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Archive for 'Fusion-ography'

October 13, 2011

What If? It’s THE question that fosters ingenuity. It drives our advancements, large and small, and yet it’s the simplest of questions.


How often do you ask that question? Really ask it?

And if you ask, WHAT IF how often do you follow through with your idea? I’m guessing there are a lot of great “what ifs” and a lot of them get lost in the minutiae of daily life. Heck, we have a whole series of notebooks devoted to this very thing. We call them our Idea Books, and after 12 years in this business, we have over 50 of those books.

Every so often we revisit them and comb through our ideas. Some ideas surface again and again, with more detail each time. Others are one line, one very vague line, that challenges us to even recall what excited us about it.

What is all this about, you wonder? Why this post? Why now? Well, it’s about the power of WHAT IF and about making your WHAT IFs a reality.

You see, something is missing in the creative world – a way to conference and collaborate with other creatives, that isn’t staid and, well, stale. Too many conferences employ a formula, one that worked for years, where a speaker stands on a stage and pontificates at the crowd. Some speakers are really engaging and inspiring, others not so much. The speakers themselves aren’t really to blame for this model – the attendees are. We keep going back year after year after year. And by feeding the beast, we are keeping it strong and alive. Why change when tens of thousands of you flock to it time and again?

Change is here. It’s time to put your foot down and say enough is enough. The days of someone speaking at you and telling you to be just like them are gone. Gone like the Dinosaurs are gone. It’s not about that anymore, not if we want to succeed and thrive in the coming years. The world changed and we refuse to be left behind.

So here it is, one of our biggest WHAT IFs to date:

A Conference for  Artist-preneurs using their vision to make a living, this ain’t your average conference. Not by a long shot!

You can find all the details (and there are plenty) at the WHAT IF website, but here is a quick and dirty run down of what’s up:

This is a Conference for Creatives, by Creatives. Each one of our Innovators is also a Collaborator, helping to develop WHAT IF into more than what you expect. There won’t be any pontification from the stage. There won’t be any short cuts to success. There won’t be any “buy this and you’ll be rich” going on.

What there will be is facilitation from our Innovators, collaboration from all our attendees, and a community environment created from the moment you arrive. With some of the most important learning you can get taking place outside the classroom, we have structured spontaneity after each session.  From the Idea Wall to the Daily Assignments to activities that lead to Inspiration outside Photography, and so much more, you will be immersed in a community and setting that will help you find your own success, on your terms.

Hosted at an all-inclusive resort, WHAT IF subscribes to the “no photographer left behind” philosophy. Whether you are an introvert or someone who likes to get in the middle of things, there is a place for you. For all of you.

As Steve would say, there is a lot of “flowery language” here and words that sound big and important. In the interests of keeping it simple, it’s time to get off your butt, and make your WHAT IF a reality. This conference will help you do that. Boom.

Questions? You know where to find us.


April 29, 2011

Have you noticed that our blog has been quiet recently? Too quiet, don’t you think? It’s time to change all that!


Our loyal blog followers have probably noticed a lack of posts recently, that is, if anyone is still following our blog after such a lengthy hiatus. We found ourselves caught in a bit of a dilemma last season with regards to the blog, and it has caused us to reconsider how, and when, we blog our assignments.

Our favorite wedding magazine, one we are often published in, has a strict “no blog” policy on submissions. And they’re not alone – several publications, in North America, have instituted the same policy. I understand why – they want their content to remain exclusive to them, otherwise why would someone purchase their magazine? But it has made it challenging for us as we consider all of our weddings worthy of submitting to a variety of magazines.

And so, we chose not to blog many (almost all) of our events last year, in anticipation of publication. This had made for a very empty, lonely blog recently, and we’re working hard to rectify that. We now know which 2010 weddings will be published this year, so we can finally start sharing last year’s work.

So, with that, we have a series of posts planned for the coming weeks. Some will share our weddings of 2010, some our favorite details. We will introduce you, officially, to our associate(s) and share some of his work with you. And we will, once again, share some of the new products and business ideas we have developed.

2011 is shaping up to be an interesting year full of travel, teaching, writing, dreaming, building and, of course, shooting. We are looking so forward to sharing with all of you and hope that our loyal readers will once again return to our blog.

And because this is a photography blog, some of what we are working on…

Wedding at Hycroft Manor

January 27, 2011

I’ve always believed that one person can make a difference, and my friend, Marcus Bell is doing just that.


I’ve always believed that one person can make a difference, and my friend, Marcus Bell is doing just that.

