Guess what....?

Hi Everyone!

Liv here. I don’t think it’s any secret that I am not so great at keeping up with the blog posts (I smell a new years resolution) but… I have a very important and exciting announcement. Finding Fox Creative is beyond incredibly excited to welcome Cameron Zabawski, not only as new creative mind, but also as a new partner/co-owner of the company!

So here’s the deal, Cam and I have forever been bound by the bonds of our mothers. They are the greatest of friends- true ya-yas. We grew up calling each other cousins (though, to me, this girl is more like a sister). So, on a personal level, I am leaping out of my skin that I get to share this business with her. She is such a beautiful soul with compassion and warmth pouring out. You can’t help but feel comfortable and at ease with her. Also, you may recognize her from the site. She trusted me with her wedding day many years ago and I was beyond honored!

On a professional level, I couldn’t imagine a better partner. She is strong, amazingly artistic, driven, incredibly sweet, organized, and passionate. She also started her formal photography training in film photography. If you’ve ever gotten me started on that topic, you know just how much I respect that as I probably went on and on about my long nights in the dark room and told you how much I wish we still used film all the time!

I absolutely cannot wait for you guys to get to know Cam! I know you are going to love her. And… we’ve been working on some amazing new ideas and changes to make our products and processes even better for YOU. As cliche as it sounds, I am calling this the dream team because it is definitely my dream team! Get ready world!

Check it out (below)- mini Cam and Liv

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Morgan and Andrew Engagement

We absolutely loved doing a last minute engagement shoot with this couple the day before their wedding. I was so excited when Morgan told me she wanted to do the session. When people ask me if they should have an engagement shoot my answer is always yes. Why? There are several reasons, but I'll share two, with you, now. For starters it helps you get to know your photographer. Let's face it, having a camera around your every move can feel awkward. It takes a little time to get used to it and it's best if that time isn't the day of your wedding. The second reason is because your engagement photos will last the test a time a bit longer. I don't mean that your wedding photos won't be amazing and cherished forever. We certainly do everything we can to make sure they will be. But, they are taken in 1-2 locations while wearing the same (plus getting ready outfits) very "event obvious" clothing. What that means is that they are very time specific. In your engagement shoot, you have the opportunity to change locations and outfits to add variety and create a more diverse appearance. With all that said, Morgan and Andrew chose one location that was so meaningful to them and that created a beautiful story that we are so thankful we got to tell. Check it out!

 

Aubrey and Kurtis- Engagement Session

We had a such a fun time with these two. They took us to a special place for the two of them and I have to say, we might be stealing this special spot for some camping soon :) Aubrey and Kurtis were so easy to photograph and they not only were they not afraid of getting wet in the river, they wanted to which made for some amazing photos. Can't wait for the wedding!

 

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Kevin and Tiffany- Adventure Engagement

 

I think some souls have a way of connecting without our knowledge. That's why you can meet someone for the first time, but inside you just know- you know it's not the first time you've felt them. JmStorm

 

I am SO far behind on blogging, but I am making up for all the un-blogged session with this special couple. When I say, I am crazy about these two... I am really crazy about them!

We met Kevin and Tiffany at a wedding show just last month and I knew, from the moment we started talking, that I was going to love them. A couple days later, they emailed and I was so excited and kept telling myself, "Don't screw this up. Don't screw this up." Tiffany and Kevin are just that couple that bring so much light into any space they walk into. I could feel it when we met and am even more sure of it, now, after spending the day with them. They are so full of life and have the absolute biggest hearts! On top of all of that, they asked for us to be candid and creative.... ummmm yeah... we can do that! That's our favorite thing to be here at Finding Fox. They drove up, from Atlanta, to Chattanooga for their adventure engagement session, so we got to take them all around the city we call home. It was such a fun day and I really didn't know how I was going to choose the handful of pictures for this post. Needless to say, we absolutely cannot wait for their wedding, in August, and are overjoyed that we get to celebrate with them. I am not sure any camera in the world, with any photographer behind it, could adequately capture the look in the eyes of these two when they're looking at each other, but we sure are going to try! I've said it a million times and I'll say it a million more... We have the BEST clients!

 

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and just for fun.....

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Styled Bridal

I don't believe in magic
The young boy said

The old man smiled
You will when you see her.

