Monday, November 24, 2008

I LOVE Taking Portraits!

Wow! It's been a really busy week! I booked to portrait sessions at our fundraiser a couple weeks ago and I got to shoot both within the last week!

I did the Konigs last Thursday evening. Kevin & Cindy have been married just over 8 years and you would think they are newlyweds. They're so sweet I get a toothache everytime I am around them. :) They chose a Wall 2 Wall Standard Traditional package, and I think they will be very happy with it. When I last spoke with them, they were planning to use this photo in their Christmas cards.

Yesterday was a busy one for me, also...I got up early, had breakfast, drank at least a pot of coffee, came into the studio early to get some web site updates done, as well as update my blog, but alas! That wasn't meant to be. I found that my anti-virus program had expired. Apparently I had ordered two copies of Norton 360; one for each laptop..but at about six months apart. Well, the one purchased in November of last year went over a couple of days ago, and the one for the first laptop had been renewed for up to 3 computers and it doesn't expire until April, but of course, NOTHING is as easy as it seems with my software, so I ended up on the phone with the Symantec people for over an hour! I spoke to a lovely person who was very personable, and we got it all worked out. Just in the nick of time, too, I might add.

I had the Dutton portrait session scheduled for yesterday, as well, and when Rhonda called me to tell me she was on her way I told her to drive R E A L L Y S L O W L Y because I still had the Symantec people remotely controlling my laptop out here in the studio. Fortunately all is well that ends well, because I regained control of the computer, updated the virus software, and the laptop was ready to rock and roll when we reviewed the proofs right after the shoot. As you can see, Mark and Rhonda have a wonderful family. The kids were an absolute joy to photograph. Madeline was very poised (AND photogenic) and Okey needed a little convincing to jump in Mommy's lap for the family shoot, but as you can see, it was a great session!
I was able to put a rush job on the processing so that everyone would have their prints prior to Thanksgiving, which is so important when families get together. It's nice to have those current portraits in hand when you see the grandparents and aunts and uncles and everyone's clammoring for a copy of your portraits.
If I don't post again this week, Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fundraising and Picture Taking...

So, wow! It's still November, I'm still busier than a one armed paper hanger, the DDJ is still making me crazy, but I remain (much to my surprise) upright and breathing! All I can say is that I will be SOOOO happy when the Joint Commission has come and gone. Perhaps the PTB will regain their normally even keel, huh?

We had our fundraiser out here at the studio on Saturday. While we didn't have an incredible turnout, we were able to acquire almost four huge boxes of groceries which we delivered to the Taylor family, and needless to say, our timing was wonderful. :)

During the weeks leading up to our fundraiser I was able to complete the Sperry photoshoot, some of the portraits I am posting here. I've got two more shoots coming within the next week, and because they were booked during our fundraiser, I am able to contribute 30% of our proceeds toward the benefit.

I just want to give a shout out to all that helped us get this thing off the ground. Specifically: Lori & Aaron Carver, Rhonda Dutton, Brenda Warren, and Cindy & Kevin Konig. Without these people, our benefit would not have been as successful as it was, and I want each and every one of you to know that I appreciate your participation, your encouragement, and your fellowship on Saturday. Can we all say, "Laminin"? I knew we could! God is GOOD, y'all! :)
Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to keep up with all this craziness! Blessings to all!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Now it's November & my hands are full!!!

Good grief! What a busy month it has been!

A very good friend of mine had major surgery last week. He had cancer ("had" being the operative word, as the docs think they got it all and he's going to be ok), but he will be out of work for 12+ weeks. They are a one income family and his short term disability pays 60%, which is good, but not good enough. He and his wife have four little girls at home and they are going to experience a financial hardship, so my fellow small business group of girlfriends and I got together and brainstormed, and the result is fundraising for my friend and his family. This Thursday night we will be having a benefit Pampered Chef party, which will be the culmination of a month-long catalog show we have been holding. Two days later, I will be hosting a benefit bazaar featuring original handbags and gift baskets from Brenda's Creative Designs (remember Brenda, my boss, from my early posts?), facials from Mary Kay (my friend Rhonda is my sponsor, but more about that shortly), and Tupperware with my good friend, Lori. Oh...and Wall 2 Wall Photography will be there, too. A percentage of sales proceeds will go to the Taylor family by way of gas cards and groceries, etc. We are also hoping we will have earned enough from our Pampered Chef party to earn free product that we can raffle off. 100% of those proceeds will go to the Taylor family. We are having a silent auction for arts and crafts (another 100%) and are seriously considering a 50-50 drawing. If anyone in the Goldsboro, NC area is interested in further information, please leave me a message here, or email me at

And while that has kept me hopping, I also had the Sperry portrait shoot on Sunday, and have been retouching photos this week.

