Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Tidbit Post: The ins, the outs, the whats, the whys...

It just occurred to me that I've referenced several different avenues of my creative, professional and personal life lately, and I've never really wrapped it all up in a nice, tiny bow for readers who may just be coming to the table now after a series of big changes and new adventures. So, here it is...what I'm up to on any given day and what you can expect to see and hear on the blog.

My husband and I just celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary, which means I've been in business for just over 5 years now (holy cow!). My daughter, Emily, who by now you've seen and heard from No Makeup March (highest traffic post to date on this blog!), continues to sprinkle our lives with preteen angst and general fashion monstrosity. Needless to say, we laugh a lot. My twin boys, Ben & Jake, are just about 2 now, which means the state of their energy these days isn't properly defined by any language or word known to mankind. They are the lights of my life, and while they certainly keep me on my toes (when they're awake, when they're asleep, I'm usually face down in my own bed in recovery mode), every second spent with them is a blessing and a constant reminder that God is faithful.

And beyond the haze of a full time career in the corporate world, I somehow manage to find time for my photography. After the boys were born, it became pretty clear that I needed to clean the slate a bit to focus my energies on family and home, while making sure my creative life centered around my areas of strength and greatest inspiration for both my benefit and the ultimate benefit of those clients I am blessed to call friends. So for the past two years, I've focused on engagement, wedding and boudoir photography with a few twists thrown into the mix:

1. Hampton Roads Creative: As a core blogger and founder of this special little community, I've found a niche that I absolutely adore. Lots of new learners, great encouragement and a voice to my business mindset and general approach that hopefully lends a hand to others growing new ideas and ventures in their own creative lives. The community is always happy to have new members, so if you're looking for a place to connect with other artists in the Hampton Roads area, please join us! case you missed it, my little dudes made an appearance on the blog just this morning!

2. Shutterbug Photography Series: I talked about this in Monday's post but for those who didn't catch it, I have found another happy place in teaching new DSLR camera owners how to use those expensive, complex techno-machines they just purchased with no idea how to use them other than to click the shutter button in Auto mode. I've offered group classes to moms and hobbyists and more recently have had the great joy to teach private lessons to more avid learners. There's something extra exciting about empowering others with knowledge and let's be honest, we all know I can talk the ear off of anyone on the planet, so this was a natural fit for me.

3. Orchestrated Stylized Shoots: A match made in heaven, I've been blessed to marry my OCD-lovin', event-planning heart with my creativity and photography to assist as the Logistics Coordinator for Chelsea LaVere of Bit of Ivory Photography on her love child, Orchestrated, hosting elaborately themed and executed mock wedding events for photographers to stretch their creative juices and bulk up their portfolios (BAM! Run-on sentence winner!). This partnership has presented opportunities to travel and connect with vendors on a national level and has kept my inspiration at top notch as I head into wedding season. We're in the midst of planning our next adventure, Union, A Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired event, right here in Hampton Roads, so keep up with the Facebook page for more details and treats.

So, that's it! Other than that, I'm free as a bird. Ha! Chaos, right? Well, I thrive on it. And I'm grateful more than words can say with the direction God has taken my life and my creative journey in the past year and anxiously and excitedly waiting to see where it continues to head in the future. I'm happy to have you here keeping up with the insanity and can't wait to share all the good stuff along the way!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Shutterbug Photography Series: Independent Studies

My Shutterbug love child was birthed out of a deep desire to empower others to achieve better results with their cameras. As a parent, as an artist, as a human being, there is nothing more frustrating than having a high expectation for something special that falls flat or even worse, seems to put up immovable road blocks wherever you turn. Seeing the frustration and disappointment in the faces of friends and peers in their lackluster results bugged me. And as a helper, my mama bear teaching instinct kicked in. And the Shutterbug Photography Series was born.

I've now hosted several small group Basics classes, and just recently announced my June 9th Shootout event for my graduates (hit me up if you're coming, Shutterbug peeps!). And now a new and exciting feature has been picking up pace over the last several months and it's been so much fun for me and I hope to see it continue to gain momentum.

I've been offering one-on-one independent study sessions for awhile, but more recently, they've been working to meet two particular needs. On the one hand, I have those that are perhaps not as comfortable in the group setting or learn better in a direct format, and on the other hand, I've had students that have completed the Basics course and are looking to push themselves a bit further down the road and want to fine tune what they've learned and tackle their unique challenges. In both cases, I'm over the moon and enjoy every second. I love teaching! Especially when it comes to art, because the best part is watching creatives discover their own tastes and manners of expression, and watching their vision jump off from where my technical knowledge ended and their personal art begins. Best job in the world, right?

