Balance - it isn't always what you think

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Balance doesn't mean giving equal amounts of time and energy to everything, it's about giving the right amount of time and energy to the right things and it's different for everyone.

So let me be totally honest here. For a long time, I truly believed that work life balance meant giving the same amount of time and energy to both your personal life and your work life. I struggled to get enough time and energy available for my family while still trying to work full time, build a business, do the cooking and cleaning.

Want to know what the result was? Work colleagues worried about the pace I was working at, the business never seemed to get any traction, and my family seemed to be on edge around me. I mean my daughter stopped asking me to play with her because she was worried she wasbothering me or stressing me out. How sad is that?

At the end of the day I had to figure out what does everyone need from me?

  • My day job - they need me to be present and engaged for my 35 hours a week and the occasionaly staff meeting or after hours event.

  • My business - it needs me to be consitent in answering emails and engaging online. It needs me to get out a few times a month to network with awesome people. And weeks when I have bookings it needs me for consults, shoots, editting, and sales sessions. When I don't have sessions - I can work ahead on new ideas and learning new things...or I can spend more time with my family.

  • My Family - Turns out my husband and daughter (12 yrs old) are pretty independent. They need me fully present and engaged at least one full week night and one weekend day each week. Other than that, they are happy to spend time with me when it works with everything else.

  • Myself - well, I need to actually appear somewhere in my schedule so here's what I decided. I need 30mins every morning to plan my day, embrace some gratitude, and start the day right. I need 30mins of reading some kind of fiction before bed each night. and I need an hour or two on the weekend to paint, give myself a facial, or curl up with a book and just chill out.

Some days the business is super busy and it needs all my time and attention.

Sometimes my daughter is having a rough week with preteen drama at school and she needs me.

With the outline above - I have the flexibility to put my extra time and energy wherever it will serve us best and know that all the things that need to happen still happen.

What does balance look like for you?

Playing with new styles...

This year I am working to take better care of myself. I am working with a personal trainer on my fitness and nutrition to be healthier. I am taking time every weekend to do what I need to do to replenish myself. It looks a little different each week. One week it might be reading a book. Another week might be a long walk. It might be a movie marathon and face mask. It might be meditation and a long bath. No matter what though, it's about taking to do something that is just for me.     

So last weekend, as part of my weekly self-care time, I decided it was time to try out a new style beyond my go-to's of buns, ponytails and braids. I have been getting so much inspiration from the amazing women around me and the women who step in front of my camera. (I'm also one of those women who feels the most beautiful and fiercest right after getting my hair done.)  

A bit before this, my friend and mentor Jennifer Rozenbaum did a video on how she does her hair everyday (I love her long loose curls/waves) so I decided to try it out.   I even took some photos.

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I used this curling wand (because it was what I already had). You can get it on amazon it's the InfinitiPro by Conair CD117 YOU Curl Conical Curling Wand(*Affiliate Link*). It was easy to work with (and came with a protective glove for people like me that always end up burning themselves).   I was good to go while working on the left hand side of my head but it got tricky on the right when I needed to work essentially backwards.    I was pretty happy with the result though in the future I would like to use a bigger barrel for a bigger looser curl.     

In Jen's Video ( you can find it on Jen's Youtube), she uses an automatic curler which made her's faster and easier. She used the Kiss automatic curler (Kiss Products Instawave Automatic Hair Curler*Affiliate Link*) and I just ordered one for myself. 

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What does your hair routine look like?  What style makes you feel the most fabulous?    

See the Beautiful Inside and Out - #MotivationMonday

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Ever wonder why some people see beauty everywhere while others never seem to see it?

If we cannot find beauty within ourselves, how can we recognize and appreciate the beauty around us. There is beauty in your kindness. Their is beauty in your love. There is beauty in your movement. There is beauty in your strength. There is beauty in your vulnerability. There is beauty in the simple rhythm of breaths in and out. There is so much beauty inside each and every one of us, if we only stop for a moment to see it.

As I dive deep into the Beauty Is project, I see more and more that our ability to see beauty in others and in the world around us is so closely tied to our ability to recognize the beauty in ourselves and love ourselves for it. As women step in front of my camera for a portrait, they are vulnerable in that moment and trusting that I can see and capture that inner beauty.

What is one thing you think if beautiful about yourself? (hint - you don't need to look in the mirror for this one)

A New Space, A New Chapter

It's been a few months since we moved out of the Photographer's Studio and things have been a bit quiet around here. First it was back to school, and now it's been all about getting in and getting the new space ready. 

