When you Bomb a shoot..

The past weekend, a six year old defeated me.

I thought I knew what I was doing, until my nephew refuse to smile. For whatever reason, he suddenly didn’t want to participate. As my sister tried to get him to join in, the larger the ordeal became. With time ticking, I told everyone just to keep on looking at the camera as I snapped. I was hoping I got one good photo.

When I went back to the editing room, I saw I had three different photos that where almost perfect. I opened photoshop and did some magic.

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I know when I see the photo hanging on the wall, I’ll remember the back story. Things aren’t always so perfect but that’s family right.

I kept wondering what could I have done to avoid all the drama. What if this wasn’t my family, and clients where paying me big bucks to make their family perfect? I traced it back to when my nephew started to say, “I hate this tie.” We ended up taking off the tie, but I should have listened and offered before he lost it. I also took some photos outside. Maybe when I saw the tension building, changing locations would help.

In any case, I left knowing I would learn from this situation. Family portraits, no matter how old everyone is, it’s never easy. Something always happens, but in an case, never give up… there is always photoshop! Or you can hide behind the couch and snap a photo of the kids playing!

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The Wanderer Generation

8034729490_957b759d02_oI’m not sure what it is, maybe its the age group I’m a part of or the times we live in. For some reason it seems my peers are wondering around life with no real direction. I myself am tempted to live this life style of “whatever happens, happens”. I see photos of fellow college mates all over the world snapping shots of themselves in front of landmarks, using up their favors with friends to help them out while they figure it all out, in other words, it seems like they are in search of home.

It is a tempting lifestyle, one in which I tried myself but I knew I had a destiny to get to, work had to be done and the cost of living to pay. Whatever decision I made, I had to make it fast before I burnt bridges.

As I am working toward my goals, I want to stop half way. I tell myself, “This is good enough.” But I know it won’t be good enough in a few weeks when I become restless again. I must admit, I don’t know specifically where I am going, but as I navigate through each hour I try to be intentional with my decisions. To read instead of watch a movie, to create instead of be entertained, to think instead of zone out, to save instead of spend, which I don’t always make the better choice. It’s the little decisions that matter.

What I appreciated from traveling and school was that it required me to think and gave me time to figure it out. Now that I am in the middle of a full time career, I have to make it a priority, to keep on thinking, looking ahead, and setting new goals. If you ever got in the car and drove with no place to go, you’ll realize it gets you no where. It leaves you lost and with an empty gas tank.

Proverbs 22:3-5
Sensible people foresee trouble and hide from it,but gullible people go ahead and suffer the consequence.
The plans of a hard-working person lead to prosperity,but everyone who is always in a hurry ends up in poverty.

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Book: Making Ideas Happen

We’ve all heard, “Fake it until you make it.” Well, I’ve never been a good actor and my awkward facial expressions revile I haven’t a clue what I’m doing.

Last month was one of the most challenging at work, our conferences demand innovations, creativity, and meeting tight deadlines. I found myself with a large work load which for a second I allowed myself to get overwhelmed. I started to ask the questions, “What would I do if I were a creative director? How would I lead my team of designers and other visual communicators? How would I approach clients with ideas instead of waiting for them to give me the answers?”

I began to search for more insight on line and found, Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky. I bought the audio book so I could listen while I worked. It gave me great insight that I wasn’t the only creative who was going through what I was facing. Many big corporations and marketing firms where facing the same issues, “How can we make creative ideas happen? 

It was nice to learn how to be a creative director. I never thought of myself as one, but the more I listened I saw I had been organizing creative ideas with my team for the past year. Here are some of my highlight notes.

Creative plus structure and organization equals impact
Ideas = impact

When having brainstorm meetings leave with action steps. Each person needs to own their action steps, have everyone repeat them back to be sure they understood.

