Closing My Doors, Opening My Heart

Hi all –

You heard the rumor? Yep. I’m closing my doors.

It sounds like it’d be a ‘downer’, painful, or as though it should be considered ‘bad news’ – – – but I assure you – no apologies are necessary. In fact, it’s freeing! Here’s the scoop….

I do have a passion for photography – but I think I just see it very differently than most.

I was once caught-up in the magic of photography. It’s this amazing combination of art & science, and when I realized that I didn’t need to ‘master’ the science to adequately and charismatically create this art – directly from the heart, it was even more energizing! It has always come very naturally to me. Instinctively.

I had run-ins with many different photography-types over the years, and in some ways (though I’m primarily self-taught) I’d also been ‘taught’ to a certain degree by those same many people. I found myself taking into consideration what they had to say…. but then recognizing that my passion went deeper than that. I didn’t want to be bound by ‘rules’ in this. It’s art, after all…. the epitome of self-expression; What should be completely void of rules – and subjectively appreciated by those who ‘get it’.

They often had a real rigid and hand-me-down perception of what “good photography” meant…. What makes a great image, really? That would likely be defined in 9 ways by asking 9 different people.

I had a hard time finding back-up assistants for when my primary gal (& friend) wasn’t available – because so many of them came to me with a preconceived notion of what wedding photography should be. But I was doing something very different. I was breaking that mold. And I loved doing it that way.

Most of my ‘teachers’ over time, were people whose work you would never find in National Geographic, or even our local MN State Fair for that matter. (I happen to have bragging rights for the latter – for 2 years in a row!) Not implying that they aren’t ‘good’ in their own right. Just nothing stood out. Nothing is intrinsically unique. It can be good – without being interesting or moving. And – these people simply did things differently. They followed the ‘rules’. They followed the trends. Definitely not MY way. Not my view of the world. You can take photography classes and art courses until there are no more to take. You can know all there is to know about the mechanics of a camera. But it doesn’t mean people will understand or appreciate your work. You can teach people how to ‘create art’…. You can teach people how to run a camera. But you cannot teach people how to view the world, apply their vision to their art, or interpret other art pieces. (This is one of the beautiful things about art!)

For many years – I carried a camera with me to most any event, special occasion, and certainly on travels. The PRIMARY reason I adore photography so greatly – is that you can capture moments in time. Fine details that may otherwise be forgotten or become foggy. You can look back and re-live events, moments, memories. THIS is what is at the heart of it for me. The ability to capture these images of life – while doing so with a unique point of view – that is the art. It’s (in my opinion) a fantastic combination! I like to look back on life as it happened. Not as it was contrived. Not as it was ‘supposed’ to or expected to ‘look’ in a photo, per someone else’s ideals and ‘teachings’- or cultural expectations.

This is where the decision to no longer do this as a business comes in. It’s not about the ability to get that ‘perfect shot’. It’s not about the ability to earn an income, or derive value out of the images from someone else’s perspective. It’s about LIVING LIFE – and REMEMBERING the moments. The magic.

Slowly – over more recent years – I’ve realized that I was off-balanced with it. I wanted so badly to remember EVERYTHING…. or get that amazing shot of XYZ…. I took in too many of life’s experiences from behind that lens. I want to remember these things. I want my children to remember them, and to be able to show and share with their children. It’s important to me. Sentimental tendencies are a driving force behind my passion.

BUT. I can take 3, 4, 5 photos to bring me back to a memory… maybe even as few as 1 photo will do the trick. I don’t need dozens or hundreds to choose from! I started to find balance. As much as I appreciate and enjoy the way I can capture these moments with a camera, I started to appreciate being in the moment without the distraction of the camera much more often.

Additionally, the value of photography for most people not only disregards the fact that it is meant to bring you back to a memory in all of its detailed glory – but the idea is so cheapened by the new technology and an over-saturated market. The good stuff, is – well – very good. In some ways – it is grand. And let’s face it… it is economical, and efficient. It is tailored to our digital lifestyles. But most people don’t care much about anything beyond that.

This technology should be well beyond what our parents and grandparents were using…. But instead, we see regular portrayals of grainy, low-quality, partial images everywhere. Camera phones, or point-&-shoot hand-helds that mean you actually MISS the moment due to shutter-delay… For me, that’s not of value. I look back at images from my parents old 110 camera (most probably don’t even know what I’m talking about here) and see FAR better quality images than most people are getting now. Again – this is not true for every digital camera. (Obviously I use higher megapixel, quality cameras in the biz, AND in my life!)

