Always Never Enough.

We sat across from one another, hands tightly wrapped around paper coffee cups, quickly getting to know each on the balcony of the popular Kailua cafe. 

What’s you biggest struggle today?”, I prodded. A personal question no doubt, but we had already connected as fellow photographers, sharing dreams, glories and worries as she was committed to make her passion of photography in Hawai’i come to life, an ambition I certainly could relate to. I wanted to know more.

Not being good enough,” she declared from across the round table without an ounce of hesitation. 

Yeah, me too…” I admitted, feeling the weight of my words heavy on my lips, especially on this particularly challenging day.

Modern Monstera Leaf

 

To my surprise my candid answer was met with disbelief and confusion as I explained to her the highs and lows of being a business owner, most of which fluctuate on a daily basis, and how I wake up loving my work but a barage of emails, thoughts perfect snapchats and subconscious messages from social media can keep you doubting yourself, hitting especially at lunch time on a random Thursday. I could have consciously chosen to hide my insecurities and doubts about my own talents, but I just didn’t have it in me. In the spirit of consistently oversharing, over 12 ounce lattes I unloaded on this sweet, unexpecting girl. 

YOU? How do YOU feel like you’re not good enough? Your work is great and you’ve worked hard, I can tell!”. Deep down I knew she was right. I have worked hard, real hard, have seen tangible growth and am proud I'm doing it. Like, I'm doing it. We are living in Hawai'i, going to Whole Foods for crying out loud. Still, more often than none, I have the nagging sense that’s it’s still not enough. I haven’t gotten good enough. Enough for what, I have no idea. Because it's bullshit. It's a lie. A fake scale, Ashley.

“…but your worth does not come from your work — you know that, right? It’s not what you create, do or don’t do, your worth comes from God….” I boldy wrapped up my lamenting, speaking truth to myself more than anything -- completely unaware of this budding photographers general thoughts on God -- absolutely compelled to speak honesty into her life, and well, mainly my own emotional day. 

I continued meaningful conversation with this new found friend, shared marketing ideas and uplifting one another, her invitation to coffee being a necessary treat in my day and as I left I remembered this: THIS is what I’m here for and what I love. Uplifting other women, candidly telling the truth, doing battles and life together. We may not feel like they live up or compare to what this industry’s or society’s standards are, having a hard time keeping up with a 1/3rd of our own to-do list, but that’s not the point. We are here, working hard. Not sugar coating it, not making it look like rainbows and butterflies — putting our hearts on the line. We are not the sum of how many hours we sit behind the computer, how many emails we answer in a day, or how many new ideas we dream up and immediately put to action -- after the laundry gets done. Today I may be back to feeling like a shitty photographer and crappy business person, staring down the barrel of all the would do could do should dos, eyeballing my maltese sleeping high atop a pile of dirty laundry, but that’s not who the Lord says I am. I get the pleasure of being an Entrepreneur but that that isn’t what MAKES me. We are meant for more than that — we simply get to make the world a little prettier in the process.  Most importantly, we are in this together.

Networking, Social Media + Hustle: Photo Field Notes Podcast.

Maybe it was the early wake up call, accidentally putting espresso roast in my coffee pot instead of decaf or the added SPARK energy drink I totally got sold from my Advocare dishing friend, but I'm a little ball of oddness today. A tightly wound, somewhat frayed collection of energy and excitement mixed with endless wild ambition for the dreams that are to come set to Beyonce's 7/11...resisting every and all temptation to Periscope myself while singing. Work! New ideas! Sunshine! Spinning while my hands up, GIMME ALL THE GOOD STUFF, I'm ready to conquer the world, smack it. inna. air.  A tremendous turn around from where I was when starting my photography business in Hawai'i back in 2011 (even further from my first wedding, a friend's, in 2008!) If you too are feeling gungho today, or even need a little boost, check out my interview with the way smart Allie Sarto on Photo Field Notes. From secretly interviewing wedding vendors as potential new B.F.F.s to my one favorite instragram tip to the recent time I freaking butchered photos from a once in a life time trip, I keeps it real.

