First client shoot of the new year, something that can be totally nerve racking or something that you can let shape how the year is going to go. I prefer to let it shape a good thing for the new year ahead of us, and that was the mentality we went into this weekends shoot with.
This weekend, we drove up to Tampa to have an engagement shoot with Jacqueline and Aaron at the beautiful and historic University of Tampa campus.
Being Daytona based, and Orlando/Brevard County Frequenters, locations in Tampa were a new thing to us, and this magical old architecture and piece of history made us wish we lived closer, but the couple that showed up to shoot with us was even better.
Full of life, love, and absolute dorkyness this couple was a breeze to work with. Having been together for 6 years, but known each other for much longer, these two knew each other inside and out and it showed in the final product…even if it was windy and cold the entire shoot.
In 2020, I made a personal goal to focus more on the business and try and get us to a place where maybe in the next 3-5 years I could go full time with the business and not have to juggle what is essentially two full time jobs at points in the year.
So this year is a year of firsts for us. We did our first wedding expo, we started the year off with our first (true) destination wedding, and now in the month of January we add on not only new clients, but our ( and by our, I mean my) first Styled Shoot.
I’ve always been one to believe that nothing is more genuine or a bigger portfolio builder than actual weddings or engagement shoots, and I still believe that, however, I had some new gear I wanted to play with and felt that there couldn’t have been a better opportunity to do so.
On the plus side, I also got to meet some other really awesome photographers and models that are here locally. I got to see how other people handle their couples and detail work, plus had a bit more control over the situation than I would on a typical wedding day.
Just like the Expo, I believe that Styled Shoots are something that I will and have already planned to participate in again. As we get deeper into the wedding world, we’re finding that the more vendors and venues you can connect with the better.
Check below for some of the work from the Citrus Themed Styled Shoot:
Back around Thanksgiving, I wrote a small blurb about the logo and what it means to me, but I thought for this weeks blog, I’d dig a little deeper into that.
Way back, before I even met Josh, I had this dream of starting a photography business. Something completely outside of my realm as a degreed engineer, but a passion I’d had since my days in high school.
Photography was always preached in my family as nothing more than a hobby. Something that could never sustain me like a good STEM degree could. Which is why, despite my love, and from what I’ve been told natural talent for it, it wasn’t something I continued to pursue.
That was until, I had hit rock bottom and coming back behind the camera saved me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to engineering after the way it treated me coming out of college, but I knew I had a few other passions left to explore.
Queue the research into what it would take to start a business and what I needed to start doing in order to get somewhere with it. I was completely lost, and to be honest probably in over my head, but I already had a name for my business.
Just a Girl
This came out of my time in rock bottom where I felt completely lost and out of control. Barely 21, a year out of college, jobless, and feeling like I was nothing more than just a girl, I wasn’t special, or at least I didn’t feel like I was. I was Just a Girl, just a girl trying to make it day to day, just a girl trying to navigate her first stab at adulthood, just a girl who didn’t know how to be on her own, and Just a Girl with a hell of a lot of fight left for a dream that seemed impossible.
But I needed to find a logo to go with it. I didn’t want something everybody else had, I didn’t want cursive lettering, or flowers, or a rustic look that was popular at the time. I wanted something with just as much story as my name had.
Thats when it came to me, sitting at my desk with my feet up, I looked at my ankle. It was perfect, how could I have missed it.
I had a bow tattooed on my ankle, a bow that represents the biggest fight, the stubbornness that runs through my veins, the uphill battle with terrible statistics, a bow that represented defying the odds. A bow that represented probably the strongest, most stubborn, fighter I know. It represents my cousin, Ashlynn.
Ashlynn was diagnosed with a rare disorder from birth, we as the family were told she’d always be a vegetable, that she’d never make it past certain stages in her life, that she’d never be able to hold her head up, let alone walk. Nonetheless, she continued to fight. We continued to fight as a family, when she couldn’t fight for herself. And Now?
Ashylnn is 16, was the flower girl in the last wedding we shot, where she with some assistance from some family walked down the isle. She has outlived every expectancy, and out performed every metric we’ve ever been given. This supposed vegetable, has the biggest personality of us all, and 100% has the Goodliffe stubbornness coursing through her veins.
