Monday, May 25, 2009

new blog site on Square

just in case you don't know....WE'VE MOVED!!

we have moved our blog to a new URL. please subscribe to our RSS feed, or simply, bookmark us and check us out weekly! please leave a comment to let us know what you think and that you visited us! click here for our new site or go to (copy and paste to URL)

see you there!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

new blog site

hi blog readers! 

thank you for following us on our blog. we moved our blog over to

please bookmark us! we will be attaching an email subscription link soon on the site so you can sign your email address and be notified each time we post. 

check out our first full post about one of the events we shot this weekend. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

new blog design

i'm up...late...again. 

but this time it's because i'm multi-tasking: redesigning our new blog, and catching up on podcasts. i've always been a night owl. i thrive at night because frankly, the heat makes me, i mean, sleepy. so just thought i'd drop a line to my night owl peeps. stay tuned for a new blog design, and new posts!! good night for now. 

Monday, May 4, 2009

happy 67th, dad!

we just celebrated my dad's 67th birthday at King's Hawaiian in Torrance. everyone was in good spirits. my dad looked pretty good, and he seemed to be in a good mood, too. it's a treat to eat here because we rarely travel that far to eat. with three diabetics in the family, we can't stand long distances. hahaha...okay, all right....I can't stand driving long distances. especially when you're hungry.

below are some pix of our day. i had the Luau Platter, which consists of lau lau (steamed pork wrapped in ti leaves), lomi lomi (hawaiian salmon salsa), chicken long rice (chicken with noodles), potato salad, and white rice. oh, and huli huli chicken (it's not in the pic because i gave it to j. because, let's face it, there was lots of food on my plate!). so ono ("delicious"). i also had to have the chocolate dobash cake (i only had 2 bites...gave the rest to j.) before we left. it was a good meal. worth the drive. 

afterwards, we headed home with guava cake (which was also our wedding cake), to blow out my dad's candles. today was a good day. happy birthday to my dad...and hope for many more to come. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

photo tips by g.

often times, people ask me my opinion about photography or ask photo-related questions. in this age of digital, more and more people are interested in learning more about DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Relfex) cameras. one question that i get from most are, "i want to get an digital SLR camera. what kind will help me take awesome photos?" well, the answer is....none. no camera or gadget will take "awesome" photos. you are the one, the one behind the lens, that can make that photo the best that it can be. if this is your first time buying a camera that is not a phone or a point-and-shoot, here are some suggestions:

1) information is key. you are making a big ticket item purchase. so get your information from someone who knows about cameras. do not go to Best Buy or Target or Cost Co to inquire about cameras. your local camera shop, will know more about different brands of cameras, and will be able to answer your questions and suggest brands and models to meet you needs.

2) i am very big on educating oneself about new products, especially electronics. read up on camera models online or in photo magazines. reviews are also informative.

3) this is a must!! after you buy your camera, make a commitment to learn it outside of "auto" (if it has this setting). if you have difficulty following your manual, (do not throw it away! put it in a safe place for reference) take a workshop or class to learn how to use the features of your camera. you will have bought an expensive "point & shoot" camera, if you don't use the other features of the camera.

4) shoot, shoot, shoot. practice makes perfect. it's digital, so you're not wasting money on processing and developing. join a Flickr group or join a MeetUp group. there's a plethora of free advice and critique, and thousands of enthusiasts, like you, learning from one another.

if you have any other photography-related questions, please post a comment on our site! your question may be featured on our blog in future entries! happy shooting!

Monday, April 20, 2009

car show

when we're not shooting portraits or weddings, we like to check out local events. because we're so busy, we usually do not get to partake in what our community has to offer. 

as much as i like taking pictures of people, for some odd reason, i love taking photographs at car shows. i think it's because i like shiny things, and colorful things. at car shows, you find all of the above. a car is somewhat like a person, in that it has curves, and shiny accessories. i understand why guys love their cars as much as their women. duh. 

i don't know what any part of the car is. so don't ask me. all i know is i absolutely love chrome. it's like the accessories on a beautiful woman. ooooo....shiiiinny.   

it was fun hanging out at the car show, and cool of the participants to let us be spectators and admire all the sweet cars. check out your local car show. you'll see what i mean.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Clean Paws

this weekend was a warm, and activity-filled. i will post pix from the weekend this week. but until then, i thought i'd post some pix of my baby, Popo, who is 2 and a half years old. whilst people share pix of their children, since we don't have any children, we have Popo. he's the apple of our eye, and is always giving us unconditional love. 

here he is, right after the groomers gave him his monthly bath. our puppy is so spoiled, his groomers come to my parents' house (aka "grandparents") every month. i wish i had that treatment!  i thought it was so cute that he had a purple bow, that said "i love my owner." we have a great mobile grooming service, called "Clean Paws" and they serve Los Angeles and San Bernardino. They are great, and the price is right! (909) 592-0120

tell them Popo Spiller sent ya!