Add to all of this the fact that my priorities in life are family, CREATING those memories to capture, and freedom & joy – and I realized I couldn’t uphold the business and accomplish those goals at the same time; I had one of 2 choices… A) Keep working for little to nothing, and still not make an actual income when all was said and done at year’s end…. all while booking up multiple Saturdays away from my family, and oodles of hours spent behind a computer screen processing photos after each event. Literally – in exchange for nada. OR, increase my rates to where I should be for what I offer (something unique. No cookie-cutters here! And 10+ years of experience) – only to struggle with people who do not see the value in my style of imagery. I capture reality. I capture it with unique angles and perspectives. I create art out of your memories (instead of creating your ‘moments’ to get the art.)

As all of these variables and factors were boiling up inside of me over time…. I finally watched the movie “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”. That moment when he finally meets up with the photographer – and the photographer passes up his shot as they have this convo:
Walter Mitty: Are you going to take it?
Sean O’Connell: Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it.
Walter Mitty: Stay in it?
Sean O’Connell: Yeah. Right there. Right here.

This was the culmination of my emotions.

Now again – it’s about balance. I want to be in the moments more… Right there. Right here. But I also want to have some memory of that moment – and so I’ll have my trusty camera in my bag – for the RIGHT moments to remember the experience by. And I’ll do it for JOY. For my family. For my soul.

I’ve had some AMAZING experiences (such as my fave – a destination-honeymoon photo-shoot with two individuals who will remain lifelong friends!) I’ve met other exceptional people, and have enjoyed almost every wedding I’ve had the opportunity to photograph. (Admittedly, there was ONE…. just one in over 10 years – that I couldn’t get into. But it never broke my spirit!) I’ve learned so much. I’ve grown. As an artist. As a person. I’ve learned countless business lessons and will apply those teachings to my new business venture. My passion for clean-living can be shared in a way in which I can make sure my schedule follows the lead of life and family. It’s another soul-feeding mission, and one that serves everyone who takes an interest (regardless of artistic taste, budget, style preferences!) THIS passion serves EVERYONE, and stands to help fuel the movement toward a sustainable future for all. Please do check it out! TheVitalityLounge.com

Many thanks to my supporters over the years. I’ve enjoyed working with every one of you! If you’re inclined to support me on my newest business adventures – I will appreciate that too.

BOTTOM LINE: I Love the art. Love the memories. Love the art of capturing the memories. Love the joy. Not loving the industry so much. AND – If you love the art of capturing memories, consider treating yourself to a good camera, and then remember to stay in the moment!​

Best wishes to everyone! It’s been a fun decade. 🙂

~D

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Get Your “Spring” Fix – DIY Wedding Bouquets!

 DIY bridesmaids flowers - wildflower bouquetsMy own wild-flower-wedding floral arrangements – compliments of mother nature and my mom, aunt, and sis!
[Image by Serendipity Photography]

I’m guessing there are quite a few brides out there who would LIKE to incorporate more do-it-yourself savvy into their wedding plans, but who aren’t quite sure whether they can pull it off. Not everything comes with a tutorial. Hey – I can relate! I’m no florist. I totally took a chance at my own wedding by plucking some of the wildflowers (shhhh – this is probably frowned upon) in the surrounds our Boundary Waters Canoe Area wedding-in-the-wild! Would they droop mid-way through the day? Would we need to keep them in water? Would our ribbons hold? Would the unique blossoms start to crumble? We really didn’t know. But – we survived, and so did our bouquets!

I’ve seen some pretty cool custom bouquets over the years too – though very few were actually done by the couple or a family member. One DIY bridal bouquet that will always stand out in my memory is that of a backyard-lakeside-MN bride – who gathered her goods at the local farmer’s market (pictured below). Three words: to-die-for! Super unique, and I’ve yet to see them duplicated. Can’t get much more personalized than that – and the couple also saved some $$! (Bonus.)

brideandDIYfarmersmarketflowers-DMPDIY farmers market bouquets for a backyard lakeside MN wedding – Image by DMP!

