Speaking in Charlotte

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I'm very happy to be among the blooming trees and blossoming flowers of spring in Charlotte, NC, this weekend as I hear it is snowing today in Maine!

I'm in Charlotte as a faculty member for the Southern Short Course, the oldest photojournalism conference for news photographers (this is the 59th year!). It's my first time attending and I initially thought it was connected with the Northern Short Course (I attended many NSC conferences in my journalism days) and NPPA (National Press Photographers Association, which I have been a member for 10 years) but I have since learned they they are independent of each other. Many people apparently make this mistake, too!

Marc Kawanishi, the conference's CEO, actually found me a few months ago through mutual friends on Facebook of all places. So never underestimate the power of online networking sites! He invited me to come and speak about News Wedding Photographers, my second business, paired with Grover Sanschagrin of SportsShooter.com and Photo Shelter.

I spoke about how popular wedding photojournalism is, the importance of being a wedding photographer (I think many people overlook how important a role we play as historians documenting the beginning a couple's family legacy on their wedding day), how I got started in weddings and why, and later about how to establish your own business. I showed a slideshow of images from members of News Wedding Photographers because I don't think everyone knows about the bold new world of wedding photojournalism and instead, think of how I used to think of wedding photography before I got into it: posed! I'm so thrilled that the journalism approach has trickled into weddings so that the stiff, traditional wedding photographs of our parents' generation will stay in the past.

The feedback I've received so far has been great. And it was especially fun to have former newspaper colleagues and even college classmates in the audience who I haven't seen for a long time.

Tonight, I'm participating in three hours of student portfolio critiques. Tomorrow is a long day of lectures and I'll have a table at a trade show to talk to folks about News Wedding Photographers. And later, I'll be a panelist in a round-table discussion on daily and long-term storytelling projects before another round of portfolio critiques in the evening.

I'll be one tired puppy when I get home on Sunday night, but very excitedly anticipating my studio lease starting on Tuesday!!

theknot's Real Weddings contest

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emilie inc. brides and grooms, have you entered your images in theknot's first annual Real Weddings Awards? Click this link to submit your favorite 7 images from your wedding by March 31st, and have your friends and family vote for your photos. Anyone who shares photos is automatically qualified to win a 10-day safari worth $20,000! Good luck!

Celebrating 30

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For my third birthday, I had cupcake cones (yes, cupcakes in ice cream cones). For my 30th birthday, we had wine and cupcakes! Even tho my actual birthday isn't until April 1st (no, I'm no fool!), J surprised me with a fantastic celebration yesterday because I will be out of town next weekend.

We started with a wine tasting at the Vintner's Cellar Winery in Portland, a new make-your-own wine shop and tasting room. The wine, surprisingly, was yum-my! And the ambiance couldn't have been better, including the owner's sister's wedding party (she eloped at the shop just before we got there!) pushed to the back room to accommodate our party providing many loud outbursts of laughter, and tossing wine corks into a tall vase on a shelf (if you made it on your first try, you won a bottle of wine). J was so sweet to decorate with emilie inc. pink & brown delicious cupcakes from Two Fat Cats Bakery in Portland (the pictures doesn't do these justice. They were amazing!), 30 pink & brown balloons, a "simply 30" banner and a gorgeous cheese platter from Whole Foods. It was a fantastic afternoon!

I thankfully had my point & shoot in my purse, but it was terribly frustrating as the flash was too strong when it was on, and the pictures too grainy when it was not. Some of these pictures are from my mom, too.


The group picture...
Top row left to right: Stephanie and Craig (I photographed their wedding 4/07), Kris and Rachel (went to summer camp with Rachel in high school and haven't seen her since her wedding 8 years ago!), me, J, Mom, Emily (best friend from high school), Linda (dear photo community friend), Cindy, Randy, Dan (Dan was cropped from the picture. Oh dear!). Cindy and Dan are my personal trainers from Body of Work (they passed on the cupcakes). ;)

Bottom row left to right: Scott and Kara (Kara is my best friend from college and the reason I moved to Maine), Lisl (best friend from middle school), Steve (stepfather extraordinaire), Sam and Kyle (dear photo community friend and participant at Roots!).


