August 26, 2011

Fall & Winter Portrait Specials!

Call me crazy, but my schedule is already beginning to book up for the Fall and soon after Winter will be here. That being said, I wanted to make sure I announced both of the following specials with enough time for people to plan out accordingly! I have so many wonderful people to thank for keeping me this busy so this is thanks to YOU guys!

I know first hand how we all tend to spend a bit more money during the Fall and Winter Seasons. Holidays are here left and right, food is in abundance, candy, decorations, gifts, etc. The list could go on and on. Sometimes, we forget to prioritize our needs and photographs get put on the back burner. I'm hoping that both of these specials are going to change your mind on that and get you in front of the camera. Everyone deserves some awesome photos!!

The Fall Special is catered directly to the Class of 2012!  I know many of you guys love that gorgeous Fall scenery and want those cooler temperatures, plus we all know how amazing Fall fashion is ;) Grab yourself a Fall Portrait Session with Stephanie Pana to bring out the best in yourself. I specialize in High School Senior Portraits and promise to bring you something completely unique and special to just YOU! All Senior Portrait Sessions between October 1st - November 30th will receive this amazing $50 off special!

Being from Chicago, we have some pretty terrible Winters around these parts. I know everyones' favorite thing to do is cuddle up and home and stay there ;) This Winter Special is perfect for just that! I literally come straight to your front door. We turn your own home into own personal "studio" and have a blast being in the comfort of your own environment. Not only is this great for the babies but even better for you! Book your Indoor Baby Portraits between December 1st - February 1st for this incredible offer!

August 19, 2011

Weight Loss Update!

Current weight - 190lbs (Down 30lbs!)
Current jean size - 13 (Down 4 sizes!)

I'm sorry I haven't been keeping up on my blog in general, but especially so for those readers who have been keeping up with my personal weight loss journey. I've been in the midst of what we all know as the "plateau" and can't seem to shake it. I haven't worked out in over a month, so it seems. I also have been terrible about eating out and eating lots. Not 100% into my old eating habits but enough to where I am scaring myself a bit.

I guess when I think about it, there has been a bit of extra stress on my mind here recently and while I am also in the middle of my busiest season yet - I'm finding myself always working and never wanting to get up to work out. All I need to do is go to my basement and spend 30 minutes a day working out. It was so easy in the beginning! I just lost that fire inside of myself and need to regain it. I've somehow been damn lucky to sustain at 189-190lbs during this slow point and not budge.

I was hesitant on talking about this, but another huge reason for this weight loss is because of my personal health. I recently went to the doctor just over a month ago and took a blood test. I found out two days later that at the age of 22, I have high cholesterol. At first, I was shocked. Thinking to myself, how can that even be? Then I remember all the horrendous things I did to my body over the past three years and I literally burst into tears. I know having high cholesterol is not the end of the world and that I'll be okay...for now. Though, if I don't make any real changes this could be something that can kill me in the end.

It was at this time when I really kicked things into gear. Somehow though, a month later, I feel like I'm stuck in a rut. Maybe I need to work on my mind and soul for a bit. Things have been a little off for me mentally for a bit now and I need to get back to a good place emotionally before I feel the urge to continue. That's what it seems like at least.

I swear I'm not asking for sympathy or anything of that nature. I'm just trying to be as honest as I can be with you guys. Without this support system, I wouldn't have gone as far as I have so far. I love hearing from new people or even familiar faces. We're all in this together. All in all, I'm still 100% positive about this entire situation and knew sooner or later I'd hit that point where it wasn't as easy and I would loose focus on things. I lost a lot of weight quickly and now it's time for me to finish the final half of this graciously <3

August 9, 2011

Inspire yourself.

I took a trip down "memory lane" early this morning. Browsing through my old photographs from my first sessions last year, reading stories of how I felt during those times, and just seeing how raw & new everything was to my eyes. There were so many firsts and I was constantly learning something new. My work expanded daily, so it seemed!

