Sunday, March 21, 2010

Good Bye Blogspot

Hello new and improved QUELLA PERSONA! Blogspot you have been good to me over the past three years but all good things must come to an end. Friends please head over to for all the latest!

Thursday, March 11, 2010


This is a shot of the hallway I walked over a hundred times throughout the five days I was in Las Vegas. Not a window to be found. It connects the casino and the restaurants (more importantly, Starbucks) to the conference center.

These are the blog entries I wrote every evening, except Saturday and Sunday night, when I would drag my tired self back to the hotel room and unwind for another day. (My hotel charged $12.00 a day for WiFi, so I decided to just post these when I got home...typical Vegas.)

Monday, March 8th Day 2 WPPI
Oh my word! I don’t know where to begin. So I will begin with how I am feeling right at this moment. Tired. My feet hurt from walking all over the place from one meeting room to another, up and down convention room floors, looking at this canvas paper and listening to yet another web-design spiel. Up and down, back and forth trying to take as much information in as possible and trying not to think about how sore I am going to be from carrying my very heavy camera (which I have rarely used at this photography convention) on my back. WHEW. Just writing it out makes me dizzy. My eyes burn. Not because I have been looking through my lens all day but just looking. Studying. Concentrating. It wears me out.

Now for how I am feeling… In many respects I feel like a failure. A wanna-be. A nobody. I don’t make 6 figures, not even close, possibly not even four figures, and even though I sat in on two hours of Jared Bauman’s lecture “Your Business: On Auto Pilot for a Six Figure Income” and scribbled down notes like there is no tomorrow, I seriously doubt that by the end of this year, even if I follow every single word he says, will I ever make 6 figures. This may be because I didn’t buy his CD. But I can’t afford the fifty bucks. Maybe I should look at it as an investment. Additionally, my website is from a template and probably like the majority of 90% of other photographers’ websites. This goes against Jasmine’s Star’s shtick on how I should be different. UGH.

But on the other hand…I feel incredibly and totally inspired! I do want to be a different photographer. I don’t care so much about how much money I make. What I have discovered that what is important to me is authenticity. I want to be an authentic photographer. I want to take photographs that I care about…that please me. That make me smile…or bring a tear to my eye. I want to connect with my clients in way that drops down all the walls and I want to be invited into their precious world. I want to connect with them on an intimate and real level. Not that I haven’t done this in the past. I definitely connect. But truthfully, I have to admit that I hold back. I want to bring an experience to my clients. No more fake smiles. My goal leaving here is real, raw, true, emotion. I am so excited to get started on the new and improved Gina Marie Photography!!!!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010 WPPI
I am happy to report that today I feel more better. Thankfully, I am not in that same place of self doubt that I was in yesterday. I came to the realization that there is a very wide spectrum of photographers. On the far left is “The Brand” on the right is “The Artist.” It is my theory that those who fall closest to the middle of that spectrum are the most successful in the industry. I have met (or seen) a lot of brands this week. They are trying to sell me everything from their on location techniques to their photoshop actions. On the right are the artists. They say “cuss” the brand, “cuss” the image, I am going to take the shots I want, how I want and if you don’t understand what I am trying to convey then “cuss” you. I find myself thinking what is more important to me? The Brand or the Art? I think that for me the art comes first. I want to find myself in my art. I want people to look at a photograph and first and foremost, be touched with an emotion but secondly recognize that it came from me. The art then the brand. On the flip side, I do care that people like it. I want people to like my photographs. Because it is personal. Very personal. If someone likes my work then in a sense they are saying they like me. And I’ll be honest, I want to be liked. When I go on a photoshoot I pray that I will see my clients the way God sees them. I want to see them as unique and beautiful beings. To do that I must open my heart to them…and I do. And here we find art again. It is a vicious cycle. Because then I must find myself in business mode and wanting to sell my viewpoint to them. I want them to see how beautiful I see them enough to want to buy the images I present. That is the brand. And around we go. I find that now, I must find myself again, as a brand and as an artist. The most exciting part to me is that I want to.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010 WPPI Final Day
The first thing I must say is, “Gosh, I have missed my family!” They are the sunshine in my life! As I stood in the taxi cab line waiting to be driven to the airport I caught a glimpse of myself in one of the many mirrors lining the outside corridor of the MGM. I had to look twice because at first glance what I thought I saw looking back at me looked very much like a vampire. White skin, red-rimmed eyes, dark, slicked back hair. Me? Is that really me?!?! “Oh, my!” I thought, “I need some vitamin D!!!” For a city that never sleeps, I must say that inside Las Vegas casinos it is always night. No natural light to be found anywhere! But now, as I sit on my plane watching the sun set beyond the horizon I realize that maybe it is more a lack of family in my days that has washed the color out of my skin and drained the light from my eyes.

Am I glad I came? Yes! Am I thrilled to be going home? YES YES YES! Las Vegas is not the place for me. But what I received there, will, undoubtedly change my life. For the first time since committing to a career in photography, or really a lifestyle as a photographer, I realized that this is something I am truly passionate about. I finally see myself as an artist and as a business woman. It occurred to me as I was walking through the same corridor I had walked a hundred times this past week, amongst a sea of photographers, that I am not the only one who has doubts about her work. I am not the only one who feels like a wanna be or that maybe I have no business in this part of the ocean with the big sharks. Or that I am just one little fish among many. I am a little fish, a little, tired, vampire fish with sore feet and a crooked back. But I am a little vampire fish with passion and a fire lit in her little vampire fish heart. Just you wait and see! flight home..and some sunshine!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

And the countdown begins...