We've spent the last few weeks patching, prepping and painting the walls, replacing trim, picking out furniture, moving in and more but it's almost done!

 

Today I'm thrilled to invite each and every one of you to join us in studio on Saturday November 25th from 4:00pm - 9:00pm to check out the new space, catch up on what's new, and celebrate the start of a new chapter in our journey.

 

 

I can't wait to see you there! 

Hop over to the facebook event to RSVP or email me at info@rebeccanashphotography.com

Can't make it? Make sure you check out the Event Page too, I'll be sharing photos and live videos from the event.

Do Something Everyday that Scares You

 

Psychologists agree, change is scary. Our bodies and minds react to change in order to keep us safe. To make us think about what we are doing, but, sometimes that reaction can hold you back too.

Sometimes we need to step out of our comfort zone to make things happen. To chase our dreams.

So want scares you? What do you hold back from doing?

For me there is a list of things...

  • Blogging More Often
  • Talking about my Business in everyday conversations
  • Getting on Video
  • Asking for the booking
  • Standing on Stage sharing my knowledge and experience
  • Sharing my struggles
  • Sharing my success

...and so much more.

 

 

Someone once said (there's much debate on who originally said it) "Do Something Everyday That Scares You" and it's something I want to start doing a whole lot more of.

 

Are you with me? What are you going to do today?

Celebrating Moments

In Our home, today is a special day. Today is a celebration. There won't be a big party, fancy decorations, or a big cake.

There will be love, memories, and time spent together.

 

Today we are celebrating 3 years since we said I do. It's our wedding anniversary.

And some point today, I will pull out my wedding album and look through it with my husband and daughter (she was my maid of honour and in some ways, it was her wedding too).

We will remember the fun moments of that day, but more importantly, we will remember the adventures we've had together. 

 

Winston Churchill on Speeches

This past week has been a week focused on creating content for upcoming in person events and videos too. I have been giving a great deal of thought to the topics I want to discus and the length of the talks too. How many topics should I fit in? How long should each be? If I am given a 90 minute time slot, how much should I cover and when is it too much? I came across this quote in my researching this week from Winston Churchill about giving speeches. 

At first I just had to laugh, I never would have thought about it quite like that but then again he has a point right?

To me, there is so much more this could be applied to. Speeches, videos, blog posts, sales pages, emails meetings and even conversations. You always want to appropriately cover your topic and the info that needs to be shared while still keeping it interesting and leaving room for questions - how else will you engage and know what your intended audience needs?

Change is painful sometimes

I'm going to get a little personal in today's post. I've been a little MIA lately, and I don't love that.  

After a summer of travel, family, and photography August kinda hit me hard. In the last month there has been a lot of change in my life and I needed to step back a little. Starting the last week of August we have been...

  • Moving out the Photographer's Studio
  • Packing up more than half our stuff at home to put in storage (we have a friend moving in)
  • Getting ready for back to school for the kiddo, and prepping my classroom too

Now don't get me wrong, I know change is one of the only constants in our lives and I try to embrace it as much as possible. These changes though, they came up quick and shook up all areas of my personal and professional life all at once. 

 

I am excited for the new opportunities for my business in a new space (more on that soon)

I am thrilled to be able to help someone out by giving them a home, and to have one of my closest friends living just downstairs

Going back to school was something Alyssa was looking forward to and I missed my students and families

 

Change, even change for the better, is often uncomfortable or even painful. 

 

Now, it's time to come back out the other side. The studio is moved. Our stuff is packed and into storage. School is settling into routine. 

Thanks for being patient. I look forward to meeting up with you here again very soon!

Opps I did it Again - The 2018 Ride to Conquer Cancer

Hi guys,  

So I did something, something a lot of people thought was crazy to do once but then I went and did it again. I signed up for the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

 

Last time I did this, in 2014, I signed up for a family member and a student fighting cancer and all those we have lost before. I started fundraising and training for this 200+ KM bike right from Toronto to Niagara Falls. I was excited and nervous (and insanely grateful for all the love, encouragement, and donations in support of my ride).

Sadly Auntie never saw me ride past the end of her driveway when she lost her battle just 2 weeks before the ride (but my husband and parents were there cheering us on). My student however, is a success story. After 3 years he's out of the hospital, done his treatments and doing really really well.

