Bringing Home Rachel

I am so excited to be rubbing shoulders with more of the adoption community lately, through my bff Bex and others. I’m getting a little taste of all the joy and happiness that these families and chidren experience when they are united. It’s my honor and pleasure to help promote their adoption efforts.

Rachel’s story is particularly amazing. The family waiting to go get her from China had been sponsoring her, like you do through those programs you see commercials for on TV. For years they researched and tried to locate her and eventually were amazingly able to hunt her down and arrange to adopt her! It was not at all expected that they would be able to do so…it was definitely a “God Thing” as I like to call it! But now her family is approved to travel but has had to postpone this because their son was in an automobile accident.

Some amazing women including Bex all rallied together, pitched in, and called for some donations to begin this fundraiser for Rachel’s family. You can read more of their amazing story and donate for a chance to win an awesome Nikon SLR camera and accessories by clicking the link below. It doesn’t take much to help…just pass the word along and if you can, pitch in $10, $20, or $50. You’ll help change a life!

Help Bring Rachel Home!

Chris and Amelia are ENGAGED!!

For Chris and Amelia, it’s easy to stay in love. They both feel so lucky to be with each other, and it shows. Neither stops to think for a second what they deserve out of the relationship, only what they can’t wait to give. It was so fun to capture them laughing together and having such a good time. It lifts my heart to be around the kind of love and happiness I identify with myself, every day STILL after 9 years! Amelia and I agree: we are both SO blessed to have such wonderful men in our lives!

IMG_0341.jpg

IMG_0348.jpg

IMG_0381.jpg

IMG_0412.jpg

IMG_0063.jpg

IMG_0144.jpg

IMG_0186.jpg

IMG_0204.jpg

IMG_0274.jpg

IMG_0308.jpg


Amelia told me she’s always wanted a monster truck, but I guess a Jeep with a rollbar complete with a sexy hunk will hold her over for now. She seems pretty happy with it!

IMG_0321.jpg

LOVE THIS ONE:

IMG_0152.jpg

Class Registration

Alright! It’s finally here! Class registration! It’s simple and straightfoward. Comment on this post with “Sign me up!” and your email address. The comments will post in the order they came in and the first 9 get in! I’ll email you a paypal bill that you can respond to with your payment, and when the payment is received, you’re all set! Class starts next Tuesday! Warm up your trigger fingers!

Class Info

Just a reminder! Class registration begins tomorrow night (10/30/08) at 10pm EST sharp! Cost is $99 and covers one month of online lessons and photo review beginning November 4, 2008. There are 9 remaining spots in the class and they will be filled on a first come first serve basis. Registration instructions will be posted here tomorrow night!

For more info on what we’ll be covering, click here!

We have a winner…our first class member!

Bridget came in for her afternoon shift and I was sitting there with my trigger finger ready…to push the button on the random number generator, that is! Yes, this afternoon it was time to find out who would be the lucky winner of my first contest and receive a free spot in my upcoming class. I hadn’t expected to be so nervous and excited about it! There were 751 entries. I placed them in an Excel file so each entry received a unique number. And then I used www.random.org to choose a random number between 1 and 751.

rawsii drawing 1.jpg

As you can see, the number was 72, which was Tish’s entry! (the numbers on the right are just numbers to assist me in making sure I gave each person the correct number of entries). So Tish is our winner! Congratulations!!!

rawsii drawing 2.jpg

Thanks to all who entered! I appreciate all of your help in publicizing The {Smashing Fabulous} Wedding Photography Giveaway! Keep the nominations coming in!!! I’m enjoying the good reading!

Katie — Trash the Dress

hile weddings are fun and exciting because of the emotions and the action, Engagement Sessions and Trash the Dress shoots are where I really love to hang out…everyone’s relaxed and focused…we’re not thinking about anything but awesome pictures. We’re all there JUST to rock out the artwork!