Capture ideas by creating a place where you can save references, ready for you when you need them. I started to save images of instragram photos I really like for later inspiration. Blog: Be Deliberate with Instragram 

Create your “to-do list” with action steps using a verb: ex: capture new footage and delete off SD card.

Write awaiting if it includes another person’s responds. Use the word Insure to remind yourself the task isn’t complete. ex: awaiting video approval, insure Jane approves before it’s uploaded.

Share knowledge with your team: Email team to submit leadership, marketing or production article or podcast: something they learned or that’s interesting.

Have a back binder idea list, maybe now isn’t the time for the project, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be used for the future. 

Get action steps from team confirmed, so you know it’s understood it

Idea: Create an energy line on a white board, create note cards listing projects and place on a line of urgent, importance, future. 

Challenge meetings: this doesn’t make sense, why are we doing this..

Make the changes in the beginning of the projects and not during the project’s launch 

Celebrate progress when task is complete

Idea: Post it note to do list

Allow your team to get in the zone. A good sign is head phones. 

Organization is a major force into making ideas happen

All fantastic ideas for leading a team of creative with major projects that have heavy deadlines. After all was done, I saw myself in a new light. I just added another skill to my resume of life. I later heard a teaching from,  Paul Scanlon who is a pastor in the UK say, “Dress for where you are going… The movement beginnings inside you first.”

After completing the book, I was able to approach stressful situations with an idea of what to do, what to say and what ideas worked best for my team. I was also able to empower those who where making large decisions it was okay to experiment and try different things out.

So I encourage you. – Give your self a promotion and start dressing for the part.

 

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Photos: Women Conference

The past few weeks I’ve been MIA preparing for our women’s conference. On the video side of things I told my team to be prepared for anything, I had no idea how true that statement would turn out to be. The conference soon became the most rememberable and insightful for everyone involved.

Worship was so powerful, at times I had to stop filming and taking photos to join in.

When our Sr. Pastor started to pray for everything that is taking place in the world – boom – the power goes off. Everyone started shouting giving thanks to God, that no matter what happens, He will be our hope.

We had this stage piece of a cross that was light up with small LED’s. The funny thing is that we end up using the lights from the cross to light the church restrooms, exits areas, and the control room. The cross became literal.

Soon, the lights came back on, and I once again had a job. haha. The whole team jumped right back in to the agenda, and witness so many lives change right before our eyes.

As a photographer, it was great to stop and notice the details that where happening around me. I am able to see what God was doing in their hearts.

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Book: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

During my early graphic design days at church, there was nothing more that I wanted than to be the church’s video editor. I remember being in a meeting with my senior pastors and was asked if I would one day like to be the video department head. I was 24 years old then, and so much of my future was unknown. I knew I wanted a family and I would want to be a stay a home mom, so my answer was, “One day, I want to be married with kids.” They all looked at me and said,”Yes, but would you like to be the video department head in the future?” I smiled, and said, “Yes”. The thought of having my own family, was about to make me draw back from what I knew was my calling. I am very glad that no one listened to my answer in that meeting and still decided to developed me as a leader.

There is a similar story in Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. She is the CFO of Facebook and is passionate about encouraging women to never stop leaning in towards new opportunities at their job. As I read, I was horrified at the different studies of women drawing back or giving up. Also, at the different challenges women have to overcome in order to be taken as a leader. I am fortunate that at my work place, the men believe in the women, and I know that’s because of my senior pastor who broke the mold and is an amazing woman preacher and pastor. I started to see I was my bully, telling myself I can’t or I’m scared or I’m just a girl.

“We internalize messages that say it’s wrong for us to be outspoken, aggressive, and as powerful as – or even more powerful than -men…We hold ourselves back not just out of fear or seeming too aggressive but also by underestimating our abilities.”

“At Facebook, I teach managers to encourage women to talk about their plans to have children and help them continue to reach for opportunities.” 

And this was true for me at meetings:

“If you take the chair on the side of the room, he will take the seat at the table because he knows he’s awesome. So please remember that you deserve a seat at the same table..and that you are awesome too.” 