My latest Shutterbug-in-training very kindly let me take a few images of her while we played this past weekend. She dug in deeper to her art and where she's hoping it takes her and I got to play with my new 85mm. Win! Thanks Ashley for being a willing model and so excited to see where your photography is headed! Oh, and before my playtime shots, here's one just for fun...Ashley and I acting out our teacher/student relationship at the last HRC event. ;)

And now for the pretty lady herself:

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Chosen Few: Ashley & Chris

Ashley and I go way back...she did an awesome love session at her amazing farm months and months ago that you can catch up with HERE. So, super lucky me, when her super awesome man proposed in the sweetest way possible and she came a-calling for wedding photography! :) Yay!

I asked her if she was planning to use her love session images for her Save-the-Dates and she went "Well, yes, and maybe you'll think this is silly, but I still kinda want to do another session just because we're engaged now and I want an official session to celebrate, even though the only difference is that I'm wearing a ring now. Is that silly?" Ummm....NO! Of course I was thrilled to have another opportunity to shoot with them, and as you know, I never turn down a chance for more portrait practice and fun with a couple before their wedding day. Chris and Ashley are going to be pros! I'm so, so happy to have them on board and can't wait for their big day.

PS. Make sure to check back later in the Fall...I'm pretty sure her bridal portraits are going to be out of this world amazing. And of course, I'll have to squirm, sitting on them all summer, until after she gets married. ;)

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Friday, April 5, 2013

Giving Back: Peace From the Inside Out

I have always had a heart for giving back. To me, the phrase "blessed to be a blessing" is not just a cliche of warm fuzzies, it's a calling and an extension of my character (or perhaps better stated, what I hope for my character to be). I very strongly believe that staying connected with the community, and stepping out with a servant heart, should be the keystone to any small business, but especially when your business is some form of art and creative expression. It's my job to connect with the deep emotional threads of life in my images, and to me, the very best way to fundamentally dial in to the lifeblood of what I'm trying to achieve is to invest time and energy into offering myself to others in service. It inspires me, it motivates me, it compels and challenges me. The time I've spent in service has blessed me far beyond anything I could have ever expected or imagined. The people I have met have so encouraged and rejuvenated my soul, that I can honestly say I'm a different person because of them. You can read up on some of my other projects, like Homeless 2 Housing, by catching up with other "giving back" posts on the blog HERE.

Most recently, I had the great honor of creating some super quick, last minute basic portrait shots for our own Hampton Roads native, Miss Bianca Neff. She's been an active global humanitarian for 20 years, with a primary focus in anthropology and international conflict resolution, dedicating herself to grassroots peace-building efforts from the inside out. She works with local leaders in the developing world, more specifically, in regions of violent conflict, to empower them to effectively communicate the needs of their communities to international aid programs and other area leaders. Her program is called Baaham Peacebuilders. Baaham means "together" in Farsi/Dari, dovetailing perfectly with her vision to bring aid workers and local leaders together to restore peace and hope effectively and courageously.

I'll let Bianca speak for herself and the ambitions she has for healing the broken parts of our world, but I'll lead into her passion by saying she is by far one of the most motivated, self-sacrificing people I have ever met. She communicates in a way that makes you feel important and valued, and it's clear she's been called to make big waves in this world. She is fearless and focused and I find her outlook on peace to be fascinating and beyond tremendous. Without further ado, here is the lady of the hour in her own words...

After years of cross-cultural experience in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America and also at United Nations headquarters in Geneva, I’ve witnessed a worldwide peacebuilding behemoth that has become more and more programmatized with time. My mission in life is to help “rehumanize” the field of reconciliation and global conflict resolution by caring personally for the courageous leaders who face incredible odds. Baaham rehumanizes the field of international peacebuilding by meeting the very real and often neglected needs of leaders of global peace movements. We exist not just to support their “programs” but for them as people, as individuals, as leaders. Alongside them, together we face the good, the bad, and the ugly. Theirs is an extremely tough and complicated reality of working for peace in war and conflict zones. As the founder and CEO of Baaham, I am committed to providing them the support they need for success. No issue is too messy for us—peace leaders need someone to walk with them through all kinds of thorny personal and professional issues. The world cannot afford to lose these valuable leaders to burnout and emotional exhaustion! By caring for their mental health and by providing personal counseling and coaching under a wider umbrella of leadership development, we do what others fail to do, which is to keep peace leaders healthy in their fields of violent conflict.