To further keep me busy, I have decided to be a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant. I love my Pampered Chef, please don't get me wrong, as I will probably be one of their best customers, but I thought about the pros and cons of the many income streams I have available to me, and Mary Kay seems to go hand in hand with the photography business, and I can very easily integrate the two. Should any of you that are reading this be in need of pampering, a facial, or just need a "Mary Kay Lady" please visit my other site: .

Wall 2 Wall Photography is also offering other services as well as portraiture and art images. We are now doing custom "cd" or "record album" covers with interesting tracks listed on the image. (Check back here soon for an example. I went off and left the file on my hard drive at work.) We are also offering bereavement sheets, which are basically a memory sheet with a picture of the person that passed retouched and placed on a sheet with a border and information about the individual. These sheets will be available for donations only. There are no "set" prices for this service, due to the sensitive nature of the product. Email me at for more information regarding either of the above services.

So with all of this going on, you can see that, in addition to my day job (which we lovingly refer to as the DDJ-Dreaded Day Job), I have a full plate until November 16, at which time I will be able to more actively persue my Mary Kay-related goals and my holiday portraiture.

I hope that you all have had a wonderful couple of weeks. :)

More soon!


Friday, October 24, 2008

The Busy Season!

Oh, boy! Who knew October would be so busy? I sure didn't. The day job is keeping me hopping, I'm looking into selling Pampered Chef, and it's Holiday portrait season. :) I also have a couple of events to shoot, which I am totally looking forward to!

The day job entails a Joint Commission inspection, and this year one of our requirements has changed, which means that a LOT of our policies are changing, too. Translation? A lot of work for my staff and me, and a lot of long hours.

Pampered Chef? Oh, wow! Did I mention I love this stuff? I love to cook. I love to eat. I love to meet people. I love to talk. Can you think of any other requirements that would be needed to sell a product I love so much? Stay tuned. I will keep you posted.

I've got Christmas and holiday portrait sessions coming up. If you haven't booked yours yet, call me! They are going fast and if you want to have your package in enough time for cards and gifts, book now, while there are still sessions available.

I have two events to photograph over the coming weeks and will post details on all as they become available.

This is the busy season, so the blogs may be fewer and futher between. :)

Until next time!


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Photos From the Family Shoot

So, I finally have had the time (between the day job, package pricing, and continuing ed classes) to get back in here to post some pictures from the family photo shoot last month. I tried to add the images to my last blog, but I'm having problems editing posts. I don't know if it's on my end or not, so I thought I would go ahead and create a new post so that I can share.

We have had a lot of changes over the past weeks. I don't want to go into a lot of our personal drama, so I will spare you the details. Suffice it to say that there was enough activity on a personal level to throw our business back a few weeks regarding goal setting and a timeline. I would like to be able to upload the remaining pictures from our shoot, but the editor will not let me place my cursor where it needs to be and I honestly do not have the patience to try and work it out at this point.

I did my 8+ hour shift at work yesterday, then spent 3 hours in a business plan writing class, and then 8+ more hours at the office today, and have been trying to work my way through ODesk for some information, but am hitting dead ends there, too. I think it's time to pack it in and call it a day.


Alrighty, then. I figured out the cursor problem. Hadn't ever seen that one before, but rectified it and got the remaining image uploaded, as you can see.

So now it is off to profide some computer support to a friend of mine and get started on having a weekend.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Personal Life Versus Professional Life....

Wow. So here's the deal: My 16 year old son decided, the night before he was scheduled to come home from a summer visit with his dad, that he didn't want to come home. Of course, I pulled parental rank and told him his tail would be on the plane to come home and tie up his loose ends, one of which was 300 square feet of bedroom/walk-in closet that looked like a bomb went off. He was NOT impressed, to say the least, but did come home.

He was in town just shy of two weeks before he flew back to Nevada, leaving an upset mom, brother and step-sister. During the middle of this time, Wall 2 Wall Photography had a grand opening open house, a family portrait session scheduled, and our own family portraits to do before he left.

Needless to say, it was hard to be motivated, because I was incredibly sad prior to his departure, but kept my scheduled appointments accordingly.

I'm glad that I did. While it's not professional to let your personal life get in the way of your professional life, there is a point where you have to find some middle ground.

I shot some really neat images of this family and it helped me not only get my mind off my issues, but reinforced the confidence I have in myself regarding my ability as a portrait photographer.

Even though I was upset and sad, we sat for a family session in our studio before my son left, and somehow we came out of it with some of the best family shots we've had of ourselves to date. I don't know how I managed to look as happy as I did (I was miserable on the inside), but we will always have the images posted in this blog (coming soon) to remember that we were a family.

