watched from the sofa as everyone opened their gifts and smiled. I love Christmas and derive no greater happiness when someone opens a gift I bought her. The gift, as small as it is, is a way for me to express my appreciation and let that person know I read between the lines and got her something special. I just reread that sentence and it makes me sound like a Robbins Brothers commercial...I need to cut it with the cheesiness.
No, but really, gift giving is a big deal to me. And not the gift itself (one of my favorites this year was a $10 gift from my little sister), but the thoughtfulness of it all.
At the end of night, my mom asked if I liked everything and I replied, Sure, mama..., but she stopped mid-sentence and ran to my twin sister and started whispering. Apparently, someone forgot to get me a few gifts. Moments later, after rummaging in her room, my mother cornered me in the hallway and apologized, but before I could stop her, my mom handed me an unwrapped bottle of Melatonin (I know you have trouble sleeping at night) and a $25 gift card to Olive Garden.
Later that night, I recounted the story to JD and before I knew it, I was crying. I swore to him it wasn't about the gifts, it's just that I feel like my mom didn't think about me this year... I trailed off and JD stomped into my pity party with a machete. Six years ago, he said with as much patience he could muster, we weren't sure your mom was going to be here...alive...with us, so if anyone is being unthoughtful, it's you. He then reminded me it wasn't about the gifts under the tree, but who's around the tree.
Right about then I had a Tiny Tim moment (God bless us, every one!) without the crutch, which leads me to an installment of Kisses and Disses.
This week's DISSES go to...
*Me. A petulant daughter who couldn't see a real Christmas miracle standing in front of my face.
*Left over holiday desserts. Cookies, cake, brownies, rice crispy treats...they're piled in my kitchen beckoning me like sirens at sea.
*The gym being overcrowded this time of year. It's those darn desserts, I tell ya!
This week's KISSES go to...
*Today being New Year's Eve Eve. I feel like popping some bubbly just to ensure I'm ready for tomorrow...it's all about practice, Internet.
*Olive Garden gift cards. Went to the OG (that's what us locals call it) for dinner this week...and ordered a dipping sauce to boot!
*Basketball being back...I'm a Lakers fan through and through (still miss you, Lamar!)...but tell me those Clippers aren't looking darn good this year! Dang it.
Shooting Star : Photographing Groom Prep
hat one was too long. Yup, you did it again...too long. Maybe you're just talking more than usual, JD said as he adjusted the camera yesterday. My goal is to keep Shooting Star videos around four minutes, but--apparently--I had a lot to say. Or I was extra nervous. Or maybe I need to speak faster. Just kidding, we all know I speak fast enough to be a part-time auctioneer, but I'm looking for an excuse here, Internet.
This week's installment of Shooting Star focuses on photographing Groom Prepration Photos on a Wedding Day, a continuation from bridal preparation photos. Here I'll explain the priliminary outline I provided to JD on how to shoot the guys while they dressed in five simple steps:
1. Knock on door and Introduce yourself to the groom as the assistant photographer to "X" and proper introductory protocol.
2. Introduce yourself to every person on the room.
3. Give permission to relax and be comfortable.
4. Fiddle/tinker with your camera bag as a distraction to create space for comfortability.
5. How to Photograph Groom Details
I also answered the following questions proffered from Facebook and Twitter (as well as answered popular questions in the video itself)...
"Do you have advice on how to coach the Groom for the "first look" photo?"
"How about posing a Groom who doesn't feel comfortable with posing?"
"How do you work in messy environments when photographing a Groom getting ready?"
"New ways to set up boys? I always end up with the same stuff.. Boys stump me"
Like always, I don't talk fast...you listen slow. Zing! I hope this offered a tiny bit of light into how I work and if it helps one person, I'm happy.
Pick Up Your Pen
he called me into her office after English 101. My adjunct professor taught in the Psychology department, but was assigned a freshman writing seminar and I numbly sat in a desk on the first day. I dreamed of being an English major, but as weeks turned into months, I felt myself becoming a shell of the writer I imagined I'd become. Desperate for an A in the class, I wrote my midterm paper two weeks early and submitted it for an early critique so I could make changes before the official deadline.
