Welcome to our new blog! 
 

Get to know your Wedding Photographer – Introduction Blog!

April 19, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Woah, it’s 2018 and I have not done an introduction in a very very long time. Because I think we as humans are ever-changing and always growing, I thought I should do a refresher and re-introduce my 2018 self to you!

Now, I am somewhat of a creature of habit… so my likes and dislikes may never change, but my point of view is always evolving and I have some new fun “about me” things to share with you!

So, let’s get it started.

Who are you?

My name is Crystal.

(And this is an old pic...) 

Weird facts about my name:

1. I am pretty sure I was named after a character on a soap opera…

2. My middle name is Danyel. My mom spelled it that way assuming I’d inherit her impeccable ability to misspell everything. Little did she know I’d develop a pretty stellar vocabulary… and I spelled my middle name Danielle for most of kindergarten… until one day, my mother saw it and said “Crystal, that’s not how you spell your middle name.” Ahh, irony.

3. For a while I didn’t like my first name and so I made my family call me “Dani” (based on my middle name). I guess I was going through a mid-adolescent crisis, luckily I overcame it.

Random Facts About Me:

1. I am a witty person.

I love to laugh, I have a good sense of humor and am probably funnier than I lead on … it just really depends on how comfortable I am with you, but I’m pretty quick witted, if I do say so myself.

2. I am an empath.

This is a newly learned term I’ve discovered on how I navigate through life. In a nutshell it just means that I am highly intuitive and vibe off the energies of others, good or bad. Which isn’t always fun, but the more I learn about empaths the more I grasp why I am the way I am… very compassionate, understanding, open-minded, emotional, etc.

3. I am a mother.

I have three beautiful children who I thank the universe for daily. My kids are all so unique and beautiful, each displaying something special to help me be a better mother.

My oldest son Gavin (11 years old) is wise beyond his years, an old soul. He’s gifted and has always been at the top of his class academically since he stepped foot in a school, recently he was accepted in to testing for accelerated learners and he’s definitely a source of wisdom and grounding in my life. He’s also very funny and always makes me laugh with his quick sense of humor and is definitely the most well-behaved of my three children. (Don't tell his sister I said that...) 

Oh, and he’s been playing the drums since he was 5.

 

 My daughter Chloe (eight years old) is a reflection of my younger self, I believe that she too is an empath and will be a very creative individual. She loves cheerleading, dance, and gymnastics and is naturally talented in all forms of physical art. She is deep and passionate, feels things very intensely and is a constant reminder for me that we women think and feel on a deep spectrum from a very early age, to be mindful of this when dealing with her peculiarities.  



My youngest son Micah (18 mons) is a fearless sweetheart. He’s the baby, so naturally we all cater to his beckoning call and he has everyone (including daddy) wrapped tightly around his tiny finger. Micah was born premature and has been a fighter ever since. Though he’s tiny, he has a tenacious personality and does not seem to grasp the concept of danger. I’m not sure, but I think this is the one that is going to give mommy lots of beautiful grey hair!



4. I believe my other half is… my other half.

My fiancé and I are connected by some cosmic force, I can’t explain it and neither can he but since the day we met we have felt as though this is exactly where we were supposed to be. We are deeply connected to one another. When I met him, it was very easy to talk to him and very easy for us to get along, there was no effort in our approach with one another. I didn’t have to guess if he liked me. I wasn’t elusive and neither was he. We just connected, pretty instantly and have been together ever since.

(We REALLY need to do family pics...) 

5. I suck at watching movies.

I cannot sit through a movie. I have a real inability, especially as I age, to just do nothing. If I’m watching a movie, I am definitely thinking of at least twenty things I could be doing that are probably more productive.

However, I haven’t missed ONE episode of the new Roseanne! I tape it though, so I don’t have to watch commercials.

6. But not video games…

In the winter, when I have an excessive amount of free time, there’s a constant battle over who gets the X Box. My favorite video game is Elder Scrolls.

7. I am honest.

I would be a horrible sales-woman if I had to rely solely on my ability to sell something and couldn’t use my work as a crutch. I feel like in order to be a good sales-person you have to have an ability to create a bit of illusion outside of reality. I’m way too real to do this, but what I’ve found is that ironically part of my sales pitch and what helps me as a business is that I’m authentic. So, it works out!