One of Baaham’s recent clients is a fabulous Syrian human rights lawyer with an amazing commitment to his country. As Syria is embroiled in the planet’s most violent war at this moment, Baaham staff have been able to infuse this Syrian brother with hope, encouragement and mental and emotional health tools to keep going in his mission of teaching and training Syria’s next generation of human rights lawyers. His is but one life that we are strategically strengthening and undergirding.

Our current clients work in such wide-spread areas as the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, and Far East Asia. We also serve US-based personnel working in the fields of global peacebuilding and international human rights.

If you'd like to support Bianca's program and join in her efforts to bring peace to the hurt and broken areas of our world, beyond keeping her safety and needs in your prayers, you are also able to contribute directly towards her vital programming costs via PayPal, through her email address:

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Chosen Few: Nichole & Daniel

By now, you know Nichole & Daniel very well. Two of my very favorite, amazing all-around, fabulous people, dear friends and perfect clients. On the off chance you're in here for the very first time, you can read about them HERE. And HERE. Oh and HERE too. Oh wait, and Nichole snuck in HERE too. I told ya. They're loyal faves. ;)

To say I'm excited for Nichole & Daniel to become parents doesn't quite do it justice. In fact, I'm not sure what words would adequately describe how overjoyed I am for them. I'm not in the habit of shooting maternity sessions anymore now that I've focused on weddings, engagements and boudoir, but of course I couldn't pass them up when they asked me. And knowing Nichole and her heart for art and appreciation for photography, I knew it would push my own creative limits to new levels. Plus, I just like seeing their smiling faces. (Although Daniel did crack a joke about my not-so-subtle, super hot pink brand new Kelly Moore bag of awesomeness, for which I forgive him his manly disconnect from what is clearly the best bag on the planet.)

It rained on the day of their session. And being the champs that they are, they said, "We can get wet." So, after doing some inside stuff, we braved the weather, and Daniel played doting assistant covering me with a ginormous umbrella, and we rushed through some portraits. Normally, rushing and bad weather would give me an anxiety attack, but with them, everything comes so naturally, we just needed a few minutes and bam! Perfection.

Seriously, you guys know how much I love you. I am blessed to know you in more ways than I can count, and you are going to be two of the most spectacular parents I know. And our boys are going to be best friends. FOREVER.

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PS. Don't forget to enter the blog relaunch giveaway!!! We've only got 2 days left. So, be sure to double back to Monday's post and get those last minute entries in! I'll announce the winners on Monday.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

No Makeup March

We're in the thick of blog relaunch week (enter the super awesome giveaway!), so here's something a little bit different and more personal in nature. Welcome to my life!

Last week, I posted this picture (and a few others if you want to follow me on Instagram @kbsimplephoto) of my daughter and I as we joined the last week of the No Makeup March campaign.

(Taken with my iPhone, no filters, SOOC)

If you didn't hear about No Makeup March, I heard about it HERE, on one of my fave webpages, AltDaily. You may remember that AltDaily had a recent Share & Support Feature on the Hampton Roads Creative, which you can catch up with HERE.

In any event, No Makeup March. We joined the cause late, but for me, encouraging my daughter to remember that true beauty comes from within and that she didn't need makeup to be a good person was an important lesson whether we did it for one day, one week, one year or the rest of our lives. Hearing her protests that the kids would make fun of her and her discomfort with her own appearance made my heart hurt. My position was "Yes, this is hard. It won't be easy. But sometimes doing something right is more important than being popular. And you're standing up for women everywhere. And besides, I'm pretty sure when God created you, He didn't finish off with 'Done! I'm sure she'll look better once she puts some mascara on.' Nope, instead He said 'Done. She is perfect. She is mine.' So, let's do this thing." And we did.

Our picture was loved on for hours, with tons and tons of "likes" (ALL WOMEN!) and encouraging comments. I had Emily write down how her day felt. This is what she said:

"When I got to school and I got into my classroom, one of my friends said, "HUUUUHHHH???!!! EMILY, YOU DON'T HAVE MAKEUP ON." (Editor's note: She wrote this in capital letters - the only part with capitals - so I assume it made an impact on her.) When I was in my other class, my Science teacher came in and was like "Emily, you don't have makeup on. Now I can see your true beauty and it's nice to see a kid without black eyeliner all around their face." And she said thank you for letting me see your true beauty. So I have realized that I don't need makeup for people to notice me, so yeah, I can wear makeup but I, myself, (and you!!) don't need makeup to look beautiful. You're beautiful just the way you are. Show people what you really look like behind all that makeup!! Thank you. Love, Emily B."

