Today on the blog we are featuring Miranda Cornett of Heart of it All Photography!
Our theme last month was “Simplicity.” Describe what inspired you with your Simplicity portrait.
My baby brother (only 2 years younger) has lost over 100lbs in the last 3 years and is training to run his first marathon. I’m so proud of him I could burst. He was visiting (for my Sweet Pea’s 3rd birthday.) He’s very serious about his training, so before the party, he wanted to run 10 miles. This was one of the only times I would get with him one on one, so when he ran at 5a, I rode my bike and took pictures along the way. His dedication to something he puts his mind to amazes me. When he wants to do something, he simply does it.
What is your favorite type of photography?
Family and couples!
What inspires you?
My faith, families, the weather, scenery, long drives …
Describe your typical day?
You’ll have to ask my daughter. My day depends on her dreams and desires. At home chill day with Mickey Mouse or out and about with Starbucks and errands. She makes the call.
I have 2.‘Now go, I will help you to speak and will teach you what to say.’ Exodus 4:12 …. and ‘Home is where the Air Force sends you.’
If you could photograph one famous person (Dead or Alive), who would it be?
I’m not really into ‘famous’ people. But I can pick a few fictional people! I love photographing couples so I think Romeo and Juliette would be romantic.
Favorite moment from the Reset Conference?
Besides getting meet so many amazing photographers??? The head shot portion was pretty awesome. It was a blast seeing how everyone shot and handled ‘clients’ differently. It was also an eye opener being on the other side of the camera.
I follow Miranda on Facebook and I love when her images of her daily life pop up in my newsfeed. Her daughter, Abigail, is ADORABLE & Miranda captures her life so well. Abigail has no idea just how lucky she is to have a mommy that captures all of the little moments…from the crazy bed head, trips to the pool, lounging around the house…it’s all there. Miranda’s love for her family is so inspiring. Keep Miranda & her family in your prayers. They just moved to San Antonio, Texas (“home is where the air force sends you”), and they will be undergoing lots of transitions while they get settled. Miranda…thank you for participating in this month’s challenge!!
Today we are introducing a fun, new feature on our blog! At the end of the Reset Conference, we told the attendees that we would be having a monthly photo contest & that the winners would be highlighted on the blog & at Reset 2015!! Today, we are excited to showcase our first winners…Misty Hart & Melissa Hill who are the owners of H&H Photography. (I love this duo. Big time.)
Website: hartandhillphotos.com …we are getting a new site yeah!!! Unfortunately that means most of it is under construction at the moment ugh!… lesson learned: we will be paying someone to do the entire site next time. Start to finish. Website building is NOT for me!
Our theme last month was “Reset.” Describe what inspired you with your Reset portrait.
This image is pretty personal to me and honestly it wasn’t taken for the sake of this project. My sister actually talked me into submitting it after I showed it to her. I was pretty hesitant at first because of how personal it is, but we talked it over and, with some encouragement from her and my husband, I decided to submit it.
To explain my reset moment I have to explain my image, and give a little background information, so bare with me.
This moment was captured on a Thursday evening, May 29, 2014.
The week this image was taken was one of my biggest reset moments. This particular moment was between two sisters, my grandmother and one of her older sisters, my great Aunt Maggie. My Aunt Maggie and her husband had just finished their 60th Wedding Anniversary dinner and came by my grandma’s room to tell her good night. My Grandma had a stroke about a year ago and was currently in a nursing home. Before My Grandma had the stroke her sister Maggie would call her every night around the same time to tell her goodnight. It was like clockwork; if you were with my grandma between 7:30 – 8:00 and the phone rang you knew who it was. It was always Aunt Maggie calling to tell grandma good night. This image captured my Grandma getting her final goodnight from her big sister. This image was taken about an hour before my grandma passed away.
I learned a lot about life, love, and loss the week this image was taken. I was able to experience and capture my family’s last moments with my grandma. My grandma is not the first person that I was close to that I have lost. Unfortunately, I have had to say good-bye to a lot of wonderful people in my life and some of them I feel it was well before their time. So it wasn’t just the death of my grandma that drove my reset, it was the entire experience of the week that led to watching her loved ones saying their final goodbyes.
