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.
So last weekend Josh and I participated in Just a Girl’s first ever Wedding Expo. I say Just a Girl’s because apparently my amazing other half use to do them with his dad as a kid. Very different type of show than wedding shows, but more experience than I’d ever had with it.
We, of course, in typical Josh and Kylee fashion waited until the last minute to finish our display and had never tried to fit everything in the car until the night before. Luckily almost everything fit,and the next morning we were our way to Innisbrook Resort in Tampa where the expo was being held.
After a hectic morning we finally got everything set up, what I didn’t know however was that the candy and our display would be the mossy popular thing about us all day 😂
We were all set up and ready to go for Florida Wedding Expo by Your Wedding TVs doors were about to open. I was super nervous and Josh was well…Josh, cool as a cucumber we always.
The crowds were flowing and there were tons of eager brides, grooms, friends, and family. The chocolate in both the swag bags and on our table helped us stand out. Brides were filling out our contact cards pretty consistently for a majority of the show and we had some awesome conversations with potential clients.
All in all in 4 hours of talking to brides, about a grand in expenses to get us ready for the first show, 2 engagement shoots, and what hopefully will turn into an awesome season of weddings in the next couple of weeks, I would have to say from the perspective of connecting with potential brides and other vendors alone, that this expo was worth it.
I think for all new photography business out there especially those in the wedding industry, looking into an expo type event whether it be the same one we did or some other event, is definitely worth it. It’ll help you connect with all sorts of people.
At the end of the day, if someone asked me would you do this expo again my answer would be absolutely yes. Even if we don’t get any bookings off of it this time. The learning curve from the first show was steep and I’m excited to keep learning and connecting.
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.
Beach weddings…the dream destination at the perfect time for just about every bride at some point in their life.
They are becoming more and more popular, or maybe I just think they are because I’m a wedding photographer in a Destination Wedding location with beaches…Who knows? Either way, as a photographer who has attended beach weddings and a bride who had one of her own (If you can count our small elopement in a cruise port as a wedding) I’ve put together this list of do’s and don’ts for any bride out there currently planning or thinking about planning a beach wedding.
Do – Pick a dress that is appropriate for the heat and sand that you will be encountering on the day of your wedding.
Do- Make the requirement for guest attire as casual (maybe even beach casual) as possible
Do- Try and plan for a sunset/sunrise ceremony (Makes for fantastic pictures)
Do-Remember sunscreen and Sunglasses (and possibly a darker shade of foundation)
Do- Buy an alternative dress to wear for your reception, I can guarantee you won’t want to be in a full length dress all night in the tropics.
Do-Provide water in some fashion for your guests….if you’re hot they probably will be too. Don’t want anyone passing out and making your big day all about them. 🙂
Do-Have a back up plan!!! The weather (especially here in Florida) doesn’t always play nicely.
Don’t- Be Afraid to have a Trash the Dress session…If your photographer doesn’t ask (shame on them) don’t be afraid to ask them. You’ll never wear it again anyway, might as well have fun with it. I was too afraid to ask, and I wish I hadn’t been.
Don’t- Try and wear real shoes (Heels,Dress Shoes, anything you might find in a typical ballroom wedding), you will sink into the sand, it will be unfortunate, you will regret it. Try out those fake sandal things you see on Pinterest all the time, or maybe even some real ones if you don’t want to go completely barefoot to your wedding like I did.
Don’t- Try and make your groom and his groomsmen wear a full suit, it will not work, it will be uncomfortable, and you could end up with a groom who decides to wear swim trunks, neon sunglasses, and a fishing hat instead (I’m unfortunately not making that particular scenario up)
Don’t- Forget to file all the paperwork for your marriage license beforehand if you’re doing a destination wedding. Some places can take several days to process, and you don’t want that to stall or ruin your perfect day.
Don’t- Freak out when the day doesn’t go as planned. The weather sometimes doesn’t behave, the schedule sometimes can’t be executed 100% on time, your guests may get a little drunk and try and make things about them. Take a page out of island life mentality and just relax and go with the flow.
Don’t-Expect your groom, his groomsmen, or your guests to be sober by the time the ceremony starts (Even with a sunrise wedding). They’re on vacation, just because you spent all day getting ready doesn’t mean everyone else did. Even at a regular wedding, the groom has probably been drinking most of the day, so don’t expect anything different from a beach wedding 🙂
With no help from my husband, (his only input to this blog was “don’t wear shoes” and “don’t wear white because you’ll blind everyone”) that is my list of Do’s and Don’ts for the Beach Wedding Bride. Even if you chose to ignore this list entirely, the most important thing to remember is, Have Fun, its your wedding day!
Summer Weddings, can be both a blessing and a curse. Typically, here in Florida they would be a curse, especially with an outdoor wedding. It was way too hot, humid, and unpleasant, which is why when I was asked to go back to Utah to shoot yet another Utah wedding my immediate answer was Yes! (Even if that wasn’t Josh’s exact response :P)
Starting from the beginning the wedding was untraditional. Most of my brides are the traditional “I want him to see me at the altar and get his true reaction” type brides, this wedding however gave me a whole new challenge. First look photos that will be ready to be printed for the wedding the next day. We arrived, we shot a whole day of getting ready and first look/bridals, and I made sure those photos were edited and ready by the next morning…..even if it meant editing in the back of a car on an hour long ride.