My point with this blog post is that I think this idea needs to be shared constantly. Over and over and over again. I had a recent boudoir client who responded to her reveal (read about my heart for those HERE) with "You helped me see how perfect I am right now in this moment." Those were probably the most powerful words I'd ever heard coming from a client. I felt a sense of honor and trust that I can't put into words. It was a defining moment for me. One where I realized a true spiritual gift and made a promise to continue to seek opportunities to encourage and empower women.

As a society, as women, we need to love on each other. It's so easy to spend our moments categorizing other's shortcomings in some ill-equipped attempt to validate ourselves. We so often sit in front of the mirror and admonish every wrinkle, every dimple and curve. Take a moment to celebrate the woman you are and celebrate the women you know. Sometimes those few simple words of admiration are the highlight of someone's day. There should be more confidence in knowing that each and every one of us is "perfect right now in this moment."

I mean, seriously, can you believe this girl is scared to go to school without makeup? We can do better as a society. I can do better as a parent.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Orchestrated Stylized Shoots: Feather & Stone

This year was my very first time attending the WPPI conference in Las Vegas. I was supposed to go a few years back, but you know, these two tiny babies decided to make an appearance on the ultrasound machine and well, let's be honest, with my history, I wasn't too comfortable going far from home. Thankfully, the leads at WPPI were super excited for my surprise pregnancy and quite happily refunded every last cent to help convince me that staying home was best.

So, this year. So much different! It was my first long trip away from the boys and I was a woman on a mission. Along with Chelsea, it was our vision to host an awesome shoot that rocked the creative hearts of our participating photogs and vendors, make new artsy, life-long friends and develop the national presence for Orchestrated, complete with an ambitious venue meeting for Orchestrated at WPPI 2014. Our hearts and souls hoped for so much and we were blessed beyond measure on all counts (especially the life-long friends and super awesome venue for 2014 parts!!).

Feather & Stone. I can't say enough. The weather. Crystal clear. The venue. Perfection. The models. Timeless. The vendors. Inspiring.

And the photogs. Amazing!!

Seriously, the vendors that participated in this event went above and beyond in ways I can't even begin to adequately describe. The very best part about Orchestrated from the vendor standpoint is the chance to take a vision and run with it. Dig in, dream and just play. We all know that creative free play is a hot commodity in our industry, and something we often forget to enjoy, much less have lots of time for. Well, our vendors this go-round played their little hearts out and blew us away with their contributions. Across the board.

And a big shout-out to Angelica & Juliet from Green Orchid Events. Let's just say Angelica is a woman after my own heart. Her level of organization, commitment to quality and a well-executed vision, and quite frankly, her fab sense of humor...well, I love her. And Juliet came to play as one of our models and rocked some crazy awesome heels trekking through the desert terrain for us all (You go girl! Sacrifice for fashion!). If you need someone to take the reigns for your special events, these are your gals.

Oh, and how cool that one of our models is a Vegas vendor themselves!? Yay Harry O!

I'll stop talking and let the images speak for themselves. Can't wait for next year and be sure to stay up to date with Orchestrated for upcoming events...and be extra sure to keep up with our WPPI 2014 progress...I have this tiny, bitty, happy heart feeling this shoot is going to sell out in a hot second. :)

Oh and PS., Don't forget to enter the giveaway to take a chance at winning some yummy Dunkin Donuts bucks, photography lessons from me and design work from ShinyMagic! Click HERE!

Our fabulous, earth-shattering in their awesomeness, vendor extraordinaires:

Concept Design | Chelsea LaVere |
Event Coordination | Green Orchid Events |
Venue| Springs Preserve |
Florals | Blossoms by Gayle |
Hair & Makeup | Your Beauty Call |
Cake | Peridot Sweets |
Furniture Rentals | The Wooden Trunk |
Stationery | The Girl Tyler |
Tableware | Dirty Dishes |
Linens | Pottery Barn |
Bridal Attire | Free People |
Bridesmaid Attire | Bella Bridesmaid |
Mens’ Neckwear | Studio Arno |
Menswear | Tuxedo Junction |
Feather Details | Stuffnfeathers |
Flatware | Every Last Detail |
Video | Jeremy Mitchell Cinema |
Groom | Harry O Productions |

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