To anyone that is contemplating cancelling any kind of professional engagnement due to personal issues: My best advice is this: Don't do it. You will feel much better if you can continue to act as if nothing is bothering you in your professional life. It helps counteract anything that might have you questioning your performance as a person in your personal life.

Thanks for listening. Until next time.....


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Grand Opening "Open House" *whew*

Yay! I got through the Open House. Y'all! I was SO stressed! But it was fun, and well worth it! We did a lot of last minute set up, and moved tables in, food in, a cooler full of ice in, dusted, mopped, swept, etc.

I got to hang my "Open" sign for the first time, and my daughter/assistant, Peri took this picture of me hanging it on the wall outside the front door. :)

We had a steady stream of visitors from 1:00-6:00 p.m. I had some of my framed art prints on display, as well as a slide show. Everyone that came to visit was very positive, including my friend and day-job boss, Brenda (that would be of Brenda's Creative Designs, for those of you who live in the greater Wayne County area). :)

At six o'clock I had my assistant, Peri, draw a name for the Photos On CD package give-away. That's Tim, my son and other assistant, holding the basket. ;)Congratulations to Don and Sue from LaGrange, NC, who won the package.
Meanwhile, back in the marketing department, I am going to be scheduling a spot on the public access morning spot to get the Wall 2 Wall name out there. I'm also starting to take notes on my commercial spots, as well, so this may be a very interesting week!

As many of you know, I offer a different type of portrait package. Your bargain basement packages consist of one or two poses in many different sizes. My session packages allow the customer to get prints of all shots taken, some even matted and ready for framing; many in custom albums. (Email me if you aren't familiar with our packages.)

At any rate, I've got to work some of my Sunday shoot. I will post that blog later this week.

Happy Tuesday, everyone! :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grand Opening!!!

Well, it looks like the day is finally coming when Wall 2 Wall Photography will officially open the doors to the studio!

We will be having our open house on Saturday, August 23, 2008 from 1-6 p.m.

Among the goings on will be a drawing for a free portrait package, reduced price 8x10 matted portraits (appointments can be set at the open house), portrait portfolios on display, a catalogue of landscape and still life prints that can be custom ordered to size, and our "meet & greet" for all of our new customers.

Please feel free to email for more information or directions to the studio.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Misadventures of a Debit Card User

As most of you (all 2 or 3 of you out there that are actually reading these) know, I am a very small business. (Wall 2 Wall? Party of one?)

Because of this, and the fact that I am just starting to get this puppy off the ground, I do not have a generic business credit card. (As a sole proprietor, to obtain one through the bank, one needs to fill out a financial report with information including, but not limited to, your assets (house, car, bank accounts, insurance policies, etc.), your income (and your spouse's if you plan on using it; highly recommended to justify your debt to income ratio if you depend on both salaries to pay your bills), the amount of business you anticipate over the next 12 months, etc. This is because if you are not a corporation (i.e. an LLC) your personal assets can be taken in the event you default on your business loan. Neat how that works, huh?

Anyway...My business checking account came with a debit card that can be used online for those types of purchases. I have used mine twice; once to order checks, and once to order a checkbook cover.

So, yours truly is going through her transactions to balance the checkbook (after having blown the dust off of it) using the online banking function that was re-established after a period of non-usage. I discovered two transactions for $11.99; once on July 1 and once on August 1. Don't ask me why or how, because I honestly don't know.

I get on the phone and call the bank to inquire about the above transactions and they did a little research and gave me an 800 number to call and have them credit the charges back to my checking account. So I called. It was disconnected. BIG shock there, huh? So I called the bank again, and they took my information and stated that a customer care specialist in their fraud department would get back with me within 48 hours.

During the 48th hour I received a voicemail from the bank (I'd been down with a bug since the night of the discovery of the charges and stayed in bed the remainder of the week), who gave me another 800 number to call. Tried that. A few times. Line was busy. Hmmmm. So the following day I get a little packet in the mail that I filled out yesterday and took to the bank. One was an affidavit stating that I wasn't lying about the fraudulent transaction(s), and the other was the actual fraud report. The affidavit had to be signed in front of a notary, and since there was one at the bank, I figured I would just leave the paperwork with them, rather than burn a couple of days waiting on USPS to do their thing. (I don't like them very much right now, either, but that's another story.)

Yes, I know...It's only, what? $23.98? Not a lot of money...Unless you don't have a lot of money in your busines account to start with, because you're trying to get up and running.

I have done a LOT of online transactions over the past five years. I mean, I'm an e-bay addict, purchase a lot of mats and whatnot online for our benefit art auctions, etc. and in that time, this is only the second time anything like this has happened to me.