I know everyone thinks their grandma is amazing, but my grandma truly was an amazing woman…. THE RESET was seeing, and physically feeling, the unconditional love that everyone had for her. Watching and being able to capture these moments made me step back and really think about what is important. My Grandma was the most kind hearted, fun loving, and selfless person that I have ever met. She never met a stranger and always saw the best in everyone. I was cuddled up on my couch after her funeral looking through all of the images I had taken of her and our family the week she passed away and all I could think about was how I wanted to be more like her. My Grandma makes me want to be a better person, a better mom, daughter, sister and wife. She lived her life always looking for the positive in every situation ( I need to do that more often). I had a strong urge to make her proud and live my life more like she lived hers. I really felt that I wanted to change how I look at life. She was always so happy and full of life. She didn’t worry about the small stuff and she made do with what she had. The rat race that we all catch ourselves in these days wasn’t for her. She did her own thing and was happy with her life. She found her way around every obstacle life threw at her. She believed God had a reason for everything and let him handle the stuff that was out of her control. I want to be able to let go like she did. I want to learn that there is a reason for everything, and that it is ok to let go and have faith. I hold on to stuff and I have issues with letting go of control. I could go on and on about my grandma but for the sake of this project I believe the biggest thing that she taught me was the strength and love of family. Family was everything to her and it is time for me to rework, refigure, and reset my life to make sure I am the person I want to be; the wife, daughter and sister I want to be, and, most of all, the mother I want to be, and the mother my children deserve. I need to reset and make sure I am putting what’s most important in this life first… my family.
I need to reset and make sure I am engaged and entwined in their lives and not just present, because life is too short to miss any of it. They need, and they deserve, my full attention when I am with them. I need to learn balance for myself and for them
What is your favorite type of photography?
I have two answers for this one. There are two of us in H&H so having two answers should be ok, right?
I personally love shooting my seniors. I love the entire experience with helping them find the style they want for their session, to helping them pick their favorite images. I really love watching their confidence grow throughout the shoot, and then how excited they get to see their images in the camera after the session. Yes, I let my seniors look through my camera after we are done shooting. I also love the connection I make with my seniors. My sessions are pretty laid back and I always try to make the session feel like we are just hanging out like old friends while also getting work done. We do a lot of talking and joking around to get those real smiles, the ones that moms and grandmas love. I have no problem being myself around my seniors, and their moms or friends, and I typically walk away from a session feeling like I just made new friends.
The other sessions I love are kid sessions. I shoot almost all kid sessions with my sister. This makes a huge difference in a kids shoot. We shoot all kids outside now and we let them be kids. We tried to shoot kids in our studio and I hated it! I mean hated it! I like the natural light of outside and, even more so, I like letting kids be kids. Studio shooting just wasn’t for me and once I figured that out I fell back in love with shooting kids. However, the reason why I enjoy shooting kids so much is because of my sister. She is amazing with the kids. I mean, I may get grass and sticks in my hair, bunny ears or funny noises yelled straight into my ear at a lot of sessions because of her, but it is all worth it in the end. I am able to capture the kid’s real smiles and personality because of her, and sometimes with very little effort on my part. We work very well together on these sessions and most of the time all I have to do is start a sentence explaining what I’m looking for and she understands and is making adjustments before I am even finished with my sentence. This makes a huge difference with kids because sometimes you only have a short window before kids are done and over it. Having an extra set of hands, and someone that doesn’t have a big scary black thing pointed at them, makes all the difference in the world. She is also pretty good at making nervous and/or irritated parents feel better when their kid might not be doing exactly what they are suppose to while I work with the kid without mom or dad yelling at them to smile the pretty smile not that fake smile (how many times have we all heard that one?). Melis is able to relax the kids and their parents in a way that most people don’t have the patience for, and it makes the overall experience enjoyable for everyone instead of stressful.
What inspires you?
Not really sure how to answer this one. I’m not a real “deep” person. I’m not typically over emotional (unless I have too much caffeine) and I don’t over analyze stuff like this, I just do it. I can’t truthfully say my kids inspired me because, in all honesty, if they had a say they would tell me no more pictures mom. Photography, to me, is somewhat selfish. I do it, and I love it, for me. Being a mom and a wife isn’t always easy, and I felt like I lost touch with who I was for awhile. I needed something for myself so I could just be Misty sometimes. In all honesty I still look at it like this most of the time. When I get to go out on a shoot, or I get to sit behind my computer to edit, I can lose myself and I love that feeling. I had missed that feeling before we started H&H. When I was younger I could be locked up in my room, or outside at my parents’ house, all alone for hours with my sketchbook and music, drawing and writing. After college came kids, marriage, work, you know grownup stuff, and I felt like a piece of me was missing. So after my sister and I had talked about starting our own photography business for years (and I mean years and years) we finally did it, and now I have a legit reason to get lost in something I love again.