I pulled up an orange chair to her desk and saw red ink. Everywhere. Her notes filled the margins and I dreaded the oncoming conversation. She asked if I was a first generation college student...if I had taken proper english courses in high school...if my parents were immigrants. I silently nodded. She said she suspected as much and went on to say I'd have a hard time majoring in English because, well, writing seems to be difficult for you, Jasmine.
The weight of her words crushed me.
At the end of the semester, I decided to major in Business Administration and never took another writing course because I believed writing was difficult for me. I believed her red ink.
There are days when her words haunt me, but I decided to share my stories online (typos, errors, and made up words included) that later opened doors for me to publish EXPOSED Magazine. Yes, this first-generation college student and daughter of immigrants wrote a book about photography. Boom.
I'm thankful for every experience, especially this one. My professor said I couldn't do something and I believed her. And there might be people who say you can't do something. Well, you can choose to believe them and waste years of your life and talent on mere suspicion. A hypothesis. Or you can pick up your pen and write. Your camera and shoot. Your bike and ride. Your voice and sing.
You hold the proverbial pen...make mistakes, struggle, and write. Your story is waiting to be told.
How to Win a Scavenger Hunt.
ast night I searched through my purse and looked for something. You know, SOMETHING. The thing that's somewhere in my purse--it.must.be.in.there--but I must sift through other necessities ("necessities" being used loosely because I'm a girl and slightly high-maintence). I'm an organized person, but I feel the urgency to carry everything I might need at any given time, Apocalypse included, so it can get the way of The Search.
When I was a kid I snuck into a baby shower my mother attended and they were playing a game. It was a scavenger hunt of sorts where ladies were broken into teams and had to find the items on the scavenger list based solely on what was in their purses. Since that day, I've been determined to win every scavenger hunt. Ever.
This is what a winner's bag looks like...
The Purse - I adore this leather Madewell clutch...I'm pretty much a sucker for a good clutch and this one? Functional and adorbs.
The Bandaid - A necessity for any girl in heels.
The iPhone - This is a camera and I hate when it rings and gets in the way of taking a photo. Duh.
The Dimes - I keep random change at the bottom of my purse. It makes me feel like I have swag.
The Ticket Stub - It reminds me of happy memories and places.
The Bobbypins - For hot mess moments.
The Ring - Whist Christmas shopping, I bought myself this ring from Nordstrom and it makes me feel like a hippie from Flagstaff, Arizona.
The Camera Caps - I have no idea why these are in there, but HOLLLLLLA for my Canon gear.
The Pen - I will always, 100% carry a pen. If I could carry a quill I would because I like feathers.
The Lip Wear - I never leave home without glossage and this week's colors du jour are Subculture liner, Beaux, and Ready Or Not!
The Memory - A zip drive. Just in case I'm needed by the FBI and need to transfer files at any given time.
The Necklace - Found this it at a thrift store and it fulfills my hipster urges.
The Scent - I love this petit parfum solide (I Made You a Mixed Tape) by Tokyo Milk and I never have to worry about spillage.
The Notes - The Tokyo Milk packaging kills me...die! Included are small note cards and I carry them around for emergency--yet stylish--communication.
The Book - I always carry reading material, but have yet to remove this precious book from my personage since finishing it.
oo much. Excess. An overabundance. Of love, happiness, support...and hard work, but I think those things are harmoniously synergistic. This past year was filled with ups, downs, and OHMYGODWHATAREWEDOINGs, but I wouldn't have changed a thing. This is primarily in part to having some of the most amazing clients. Ever.
Being a wedding photographer allows me to live out my dreams, dare to hope, and challenge myself to be a better person. For this, I'm thankful. However, I realize without the love, happiness, and support of clients who believe in my ability, I'm nothing. Here's a look back at some of my favorite wedding photos of 2011...
Here's to hoping, dreaming, and working for an equally as amazing 2012!