Friday, February 28, 2014

Snippets + Snapshots | February 2014

Snippets + Snapshots from the past month...
hubby's birthday | birthday boy | awesome clouds | surfacing from bar study | new fireplace doors | babies! babies! babies! | love note from the hubby | babies! babies! babies! | valentines day celebration | selfie with gatsby | friendly neighbor says thanks | babies! babies! babies!

If you want to see all of my Instagram photos, you can check them out online here or search for me on the app - my user name is michelewhitacre!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Self Portrait | February 2014

Somebody seriously needs to stop time.  I feel like I blink and another month has zipped by.  The speed at which life is flying by for me probably has a lot to do with how insanely busy my life has been recently and I really wish it would slow down and let me catch my breath!

February brought with it a huge amount of stress and insanity for my husband as he spent the month studying for the bar exam which he just took a few days ago.  It also brought my parents to Phoenix for their winter stay.  Yippee!  I love it when they are in town during the winter, but this year's visit is more work than play since they are helping us do some updating and remodeling on our house.

I haven't been doing much actual work on the house, but I have spent an inordinate amount of time shopping for supplies.  So much so that I feel like Lowe's has turned into my home away from home.  It seemed only fitting to take this month's self-portrait at the place where I have found myself several times a week this entire month.  I've been making early trips before heading to work, and late trips after work, and middle of the day trips on my days off.  Pretty soon I'm going to have the entire store layout down better than the employees!

So here's to the end of February and to making our new house into our home:


Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Monday, February 24, 2014

Jess + Mike's Sneak Peek

I'm excited to be sharing Mike and Jess's photos on the blog today - partially because I just took these photos on Saturday and I'm stoked that I'm already posting them (go me!)  but mostly because Mike and Jess are two of my favorite people and it was a ton of fun taking their photos.  Not to mention Jess is one of the most photogenic people I've ever met.  I don't think the girl could take a bad picture if she tried.  Seriously.  And I should know because she's been in front of my camera several times before.

Just to save them from having to answer the question a thousand times: No, these are not engagement photos. Jess and Mike actually were kind enough to volunteer to let me take their photographs to include in a website update that I am working on.  I knew they would be awesome in front of the camera and I knew it would be a blast spending a Saturday evening photographing them, so I asked them if they'd pose and they graciously agreed.

So, now that we've got that out of the way, let's check out their photos:

I let Jess pick their session location and the artist in her couldn't resist the Chihuly exhibit going on at the Desert Botanical Gardens.  Here they are with one of the piece in the background...


Jess wasn't the only one who was excited about the exhibit.  We arrived and the gardens were packed.  I did a little internal freak out that we weren't going to get any photos in front of the exhibits, but the other visitors were really very accommodating to us and it turned out to be a good experience.  I was surprised how willing everyone was to stop and wait for us to get our shots.

Taking photos in such a crowded environment really kept me on my toes.  I had just a few seconds to grab each shot while we held up the other visitors from passing by, which forced me to be more decisive about my settings and poses than I usually am.  I think the challenge was good for me!

We all know how I love black and white, and this one is a favorite...



This one took us a while to capture and I didn't think poor Mike was going to make it.  Jess is actually sitting on a small rock, but Mike is just balancing himself crouched behind her, and every time he'd start to get into position another huge group of people would come to view the piece behind them and we'd have to wait for them to finish.  He kept standing up and crouching down, over and over, and not having any fun doing it, but at least the photo is cute.  (It's all about the photos, right?)...



Mike and Jess really are such a fun couple, and during this little series of photos they had me laughing so hard I couldn't keep my camera from shaking and had to trash several out of focus images.





LOVE!  This one is definitely a fav!...


And so is this one...



Adorable!...




Jess, You. Are. Gorgeous!  I love photos of Jess with her soft smile, but she is so full of laughs and smiles it's actually hard to catch...


Another fav...


Gorgeous!...



Jess and Mike,  Thank you for spending your Saturday evening with me and for volunteering to let me take photos of you both.  Good luck with your final semester of school and with your big upcoming move! (And give me a call to photograph that adorable pup of yours soon.)