Photo Field Notes Podcast

Cocktails in Hawaii_0001

Back in the day when I was a kid I used to hook a microphone up to my double-sided tape recorder and talk and talk, creating radio DJ inspired mixed tapes that I would play back. I could literally lay on my carpeted bedroom floor and listen to myself talk. Times have changed, so while I will be tuning out, lemme know how it is. I leave you with an image of 3 cocktails. If you listen to the interview you'll know what's up. ;)

 

 

Ditch The Extra Gear: Less Is More

We took turns loading up his film and strolling the Think Tank around the bumpy grass. We watched from a distance, waiting for the obvious sound of the roll signaling a fresh batch was needed. We hustled, we took turns fetching water and we cooed "ooooh, that's sooooo his style!",  from behind-the-scenes. As much as I love photographing weddings I find that when time permits, it's just as important to me to assist other photographers when I can. I try to never pass up the opportunity to help a fellow industry peer and moreso  find it's in the in between moments where you yourself grow. As I inspected his wedding gear set-up: two medium format camera bodies, three lenses, a fun rolleicord camera, one video light, a tripod, a flash and a few extra film inserts, I gawked at the simplicity of it all. I'd go so far as to say I even felt a wave of panic rush over as if I was given these pieces and asked to shoot in a myriad of conditions for 8 hours. But watching him roam the reception lawn, conversing with guests about his cool old camera and getting in close to the action all while hardly being noticed I accepted the freedom in traveling lightly. To show up with what you need to get the job done, nothing more, and let creativity lead the way. Less swapping of lenses and frantic camera changes and more being in the present moment on a wedding day. Most of all, getting creative with what you've got! In the digital (well and film!) world it's easy to get caught up in having every.single.piece of new gear for every potential photo opt, but if you can get it done with one camera and one lens, why the hell not? Why in the world spend thousands on a 10 pound lens you only use for 3 minutes of the day, or have multiple flash accessories that restrict rather than excite you? (Yes, beautiful light can be EXCITING! ahaha). As as propped his camera onto the tripod for an "experimental long exposure" that I was 100% sure would turn out incredible, I left my job as an assistant feeling lighter. Freed up to the notion that you've got to have it all to be a professional, simply master what you've got. Ignore the 'standards', find your own way, try new things and make your own route. Sure, I like to come prepared (you never know when you'll need extra slippers or an umbrella!), but you don't need every lens, filter, flash, remote, lens hood and tripod stand to take beautiful photos that are completely you, it's just more to think about. Plus, he said his back hardly hurt at all! Say whatttttt? Never heard sucha thing.

The next weekend, forced to travel with a carryon (that still managed to weigh 40 lbs), I welcomed the idea and downsized my ginormous suitcase into a compact and efficient bag of tricks, picking up my toy Diana camera here and there, leaving the rest on O'ahu. And you know what? I didn't miss a single piece. 

Screw Balance.

As I sit here in unkempt hair, tie-dyed yoga pants and a "partying is my cardio" tank a million to-dos run through my head. "Send client packages. Go to the bank. Schedule meetings. And for crying out loud update your website!". As business owners all know when we worked for someone else time never seemed to go by fast enough but as we are our own bosses there are NEVER enough hours in the day. Ever. Typically, somethings got to give. Balance? Pstttt. I've thrown that notion far out the window in the past year and instead of trying to have it all do it all freaking BE it all, I've instead learned to prioritize, which means sacrifice. But not of the bad kind. When growing business here my priorities were simple: get clients. Make mooonayyyyyyy. Man, I miss Honeybooboo. Quickly, and thankfully, photography took off and I became inundated with wedding ideas + blog posts + edits + updated 24/7. I ditched any health goals, stay up late working deep into the night, skipped lunch and took my pups on less walks. I'd sadly even skip reading my Bible. This routine became my norm so much so that my husband would come home from work at 6pm, lay at the top of the stairs and peer into my office, asking "when are you going to be off work?" or on weekends "is your boss going to let you have a day off today?". Nope, she's a real B, I'd proclaim, explaining how important it was for someone who once struggled like me to maintain an online presence. He'd sigh and make plans to go golf while I'd put in effort yet still never succeed to tick everything off my to-do list. Then one day, it hit me. The house is always going to be messy, my inbox will always ding and new ideas will FOREVER flood my mind. That's life of being an entrepreneur. I've learned to embrace it but not let it rule me. I was not born to work 12 hour days on the reg, and I CERTAINLY was not put in Hawai'i to stare at a computer screen. Gradually I found myself making more conscious decisions to take back my life while still growing into a prosperous photographer. To ask for help when I need it. To hire someone to  vacuum the carpets and scrub the mirrors when I have a lot on my plate (man, do you know how good THAT feels?) and to put my health above all else and hit up 6am yoga because it soothes me. Hot yoga is relaxing to me. Don't hate. Yes, I am my brand, but I am not made by the success or failure of my business. It does not rule me. There's a very fine line between working hard for a life you love and working your life away. As hungry, ambitious entrepreneurs we can quickly become blind sighted, seeing in tunnel vision. Live your life, dammit. And if it means commenting on blogs a little less, or skipping networking meetings to go to dinner with your husband, by all means make it happen, and order up a margarita while you're at it. After all, it's the freedom to enjoy our lives that we are working so hard for, right? So live em! (All this coming from a girl who has about 5 new ideas and projects in the works....hahah!).