Whether you’re adept at being crafty, or you aren’t sure where you’d even start – chances are that if we were able to make DIY bouquets work on a whim, you can do quite a bit with this handy little instructional template! Much gratitude goes out to Simply Bridal for simplifying (Did ya catch that? I couldn’t resist…) the DIY bouquet-making process! Now – go rock your one-of-a-kind bridal bouquets, chicas! How can you go wrong with the beauty of real flowers – sans the stress-beast.

DIY  Wedding Bouquet

Be sure to pass along the wedding-wisdom to friends & fam who may be planning to get wed. Many thanks!

Denise Mack photography provides unstructured, candid, natural Minnesota wedding photography in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, greater MN, Wisconsin, and beyond. Original. Meaningful. REAL. Fun!

 

 

Gluten-Free + Wedding Registry!

artisticmnweddingphotography-celebratorywonderHere’s a toast to eating gluten free AND healthy! And – to getting all those kitchen gadgets that will make that super simple!

This goes out to all of my fellow gluten-free-foodies out there – who want to make the most of their wedding gift registry for maximum GF kitchen enjoyment! I’ve been following Jennifer Fugo over at the the Gluten Free School blog for a while, and I really dig her wisdom. I’ve been GF for over 6 years now, but there is always more to learn! Here, Jennifer posts about her favorite must-have kitchen utensils for making the most of your gluten-free kitchen. Dig in and enjoy! (PS: Ladies – to get the hub-to-be on board with your registry plans…. tell him he can be in charge of the laser-pricing-gun. In. like. flint.)

Please click HERE to check out those kitchen-must-haves over at the Gluten Free School!

 

How I Roll….

hiring-denise-mack-photography

A depiction of how I want you to feel about hiring me – Denise Mack Photography!

It has come to my attention that many couples are really unclear about how the wedding photography industry is priced… And why wouldn’t you be?

A) You aren’t in the biz. You don’t have the inside scoop on how this all generally goes down, and what’s trending – in the way of images or pricing.

B) Styles, experience levels, and prices are really ALL over the board! Crazy-pants, over-saturated market. (Buyer-beware! That ‘deal’ may not be what you’re actually going to gush over after all is said and done, and you receive those images of your day.) Think ahead – to that moment when you’ll first lay eyes on those images of your moments and memories!

C) You don’t know the ‘tricks’ of the trade that many higher-end photographers are now using to appear competitive at the onset, but still earn a viable living doing what we love. [So sad.] Rest-assured, DMP has no desire to ‘trick’ you into hiring me! I want you to know UP-FRONT – what you’ll be investing in your lifelong memories. (That means no puke-worthy surprise-costs later.) *Be sure to price-compare with ALL of your desired inclusions tallied into the final sum.

For more details – read my new web page – added just for you! “What’s BEST for US?”
I’m not a salesperson. I’m an artist. If art is what you’re after – then welcome aboard! Glad we’ve found one another~

Denise Mack Photography provides unstructured, authentic, naturally-fun & honestly-priced wedding photography in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, greater MN, Wisconsin, and beyond! Follow the blog (upper right – no spam!) for regular, non-boring, wedding inspiration, resources, and updates.

Inspiring Women Who Play Dirty

candidandnaturalmnweddingphotographybyDMP

Hey all!
As you know – I’m into all-things-authentic! While this particular post isn’t specific to weddings, I realized that maybe I don’t have to continually share only wedding-bits in order to get your creative juices flowing – hmmmm? In my quest for more loyal blog-followers, and with the recent upgrade-give-away by our friends at Slow Motion Booth, I found myself a new blog to follow! Whether you’re getting married, or already wed – you can find some fab stories, ideas, and insights on the Crafted In Carhartt blog!

For WOMEN, brides, non-brides, guys who dig women in Carhartt apparel while working with those beautiful hands, the down-home, the STRONG, the INDIVIDUAL, for the fiercely feminine, as well as ye adorable tom-boys, and DEFINITELY for the Do-It-Yourselfers out there – – – Enjoy!

Denise Mack Photography… Loving genuine art, self-expression, pure emotion, and non-conformist-anything! Serving the community as an authentic representation of such things, with truly candid & inspiring wedding documentary. Got a wedding coming up and you want to keep it Original, Meaningful, REAL, and Fun? Then drop me a line!

Pot O’ Gold – Comin’ Atcha!

It’s that time of year… SPRING, GREENAGE (soon), St. Patty’s Day… and GOLD! I learned a bit about some unique gold offerings available out there from this graphic – provided by SimplyBridal.com.