From there, the party moved to dinner at Flatbread Pizza (where Chris and Cyndi, more photo friends, joined us) and after-dinner drinks at RiRa, a favorite watering hole next door.

(Chris Smith photo)

I know everyone's schedules were busy this weekend with the Easter holiday, and I truly appreciate those who could make the effort to come from near and far! I'm so blessed to have such great friends. Thanks for the special day, J! You're the best! xo

Urban Dwellings on WCSH6

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emilie inc.'s studio interior designer Tracy Davis of Urban Dwellings was interviewed for a news story last week describing a new affordable & green apartment complex she's working on in Portland. Units start at a reasonable $140K! For more information, check out the project's website for more information. And watch the video clip to meet Tracy!

emilie inc. associates

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I'm thrilled to announce the official launch of emilie inc. associates and the website featuring three new associate photographers for emilie inc: Geneve, J, and Wyndee.

Associate photographers are available for wedding dates that I am already booked or for wedding budgets that are less than my price point. Associates range in experience and price but rest assured, clients will receive the same great customer service and product quality emilie inc. is known for. So take a peek at the new site and meet the newest members of the emilie inc. team!

Welcome aboard, Geneve, J and Wyndee!

Travel recap

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What a week! J and I had a wonderful time traveling to photograph the Key West nuptials of Lyndsay and Andrew and exploring the island (we loved Key West so much more than we expected we might). Check back later next week for some of their pictures!

Then we flew to Las Vegas for the annual WPPI convention. Among 11,000 other photographers, I roamed the enormous trade show, talked to folks about Roots, browsed some new products, and listened to some fascinating photographers talk about topics such as their websites, lighting and motivation. It was inspiring, exciting, and exhausting!

After the trade show closed, the nights were spent partying with photographers hosted at parties by Sara France (we had fun with a photo booth and temporary tattoo artist), BluDomain (a spooky house outside town with a tarot card reader, hypnotist and card games), [b]ecker (even tho the a/c was out in his suite from the power outage!), FW6 (such a treat to see these friends- both new and old- just two weeks after the workshop in Texas), Pictage (yummy food and conversation at Tao) and Photo LoveCat (instead of renting a suite or house, Anne rented an entire bar at the Rio for the night! Go Anne!).

You can get a sense of the excitement of the week by checking out the video by Ron Dawson by clicking below.

Ron is a very talented videographer in California who also has created a weekly audio podcast called F-Stop Beyond. I was interviewed for an upcoming podcast where Ron, like Barbara Walters twin, easily guided me to pour out every last bit of my personal and professional life. I'll let you know when that is posted, unless I'm too embarrassed!

Jules Cafe

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For those of you who are big Jules Bianchi fans, like myself, be sure to check out her new website that offers tips, specials and goodies for photographers called Jules Cafe. Roots Workshop is featured as a daily special!

out of town: Key West and Vegas

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We're on our way to Key West to photograph a wedding this weekend, and then to Vegas for the annual WPPI photography convention. I'll be sure to update the blog with our travels!

What I did today

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Curious?

Unfortunately I can't tell you what or who I photographed today. But perhaps if you watch Martha Stewart in the next week or two, you might spot it.

Sorry to be so vague, but I'll post more information as I find out myself. It's exciting!!

published: Ladies' Home Journal

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Late last year I had the pleasure of photographing Lazlo, a 12-year-old Belgian sheepdog, for the Animal Affairs feature in the current issue of Ladies' Home Journal.

Lazlo's owner, Susan Walsh, and other family pets endured abuse (even death) from Susan's ex-husband during their divorce 7 years ago. Susan took her story to the state legislature and was the catalyst for the passing of a pet protection bill in 2006. Now in Maine, and several other states that have followed suit, the law protects not just spouses and partners of domestic abuse, but pets as well.

Meeting Susan was a humbling experience. She's a very simple, soft-spoken woman who has immense strength. The sign in front of her farm reads "Blessed Be Farm: Founded, 1984. Liberated 2001."

Fitness for a Cure '08

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I had the privilege of photographing Fitness for the Cure to benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital last weekend. You might recall that my stepmother Paula is involved with this group and I photographed this event in 2006. I was unable to attend the 2007 event so I was excited to see how much the group had grown in two years!

