photographer, educator, artistmaplesadrienne

Art of Photographing Children

Half-way through, she told me how she’d thought about canceling.. or pushing back her family photo session.

‘It never feels like the ‘right’ time? Ya know?’

You want to feel ‘less-frumpy’ and less like the ‘work-from-home-I’ve-gained-a-few-pounds-since-quarantine– look.

Trust me, I understand!

My first session back since quarantine, provided every reminder of why I tell stories.

Children grow quickly, we blink and babies become toddlers. They never stop growing and evolving. Those first 18 years are already half done for me.

It’s important to remember despite the current world climate, it’s important to focus on what makes YOU happy. Stay positive and make small steps in the direction of happiness every day.

When you don’t know the future, simply continue doing the NEXT right thing.

Whitney found me last year when searching for a photographer to help celebrate her daughter’s first birthday.

I was smitten. From our first phone call when we discovered we were both from red-heads who moved to KC from the South. This instant connection still excites me after all these years photographing families!

So what will you miss tomorrow, after it’s past?

I miss my daughter’s toothless grin.

But I fell in love her new smile, the one full of baby teeth. When those began falling out, we celebrated singing, ‘All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth!’

It became part of our memories, celebrating milesstones together.

As I look back through these memories, I realize I have few images of my daughter and I together. While I know I was there in all of them, I long to see us together- even if I felt ‘frumpy-and-gross’ at the time.

As a mother and woman whom often judges her own reflection with criticism, trust me when I say this:

I DO NOT SEE YOU THIS WAY!

(Plus, it’s about the kiddo anyway.)

I promise that together, we can create something magical and celebrate the beautiful people and moments in your life.

Let’s celebrate the HAPPY now!

Stuck in our homes with our children, day-in and day-out is exhausting. Believe it or not, a photo shoot outside is a perfect way to spend the afternoon!

The photograph below was inspiration in the moment. With a little trust from Whitney and a few items from my collection, we wrangled the baby into the frame below.

We can do the same with a few simple items from your closet just ask me how and we can brainstorm together!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Mother’s Day FREE Printables

My love language is acts of service…

Words of affirmation are important to me as well but there is nothing better than a little extra help when I’m not expecting it. But my daughter is nine and ‘cleaning up after herself’ is a hard won battle.

But you wanna know something?!

mothers day freebie fill in the blank

Lately my daughter is surprising me with coloring pages to show her appreciation?!

She figured out how to print out pages from my computer and gives them to me once they are completed. They are a little token of love from her to me. And I get it!

Her primary love language is gift giving.

Mothers Day Free Printable from @AMaplesPhoto

But just in case your budget is running low & your gift is a day full of papering mom, you can print these out or send them in an email to help make mom’s day!

Mothers Day Free Printable from @adrienneAMaplesPhoto

CLICK here to download these Mothers Day FREE Printable’s from my Google Drive.

xoxo adrienne signing off

Believe in Yourself. Always.

scad building at night

‘You’ll never be any good at photography’

It was my soft more year & I was taking the very first photography class of my collegiate career.

By now, I’d already dedicated two years toward obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. The Savannah College of Art & Design required students to finish all core classes before taking classes within your major.

With my core classes complete I was finally back in the darkroom, where I belonged.

Photography is a very expensive hobby

Before digital technology made film & processing costs irrelevant, I was spending thousands of dollars on film, paper and other basic needs.  I was still shooting with my first film camera, a Minolta X-370 and the camera body hadn’t been serviced in years- if ever?!

Everything was manual. And I mean E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G!

Exposure was determined by an internal light meter which measured ‘middle gray’.  Focusing, metering & changing out fixed lenses was just another part of the process.

As a college kid on a diet of ramen noodle, I didn’t have funds to purchase anything fancy. While I was envious of my classmates and their shiny new lenses, I pushed forward with what I had learning the hard way.

My instructor was Jaclyn Cori. It was early in her years of teaching but she was already known for ripping people apart. I recall her as impeccably dressed, petite woman with beautiful olive skin.  Something about the way she carried herself made her intimidating.

I haven’t forgotten the sinking feeling I had when I met with her for my midterm review.

‘You’ll never be any good at this.’