- Atticus

Last Friday, I got to do the most beautiful styled bridal shoot. It was simple and bohemian and perfect. Jordan was so patient with me as we dealt with the wind and changes in the sun. She was willing to do anything I asked for the shot. It was incredibly windy and though it was cloudy, it was still quite bright, so Jordan spent most of the time with her eyes closed which, I think, added such an unplanned intimate vibe in the whole session. These images were so gorgeous in color, but also so powerful in black and white. It was so hard to choose. As a photographer, you just can't ask for more. I am so head over heels with this session!

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Welcome Packets Are Here!!!!!

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I am so excited about our new welcome packets. They are really cute and a great way to get clients excited and informed. Plus, I am big, HUGE believer in presentation and providing a quality experience, not JUST a quality product. We want the entire process, of working with us, to be enjoyable and memorable.  As promised, I want to include some blog posts for my fellow photographers, so this will likely be more for you. However, if you are a new client, of ours, here’s a little preview of what you’ve got coming your way (and there is a question for you at the end).

 

First, I want to give a shout out to some amazing companies that made this all possible. I’ll reference them again, as we go, so you can see specifics.

Templates:
Design Aglow (An AMAZING company for photographers with SO so many resources. Take my word for it. If you’ve got a photography business, you’re going to want to check them out! I used their Modern Minimalist templates.

Printing:
Pro DPI
+
White House Custom Color

These two companies are really similar. Both have incredible, top of the line print quality and customer service. Though, I have had a longer relationship with WHCC (dating back to college when I worked under a different business name), I am loving discovering everything Pro DPI has to offer

Folders:
Amazon (Recycled 2 pocket- I am a big fan of using recycled products whenever possible)

Logo Stamp:
SayaBell Stamps (I am crazy about my stamp! More on that below…)

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As I mentioned above, my folders are a recycled 2 pocket folder from Amazon. There are several companies that sell these folders and, honestly, I am not totally sold on this particular one. The pockets are a bit shallow. They still hold everything, but I can see a possible change in folder distributor, in the future. I do love that they are a recycled product. Photographers use A LOT of paper, so being able to use recycled products, whenever possible, is a big bonus.

It is a common occurrence that clients and their families assume the photographer is a day-of wedding coordinator. I really don’t have the qualifications for this and honestly, I am so focused on capturing the day, I am not really thinking about keeping the day organized. In fact if you are in need of a day-of coordinator, I recommend Jessica Ann.

But, since it does often happen that we are, unofficially, placed in that role, I wanted to include some helpful planning tools.  Inside the folder, clients will find a welcome letter (design aglow template) and a sample wedding timeline (designed by me) as well as, the cutest little pocket wedding planner you have ever seen. This Design Aglow Modern Minimalist template is a checklist of everything you need to do for planning a wedding organized by the time period, by which to complete each task. It starts at 9-12 months out from the wedding date and continues until the big day. It is printed on an accordion booklet from Pro DPI and I was amazed at the quality of this product. The front and back cover are thick hardback panels and it comes complete with a little black elastic band to keep the book securely together. This might be my favorite piece of the whole packet. 

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Except, I also LOVE the feel of my welcome letter. I used White House Custom Color to print this piece because, although Design Aglow works with Pro DPI and designs their templates to match Pro DPI products (super convenient), I am really crazy about WHCC’s soft touch matte paper. It feels so luxurious. I think I could sit there and rub this paper through my fingers all day. I am usually a huge fan of very textured papers so for me to love this oh so smooth one means it must really be good ;) I almost always recommend it to my clients for their invitations because everyone loves it.

My two accordion guides, designed using Design Aglow’s minimalist welcome packet templates, are perfect for informing my couples of lots of information in a simple, easy to follow, form. In the first, there is a section for grooms, studio policies, first look information, etc. all in one guide. The other is a bride’s day-of beauty guide with tips and tricks from a photographer’s perspective. It talks about the way light reflects and how things tend to show up on the camera. It is so helpful and my favorite part of this guide is my coupon for a free consultation with the amazing Alexis Brannan! She islicensed cosmetologist & makeup artist and bridal specialist AND is fantastic!

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I also included a guide for our engagement sessions. Though I don’t normally have to convince couples to do these (because, as we all know, engagement photos are the bomb), it does discuss how important and impactful they are. Most of my packages include one already, but I want my clients to know that just like their wedding photos, engagement photos will last forever and be something they will always love looking back on. Plus, we can do SO much with those engagement pictures from thank you cards to guest sign in books at the wedding, to big gallery canvas prints displayed at the reception and everything in between. 