On the one hand, doing online transactions with a debit card pretty much puts it too close to the actual cash. On the other hand, I'm not really comfortable putting all of my personal assets out there JUST so I can get a business credit card at this point in time. When I do my LLC? Sure. I'll use the business financial information. The less I have to put my personal assets on the line the better I like it. :)

So the only think I can feasibly do at this point in the game is continue to do as I have been, but do business ONLY with companies I am familiar with and have done business with in the past, and continue to keep a sharp watch on what is going on with my bank statements.

The first time this happened was because I apparently didn't read the ULTRA small print when I ordered some business cards (and apparently neither did a couple thousand other people). This time I was not familiar with the company that charged the card, but after having done some research, it seems that the company in question nails people that use other companies. There are another few thousand unsuspecting web-consumers that have fallen prey to this company, as well, so I'm apparently in good company, huh?

Ahhhh, life's lessons. You gotta love 'em. Until next time....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Claudia's Shoot

Wow, and *whew*!

What a busy week it's been!

We did our first portrait session in the new building last week and it went so well! I had the good fortune to take pictures of some of the neatest kids I've ever met! They were not camera shy in the least and it was so much fun from a photographer's standpoint!

I can only hope that they had as much fun as I did. :)

I'm posting a handful of images from that shoot so that Claudia & Caycee can kind of check them out in the interim between the shoot and receiving the package. :)

I am also posting some of the fun, "unofficial" shots that we took, as well.

We didn't have any malfunctions with the lighting, nobody fell off the furniture, and I even remembered to take the lens cap off the camera, unlike my very first session in the dining room. :)

One of the best things about being a portrait photographer is being able to capture families when they are all together.
Thanks, you guys, for letting me be part of such a fun & special evening!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

OMG! We Are SOOO Overbudget!!!

I am sitting here feeling sooooo stupid it isn't even funny.

I took last night off. Sue me. I was tired...I mean reallllly tired. I got off of work early, thinking that I'd come home and do a little interior housekeeping in the studio, but I didn't. I sat down in the recliner and crashed. Hard.

I was supposed to go to the bank and deposit a check I'd received, but I figured I would take care of that later. I was also supposed to move the remaining funds from the studio savings to the main checking account, too, but I figured I would take care of that later, too. I mean, we came in SO under budget that it almost hurt, so we thought, hey! Let's put the deck/porch/rails up, since we have all of this extra money. *feeling stupid* But move the money FIRST!!!!!

Lesson learned? Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow.

Wait...I got that backwards. That's what you aren't supposed to do. Which is what I did. Dangit!

Lesson learned? ALWAYS (no matter HOW tired you think you are) do today financially what you probably shouldn't put off until tomorrow. I.E. GO TO THE BANK WITH THE MONEY!!!!!

Johnny had to go to class in Havelock this morning, so we got up at oh-dark-thirty, and I caught up on house work, laundry, soaps, etc., completely oblivious to the financial issue that awaited me.

Then, around 10:30 or so, I decided a little R&R would be a good thing, because everyone knows that all work and no play makes Jules a dull girl, right? I threw on my swimsuit, grabbed a Nicholas Sparks novel, went out to the backyard and laid out by the pool, swam a little bit, and didn't think a thing about financial stuff. I mean, c'mon. It's Saturday, for heaven's sake...give a girl a little down time! Went inside, took a shower, cleaned some more, and finally got motivated enough to come in and check email and whatnot, logged into my bank, and *gasp* find that I am tres overdrawn!

You have never seen anyone move so fast! I was moving money around like one of those guys you see in the old movies doing the shell game. I absolutely almost never overdraw my account, but guess what? I really shoulda stopped at the bank on my way home yesterday, and I never shoulda crashed in that recliner. I hate an overdraft fee. I mean, c'mon! I almost NEVER get them! I make a habit of NOT bouncing checks, man! I'm serious. I take it personally if I get an overdraft fee. I'm feeling pretty stupid right about now. Why? Because as much as I hate an overdraft fee, I hate four of them even more!

I love this studio. I do, but I've gotten really slack when it comes to the finances. I am usually the one doing online banking every single night of the week and this last couple of days have been so surreal. Thursday night I posted in here, just as happy as a pig in...well...sunshine, and didn't even think to look at the bank balance. I was so busy reveling in the fact that I actually had lights, music, and the Internet, that I completely forgot to move money when money needed to be moved. Shame on me. Really. From financially responsible adult to kid with new toy in record time.

Note to self: Dear Julie....GROW UP!!!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Am Posting This From Our Studio!

Ok, so here it is, almost eleven p.m. eastern standard time, and I am sitting in the studio; in my chair, at my desk, at my laptop, with my stereo cranking some classic Journey (ok, I typed this at the risk of sounding old...get over it, I did, LOL).

Johnny and I worked on the remainder of the front deck/porch, plus stairs earlier today, and put the second window trim up, as well, so we were fairly busy, and Peri helped us a good deal with moving props and equipment into the building.

