A Few Honest Words.
My highlight this month was traveling to Colorado to ski (for the first time in my life – lots of fun!) in Steamboat Springs and spend a few days exploring Denver. While I was there, I celebrated my 29th birthday (yay!) and had a chance to really relax. It was great a trip, and I can’t wait to share more of it with you soon!
While I was there, I thought quite a bit about my blog and how I really want it to grow and what I want this site to develop into. This month led to more technical thinking and less blogging lately, which I terribly miss. But somedays… That happens. The good thing is hopefully over the next several weeks I will be able to roll some changes out and get back to the important parts. Photographing. Blogging. Writing. All things I love. That’s my goal timeframe, and I am hoping to make that happen.
Here are a few things I want to share with you this month!
Point and Shoot.
Because photography is something I love, I want to share with y’all any knowledge I can especially if you are interested in it as well. Each month I will share with you some tips and tricks that I find helpful.
I love Instagram because it allows you to gain inspiration from many different levels. I can follow photographers who are local to my area or ones who are half-way across the country to see how they are shooting their portfolios. One of my favorite photographers to follow is Beth at Bethadilly Photography. Her photographs her beautifully styled while often using natural light. I love the way she captures real life. Recently, Beth teamed up with Courtney from Click It Up a Notch (another great blog to read for photography tips!) to present a webinar and release the eBook The Styled Photographer by Bethany Deschamps. When I saw this eBook hit the Internet this month, of course I had to purchase. As an avid reader of both their blogs and loving the ways they have explained photography in the past, I was excited to purchase the eBook!
And these last few days I really had a chance to dive into it. It focuses on answering a very important question for any photographer (from hobbyist to professional) and a topic I know I’m learning for myself as well: how to find your photography style. With tips on how to determine what you love (and don’t love) within your work, this eBook is a great tool to utilize to learn your style. It is written in a way that gives a step-by-step approach on how to determine your style, which will easily allow you to shoot more photographs you love. And what photographer wouldn’t benefit from that?!
Image by Bethadilly Photography
On My Nightstand.
If it was up to me, I would read books every single day. Actually, for the most part I try really hard to get a few minutes of reading each day. I just love it because it relaxes me. I mean, getting lost in words and imagination and seeing life differently, sign me up. And writing I believe goes hand-in-hand with reading. There is something between the two. I’m not quite sure how to explain it, but there is something there. Because I enjoy writing, I read.
Here is what sat on my nightstand in February:
Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. Here is a little secret: I love reading about creativity. The creative process. How it works. How it is different for so many individuals. In this book Liz describes the creative concept so well. Her chapter on Enchantment, which speaks on ideas and how they work and how you can lose them is a concept that is very relatable to me. I often feel like if I don’t write an idea down, I may lose it. And sometimes I do lose them. It happens. But more always appear. Before I understood how creativity worked, I was the type of person that used to think I couldn’t be creative. I believed I didn’t think that way. What I have learned is that “thinking creatively” is more of a habit. It something you have to train yourself to do. And once you figure that, I believe everyone has a little creativity in them.
The Art of Work by Jeff Goins. This was one of the books I picked up to read while on vacation. I know… Who wants to read a book on work while vacationing. Apparently, me. What I loved about this book is how the concepts of “work” and “career” were presented. Without giving too much away, I believe giving purpose to work makes life easier and makes work more productive. My full-time job is very easy with explaining my purpose; however, when it comes to my blog (because I never really considered this “work”) it isn’t always clear. From the being this space has always been a place to document life and grow in my photography. But, now I am at a point where I want to continue developing this space and giving it more. Not exactly sure what that entails, but reading books like this open my eyes into seeing things differently and finding ways to incorporate practices in my life that work for me.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo. With moving recently and realizing how much stuff I actually had (who would have thought I had that much stuff), I’ve been going through and throwing away or finding new homes for anything that I just don’t use anymore. Clothes. Furniture. Books. Anything. With this season in my life, I figured it would be great to research a little more on organization, which is why I purchased a copy of this book. It shed some light on how to prioritize what I want to keep and what I don’t. Marie centers around the idea of keeping only items that spark joy and from their creating a process as to how you should approach decluttering. In the last two weeks, I have rearranged/reorganized my closest (again), made more decisions on furniture I would like to keep, and began grouping like items together to continue the decluttering process (books are next on my decluttering list). Because of this book, I am taking “spring cleaning” to a whole new level.
Give Me Five.
Have you ever heard the saying “Gratitude changes everything”? The concept behind it is you should be thankful and find the good in everything. Depending on the situation that may be harder than you think. Around November of last year, I really decided to give into this idea and began writing a few thoughts of gratitude each week. I thought to myself if gratitude changes everything, then sure I am open for a little change. Let’s see what you got. I am now actually around an every-other-day of writing gratitude thoughts. It is easy for the few days. Especially when the days are fun and lighthearted. And then you hit one of those days. You know which kind of days I am talking about. Everything goes wrong. Exhaustion enters. And you are waving the white flag before 9:00 a.m. Try thinking gratitude thoughts then. And that is where I found the purpose behind it. It really can change your mindset. Five seems to be the magic number when I write these, and that is how this section got it’s name.
Because it made a difference with me, I wanted to share a few of my thoughts with you.
February 1st: I am thankful for peace and prayer. I am thankful I know why those elements are important to me and how they work.
February 6th: I am thankful for opportunities to travel. To see different places and try different things. And I am thankful that my life is organized in a way that allows me to do that.
February 12th: I am thankful for my curious personality. One that doesn’t mind researching or thinking to find things that work for me. And I am thankful for the resources that have been placed in my life to guide me to those different ideas.
February 17th: I am thankful for being able to shoot this week. I am thankful for clients and opportunities and seeing more candid shots appear on my camera. I know I haven’t quite figured out what I love photographing, but I love being able to be a part of different shoots to figure that out.
February 23rd: I am thankful for the time and strength to organize and clear clutter. I know that many of the things I have I no longer use, and I am glad that I can find ways for other people to use and benefit from them.
So, how has your month been? I would love to hear! If you have never commented before, don’t be shy! Feel free to leave a few words and let this post be the one that connects you!
XOXO – Ashley