...as I finish this post my husband, who has not been home for over a month just laid down in my office door and without a word gave me "the look". I know what that means and I will accept it, time for an Aloha Friday, y'all!

xo

5 Tips for Styling Detail Photos

If you couldn't tell by the looks of my instagram, bright and lively details are my jam. The love for styling up small vignettes has always been in my blood ever since days as an interior designer/freelance photographer taking shots of beautifully styled food. So when it comes to pretty wedding details the girlie girl in me loves to let her imagination run wild. I adore them so much so that photographing them has become a trademark of mine and has remained one of my favorite parts of a wedding day. I truly enjoy piecing together the baubles and bits that curate a wedding and take great pride in producing bright, eclectic images of celebratory trinkets for couples to treasure. Typically tucked away into a small, well-lit corner of a hotel room, Brides often peek over to take a look at the behind-the-scenes, declaring they had to see the set-up in action. Below are my Five Tips for Styling Detail Photos:

Educate Your Client

Setting up fabulously coiffed images takes time, and for a detail oriented perfectionist such as myself, lots of it. Getting a ring to balance inside a flower petal is no easy feat, and the smallest breeze of wind can send your entire invitation set-up scattering across the room. Well before the timeline planning stages of their wedding day inform your Bride or their coordinator exactly how much time you need for detail shots. When I arrive on a wedding day I immediately get to work photographing these meaningful elements: rings, shoes, jewelry, flowers, etc. and require a minimum of an hour; totally uninterrupted (as my client's have fabulous taste to document, an hour and a half is preferred). I explain to them while they are getting their hair and make-up done I will be close by photographing their details, emerging for "getting ready" shots when their make-up is nearly complete. Prior to the wedding day I also request these special elements be gathered and ready to be styled upon my arrival and suggest they bring along any extras they'd like to include (i.e. Invitation suite, any ribbon used in arrangements, guest favors, wedding day stamps, etc.). Having those additional accoutrement makes sure the pieces of their well-thought out day are fully documented. Plus, all those tidbits add some extra styling umph.

Set Up in Good Light

The key to visually appealing images is the right light. Before getting started I find a well-lit area to "set-up shop", typically in front of a sliding glass door or large hotel window. In this small 4x4 space is where I curate most of my detail shots in even, diffused light. Bonus points if it's on a white bed or neutral ottoman! If lighting is scarce this is where an assistant holding a video light (still by a window if possible) is clutch. I've been known a time or 10 to fling open every curtain in a room like Cinderella to her stepssters. Let in the light, baby! In the photo below (shot in film) the room was very dark with one small window. I placed the shoes on a white bedspread and asked my assistant to hold a small but mighty video light to my left side. bonus tip: Having a piece of white foam core board on hand is versatile, great for a simple background or in a pinch as a reflector.

Be Resourceful

Knowing the couple's style I look around my location for colors, textures or elements that compliment the feel of the day. For a vintage farm wedding I'll head into the kitchen to use a wooden table to photograph a boutonnière on, snag a Bridesmaid's glitter gold clutch as a backdrop for rings, or even add touches of "partly in the frame" styling extras. My assistants are forever out picking leaves and foraging for berries (literally!) that I can incorporate (don't worry, they don't mind...) or borrowing decor from the reception site (that we put back, of course). In the ring photo below the hula dancer print is actually a photo I took off the wall at the Billabong House. Open your eyes, get creative, and see the possibilities! bonus tip: If you have a good relationship with the florist, email ahead of time and ask to include a few loose flowers when they deliver the bouquets to the room. This way you have some on hand for styling!

Study What's Around You.