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Finally, I have a preferred vendors list and my product inspiration catalog. Couples usually book their venue and then, their photographer. They do this really quickly and everything else tends to follow slowly. For this reason, I wanted to include a list of some vendors that I think are really great. Because I am still learning about the vendors in my area (I used to be located elsewhere) I am, currently, just printing this guide at Office Depot on their cardstock. In the future, I plan to include more info from vendors and have a front and back cover on the guide.

My product catalog is such an important part. I don’t require my clients to print from me, but I do truly believe that the quality, of the products, we provide is the very best out there! This guide shows a sampling of what we offer. Not everything is shown, but I plan to add more in the near future. Check out some of these products, from Acurated Home, here.

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Okay… and now for my stamp. This wonderful stamp was created by SayaBell Stamps on Etsy. It is exceptional quality and shipped really quickly! I adore hand stamped products. I think the fact that no two are exactly the same adds really good character. And, of course, it feels so authentic- because, well… it is.

And... that's it. They do take some time to put together, but oh SO worth it, in my opinion. Photographers, have something you LOVE putting in your welcome packets? Brides/Grooms, have something you'd love to get in a welcome packet? Let me know what it is in the comments down below. I'd love to hear from you!!

Westin's Afternoon

A lot of times, as a professional photographer, I forget to stop and take high quality photos of my life and my son. I end up with a bunch of phone photos which, while phones have come a long way, just aren't the same. For some reason, about 2 years ago (when I was still teaching) I got home one day and decided to just document my son's afternoon. I always wished I had continued photographing all the way until bedtime and this year, I will because, they have turned out to be some of my favorite pictures I have ever taken. I love looking back on the curl in his hair, the way his little legs and big diapered butt still looked so funny in jeans, and remembering how he used to hide behind my easel and knock whatever canvas that was on there, off, so he could use it for his hot wheels cars. They are so honest, they show his personality so well, and they are such a wonderful capture of a time that was so fleeting. This is exactly what is so wonderful about lifestyle sessions. They give you a glimpse back into how exactly life was in that very moment. It wasn't perfect (life never is), but it was absolutely beautiful! They also tend to yield more photos simply because you're just naturally doing life and think about how much variation there is in your movements and actions just going through your day. I vowed, to myself, to do this every year and it's time to do it again. But, here are some of the photos from last year. If this is something you want for your kids, I would LOVE to help you out! Hit that contact tab, at the top of the page, and we'll get started. :)

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Baby Brody

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of photographing my sweet friend, Jessie, who is pregnant with her second little boy. When she told me her idea for the shoot, I was excited because it was totally up my alley. Moody, earthy, and natural in a forest with some water?.... Yep, we can do that! She was such a trooper, hiking down to the base of Foster Falls and standing in freezing cold water. I can't wait for the arrival of little Brody Dillon and adding another member to our little boys club. 

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Baby Jax

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“ They say there is a reason,
They say that time will heal,
But neither time nor reason,
Will change the way I feel,

 

No-one knows the heartache,
That lies behind my smile,
No-one knows how many times,
I have broken down and cried,

 

I want to tell you something,
So there won’t be any doubt,
You’re so wonderful to think of,
But so hard to be without.”

- Unknown

 

 

Yesterday I had the honor of telling a story that I wish were not there to be told. It shook me to my core. It is one through which no parent should ever have to suffer. This is the story of the tragic loss of 8 month old Jaxon Chase and his mama's (Jordan) journey. This series is the most beautiful and, yet most somber shoot I have ever done. This girl has been through more, in the last two years, than many of us could ever imagine and would never want to. Finding the words is nearly impossible. Throughout the rest of this post, I will do my best to accompany the photos with background details that will help in understanding this horrific loss and what has come from it. Though it is not easy to write, certainly not easy to read, and though it is only one side of a the story, it is important to tell.

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Jax was a surprise. Jordan did not expect to become a mother when she did and, at the time, she did not understand the level of abuse she was suffering, in her relationship. Before he was born, she loved him more than she had ever loved anyone. Jaxon brought a light into the lives of her, her boyfriend, and anyone who ever met him.  Though he was only 8 months old, he could brighten any room. I had the pleasure of holding him and playing with him, during another photo shoot, just three weeks before his passing. He had piercing blue eyes and one of those smiles where it covered his entire face. 