Based in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland, Marcus Bell is one of my photography heroes. His images are epic, in the truest sense of the word, and he brought me to tears the first time I heard him speak about his images.

But it isn’t Marcus the photographer that I adore, it is Marcus the man. A family man with three children and a beautiful wife, Marcus is the real deal. Kind, caring, compassionate and a bit of a prankster, Marcus escaped the worst of the floods’ damage, but too many others did not.

So I am going to pass it over to Marcus, in a sense, and let his appeal share what he hopes to do. I hope that you will all take a moment, and help where you can.

Marcus Bell Queensland Flood Appeal

Photographic Fine Art Print Sale
You may have seen the news footage of the significant flooding that occurred throughout Queensland Australia during late December 2010 and January 2011.  Many lost their lives, many more lost their homes.  Three quarters of the state was declared a disaster zone.

This is an area roughly the size of Texas.

A resident of Brisbane Queensland, award-winning photographer Marcus Bell is raising money to help flood victims, by placing ten of his own classic images up for sale.  All proceeds from each sale will be going to the Queensland Governments Flood disaster relief fund. Each signed “Artist Proof” print is an original award winning photographic work.  Each unframed 24 inch print for sale for $950 (plus postage) and is printed to the highest quality 300GSM Archival cotton paper.  Many of these prints represents a saving of between 50 to 75% off the normal edition print price.

Here are just two of the images:

In addition 20% of ALL of Marcus Bell Photographer Resources Products sold during January and February will also be donated to the fund.  This also includes the 5 new Instant Effect Presets products recently released after a year in development.

For more information in relation to the floods and how you can help please visit Marcus Bell Blog where you will find links to both the Fine Art Gallery and the Resources site.

September 15, 2010

Change is the one constant in life. Without it, you are simply treading water or even moving backwards. Change is something we have always embraced, but it is rare to see us make a change this big, this all encompassing…


Our blog has been naked this summer – we haven’t been posting much and it’s time to change that!  But first, an explanation and apology of sorts…

Steve and I had no plans to sell our home and studio this year. We were actually really happy with both. I was living about 3 blocks from where I grew up – the boys were going to go to the same high school I did. We had (and have) a rich social life, based around the friends we made through our kids. But there was something inside both of us that wanted change, craved it, in fact. And when we each shared that desire, we started down the road that quickly led us to today.

The first step involved finding an area/home that we loved. We had some pretty strict criteria – it had to be in a family friendly area, close to a great school, on a cul-de-sac, preferably on a greenbelt/park. It also had to have a place where we could meet clients, a place we could have our office, and a place we could shoot if necessary. And finally, it had to have great curb appeal and be relatively new. Our secondary criteria centered around sports for the kids, shopping for us (me) and centrality of location for clients.

After days spent driving all areas of the lower mainland, talking to people in and out of the industry, going through homes, talking to builders, and researching our client database to find out where our clients called home, we focussed in on an area known as many things: West Cloverdale/South Surrey, etc.

Yeah, I said Surrey. Here I was, the die hard North Vancouver girl, seriously thinking about moving to Surrey. Talk about being a long way from home!

Our original list included other cities like Nashville, Atlanta, San Diego, and more, but staying in Canada was also important to us.

So there it was, the decision to make this move and really change things up for our family. And the move was driven by family – business was a secondary consideration. After all, we can work anywhere.

What we finally decided on was a home that was framed and at the stud stage of the build. We came on board in time to finish the house exactly how we wanted, within the confines of the existing layout. And we had 8 weeks in which to finish the new house and sell our current home. By the way, we decided that in order to sell our North Van home we also needed to renovate two bathrooms and finalize some other projects we had been working on – so, yes, we were essentially building on two properties at the same time.

We had to make some tough choices and really focus our attention on the things that mattered most. Obviously we chose to forgo blogging and focus on getting our family into its new home before the kids started school. All that while photographing more destination events than any other year.

Crazy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

But here we are, in our new home/studio. We’re still under construction, but the kids started their new school with their new classmates, enrolled in their sports and started those with their new teams, and we are in the process of organizing, unpacking, and getting back into the flow of our daily business. That means editing, blogging, writing, teaching, and more…it means we’re getting back to normal.

With fourteen weddings yet to be blogged, we’ll be updating frequently. We’re also finally launching that new product we have talked so long about, and finalizing our teaching schedule for the fall. Catching up on email (it really piled up during three weeks with no internet) is a huge priority as we are horridly behind right now. In fact, if you are waiting on an email from us, please re-send your message…apparently we also lost a lot in transition.