I know it sounds ridiculous but details have always come naturally to me, it just takes time and practice to hone your eye and continue to define a signature look. I credit my passion for curating to my affinity for eye candy, I am always ooh-ing and ahh-ing over perfectly placed things. If you don't know where to begin, start absorbing the way things are around you (not just photographs). When thinking of a scene I consider a lot of things: colors, composition, textures and elements that add an extra thoughtful touch and dimension in framing (I love to have pieces on the edges of a photo), but most of all how items would lay naturally. As a girl I pay close attention to how my shoes drop onto the floor, how my bangles stack up when I strip them off onto the counter, and how artfully my laundry draps over my chair (truly!). Then I try to recreate those realistic settings and often times take pictures of details at events simply as they lay instead of putting one grubby finger on it. As much as crafting to perfection can be an art, so can shooting something just as it is. bonus tip: Anthropologie is a GREAT store for styling inspiration and their catalogs are always impeccably done.

Practice at Home

Walk around your house and collect things to pair together. Dig into your  jewelry box and find some bling to photograph. Take your time and test what works and what doesn't on your own time so when you arrive on a wedding day you are comfortable, confident, and ready to make it fabulous. Bonus tip: You'll wind up with some fun "stock" instagram + blog post photos. I mean, really, you don' t think I get boxes of donuts THIS often do you?!?!  Okay, maybe I do, I'll never tell. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Best Business Advice I've Ever Gotten

We all sat 'round a table, six photographers in celebration of Emily's baby shower, her fourth girl! #girlpower. We cooed over cute baby clothes and they shared stories of child rearing as I looked at them sideways, nearly traumatized. We giggled and mixed antics over brunch, connecting as friends who happen to be in the same business, flipping our hair around and complimenting one another's look. Just as the checks were signed I proudly propped down a giant pink box filled to the brim with dessert "the best cupcakes you've ever had I confidently declared". The women taste tested, absolutely agreeing that these were, in fact, heaven. Cookie Butter cupcakes?!? DUHH. WINNAH WINNAH. Then they proceeded to do the same thing friends had done the night before when I handed them the sugar filled treats--immediately looked the baker up on Instagram. I don't know why I was so shocked, after all half of us sitting at breakfast had recently had our hair done by the same stylist, referred by one another. In fact I had just sat in his chair again a few days prior, talking story about plans for his new salon and clever event ideas he was dreaming up. With my hair in foil I had softly suggested he get someone to handle his social media for him and he quickly shrugged the idea off, reminding me that was he had been doing was working just fine for him, why change it. And boy was he right, dude just markets via instagram and with 24 clients a day is nearly impossible to schedule an appointment with. Eating this truly legendary cupcakes bought out of a roaming food truck in Mililani (that I often track down) and flipping our fresh new blonde locks I noticed the words Kitt recently spoke to me were again ringing true. There is no secret to success. No gems in marketing.  Simply "do good work and people will talk about you". Being a walking billboard for flowy hair + beautiful cupcakes myself, I knew he couldn't be more true. #werk.

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Cupcakes by Legendary Taste [Hair by Khietluu]. You make sure you let me know when you've become addicted to these delights + also have fabulous, glam hair, too! :)

 

Being an Artist vs. the hired Photographer

Carrying the water bottle you can always find her toting along we continued our conversation as we headed into the church's sanctuary "...so you're the artist then..." she concluded. If I was feeling frisky I would have poked at her correcting her grammar, "you mean the arteeeestttt", but the truth was, compared to the options she had presented, I declared myself both the photographer AND the artist, but where I thrive most is as the creative. On our way to an extra service at church derived for entrepreneurs we had begun discussing business, in particular my business, and the trick to finding the balance between shooting for yourself and documenting for others when I explained to her that there are times I don't even want to pick up my digital camera, not because I don't like it's quality, but because film makes me be the photographer I know I am. The photographer who instead of taking 25 photos of the same thing to decide she likes none of them to holding a film camera in front of my face, taking a moment to focus and recompose to figure I don't really want to take that shot in the first place. Being pushed to only capture the good stuff means I don't take my frames for granted and pause and think before I click. Henceforth, making my body of work a lot more curated and less "here's a photo of everything, at every minute, at every angle, just in caseeeee!". It relinquishes you of self-imposed obligations to get shots of every waking moment encouraging you to instead take a breath and look around, telling the story exactly how you see it. After all, your particular vision is why people hire you in the first place, so stand up for it! Sometimes when you take your craft and make it into a business it's hard to find the shift between what a client wants and what you love, after all, when first starting you've been shooting "4 your eyes only" all this time--obliging the desires of someone else isn't what you realized you signed up for. But when it comes to a wedding day, it kinda sorta is. For most couples a wedding album wouldn't be complete without formal photos of their friends and family, or simple + pretty images detailing their reception's decorative elements. As an artist the formal and traditional factors may not be your thang but they're apart of the deal. So is happily agreeing to photo of Aunt Carole and her brothers when she goes off your printed list to request it. It comes with the territory and is something I'd never in a million years miss, even when couples say "you know, we really don't any photos of the details..." I know they're crazy, I'd never want to risk them changing their minds in 10 years so even if it's just a few, I make sure I get some of those beautiful but "standard" wedding detail photographs just in case. 