From Drop Box

Friday, April 10, 2009

guest book

we got married about 2 years ago. it seems like yesterday. i still feel like a newlywed. at times, i feel i haven't quite stepped into my wifely duties, but it's on my list of to-do's, for sure. 

when we got married, since it was a big affair, (i was the only girl, and first child to get married in my family) i wanted to make sure that i remembered everyone that attended. so i had a few things in place. on our RSVP postcards, we had everyone write their best marital advice. from there, we chose the most memorable, unique, funny, etc., and printed them on candles, which were to be 1 of 2 favors we were handing out. i saved all the postcards and kept them in a keepsake box, so we can reminisce later by reading all our well wishes. another way to remember all our guests, was having assigned photographers (my bridesmaids, and maids of honor) to take fun, informal pictures of each family. i like these instead of the table group pictures or whole group formals because you can actually see everyone. the last thing we did was to hire an awesome videographer. we asked our videographer to take some time before dinner to walk around and ask our guests to record their well wishes. we watch our wedding DVD at least once a year and we are still touched by the sentiments and laugh at some funny moments. 

another cute idea, which we did not incorporate in our wedding, but wish i did, was having a personalized, custom guest book. instead of having your guests sign a picture framed mat, guests can sign your guest book with all the wonderful engagement images from our session. you can leave some pages blank, put personalized questions on the pages, or simply have lines drawn and have a traditional guest book (for addresses). here is ronald and kathy's sample guest book. this is a rough sample, but it will give you an idea. click here to view on a separate window.

i love cute ideas that incorporate photos! if you have a cute idea, leave a comment and let us know! 

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

cool film

if i feature other photographers on my blog, it is because i respect and admire what they are doing. in this line of work, you have to continue to be inspired, and push yourself to improve as an artist. my passion is photography, since i picked up my parents' 110mm viewfinder at 12 years old. so, even if i was not in the business, i was still be experimenting with my photography, learning techniques, and striving to do better.

below is a cool film shot entirely with a camera, by Engaged Films. the new digital SLR cameras are coming out with high quality video. so it's an exciting time for photography. i thought i'd share with you a cool concept for an engagement session. i thought the idea was inspiring. not to mention the setting and couple are very sexy...oh, by the way, the song, "show you my love" was written and performed by our wedding videographer, Mike Schmid, who has moved on to bigger and better things, like playing on tour with Miley Cyrus and producing his own albums. you can find more of his tunes on iTunes! i love his music and i'm so proud to say that i "knew him when."

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

life lesson #3: most fears are in your head (i mean, MY head)

had my first insulin appointment today. well, it was a training on how to inject myself with insulin. if you've read enough of these posts, you know that i'm the biggest scaredy cat/biggest baby when it comes to any type of discomfort. that discomfort translates to pain with me. i think it all started with my oral surgeon and his mission to pull my wisdom teeth with hardly any anesthesia and a jackhammer.please read this post to update you on my phobia of dentists, needles, and the hospital, in general.

anyway, i woke up, with courage, and a positive outlook, knowing that i would have to be injecting a 2 inch needle in me. j. went to my appointment with me, assuring me that it was going to be ok. well, more like giving me the "coach pep talk," like "don't be a baby," and " it's no big deal" kind of motivational talk. nope. didn't work. but i kept thinking, it's for your own health, possibly for your own baby. God willing. 

so the training went ok. we watched a video, and then the nurse showed us how to prepare the syringe and inject the site (aka, my belly). the good thing was that i didn't have to inject it right then and there. the pharmacist ordered me to have one dose, before bedtime. the bad thing was, was that all day i was thinking about that syringe. this skinny, long needle, to be poked into me at an approximate 90 degree angle. it didn't help that j. kept making these pokes to my stomach, with a closed fist, like he was an ER doctor, injecting a dose of adrenaline. not encouraging. 

right after watching "Dancing with the Stars," j. suggested i inject the insulin now, before he goes to sleep. he agreed to do it for the first couple times, until i was used to it, and ready to inject myself. he looked nervous, too. not good. i said, "let's wait until after we watch Heroes, yeah?" he looked at me, seeing right through my stalling tactics, but let me watch my favorite t.v. show, anyway. 

soon it was over. we prepared the syringe, just like the nurse taught us. reading and rereading the directions. i started to get more nervous, and could feel the tears come, but i held back, because well...i felt so dumb crying about something that i have to do. everyday. for a while. i decided to not think anymore, and trust in j. to do it correctly. i trusted the nurses when they told me that it wasn't going to hurt as much as my daily blood sugar finger pricking. i took a deep breath.