I am going! This year, I actually get to go the the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention in LAS VEGAS, baby! Whooo-Hooo! I am so excited! Thanks to my husband who is taking time off work to take care of the kids and thanks to my brother who listed me as his assistant so I can go for FREE! (I am squealling it like in that movie "Bedtime Stories."). I used my credit card points for my airfare and got a Priceline deal on a really nice hotel. Bummer I am sharing it with my brother but who can be picky when you are on a budget, right? Oh, I am so excited!!!!

I have to sign off so I can go jump up and down, now....WEEEEE-HEEEEEE!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rite of Election

This is my first blog about my conversion to Catholicism. After many years of prayer and counsel by both Catholics and Non-Catholics, I have actually decided to convert. Last night I experienced the Rite of Election. It is a ceremony held by the Catholic Church to accept into it new members. Everyone in the area is called by name and introduced to the Bishop. They stand up, walk up to the altar, sign their name in a book and personally meet the bishop. It is a beautiful ceremony and very rich in biblical meaning:

Isaiah 40:26 "Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

John 10:3, 14 (The Shepherd and His Flock) "The watchmen opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out...I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me..."

Because I have already been baptized in the Catholic church, I didn't not actually sign the book and meet the bishop. My name was called, though, and I stood before the others accepting the call to conversion. I couldn't help but get choked up as I watched the others who haven't yet been baptized walk up to that altar and sign their name. So many people from different walks of life making a decision to seek God. To make Him their shepherd. To know His voice.

Fire-Station Birthday Party

For Luke's 3rd birthday party we toured the local fire station. It was so cool and the firemen were so welcoming and nice.

This is station 22 also know as Double Deuce.

The kids got to drive the truck!

One fireman put on all his gear (in less than 4 minutes!). He wanted to show the kids what they look like when they are all geared up so that they would know not to be afraid if they were ever to see him in an emergency.

The captive audience.

Six new recruits!

Then on to Lucky 13 for pizza and birthday cake!

Happy Birthday Luke!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Happy Birthday Luke!

Luke: one day

One Year



This time three years ago I was pacing the halls of the Goldsboro (Wayne County) hospital waiting for my baby. He was born at 3:20 a.m. and after some brief cuddle time and a little practice at nursing they whisked him away until 8:30. That was the longest five hours of my life. But this post is not meant to dwell on ancient and barbaric post-partum practices. This is about where we are today after three of the best years of my life!

So, let me tell you about Luke. To start, one of my favorite traits about him is his smile. He smiles with his whole face! It is the biggest, most wonderful smile. By the same token when he cries, he cries with his whole face. It is pitiful! His big brown eyes filled with tears, mouth turned down and quivering, cheeks red. It makes it very hard to discipline him. And he does not like to be told "no." Lately after being told "no" (usually to candy or cookies) he will either reply with, "Awwww, come on! You've got to be kidding me!" which is spoken in kind of a fun tone. Or he will angrily yell "MOMMY! DON'T SAY THAT TO ME!" It all depends on his mood, which response I will get. But for the most part, he is the happiest, most content little boy.

Luke is potty trained now. It is was all about just taking away the diapers. He would still prefer to wear them as I think he doesn't really like to wash his hands after going potty. Whenever he washes his hands he sings his ABC's. Luke can count but I don't know how high, somewhere in the teens it goes a little hay-wire. Just last week he decided he wanted to play hide-and-seek with just me. Usually he has a big brother leading the way. He insisted on counting first. I hid in the kitchen curtains and patiently waited as he counted to 20. He was in the pantry (our counting place) for a long time. He'd almost get there and then skip twenty, go to twenty-four, twenty-five, etc...then back down to 11 and almost to 20 again only to jump to forty. I finally had to call out, "okay, sweetie, say 'ready or not, here I come!'"

Luke's best friend is Hank. I can get him to go anywhere and do anything if it means he'll get to see Hank. Luke's hero is his older brother! As for me and Nick, he'll choose the one of us that isn't pursuing him. If I try to give him a bath, then he wants Dad to do it. If Nick wants to hold his hand, he goes for mine (if Jay isn't around). Luke's favorite toys are guns (ugh, it must be an ingrained boy thing) and cars. His favorite food is anything sweet...cookies or candy. He will, however, settle for berries and fruit. Vegetables? Forget it! When he gets the priviledge of a treat he doesn't sit and savor the moment, he shoves the goodies down his throat, eating as much and as quickly as possible. Luke's favorite television show is Sesame Street with his favorite segment being, "Abby's Flying Fairy School" which may some day be a source of embarrasment for him, particularly since it is now written out. Luke is presently in swimming lessons and this is where I really see his desire to please. He will do anything the teacher tells him to do, even when he is clearly scared, and always with a big smile on his face. That's my Luke!

Happy 3rd Birthday Sweet Boy!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

No Snow in Boise

But, we do have sunshine and some warmer temps so Luke gets to try out his new, blue, big-boy bike outside as Jay returns to his ripstick.