 

This year I am riding in memory of my Aunt, in celebration of my students success, and I also want to ride in support a friend and photography mentor, Jennifer Rozenbaum, in her fight against Breast Cancer. Jen recently underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy but has been incredible open in sharing her entire journey in the hopes of raising awareness and helping others. She's an inspiration!

 

I want to be a part of making more stories like my students come true through the research, treatment, and care that the Ride to Conquer Cancer funds.

 

I have set my goals for training and fundraising. Every day I'll be getting closer to reaching my fundraising goal of $2500 and my personal goal of finishing strong (without developing pneumonia this time hopefully). You can help me reach that goal by making a donation on my behalf today. It only takes a second and your gift has the power to change lives for the better.

 

Click the link to find out more and donate now - Rebecca's Ride to Conquer Cancer Page

 

Thanks for reading, and for your ongoing support. You guys are amazing!

 

Sincerely, Rebecca Nash-Emerson

 

P.s. know someone who might be interested in donating? Please share the details!

This morning, some wise words from Rumi

 

 

We are going to take it down a notch and get serious today.

 

Yesterday I stepped out of my comfort zone and on to the stage at the Mothers Advocating Mental Health (MAMA) Project Conference. I shared the struggles I have faced, and for the first time publicly shared and named the struggles my daughter has faced this last year. Anxiety. Depression. Eating Disorders. Suicidal thoughts.

I was there to talk about art as a form of expression and coping, and I did, but I was also there to reach out and let others know they are not alone.

 

As I finished up my talk, I shared this poem from Rumi that I was first introduced to by my mentor Sue Bryce.

 

This poem hit me right from the start. My initial reaction was something like "What? You want me to invite all those crappy feelings in? Are you nuts?!?!?" but as I walked away from the video it was shared in, I began to remember others things I have been taught that gave me the same gut reaction but have changed the way I think. I gave the poem another chance.

 

In life, we are going to be confronted with good times and bad. Emotions we enjoy, and emotions we don't. We have an instinct to run away from or avoid those things we don't enjoy. To do everything we can to avoid pain, sorrow, sadness.

 

We need to recognize that the good comes with the bad. That we can look at those moments and say 'oh, I know you, come on in' instead of fighting it (which just causes us more stress, pain, and anxiety). Every emotion is a house guest, they will not stay forever. Appreciate them while they are there - they are teaching you something, and wish them a fond farewell when they leave, knowing they will return.

Self Care Sundays - Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

A Sunday Morning Reminder...  

"Do Something Today That Your Future Self Will Thank You For"

 

Last weekend I took a very quick, last minute trip to Ottawa to see my husband. There was a moment when my husband said 'no kiddo, no dog, no house or computer to worry about - hope you can enjoy this' and I did. I really did.

 

After a day of no business or housework, mostly unplugged (got stay in touch with my little girl) time...I was so much more relaxed and so grateful.

 

It was also a bit of a revelation too. Heck, everybody needs a day off sometimes. So from now on...Sunday is my day off. Whenever possible Sunday's are going to be no work - biz, house, or yard - days. It's time for me, my family, and a little self care so the other 6 days of the week I can give everything I do my 110%

 

I know my future self will be grateful for the things I do on Sundays to allow me to take care of myself to be the best wife, mother, photographer, business owner, educator and friend I can be. 

What will you do today?

Adventures in Maine

Last week my daughter and I took off on a road trip to visit a friend, and fellow photographer Melissa Albert of Melissa J Albert Photography in Bath, Maine.  

Melissa and I met in the Spring of 2015 at one of my favourite events...shutterfest. Sadly, thanks to life getting in the way, we haven't been in the same place at the same time since. This girl is a great friend and enthusiastic supporter, she's my shutterfest sister. We talk online almost every day and finally decided enough was enough, it was time for a reunion (and some way over due fun) face to face.

 

So first thing on Monday morning we hoped in the car with our clothes, cameras, and computers and hit the road for the 12 hour drive. We were so excited to just get there that we only made one pit stop along the way for gas, food, and the washroom. At 8:00pm we arrived to big hugs and a very happy lady.

 

Our visit was short (only two full days there) and then we were headed home but those two days of visiting cool places, photographing together, and just having fun were amazing!

 

Thank you Melissa for being all around amazing and for hosting us. I can't wait to return the favour when you get yourself up here to Canada this spring. (Mama's, you are going to want to watch for this announcement - she does amazing children & teen portraits)

 

Here are a few of my favourite moments from the trip:

 

Sitting by the water watching the tide roll in

 

This sea mist was just magical.

