Today on the blog is the beautiful & talented Bex Albaugh of Studio Rebekah Photography. Bex is the co-host of The Reset Conference & this has been a big dream of hers for awhile that has become a reality. The girl is crazy talented & I’m always amazed at her levels of creativity. She can visualize a shot like none other & makes gorgeous art of the world around her. I met Bex in 2008 on Clickinmoms and she sent me a message and said “Hey, let’s meet up for dinner!” We lived a couple of hours apart but chose to meet in Champaign. There were definitely nerves the first time we met but as soon as we started talking we just clicked and have been such great friends ever since. We now both live in the city of Champaign & we get to see each other much more often. I’m so thankful God has placed her in my life….friends like her are a rare find.
Psst…did you hear that Bex is going to teach a posing class at The Reset Conference?? Woot woot!! I sat in Bex’s office the other day and said “Ok…teach me your favorite poses.” I’m constantly in awe of the way she can get people to pose & how she can bring a group together in such a beautiful way. So excited for her to share with all of you!!!
When did you launch your photography business?
I actually don’t know when the “business” officially launched. I mean, when you’re an independent artist there is never a ribbon cutting ceremony for the moment you decide to sell your art! I can just picture it if there had been one. (*insert sarcastic voice) It’d have been monumental, in my living room or in front of my desktop computer!! OH YEAH BABY! We’d have cut a piece of string with some dirty kitchen shears. Hahaha!
(*Shifting to serious analytical self)
However, I do remember launching my first website with my first business name. That was all the way back in June of 2008. Seems like yesterday, and yet also like a lifetime ago. I was a different person then. This career has changed me. I see myself differently (in mostly positive ways).
What’s in your bag & Favorite Lens?
Canon 5d mark iii
Canon 5d mark ii
(2) Canon 600 EX RT-2 Speelights
Canon ST-E3-RT Transmitter
Ice Light by Wescott
Canon Luxury Series Lenses
I carry 4 lenses on my hip for every. single. shoot. I tell people that is because I am a minimalist. … and I am, but I am also very frugal (*fancy word for CHEAP). I’d own more if I have mountains of cash. I’D LOVE TO HAVE MOUNTAINS OF CASH and L GLASS! Ugh… okay, back to reality. What was the question?
Oh yeah, my lenses…. Fun fact: each of my four lenses has a “ boyfriend name”. I love them all in different ways and I feel guilty choosing just one as my “favorite” but if you won’t tell then I guess I will have to admit that my most preferred lens is my 50mm 1.2 (I call him “Frederico” *he’d be my Spanish lover)
Aside from that sexy beast there are my 70-200 2.8 IS (“Roger” *He’s smart and has an English accent), 24-105 4.0 (“Wilson”, *he’d be country. a hard worker and definitely a big boy.) and 100mm 2.8 IS (“Liam”, *Irish, long and lean with an appreciation for the finer things)…… ahem, don’t judge me!
Chili’s Molton Chocolate Cake (consumed this as my whole dinner multiple times during my second pregnancy. I would not share a single bite….don’t hate.) , Coffeemate Girl Scout’s Thin Mint Creamer (thanks to Kellie Penn….my butt is angry for the introduction!) , Caprese Salads (Don’t be fooled by the word “Salad”… It is basically fat balls of mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and oil!)
Most embarrassing moment?
My sophomore year of high school I had the opportunity to sing the national anthem for our high school’s big rivalry game. I had a crush on one of our team’s players so I was extra nervous. I remember the gym was standing room only and they asked me to walk to the center of the gym floor! Yeah, as if I wasn’t nervous enough!! (I went to a big school in the Chicago suburbs so this gym had at least 1500 people in it that night.) I recall when the cheerleaders lined up behind me with hands over there hearts. I started strong.
“ Oh say can you see, by the dawn’s early light…”
It was good! I continued with confidence.
… until I got to the second “Oh Say…”
It was right then that I FROZE.
My brain was running a million miles per minute. What are the words?!!! Is it “Oh say”?! NO! That is the beginning of the song! Right?! Am I starting this thing over?! CRAP!!!! What do I do?!
My face had turned bright red, my ears were on FIRE and I was suppressing the urge to cry with every fiber of my being.
I had convinced myself that I was starting the stupid anthem over.
Every one in that gym was holding their breath or whispering under it.
In all reality there was about a 5-10 second pause, but this silence felt like a year and a half and with every passing second I felt smaller! The world was closing in on me.
Don’t run away Bex! Don’t start crying like an idiot! How do I pull this off?!
Finally, one of the cheerleaders behind me leaned forward and whispered the next few words to me, “Oh say does that star…”
I began to finish and when I finally did the crowd erupted with applause and cheering. I am confident the teenagers were stifling laughter and the parents felt heavy hearts full of pity for pathetic little ol’ me.
In the weeks following that HEINOUS night, during school hours many of the upper class-men, even those I never knew, would hum the star spangled banner under their breath as I passed. Even some members of my family still tease me about it today. Ugh… simply awful.
For my craft and business: “Comparison is the thief of joy.”- Teddy Roosevelt
For my mission in life:
“Some wish to live within the sound
Of Church or Chapel Bell.
I want to run a rescue shop
within a yard of Hell.”
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland… I am a complete medieval era geek. I watch all period films from this era… grab most books as well. The accents are intriguing, the music uplifting and I could get visually lost in the rolling green hills, castles and cobblestone walls of such a country.