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Though Jaxon gave Jordan a purpose beyond anything she imagined, she found herself fighting harder to hold together her violently abusive relationship because she desperately wanted the family she had pictured her son having. 

The night Jaxon died, Jordan had been working. She came home to find her son’s lifeless body laying on the floor and her son’s father asleep. Their neighbor admitted to giving her boyfriend drugs, that night, and he was unable to recall everything that happened.

 

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As anyone would, Jordan fell apart. The days to follow were filled with police reports, picking out her son’s casket, funeral arrangements, reminiscing on the dozens of photos she has of bruises inflicted upon her as she tried to explain the situation she was in when people questioned what may have happened, and then sitting and waiting for an autopsy report for her son's tiny body. 

 

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She is still awaiting the report. No one knows, yet, what it will show. But, instead of being able to just grieve the loss of her little boy, something that is already unimaginable, she is also having to deal with the possibility that his death was not of natural causes.

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Though this story is nothing short of a nightmare, there is also triumph and hope in it. It has been one month since Jax died. Jordan is a former athlete of mine from when I coached. I have seen her in bad times and good. However, I have never seen her stronger than I have the last month. She has shown more courage and strength than, I believe, I could have even come close to if I were in her situation. She is living for Jaxon and has made it her goal to bring more awareness to domestic violence because even if her story helps only one person, it is worth her sharing it. 

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Jordan has a long road ahead of her. She will have mountains to climb and valleys to walk through, but she is a warrior and will keep fighting. We may never have all the answers. But, we do know Jaxon Chase is sitting in the lap of Jesus in a more perfect place than any of us could imagine. He was too perfect for this world and is, now, looking down on his brave mommy. There is no doubt, in my mind, he is filled with love and pride.

 

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Fly high, Jax!

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Booth Buildup

So, I recently participated in my first wedding show. It was a gorgeous boutique show, put on by Enchanted Brides, in Nashville, Tennessee. When I registered I immediately started thinking about how I wanted my booth to look. I believe in small details. I also believe that the way you present yourself is a pretty good representation of the work you put into other things. Because of those beliefs, I knew I had to go all the way with my display. Where else to turn but Pinterest? After collecting some ideas, I developed my idea. I have some experience with construction as I flipped our last two homes, so I wasn't afraid of building something, but I knew it would be a big job. There were a couple things I needed to consider. First, this thing had to be mobile- very mobile as it would be setup for only a few hours and then traveling home again before going to another location and repeating. Second, it also needed to be somewhat light. Again, it isn't a permanent structure so being able to carry it pretty easily was a must. Third, it needed to be stable. With a lot of people walking in and out of my space, I don't want anything to happen to anyone and the likelihood of the booth being bumped and leaned on is 100%. And fourth, it needed to be cool, of course. I want to make sure people notice us in all the right ways. With so many other vendors literally right next to us, it's important to stand out. I turned to my dad to help me come up with a build plan. Out of all that, here is the outcome...

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I am seriously so excited about how it turned out. I took photos while building, so you could see the process and if you're looking to do something like this, you can learn from my mistakes (there were PLENTY). I also tried to make sure I got a shot of all the products I used for reference. So, if you're interested in all that boring construction stuff, keep reading...

The whole thing is constructed of different panels. Each one is four 2x4s, a piece of underlayment, and cedar planks. The back wall has four panels. The top two are 4'x4' and the bottom two are 4'x3'. The sides are constructed of three panels. The top pieces are 3'x4' and the bottom four pieces are 3'x3'. This created the perfect size for an 8'x8' booth space. A lot of shows have 10'x10' spaces and if that's the case, I could add additional panels or (my preference) leave it like it is and allow more space in between me and my neighbors, as well as, more space in the front for display. For the majority of the primary construction, I used Grip Rite 1-1/4" exterior screws. They were not easy to put in and you definitely need to pre-drill your holes (I hate pre-drilling, ugh). Part of the way through I switched to Grabber Construction Product's interior 8x2-1/2 in screws. They went a lot easier. 