She said coldly from across the room. She rose from behind her desk and floated across the room, closing the door behind me. She circled back and sat on the edge of her desk before inviting me in to take a seat.

I stumbled into the room dazed, like that of a frolicking deer shocked by the sudden burst of headlights.

She pulled out a stack of black and white contact sheets from a folder on her desk.

Contact sheets were essentially xerox copies of your film.  We’d slide our film negatives into pockets on an 8.5×11 sheet made for preserving 35mm film.  Then we’d create a positive print of the entire page- like a copier. This was how we were graded and helped us determine good vs. bad exposure.

‘Do you know what you are doing wrong?’

She asked as she handed over the contact sheets which I recognized as my own. I shrugged working hard to hold back tears, trying to find the words to speak.

It was true I was struggling with my exposure. My images lacked contrast. While I was writing down every exposure & corresponding frame (yeah, that’s how we did it before digital), somehow I was missing my mark every time?

I was frustrated and hoping for something, inspiration perhaps?

She continued, ‘I’m not exactly sure what you are doing? But these exposures are all muddy. It looks like you are consistently underexposing 1-2 stops? If you want true blacks, meter for middle gray and reduce two stops.’

(If you missed that, it was all photo gargon for: you are not exposing properly but mostly you suck at this.)

Try, try and try again.

I didn’t let this talk discourage me. In my next class, we ran tests on our camera’s and I discovered my light meter was off 2 stops!  Pushing forward in spite of my own doubts, I built a website and launched my business my senior year.

When I originally built my website, I had nothing but time. It was my senior year and I was taking a computed class with Professor Tan. He was a Turkish man who spoke often about the conflict in his home country.

He was an inspiration. I always enjoyed his class even if we spent the day hearing about stories from his youth. He knew his stuff and I took advantage. While the other students were completing a final project on animation, I got his approval to build my first website and get it online.

After graduation in 2002, I’d already begun picking up jobs and slowly adding the new equipment I needed.

Jaclyn called me shortly after graduation.

She’d recently gotten engaged and stumbled across my website while searching for photographers. She remembered having me as a student but she didn’t remember the conversation in her office quite like I did.

She was impressed with my site and congratulated me on the work I was producing. I hung up the phone ready to charge forward again. It was just what I needed at the time in order to get me to the next level.

Until next time-

 

 

Mean Girls; Raising Compassionate Daughters

woman hero quote in pinkRaising a Compassionate Daughter in today’s world of Cyber-space is quite the challenge.

At bath time I notice my daughter studying her seven year old figure in the mirror. She turns herself from side-to-side attempting to straighten her posture & suck in her belly.

Momma?‘ she hesitates… ‘When will my belly go away? The girls at recess were teasing me…’

All at once, my past and her future flashed before me.

mean girls broadway cartoon drawing

Girls are just plain mean.

I was the naive little girl who inevitably walked right into the traps other girls set for me.

In 8th grade, one of the most popular girls in school suffered an embarrassing break-up. The boy LOUDLY made the announcement to everyone just before the first bell.

I was under the impression this girl was my best friend. After all, she lived down the block and she was the first ‘friend’ I’d made when I moved in with my dad. 

Empathetic to her plight, I slipped a hand-written note into her locker just before lunch.

The note thoughtfully pointed out the reasons why the boy was an idiot before I began gushing about why she deserved someone better. Then I decorated the page with colorful hearts, flowers and swirly’s- making it extra special.

At lunch, everyone was buzzing. It seemed a lot of fingers were pointed in my direction and I felt like all eyes were on me as one of the popular boys approached my table.

He took a seat across from me and took a piece of paper out of his pocket.  I immediately recognized my own handwriting as he carefully unfolded the page and laid it in front of me.

embarrassed cartoon girl with red cheeks

Heat rushed to my cheeks, I swallowed hard trying to suppress the tears.

“What’s this all about, ehe?’  he pretended to be concerned but his words were empty.

“There are copies making the rounds all over school! You know… everyone thinks you are in love with Michelle?”

I was mortified.

It was just two weeks before summer break and I was the laughing stock of the school. I imagined this is all anyone would be talking about over the summer. Conversations at the beach would be centered around the silly little girl who was stupid enough to think Michelle was her best friend. Ha. Ha. Ha.