I am going to post a couple more pictures of the exterior, as well as one of the interior on this post.

Did I mention I already have a session booked for the first Saturday of August? :) Life is good.

If you know of anyone that wants portraits, have them contact us. You can see our portfolio at

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Almost Done!

OMG...I had NO earthly idea how much work it would take to put this thing together ourselves.

I do know that if I had it all to do over again and had the ca$h on hand, I would hire someone to install the floor. We started around eleven a.m. on Saturday and by eleven-thirty I told Johnny we'd be divorced by 4:00, LOL. It was close, that's for sure! LOL...Glad that's over.

Peri and I assembled the furniture, and put the lamps out. We put the rest of the "office" area together as soon as we got the baseboards installed. We even put in a mini-fridge for her Hawiian punch and my bottled water.

I got home from work this afternoon and painted trim prior to its installation, went in, painted the door trim (front side), and when Johnny came home, he installed more baseboard, I put the putty into the little nail holes, and Perio came behind me with a little paint brush cleaning up the nail holes.

Johnny put in some more baseboard, I filled, Peri painted, and by 9:30 tonite, I was able to move the backdrop stand, backdrop, lights, etc. into the studio. We're all about stoked. We have our first shoot during the first weekend in August. I will keep you posted and put up some images from that shoot.

In the meantime, here are a few pix of the studio as it sits now. I'm pretty excited if I haven't already mentioned that. :)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

So...We're Almost Done...

So, okay...Wow...We are almost done with the constuction of the studio. We have lights (who knew how rewarding just flipping a switch would be?) and the porch light works,too!

I am really excited, altho it will be a week or more before we are totally done. I spent the better part of today painting and the walls are looking pretty darn good, I must say. :)

Here is a picture of what we've done so far. :)
We will continue to post what we can shoot as things go on. :)
More soon!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Drywall, Mud, and Cockroaches, ha ha...

Wow...I think that I have come to the conclusion that I would make a TERRIBLE contractor. :) I don't have pictures to share with you this time, but I do have some stuff to share.

After being sick a couple weekends ago, it put us a couple of days behind. Fortunately, my friend Kevin (who is married to my friend, Cindy) is an all-around talented contractor-type. Cindy & I work together at the hospital, and Kevin works in the same department as my husband, Johnny. Prior to getting the drywall, Kevin had said he would be more than happy to come over and help with getting all of that up. We didn't think we'd need help, but then, I hadn't gotten sick. On Tuesday one of our plumbers at the hospital volunteered to come and help us with the drywall, and I told him it wouldn't be right to abuse him before we abused Kevin. So long story short, Kevin came over last Tuesday night and worked with Johnny and me to get the remaining drywall up. Betweeen Johnny and Kevin, they were slapping drywall up faster than I could get it screwed to the studs. It took us all of about two hours to knock it out.

So over the next several days we put a lot of mud in the joints and corners. Ok, so it's Monday night and we're not completely done, but we are close. I have done more sanding over the last 5 days than should be humanly possible. When I cough, I am sure that white, dusty clouds come out of my mouth, ha ha...

So the other night I found this dead cockroach in the plastic sheeting we'd had over the drywall. I thought that was funny. (Yes, I know...I was either overly-tired, have a warped sense of humor, or both.) Anyway, it struck me as funny that the one creature that is supposed to be able to survive a nuclear war could not survive a night in plastic sheeting. (I wonder if Terminex could use that knowledge?)

I have also learned that those women on the home improvement shows (you know, the she-contractors with the acrylic French manicured nails?) must not really do all that much. I started this project with just about a perfect "ten" (my own, not acryilic, thank goodness), and I'm down to a perfect "two." Now, I've had acrylic nails before, and I've broken one or two in my time, and THAT hurts...So I know that a) I won't ever be a she-contractor on a home improvement show, and b) it's probably wise to trim those nails down to less than 1/4" in length before starting any home improvement project that requires the use of one's hands, and c) do not have acrylics on your fingertips, huh?

Anyway, I've got to take my youngest son to Raleigh tomorrow night so that I can have him at the airport at oh-dark-thirty on Wednesday morning to fly out to his dad's so I'm going to lose a night. So I'm a little frustrated. I had hoped to have the first coat of paint on the walls before I left for Raleigh, but I'm just not really seeing that happen. :(

Ok, so I guess that's it for now. :)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Studio Build (Pix & Narrative)

Dang! Ok, I admit it. I'm mad and beat. My sinuses picked this weekend to go haywire on me, so I've been walking around here feeling just gross for two days. The decongestant I take drugs me out and I totally hate that.

So, alright. I'm going to put enough text in here to surround the pictures that I want to share with you...

