{Maine Lifestyle Photographer}: Celebrating Day 21 of 21

Well. Here it is. Day 21. Day 21 of a challenge to blog for 21 days. Yikes/Wow/Yipppeeee!

Celebrate the things in life. Like getting your license. Or blogging for 21 days.

Celebrate the things in life. Like getting your license. Or blogging for 21 days.

Real Talk: that wasn't easy. I’m trying to think about the pros and cons of this challenge. But it’s probably simple: Cons were 1) it was a lot of work, 2) there were so many days where I simply didn’t want to or had no idea what to blog about, and 3) for me it’s a CON when I start to feel like it’s too much MEmeMe HI look at ME. I’m a little weird about that.

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But the PROS of course were I made the time, buckled in, created content, and I DID IT. Now there is actually more work out there and not just on hard drives. More stories shared. And for me, it’s worth it to get to share things that aren’t always about professional work.

Nephew.

Nephew.

Neighbors.

Neighbors.

I have times when what I am photographing for people is not my story to tell, not really my thing to share first.. Head Shots for professionals starting a new job or rebuilding a brand (not my story to share before they do!), Images for an organization working on their website and needing to put the imagery out to the world when they are ready (so get the images for them, and let them share when things are ready for the world to know about them), and lately some work that is sensitive because it involves humans trying to get established after many hard months of uncertainty. So many things I don’t share on the blog, but maybe can eventually when the timing is right and whatever dust needs to settle does.

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Dinner with friends/ celebrating birthdays.

Dinner with friends/ celebrating birthdays.

But I liked sharing little snippets of life and small moments in photos. I’d like to think I will continue to feel free to do that. I’m also hoping that from now on when the calendar says BLOG, I will find the time to do it. If I’m smart, I’ll also be better about prepping for blog posts ahead of time. A thing that as a photographer should be part of our workflow. Being human is a funny tale in being imperfect. And I can tell you many, many tales!

Sawyer wants to show me his fort upstairs.

Sawyer wants to show me his fort upstairs.

Because in addition to sharing photo jobs, and the ongoing 365 project, there are thousands of life moments that may not get seen because they weren’t a thing for pay or they didn’t make the cut for a single photo on a certain day. But life unfolds in front of my camera on a daily basis (even if some of those days are WAAAAY less exciting than others). There is joy and laughter and uncertainty and fatigue and victory and good food and self consciousness and exploding confidence and quiet moments of thinking to capture and possibly share. It doesn’t always have to be for pay. It can be simply to document, and maybe to spread happiness and a little humanity.

Ice cream on a cold day with Molly and Kristina.

Ice cream on a cold day with Molly and Kristina.

I have a project I am currently really proud to be part of. But I can’t share until they do. I want to promise to do so when the time is right. Because capturing people who love their people and love what they do is definitely a thing we could all use more of.

After School time with the niece and my mom.

After School time with the niece and my mom.

There is a belief that people photograph what they are most afraid of losing. I photograph humanity. Even if it’s on a small scale of my family/neighborhood/community/friends/local business owners and non profit organizations. Maybe this challenge helped me see that a little clearer.

So my day 21 features a few photos that didn’t make the cut this year in the world of 365 photo project 2019, but that I want to be seen and shared. Little slices of life, that seem like not much at the time. But when seen with others, it’s a good reminder that these little human moments and exchangers are what end up being full of all the good.

And I’m up for that.

Pool buddy.

Pool buddy.

{Maine Family Photographer}: Evie's Birthday Fun

Hello Saturday! Here we are, 16 of 21 days of blogging…. with these fun friends celebrating a birthday together at the beach.

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Sometimes as humans we don’t do everything with the intention we originally set out with. Sometimes life happens. Sometimes things take longer than you planned. Sometimes a restaurant you love announces it’s going to close and your friends want to go while we still can, so the task that kept getting put off throughout the day ends up being pushed aside. Because honestly, time with the people who matter is often worth more than a blog post. So, ooooops I missed yesterday! But also… totally worth it!

Which brings us to yesterday’s post that is now today’s. These Friends. This time in their lives celebrating a birthday, laughing, playing, and being together before things in their lives shift. Before different schools and different activities set them off into opposite directions. Glad Evie’s mom had the foresight to realize this is a time and an event that needs to be photographed. For them.