8. I meditate and have a goal to practice Yoga every day.

Yoga has become a huge part of my life, I cannot go a day without practice and it’s been such an opening experience. In February, I was struggling a bit with feeling grounded and was having a lot of moments of feeling kind of like I was on this roller coaster of emotions. As some of you know I was diagnosed with Guttate Psoriasis which covered about 40% of my body including my legs, arms, hands, and face. It’s still visible today and is one hell of a process to go through “curing”. The psoriasis really impacted my confidence. I was worried that people would stare at my hands wondering what was wrong with them or that it would overshadow my work if it didn’t go away before wedding season. I knew there was no over-night miracle when it came to this disease and it really impacted my sense of self-worth.

I decided that in order to quiet my mind from this incessant over-analyzation of my situation that I would start practicing Yoga which in itself is a mind, body, soul physical meditation. I made the decision to commit to practicing every day and I am now on 77 days in a row of practicing Yoga. And before I go to bed each night I listen to Chakra Balancing music and quiet my mind. I used to stay up until sometimes 3am, unable to sleep and constantly fretting about literally anything my mind could find that wasn’t “right” in my world, and now I comprehend that sleep is vital for my mental and overall health, so now my nightly routine consists of calming music or even calming guided meditations to help release some of that tense energy we pick up through out the day.

9. I like to write.

Exhibit A: Numbers 1 through 8. Haha!


With that, I think I’ll end this post here. The funny thing is I always go in to these writing sessions telling myself “Okay Crystal, you need to condense your thoughts!” And would you believe, this actually IS a condensed version? I’m long-winded by nature and I am trying to work on it, but it’s a process for sure!

I hope you like this!

Thank you for taking the time to read this,
Crystal B.

 

P.S. I am booking 2019 weddings and have already had to block out the month of May from my availability as I’m booked the entire month, so do be sure to contact me soon if you’re looking to book in 2019!


 


C a i t l i n + S e a n || Engagement Showcase || Vanderveer Park - Davenport, IA

April 18, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

I chose to highlight this engagement session because we utilized a very common location for photographers in this area.

 Many steer away from the parks commonly used, for fear of... I don't know, being ordinary? There have been all these challenges lately to take what would be considered a mundane backdrop and use it to your advantage, the same can be said with these "common" locations. 

This was not our original location. We had other plans, but like the nature of being a wedding photographer: weather is unpredictable. You cannot plan for the "right" weather, a lesson I am surely learning as I delve in to exclusively photographing weddings and have spoken about on the blog. 

It was supposed to rain. 

So, naturally, I found them a location we could photograph at indoors - for free without having to pay for a reservation, like many other indoor locations in this area. 

When I got there, it was snowing, and I was looking around outside going... "There's so much potential here." 

When we went inside another photographer was using pretty much the best spot inside, naturally. And where I wanted to photograph, he would have been in the background, so I really wasn't feeling the indoors. 

(Side note: No shade to the other photographer whatsoever, just so that is clear. In fact the other photographer was honestly so nice and even asked us if we needed anything moved to just holler, so please do not think I'm coming from a territorial standpoint. Besides, that's not my character at all.)

Finally after going back and forth with second guessing myself on where we should be shooting, I said "Let's go outside, the snow will make for great portraits." 

So, I sent my soon-to-be bride outside in freezing weather in a sleeveless lace dress... and she killed it! (So did Sean, of course! But he wasn't wearing a sleeveless dress, thankfully... cause' that may have been odd, haha. Not that there's anything wrong with men in dresses, just to stay politically correct here, but Sean does not strike me as the dress wearing type, so you know.. that would have been weird.) 

The point is, and immediately after I had blogged about the nature of "whatever will be will be", is that sometimes you should just trust your instincts. Trust your ability as a creative individual that you can produce great results regardless of where you are. So often we, myself included, get caught up in making sure everything is "right" that we are ultimately rendering ourselves from our potential to work under pressure and subject ourselves to knew challenges out of fear of failure. 