 

The underlayment provides a surface for the planks to be attached. If you didn't want to stagger those and just wanted them to go from one side to the other, you could leave that part off and nail your boards straight to the 2x4s. I wish I had gotten a product picture of the underlayment so I could give exact specs. I can tell you that I bought it at Home Depot and it was the lightest version I could find that still felt sturdy enough to hold up. I bought 8'x4' pieces and had them cut in half.... so dumb!!! My 2x4s were cut to 4' so when you attach a 4' vertical 2x4 to horizontal 2x4, you gain the extra height of that 2x4 (roughly 1.5 inches because for some reason lumber measurements are just weird). 

So, how are the panels attached to each other and the better question, how are they secure? The answer is, carriage bolts and wing nuts. That is the key to making the structure completely mobile and sturdy. These pairs get incredibly tight using no tools (make sure you put a washer on your wing nut side to avoid eating into the wood) and they're large enough to hold A LOT of weight. Each of the 2x4s that meets with another is connected with two carriage bolts. I used 5" long 3/8" diameter bolts and Everbilt 3/8" wing nuts. I used a 3/8" drill bit for the holes and wiggled it around a bit to give my bolts a little space since they would be sliding in and out so frequently. Watch the threads though as they can get little bits of wood in them and then be damaged making it difficult for the wing nuts to screw on. Just get extra of everything and you'll be good. I kept all my hardware in a big ziploc so I'd have it all together. 

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On top of my underlayment, I used Pacific Knotty Cedar Planking. I have to be honest. Up until this point, I was seriously questioning this project because, y'all, it was not looking good. But, as soon as those planks went on, it looked like a dream. The panels that went together (side by side) were "planked" together. The only thing is, these planks are tongue and groove. If you're a construction person, you are laughing right now because guess what? I was going to have to pull the panels part and hope I could perfectly line up those tongues and grooves again each time I put the booth together. BAD IDEA! I tried it on one wall and then decided my panels were just going to have to stay together. So the back wall is now two panels instead or 4. Get the idea? If I were doing it again, I MAY have chosen a product that wasn't tongue and groove, but then again, these planks are super light and really gorgeous... so maybe not. The other option would have been to just create larger panels to begin with. Live and learn. 

I stained the wood with a dark walnut (always my go-to color). It creates a beautiful, rich, not too warm, not too cool finish. 

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You may be wondering about that white bar. I wanted the bar so I would have a built in area to display products and decorations, but only wanted it on 2 sides so I could have seating on the other side. I can't remember the exact specs (sorry again about not getting a product photo), but I used a bullnose board to create this. It is in the middle of my top and bottom pieces so the carriage bolt goes through a 2x4, the bar board, and another 2x4. That is why you need the 5" bolts. On the right side, I had to add a spaced board that didn't stick out so that the height on that side of the booth would be the same at the others with the bar. I stained this board so that you don't really notice it and it looks like one continuous wall. 

Whew! I think that is the most concise guide I can write for the build of this. I am sure I left some things out. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I am happy to help others on their endeavor to build something similar. Oh, I almost forgot. I didn't want the outside of the panels showing at the show because they aren't very pretty, so we tacked canvas painting drop sheets on the outside. It actually looked really cute! At our next show, I'll take some photos of the assembly process and do a little update post and show you the canvas.

Thanks for reading!!

Hello!

Hi! I am Liv. Thanks for stopping by the blog. I decided to jump into the blog thing with my photography site to share a more in depth look at shoots and things I learn along the way as I navigate through this ever changing and growing industry. My photography roots date way back to disposable cameras. I think I could have single handedly kept that industry going with all the cameras I bought and developed. But, my real experience started in college. I majored in studio art with an emphasis in photography at Georgia Southern University. When I started taking classes, the program still required a prerequisite of a black and white film class. I am forever grateful for days (and nights) spent in the dark room, rolling my own film, developing my own photos, and learning to master my camera because I didn't have unlimited chances to get it right. Even though a big part of my photographer's heart lies with film, I am also a big fan of how far our technology has come and what we are able to achieve now! I love telling stories behind my lens and that is what has motivated me to continue this journey now. I took a few years off (kind of- I still shot family and friends' events) while teaching art in the classroom. It was also during that time that I had my super rad little boy who is now 3 years old and full of pure joy! I am so glad to be back behind the lens, full time. I am excited for everything to come during this season of life and business. I can't wait to share the magnificent stories I'll get to tell. Maybe yours will be one of them!

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