heart-felt 2012!!!!  My many thanks to everyone that has and will post about their experiences.  I enjoy reading and hearing about all of the amazing connections out there and have had many e-mails and posts stating how much they appreciate everyone posting and seeing all of the love and kindness!

Here is the link to the post that this follow-up refers to as well:

A letter on my door step. portraits are more than paper.

There will be no portrait photos in this post.  This letter wasn’t mailed – it was at my doorstep when I got home a couple months ago.  I read it, I cried, and read it again – probably a hundred times by now.  It wasn’t easy to read – and honestly, as much as it validates what I do for a living – I wasn’t sure I was going to share it either.  If you choose to read through the letter, you will know why I’ve finally chosen to share it.

July 2nd, 2011

Jeanine – 

Today I am writing for a couple of reasons.  I have some quiet time at the moment and need to get a couple of things off my mind.  I will leave this for my husband to deliver to you when he is ready.

You photographed my wedding, you photographed my first pregnancy and my first baby.  I contacted you awhile back to photograph my 2nd child and family.  After getting prices and realizing I would want all of the pictures as we love your work – I decided against spending $500+ – which is what I normally spend for portraits and prints with you..  Please know it is not because I don’t value your amazing eye, or how much we love the experience.

That week that I decided to NOT do a session with you, this is how I spent some money.

On Sunday I called and cancelled our session.  Monday I went out and got my hair cut ($39+tip), and colored ($65), Thursday I had my nails done ($24), my family went out to dinner at a somewhat expensive restaurant for no particular reason costing us $79 + tip.  This was just 4 days since canceling our session, already totaling over $200 for un necessary things.  My nails only lasted about 2 weeks, my hair is gone, and seven weeks passed when I got the phone call from our doctor.  It was not something I expected and the cancer has spread very quickly.  I will be leaving my husband, my 6 year old girl and my now 2 year old – not by choice.  It is very hard for me to talk about it which is why I need to write you.

I watch your Facebook page and your posts about the value of a photo and if I could give back all of those things that I purchased this few weeks after I cancelled my session with you, knowing what I know now, and have that session, well… I would do it in a heartbeat. 

Now my time is done and there are no more chances for me.  The next time someone cancels a session – my wish is that you forward this letter to them.  Time is fragile, it is gone before you know you had it.  If you charged $200 for one print it wouldn’t be enough for what it is actually worth.  I cringe to think that my priorities were a manicure over a memory to pass onto my babies and husband.

My love and thanks for what you have given us from past photos.  I am so sorry that I did not see it as more than paper until now.

Karen L.