Katie is gorgeous and she works it like it’s nobody’s business! And yes, for those of you wondering, this is her actual Lea-Ann Belter wedding dress! Isn’t it gorgeous? For that reason, we didn’t TRASH it, we just roughed it up a little. It got a few thorns here and there, but Katie will be the first to tell you IT was SOOOOO worth it!!!! I mean, COME ON…just check out these awesome pictures!!

katiebttd011.jpg

Bridget caught this one while I was precariously perched on the dock railing, threatening to take a chilly Autumn swim. Notice I’m not posting MY angle…I TOTALLY like hers better and she didn’t risk her life to get it! Hmmm…maybe I should be taking lessons from HER!

katiebttd049.jpg

katiettd054.jpg

katiettd276.jpg
katiettd047.jpg
katiettd052.jpg
katiettd054.jpg
katiettd066.jpg
katiettd140.jpg
katiettd171a.jpg
katiettd254.jpg

My secret to this shot was an awesome assistant who’s willing to climb trees and shake leaves down for me. 🙂 Bridget…you’re awesome!!!

katiettd344.jpg

katiettd419.jpg

katiettd439.jpg

Soooooo, anyone wanna TRASH a dress? It’ll be FUN!

James and Sarah are MARRIED!!

James and Sarah are kindred souls…pictures mean SO much to them, which means they’re TOTALLY up for ANYTHING my creative mind can put them up to!! It’s days like these when I know I have, hands down, THE BEST job on the face of the earth! Not to mention that, with these guys there was an added bonus: my husband and I got to spend a fabulous weekend in Mackinac Island for their engagement session…by the end of that weekend, we were like old friends just hanging out laughing and enjoying ourselves! It was a blast. AND, Sarah wants to trash her wedding dress, so I’m super excited to be (hopefully, weather permitting) doing that in a couple of weeks. YAY! I LOVE TTD!!

James and Sarah met and started dating when they were 14, so they’ve been dreaming of this day for a long time! They had everything planned just the way they wanted it. And it was perfect. I talked with them beforehand about the kind of portraits I take and was very glad to hear that they were 100% on board with that. The “formals” were cut super short and we spent a good chunk of time wandering around catching amazing fun moments like these! Now THIS is a wedding party picture, the {smashing fabulous} Rawsii way! I absolutely LOVE it!

culp355a.jpg Some more of my favorites…like scenes from a movie:

culp386.jpg

culp387.jpg

culp409.jpg

culp422.jpg

culp446.jpg

culp448.jpg

culp450.jpg

culp457.jpg

culp488.jpg

It’s tough to say, I have so many favorites, but this has to be in my top 3. I love textures and relaxed poses, and a little nature with a splash of fashion. When you mix all that together, you get something that looks quite a bit like this:

culp472.jpg

I caught this shot in the reflection of the limo ceiling…

culp496.jpg

I love catching crazy stuff like this when no one’s looking…

culp506.jpg

culp621.jpgCongratulations, James and Sarah! I’m proud and lucky to know you! We’ll be hanging out SOON for another round of cards!! And THIS time, I’m kickin’ tail! 😛

This is my first Rawsii wedding post! I’m looking forward to posting quite a bit more this week now that I have some loose ends in place!

The {Smashing Fabulous} Giveaways!!!

It’s finally time for my all my big announcements, and they’re all happening in one day!!! I’ve been like a kid with a huge secret for weeks…I couldn’t contain it COMPLETELY, but most of the time I just had this big goofy grin on my face for no apparent reason. That’s because today we’re not only announcing our new business name, and not only giving away a free spot in my upcoming class, but…are you ready for this…we’re giving away

FREE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY to some lucky couple!!! Eeek! I’m so excited!

(for details on the Wedding Photography Giveaway, scroll down to the 2nd half)

First, for the now VERY obvious announcement. Starting officially in January, we will be no longer be operating as Impressions Studio! Rawsii is the {smashing fabulous} new name I have chosen to brand my work and define my style. What I do is a little bit earthy, with a fashionistic flair, somewhat daring, energetic, bold, bright, mysterious, sometimes shocking, but always {smashing fabulous}. Since I didn’t know of any one word with a definition that encompassed all of that, I decided it was high time one existed. So there you have it!
Rawsii: {smashing fabulous} art. Get the full effect at my new website http://www.rawsii.com/!