But the other children did forget quickly.

Within a week, their minds were racing towards summer vacation. Everyone went back to being children and eventually the humiliation took a back seat in my brain as well. No one seemed to remember the following year and I moved onward.

The internet doesn’t easily forget.

Fortunately, my mortifying event took place during the days of dial-up internet.

Thankfully Facebook and Instagram were non-existent so it wasn’t yet common practice to take a photo and immediately post online.

‘Regardless of age, women of all walks are drawn together into a posse by their very need for constant reinforcement.’

While mean girls who prey upon the less popular have always existed; today cyber bullying is vicious and it’s leading to teen suicide in alarming rates. This is something that needs to be combated early. We need to teach our daughters to be better.

Together we can Change the Standard for Social Media

While social media is still a relatively new concept to my generation- kids today are growing up with direct access to all of their peers. We are just beginning to understand the overall arching impact this will have on our children.

We all do it… slip into that ‘mean girl’ mentality when we feel insecure or threatened. It’s easy enough to pick someone else apart in an effort to feel better about ourselves. ‘Insecurity breeds hostility and contempt.'(3)

educate together we can change

Today we have direct access to hurt feelings and destroy someone’s self confidence by simply hitting the return button.

‘Being bullied by a mean girl is a kind of social torment that often exists without parents and teachers even noticing. Social media has given mean girls an entirely new avenue to harm others. In addition to in-person bullying, mean girls also engage in cyberbullying.’ (1)

Facing personal insecurities and finding your own tribe without putting others down.

At my age, I am still insecure in some situations but I manage to force my way through the doors… I put on a smile and fake the confidence necessary to get to the other side of the room. This is a requirement in my profession. When I am wearing my camera, I don’t think twice about entering a room.

My camera gives me the confidence to enter any social circle and take control. I often employ this confidence when I enter a room without my camera. I attempt to smile and make eye contact with others, nodding to acknowledge their existence.

I use this same technique when I take my daughter to the playground.

While other parents are aggressively typing on their phones in an effort to avoid eye-contact, I go the opposite route. I smile and engage with their children

This isn’t always easy, especially for those whom have anxiety in social situations. It’s important to learn coping mechanisms and ease into a social dynamic that might make you uncomfortable.

Five Ways to Help your Child 

As kids navigate friendships and cliques, there’s plenty parents can do to offer support. If your child seems upset, or suddenly spends time alone when usually very social, ask about it. Here are some tips:

Talk about your own experiences: Share your own experiences of school — cliques have been around for a long time!

Help put rejection in perspective: Remind your child of times he or she has been angry with parents, friends, or siblings — and how quickly things can change.

Shed some light on social dynamics: Acknowledge that people are often judged by the way a person looks, acts, or dresses, but that often people act mean and put others down because they lack self-confidence and try to cover it up by maintaining control.

Find stories they can relate to: Many books, TV shows, and movies portray outsiders triumphing in the face of rejection and send strong messages about the importance of being true to your own nature and the value of being a good friend, even in the face of difficult social situations. For school-age kids, books like “Blubber” by Judy Blume illustrate how quickly cliques can change. Older kids and teens might relate to movies such as “Mean Girls,” “Angus,” “The Breakfast Club,” and “Clueless.”

Foster out-of-school friendships: Get kids involved in extracurricular activities (if they aren’t already) — art class, sports, martial arts, horse riding, language study — any activity that gives them an opportunity to create another social group and learn new skills.

*(excerpt from: Helping kids Cope with Cliques- Kid’s Health)

  1. Signs of A Mean Girl
  2. Dealing with Mean Women
  3. The Psychology of Mean Girl Cliques

Financial Aid for Small Businesses & Photographers

Where do I even start?

This is the question I’m hearing from small business owners from every industry. And while I am by no means and expert on this particular issue, I’ve run a successful small business for more than 16 years.

And I don’t intend on giving up now!

So while the service industry and many others are at a stand still, I’m spending my time researching the facts and gathering the necessary information to ensure I celebrate another year.

The SBA has Good News for Small Businesses, Sole Proprietor’s and Independent Contractors

‘Our nation’s small businesses are facing an unprecedented economic disruption due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. On Friday, March 27, 2020, the President signed into law the CARES Act, which contains $376 billion in relief for American workers and small businesses.’