The snapshots of friendship, of a warm evening together, of a slice of time in their lives. This was a photo shoot that hit all the points for me. Snapshots of friends, then just document as they hang out, laugh, be silly, and go to an arcade. Freedom to capture what was happening as it unfolded. No emphasis on trying to make the kids look perfect, but instead just capturing who they are now.

Yes please!

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Sisters xo.

Sisters xo.

Photos with friends but of course a few with Mom as well.

Photos with friends but of course a few with Mom as well.

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Sometimes after posing for a photo you just need to dance it out. Makes sense - there is a birthday to celebrate and there is still an arcade to get to and prizes to win and eventually cake to eat. I know it’s hard to contain all that excitement!

Sometimes a group photo turns into a mini mosh pit. I’m ok with that. :)

Sometimes a group photo turns into a mini mosh pit. I’m ok with that. :)

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Thank you, Evie and friends for being so fun to follow around with my camera!

The next/ really the previous post contains the images from our time in the arcade. This was one heck of a birthday! Glad I got to be there with my cameras to document it.


{Maine Portrait Photographer}: Lifestyle Session for a Writer

I recently had the honor of spending time with Stephanie and photographing her for a second time. I photographed her a few years ago, then it was time for a new website and a shift in the look for her imagery so she contacted me again.

Stephanie Cotsirilos, writer | Portland, Maine.

Stephanie Cotsirilos, writer | Portland, Maine.

If I had my way she would need to re-do her website every year because I like hanging out with her, and I like listening to her ideas and figuring out together how to get the images that will work for this next step in her life. Her background in theater, law, consulting, and writing make her a person of many talents and multiple experiences. And I love being around that.

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She took her life and her talents from NYC to Maine, and now lives, creates, and writes here. This time we used her home in Portland with its amazing light and pockets of color to showcase her and varying looks depending on what she needs for different forums and marketing pieces. You can see more at her new site here

So, thank you once again, Stephanie for trusting me to capture who you are, and for the lively conversation while we make it all come together!

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{Maine Lifestyle Photographer}: A 365 Outtake

It’s past 8 pm and I haven’t gotten to today’s blog post.

*GASP!*

The Niece and the Hubs getting ready to beat me at Hangman.

The Niece and the Hubs getting ready to beat me at Hangman.

But that’s what happens on a full day when you didn’t prep ahead of time. Or it’s just a reminder to get some things done early. I’ll try to remember that in the future.

No promises, though. :)

Today the niece and I sent some fun mail to some people who may not know it’s coming. We made things and wrote cards together, then headed to the post office with hopes of making some people smile. Yesterday the ankle injured hubs got his cast off, and is moving on to a boot with crutches, and then eventually walking again.

So, it’s been a productive few days.

I came home, sat down to blog, scrolled through some images, and chose this photo of these two. Seemed like the right fit after today’s goodness.

And now I’m going to crash because I feel that kind of tired where words are not coming easy…

Personal: My {2018} 365 Photo Project

In 2018 I decided to take part in a 365 photo project with a few other photographers in my area. The challenge is to make a photo EVERY DAY for the entire year. In 2017 I had done a photo a week project, and loved how the project made me bring my camera out more often. It’s easy as photographers to silp into only bringing the gear out for paid shoots, and maybe the occasional family gathering. I needed a reminder of how much I love to photograph every day life.

So a photo a week turned into a photo a day. And now that the year is done and the images are edited and the slideshow has been made, I can see that this was no small task. A year stretching out on the horizon seems like an exciting oportunity and a daunting task at the same time. 365 chances to make a photo! But also holy cow 365 days of making photos!! I had to break it down for myself, so it would not feel overwhelming.

First, I had to develop the habit. I did a 21 day habit building exercise, where i wrote every day about this habit and then put the lesson to work. The mindset here is the belief that it takes 21 days for something to become a habit.

Second, I decided to take things one month at a time, but also one DAY at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was hitting the end of my first month, and then struggled with feeling like I ended the month with an image I wasn’t happy with. This happened a few times if I’m being honest — I would feel great about another month under my belt, but then finish with an image that wasn’t that strong.

{reality check: THAT’S OK}

SO, Third, I reminded myself that YES there are 365 opportunities but some days will be better than others. Some days we are just better at some things, some days we are making sure we get to the end of the day. Learning to be forgiving and let some days feel maybe mediocre, and remind myself that part of this project was about honesty and a splash of perseverance. And the less exciting/inspiring/focused days are like resting spots between the days where there is fun, food, conversation, love, and adventure. So, take them all.