j. told me to lay down on the sofa, and relax. popo, my 2 year old chihuahua, immediately jumped on my stomach. j. scolded him and popo quickly jumped off, with me, feeling myself, let go, and thinking, "it's all in your head." i lay there, looking at the t.v., not remembering what i was watching. anticipating the pinch of the needle. i squeezed a section of my abdomen, and closed my eyes. i peered my eyes open, waiting for j. to just "do it already," and he had already walked to the kitchen to dispose of the syringe. he had already injected me. i felt like i had run a marathon and won the gold medal (well, without the sore muscles and achy feet). i was so proud of myself for going through it. then, i felt dumb for worrying about that stupid needle all day. maybe there's hope for me, yet.

so, if you know someone that's going through this, rest assured, take it from me, i wouldn't lie about it. injecting insulin is not as painful as  you might think. i'm glad that i made the right decision for me, taking care of my health, and possibly for my future baby (God willing).

here's a pic of my beloved popo. the apple of my eye....the cutest dog ever (who is also receiving his shot tomorrow...shhhhhhh, it's our secret!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

thank you for the prayers

as some of you may know, my father was recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma (bone marrow cancer). he has been undergoing chemotherapy since dec. and it has been a struggle for him, as well as for my mom, and family. we prayed hard, asked others to pray, too, and hoped for a strong recovery. we also did not expect him to be eligible to get on the transplant list. it was a surprise, a good one, at first. until my father decided that he did not want to receive a transplant. he had his reasons. i feel that i have to respect his reasons. but that's me. i hate to see him suffer. 

last night, i was happy to hear that his doctor reported that his test results have been improving. he doesn't have to go through chemo, at least for now. that is good news. i have to think that our prayers (and yours) have helped him endure and improve his health.

so...thank you.

here's a fave pic of my parents. 

Sunday, March 29, 2009

life lesson #2: be prepared

ask any of my good friends, who have gone on a trip with me, it is always an adventure. it's never a dull moment. this includes local driving trips. 

last night, coming back from bingo (yes, i love playing me some bingo), i felt like passing out, and/or puking in my cousin's pretty-darn-new car. and no, dear blog readers, not from a night of drinking ( i did not realize that we were in the casino for 5 1/2 hours. since i'm diabetic, i should be eating or snacking every 3-4 hours to prevent my blood sugar from dropping. my husband, j., had packed me a bento (box lunch) for bingo earlier that day, but i had forgotten to bring it with me, and thought i would get something at the casino. but if you've ever been at a casino (no clocks, no windows), or ever played bingo, you lose track of time. and obviously, a sense of hunger. 

i did not feel hunger until we hit the slots, and it wasn't until my third penny slot, and last ten dollars, my stomach started growling. i listened to the cue, and my cousin agreed that we head home. i thought we would at least make it home to eat, but about fifteen minutes on the road, i started to feel awful. the worst feeling i'd felt in a long time (at least, without being intoxicated). we were on the road in Boony Ville (because that's where most of these casinos are), late at night. 

i regretted not eating at the casino. i regretted not packing at least my glucose tablets or even gum in my purse. most of all, i could hear j.'s "i told you so" comment ringing in my ear. 

we got off the closest off-ramp, after five to ten minutes of trying to ignore the sick feeling. afraid of puking in my cousin's car, i strongly suggested we get off the freeway and find a drive through. i thought of the diabetes class, and how low blood sugar could cause a seizure or a coma. i'm sure my sugars were not that low, but my paranoia and hypochondria kicked into gear, and i found myself pleading and praying to God to not have any of the above happen to me. well, getting off the freeway into Boony Ville was not helping the situation. it was all darkness, and a long stretch of houses for miles. no 7-11. no McDonald's. no nothing. nothing but a whole bunch of houses and parks. a lot of parks. then we started driving up this winding road. now, i started to panic. i'm never moving to the 'burbs, thoughts screaming in my head. 

we proceed back down the mountain, for fear of getting lost, and get back on the freeway, with my eyes rolled to the back of my head. the fun that i just had playing bingo and winning on the slots were fading away fast. like the light at the end of a tunnel, we saw something from a distance. a red, white, and yellow neon sign, "In-N-Out." and heard angels singing....

quickly got off the ramp, and searched for the place called "In-N-Out." worried that the late night rush would delay my order and prolong my suffering, i was tempted to pay double for my order to come out next, or even beg them to throw a potato at me. when i got out of the car to walk towards the bright lights, my toe had a blister from my slipper sandal. so i'm limping towards the bright down...