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Friday, February 14, 2014

Run, Zoe, Run

A few weeks ago I was experimenting with photographing moving subjects using a new camera setting, and in an odd turn of events Zoe was my runner of the day. (Probably because I was bribing them with treats and Zoe is much more food motivated than Lexi. She was more interested in sniffing at the pool. I might have to start taking bets how long it takes before she jumps or falls in.)

Since it's such a rarity, I decided to post some of Zoe's running photos on the blog today.

Zoom. Zoom...








And back to the calm, lazy Zoe we all know and love...




As always, thanks for stopping by!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter
© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Monday, February 10, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Buy a House


#28 BUY A HOUSE

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I have to say that this wasn't originally on my 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket list, even though it has been on my global bucket list since the day I sold my house in Indiana.  We were originally planning on waiting to purchase a new house until Kevin started working, but we (meaning mostly me) had reached our tolerance of living in a cramped rental house with no control over anything.  I guess I'm just a nester by nature, and not being able to make our living space into my own permanent home was having a profound affect on my mental state and my ability to adjust to living in Arizona.  Even after living here for 2 ½ years, I've been really struggling to feel at home. I knew the only solution was to start putting in some real roots by buying a house and settling into it, so we decided it was time.

The original #28 on my list was to plan a trip post gradation and bar exam with Kevin, but buying a house meant all our savings would be used up for a while, so I decide to swap the items on my list.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

Moving into the house wasn't quite as smooth sailing as I had hoped, which I mentioned in last month's self-portrait post, but overall I'm beyond thrilled to be in our own house. I love the layout of the house and our backyard is too amazing for words.  We've already made tons of changes to personalize the house, thanks to the help of my incredible dad who is a fix-it genius!  We have a mile long list of more updates he is going to help us with this spring.

The best part of the experience is that after 5 ½ years Kevin and I are finally living in a home that we picked out together, and soon we will be filling our home with furniture that we both got to choose.  I can't tell you how huge this is for us!  All this time we have been using things that I owned when Kevin and I met and being able to fill our new home with things that we picked out together feels like we are finally creating the life we dreamed of when we first started dating.

The details...

We started looking for a house back in late October, found one we liked in late November, and moved in in late December.

I took this photo a few weeks ago when I was practicing ring shots with my new lens.  It is our rings hanging on a gate in our new backyard.  I'm sure I will eventually post house photos, but for now I felt like this image was the more fitting.  After all, home is where you hang your heart, right?


Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, February 8, 2014

BBL 2013-2014 | Photograph a Wedding


#40 PHOTOGRAPH A WEDDING

Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

After a childhood spent shying away from life because of a fear of failure and/or looking stupid, I have turned into an adult who refuses to allow fear to rule my world or dictate my decisions.  Yet, that was exactly what I was doing when it came to photographing weddings.

At first, I refused to photograph weddings because I knew that I simply didn't own the equipment required to do so.  I don't care what anyone says, equipment does matter, and there was no way I was going to commit to capturing someone's wedding day knowing that my equipment wasn't up for the job, so it was easy to say no without feeling bad about it.

However, once I upgraded my camera body and purchased some lighting equipment, I could no longer use that as an excuse.  I had to admit to myself that the real reason I've been turing down weddings was pure unadulterated terror.  Just the thought of photographing someone's wedding was enough to make me break out in a cold sweat.  I just couldn't imagine myself being responsible for photographing someone's wedding (A WEDDING! OMG!) No way.  No how.  Not. gonna. do. it.

But as requests to photograph weddings have been increasing, it's been getting harder and harder to ignore the fact that I've been letting fear control my decisions. Quite frankly, ENOUGH. IS. ENOUGH. I've been being ridiculous.  I absolutely adore photographing engagements, so there is a huge possibility that I might actually (gasp!) like photographing weddings. But I'm never going to know if I don't get out there and photograph a few, so it was time to bite the bullet and add it to the bucket list.  The good and bad of my life is that I am very easily ruled by lists. So once on the list I knew that photographing a wedding was going to happen, and here we are.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

I'm not going to lie, the experience was terrifying and horrible.  But it was equally thrilling and magnificent. (And that pretty much sums up all of life's truly amazing events, doesn't it?)