Okay. The week after Memorial Day is when I had the contractors come and construct a building. I read up on lighting and space requirements many months ago and determined I needed a space that is 16'x24'. I saved every spare cent I had, including our tax refund and stimulous check, and with a "teensy" loan from my dad, I FINALLY had enough to build the building with money left over for little know...electricity, drywall, and insulation (which, if you read my last post, is a cute shade of pink but itches bad if and when you get it on your skin).

So over the Memorial Day weekend, we were busy pulling fence panels and gates down to make room for the studio. On the day after Memorial Day the guys got here and started building the structure. By the end of the first day, all four walls were up and the beams in the ceiling were a skeleton, but this thing was huge by my standards.

On Wednesday, the contractors came back, but had to quit shortly after eleven that morning, because it rained. And rained. And rained. It doesn't rain for weeks here, but when I'm having work done the sky absolutely has to open up. Go figure. My luck, right? So the guys come back on Thursday and knock out the rest of the roof.
By Saturday I'm stoked and can't wait to get started on painting the exterior. (After work both Thursday and Friday I put Kilz on the trim and the base to get it ready to paint by Saturday morning. Saturdays dawns bright, clear, and hot, but my step-daughter and I are out there with rollers going to town with the exterior grey we chose that matches the siding on the house. We are some painting fiends. We painted until about noon, at which point we felt like it was getting too hot so we thought that would be a good time for a pool break (which we took).

The following day (Sunday) found me on a ladder putting semi-gloss on the trim of the building; door frames, roof trim, etc. Of course, it got hot early, so I packed it in for the day.

The following week brought up record high temps and a freelance assignment, so you know I didn't put a lot of time into the building. I skipped a weekend, and last weekend I finished the exterior paint and started working on the electrical. Please know...2x4 studs are not in the least easy to drill through, yet that is what I did for the better part of Saturday and some Sunday. Johnny and I ran wire the rest of the day Sunday.
On Monday we acquired two new windows (the octagons didn't work for us, due to the fact that they weren't exacty compatible with drywall and security) and a bunch of bats of insulation. (That stuff itches hardcore, in case you didn't read my previous post.) So Monday we installed windows, and started the insulation. Tuesday we framed the windows and continued the isulation. Wednesday we finished the insulation. Well, as much as we could, as Johnny still had a bit of electrical wiring to do. Tim (my 13 year old) helped me get the bats in between the studs and behind the wires we'd run the weekend prior. I'm sure the people at Builders Discount Center know us by name after having visited them repeatedly this week.

So last night, I got bored and started painting doors. I'd done the exterior of the back door and needed to do the interior side of the back and both sides of the front door. That was as good a time as any, I guess. Once I was finished, I thought I would paint a personal touch on the inside wall prior to the insulation going in. The darned building was built with love, so I wanted to document that somewhere in the building...So I figured it out and made it happen. :)

So this brings us to the present. Today. 0400 hours. 4:00 a.m. and waaaaaaay to early for my butt to be up and moving, but my nose was stuffy and I totally couldn't breath and it just wasn't meant for me to sleep until the alarm went off at seven, so I watched the news. Forecast called for rain. Darn it. We actually made it to Lowes and Builders Discount Center before ten this morning. We got some pipe for wiring at Lowes and all the drywall at BDC. We'd just gotten all 21 sheets of drywall and 5 gallons of mud (not to mention a handfull of corners, two boxes of drywall screws and two rolls of tape) into the truck when the sky opened up. Mind you, Builders Discount Center is about 2 miles from the house down US-70. Those folks were so nice! They hooked us up with plastic sheeting and a couple of bricks to keep the drywall out of the elements. By the time we got done covering everything, the downpour was all but a drizzle, so we made it home safe and sound. Come to find out it didn't rain a drop at our place.

So between Tim, Johnny and me, we got 21 sheets of 4x8 1/2" drywall into the studio before it never rained again until tonite. Of course I felt like crap and took some Sudafed, but it put me to sleep. We only got a bit of the drywall up, but I guess that beats nothing at all. So guess what I'm doing in the morning?

Needless to say, I'll put more pictures and updates as things happen in the studio. :)

Stay tuned!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Insulation 101

Today's blog post will be short. VERY short. Pertains to building the studio.

I learned three things about insulation today.
  1. If you shop around, you can find it a lot cheaper than they sell it at Lowes.
  2. It's a really pretty shade of pink.
  3. It makes you itch like nobody's business if you get it on you. (scratch, scratch, scratch!)

It's been a long day...8 hours at the day job, and 3 and a half in the studio. I knew I would get tired, but didn't realize I'd be THIS tired!