to make this long story shorter, we had our burgers and fries (in silence, because both of us were scarfing down our food), and headed back on the freeway. four exits away was home. we had not realized home was that close. but seriously, i don't think i could have survived the four exits. the funny thing is, after eating the meal, my stomach was still growling, i still felt nauseated, and i was still light-headed. so once i got home, after my husband's "i told you so's," i went to bed. 

what have  i learned?
  • always pack a snack, candy, and definitely, glucose tablets for emergencies.
  • carry my GPS with me at all times.
  • listen to my husband.
  • oh, and keep my stories short.
i'm happy now and it's all good. we're planning another trip to play bingo soon. this time, i'll be prepared. 

special shout-out to In-N-Out! thank you so much for being there!! 

Sunday, March 22, 2009

resolution update

ok...ok...i have not been doing well in keeping up with my resolutions. not even worth listing the excuses, because they're just excuses. but i'm someone who perseveres, and sometimes i'm more of a 4th quarter kind of player, i bring it hard at the end. 

haven't met at any of my meet ups because, well, i've been too busy to meet up (isn't that how it usually goes?) 

exercise has definitely been replaced with napping in front of the t.v. and then sleeping more. 

my doctor agrees to put me on insulin, so we'll see how that works out. yay. more needles. 

i predict that the tide is turning for me, in a more positive direction. so my future's bright. hope you're sticking to you goals this year so far! tell me all about it!  

our lil' neighbor

kylee is about 7 months old, and she already has everyone wrapped around her little finger. our neighbors, eric and denise, who can be seen featured under our Maternity section in our website, invited us to spend a day at the park with their family. we enjoyed playing on the swings on that bright, sunny, almost-spring-day. ahhhh...this is the life!

i made her a mini slideshow, check it out.

Monday, March 16, 2009

arcadia arboretum of los angeles engagement portrait: ronald + kathy

ronald was the strong, silent type. kathy had a special power...she was the one who made him laugh. apparently, the only one who could make him crack a smile at work. another special power kathy had was persistence. she pursued ronald for about a year and a half, after he succumbed to her charm, and they officially became a couple.

one warm afternoon, taking a break from their walk through Arcadia's beautiful Arboretum, kathy checked her text messages. it said, "Babes. Will you?" she mumbled to him, "Will you, what? You didn't finish your sentence." she looked up, and saw ronald, on one knee, ring box in hand. in true ronald style, he had wooed her without a spoken word.

we had a laughter-filled day with kathy and ron. we planned their shoot at the site ronald proposed. they were such good sports. when they said they cleared their schedule for us, they were in big trouble. i like to shoot--- a lot! the more i shoot, the more inspired i get. the more game the subject, the more i get in the "zone." so as for the slideshow, i had a lot of faves to choose from. we love couples that are totally game, and just go with the flow during our sessions.

with our Designer Engagement Session, we include lunch, and later, shoot a different type of session. all our couples fill out a survey with questions about them, individually and as a couple, to get to know them before we shoot their session. we brainstorm ideas with the couple, and design a shoot that expresses who they are. no stuffy studio pictures here! so we went bowling with them, since they were avid bowlers while they were dating. intimidated by their pro gear, and fancy bags and bowling shoes, j. and i thought it best to split the teams, boys vs. girls. j.'s bowling nickname is "black thunder." (you'll just have to watch him bowl to see why). oh, and also, make sure you stand behind a shield when j. bowls. the ball seems to slip from his hands.

here are some faves from the shoot. see more here on their slideshow!

for more information about our Designer Engagement Session, contact us!

thank you, ron and kathy, for the laughs and the strikes. looking forward to seeing you again (hopefully for karaoke...johnny's practicing "endless love" in the shower now!).

From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box
From Drop Box

arboretum of los angeles
301 N Baldwin Ave
Arcadia, CA 91007-2697
(626) 821-3222

Sunday, March 15, 2009

might as well, JUMP

this weekend needed to happen.

this past week, with the doom and gloom of the news, unemployment, and the economy, this weekend at Aurora Elementary needed to happen. headed by teachers, most of which are losing their jobs next school year, Kid Fit was planned to promote health education to the community through vendors, and fun activities. thanks to good friend, Maricela Cedano, a resident teacher, for inviting us to this inspiring and positive event. it truly chased the dark clouds that have been looming over this week.

looking at these pictures, fun and exercise can be achieved no matter who you are! look at the guys having a ball jumping rope! to check out more pix of this great event, click here 

it's schools and resident teachers, like these, that make differences...everyday. support your local school. write to the district, the governor, the president. voice your concerns about education, and the loss of teachers, like these. for more info, check out or, for more information. you can make a difference.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

support schools, support children, support your future

Find more videos like this on Pink Friday

all of us are who we are because of a teacher. when you support teachers, you support children and their education. this affects all of us. it affects our future. 