Just as you're the official photographer of the day, required to photograph typical moments and details of each event, it's also just as important to know your strengths, focus on your personal style, and stand up for your business and time. Because if you don't, who will? And we allll know every second of a wedding day is precious and allotted photography time is a rare commodity.  When I first began shooting I'd find myself humoring every photo request at the beck and call of family members saying "Oh, did you get a shot of this? Where's the photographer, she should get a photo of that. Are you sure this light is okay behind them?" finding my camera working hard to get the lackluster images that someone else was directing instead of seeking out beautiful moments myself. Even as a freelance newspaper photographer I'd let restaurant owners suggest how I set-up plated food when I KNEW that if, left to my own devices, my style would be more effective because, helloooo, I was a professional already. I was just too nice to say anything and took the photos they wanted before shooting what was actually needed, in turn often being rushed and deleting everything I had taken to accommodate them anyway. And WHY?!?! In efforts to be nice, really, but because I wasn't confident enough to take ownership.  I was letting what other people thought I should do dictate my shots and ultimately business. Having a pushy officiant asked the couple to face one another and jointly hold the bouquet in between them for the entirety of the ceremony for "the photographer" (?!?! Hi. THIS photographer requested nothing of the awkward sort), or an aunt hovering over as she pulled me away from photos of the rings to get shots of the groomsmen putting on their boutonnieres...all of them...one.by.one. Sure, it may seem like no harm no foul to take the shot and move on, and typically it's not, but there comes a moment when as a business owner we need to step up and position ourselves as the Artists, or our creative spark may just get sucked right out like Dementors whisked along. Poof. Now you're soulless.

Nowadays I feel completely confident in the balance I've found with being hired to document while still having absolute style and when a officiant hinting-ly (it's a word, go with it), says "Oh, look, their foot prints in the sand make a great photo...." I have the courage to nicely smile and simply reply "awww, that's sweet" without raising my camera an inch. Or to politely ask the waiter to remove the practically life-size bottle of champagne from the middle of my shot that he placed there just before I clicked because, I don't know, I guess he though it would look great sitting right in front of the Bride + Groom's chairs. "Thanks, I got a shot of that already, you can take it away now...or better yet just give it to me... ;)".  Because I believe in myself, my craft, my eye, know the must-have images and am always on the look-out for beautiful artistic shots throughout the day...and footprints in the sand ain't one of um. All-in-all, choosing to be an artist first and foremost makes me a better photographer.  And if politely smiling doesn't work I always have the excuse "Oh, I only have a few shots, this is film".

 

 

 