Pictures coming soon. Nighty-night!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Little History - Part II

Picking up where we left off…

I’d been shooting for quarterly reports and presentations, as I mentioned earlier. This was fun. I’d get a list of “targets” from the publisher and get to leave my desk to meander about the facility to find these folks and take their pictures. Anything that gets me away from the everyday ho-hum of my desk is a good thing. Anything that does that and involves a camera is a GREAT thing!

So in early spring of 2007, I was approached by the Hospital Police Chief and was asked if I could take some pictures of his staff over three shifts for use on a story board for Law Enforcement Appreciation Week. Who was I to say no?

I worked it out with my powers that be (again, thank you, Brenda!) to make some adjustments in my regular “banker’s hours” schedule to go shoot one night on second shift and another night on third shift.

This was one of the most cool day-job assignments I’d ever had! I got to go places I wouldn’t normally go; the morgue, the roof, inside the police office. The more pictures I took, the more I realized that this really needed to be something I needed to do part-time. Even the first shift shots I took were fun. I am partial to the one of Lt. Williams directing traffic one chilly spring day. I got to get on my belly in the dirt, prop on my elbows and shoot a really unique angle, and they loved it! Who am I kidding? I loved it, too. And for those of you who don’t know, cops are a unique & different breed, so that made the entire project even more intriguing!

It was about this time that Johnny told me that if I was really going to be serious about this I had better start getting some of the equipment I needed. I made a list: lighting, backdrop stands, backdrops, more lenses (I am so partial to my 50mm prime!) and I turned into a total eBay junkie during this time. If you don’t think my feedback score shot up! J

I ordered backdrops first, and thought I would try the economical route: A backdrop clamped over a shower curtain rod in my dining room doorway, some environmentally friendly fluorescent bulbs and clamp lights from Lowe’s, a tripod, and my kids and their friends as guinea pigs. Some of these portraits came out alright. I figured if the folks at WalMart could do it, so could I. (Little did I know then that the right equipment makes ALL the difference in the world.) But from this humble set up came some really neat portraits.

Finally I decided to get the stands and the lighting equipment, etc. I even went out and bought a book on lighting technique. It didn’t help much. But the backdrop stand and light stands/umbrellas looked REALLY cool, even if I was producing incredible shadows in some of the portraits I shot. Now, I like shadows, but I don’t think the average consumer does. Even that horrible discount 11x14 on my wall doesn’t have shadows…it makes our youngest boy look like his head is the size of a basketball, but it doesn’t have shadows.

Coming soon in A Little History – Part III: Home Study and Going Into Business For Real, This Time!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Oh, Did I Mention I'm Freelancing, Too?

So, wow! Isn't it funny how some things just fall into your lap?

I was sitting out by the pool the day before Memorial Day knowing I was supposed to have gone into work for a few minutes to do payroll, but we'd had a fairly dramatic weekend at our house and I was beat, so I put off going in until the actual holiday, itself. My boss called me, and the first thing that crossed my mind was that I was going to be SO busted for not going into the office when I'd said I would. (We work pretty much banker's hours and are off on major holidays and weekends, and my thought process was that Sunday or didn't matter as long as the payroll got done before Tuesday at 2 pm.)

Anyhow, she was calling to double check my web site address because she goes to church with another photographer that was looking for some freelance help. I gave her all the information she asked for, and was tickled that she did this for me (and I was a little relieved I didn't get popped for not going in that morning, too). Brenda's cool; not just as a boss, but as a friend and fellow small business owner. She is a heck of a seamstress and sews things that I only dream about! (Inserting shameless plug here: If you are in the greater Goldsboro area and need a tailor or seamstress, let me know and I'll put her in touch with you!) So, of course I told her, yes, I'm interested, yes, I freelance, yes, I can do sports and other events (did my daughter's cheer portraits for her last summer, since the regular session was a mob scene, and I figured I could do as well, in the shade, without the wait).

So a few weeks went by and I hadn't heard anything further from or about this gentleman. This last Wednesday I was sitting at work, getting ready to hit the road for the day, and Brenda calls me to give me this gentleman's phone number, as he'd been trying to reach me. Before I could call him, the phone rings again, and it's him. Wants to know if I could do a 60 minute shoot for a Parks & Rec sponsored event the following evening. It started after I got off work, so I accepted the assignment, talked to Johnny, and we made plans to go out there and shoot this thing. It involved kids, so I was fairly stoked. Kids make awesome subjects, and this was a candid assignment, and those are even more fun!

By Thursday afternoon the air is thick with smoke from a wildfire burning well east of here, but the wind had shifted, and had blown all this haze into our area. Needless to say, it was a difficult shoot. The light kept changing (thicker smoke makes for darker shots), folks didn't want their pictures taken, kids were cranky, and somehow the event I went to shoot started an hour or so earlier than scheduled. Awards presentation? Done and overwith long before we ever got on the scene. Picnic? 3/4 of the way through when I started shooting. Shots requested? 90-100. Shots taken? 51. Shots that were usable? 35.