check out more info: and 

Monday, March 9, 2009

life lesson #1: you are in control of more things than you realize or acknowledge

hello, blog readers,

i have no shoot to share, no pictures to post, no promo to..well, promote. 

i was getting the feeling to write in my new journal of the year (which was bought in jan. and never written in, yet) and wanting to write because the last couple weeks have been so stressful. the idea of buying the journal and start journaling again (i have been journaling since 3rd grade when i received my first diary, all with a heart key and lock!). my goal was to....(drum roll) WRITE THE STORY OF MY LIFE...starting from right now. the idea was to leave something behind for my son(s); yes, i believe i will have all sons. i wanted them to know the journey that i am experiencing, just trying to "have" them. i guess the reason why i haven't written in it yet is that because i write so much about what's going on in my lil' head here on my blog. my blog is almost like my journal. almost. (i tried to videotape myself...but that was a little nerve wracking, talking to myself)

today, i'm feeling hopeful. with a dash of melancholy. 

today i wanted to blog, but i didn't have anything photography related to say. but i wanted to get out what i wanted to say....which is that...

there is hope. 

oh...and faith. 

my father and uncle are both recovering from their medical scares of the last 6 weeks. thank you, God! it's so good to see them both smiling and laughing, and walking without a cane or walker in a long time. recovering well...knock on wood.

my health is hopefully turning over a new leaf. since sat., i have been better about remembering to take my diabetes meds and check my blood sugars. the doctor told me that she will start me on insulin shots in two weeks. i am nervous. not about the needles, although that was my initial reaction, but more about what this means to my health. this is definitely going to slow me down and change my lifestyle. the only thing i can do is stay positive, and do what's best for me. doc says that she still discourages us from conceiving right now, until my blood sugar is stable, and i'm healthier. i am looking forward to june, when i see her, and report that i have managed and controlled this disease, and that i am at least 10% lighter. the doctor said to cut out parts of my busy schedule. at first i was like, no way!! i LOVE my business! i LOVE my clients and i love what i do for them. no way am i going to sacrifice something that makes me genuinely happy. but i  know what she means. i need to make time to take care of myself so that i can do the things that make me happy.

thank you to those that have chimed in and given me encouragement. j. says that he wants me to be healthy first, before even thinking about having babies. babies or not, he says that he wants me to be healthy and live long, and grow old with him. i have to remember that i am in control of more things than i realize or acknowledge. i guess this is part of the journey.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

senior portrait: priscilla

this beautiful girl is graduating high school this year. priscilla is a senior in high school, and hopes to go to college and maybe enter the entertainment industry. she has one of the brightest smiles and the most positive outlook on life. she is bound to be successful in anything she pursues. 

senior portraits have come a long way from your studio portraits. these portraits were done on location, with multiple wardrobe changes. check on our website for more details about the packages we offer. this package is the Day in the Life Package, (valued at $250)
  • which includes up to 1.5 hours session, 
  • $75 print credit, 
  • all image files on proof CD, 
  • and wardrobe  changes. 
not only do you get the flexibility of wardrobe changes and extra time for a variety of poses, but the senior has a chance to express their individuality and personality. we take our time, and are open to multiple locations. an added plus, parents can feel at ease knowing that these photos will be taken in good taste. if you want to add friends to do a group session, we have an Heirloom Package that allows for more people, more time, and more print credit. 

check out priscilla's slideshow to get an idea of a session like this. we had a lot of fun shooting this! if you're interested in finding out more about senior portraits, contact us!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

america's best dance crew

i was never part of a crew. but i loved dancing, back in the day. in high school, i loved performing for talent shows and choreographing for friends for lip sync contests and school dances. i continued that in college, choreographing routines for shows, entering contests, and one time, for a club that i wasn't even a member for. i also dabbled in hula, and ballroom dancing. so i can totally appreciate dance shows, and love that Randy Jackson, the judge from American Idol, produced this show, America's Best Dance Crew on MTV.

no, this isn't America's Best Dance Crew winners. this is Beat Freaks, the runners up. Quest Crew won, and they were an awesome dance crew. i really liked Beat Freaks because they represented for the females, but more than that, they did what the boys did, and sometimes better. they're not my faves because they are girls, contrary to popular belief, that if they win, it's because they're girls. i don't think ABDC's fans vote based on gender. i felt their performances were consistent throughout the series, both creative and athletic, every single time. to be fair, i do think that Quest Crew 'brought it' the last episode, the Hip Hop Challenge, and their last routine 'killed it,' as they say. if based on the last ep, i have to say Quest won. if based on their collective performances, i have to say Beat Freaks took it.

