A Perfectionist Walks Out of A Photo Shoot

claire pettibone "devotion" | exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer

There are moments in my photography career that will always, always haunt me. They’re the moments that my nightmares are made of, the ones that can still reduce me to tears and panic attacks, the things that no amount of creativity can redo, because sometimes, even in photography, life is just life and when you blow it, you BLOW it.

I’ve been careful not to make mistakes – everyone is, I think – but being human means that they are going to happen, and you hope they happen on personal things, so that the only person they affect is you, so that you can merely re-tool your vision and move on, even if you’re disappointed.

But inevitably, there’s going to be a big one that reaches farther than you and your goals, and after my trip to California, I have a new big one to add to my panic attack list. Of course it happened on my biggest shoot. The one that brought me into contact with some of the people I admire the most in the entire wedding industry. The one that *had* to be perfect.

I remember standing in the hall once after a wedding my friend photographed, years before I ever thought I would become a photographer myself. My friend was loading the wedding images onto his computer, and he had lost over half the images he shot because of improper file handling. I felt bad for him as I waited there while he tried to recover things, but I didn’t understand how *sick* something like that makes you feel until I lost one of my own destination shoots that way early last year.

It gives you PTSD. You’ve given something of yourself, shared something with a client or a model in front of your lens, thought you had earned something beautiful to bring home and give back for the gift of themselves that they shared with you – or for the money they paid you. And here you are left empty-handed, knowing that some things just can’t ever be recreated.

But I am learning is that something is better than nothing, and while sometimes the “something” is a hard-knock lesson in how to be more careful and how to get up and keep going as a professional, putting yourself out there and being real with your humanity is still worth it.

You don’t have to let your mistakes be the end of you. Just take responsibility for your mistake and take your next step. It’s not always going to be pretty. Your mistakes will not always be approached with grace. But you are bigger than that moment, and the people who can’t offer grace are probably not the people you were meant to work with anyway. Don’t be afraid of the growth that comes with messing up. You don’t know where the smallest things will take you, or when you will need the lessons you learn through failure.

Monday Morning to L.A.

image source unknown | http://www.pinterest.com/pin/118008452709007932/

7:32 and the whole world is moving slow -
23 miles per hour, or
16 miles per hour (depending on the flow of the
I-5 traffic heading north into the city),

when eastern light and shadows race across the

2 and 3 and 4 and 6 lane highway where
a few motorcyclists fly by
hundreds of cars at
55 miles per hour in their own secret lane -

fast things that make slow look slower.

2 passengers are required in the commuter lanes, and I am only
one, driving into Hollywood and thinking about
2 or 3 hours spent on relationship and gallons of
four-and-a-half-dollar gas as traffic

slows the racing day down and makes the light fly up
the backs of the tractor-trailers, unchecked, while

hundreds of drivers – probably
thousands of them – wait their way to work. I dream a poem in
numbers while I wait too, wondering if any
one other has noticed the slowing of time.

 
by Kelly Sauer, 4/7/2014

(IMAGE CREDIT UNKNOWN, SOURCED VIA PINTEREST)

En Route – The City of Angels

Tip the world over on its side and everything loose will land in Los Angeles.
― Frank Lloyd Wright

Oh what a fitting reason for me to land in Los Angeles! The perfect restless whimsy in this quote about L.A. is exactly where I am right now, flying cross-country with le bebe and a slew of camera equipment to hang out in the L.A. area with my friends Summer, Carrie, Kelly, Jen, and Laura (if I can get in to visit this busy lady!). I am also planning to visit Richard Photo Lab to FINALLY talk with them in person about my film, I have three Claire Pettibone gowns to photograph, and I have at least two incredible sessions planned, plus a little down time for baby and me (who will still be on Eastern time, OHMYWORD).

en route - the city of angels |

Here is a “Friday Favorites” visual for you to see a bit of my inspiration for all this magic. I had FUN putting this together today while cleaning my computer off to support a whole bunch of new images – I am grateful to people who have given me a little more to see of California than its fabled surfing, palm trees and traffic. I really can’t wait to discover more of this kind of beauty while I am in town!

city of Angels | by dear piper design

P.S. If you can believe it – I still have one or two session openings on Monday and Tuesday – to book one, just drop me a note anywhere (email me, facebook message me, or comment on my Instagram) with your email address! BONUS: If you book for Sunday afternoon or Monday morning, I might just have something super special to add to your session for you!

CREDITS:

1.) Jose Villa
2.) Mecuro B Cotto
(sourced via Pinterest)
3.) Amanda Julca
4.) Elizabeth Messina &
Claire Pettibone
5.) Jose Villa
6.) L.A. City Art Print
by Anne E. McGraw

Senior Session – I Dream of Spring

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

I was *craving* a senior session this year, and this senior whose shoot finalized in less than 24 hours last week was the PERFECT fit for what I’d been craving. Taylor is a dreamer and a horse person, the little girl growing up who never quite lost the romance of being in love with horses, even though she’s been riding since she was a little kid. After two months of shows in Florida, she wanted to put her riding clothes away and show a different side of herself through her photos.

My favorite, favorite part of this shoot was actually catching her smiling from behind my camera. I love to make people laugh when I photograph them, even if I’m putting my foot in my mouth and falling over (and her horse SirRocco actually DID knock me over during our session!). I didn’t know exactly how it was going to feel as we arrived at the farm, bringing an armful of pear blossoms I had foraged on my drive in to Charlotte. I knew I wanted a spring shoot, and the cloudy day wasn’t planning to be obliging by lighting things up. Taylor handed me her clothing options, and we went with a dress she’d never had a chance to wear for a story she is often too shy to tell about herself.