WIN AN *EMERA CAMERA BAG

At the beginning of September I will be packing up +  flying over the pacific to visit Chiang Mai, Thailand for my second visit. It won't be just any ole trip shopping + taking photos of elephants, although that will indefinitely happen, but I'm going alongside members of Inspire Church as a mission trip - one that last year completely and utterly changed me. And excitedly enough this year my sister Sarah is traveling even further all the wayfrom Virginia and joining the group. Hip hip! In  honor of being one of the team's photographers (Sarah will be the other!) and in efforts to raise the appropriate funds needed to make such a trek I thought a wayyyyy fun raffle was in place. I used to always say "I never win anything!" and then once won a TV at a local football game. I'll never forget the feeling I got when my name came over the loudspeakers! I was a kid, so technically my parents won a TV but I had nothing but sheer confidence in my #winning skills after that.  If you know me like my husband knows me then you know I will go to great lengths purchasing, testing and creating with intention of getting my hands on THE perfect camera bag. I've bought them, d.i.y'ed them and even pieced a few together but frankly none have been as incredible as these gems by *emera. I've had mine for ages and nothing can come close, I'm obsessed. You can imagine my heartbreak when I went to replace my chic quilted tote that I had for years to find *emera no longer made them. In fact, they were no longer making several of the fabric designs. Cue my girlish meltdown. But naturally I don't take "no" for an answer and emailed BEGGING for something, a sample, a returned one, ANYTHING! I NEED THESE BAGS FOR FOREVERRRRRR! Lucky for me they had just a few left in stock and were willing to let me buy up the last 3. While I've put my new bag to use and keep the other "in waiting" (it will be a few years, these babies last), I decided what better way to celebrate the upcoming mission than raffling off one of these sold-out gems? (And raise some funds, too!). So here she is, one of the very last *emera classic canvas totes up for grabs! (for more photos via Amazon, click here). Super easy to tote, comfortable, chic, and super versatile, these bags are my go-to for both wedding days, shoots and travel. With the side pockets (perfect for phones!) and the padded inner sleeve they make THE best carry-on handbags. It fits my iPad or laptop, a contax kit, extra lens + meter (assembled!) or a digital camera body with a lens or two AND if you place the extra padding on the top can fit extra travel accessories. And with the sturdy inner zipper pocket your valuables won't go missing--the top of the tote zips up, too! Everything is easy to access and fits snuggly thanks to the velcro dividers. I tell you, I can't live without these bags. Too bad these are the LAST ONES!  Wait...why am I raffling this off again...?

//HOW TO ENTER:

1. Donate a minimum $5 here.

Each $5 increment is one entry per person. Example: If you donate $25 that counts as 5 entries! Just like buying an old school raffle ticket and throwing it in the hat.

2. Repost the photo on Instagram with the hashtag #AshleyGoodwinThailand (so I can count your entry!).

 

// DETAILS: Check out my instagram for the photo to repost. Raffle open to anyone + everyone! One winner will be chosen at random on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 after 12:00pm HST and notified via instagram (so make sure your account isn't private, please). Winner will receive one (1) *emera camera bag (shown) with shipping paid for. All raffle proceeds go toward the Chiang Mai, Thailand mission trip 2014 with Inspire Church. Thanks for entering, sending LOTS of hugs your way!  xo

 

Copycat.

The minute the shiny news proudly dinged it's way into my inbox, my heart sank. A fellow photographer was proudly announcing the launch of a new division of their brand and instead of being happy for them I stared blankly at my computer screen, crushed. That was something IIIIII wanted to do I sulked, allowing myself to wallow in a million feelings of guilt that I hadn't put my ideas to action sooner, annoyance for not 'trying harder' and sheer defeat that someone else made my idea come to life before I could. For some RIDICULOUS reason I found myself in a spiral of thoughts and doubt and had myself convinced I would never get to introduce my bright and exciting new ideas to the world because someone else was already doing it--and if I pushed on and did it too, that I would surely be considered a copycat. It probably doesn't help the world and creative industries perpetuate this ideal as do the people around us in the form of "Bitch stole my look". I've been asked if the recent popularity and trendiness of film among new photographers bothered me and once someone close even questioned if I thought such and such was "copying me".  In a profession where new looks and the next great marketing strategies are coveted, it's no wonder everyone wants something fresh and brand spanking-new to call their own. But the truth of the matter is this: nothing is ever original. EVEN IF YOU ARE CONVINCED YOU THOUGHT OF IT FIRST. Often times I find myself testing my ideas in the form of this quote from the movie Inception, "The subject's mind can always trace the genesis of the idea. True inspiration is impossible to fake", analyzing where I got my ideas, but even then the things we do are never ever the only versions out there. Take this instagram photo of mine, for example:

When I took my first image similar to this scene it sprung from a desire to tell the story of a wedding day. Offered beautiful lookouts from high atop Waikiki hotel rooms, I wanted to showcase what a bird's eye view from the bridal suite looked like on a couple's wedding day. I shot these in film, as I drool over the crisp and sharp detail they provide of the minuscule scenes--appreciating every little perched umbrella and paddling surfer. I am drawn to the colors, the scattered elements, the life each corner has. They really embody all that is Waikiki on a beautiful Hawai'ian day, and the vibrancy just pulls my heart that much stronger. Not to mention it reminds me of Where's Waldo, in which I can let me imagination run wild for hours. I began taking these photos out of true inspiration and proudly displayed them as my own works, mentally appointing them my new signature thing. A few weeks later, someone gave me a kind compliment on a similar photo and indadvertedly stated it "reminded them of Gray Malin". I had no idea who the artist was but headed for his website out of curiosity. And damn if my new thing didn't look just like his all the time thing. Days later alongside this instagram photo someone ELSE noted the shot looked a lot like his and I felt the need to defend myself, proclaiming "I swear I didn't knock him off! I thought I thought of it first!" because, well, I did. I just KNEW I did! (And don't even ASK how much my heart went into sad mode when I saw he uses those damn balloons. I swear, I have a Pinterest board now of beach + balloon inspiration before I even saw that. IS HE IN MY BRAIN?!?!?!)

Here's the thing: I didn't knock him off. I had never even studied an image similar to mine that's why I was so proud! But it doesn't matter because someone, SOMEWHERE will ALWAYS do something similar. Been there done that. I mean, haven't you ever seen these historic dopplegangers? It's astounding. After a conversation with my wise and mutuality talkative friend Becca, we discussed business ideas both present and future, and how professionals may have already done them but we should never let that stop us from living our dreams, shooting what we want, and making things happen, regardless. It will always have been done, what matters is how you do it. Because as Rebecca poignantly eased my email induced heartache, she reminded me of the truth: "Build on the eyes God gave YOU...take in and appreciate what others have done without being intimidated or threatened [and know that] at the end of the day it's how you see the world...you have to capture it the way you see it, and that's what sets you apart."

Cann'a getta amen?

 

Ff | How to carry film during a shoot

This morning I slept in late, gently and slowly rolled out and bed, stiffly walked downstairs, feet groaning in pain and am in taking copious amounts of dark roasted coffee to nurse my mini wedding photographer hangover. I had a Thursday wedding at the Halekulani (yayyyy for weekdays!) and would be lying if I said I didn't consider just skipping blogging in lieu of lounging. But #FilmFridays are my favorite, and yesterday I tried out a new style that pretty much may be a lifesaver so I'd be straight up selfish not to share. Always on the lookout for handy items to make life easier (I'm the queen of trying to find the perfectly functioning bag for every occasion) I stumbled upon a conversation thread on Facebook that sparked my curiosity: talks about using an apron on a wedding day. Yes...you're probably thinking what I'm thinking, "an APRON?!??!", I know. I like to keep things stylish and chic, my hair is already enough of a mess at the end of the day the rest of my body needs to be as polished as it can be. But when I remembered I had a thin, simple black one from my serving days hidden away, I figured "what the heck...I'll take it along..." And now, my life may never be the same. Tied tightly around my waist against my black dress, the apron was practically camouflaged. I had planned to use it for only the quick moving parts of the day but when I put that baby on it was too good to take off. There is a pocket for film, a place for exposed film, and a pocket for my light meter/tissues/bride's lipgloss, etc. I could even stash a lens in there if I wanted! (Which helped during the ceremony but didn't stay all day). B humorously noted out I can't call it 'my apron', and I suppose I agree, it needs a more stylish mention, but when I pointed it out to guests they laughed and said they hadn't even noticed it (maybe they were just being nice? Yeah...probably). Towards the end of the night I did think "I should take a photo of me wearing this" but my hair was already long gone--absolutely not a good moment for photos of Ashley Goodwin. If you're looking for something helpful to keep film on you during shoots, manage your little bits of gear, or just give extra pocket space without the expense of sore shoulders the next morning, a task apron is seriously a great option (opposed to those lens waist belts that look like bongo drums. Have you seen those?!?) Wedding vendors have the never-ending struggle balancing the sacrifice of style for comfort and function but it doesn't have to be that way -- I'm determined! You can look polished while still easily getting the job done. I doubt I will be wearing my apron with dresses that aren't black (I will keep my small studded + snake skin shoulder bag that I carry for those days), but these things are the bomb--kinda like a shoot-sac but lighter, easier to access, and without the painful always in your way strap that comes from a bag! And luckily fairly easy to find in tons of different looks. Here are some stylish photography options: (sorry gentlemen, if you don't wanna sport the apron guess you gotta stick to the bongos...)

Anthropologie Task Apron  |  Custom Aprons  | Cafe Apron | Simple black apron