Thanks so much for your ongoing support and understanding. The messages you have been sending via facebook and twitter have been like rays of sunshine on a dark day. And as we move back into our normal we are excited about the new place we are in and the changes we have made.

Most importantly, we look forward to seeing clients in our home, starting up the SMUG again, and welcoming photographers & friends into our new home!

Jen & Steve

April 22, 2010
When you tell people in Vancouver that you’ve just come home from Winnipeg, they first thing they say usually goes like this, “Ah, Winter-peg. How was Winter-peg anyway?”.  To tell you the truth, it...

When you tell people in Vancouver that you’ve just come home from Winnipeg, they first thing they say usually goes like this, “Ah, Winter-peg. How was Winter-peg anyway?”.  To tell you the truth, it was beautiful and warm – much warmer than Vancouver that weekend.

But I digress…the real question is what were we doing in Winnipeg in the first place.

A few months ago we were approached by the folks at PPOC-MB to come and speak for them in Winnipeg, and the idea was really exciting to us! We don’t get the opportunity to speak in Canada as much as we would like to.  It’s home. And Winnipeg is the center of North America, which is pretty cool.

The idea of Winnipeg was appealing to me because my family is from that area. Just two hours east of Winnipeg, in a town called Kenora, my Grandfather and Great-Uncle ran Lakewood Studios and made their living, such as it was, from photography. This was my dad’s dad, but he knew my mom her whole life too, and all the photographs we have of my parents growing up were taken by my Grandpa. It’s kind of a cool bit of history and makes those old images even more precious to me. In fact, my Grandpa photographed my parent’s wedding (in the studio, which was the way it was done back then). I love that both my Grandfather and Great-Grandfather were professional photographers – it gives me a real sense of connection with my history.

Winnipeg was always a drive-thru town for us. Except for the days we would spend at various relative’s homes. Those visits are hazy in my memory, characterized by the need to sit quietly on a couch with doilies draped over the back. I was intrigued with the idea of actually being in Winnipeg, as a grown up, without relatives all around me.

The first thing both Steve and I noticed when we were on approach to the Winnipeg airport was the vastness of the land. It is so open there – no mountains or ocean to hem the city in. And it’s overwhelming for those of us who have lived our lives surrounded by such things. More so for Steve than me, since I spent a lot of time there as a kid, but a little disconcerting for me too. And yet it was intriguing too – the landscape seems endless, and somewhat untamed in that vastness.

We met a number of the attendees at a social event the evening before. We were immediately struck by the obvious depth of knowledge in the room. There was a core group of PPOC-MB members who had year of experience as working photographers. I joked that this group had probably forgotten more about photography than I would ever know. But there was truth to that – many of those people had decades of knowledge and experience. They were sitting to our left.

To our right were the newer photographers, most of whom had been in business 5 years or less. They were the enthusiasm to the other group’s experience. We’ve seen this before, but never in such obvious contrast. And I was struck with how valuable each group is to the other – experience and enthusiasm on their own are merely one part of the equation, but together they are a potent combination. It was a hopeful realization, that these groups could respect each other, and learn from each other, and one that helped influence how we approached our talk the next day.

Our goal, in every talk we do, is to provide concrete take aways for our students. We know that the wedding industry is cyclical and that what we sow now will be reaped in next year’s booking cycle. But we also don’t want them to have to wait an entire year to see results, so we offer a few ideas of things that can be done right now.  We try to balance our program with levity as well as intense information, filling it with a variety of ideas, assignments and inspiration.

We had a great time, with a wonderful group of people. The interaction was fantastic, and getting to talk to many of the attendees one-on-one was really enjoyable. We both love hearing how other people approach things, what traditions exist in each regional area, and more. Everyone was generous in sharing with us, and that is something we appreciate in turn.

We would like to extend our thanks to everyone who came to hear us speak. The time flew by and we wish we could have spent more time with you all. In particular we want to thank the people at PPOC-MB – Jeremy Hiebert, Ron Frazer and Ron Gilfillan – for their help and support. To see their take on our talk, check out the PPOC-MB blog entry about our visit.

In an effort to try and include photos with every blog post, here are two that Steve made. One was taken from the window of the plane and the other during a walk around town.

Finally, we need to thank the companies who supported both the PPOC-MB and us, with wonderful door prizes, give aways, and discount codes:

WHCC, Showit Sites, Finao, Photodex, ShootQ,and iFolios.

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