The CARES Act Economic Relief Plan offers support to small businesses including the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. It’s the first measures taken to try and support small businesses in the wake

To learn more about the relief options available for your business, click here.

PPP Protection Program Grant Loan

‘The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.’

This program will forgive loans when the money applies to the following expenses paid within the first 8 weeks of receiving the loan: payroll, healthcare benefits, rent, electricity, internet, phone, and transportation established BEFORE February 2020.

Additionally employee and compensation levels must be maintained.

You ARE eligible of you are a small business with 1-500 employees, independent contractors or self-employed. No collateral will be required.

This is a 100% federally-guaranteed loan for small businesses.

This loan/ forgiveness program will cover 2.5 times your average monthly payroll and the first $10,000 will be forgiven as long as you play by the rules. (Re: spending the cash on payroll, rent, ect. mentioned earlier.)

Steps to Apply

  1. Submit an application via the SBA website.
  2. Contact your bank and speak with a loan specialist to begin the process.
  3. Gather the necessary paperwork BEFORE meeting with your bank.

Forms you’ll need to prepare

Prepare now by collecting copies of your 2018 & 2019 tax returns from the last two years and print out copies of your payroll.

  1. Schedule of Liabilities (your current loans/debts)
  2. Personal Financial Statement
  3. Tax Returns from 2019, 2018, 2017 (for good measure I pulled 3 years)
  4. Request for Tax Return Transcript

What does the CARES Act mean exactly?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. You apply through the SBA as like you are applying for a loan; however the first $10,000 is forgivable if you spend the money on the items I mentioned above.

Want someone to walk you through the application? Check out this YouTube video by Amanda Russell a business finance coach.

Download these forms directly from my Google Drive

Additional Links for More information:

Please share this with any small business owner you know. This applies to not only photographers, but all small business owners in the US.

xoxo adrienne signing off

The Secret About my Tattoo

It’s no joke! I got my first tattoo on April Fool’s Day.

While it sounds a little odd, it wasn’t a decision I made lightly.

It was to mark a significant moment in my life. This would be my reminder. Something I would see each and every time I picked up my camera.

A reminder I was free. 

A reminder of the day I set out to reach my full potential again, without anyone telling me I couldn’t.

It was the day I pushed past my fears and decided to start living again. I would march forward a proud divorced mother.

A tattoo to mark a change in me.

I spent weeks thinking about the best way to represent this feeling, when my best friend suggested I use one of my photographs.

This was perfect! I knew immediately the photograph I wanted. I would use the one I took of the geese flying south that Winter. Geese flying home.

NO! I’m not flying South and leaving my Kansas City community!

This is just a metaphor! But in the days following my divorce, there was a rumor making rounds that I was moving home.

That was when I stepped back from Social Media and decided to re-evaluate where it fit into my life. I needed to determine the next course of action before moving forward.

And here I am THREE years later.

I’ve re-written the narrative running through my head.

I’m not ashamed of being happily divorced. I’m not worried about what people think when I tell them I’m a ‘single mom.’

Instead I accept my challenge. And I am charging forward, FREE into tomorrow.

xoxo adrienne signing off

Social Distancing isn’t ‘normal’ but it’s our NOW.

Social Distancing has brought about a ‘new’ NOT normal as we face the global pandemic of 2020. It’s brought fear and doubt into every home throughout the civilized world.

We are living a very surreal experience. But one that will remain part of our story. The things we do in the coming months will determine many things for our future.

This moment in our lives is HUGE. These days we spent in quarantine will not be easily forgotten.

As a photographer, I’m compelled to find a way to document this chapter of our history.

This is not a moment to let fear paralyze us into complacency- it’s a moment to seize the day and show our children the bright side of the dark.

I hope to see you soon friends… only six feet away, saying ‘hello’ with jazz hands.

** Please note, due to stay at home orders these sessions will take place AFTER these orders are lifted. Scheduling sessions now for May 2020.

xoxo adrienne signing off

Preparing to Slow down as a Small Business

Preparing for the unknown causes anxiety and fear. And fear makes people do crazy things. We are in early days of a global pandemic… as I type this it feels surreal.