Favorite photograph you’ve taken?
Ooooo… So hard. I have too many. I get too attached but I think if you are forcing me to narrow it down to just one, it’d actually be a photo of 2 of my children when they were three and five years old.
They were laying down on a summer day in the center of the sidewalk that was in front of our house. I heard them giggling and playing and it caused me to look at them (I happened to have camera in hand because the day was so lovely). They had been looking at one another and comparing the sizes of each of their hands.
That moment was ordinary.
It was perfect and sweet and describes their bond so well.
What moves you?
Honestly my first answer was:
“People who think of others. People who ask how they can help. People who genuinely care and show love when it’s least expected.”
…but what really moves me even more than that are people who are unashamed to do things that the world frowns upon. They do things like worship God in public, help a stranger in need even though that person may not be “worthy” of the help, they are not afraid to pray for others and they are confident in who they are in the eyes of God and stand for something more.
Have there been moments where you are photographing and you realize that this is bigger than yourself?
Yes. There have been. I feel like my pictures are nice enough to catch someone’s attention but how that person finds me in the first place is a wonder to me. I am so grateful to the people in my life and outside of my life, especially the people I don’t even know, who refer me or sing me praises. I am honored by the brides who choose mine to be the eyes through which they view the memories of their wedding day for the rest of their lives. I am grateful to my peers for their respect when they refer me to outside clients. I am grateful everyday to my God for sustaining my business, for putting these people in my path and for blessing me with an art that I can use to experience the joy of others, share in their treasured times and still provide for my families needs. It’s a mind blowing reality for me everyday that I get to do this. I feel indebted to everyone around me and to God for the opportunity to do what I do. I hope to never take it for granted. I hope to stay grounded. I hope to keep my perspective of it being GIVEN to me and not just EARNED.
What’s your typical day usually look like?
7am- wake up, change baby and make a bottle
7:30- tell kids to stop watching TV and get dressed
7:40- Tell kids to stop watching TV and get dressed
7:45- Shut off TV and use scary tone of voice, unload dishwasher
7:55 get kids teeth brushed
8:05- take kids to school
8:30 – either drive thru Panera for coffee and a Asiago Cheese bagel or make coffee at home with Keurig
8:45- eat and check emails and social media
9-1pm work on computer, prepare a crockpot dinner in kitchen and run 2 loads of laundry
1:30- realize I never showered and put baby down for a nap
2:30 quickly shower
3:00- check to see if nanny is going to pick up kids from school
3:00-6:00 lock self away in home office and work on computer
6:10- emerge from the dungeon with glazed eyes
6:30-8:30 eat dinner with my family, load dishwasher, plop on couch with my family and snuggle and watch our favorite shows
8:30 pray with my babies and kiss them goodnight
8:30-10:45 watch movies, answer random texts or late night emails if I feel like it, eat something crappy that is going to make me fatter, clean a bit, kiss on handsome…be jealous. HE IS THAT GOOD LOOKING.
11:00- go to bed
What three words best describe your photography?
The triple C- Clean, Crisp, Colorful
Any successes or failures in business that have shaped the way you run your business now?
In the first 3-4 years of my business I took on too much, too often for too long and eventually broke down completely. I was at rock bottom hiding in my walk in closet screaming and punching the walls. It was a low in my life. I wanted to please everyone who wanted me to take their photos. I was over worked, fighting with my husband, stressing over money, missing my kids lives, and trying to portray a false image of togetherness to the world of social media. It was a hallow lifestyle. I had no time for my marriage, my kids, my spiritual health and my dreams outside of taking pretty pictures. I fought the decision to turn certain genres of photography away for so long. I was SO ATTACHED to my work and to people pleasing. It wasn’t worth it though. In 2012 I shut the door to baby, children, family,maternity and business portraiture. Since then, I make time for the things in my life that matter more than my ego and pleasing others…. my family and God are my priorities and having time to do something for my own happiness (like read a book) is such a reward as well!
Do you feel like attending workshops/conferences are valuable?
I feel they are incredibly necessary to push you further. If you do not attend educational events then you can become comfortable and complacent with your abilities and style and be completely ignorant to the potential your skills can reach. I think if you care at all about being great or producing consistent quality for those clients who trust you then you need to invest in workshops and conferences at least once or twice a year minimum. I think the business side of photography is not easy to guess at. We need to learn how to do it properly. Conferences aid in that department too. People in this industry spend a TON of time, energy and money on templates, actions, presets, websites, hosting, product and gear, but what about the MEAT of it all?! What about the knowledge behind the art and the business. We can only learn a limited amount on our own. We can’t get EVERYTHING we need off of YOUTUBE. The educational events also open the doors for networking and friendships and an opportunity to see how and what is working better, faster and more afford-ably for others! It’s also a huge bonus that they can be so much fun too! Especially RESET! RESET is something I’d pay three times the amount for! It’s going to be all the aforementioned things and more! Please consider coming. I want us to rock your socks off in our first launch of this annual conference!
Pretty amazing stuff, right?!?! If by chance you haven’t signed up for The Reset Conference use coupon code BEX50 & save $50 on your registration!
Bex, thank you for inviting me along on this journey with you. I’m incredibly grateful for your friendship & love you & your family to pieces. So thankful God put you into my life! ~Kellie