in the end, i'm glad both crews made it to the end. it was an exciting season, for sure! if you missed it, you should definitely check it out when you get a chance. if you love dancing, even if you don't like hip hop, you will definitely get inspired, excited and entertained.

congrats to Quest Crew!!

day at the doctor's

so i went to my regular check up/follow up with my doctor about my diabetes. i was very nervous but also looking forward to talking with my doctor, and "facing the music," as they say. a week ago, i took some blood tests, and it was not good news. well, my busy lifestyle, and bad habits finally caught up with me. it has taken its toll on my liver and kidneys. my doctor says that i need to give up, or cut down something in my lifestyle. it's difficult, because both j. and i still have our "day" jobs, and our business, which is a full-time job in itself. we don't want to give up our business because we absolutely LOVE what we do, and what we do for our clients. we love being a part of people's joyous moments. we love meeting new people, and we've been so blessed with meeting such nice, friendly, and cool people. we are not ready to give that up.

what i'm thinking is that i need to make small "cuts" in my lifestyle, and more effort to really take time out for myself, whether it be taking a walk, spending an afternoon cooking a special dinner for myself and my husband, turning up the music in the house and cleaning/dancing, reading magazines on the couch, etc. i think it's those little things that will make an impact on my health. it has been a struggle to accomplish this.

i found myself getting teary-eyed up before the appointment, everything finally hitting me, that this is my health. this is me. i need to do something about it. j. was there, and the doctor walked in, while i was having this emotional moment, and as j. put it, the doctor looked at him, like he was Chris Brown (the singer that is allegedly accused of beating his girlfriend and singer, Rhianna). i quickly explained...i don't know if it was also because in the last couple months, there has been serious medical drama with my relatives, but i was scared of the doctor was going to say. j. thought i was crying because the nurse asked me to take my shoes off so the doctor can inspect my feet, and i was nervous because i haven't had a pedicure for more than a month (ok...that was part of the reason i was crying. i'm self conscious about my feet, ok?)

she, of course, told me that i have to cut down on my schedule, take time out to take my meds, and check my blood sugar regularly, as well as exercise and eat healthy. sigh...she did not want to prescribe me insulin because she felt that i needed to get back on track and on schedule with my meds. in three months, she wants to see improvement, so we can talk about fertility again. so that's the goal. we want to see improvement, as well, for ourselves, our future, baby or no baby.

i'm so glad j. was there. he takes good care of me and i could not ask for more. i need to take care of myself, so i can take care of us. i want to get back to the person who i want to be a new, and improved me.

how do you take time out for yourself? please leave a comment! would love to hear from ya!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

goddaughter jaylyn: 6 months

here's an update on my goddaughter, jaylyn. this is her 6 months old shoot, although she is almost 7 months now. i think she looks adorable in her laker outfit and bunny get up. i don't know which one i like the best. she's chloe's cousin (see earlier posts). we took their portrait sessions together, in the backyard of their grandmother's house. i think it worked out great. j. and i were going to set up this big backdrop, but we thought it might rain, and it would be a big hassle to breakdown if we had to do it in a jiff. besides, i love the japanese fountain in the background, and green grass spoke to the upcoming season, as the theme was Spring Portraits.

i always favor natural settings, anyway. the setting also tells a story. whether it be baby portraits, senior portraits or bridal portraits, the choice of setting and background, add to telling the story of what type of lifestyle the subject leads, personality of the subject, or even, like in this case, document the setting of home life. this is what is called Lifestyle Portraits. 

i remember a portrait my uncle bert took of my dad, in his backyard. it was an action shot of my dad doing a flying kick (martial arts). now, that backyard is no longer, as they have remodeled for a more mature garden, and no longer is the wide open backyard, where we once rode swings and danced the night away. i'm so grateful for that picture. it brings me back to a time of my youth. i'm sure you can think of a picture that reminds of being in that moment, that place, and that you can almost touch, see, smell, and hear the elements, like you're there. 

studio pictures, with generic backdrops, have their place in an owner's collection. but if you want to tell a story, natural settings are the way to go!

jaylyn, as was her cousin, chloe, were great subjects. she loves to smile, and smile for me and her mommy, she did. i love the in-between expressions, the wide open mouth, the questionable stare...are all so endearing! 

check out my faves below, and her slideshow!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Chloe Anne: First Birthday

just in case you haven't checked it out! 