Which is perhaps why so many people aren’t heeding the warnings in order to slow this thing down.

Over the weekend the mayor of Kansas City ordered gatherings of no more than 50 people but after seeing images of packed bars, he issued a new order closing schools, bars, restaurants and banning gatherings of more than 10.

How in the world can you prepare for a pandemic as a small business?!?

Panicking does MORE harm than good.

The novel Coronavirus the first real pandemic of our lifetime. So what does everybody do?

They buy lots of toilet paper or stockpile hand sanitizer.. more importantly they HOARD supplies because it makes them feel safe.

Mob mentality won’t help us in the long run.

In fact, mobbing the stores is a GREAT way to spread the virus. Especially since you have NO idea if you’ve been exposed for several days.

The only thing IMMEDIATE answer that will help, is to keep our distance physically and INSTEAD support our communities ONLINE.

March 13, 2020

Here’s the GREAT news! We are living in an age where we CAN accomplish a great number of things from the comfort of our homes.

Here are a few solutions to help support local communities.

Small business are the first to get hit hard. The event industry came to a screeching halt over the weekend due to the ban on large gatherings. I have friends who were instantly hard hit HARD by this global catastrophe.

Support small business online.

The obvious answer is to help by shopping small businesses online, purchasing gift cards or paying for services in advance. But even if you are short on cash you can help in other ways!

Another way to support small business is by writing reviews or testimonials on Google or Facebook. Give someone a shout out on social media. Share something that makes you smile. Every little thing makes a difference during difficult times.

Now is the best time to be neighborly.

Check on your neighbors, especially the ones who can’t get out because of pre-existing health conditions.

If you haven’t already, download the Nextdoor App and start connecting with your neighbors. Check in on the elderly in your neighborhood and offer to help anyway you can.

Hand write letters to older friends, family & other loved ones that might be isolated. This afternoon, Em and I plan to draw and color a few things to send t our Pawpa who’s 94. (He lost Gramma last June.)

Think outside the box.

Never shopped for groceries online? Well now’s the time to start! Most stores already offer this service.

If your business shut down for the next few weeks, think about what you’ve put off because you didn’t have the time (like cleaning out the garage!) Get your mind a break and keep yourself busy!

I’ve been studying new programs and watching YouTube videos from inspiring sources. I’d like to improve my video skills and get more comfortable on the other side of the camera.

I find regular inspiration from Jasmine Star, Peter McKinnon and Sunny Lenarduzzi

(Here’s a BRILLIANT 90 second video that got me inspired! It’s one of the first of many viral videos created by Peter McKinnon).

Surviving Catastrophe, what you can do now-

Do you remember the story of the little boy who cried wolf? Certainly you do- the little boy cries WOLF, WOLF… but there is no wolf.

A second time, he cries: WOLF WOLF WOLF!!

Still there is no wolf.

A third and final time he cries- WOLF WOLF... And a wolf eats him up.

The moral of the Boy Who Cried Wolf is about credibility through honesty. When you are honest, people trust you.

This is how I feel about the news media.

Breaking news is different than ACTUAL news. They have a tendency to cry WOLF in order to get attention… when there is no wolf.

Stories evolve over time…. and the story of 2020 is just beginning.

The conclusion to our PANDEMIC of 2020- has yet to be written. Acting NOW- right now- will make a big difference.

And acting now, does not mean stocking up on toilet paper!

This is NOT Normal. But it doesn’t mean we need to panic!

FACT: the only way to slow the spread is to stay home.

Social distancing is not a snow day! Over the next week, more cases will be confirmed locally. Staying put is THE ONLY WAY TO STOP the spread!

Social Distancing is necessary to spare our resources.

When healthcare professionals & hospitals are flooded with fresh cases, resources are spread thin. This means the quality of care is compromised, supply’s become limited and ultimately more people will die.

Italian doctors report ‘having to choose between intubating a 40-year-old with two kids, a 40-year old who is fit and healthy with no co-morbidities, and a 60-year-old with high blood pressure, because they don’t have enough beds. In the hallway, meanwhile, there are another 15 people waiting who are already hardly breathing and need oxygen.’ (source Newsweek)

I am telling you this as a small business owner who just lost ALL revenue for the next quarter. I’m not exactly sure what direction this will take me… but I’ve learned to survive.

