Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Cultivating Space for Creativity

While answering an email, your phone bings. Text message. Thought derailed. You've got one eye on your phone and the other on the Netflix window open in the corner of your screen as the action music rising means the climax of the plot is too. Your screen. You need to be editing photos. Focus on your keyboard again. Oh yeah, there's that email you were answering.

How are we going to create anything new and fantastic when we're already filled to the brim with bings, clicks and door bells?

It took far too long as a creative professional for me to realize purposeful space has to be cultivated in order for creativity to come alive. Our current culture is not to stop but to stimulate. We always need more, more, more! But not until you empty your mind of some things can anything else enter.

This makes sense, but how do you go about creating this type of space?
If you're not able to afford that huge workshop in those amazing yurts on the side of that gorgeous ocean cliffside, that's ok. You still need to find space to prepare, grow and maintain your creative side.

This might look different for different folks. For us, it usually means getting back to nature and soaking in the stillness surrounding some of the original creations. Near a body of water? Even better! There is something about a running river flowing that helps me take a deep breath and let go.

At home there are so many distractions. The dirty laundry, unframed prints and dishes in the sink are mounting up and preparing for a battle no book has a chance against. Sinking into my hammock while the breeze blows through the trees is one of the best recipes I've found for great reading and expanding my thoughts. Ideas can literally begin growing right up from the ground beneath you.

Depending on how much time we have, here are a few of the ways we create space, clear our minds and anticipate fresh ideas:

  • One week:  From time to time we'll take about a week and go somewhere where no one knows who we are. We still take our computers, drives and camera equipment and get our work done as usual. Instead of scheduling shoots, meetings or any other out-of-office work, we take that extra time to read new books on marketing, practice new techniques with our cameras or go on a hike to flesh out ideas or think of new ones.
  • One day:  We call our family and friends up and tackle a project together. One of the things we've come to love doing is gardening with our family—literally cultivating. Getting our hands dirty feels good and the rewards taste delicious. The community and process that goes into a project like this are worth so much.
  • One afternoon:  If we find a late afternoon free, you might find us escaping to another world just down the street—the movie theater. Going to catch a flick at either one of the two art cinemas by our place can really get our creative juices flowing. Our cell phones have to go off and we are immersed into something brand new for two hours. Afterwards, we like to "decompress" and share our thoughts about the work over coffee or a drink.
  • One 15-minute break:  There are days when there's so much to do going to the bathroom feels like a privilege. But in these days there is still a 15-minute window somewhere that can be used to the max. For us, fresh air and sunshine are key factors to maintaining clear, healthy minds to keep churning out creative work. Whether it's a walk to the park and back or a bike ride to go pick up groceries for dinner, even just this short amount of time can help us reset and keep going strong. 

The key to all of these things is that they have to be done purposefully. If you let an empty day stay on the calendar, it will. get. filled. Making time and carving out space for creativity to re-enter your life is not lazy or weak. If you're a creative professional, cultivating time for creativity is part of your job—as soon as you treat it as such, wondrous things will begin to happen.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Charlene + Kyle l Sweetwater Creek Engagement Session

Adventurous spirits and beautiful souls—just the kind of folks we love to work with and two of the many great qualities this couple effortlessly portrays. 

The "feels like" temps here in Atlanta have been in the triple digits lately, but that didn't stop Charlene and Kyle from having an amazing engagement session with us recently. Hopping across the water over smooth stones, these two laughed and embraced so sweetly. Just spending a little bit of time with them, it's so evident they're just naturally in love and happy to be together.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Feature l Southern Bride Magazine

We couldn't be more thrilled to have picked up the latest issue of Southern Bride magazine today to find one of our shoots in print as we flipped through the pages! 

Below, I've spoken a bit about what initially inspired this shoot. It was quite beautiful to watch it all come together—and this is due in large part to the amazing group of vendors listed at the end of this post. We're so excited for this feature and extremely thankful for everyone who worked so hard on it with us!
At 18, I stood at the bottom of the massive marble steps inside the vast Louvre Museum in Paris gazing up at a grand goddess. The first time you experience this work, which stands erect, almost like a guardian over this French fortress of art, it is unforgettable. The Winged Victory of Samothrace is a powerful piece.

The way the smooth soft lines of the sculpture’s tunic fall over the rough stone of the body and float back effortlessly is transcendental. With these contrasting elements of hard and soft, this piece purely defies nature. Or so I once thought.
It is now clearer to me that this work actually defines nature. In the same way running water flows gently over coarse stones, curving and shaping them, this 2nd century B.C. piece was formed with details that are both opposing and edifying.
When you find your someone, the mystery of love seems to work in a similar fashion. Separately, you’re simple elements, each distinct and defined in your own way. Together, you’re a new outrivaling force with a whole greater than the sum of your combined parts—a victory in love.