Along with renaming and rebranding, I’m reinventing. My studio has served me well as my creative space, but I’ve outgrown it. It’s time to expand: THE WHOLE WORLD is now my studio! No longer will I be confined by four walls…let’s take this party inside, outside, up, down, over, under…but let’s GO! I have long felt that my limited backdrops impersonalize my images, and since I am 110% about personalization, YOUR life needs to be the backdrop. I’m looking forward to documenting your life and your personality right where you are! And in a few months, I hope to invite you all in to see my newly remodeled office which will replace my in-home studio space. Bridget and I are SO looking forward to this new comfortable, organized and fashionable environment!!

I’m particularly excited about my new site and blog design, which was orchestrated by my bff of almost 25 years, Rebecca at Uptown Design Studio. She’s absolutely A-maaaaaazing and I’m not just saying that cuz she knows I had a major secret crush on Jay Underwood when I was 11 (THERE, it’s out, the blackmail is over! Lol). Hands down, she is the coolest chic I know, and ever so talented and loving and giving. Words cannot express my thanks to her, not only for helping me rock out this new site, but for a whole lifetime of amazing friendship.

Ok, {*sniff sniff*} moving on…

This is so fun, it’s like an early Christmas! For me AND for you! Woo Hoo! So this is how it’s going down. It’s a two part contest, so stick with me here…I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible.

PART ONE: Win a spot in the class! This is the best kind of contest EVER, especially right before the holidays…I need you to help me GIVE something HUGE away! I want to get the word far and wide about my {Smashing Fabulous} Wedding Photography Giveaway! I need you to send all your friends, family, co-workers ( acquaintances, enemies, arch nemesis’, foreign exchange students, and illegal immigrants) to my blog so that they can then pass it along and everyone can nominate the perfect engaged couple for this contest! By spreading the word, you’re going to earn entries into a drawing for the very 1st spot in my upcoming class that runs from November 4, 2008 to December 4, 2008. Here’s how:

1. Leave me a nice blog comment to let me know you’re a reader and you’ll earn 5 entries, right off the bat. You MUST either be registered to comment or leave me your real name and contact info, in case you win! Anonymous or nicknamed comments without contact info will not be entered!! Limit one per person.

2. Blog about the {Smashing Fabulous} Wedding Photography Giveaway on your blog and you’ll get another 25 entries. Send me an email (rawsiigiveaway@rawsii.com) with a link to your blog if you write about it! Limit one per person.

3. Email it to everyone you know! For every unique and individual person you email about it (no duplicates allowed!), you’ll get one entry into the drawing. Make sure you add me on the cc (rawsiigiveaway@rawsii.com) so I can count the number of people you sent to! I’ll give you credit for sending to me too…why the heck not? Email MUST mention the actual fact that we’re giving away a wedding photography package. Emails that simply link to the Rawsii blog will not qualify.

4. Contest ends at 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, October 28th, 2008. Winner will be drawn Wednesday, October 29, 2008 and announced on the Rawsii blog no later than 11pm EST (barring any unforeseen technical difficulties). Drawing will be completely random. Entries only increase chances of winning. All decisions by Rawsii concerning final results will be final and are not subject to dispute in any manner.

5. The prize is non-transferrable. Winner must accept prize or forfeit and we will re-draw another random name.

Just spread the word, get lots and lots of chances to win by doing so. It’s that easy!!! And for those of you not really interested in the class, you will have the option of choosing an alternate prize (original Rawsii framed artwork) of equal or greater value. And my lawyer would like you to know that absolutely no purchase is necessary to win, and that Rawsii reserves the right to change the contest or its rules at any time. Oh, and totally void where prohibited.