 

Alyssa had to give one of our mentors (and the creator of shutterfest) Sal Cincotta a run for his money on finding the angle and getting an ab workout in.

This fort was just awesome, we had so much fun exploring.

 

                                         

 

See that gorgeous girl? That's my daughter Alyssa being photographed by Melissa (I even stepped in front of the camera too - more on that to come)

 

Maine is definitely on my list of places to visit again with my family and with my camera.

My Favourite Image....a challenge from the #VantagePoint Project and Light.Co

When Tim originally reached out to me I was super excited. Not only had someone at the innovative company Light.Co noticed my work, they wanted me to be part of a project they were working on. (If you haven't heard of Light.Co yet you should check out their new 16 lens small camera - it's got amazing potential and I am definitely hoping to test one out soon.) As part of their #VantagePoint project, Light.Co was reaching out to photographers, asking us to share our favourite image that we have taken and a bit of the why and how of that image. Right away I was on board but I will admit, this post has taken a lot longer to come together than either of us expected. Why? Because after almost 8 years of photographing professionally, and working with some really amazing people, choosing a favourite image is hard!

So today I introduce you to a few of my favourite images from the last 8 amazing years of photography. These images come from one of my on location styled sessions to create unique stylized portraits and the experience of the whole day with Karla was a huge inspiration for the new line of Contemporary Portraits we introduced in the winter. 

 

 

We were up at the crack of dawn (ok, a bit before that) - Karla prepped in hair and makeup while I loaded up and made my way (with my hubby) to the beach in Port Stanley before the firsts rays of light began to show over the horizon. 

Especially for this session, we had rented a beautiful parachute dress. This dress, formerly a 35 foot military parachute, had strength and femininity. It had structure but still had flow. It was a practical item made beautiful. It represented so much of the strength, softness, and beauty that exists in every woman.

We encountered many struggles along the way including...

  • it was 4:30am, where was Karla going to change?
  • There was a storm rolling in, were we going to be able to shoot at all?
  • Karla would be back lit as the sun rose behind her, how would we make sure she did not become a silhouette?
  • The dress was massive, how were we going to get it to do what we wanted it to?
  • The wind was blowing, hard, how do we keep her from being blown away (it was still mostly a parachute after all)?

 

Equipped with my camera, lenses, reflectors, flashes, and my husband as my assistant we made it happen. We walked the beach, threw the dress for shape and volume, grabbed the dress to help Karla not get blown away, climbed lifeguard towers for a different angles, and outran a torrential downpour to take cover under a local overhang. 

In the end though, we had fun, created beautiful portraits (and even better memories), and gave someone an experience that made them feel strong and beautiful. That right there, is what it's all about.

 

Stepping out of my comfort zone with Ethan Meleg's Wildflower Workshop

 

This past weekend my husband and I packed up the car and took off for one of our favourite places, Tobermory, for a weekend. We were there for photographic learning and geeky-ness with one of Canada's award winning outdoor photographers we have the pleasure of calling a mentor and friend, Ethan Meleg. (Check out his work at www.ethanmeleg.com)

 

Two summers ago my husband Ross and I attended Ethan's Landscape Photography Workshop in Killarney and it was amazing! Beautiful landscapes, great people, and some time to get back to the love of photography.

 

This time we joined Ethan for something a little more detailed, wildflowers. The first thing I learned...we have a heck of a lot more beautiful wildflowers growing naturally in our province then I ever knew. Like...more than 50 varieties of Orchids alone with 40 or so of them calling the Bruce Penninsula home. I never would have know that if not for this Wildflower Photography Workshop.

 

From there it was about getting back to basics. Unlike a wedding day or studio portrait session, I could not move my subject to get the lighting or backdrop I wanted. I had to look around me and find the best options based on the position of the flower. I also had to explore things like...

  • my vantage point (which flowers should be photographed side on? which ones look better photographed straight down on? which angle gives me the best background and lighting?)
  • my depth of field (how much of the background do I want to show? is it adding to the image or distracting from it?)
  • and so much more!

It really took me out of my comfort zone but in some ways it took me back to basics.

 

I am excited to share more about the weekend and the awesomeness that happened there. For today though, I hope you enjoy this little video of some of my first images from the weekend.

 

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The excitement of Creating - Painting new backdrops

The Inspiration....