Friday, February 27, 2009

my response about a rant

i wanted to share my response to a blog entry from another photographer, jared polin. i've mentioned him before in my blog. very cool photog, with cool afro-ish hair, that has shot for Rolling Stones (cool!). his blog is full of tips, stories, songs, video, and funny asides. his blog entry today was a "rant" about how photographers should help other photographers. i thought this was very interesting, seeing that a couple days before he was ranting about newbie photographers breaking into the wedding business in another blog entry. i had to read this,   immediately thinking that these two rants are contradictory. i needed to investigate.

his first rant was about newbies, kind of struck a chord with me. i've been shooting weddings, professionally for about three years now. i still have a day job, that i respect and like. i shoot weddings and portraits because i love the art of photography and the relationships i make with people. i love documenting their joyous moments. it's a challenge to me every time i shoot, to be better. 

at first, i was taken aback by the rant. but i understood it. i was shooting a Nikon camera, fully manual, since i was sixteen years old. i know the basics of darkroom printing and developing. took two photography courses, worked for a photo processing booth and worked as an event photographer in college.  even though i recently bought my first digital camera two years ago and i am so-called a newbie to the business, i do not find myself included in jared's rant.

and..i actually agree with him.

since i just got married (two years ago), i know what it's like to interview many photographers and finding "the one" within a budget. with that said, i also know that wedding photography is something everyone should NOT skimp on. i understand the recession and the economy is not making it easy for all of us. but couples are still getting married. this is a moment that cannot be rewinded, redone, reenacted...this moment is unique because it's your moment. why are you going to leave that in the hands of someone inexperienced, ill-equipped and not knowledgeable of workflow, technicality, and professionalism? your friend may have a fancy camera (doesn't everyone?) but you cannot replace a good "eye" for composition, quality of light, and the skill of anticipating a shot. 

but my friend will do it for less than $1,000 or free! i've heard brides say. you can't put that kind of value on an event and  on memories that will be invaluable to you. i would never want to put that kind of pressure on a friend or family member. they can shoot at your wedding, and give you the pictures, but first and foremost, they are a guest. let the professional photographer be responsible for those important shots. let them carry the burden of fulfilling your wishes.

i always tell potential clients that i want to be their photographer because they like the way i photograph and the rapport we have with each other, not because of my price is lower than my competitor. someone's style of photography cannot be bought. neither can their personality. even with the highest end camera. 

because we are in a recession, does not mean the bride needs to go cheap on everything. i always say, the flowers will wilt, the dress will be stored away, and the cake will be eaten. ten years from now, twenty-five years from now, your wedding album and pictures will be your heirloom, a family tradition, passed on and enjoyed by generations later. most photographers are accommodating and will work with what you need or want. tell them what you want, and if you have the same vision and connection, they may "work" with you on the price. both parties "win," like jared polin says. 

lastly, i do agree again, with jared, that photographers should help other photographers. i am truly grateful for information that i have gained from giving photogs, just in running a business, and giving the best service to my clients. i believe that has become a win-win for both my clients and my business. we pride ourselves on good service, and good products. so, i definitely don't mind "giving back" to the photog community. i love talking about photography! so if you have a question, no question too silly, please let me know !

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

making memories in the maternity ward

about a year ago, i was taking Kat's maternity portraits. it was memorable, because it ended up with a trip to the hospital. Kat came over and i took some maternity belly shots, all the while, she was complaining that she was having some, let's say, going through some physical discomfort, without going into detail. in true form, i keep shooting, telling her to stand here, sit there, lie down, sideways, upside down...etc. and like all my pregnant subjects, she was a trooper. saying it was okay and it was up to me when to stop shooting. everyone knows i can keep shooting till the cows come home. for some reason, i get my best ideas (and shots) once i've warmed up and the subject has become used to the camera in their face. in this case, her belly. 

what i remember the most is going to the hospital with Kat and keeping her company, entertaining her (because there was NO TIVO) and i remember, a lot of giggling and laughing.  those moaning mothers probably wanted to kill us! (sorry!) i stayed there until her husband, Jeff, arrived (thank goodness, thought the patients). 

so i wonder if Chloe recognizes my laughter, now that she is out of the womb, and WALKING! she is spunky character, who's apparent new favorite word is "OUT!" hmmmm...i wonder what her parents teach her!

here's some faves of Chloe's one year portrait session. for my expectant mothers, i have a maternity portrait package called My First Year, and it includes a full year of sessions (maternity, newborn, 6 months, 9 months, 1 year sessions) print credit, and a custom, personalized photo book keepsake. keep your eyes peeled for Chloe's First Year book! if you, or anyone you know needs maternity portraits to mark this special time, please contact me for more details!