Fitness for the Cure is the brainchild of Sherri Laffey Sarrouf, a fitness instructor at Gold's Gym, wife and mother of two (I photographed her children's holiday card portrait). She has no professional dance training, but 9 years ago she organized a group of friends who liked hip-hop and decided to spread their fitness message to those in need. The group has grown to include school children and adults, and they meet once a week to practice.

Each year they have a formal show, both in the afternoon for kids (with ice cream, coloring and tattoos) and in the evening (with a formal dinner, silent and live auctions). This is the second year that they have performed in both Nashua, NH, and Andover, MA. The Andover show raised $132,000 and the Nashua show is later this month. Sherri is $170,000 away from reaching her goal of having raised $1 million for St. Jude's! If you would like more information on how to donate, **click here.**

You can get a better sense of the day by clicking **here** to view the slideshow. But I'll post a few images as well:

This is Sherri. She has the most kind soul...

... and killer abs!

All of the dance routines are high energy, and include lots of fun moves!

When not on stage, the other performers cheer their fellow dancers on (second from the right, front, is Sherri's daughter Elizabeth).

The younger kids all wore Red Sox hats in one number. I loved this little boy waiting for the music with his Boston hat, St. Jude shirt, and hope angel necklace.

Sharing the love.

Getting low.

Waiting their turn.

The day included a Locks of Love hair cutting.

This is John Moses, the CEO of ALSAC (the fund-raising organization of St. Jude). A lawyer by trade, Mr. Moses is passionate about sharing the importance of St. Jude.


A few facts about St. Jude's:
- The daily operating cost is $1,267,349.00.
- 85.3% of every dollar received goes directly to the hospital.
- St. Jude is the only pediatric cancer research center where no child is ever denied treatment because of the family's inability to pay.
- St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20% to more than 70% overall.

Photographers: I encourage you to volunteer your talent to an organization that might not have the funds to hire a professional. The slideshow I put together from the 2006 show brought in a lot of additional money for this charity simply by passing a url around to friends and family via emails. I also donated portrait sessions for this silent auction as well as a St. Jude benefit through my local Pottery Barn. One person can make a difference!

Texas- recap

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It's been a few days since I've been home from Texas and I am busy catching up on those necessary things like emails, voicemails, and sleep! It's good to be home, but boy, I miss my friends from the workshop.

For those who aren't familiar, the Foundation Workshop is an intense photojournalism experience for wedding photographers (and inspiration for my Roots Workshop!). This year's group included 5 teams of 5 students, each with a team leader, two shooting mentors, a team assistant and a crew of volunteers and support staff. It was a huge group (as you can see from the previous post of our group photo).

It's difficult to put into words what the experience in Texas was like for me. Initially, I was nervous for my presentation on Monday morning so my concentration was making it through that (it was actually quite fun and many of the students told me they got a lot out of it). Then the focus shifted to our individual groups as the students received their assignments. I was a mentor for Brooks Whittington's team, a ridiculously talented wedding photojournalist from Dallas whose pure pj I respect and admire. Allegra and Tem Juarez rounded out the staff for our team. The participants varied in background and ability, but came together to produce an amazing body of work.

This is our fearless leader, Brooks.


And this is me, giving my presentation on Monday (Thanks, Ben).


A shooting exercise at a local carnival with Tina and Bill (Thanks, Joe).


Hard at work compiling our team slideshow for the presentation night (Thanks, Allegra).


Coming up for air!


Aga Agnieszka, from NY, was assigned to cover a dance school. Aga had a frustrating first day, but knocked it out of the park when she gained some confidence to try again on day 2.





Ande Aguilar from Texas was assigned to cover the daily life of a firehouse.



Anil Tohani, from London (!), was assigned to a stable.





Joe Wang, from Maryland, was also assigned to a dance school, this one ballet.





And Kerry Ryan, from Seattle, was assigned to the day in the life of a family.





I am oozing with pride over their accomplishments in such a short amount of time. To be thrown into the documentary world with no prior experience and leave with some killer stories is a testament to the commitment of the staff and students who make this a worthwhile experience. In between all the sweat and tears, friendships have been formed that will last a lifetime! Thanks to Huy and Bill for inviting me to be a part of it!
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