For three weeks leading up to the wedding I could feel the fear lodged in the pit of my stomach where it had taken root and would not let go.  Every waking moment for those three weeks was spent worrying about what might go wrong, and what I could possibly do to prevent it.  I read and watched more photography tutorials in those three weeks than I did in the past three years combined.  I practiced shooting like an insane woman.  And I learned more than I ever could have thought possible and expanded my photography skills beyond measure in those three short weeks.

As soon as the wedding was over, I came home and backed up the photos just like I always do after shooting.  But I couldn't actually bring myself to look at them. What if they sucked? What if I missed something huge?  The next day, I knew I couldn't put it off any longer and reluctantly started sorting through the images.  After I'd gotten through about a third of them, I was stunned.  The images were actually (dare I say it)... good.

{Insert happy dance}  OMG!  I did it!  I did it!  I did it!

Seriously.  I am on top of the world.  I can't really describe how amazing it feels to have concurred this fear and come out so much better for having done so.

The details...

I was really hoping to photograph my first wedding last fall as a second shooter, where the responsibility wasn't quite so huge, but by the time I started inquiring about second shooting for the few wedding photographers I know, their schedules were already full.

Instead, I took Kourtney and Eric's engagement photos back in November, and then they asked me if I would photograph their wedding.  I knew that their wedding was going to be an intimate affair at a small local wedding venue, and I felt like it would be the ideal setting for my first venture into wedding photography.  I was so excited that they asked, and I'm thrilled to say that the wedding (and the photos) went off without a hitch!

I've included a collage below of some of my favorite photos from their day. You can also click here to visit their blog post to view more photos from the wedding.


Do you want to see my entire 2013-2014 Birthday Bucket List?  You can find it here. Did you miss my 2012-2013 List? You can find it here.  Or my 2011-2012 List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kourtney + Eric {Wedding}

It was such an honor and a privilege to photograph Kourtney and Eric's wedding, and I couldn't be more thrilled to share some of their special moments with you. But before we get started, I really need to take a minute and send out a huge thank you to this special couple for allowing me to be a part of their wedding day.   It takes a lot of faith to turn over the responsibility of preserving the memories of one of the most important days of your life to someone you barely know, and Kourtney and Eric trusted me to capture theirs knowing that it would be the first "official" wedding that I'd ever photographed. I can only hope that they love their photos as much as I do.

Speaking of loving their photos, I had such a hard time narrowing down photos for this post.  I really wanted to include so many more, but I know Kourtney and Eric, and their families, are anxious to see these.  So I had to rein myself in in order to get a peek of their images up ASAP.

So, without further ado, I give you Kourtney and Eric's AMAZING wedding:

Kourtney and Eric had their wedding at the sweetest little wedding venue in Gilbert.  It was the perfect setting for a cozy, intimate wedding and the owner was just as nice as could be!





Kourtney's dress was so beautiful...



Their gorgeous rings.  Eric's ring is one of the most awesome groom's rings I've ever seen.  I instantly fell in love with the design of it...


Kourtney's step-father, Mike, walked her down the aisle...







Simply stunning...



Mike gave an amazing reading during the ceremony that probably would have reduced me to tears if I hadn't been so focused on my camera...



In place of exchanging vows, the couple decided to wash each other's feet as a sign of their love and respect for one another.  It truly was one of the most amazing and touching things I have ever witnessed during a wedding ceremony...









This just made my heart melt the way Eric helped his bride rise afterward...


You may now kiss the bride!...



The new Mr. & Mrs...



Making it official...







Eric and Kourtney are huge Doctor Who fans, so they decided to make it the theme of their wedding cake...



First dance...



A little sparkler fun to end the night....




Kourtney + Eric,  Thank you again for allowing me to a part of your day and for trusting me to capture your memories for you.  It was amazing getting to know you both while working with you.  I wish you nothing but the best for your future, may your life be filled with love, laughter, and happily ever after.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2014 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC
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