A little inspirational ‘schooling’ this week. Enjoy!

St. Patricks 2014 - Touch of Gold HQ

Denise Mack Photography. Permission to be myself? GRANTED.
Permission to be YOURSELF?? Definitely GRANTED!

Slow Down and Enjoy Your Wedding…. Slow WAAAAY Down!

 DMP Natural MN wedding photography

EXTENDED FOR ONE MORE WEEK! WINNER TO BE SELECTED BY WEDNESDAY, MARCH 19, 2014!!
{Scroll to the bottom for details about their Free-Upgrade Offer!}

Okay – as you know – I’m not a huge trend-follower per say. Howevs, I AM all about FUN! And, I’m all about stopping to smell the roses, as they say. Your wedding day will FLY by. (No exaggeration. It moves so fast.) Here’s a memorable way to slow things down, and gather some amazing moments with fam & friends that you’ll truly want to watch again and again with them. I am love, love LOVING this fresh approach to professional wedding videography! It’s like a ‘photo-booth’ set-up, only in a larger space, and TONS more engaging! It’s called the Slow Motion Booth {Check it out here at SlowMotionBooth.com} – It combines your favorite friends and family conspiring with slow-mo creators to capture them doing zany, silly, hilarious ‘mini-stunts’ with one another and YOU! The final edited product is more than entertaining, and a great new way to immortalize your event, while highlighting the joy of the occasion.

If you only have a quick minute – check out their promo vid HERE.
If you have a couple extra minutes to peruse their other enticing samples, check them out HERE!

Here are a few words from Chris Meyer, of The Slow Motion Booth, MPLS:

DMP: What got you started in your field/ what inspired you?
CHRIS: Having been in the photography/wedding world for 8 years, I have always been interested in the different trends that come along. When I saw the Slow Motion Booth idea, I knew that this was an idea that I had to pursue. It’s something cool, different and fresh, and I LOVE providing the service at weddings and corporate events.

DMP: Who do you feel can benefit the most from what you have to offer?
CHRIS: Anyone that is looking for something different and unique, The Slow Motion Booth is the perfect addition!

DMP: If you could only highlight one thing about your product/ service/ location, what would it be?
CHRIS: The Slow Motion Booth is the most unique addition to any event, providing slow motion documentation of the most hilarious moments.

DMP: Your best tips for acquiring your products/ services?
CHRIS: The Slow Motion Booth is available nationwide, and while we would love to capture moments at everyone’s events, we can’t be everywhere at once (yet). Dates are booking up quickly, so give us a call or shoot us an email to check availability!

DMP: What is your top-favorite memory from your wedding day?
CHRIS: SO many great moments! One that sticks out though is our first dance. I surprised Kim with bringing in a musician friend of ours to play a special song for us. The look on her face was perfect!

DMP: If you could do it all over again – what is one thing you would do differently knowing what you know now?
CHRIS: I wouldn’t change a thing!

DMP: What is your best piece of advice about marriage in general/ planning a wedding/ or anything related?
CHRIS: Planning a wedding can be incredibly stressful. An open line of communication between the bride/groom and the parents is essential to a smooth wedding date.

Thanks so much, Chris!

Now, for some juicy news! Chris has generously offered to provide a free upgrade – valued at $700 – to one lucky winner! If you are considering hiring The Slow Motion Booth for your wedding, and you want a chance to win a free upgrade with your purchase, sign up to FOLLOW the DMP BLOG (upper right column)! Easy-Peazy. *(I hate spam too. I promise to keep your email info confidential, and you can always ‘un-follow’ me if you change your mind later. No hard feelings.) *By entering your info in the follow section, you provide me with consent to provide your name and email address to Chris Meyer of The Slow Motion Booth, Minneapolis, for give-away/ upgrade eligibility purposes, upon winning. (This is the only info I’ll be sharing, enabling you to receive your gift.) A random winner will be selected from new blog followers by Wednesday March 12, 2014. Eligible entries (via followers) must be received before midnight Eastern Time, Tuesday March 11, 2014. Winner and Chris Meyer will be notified via email on Wednesday, March 12. Winner must contact the Slow Motion Booth directly to receive their upgrade offer upon booking The Slow Motion Booth for their event. Additional details will be provided by The Slow Motion Booth, and all matters pertaining to booking or upgrade eligibility become the responsibility of winning client and The Slow Motion Booth team.