Describe your typical day?
Before I can do this I think I need to give a little background on myself, and my sister, so my typical day will make sense. Melissa, my sister, and I split H&H responsibility. I do all the shooting and editing and she takes care of all of the business side (accounting, taxes, emails, scheduling and all the other no fun stuff of a business). It works out great because it fits our personalities right on. We also split another job. We both work part time for our father running his office. Our dad has owned a general contracting company for 25+ years. It’s a family owned and operated company and when his office manager/accountant decided to retire Melissa and I decided we wanted to take the job over. So I quit my full time job to work part time for the family business so I would have more time at home with my kids.(this was all before we started H&H)…
Ok enough with the boring background….I don’t have a typical day. I have a typical week, but day to day you never know what is going to happen. I work in my father’s office 3 days a week and the other two days a week I have my two girls and Melissa’s three girls at home with me. I watch her kids while she is at the office working and she watches mine once or twice a week while I am at the office working. The kids’ nap time and rest time is editing time or clean the house time, laundry time, whatever needs done time. Evenings change week to week. After the Reset conference Melis and I have been trying to reset how we scheduled our sessions. We loved the idea of Spanki Mills’ schedule. How she shoots one week and then has the other 3 weeks to edit and get ordering done and such. So we have started trying to schedule all of our sessions the first two weeks of the month and then use the other two weeks as editing weeks, and miscellaneous business weeks. So wow off course again…
A typical week (depending on where it falls within the month) is 3 days of getting dressed early and going into the office and 2 days of you can stay in your jammies as late as you want, swim time, sidewalk chalk time, trampoline time, time to swing, draw and color or just about anything else we can find to do outside. On rainy and cold days I am a big fan of jammie parties with movies and popcorn. I better throw in fights, bruises, band-aids, messes, lots of messes and tears too because when you have 5 girls, ages ranging from 2-8, you are going to have all of that and more. My evenings vary, we have gymnastics once a week, if it’s a shooting week we will be out shooting anywhere from 2-4 times a week, and on any free night we are at our CrossFit gym. Editing takes place anytime I have free time and need an escape throughout the week on shooting weeks. And on non shooting weeks I set specific times/evenings aside. These are typically the nights that I have had all 5 kids all day and need some me time. I do make time for my husband in there too.
Favorite quote: I don’t have one, I have lots! I love quotes and have even painted a wall in my kitchen with chalkboard paint so I could write random quotes on it. However, this one is on a sticky note stuck to my computer screen right now so let’s go with it for now, and it kind of goes along with my reset moment.
“life does not have to be perfect to be wonderful” ~ Annett Funicello
If you could photograph one famous person (Dead or Alive), who would it be?
I had to really think about this one because I had never thought about it before, but my answer is Marilyn Monroe! I would have loved to spend a few hours behind the camera shooting her. I think I would have had so much fun. I would have liked to do it in her era, though, sometime in the late 50’s.
Favorite moment from the Reset Conference? The entire time Bobbi & Mike were on the stage. I mean really! I don’t remember the last time I had laughed so much while learning a ton at the same time.
Misty & Melissa…you are both so incredibly talented & I consider myself a lucky girl to call both of you my friends. It’s been so excited to watch your business take off & soar. I’m inspired by your love for capturing life as it happens around you. Much love to both of you!!
We were THRILLED when Kim emailed us to say she’d love to be a part of The Reset Conference & that she’d like to be one of our featured vendors at the conference. I’ve been eyeing her bags for awhile & am so excited to see them in person! I personally love that they can hold a 17″ laptop! My MacbookPro is big & rarely fits any other bag out there! I emailed Kim to find out more about her journey with Shutterbags & loved learning about them & how she got started!