check out more pix here (slideshow)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

keeping up with resolutions

standing guard

it's almost the end of the month, and here's an update on keeping my resolutions. mind you....i have a pretty healthy idea about "resolutions." i think of them as more of "goals"---things to strive towards, and not necessarily, having to be perfect about it. it's all about growth, right?

resolution #1:attend one social network event per month
i have not attended any of my "social network" meet ups this month. actually, i've been rather busy. it always ends up that way. when i think i'm in a slump or have a lot of downtime, i tend to fill those empty dates with meet up dates. but, as soon as i reply with "yes" or "maybe," something comes up. sometimes bad, sometimes good. as you know, the last couple weeks have been a roller coaster ride of sorts with my family members' health issues. the good thing, is that i have met two new potential clients and have reconnected with lots of old friends. so, that's a plus in my book! 

resolution #2: cook at least one new recipe a month
my husband is bummed, but self-righteous when it comes to this resolution. he is still waiting for me to even cook an egg for him. i have to say, i cannot think of a good excuse/reason why this hasn't happened. we have been staying in more lately, and have had the opportunity to cook more at home this month. again, the silver lining is this. i realize that my husband does more for me than i acknowledge. that i am really spoiled. j. is my alarm clock in the morning, my personal chef (makes me breakfast, lunch, and dinner, when he finds the time), my therapist, my housekeeper. all the above, as i am behind my computer, or texting someone on the phone, or catching up on the "Bad Girls Club" on my DVR. i still am working towards this goal. i know there's other ways to be a good wife, but this particular goal will make him happy and redeem myself on the spot! 

resolution #3: walk the dog 30 minutes a day
thank goodness, the puppy can't talk. popo (who is in the pic above) is our lil' puppy (he's 2 years old). technically speaking,  popo is walked everyday. unfortunately, not by me. j. walks him religiously at least 1-2xs  a day. there's a lot of excuses for this one. one of them, being, there has been a lot of crime incidents that have happened in the past month on our street and within blocks of our townhome. our neighbor was held up at the water store and there has been recent break-ins in our complex's garages. the other night, a helicopter hovered for a half hour, and seven police cars were parked outside. since we usually don't get home until dark, i don't feel safe to walk around here. at least not right now. so i will walk with j., occasionally with the dog. again, i will have to work towards this goal. i am not going to give up on this. i know that i won't let fear rule my life. i'm just being more cautious. especially since popo is so much more obedient and happy when he's walked. Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, is totally right about that!

resolution #4: do something for myself, at least 30 minutes a day
well, i started out doing this at the beginning of the month, when i was in Vegas, with my dad in the hospital. i was able to slow down a bit, and read something for pleasure. since i got back, my novel, Angels and Demons, is collecting dust again. exercise? but i have been drinking water, and sort of kind of taking my blood sugar. my doctor wants to see me in 2 weeks. i know i will have to face the music. but it's for my own good. i do want a better quality of life, and enjoy the rest of my life. i see my dad in the hospital, even though he never was a drinker, a smoker, etc, he still got cancer. but, i know i have to be preventative, and control this disease, my diabetes, because it was not fun going to the hospital for my headaches, and for my dad. so tomorrow, is a new day. i am still optimistic and motivated to turn around my lifestyle. 

so, that's my update. how are you folks doing with your "goals" this year so far? post a comment. would love to know how you are doing, or how you are staying motivated? 

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

dark days....inspiration

somedays you gather inspiration and motivation without seeking it. it knocks at your door, with subtlety. or whispers in your ear, like this video short from one of my fave photographers, zack arias. if you are creative, or an artist, you can appreciate this short, even if you are not a photographer. check it.

thank you, zack arias, for shedding some light and truly offering something real to the artist community.

Friday, February 13, 2009

wedding wire's: 2009 bride's choice awards

we are so stoked to have received one of Wedding's 2009 Bride's Choice Awards! this award recognizes the top 3% of vendors from the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. we are truly honored and blessed to have such generous, wonderful clients, as well. thank you so much! the press release by Wedding Wire is below:
WeddingWire, the nation’s leading wedding technology company, just announced that GJ Spiller Photography has won the 2009 Bride’s Choice Awards™! 

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes and honors vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US. That means GJ Spiller Photography is one of the very best Wedding Photography Studios

Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds through surveys and reviews. 
"We are excited to launch this annual award program to honor high-performing vendors based solely on the experiences of our WeddingWire community,” according to Timothy Chi, WeddingWire’s Chief Executive Officer. “This year’s recipients have set the bar high, exhibiting excellent service and expertise in the wedding industry.” 

GJ Spiller Photography  would like to thank our past clients for speaking on our behalf and helping us win the 2009 Bride’s Choice Award!