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

 
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

 
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

 
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

 
springtime senior session | kelly sauer lifestyle photography

CREDITS:

Photography & Styling: Kelly Sauer
Styling Assistance: Tracie Stier-Johnson
Location: High Standards Farm
Floral Source: Foraged
Horses: Owned by Client

Wedding Photography Giveaway

Wedding Photography Giveaway| Once Wed

I had a fun post run over the weekend, the kind of post that I have been dying to launch since Exquisitrie went live. To celebrate our rebrand and the wonderfulness that is Exquisitrie (and us getting to work together more officially for weddings), Pete and I are offering ten hours of photography for a 2015 wedding at Once Wed!

To enter, just visit Once Wed for the details (which do, of course, require that you hang out a bit at Exquisitrie so you can tell us your favorite image from our galleries) and leave a comment there with your entry. If you’re a fan of our work, we would love a chance to work with you!

IMAGE CREDITS:

Venue: Goodstone Inn & Restaurant
Set Design & Styling: Rebecca Gallop
Styling Assistant: Tia Stockton
Photography: Exquisitrie by Kelly Sauer
Model: Rebekah Pizana
Gown: Ebrada Atelier
Flower Source: Fields of Flowers
Floral Styling: Rebecca Gallop, Kelly Sauer

NOTE: THIS SHOOT PUBLISHED IN UTTERLY ENGAGED VOL. 1

Bridal Inspiration – La Bella Sposa

Mark-0001708

As Once Wed and I have been preparing a special feature post to let more brides know about Exquisitrie, I’ve been hit with a new learning curve for my marketing that is challenging me out of the “default” photography that I worked on last year. With just one simple question and one little word, I’m back at the drawing board to move beyond “taking pictures” into “appealing to brides.”

The question: “What will *I* look like at my wedding?
The word: CONTEXT

I hadn’t thought about it before. As a bride, I picked my photographer based on HOW he made his images; I didn’t think very much about how I would look in his work. It was a mistake I have regretted since I saw the photos – now I look for photographers to hire based on their sense of the person, the comfort level their subjects display in their photos, and the uniqueness of their composition.

But most brides are looking for a wedding photographer who is going to make *them* look amazing. And while I *love* amazing, it hasn’t been something I focused on until just this year. The best inspiration and the strongest marketing creates a context in which a bride (or groom) can picture themselves and their wedding in your work.

And I have inspiration today, and pictures of how Pete and I want our brides to look – and feel – on their wedding day. Here is a fuller look at the Exquisitrie that went live at Grey Likes Weddings earlier this week. I’m giving myself permission to depart a little from details and give you just the portraits on this one. I know I might be oversharing a little bit. But it’s so PRETTY…

la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings
la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

 la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings
la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

 la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings
la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

 la bella sposa bridal inspiration by exquisitrie | with Carlee Sizemore, Hannah Lane Photography, and Grey Likes Weddings

CREDITS

Photography: Exquisitrie, by Kelly Sauer
Styling: Kelly Sauer Ltd. Co.
Model: Hannah Lane Farmer
Gown: Paloma Blanca
Hair Pin: Carlee Sizemore
Floral Source: Charleston Flower Market

Mood Board – Urban Poetry (NOW BOOKING NYC)

 

London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.

― Dorothy Parker

You know how there are some people in the world who are just “your people?” They may not think exactly the same way you do, or have the same job or the same interests or the same passions – but they have never, ever made you feel less. They’re the people who love you just the same whether you succeed or fail, or if you need time to grow. They don’t look down on you – even if you are gauche or “behind the curve” – their desire is for you to be the person you are meant to be.

Urban Poetry Mood Board | by Kelly Sauer | NOW BOOKING NYC SESSIONS APRIL 22-23

For some, these people are family, and for others, family takes on a new meaning when they find their people. For me, they’re the people at T.S. Poetry Press, people who mix faith and real life with poetry and entrepreneurship. I can be someone with them that I can’t be anywhere else: creative, passionate, awkward, and real.

From the time I first realized I wanted to be more than a “momtographer,” people like L.L. Barkat and Maureen Doallas have been quiet forces behind my desire, inviting me to pursue my dream, valuing even my earliest work. In fact, they coined the term “poet-photographer” for me, the way I put feelings into thousands of words with my photos.

NYC | by dear piper design for Kelly Sauer | NOW BOOKING NYC SESSIONS APRIL 22-23

Now my people are meeting in New York City for a poetry workshop at the Library Hotel, and they want me there with my camera to join their adventure. But I’m not just going to stop at poetry, if I can help it. I have been DYING for a session or three in New York City. I want to capture the city’s excitement as I felt it when I was there ten years ago, want to photograph faces there as I saw them then, want to look into eyes and make art in the pulse of the town that so many have fantasized about their whole lives.

TS Poetry Workshop | The New York Library Hotel

This limited “urban poetry” offer is for only four sessions to be shot in New York City on April 22-23. These sessions (which may be engagement sessions or solo portrait sessions) will be my very last destination openings for 2014 before I come home to welcome le bouncing bebe into the beautiful world. If you’re feeling poetic, a little romantic, and a little adventurous, I would *love* to make art with you while I am there.

The special session cost is $2,000 for two hours of photography, and includes a pre-shoot creative session to design the mood for your personalized shoot, a printable/downloadable web album from the session along with a full set of proof prints, and a Kelly Sauer signature print. To book, please email me at info@kellysauer.com. All bookings require a 50% retainer to hold your slot and cover necessary styling materials. The remaining payment will be due at your session.

MOOD BOARD CREDITS: 1. A Bryan Photo 2. Nathan Williams for Zara 3.) Teresa | In Love In Italy 4.) Les Brumes 5.) Joyful Surprises 6.) cooked heads