One of my photography mentors, the beautiful Sue Bryce, has shown these beautiful images she creates that have the feel of a master portrait artist - it's not just a photograph, it's almost a painting! It has that same elegance, artistry, and softness. It was so much of what I wanted to bring to my new Contemporary Elegance Portraits.

When Sue began talking about painting her own backdrops I blew it off...I could never do that. I am NOT a painter. 

Then, with a little encouragement (and a big ole kick in the rear) from people who know me, who love me, who believe in me, and who are learning along side me, I took a look at Sue's videos and info. Suddenly it was like wow...I might actually be able to do this. I should at least try.

 

Choosing Colours...

I thought this was going to the easy part but half an hour after I walked in to look at paint chips, I walked out still a little unsure. 

In the end, I decided on two beautiful colours inspired by Pantone's 2016 Colours of the Year. Serenity & Rose Quartz.

These colours were just so beautiful, soft and feminine that I knew they were a great place to start.

 

Painting...

The first hurdle...I planned for a 5'x7' backdrop and now I am painting 9'x12' canvases instead. WHERE THE HECK AM I GOING TO DO THIS?

It only took a little time to figure out I could tape down some plastic on the carpet in our London portrait studio and paint the backdrops on top. It's was time to get started - I was excited but nervous. I painted for a few hours and then it was time to go home. 

All night I thought about the backdrops - did I put enough paint on? did I put too much on? will the colour look good?

But the next morning I walked in to this....

 

 

I couldn't be happier with how these turned out (and I'm already thinking about making more)

 

Up next....

Photographing them! I can't wait to show you the results

I couldn't do it alone...

 

On the outside, I'm a one woman show making photography awesomeness happen all on my own but in reality I have a lot of people to thank for every single image I create.

To the brides who make their details available to me To the families who listen careful and trust me to capture them To the friends who share me with their friends To my family who pose for endless test images To my hair and makeup team who add to the experience To the husband that holds reflectors and throws dresses (yep, thats him you see through the vents of the parachute in the picture above) To the daughter who brings me water, fetches props, and takes behind the scene photos To the educators who teach me To the photographers and artists who inspire me To the amazing people who step in front of my camera

I couldn't do it without you!

The Joy of Creating

It's a new month and it's time to get back out there.

There is so much joy in creating...whether a portrait, a new backdrop, a custom gown...it fulfills me in a way I can't even explain.

There is fulfillment in create something for others - an experience, a memory, a treasured piece of artwork.

I can't wait to get back in the studio and back into creative mode more this month.

Purple Hair, Don't Care - the lessons I learned with purple hair

In October of 2016 I decided to make a radical change. I went from something close to my natural hair colour to...purple hair. And when I say purple, I mean purple!

I have done a number of different hair colours throughout my life ranging from a light blonde to an almost black with a whole lot of blondes, browns and reds in between. I enjoy changing it up from time to time. But this, this crazy bright purple. It was different.

 

I had been thinking about purple for more than two years (ever since I first saw Jewels Grey on Creative Live and then met her at Shutterfest - that woman is seriously awesome) but just never had the courage to commit to it 100% and follow through. What if it didn't look good? What if clients didn't trust me anymore? What if people looked at me differently?

 

So what finally pushed me to get it done? I was going in to get my hair done for my wedding anniversary (at my husbands suggestion and offer to pay for it too - talk about bonus points) so I asked him what he thought I should do - blonde, red or purple. He (being the honest and blunt man he is) turned around and said 'well, we both know you're too chicken to do the purple so whichever one of the other two you like'.

 

In that moment my brain only registered one thing...

 

Challenge Accepted!

 

You are probably thinking - whats the big deal? So you changed your hair colour. Here's the big deal, for the first 31 years of my life one of my most used skills in my day to day life is to blend into the background and be invisible whenever I can. Don't get me wrong, I have stepped on stage in front of 500 photographers including some of my mentors and spoken, I have performed in plays and concerts, and on a wedding day just try to get me to stop directing the family members during portraits BUT outside of those times when I choose to step forward to be seen, I enjoy blending into the background.

 

Now, as I stepped into my day job, my business and my community I definately stood out. For more than 6 months, I never stepped into a room and blended in. People stopped me on the street. People did a double talk as I walked by. Whether I wanted them to or not, people noticed me everywhere I went.

 

It was an eye opening experience and I learned a lot of lessons along the way.

Tune in to Part Two to find out what they were.