Embracing the new year!

2014!  Six years ago, Jason and I started our small business venture with big dreams and goals, each year chipping away at yet another milestone for ourselves and MMP.  I still find it humbling to look back from where we started to where we are now and those continued big dreams and goals we continue to strive for.  This past year was filled with such amazing clients that shared in moments of laughter and warmed our hearts with each event.  With each of our clients over the years being unique, I still find it a blessing to remember each event (and the couples names which shocks people at bridal shows when we talk about images) and be able to share details with new couples joining the MMP client family. 

Also for 2013 we took a leap of faith in a few forms… one being an actual living, breathing office space to make our own and meet with clients rather than trying to fit three sample albums and a laptop on one of those tiny coffee shop tables.. sorry 2009-12.. you know what we’re talking about here:)  We’re blessed to have such amazing vendor relationships and friends to help support our business and aspirations! 

The other major “breathe-into-a-paper-bag” moment was saying sayonara to my full time day job and working in the business full time.  Working for yourself is a dream so many have and also one of my greatest challenges to turn off during a typical work day.   In two job territory times I would work the full time job then come home and edit all night or head straight to back to back client meetings or to a photo session then pretty much right to bed around midnight.  Its hard to say okay.. 5pm.. quitting time when you’re self employed but I’m learning.. until an email comes in and I’m all over it at 9pm at night:)

For 2014 we’re striving to continue to provide top notch service to our client family, continue to grow and evolve our styles, and develop educational practices for not only our immediate team but for other photographers.  We’re hoping to showcase and network with other amazing local wedding vendors to expand our knowledge to assist our clients in booking the absolute best vendor for their needs.  Lastly, we’re expanding our own personal education by continuing course work from top national photographers and attending specialized seminars.

In closing, we’re eternally grateful for our clients, vendor friends, and supporters.  Without you guys, we wouldn’t be where we are today and where we’re hoping to be tomorrow!

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A Coat of Fresh Paint

I’m a proud maximizer- in terms of Tom Rath’s Strengthsfinder at least.  Which to those who are saying ‘McClain, what the heck are you talking about?’, it’s an online assessment that was a requirement at a previous employer, which of course I rolled my eyes at before actually understanding it’s purpose.  For the quick, quick version, the assessment asks a bazillion questions then tallies up what your top five strengths are in terms of life, work ethic, etc.  It’s great because it brings to light how you best perform and in what scenarios you flourish in versus the ones you struggle in.  Plus the chances of ever meeting someone who has the same top five in the same order is a 1 in 3 million chance! I’m a Behavioral Science grad.. I eat this stuff up!  Anyway.. maximizer’s strive to always think ahead, to develop the great into superb, basically beat a dead horse until it’s ready to run in the Kentucky Derby again.. okay that was a bad idiom but basically perfectionist to the max.  That said, this drives Jason CRAZY!  I over think every little detail and once we’ve completed something big, I’m ready to make tweaks to get it to the next level.  So when I mentioned I wanted to spiffy up the office bathroom, he rolled his eyes and gave me carte blanche to get creative with it!

After our typical $4.00 a minute IKEA venture to grab the necessities, a gallon of the most fresh spring-like green paint, and a sixpack of Dogfish Head 90 minute for Mr. McClain, we unveiled our take on a modern, classy for any bride, office bathroom.  Here’s our final reveal and I promised to wait at least six months before making any changes:)

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Who Has Inspired You?!

We (Jason and I) like to think that everyone has at least one couple who a person might have looked up to for months, years, or their entire lives.  This couple might have been his/her parents, grandparents, or even friends, who through thick and thin, they are always together, fighting through everyday life but not forgetting about each other.  These couples are strong, loving, and compassionate towards one another and are truly inspirational couples. These couples inspire our own romances!

For Jason, his inspirational couple is his parents.  Watching his mother and father taught lessons of putting another person’s needs before oneself, always finding ways to tell the other person that they’re in the forefront of their thoughts, and establishing that a family bond should never be taken for granted.  Melissa’s inspirational couple is her grandparents who’ve just celebrated 51 years together, always call each other dear and honey, and can laugh and share openly with one another.

In celebration of these couples we’re opening up another session giveaway for the month of April.  If you’d like to recognize an inspirational couple and nominate them for a free session, please email a brief description of why you find them to be an inspirational couple, their names, and an image of the couple to mmcclainphoto@gmail.com no later than April 14th, 2012.  From April 15th-April 30th, voting will take place in the Inspirational Couple Facebook album on the Melissa McClain Photography page.  The couple who receives the most likes or comments on their image will win a free session at a location of their choice, an online gallery for a year, and 2 free 8×10 images.

Be sure to nominate the couple who has helped shape your romance!

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Jason’s Parents

Melissa’s Grandparents

So You Want to Be A Photographer? Really?

I often have to chuckle a bit when I meet people or people contact us about starting their own photography company.  Sure there is fun and adventure, you meet a lot of great people, and some.. well.. we won’t go there, and always have something to do on a Saturday between April and October, but what often is forgotten is the business side of things.  There’s marketing, meetings, final consultations, research, and equipment purchases just to name a few.

This past week has been insane with playing catch up on meetings, consultations, and as one of our team member say “getting the band back together” aka prepping team members for their next gig!  As glamorous I really do feel our job is, it is amazingly exhausting during the busy season!  As not to deter anyone from entering this profession, I actually recommend it, you first and foremost MUST find balance in your life!

If you’re a social butterfly, out every weekend and love a crowd, then potentially event photography might be up your ally.  If you’re a big family person, love kids and spending time with family, then potentially portrait photography is your thing.  If you’re a hopeless romantic (like myself) and love seeing a real life love story every weekend play out, wedding photography might be best.  Regardless of what your path is, time for yourself and those you love should always come first and business a close second, after all, hopefully your clients are like ours, a second set of family or close friends!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to watch a movie with my wonderful husband:)

>Introspective Views of a Professional Photographer

> Last evening we finally stopped punishing our Netflix subscription and watched the highly anticipated (in the McClain household) Annie Leibovitz Life Through A Lens DVD. It was an extremely interesting perspective into the makings of a professional and very well known photojournalist (photographed the Rolling Stones in their prime while on tour, very last images captures of John Lennon 5 hours before he was shot, and photographed next to all the A-listers in Hollywood) who helped to bring her style into mainstream photography of today. It took the viewer from beginning roots at Rolling Stone Magazine to Vanity Fair, including perspectives from clients in regards to their shoots.

For those who know me well, I’m a huge fan of her work and style and have been for some time. I find inspiration in her vivid way of capturing life in it’s raw state and love the creativity she brings to personalize each shoot.

One thing that stuck with me from the DVD was when she was talking about her own life. She mentioned that as a photographer it is very easy to get caught up in your subjects, capturing them and seeing pieces of their lives and personalities, so much that you forget sometimes to live your own life. How crazy is that?! And in some cases can be held true. Which is why finding balance in your life is an absolute must that I’m sure many photographers struggle with, me included! It’s definitely something that I plan to keep in the front of my mind as we expand on our careers in this crazy and exciting world of photography!

For anyone who is unfamiliar with Annie’s work I highly recommend at very minimum a Google search and definitely recommend reading into any of her books.