PART TWO: the {Smashing Fabulous} Wedding Photography Giveaway!!! This is BIG. Really REALLY big! I’m really overwhelmed at all the possible ways this could pan out, but so excited too!!! Here’s the rules:

1. The engaged couple must be nominated by someone other than themselves (can be anyone who knows them) and the nominating letter must explain why the couple deserves a free Rawsii Wedding package and include a photo of the couple. The more personality expressed, the better! Stories will be confirmed prior to announcing finalists. Nominations should be emailed ONLY. Send to weddingstories@rawsii.com . Winners will be required to sign the standard Wedding Day Agreement and Photograph and Publicity Consent and Release Form with Rawsii. All stories and images submitted become the property of Rawsii and will not be returned.

2. The couple’s wedding must take place between the dates of 1/1/10 and 12/31/10 in the Continental U.S. (this excludes Alaska and Hawaii). Void where prohibited.

3. All nominations must be received by 11:59pm EST on January 31, 2009. Rawsii reserves the right to select finalists without disclosing reasons or criteria. Finalists will be confirmed no later than March 30, 2009. Three finalists will then be presented on the Rawsii blog for public voting on April 1, 2009. Public vote will be final. In case of a tie, Rawsii reserves the right to cast the final vote.

4. The winner will receive the Smashing Fabulous Wedding Package, valued at $4200, which includes full day coverage, a 30-page (60-side) Storybook Album, and online proofing. In addition, the winner will receive the High Res images on DVD, and a 16×20 Gallery Wrap (an additional value of $1000.) All travel and lodging expenses will be covered by Rawsii. Winners will be required to sign standard Wedding Day agreement with Rawsii, minus any clauses pertaining to an exchange of monies.

5. To be eligible, the couple may not be under any contract or agreement for wedding photography with Impressions Studio or Rawsii or any other wedding photographer of any kind as of the date of entry. Cancellation of an existing contract with Impressions Studio or Rawsii will render a couple ineligible for the contest.

6. Another friendly message from my awesome lawyer, Matt: Rawsii reserves the right to change the contest or contest rules at any time without notice. No purchase necessary to win. Void where prohibited. (thanks Matt!)

Cody and Jessica are Engaged!

Cody and Jessica have had me signed up for their 2009 wedding for well over a year now and yet this is the first time I’ve gotten to hang out with the two of them together! I was so excited to get to know them! They really are wonderfully fun together and we had FUN…till the park “warden” so RUDELY kicked us out because the park closed at 7:00!! With only about 1/2 an hour of light left, we SCRAMBLED for another location and found some RR tracks and a field of {prickly!!!} weeds to play in. Good times, good times. lol.

butler-9018.jpg

butler-9065.jpg

butler-9077.jpg

butler-9095.jpg

butler-9098.jpg

butler-9119.jpg

butler-9121.jpg

butler-9173.jpg

butler-9231.jpg

butler-9241.jpg butler-9278.jpg

Cody and Jess, I love your pictures cuz I love you! I can’t believe I have to wait till next year for your wedding! Swing by and say hi a few times before then, will ya!?!

We have a winner!!! (two, actually)

For privacy’s sake, I’ll just use first names, but congratulations to Adam, who was my 450th facebook friend! And congrats to Beth, who referred him! Both will be receiving some {smashing fabulous} art for their walls!! Thanks everyone for the enthusiastic response! Especially Carrie, who sent out 160 emails and her friend requests are still rolling in!
I’ll be holding more contests very soon…it’s so fun giving stuff away! I can see how this could be addicting. Hmmm…maybe I can just turn my biz into a non profit charity and give stuff away ALL the time! Wouldn’t that be fun?!?!?!

I’m totally in this great mood right now because 1) I got up at 6am and worked out for an hour before my kids even woke up!!! 2) I’m working on a really cool adoption album for some very good friends of ours. They’re going to be adopting their second child and their agency requires an album about their life to help the birth mothers in their decision. It’s such a cool project to work on because I get to show a family how awesome their life looks. That is by FAR the best part about my job…showing people how amazing they look to me and to the rest of the world. I truly am inspired by each individual subject that I photograph.

YOU are what makes my photos {smashing fabulous}!

(anyone catching on to the major hints I’m dropping?)