But I know the first step is supporting others anyway I can and for now, this means staying home and using my computer & phone to connect with my community.


What every individual can do in a pandemic.

Find businesses offering innovative solutions

If you need help creating messages for your stakeholders or you need equipment to help monitor your employees as they work from home, reach out to companies who offer solutions. Catapult Media is a technology-based and communication driven company, they offer solutions so business operations can proceed as normal, even when everyone is not in the office. From video conferencing that will support up to 300 people there are solutions for everyone.

You can download their Coronavirus Response Plan for businesses here

Until next time, keep your family close & call your parents.

xoxo adrienne signing off

RESOURCES

Holy Wedding Photographers EVERYWHERE!

Recently engaged and in the throes of planning a wedding? Are you struggling on choosing your photographer?

Did you Google weddings and found yourself overwhelmed with the sheer number ‘wedding photographer’ options?

Well, you are NOT ALONE! It’s a sign of the times my friends! 

 There are currently close to SIX HUNDRED photographers listed with The Knot here in Kansas City! Compare this with the hundred or so photographers listed when I first relocated here in 2005!?!

That’s RIDICULOUS growth!!

But choosing your wedding photographer is unlike the other decisions you’ll make for your wedding. You’ll select your photographer without knowing EXACTLY what it is your getting. Therefore it’s important to do a fair amount of research before making this very important decision. 

I’m sharing my top three tips on how to find the PERFECT wedding photographer for you.

Look through LOTS and LOTS of images…

First things first, you need to decide what you DO like and what you DO NOT like. Knowing your taste will help narrow the list somewhere. Many photographers coin themselves with terms like ‘photojournalist’ or ‘natural-light photographers’…

Don’t let buzz words fool you! Just LOOK through the photos and you’ll see for yourself what kind of photographs they really shoot.

As you look through an individual’s work, ask yourself these kinds of questions?

  • Are they creative? (RE: Do all of their images look repetitive.)
  • Were their images heavily manipulated in Photoshop?
  • Are their images a mix of candid and posed? Or is their style heavily one or the other?
  • Can they light a room artificially?
webster house ceremony

Fall in LOVE with your photographer.

Yes. I am serious! Once you’ve stumbled across images you LOVE- do a little more research on your photographer. Is this someone who will make you feel comfortable?

Reach out and connect DIRECTLY. Don’t leave your conversations specifically to emailing and messaging! It’s important to feel some connection when you talk with your photographer about your wedding plans. Try to match with someone who shares your energy level.

You get what you pay for-

One of my first photography jobs was working for John McManus– an architectural photographer in Savannah Georgia. I often quote things John once said while we were working. While several of them stick with me, my favorite was;

‘The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price. “

In this business, you get what you pay for and most of the time you’re paying for experience. Don’t get swept away with products & gimmicks they’ll include with their services. Look at THEIR IMAGES!! You’ll also notice some larger studios have several photographers on staff.

For instance, some wedding studios have multiple photographers on staff. If you want your wedding photographs to be personal, you’ll want to connect with your SPECIFIC photographer prior to the wedding day.

best wedding photo moments

This doesn’t mean meet in person! More than half of brides plan their wedding remotely, so if you’ve found images you LOVE don’t hesitate to set up a time to Skype, Facetime or hold a Zoom meeting with your photographer!

through the mass amount of individuals who’ve recently discovered photographer and don’t yet have the cat-like reflects which come with decades of shooting weddings!

xoxo adrienne signing off

Hi! I’m Adrienne

The first time I fell in love, it was with the 35mm Minolta camera my mom gave me in middle school.

 

Film taught me patience and I studied the craft before digital technology revolutionized the world-

***

After graduating from the Savannah College of Art & Design, I launched my studio and I've never looked back.

 

More than a decade later, as an artist & now mother, I'm more passionate about documenting moments, telling stories & learning from every mistake.

 

My mission? Helping others any way I can!

 

Blog Categories

Get My Trade Secrets

Want to start taking better photos TODAY?

5 quick tips to help you take control of your camera



recent posts
Read More...

Want more?