Here I am today, just over a year since business began and I am feeling stuck & repetitive with my work. I definitely have found a style, which I love and it perfectly suites who I am as an artist. Though when I see my work present day, I feel like I'm getting too caught up in my posing and making sure everything is perfect. I need to refresh my memory of those feelings of when everything was new! I missed the organic emotions that came through myself, because I literally had an open mind to everything I was doing.

I almost miss those days, before I began drowning myself in hours and hours of blog watching through inspirational images. I absolutely love being inspired, but I kind of miss being scared of what to do next. I feel too comfortable and rehearsed these days. I want to have those questions run through my mind again, that make my sessions feel more like a personal adventure.

There are so many aspects of photography that I truly hope I can one day experiment with. Fashion is definitely at the top of that list. I would also love to be able to create more substantial & conceptual pieces. Maybe one day even have my own gallery up in the city? There are so many things I'd love to do...

I just feel closed off to experimenting lately, because I've been so busy with client work. PLEASE don't get me wrong though - I am SO completely blessed that this year has been going even better than the last. I only continue to hope for such greatness throughout the upcoming years! I just need to continue to remind myself of the inspiration that flooded me last Summer. I guess I really was just a huge blank canvas, who has now learned so much and finally found "herself" in her work. That was the biggest struggle for me.

I still have a few shoots here and there where I can bring back those emotions, recharge that energy and turn it into some of my best work to date! I just sometimes want to forget about the rules, techniques and just dive face first into something different.

Maybe I sound crazy for thinking these things, but I am totally okay with these emotions. It means I still have that drive and passion burning inside of me, which I want to have everyday for the rest of my life. I'm just ready for more growth as an artist. I'm ready to make mistakes that turn into something beautiful, teach myself to never hold back and to always keep an open mind to everything.

Oddly enough, I guess you can kinda say I inspired myself this morning. Past "me" spoke out to present day "me" and reminded me of the beautiful, ever growing road ahead of me :)

August 5, 2011

Alice In Wonderland [Fashion Inspired]

Lately, I've been feeling pretty stuck and repetitive with my work and I suppose that comes with the territory of being so busy with client work. Don't get me wrong, I still LOVE my client/portrait work, but every once and while, I need to stir things up and do something completely out of the box for myself.

The process of putting together this shoot was quite different than any other before. We obviously had a zero dollar budget so we needed to come up with all the props, clothing, hair, make up without spending a dime. We almost made it! Everyone found and put together items & ideas that they had to create this incredible shoot. 

Without this incredible team, we literally couldn't have pulled it off separately. It was a HUGE team organization that went so perfectly together. I couldn't have asked for it to be any better!

Massive thanks to the following ladies:

Nikki Giacobbe (Co-photographer)
Scarlett Bordeaux (Model)
Katie Lundberg (Model/Hair)
Kristyn Assise (Model)
Nagham Alzreiqat (Make Up/Hair)

A music video that inspired this shoot! Also a good soundtrack to view the photos to ;)

August 3, 2011

Senior Portrait Workshop: Hosted By Stephanie Pana

It finally happened and I am STILL on cloud nine that literally everything went so smoothly! We had 9 fantastic photographers, three stunning models, and two fabulous locations. The creative energy began as soon as everyone arrived at my house. We all got to mingle, get to know each other and talk about each persons' experience in their field. One of my favorite parts of the day!

Four hours of shooting later, we were all exhausted (VERY hot out that day!) and felt so much closer to everyone around us. Everyone got to work on things they've been wanting to practice, ask as many questions as they would like to and they also got to network with some absolutely incredible local photographers.

To say I was lucky would be an understatement. This all came together so perfectly and I literally am still floored that anyone thinks so much of me that they would attend my own personal workshop. I love being able to share! I can't thank you ALL enough for giving me this opportunity to do so. You guys have given me the courage and strength to pull this off. The next workshop for the Fall is already BOOKED! Be on the look out for another one come Spring 2012!

Check out the images from the day. You can just see how much fun was had! <3