First Look & Bridals:
The first look was stressful, but I adored it, I honestly wish there were more locations like this here in Florida. 🙂
Going into the wedding day, things were stressful, but thankfully Josh and I could kind of relax until the ceremony started. We got a chance to enjoy our time in Utah, at least for a little while. Backyard weddings have a certain sort of whimsical element to them, and that was the essence we tried to capture while working on the details before the wedding.
With the details out of the way, it was time to start the ceremony. Without really any vantage point to shoot from this time around, I had to find my groove. So, I decided to try something completely different. I decided to move around the small ceremony space to capture the intimate, sentimental ceremony from all angles (Actually, where our now staple dual angle perspective came from)
A beautiful ceremony officiated by the one and only Christine G (Also my and the brides grandma), the night quickly moved into the reception and family formals. Unlike the typical wedding with a sit down dinner, this crew was ready to party the night away from the minute the newlyweds said “I do”!
We live in a world where no matter where you look everyone around you is plugged into the online universe. Whether it be scrolling through social media, reading a blog, listening to podcasts, or playing a game, the online world often seems like a better reality than the one we’re actually living in.
Which leads me into this weeks topic of conversation and HOT TAKE!!
Cell Phone/Cameras during the Ceremony! Necessary or Completely Rude?
There’s a couple ways to approach this, but I’m going to take it on from the perspective of a wedding photographer who edits their own photo gallerys and give you, the people of the internet, my Hot Take.
PUT YOUR GOD DAMN PHONES AND CAMERAS AWAY!!
Personally, I think that if the Bride and Groom shelled out hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars for a professional team to come in and capture their big day, all guests should respect the wishes of the Bride, Groom, and their families.
No moment on your phone is more important than the Brides walk down the isle with her father, no photo is worth blocking the professional shot with your arm and hardware while risking the contract the Bride and Groom created with their chosen photographer, and no cell phone is going to get a better photo than the thousands of dollars worth of photo equipment no matter what the spec sheet of your iPhone XR says.
Brides and Grooms shouldn’t have to ask their guests to put their phones down and be present at the ceremony, but if they do happen to ask you as a guest FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST DO IT.
Now that you know my opinion, I’m going to tell you a little story that lead me there.
Recently, my husband and I we’re hired to shoot a wedding, a wedding where all of the guests we’re told by the family multiple times that they should unplug and be present at the ceremony. Even posting signs like the one below all around the wedding venue:
My husband and I actually really appreciated this ask, we’ve had trouble in the past in the editing stage where there were constant phones ruining the shot, or people leaning into the isle blocking it entirely making it hard to deliver a shot that didn’t require hours of photo shop to fix.
Seemed like a simple enough request, guest put your phones down, the professional ones will be shared with you once they are delivered, which wasn’t too long after the wedding if I might add.
However, this request couldn’t be respected. They’re not my guests, so its not my place to say anything, but it made delivering the images from the wedding a slower process seeing as we had to turn images similar to the one below where the bride was walking with her father, into images that we’re acceptable to deliver.
Amongst my editing process, as more and more of these photos came up, I decided to send a pre-edit shot to the Mother of the Groom, whom I had dealt with most of the process leading up to the wedding, and who I was sure would have her own opinion of the shot. She sent me back the image below, of which she blasted to the guest on Facebook. I was happy that the family still had our back, but just upset I couldn’t get the photos to them sooner due to the extra time it would take to erase all the digital evidence.
So whether you’re a guest or the bride and groom, for the love of all that is holy PUT YOUR DAMN PHONES DOWN. Enjoy the ceremony, and then capture all the fun of the reception. You can handle a 30 min detox from the digital world, I promise.
Our name can be misleading, so we thought we’d start this company’s jump into the blogging world with a little more of an introduction you can put on an About page. I want our couples to understand who we are, just as much as we want to understand them and what they’re about in order to best capture their big day.
Who are we?
We’re both engineers with uber technical, stressful, and chaotic jobs.
We’re Florida Nature Loving free diving and paddle boarding free spirits that come home to a house full of 3 fluffy creatures (2cats and 1 bunny).
We’re also those nature loving people, but we’re also photographers looking to make other couples big days and special events easy and amazing.
Our Journey to the Altar:
We met in Downtown Disney, truly apart of our generation seeing as we met on Bumble. It was a short, sweet, whirlwind, kind of love. We went into this relationship knowing what we wanted, we had both had rough lives growing up and weren’t typical 23 year olds.
Fast forward 3 months after we met and there was a perfect ring on a finger of a 23 year old woman completely head over heels in love. Remember that feeling? We sure do.
Fast forward another 3 months, we we’re hopping on our cruise ship with our favorite other couple (Also our witnesses 🙂 ). In case you didn’t catch on, that was 6 whole months from first meeting to marriage, told you it was a whirlwind. We decided to have a small intimate thing with just us and the people closest to us, we realized sometimes our families can be a lot so the smaller the better. It was perfect, we were perfect, the cruise was perfect. The perfect day, for what in our heads was the perfect couple.
Fast Forward a Year and some change….(Brings us to present day). We’ve celebrated our one year anniversary, about to celebrate our 2 year dating anniversary, photographed some weddings together, went through some crazy adventures, and now are looking forward to making other couples weddings as special as ours was.
We want everyone to feel as special as we did, and as Just a Girl Photography, we strive to make a couples big day or special event in life turn out as perfect as we can. We shoot from a dual angle to catch all emotions of the day. We’re a couple that has been through all the chaos recently, we understand what it is you’re going through and try to make it easier on everyone involved.