Active listening.

When I was young, part of my English classes from as far back as grade-school, I was taught active listening.  In recent years I have found more and more that this is a lost skill – or one that hasn’t been continued in education to any extent.  What made me stop and do this post today (which some may think is off topic) was the blatant response to me restating- rephrasing what I had heard another say.  I was abruptly told “You don’t have to summarize or repeat everything I say.”  I was taken back and at the time didn’t know why I felt so disturbed by this person’s reaction until I took a moment and realized that they were not doing the same to me.  To push it a little further, I later asked if they remembered what I had said – the answer was NO – the conversation may has well never happened.  The reason I think this is an important post regardless of not being 100% about photography is the importance it has both in our friendships, our relationships, and our BUSINESS.  I let this go a few days until it festered a bit and was trying to decide if I was just being obnoxious or maybe it was a “mid-west” thing growing up.  I saw this as part of being a good communicator and active listing was always taught to me to be a way of listening with attention instead of only thinking of the next thing you were going to say.  I felt it was polite.

So, then I did a “google search” to see what a good definition for listening was and this is what I found on Wikipedia (you can find it at this link: Active Listening):

Active listening is a communication technique that requires the listener to feed back what they hear to the speaker, by way of re-stating or paraphrasing what he has heard in his own words, to confirm what he has heard and moreover, to confirm the understanding of both parties.

The ability to listen actively demonstrates sincerity, and that nothing is being assumed or taken for granted. Active listening is most often used to improve personal relationships, reduce misunderstanding and conflicts, strengthen cooperation, and foster understanding. It is proactive, accountable and professional.

When interacting, people often “wait to speak” rather than ‘hear’ attentively. They might also be distracted. Active listening is a structured way of listening and responding to others, focusing attention on the “function” of communicating objectively as opposed to focussing on “forms”, passive expression or subjectivity.

There are many opinions on what is “active listening”. A search of the term reveals interpretations of the “activity” as including “interpreting body language” or focusing on something other than words. Successful communication is the establishment of common ground between two people—understanding.Agreeing to disagree is common ground. Common ground can be false, i.e., a person says they feel a certain way but they do not. Nevertheless it is common ground, once accepted as understood. Dialogue, understanding and progress can only arise from that common ground. And that common ground cannot be established without respect for the words as spoken by the speaker, for whatever reason.

Thus the essence of active listening is as brutally simple as it is effective: paraphrasing the speakers words back to them as a question. There is little room for assumption or interpretation. It is functional, mechanical and leaves little doubt as to what is meant by what is said. “The process is successful if the person receiving the information gives feedback which shows understanding for meaning. Suspending one’s own frame of reference, suspending judgment and avoiding other internal mental activities are important to fully attended to the speaker.

It is my personal opinion that this is the CORE of good communication.  It assures people that you are listening to or talking with know you are invested in what they are saying.  

I’m also very interested to hear anyone’s opinion or thoughts on the matter, or if they have experienced some of the same reaction as I was faced with –  that it was bothersome to another to communicate like this.

Going for the EPIC wedding shots.

After you have been photographing in the wedding business for a few years you will discover, like any other art I would imagine, you ride waves.  Once you get to a certain level of photographic skill you have to maintain that level – which sometimes is harder than getting there to begin with.  I love that the connections that I have made over the years photographing weddings allow me the opportunity to find specific vendors that I absolutely click with.  You share a vision of making every shoot great, and are always reaching for that epic image in your art.

I stepped back from inspiration shoots for some time.  I was busy with my business and then kids came along and found less and less time.  These past three years I’ve made a point of setting aside a few dates a year for pure inspiration and going after those Epic images that make me love photography so much.  It is a rush getting done with a well set shoot knowing you have already fallen in love with an image or more.  As much as I like posting images on Facebook ASAP because as a team everyone is excited and I like to keep that excitement going…. I typically hold back a bit on my favorite.   Ok… well, maybe not so much – holding back for me is a couple of days.

So – that being said – here is my favorite from this past week.  I fell in love with it – and hope you do too.

Thank you to Isabelle for orchestrating the shoot entirely (Isabelle Kline Design) – you allow me the freedom at our shoots to create and that gives me more love for my work.  Yana Jones – absolutely amazing model and beautiful person inside out.  Danielle Banfield (Blushing Bride) – you make me smile and I’m so happy that you have helped me in so many of my inspirations by trusting that regardless of the dirt or grime I get on your beautiful gowns we make beautiful images because of your dresses.  Samantha Koch (LadyCharm Artistry) – working with you has been a pure pleasure – I love everything you do for hair and make-up, you are the complete package and my #1 – happy that I met you.

I’m also grateful for inspiring places that we have in Colorado (Ribbons n Rainbows in this case) – and the beautiful skies that come with living in this majestic state.

BABY Jack tab blankets

SUPER happy to say that I’m now carrying Baby Jack tab blankets at our new studio in Denver.  Both my kids LOVED their tab blankets – in fact they wore them completely out because they carried them everywhere.  They are super soft and have the great sensory tabs and nice and small so your kids can tote them around without taking up much room at all.  If you are interested, we will have some available at the studio or if you see one of the designs here that you like, call me and I can let you know if I have it in stock and can also take orders over the phone or online.  Any questions: (720)566-9770 or e-mail us at
baby Jack blankets are all handmade ribbon tab blankets. They are baby/child size.Each blanket has 1 looped ribbon attached for clipping toys or a pacifer and the rest of the ribbons are sewn shut to create “tabs”. This is to prevent from easily popping off after normal wear & tear and to prevent safety issues like getting little fingers caught.
They are PERFECT  perfect baby shower gifts!
General Information

Please wash on cold delicate & tumble dry solo to prevent from shrinking. Ribbons may fray and stray after normal wear and tear so please moniter children carefully!

$23.00 + tax (& shipping)