Kim said…As far as how I created Shutterbag, I have to admit I didn’t. I was introduced over the internet to a woman in Australia that was looking for a U.S. distributor for her new camera bag line. I had just written a blog post about my frustration with searching for a camera bag that was real leather. I had actually fabricated and sewn my own insert because I didn’t want a vinyl bag that costs hundreds of dollars. As soon as I read about the bags being genuine leather, I immediately got one to see the quality for myself. I was in love when it arrived! The Australian woman (her name is Cherie) and I hit it off very well and I signed on as the exclusive U.S. distributor. Within a few months of getting on board with Shutterbag, Cherie delivered devastating news. Cherie and her husband were divorcing, she was about to become a single mom and did not have the passion or drive to continue the business further. After just investing in my new business venture, I was crushed to think it may never come to fruition. My husband and I prayed a lot about it and offered to buy Shutterbag from Cherie. I was so passionate about these bags, I couldn’t let them go. I had already started marketing (albeit just a little at that time) Shutterbag in the U.S. and knew there were women just like me that wanted a pretty camera bag made of real materials. So within just a few months after joining Shutterbag, it became mine. I kept the few designs we had and soon added my own, too. I couldn’t be more proud of this business and the relationships I have made. I always say that we are a Shutterbag family, and I mean it. I love connecting and getting to know each customer. They know they are more than an order to me, they are family. Being such a small business allows me the privilege to serve and support our Shutterbag family. Heck, it is such a family affair that my kids help package the bag as they make their way to their new homes. So if your shipping label looks a little crooked, chances are my three year old and my five year old were “helping” each other put it on the box.
The photos are of the Journey bag (in goldenrod yellow) and of the Heirloom (in black). The Journey came about from asking women in an open question on Facebook what they wanted in a bag. Being able to carry a water bottle without putting it the bag with their gear was the top response. So I knew we had to find a way to incorporate that feature. So the Journey has that front pouch for a water bottle, sippy cup, or baby bottle.
Today the beautiful Amanda Zika or Dreaming Tree Photography is up on the blog! Amanda is one of the sweetest people I have ever met…and incredibly gifted, too! She has a unique gift of seeing the art in life as it happens around her. Her images of the every day are just gorgeous. Amanda blessed my family with photos that are truly a gift that I will pass down for future generations. There is a big story behind that session that I will share during the conference. Amanda was truly in the right place at the right time…thankful God has allowed her to be my friend and in my life.
Let’s get to know this photographer a little more…
What moves you?
I wanted to start with this question first for a few reasons. I hope after you read this you can then connect this with the way I photography families. I did not grow up in your typical American family. I was raised by my grandparents from birth to adulthood. They were amazing, beautiful people and tried to make my childhood as normal as possible. I had a lot of ups and downs as a child and wished all of my life to have a “normal” family. I think this is where my love for photography started. I was intrigued by photos of people just sharing life. Moments captured in time. So, what moves me? The uniqueness in each family no matter what the dynamic. Each family is beautiful and different and I want to capture that. I have learned through the years that as long as you have one person that loves you unconditionally, you can have the world.
Who inspires you? (personally or professionally?)
Wow! Isn’t this a deep question? I am inspired by so many people but I am most inspired by my children. They always give me light in the dark. Their giggles surround me at all times and I feel free. It is truly beautiful. With them I feel like I can conquer anything and any obstacle. Professionally, I am inspired by women photographers. There are so many amazing male photographers. There always have been, but I am seeing so many amazing women balancing it all. A career, children, household chores, school…It is inspiring. God made us to be strong and pillars. I hope that I can be an inspiration in this way for my family. I also have a lot of things that inspire the way I photograph. I love the color the fall leaves and the smell of fall, standing out on my deck in the cold, without a coat, taking in the silence and beauty of the first snowfall, watching my friends get married and having children, my favorite worship song coming on the radio, hugs and kisses from my sweet little man (those dimpled hands don’t last long!), holding hands with my husband and looking at old photojournalistic photos of my family.
What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Always follow your heart. I truly believe that if you put your all into something it will work out. When I first started out I was so nervous. I thought no one would hire me and that I was wasting time and money. Thank God, I had a strong support system that pushed me along the way. I really think finding your style before you open your business makes a huge difference too. I knew how I wanted and what I wanted to photograph, but sometimes I felt lost and would go home not loving the images. That is why I wanted to answer “What moves you?’ and “What inspires you?’ first. I wanted to show you why I photograph in the style I do. Once you find your inspiration you will see such a huge difference in the way you photograph weddings and families. So, make a list. List your favorite times in your life, your favorite season, your favorite memories, your favorite photographers…just list it all and think about it. The things you love define part of your soul. Your outlet for those inspirations will come through in the way you capture people and things.
Did you ever think photography would be your career?