And that statement stretches far beyond the realms of photography. 

Trust your instincts & follow your heart. 

If you don't succeed, at least you tried and now you know what doesn't work for the future, but man... if you do, you'll understand that you are capable of being innovative WHEREVER you are! 

Check out this session: 





 


What if the wedding doesn't go as planned?

April 13, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Weddings : What if doesn’t go as planned?

The other day, I was asked the question: “How do you determine how to get the photo “right”, every time.”

Just like anything, I think it’s an impossible standard to adhere to: perfection. I like to think I’m an entirely imperfect photographer, if I am being honest.

I don’t think on those terms.

I understand my camera and I know how to get a good picture. But I never walk in anywhere with a clear concise, “this is the way it will be” idea of what I will be photographing.

Although weddings can be predictable, they can also be pretty unpredictable. Sometimes, things do not go as planned, that’s the nature of subjecting yourself to something that you only have the opportunity to do once. (So invest in vendors who have experience with weddings. Hint hint, haha)

You can plan for a beautiful sunny day, but Mother Nature may have determined for you that this isn’t the cards.

So, when it comes to weddings: I have ideas, I even have back up ideas, but a lot of the time having NO IDEA creates the best result.

I am a documentary style photographer. I document what I see and I use my environment to inspire me. It’s that simple. There isn’t a whole lot of production behind my style and I’m not personally cut out for a big production, it’s not me.

I am a down to earth, go with the flow, speak when necessary kind of girl.

I am always honest. I will always say when something isn’t working (politely)… but I have also learned, through my trials with attempting to obtain the unobtainable (i.e. : perfection) that sometimes it is best to just work with whatever you’re given.

I’m a very meticulous person for someone who is so laid back. While I know what looks good and will tell you, I am also as equally easy going, it’s a weird dynamic but it’s a great asset for weddings because I don’t allow the unexpected to render my capability of getting the job done.

As brides (& grooms, heyohhh) it’s important to spend your time focusing on what will go right: you will definitely marry the person you love that day, you will definitely have your family and friends there celebrating along side you, you will definitely wear that dress (or tux!) and look darn good in it and you will have made all the necessary steps to make this wedding as you as possible.

But if it doesn’t go as planned, don’t focus on the little things… focus on the big picture.

I’ve seen many a bride fret over the smallest things and I have had to be the cheerleader a few times over saying “Hey, you are getting married today – let’s focus on that!” I’ve seen brides cry over the rain, more than once, and I understand having this idea of how it’s supposed to be in your head.

But if you give up the idea of how you feel it is supposed to be and understand that truly what is supposed to happen and the only for sure thing will be: you’re getting married, you’ll look beautiful, and the people who matter will be there for you.

The rest, is up to the universe, not you.

So, what if things do not go as planned?

You’ll still be married, as planned.
You’ll still look stunning, as planned.
You’ll still be surrounded by loved ones, as planned.

Everything will be as it is supposed to be. You just need to focus on the aspects that truly matter and everything will be just fine.

And if all else fails, we (your wedding vendors) have hopefully had enough experience with weddings that we can help set your mind at ease and that you can just “don’t worry, about a thing - every little thing, is gonna be alright…”
 

We got you.


R7 Reclaimed Grandview, IA | Wedding

April 09, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


Before you end up over-cooked, let it simmer.

March 23, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

Have you ever noticed how we (as a human race) tend to be combative with positivity?

“No one can be that positive.”

“It’s an act, no one is that positive.”

“Blah blah blah, mushy positive nonsense.”

Why have we become so reluctant to positivity that we’ve placed inside our warped little minds that being positive is a cloak to a hidden agenda?

That, to me, is the actual nonsense. 

For the last fifty days I have practiced Yoga every single day. Every day I have dedicated at least thirty minutes to myself. Almost every day I listen to calming music and try to meditate before bed. Every day I remind myself to practice gratitude and to avoid unnecessary conflict.  Every day I have taken the time to practice embracing myself, to accepting myself, to trusting myself, to loving myself and to the belief that there’s more to life than incessant conflict.