When I want to quit, when I want to rely on my degree and the cushion it provides me, I remember what this company name and logo stands for. The bow was created to represent the fight in a little girl whose sheer will power beats us all. The bow was created to represent the family mantra “Strength to Start, Courage to Finish” in my own way. The bow was meant as a daily reminder, that I’m related to living proof of defying the odds, if she could do it I can to.
The bow also remind me, that I’m not Just a Girl anymore, but I was. My attachment to this story is why we’ve never changed the name, even though Josh and I shoot together now. I was Just a Girl, now I’m Just a Girl, who Found the Love of her Life. With him, I’ve found my strength to do anything no matter how impossible the odds may seem.
I’m Just a Girl with her Bow and her Bo, ready to take on the crazy world of Wedding Photography one wedding at a time.
It’s not too often (or at least in my world it isn’t), that you get to go back to College and relive your freshman year, but with this engagement shoot, I got to do just that.
Sara, Pierre, and myself we’re all freshman the same year at Florida Tech in Melbourne, Fl, so when Sara contacted me not only to do an engagement/Save the date shoot, but an engagement shoot back at our alma mater, I was definitely all for it. However, I was slightly confused seeing as I was pretty sure they got married even before Josh and I did. 😛 It was quickly explained that they were in need of some non-selfie mode photos for their save the dates for the big wedding they would be throwing sometime in the near future. Always looking for an excuse to both pick up the camera and go back to Melbourne, we were definitely thrilled to get this opportunity, but what I didn’t know was how fun and amazing this shoot would turn out.
Now on to the photos, because that’s really what you came here for isn’t it?
First Stop, The Alma Mater, also where they met!
Next Stop: The Beach, also conveniently, their original wedding location
It was a perfect storm of things, and I honestly just can’t get enough of this shoot! I hope you all enjoy it just as much as I do.
That’s all for now,
Your Friendly Neighborhood Wedding/Engagement Photographer
So you’re engaged….Now what? Well, before you go off into the black hole that is wedding planning on Pintrest (that will inevitably end all productivity outside of the wedding…Trust me, I know from personal experience), you should probably look for a photographer to do your engagement session/save the date photos.
Once you find a photographer you and your groom-to-be both agree on, one of the first things you’re photographer is going to ask you is if you have any locations in mind. That my friends, is where this blog can come in handy….even if your photographer isn’t us.
Having grown up in Brevard County my entire life (Literally, was born, went to K-12, went to college, and had my first job out of college all right in the glorious county), I’ve become quite familiar with the popular photo spots around town, but this list is my Top 5 Favorite Places to shoot around Brevard.
#1 Downtown Melbourne
With so many colorful backgrounds to explore, Downtown Melbourne is the perfect setting for a newly engaged couple to show off the merchandise. The old antique accents make for an easy change in pace. This versatile space allows for all personalities to shine through. Even when it rains, this location can be a blast to explore and find new places.
#2 The Beaches
All across Brevard there are gorgeous beaches to pick from, stereotypical, yes, but a gorgeous shot at both sunrise and sunset is guaranteed even with a phone photographer. They may not be white sand beaches, but you’re guaranteed amazing photos just from the scenery.
(No, you don’t have to do your session in bathing suits, this couple just chose to let me photograph their day at the beach)
#3 Florida Institute of Technology’s Botanical Gardens
Now, I may be biased to this location, seeing as I spent 4 years wandering the jungle when I was suppose to be doing homework. 🙂 (Go Panthers!) This location can create a sense of adventure even for he tamest of couples. Where all the students go to hide, the Gardens (or Jungle as I came to know it) is a location filled with trees, rivers, and beautiful scenery.
#4 Obloy Family Ranch
Located in Merrit Island, Fl Obloy Ranch is both a fun place to do engagements and venue for a ranch style wedding. An animal rescue to all sorts of creatures ranging from kangaroos to horses, the twinkly lights strung along the wedding venue area, the small lake at the front entrance, and many other things along the path make for stunning photos. You can even request to have a horse/ride a horse in your photos if given enough time and preparation.
#5 Downtown Titusville
A bit far from the typical tourist attractions along Florida’s East Coast, Downtown Titusville has one of my favorite landmarks to photograph couples in front of. The iconic Cocoa-Cola wall has been a staple of my photography since I started with my first engagement shoot back in High School. Across from the iconic Coke wall is also an amazing view of the River equipped with docks to also go and photograph on.