Yes! Yes! Yes! When I was in college studying photography and living life in the darkroom, I truly believed I would be getting calls from National Geographic (being one of their photographers is still a dream!). But, my family told me I would never make any money and to do something else. So, I did and I hated it. I spend 7.5 years in a career that suffocated me. When I took the plunge and decided to do what I love it was refreshing. My life and everything revolving around it changed. My husband is very supportive and told me to follow my heart. He is my rock and I would not be where I am without him.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland! We were supposed to go this spring but decided against it because we didn’t want to leave the kids that long. I made Brett promise me that we will go with the kids within the next few years. I love to travel and have a huge list of places I would love to visit which include: Australia, Prince Edward Island (Holler if you remember Anne of Green Gables!), Paris, London, a tour of the upper-east coast in the fall. You get the idea. I love beautiful scenery.
It is a Bible verse that I have huge in my living room and remember every single day. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for you to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Favorite hot drink?
Coffee. Nuff’ said
If you could have any super power, which would you choose?
To fly!!!! Of course, I am afraid of heights so I probably would never make it off the ground. So, I will resort to my 2nd choice. I would love to be invisible when I wanted. That way, when I am in the bathroom taking a bath or whatever I am doing, the kids won’t have the desire to just walk in. I think most of us know that feeling!
I sometimes sneak and watch bad reality t.v. You know, RHWOC, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo. Luckily, I only have time to watch these shows about once a year. But I still watch them and I enjoy it – even if watching does lose me a few brain cells!
Summary of what you hope to share with attendees of the reset conference.
I hope to share how I get people to feel comfortable with me. Comfortable enough to open up and just be themselves. I would also love to share how I try to balance kids and family life, volunteering, photography and household chores.
Best secret for working smarter not harder?
I work hard to spend more time with my family. I remember that every minute I spend procrastinating is time away from my kids. We all procrastinate in some way so we have to be self-disciplined. I also don’t work every day. I only have set days I work and for only a few hours. And guess what? I get it all done! I can discuss this more at the conference because it would take two pages for me to type out!
Amanda…thank you for being so gracious & for being willing to be a part of The Reset Conference! We just love you to pieces!
If you still haven’t registered, there are only a few seats left. You can grab one of them by registering and using coupon code AMANDA50 to save $50 on your registration!
We are so excited to have Boxdrops by SJP as a part of The Reset Conference! I’m so looking forward to seeing these in person!
I asked Sarah Jane about how boxdrops came to fruition & she shared the story with me. Love this girl & her heart for the photography industry!
So the story of how boxdrops started….
Elizabeth VanHoutan is really the talent and inspiration behind BoxDrops by SJP. We happened upon each other a few years ago (both living in Decatur, IL now and both from Jefferson City, MO originally) and loving her style and art I knew I wanted to work with her to create custom backdrops for my clients, specifically some really unique designs for events like high school dances, etc.
She’s painted at least a dozen full-size custom drops for me over the past couple years and each one is gorgeous! Somewhere along the way she brought in her portfolio for me to photograph so non only did I have the full size designs but I had her full portfolio in digital form. I knew we needed to get these designs out into the world and figure out a way to share them with other photographers so I put together a digital overlay set (as I was already using and enjoying her art as overlays in my own work). The overlays are great (I still use them in my work daily) but I really wanted something more, something life-sized so backdrops was the obvious next step though it wasn’t a quick or easy one.
Elizabeth and I have been talking about and I’ve been researching how to take her art to the next level for what seems like forever and finally we’re here and really brining her visions to live in stunning computer-printed high quality fabric drops! (YAY!!!!!!)
Not long after I realized this dream was becoming a reality I reached out to a few other talented photographers to expand our line into new arenas. I’m happy to say we have some really unique things in the works including both a scenic and grunge line both from award-winning photographers right here in the central US.
Though we’ve been toying with the idea of the backdrop line for ages it all seems to have exploded overnight. We had an unofficial soft opening recently at the FotoChaos event in St. Louis and I’m SO excited to be officially launching right here in Central Illinois at the Reset Conference, after which we’ll be making a big splash sponsoring all the drops at ShutterFest hosted by Sal Cincotta in St. Louis later that same month!!
I’m astounded and honored by the outpooring of support I’ve received from the photography community. I’m excited to bring other photographers like me fun, interesting and truly unique looks to help them create their art.
You can check out the desgins at www.boxdropsbysjp.com and www.facebook.com/boxdropsbysjp
Oh and now until April 6th box drops is offering 25% off presales (placed simply by calling or emailing Sarah Jane) and also will be giving each purchaser a code to earn $20 toward their next purchase for every referral order they send before the launch date.