It doesn’t have to be conflict with other people, it can be as simple (or as complex) as conflict within our own mind. Consistent over-thinking. Consistent over-analyzing. “Over-thinking, over-analyzing separates the body from the mind.” (Yes, I did just quote TOOL, haha.)

It’s that incessant chatter inside our minds.

It’s telling ourselves we aren’t good enough or we could do better, worrying if someone likes us or if they don’t, without just letting it be. Without trusting the process, without realizing that every single time we’ve encountered similar setbacks, similar concerns, similar conflict that the same exact outcome happened every single time: we either made it out alive with a lesson or we totally over-worried for no reason whatsoever.

This is where I encourage you to let it simmer.

If you find yourself in this routine of constantly battling your mind, putting yourself down, worrying what everyone thinks of you, dealing with any kind of struggle at all… just take a moment and rationalize your thoughts. Let them simmer a moment. Grab from the endless experience pile stashed inside your brain and find a similar experience, then think about the outcome, then think about how in hindsight to today… was it really that big of a deal?

If it wasn’t (and it wasn’t, because you’re still here and you made it out unscathed), then let go and focus on the outcome rather than the conflict. Focus on the absolute certainty that whatever is conflicting you in your life will not last forever and there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

I promise you, it works.

In January of this year, my family was really struggling. There was so much conflict within our home that there was this incessant tension, literally every day. It was during this time that I just thought to myself “it does not have to be like this.” I was upset on what seemed like a daily basis, I felt trapped and although I’d been there before… I was too wrapped up in the feeling of that moment that I didn’t remind myself that “this too shall pass”, even though I knew it would.

Then one day, in the midst of some serious personal struggle, I just told myself I’d had enough of … well, myself. I’d had enough of consistently thinking things will never look up, I’d had enough of putting myself down and allowing one issue to take root and grow in to more issues. I was fed up with consistently feeling down.

It was also at this time that I was diagnosed with guttate psoriasis, which still covers about 40% of my body and is most visible to others on my hands. I’ve had someone ask me if I was burnt, I’ve seen people stare at, I’ve had children flat out ask me or tell me I have “red bumps” all over me.

I literally felt like everything I had been feeling on the inside was now manifesting itself outwardly and I finally decided I needed some inner healing. This is when I turned to Yoga, this is when I turned to meditation, this is when I turned to repeating to myself that I am okay and reminding myself of everything I already had to be grateful for.

At first, it was difficult. Some days I thought it was silly, other days I thought it was futile and ironically those were the times in which I had the most set-backs. (Thoughts become things, you know.) But man, when my daily mantra became “Trust the process and DO NOT give up.” … Total game changer.

For the first time in my career as a photographer I brought in more income before wedding season than I have ever in my career. I booked more weddings before wedding season than I have ever in my career. I stuck to a “fitness” routine for more consecutive days than I have ever. I significantly reduced the appearance of my psoriasis through relentless self-control and daily attendance to my skin. The battles in my home are fought solely on a need-to basis and everything else is forgotten. It’s not dwelled on, it’s not stored to fester, it’s just plain not allowed to take root. Period.

For the first time in my life, I have been able to truly declutter and focus on what really matters. I completely dismiss any invitation for gossip or negative conversations. I seldom spend time on Facebook, more than to just post, because through this process I’ve been able to really comprehend that Facebook especially has the potential to create negative emotions we never would have planted without seeing it in our news feed. Having a presence on social media is a part of my business and so I have to post here. And well, encouraging less complaining and more positivity makes Facebook seem like the best place to start, if I’m being honest.

All I’m saying is, is that if you’ve noticed that you’re constantly surrounded in conflict or what you see as “bad karma” or it seems like the world is just against you, maybe contemplate if it is less about your surroundings and more about your view of the world around you. I don’t think most things are as bad as we possess the ability to make them out to be. Try a different approach.

Spend less time having expectations of the world or people around you. This places you in a position where everything you want is just out of reach and leaves you constantly focused on wanting more or not having enough. Wishing is futile, BELIEVING is key. Believe that everything will be okay. Believe that you are worth it. Believe that your life doesn’t HAVE to be a place of conflict… and… soon enough your perception of the world around you will change too.

I promise.

Namaste my friends.

Crystal B.