The book is full of encouraging words and shared experiences from other leading women professionals, to believe in yourself, that you are more than capable, to have a thriving career. To develop a true partnership with your husband, and being co-parents to take care of the daily house hold items and to never stop leaning in towards promotions and leadership positions. I realize I am apart of a new generation of women who work, and its awesome to read I can have a career that I am passionate about and have a family.

“The goal is to work toward a world where those social norms no longer exist. If more children see fathers at school pickups and mothers who are busy at jobs, both girls and boys will envision more options for themselves. Expectations will to be set by gender but by personal passion, talents, and interests.”

Whether I decide to be a stay a home mom or keep working at a job. I am encouraged to keep taking a leadership role in my life. Either way I will be leading my kids or leading others.

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Be Deliberate with Instagram

I first thought Instagram was to share photos with friends and family but I realized my friends and family take horrible photos haha. I can see most of them in person so keeping up with the details isn’t important. As a growing artist, I need to be more deliberate with inspiration. I made my feed public and deleted photos of my personal life, unfollowed the noise and followed about a hundred graphic designers, typography artist, creative directors and other artist. Now I’m getting followers who are like minded, sharing ideas and connecting with a new community.
I’m saving screen shots and archiving ideas, creating my own private library of inspiration. As a video director, I think in motion and story so seeing what other creatives are working on encourages me to create my own unique ideas and share them.

Is there a platform you use to gather new ideas?

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Production Workshop: Change Your Perspective

There comes a point of growth where you need a fresh perspective. I was invited to attend a workshop with Church on the Move and Saddleback Church in Orange Country. I knew this would be a great opportunity to hear advice from others in the field.

When I arrived I was surprised to find out I was the only woman there. It had been so long since I had been around my peers. I thought to myself, What did I get myself into, I wanted to run out the door. Good thing I had been reading Facebook’s COO book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg about women in the work force. One thing she teaches is to sit at the table, don’t draw back, you belong there just as much as they do. I text my boyfriend and told him how uncomfortable I felt. He said, “You own the room, they are scared of you.” Time for meet and greet, everyone had to get up and talk to each other. Of course no one came up to me because that would look like they where picking up on me.. or so my imagination said. I got up and approach each table and asked the group the questions we were suppose to ask to find the table we are to sit at. I found the summer baby table and began to ask everyone where they where from. I was happy to find a sound girl in the group. Phew.

At the workshop, I listened to the challenges and how the guys from Church on the Move and Saddleback where able to overcome them. Working with volunteers and most of all creative directors. I thought, how my church doesn’t have a creative director..ohhhh..my pastors are the creative directors. I had never looked at it like that before. “Creative people are experimenting, yes they are changing their minds but that is because they are still dreaming and playing with different ideas.” I had only seen my pastors as authority figures who make decisions but now as creative directors, they are experimenting.

The workshop shared many other principles. But now I understood the creative mind was subject to change because I too change my mind! I was also able to make some great contacts with other production people there too. The guys didn’t seem to notice or mind there where only two women there, in fact the workshop leaders kept saying, “Ladies and Gentlemen.”

The weeks that followed at work was like a weight lifted off my shoulders. The stress and frustration that I was feeling with working with creative leaders were gone. No longer was I needing black and white decisions but now I saw I too was experimenting creatively with them. Before, I kept thinking I was picking the wrong answers, that I was doing it all wrong, but the ideas were being developed and formed. When discussing a video that wasn’t working, the creative leader and myself was able to come up with an idea together instead of being frustrated or being offended that I didn’t get it right. She even told me, “Thank you for being flexible.”

Of corse this is easier to write than do but it’s up to me to lead my department trusting God is speaking to our creative leaders and my responsibility to come along side the vision and to see it through. Even if that means I need to export “Final Project #34.” haha

Have you ever been to a workshop before? What did you learn and take away?

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