At first I had a small struggle realizing the other photographers doing this had children and adorable fur babies. A constant plethora of photographic subjects. I work from home a lot, have no kids, no pets, and a better half who doesn’t like the attention of a camera. I loved the work I was seeing from others, partly because there was so much energy and honesty. They were capturing these amazing chunks of their everyday life, and the messier the better. I buckled in for a long winter of figuring out how to work around the lack of subject matter in my living space.

But I also knew my option was to work with what I had or go looking for something. As a winter hibernator, I was actually glad for this project and the times it made me bundle up and head out the door. Drive until you find something, head to the beach until your fingers hurt from holding the camera, go visit your family or meet your friends for nachos, even if you already ate. Chase light and life and see what happens. And on the days where that doesn’t happen, slow down and look at things around you and figure out how to photograph it.

I had many moments throughout the year where I was so glad I was doing this project. Glad to the point of feeling incredibly grateful. Grateful for the push, the support, the drive, and for the people in my life and the things we share. I brought my camera to a rally against gun violence. I saw friends and strangers stand together to have their voices heard. I watched people feel the emotion of this time and felt the weight of the moment as I witnessed some of it unfold through my viewfinder. When I loaded the images something looked strange in some of the frames, and I grew concerned I had done something to my gear. But I was in the middle of photographing life every day, so let’s keep going. The something became more of a problem and when I brought me camera to get cleaned I was told there was a hair sharing space in my camera. I looked back through my photo a day project and realized I brought my camera to the hair salon the day before the march. The price of bringing your camera everywhere!

Some days I took over 200 photos, some days 2. One day I looked at my phone will watching Saturday Night Live and saw a post from my photo pals, which made me jolt up in panic that it was 11:42 pm and I had yet to take a photo! I scrambled to get my camera and figure out what to photograph in my dark house. Behold, the refrigerator door! Because when you open it, there is light. Anddddd then I was wide awake for awhile.

I photographed my friends having as much Summer fun as we could in the short time we get it here in Maine. The laughter, the food, the floats, the drinks, the singing. I listened to my friends talk about their struggles with life and family and such, and had moments of wishing the relatives who criticize these friends could see what I see. Photos unfolding in front of me telling the stories of friendship. There are times when this project was humbling that way.

And, of course, the multiple times I got to be with my niece and nephew with the camera. I really like them (super obvious, I know) and actually want to hang out with them often, but we all have lives. This project had me making more efforts to visit and do things with them. Summer evenings in the unicorn castle, excuses to get ice cream, or just show up and play. I would get my photo (and sometimes end up with too many to edit) and would get to hang with them. Works for everyone! Plus, the amount of photos I had at the end of the year to give my family members… it was actually somewhat overwhelming. I printed off close to 300 prints to give to my family both to thank them for supporting my through this, but so they could see how a year in our lives looked. PLUS, the importance of printing your photos! That’s another topic for another blog post. Or several posts.

So, 2018 is a wrap. I’m so glad I got to capture as much of it as I did. Since I didn’t feel like stopping on 12/31/2018, I have continued on with a repeat project for 2019!

Thank you for following along!

Here’s to more real moments for all of us in 2019! xo ~ jb

Family Photos: Zephyr's Family

Years ago I met and worked with Tricia, selling lip balms for a small company, and sharing life stories over daily lunches. Since then she has moved out of Maine, and now has this group of people to call family. And luckily I got to hang out with all three of them at the beach this Fall…

Zephyr, Tricia, and Merrill.

Zephyr, Tricia, and Merrill.

We met at the beach on a somewhat dreary day, but you know a little bit of rain looming in the air does not have to damper a child’s excitement to see the ocean.

I love watching kids get excited when the water hits their feet. As an adult I still love that feeling! Toes in the sand and cold water around my feet never gets old. Z definitely loved getting not just her feet but her legs in the ocean water.

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Those curls!

Those curls!

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Let’s also take a moment to give it up for Zephyr’s mom who made that adorable top she’s wearing. Perfect for a beach session, and looks great in color or black & white!

Thank you, Tricia, Merrill, and Zephyr for a fun(ny) family photo sesh!

Final goofy photo on the way back to the car. Adults with a little steam left, Z is now running on empty. I appreciate this honesty :)

Final goofy photo on the way back to the car. Adults with a little steam left, Z is now running on empty. I appreciate this honesty :)