Photography: Tin Can Photography
Event Planning: Pretty Swell Parties
Florals & Event Design: Juli Vaughn Designs
Cake: Miss Mamie's
Dress: Adore Bridal Boutique
Invitations & Paper Goods: Foglio Press
Jewelry: Mickey Lynn Jewelry
Menswear: The Modern Gent
Linens: Nuage Designs, Inc.
Hair & Makeup: Raney O'Keefe
Venue: The Georgian Terrace 

Monday, June 15, 2015

How to Look Your Best in Your Engagement Photos

After a beautiful session in a Southern canyon, we received the most heartfelt words from Julie speaking to her experience with us while making engagement photos. I've often thought of compiling some tips on how to get engagement photos you'll love, but who better to hear it from than the folks on the other side of the camera? We were so delighted to get this message from them, we just had to share it with you!

From our amazing clients:

The morning of our engagement session, I stood in my bedroom making a mental list of what all to bring: lipstick, blotting papers, bobby pins, multiple pairs of shoes. My fiancé and I had slid hanger after hanger in his closet the night before, comparing what shirts of his complemented my chosen outfits. He wasn’t as excited or nervous as I was, and to be honest, he somewhat dreaded the idea of a day full of pictures. But being the trooper that he is, and knowing how much these meant to me, we chose our clothes for the day and were off towards the canyon for our shoot.

As the radio quietly hummed Neil Young, I had a good while to think about how I wanted our pictures to turn out. I kept thinking to myself, what do I want our love to look like? I had scoured Pinterest for engagement pictures and saw other friends’ photos on my Facebook feed. I had this idea of what engagement pictures should be, and that idea included the happy couple in crisp matching clothes while looking longingly at each other or smiling for the camera in a pose that said, “We are in love.” 

Inside I had this fear that maybe our pictures wouldn’t portray that; what if my fiancé kept the stern face he often had whenever someone pulled out a camera? What if I looked sweaty or uncomfortable? So many things could go wrong, and I kept hoping that our photographers would like us. It was our first time to meet with Erin and Bryan in person since booking them for our wedding , and I hoped they would give us specific instructions so that our photos were perfect.

My fiancé and I arrived early at our location, and as we sat on a swing waiting on Erin and Bryan, my heart did a little flip when they pulled up. Somehow, any fear or hesitation I had went out the window as I watched them walk towards us holding hands and smiling.

I can’t quite put into words how the rest of the day went, but I can point out what I remember most. I never unzipped my make-up bag or looked in a mirror during the whole day; I was having too much fun to care. My fiancé and I never wore the outfits we picked out together (because we decided that they didn’t look like us at all), and all those shoes I packed? I winded up going barefoot most of the day, just how I like it. 

I don’t remember the snapping cameras, the poses, or any rushing. I remember cool water over my feet in the river, holding the calloused hands of my soulmate, gazing into the eyes of the person who makes me feel like a wildflower, and dancing as he laughed and pulled me near. 

I remember feeling free and loved, and I remember trusting Erin and Bryan, because their love for each other and their craft is so overwhelmingly evident. One can’t help but to second-hand absorb a love like that.

When I received our edited pictures from Tin Can Photography, and I can tell you now what our love looks like. It looks bounding like the mountains in the background, steady like the river we waded through, strong like the boulder we stood on, and happy. It looks so happy. 

During all of those moments we were lost in one another, unaware of the cameras so diligently capturing every small touch and movement, we took our best photos. At the end of the day, after we hugged Erin and Bryan goodbye, my fiancé leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Today was so much more fun than I ever expected.”

As we drove home that night, the radio quietly humming a song I can’t recall, I let my head rest against the window. I only had one regret, just one. I couldn’t relive that fun, adventurous day again, and oh how quickly it seemed to fly by. 

I smiled to myself and realized that when you have the perfect person by your side, make-up, clothing, and accessories are just not that important. Without Erin and Bryan there, it would have been another day with my fiancé, and that’s the beauty of their work; they make you feel like you and your fiancé are the only two people in the entire world. 

Their patience, kindness, gentle instructions, and keen eye not only made our day relaxing, but we ended up with engagement photos that have brought tears and smiling gasps from our family and friends.

Just tonight my mother was scrolling through them, her eyes bright and gazing, and she sighed as she said, “They’re all so beautiful. You look so in-love. You two were simply made for each other.”

Seeing the joy that our engagement photos bring to our closest family and friends, as they hug us and slowly wipe tears from the corner of their smiling eyes, that’s what our love really looks like.

—Julie Skinner