I was mortified! I got to the location early, and I STILL missed the main event. The smoke got so thick several times that it made my eyes burn and water, so focusing was crazy. I would line up a perfect shot, and my subjects would realize they were in my viewfinder and would turn away just as I was ready to press the shutter button. Johnny was with me and told me to shoot fast, since people were hauling boogie to their cars to leave. We pretty much assumed that the games were cancelled due to the smoke and they kicked off the awards presentation and picnic early.

I got home and found 16 images that would have been fantastic were completely out of focus. I went from mortified to devastated. Here I was trying to make a good impression on this man, and I a) miss the big event; b) have to deal with the first known "dense smoke advisory" in our area ever, and c) only manage to get a third of the requested number of shots. These things just do not happen to me!!!

I burned the 35 good images to a cd and met the gentleman after working the day job this afternoon. He liked them. He really liked them. You could have knocked me over with a feather, as I was sure this was not my best work, but we talked about things like other events, weddings, etc. I left feeling happy, and VERY relieved.

So if you see a crazy blonde that doesn't look like she belongs in the crowd with a camera peeking around trees? Hey, it might just be me. :) Come over and say hi!

A Little History - Part I

Welcome to my blog. This is the first time I've done this on a blog site, so bear with me. I'm sure this will get easier as it goes.

I started Wall 2 Wall Photography in March, 2007. I went to the county courthouse and got a "DBA" last September, went to City Hall and applied for (and found out that I didn't need) a business license that same day, changed web hosts last spring, built a new site, and contructed a studio a few weeks ago (which is still in the works; I have four walls, a floor, a roof and a couple of doors.

Business started slow. I mean, REALLY slow. I don't have a degree in marketing, or business, or...well, I don't hold a degree, period, so this is all very new to me. It's been fun thus far, and gets more fun as days go by.

This all initially started when I was a little kid and somebody (I think it was my parents) gave me a 110 camera for my birthday when I turned 9 or 10. I went nuts. I've got pictures in albums from back in the 70's! I took a film photo class for one semester in high school using a borrowed 35mm camera. I think it was a Yashica.

Anyway, fast forward to the mid-80's. I was living outside of Lubbock, Texas, in a small town called Shallowater. My spouse at that time (I've been married 3 times, kicked 2 to the curb and kept 1, but we may get into that on another post) was stationed out at Reese Air Force Base. I used to stand out in the back yard and shoot pictures of sunsets, thunderstorms, and flowers. I loved it! It killed time, and it was neat to see how the pictures came out.

As the years went by I took a lot of pictures of the kids growing up; birthdays, Christmases, special occasions, etc.
Fast forward to early 2004. I'd been married to my husband, Johnny (the other Wall in Wall 2 Wall Photography) for a few months, and we were sitting in the hot tub one nite talking about what we would do if we could do ANYTHING in the world we wanted. I told him that I would take pictures. Of course, I couldn't make a living doing it, but I would have if I could have. He asked me why couldn't I? I rattled off a number of reasons; my camera is 1.3 megapixels and has no manual settings, I hadn't shot manual in years, I wasn't good enough, I needed my full-time job income to pay the bills, the list went on and on.

Nonetheless, this conversation motivated me to pull out the 1.3 megapixel digital and start exploring things like the macro settings and white balance options. I shot EVERYTHING in the back yard over the next few months. Flowers, bugs, Johnny and his daughter forehead to forehead (which, by the way, is framed and hanging in our living room and is one of his favorites!), our dog, leaves, blades of grass, dirt, glasses of wine, you name it. The photo at the left is a tree frog that I shot through our storm door with that little 1.3 megapixel Sony. By July of 04, this had blown into a pretty good sized hobby, and we purchased a Fuji S5000 with all kinds of neat settings PLUS full manual. I went NUTS.

I left the backyard, and hit the open road, looking for anything and everything I thought might look good in a frame. This went on for a few more years. I created a pretty impressive collection of landscapes and floral macros. Everything was fair game. :) We went to farms, to the beach, to my mother-in-law's garden, my mom's place in Raleigh, car shows, festivals, football games, etc., etc., etc. I had collected enough images that I was able to donate about thirty matted prints to a benefit art auction we held for the American Cancer Society. Between three photographers we were able to donate over $1300.00! :)
About 18 months ago I purchased my first DSLR (a Canon - my weapon of choice!), and decided that yes, maybe it's time to do this. About that time I also started shooting pictures for work as a staff photographer for the newsletter, and I also grabbed the majority of shots used in our quarterly reports and presentations. I got a LOT of free lunches from that gig.

Next time: A Little History - Part II: More staff photography, a couple of nights with the cops, and a peek into portraiture.