Archive for the ‘Charity’ Category

A few months ago, one of our brides (Beth) invited us to participate in an auction to benefit the Jax Humane Society. We donated a portrait session and originally I thought it would be used for pet portraits! Haha! Fortunately, the winner decided to do a family session! I love animals and they are cute, but I’m pretty sure we had a lot more fun with this session!

We don’t usually do family sessions because we decided to focus on weddings and seniors, but Matt & I had so much fun with Patty, Gerry, and little Emily that we are starting to think we should do more of these sessions! Little Miss E was so full of energy and constant laughter. Just being around her you couldn’t help but feel joy! Oh, to be three years old again!

I think you’ll see what we mean in these pics! I had to giggle as I was editing pics for the blog because Emily is just so adorable! Fun times! Thank you all for being so much fun to work with! We hope you had fun, too, and that these photos will bring back wonderful memories through the years!

I’ve been so anxious to blog more about this, but wanted to wait until I had the whole story. Now I am just bursting with so much excitement that I don’t know where to begin!! Okay, be cool… breathe…

Back in February I learned that Shoot Q was hosting auction featuring the top photographers in the industry to benefit Thirst Relief International. Each of them offered different mentoring packages and various other prizes. I mean, ALL the big names were involved. I can’t even spout off a couple of them because I’d have to list them all. You’d know them all, too, if you are in the photo community. All amazingly talented and phenomenal people! But there was only one auction that caught my attention, and it happened to be for the two photographers I admire most: Justin & Mary Marantz!

Not only do Justin & Mary have some of the most gorgeous photos I have ever seen (each new post on their blog makes me melt!) but they are also very giving. They are the founders of Portrait House, an organization that brings together a community of photographers to donate a portion of their session fees to Habitat For Humanity! I know, you love them too now, don’t you?!

They are also very involved in the Pictage community and love to share their passion for photography with other photographers. The great thing about Pictage members is that we aren’t competitive with one another (except maybe some friendly competition here and there). So Justin & Mary have shared some of their marketing tips and how they build strong client relationships. They even hold a workshop called “Spread The Love” to help photogs (and really anyone who owns a business) to learn about balancing business and life. Just ask my hubby and he will tell you the balance is not always even. And people think photographers have such a cake job! LOL!

I was in Orlando when the auction came to a close. We had a wedding in Sarasota, so I wasn’t able to check on the auction status (this was before I had my iPhone). When I got back to Orlando I immediately checked the auction results and found out I had won! I bet as much as I could afford and just hoped for the best. And if it wasn’t enough, then that was a good thing anyway because it meant that more money went to the charity. But it was enough and I finally got to meet up with Justin & Mary last month in New Haven, CT. Since I wasn’t at WPPI this year they were kind enough to allow me to schedule the mentor session when I came up to CT.

Waiting for them at this charming little bookstore/cafe called Atticus, I felt like I was waiting for a first date. Yeah, that anxious and nervous. Isn’t that silly?! But they were so warm and welcoming that all of the anxiety immediately melted away. Also, I have to say that Mary is even more gorgeous in person, if you can believe it! She carries herself with the dignity of a First Lady or royalty and has a smile like a movie star. Sooo dang pretty!!! I know I’m caught up in girlie awe, but I have to say Justin is a cutie, too! They are just the most adorable, charming couple… they hold hands like they are still courting… it’s too cute!

We had a delicious brunch (must take Matt to Atticus next time) and then headed over to the Yale campus for a photo shoot. It was my first visit to Yale and I fell in love with the architecture! It was soooo strange being on the “other” side of the camera, but Justin & Mary have a way of making you feel beautiful and glamorous. One thing I really took note of was how Justin & Mary took turns being the lead photographer. As Matt gets more comfortable as a photographer, I hope we can do the same!

So today when I was checking my blog reader I saw that Justin & Mary posted the photos from our shoot at Yale! Yay!!! Totally made my day! They had such sweet things to say about me and I really just want to get out my chair and just do a little giddy happy excited dance (think Laura Linney in Love Actually when she brings home the hot guy from work!). Eeeeee!! I freaking got to hang out with Justin & Mary AND have myself immortalized with their amazing photography! Way cool! And look how gorgeous they made me look:

That’s just one of my favorites. There are a bunch of other awesome shots on their blog. Everyone, if you don’t follow Justin & Mary’s blog then you definitely need to add it to your blog roll. Each new post will take your breath away, especially with the beautifully composed story that goes with each entry!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Justin & Mary for… well, everything! Thank you for continually inspiring me and other photographers and for all that you do to give back through charitable work. I can’t think of a better mentor to have and truly enjoyed our mentor session! Also, I am so thrilled about the headshots! They turned out beautiful!!!! One day you’ll have to meet the other half that makes me whole. Hope to see you both at Partner Con!! : )

• Right now, more than 500 million people are living in “absolute poverty” and more than 15 million children die of hunger every year.

• World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the population is underfed and another third is starving.

• Even in the United States, 46 percent of African-American children and 49 percent of Latino children are considered chronically hungry.


What can you do to help?

I’m a firm believer that every little bit helps move us toward a solution. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Northeast Florida is always seeking donations. Here are some small ways that you can make a big impact in Florida:

Donate Food – Most people donate food around the holidays, but the fact is that people are hungry year round. The food bank accepts food donations Monday thru Friday from 8am-4pm. Food must be unopened and unexpired. The most requested items include meat, beans, rice, and peanut butter.

Donate Money – Did you know that for every dollar you donate to Second Harvest they can purchase $53 worth of food?! Think of how much of an impact a small monetary donation can make!

Donate Services – Do you have a special skill or service you can provide? Why not lend your professional skills to helping the organization with an in-kind donation?

Donate Time – Volunteers are needed daily to help with sorting food at the warehouse and throughout the year for special events. Call for more information: 904.353.3663 ext. 223

Also, be thankful for the food you have. Especially today with people losing their jobs and homes it’s so easy for us to take for granted the things we are blessed with. In solidarity, I will be fasting and praying for those who are hungry on this day and hope that the unity of bloggers everywhere will help raise awareness about hunger.

By reading this, you are part of the difference we are trying to make in the world! Share the inspiration with others! I heavily encourage you to join Bloggers Unite today and make a post about hunger on your blog. If you don’t have time to write a post or don’t have a blog, please feel free to share a link to this blog! : )