Who’s Phil? Everyone.

Also – Happy Monday.

Today’s blog post is about how to prepare for your engagement session! Or your wedding photography… But truthfully the best way to prepare for your wedding photography is to have your engagement session done by your actual wedding photographer… not some other “friend with a good camera.” If you do that – then you’ll be prepared for your wedding day photography. Why? Because.

Oh, did you want some real reasons? Ok fine:

  1. Most importantly, You’ll get to know YOUR actual wedding photographer!! What if you hate them? What if you have a terrible experience? I hope you don’t… but your engagement session is a really good way to get to know this person who will be glued to your hip for 7+ solid hours on the most important day of your life. You better learn to like this person!
  2. You’ll get used to being directed and posed by your photographer, and it will calm a lot of your nerves and get you EXCITED about how amazing your wedding photos will be. I mean if you love your engagement photos just imagine how stellar your wedding photos will be.
  3. In addition to it basically being a practice run, you get a bunch of beautiful photos of you and your love to use for save the dates, wedding invites, wedding decor, home decor…. or just your Facebook profile! Because that’s what you really want anyway, right? 😉

Alright – back to how to prepare for your engagement session. Rule number ONE – RELAX!! If you’ve chosen the right photographer, then the one thing you for sure don’t need to worry about is how to pose or look good. I mean, you can practice your smile and your smolder in the mirror all you want for sure – I’d never tell you not to. But when it comes to the actual session your only job is to have fun!! It’s your photographers job to make you look good!

2. If you want to get into better shape before your session – be realistic with yourself and your timeline and put in the work so you feel incredible. Set your goals and stick to them.

3. Along with your photographer, choose a location based on the look you want. Do you want a cozy woodsy feel? Do you want a clean modern look? Beach? Park?

4. Choose your outfits based on your location! If you opt for two outfits I always recommend one of them be on the dressy side, and one casual/relaxed. Do you want to be 100% authentic you? Choose something you’d wear any day. Do you want to look like freaking models? Choose something you’d never wear otherwise but makes you feel like a total sex-pot! GO FOR IT! Get your hair and make up done – the whole nine yards. I personally am a fan of going big. However, ultimately, I want my clients to feel AMAZING when they show up, and excited for how hot they’re going to look in their photos. So whether that’s your jeans and flip flops, or a super sexy dress or suit – the most important thing is that you feel that you look your absolute best.

5. Consider props – I personally think they can definitely be fun but are not necessary, so don’t stress over this! If you can’t think of what props you’d like to use, skip it!

6. If you’re like me and can’t seem to calm your nerves because you rarely like the way you look in photos, have a drink or two before your session (Responsibly please! Absolutely no drinking and driving!). I’ve had clients bring a bottle of Fireball to their session and take two shots before walking in… They also requested that I take a shot with them, and I did… it was a kind gesture but please don’t bring me Fireball – I hate it. Maybe vodka… just kidding. Whatever helps YOU loosen up and have fun! But ultimately, try not to worry. Within the first five minutes of your session with me, you’ll realize I’m not exaggerating when I say – you don’t need to know how to pose… that’s MY job ❤

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For more information on wedding photography please visit http://www.briannacaster.com

When it comes to Photography they say, “Pick a focus. Don’t be a ‘jack of all trades and master of none.'” Ok – so I know they say that about everything in life…. but I’m a photographer so we’re talking about it in relation to photography. Cool? Cool. Coolcoolcool. (just typing that made it start looking and sounding foreign… say it a bunch, right now, in your head… or out loud – sounds weird right?)

I went back and forth a lot in the past because I wanted to be a master of photographing all things people. Weddings, families, babies…. but as time went on I ultimately decided that I’m a wedding photographer. The biggest compliment to me, however, is when my wedding clients come back to me and ask me to continue capturing their life stories. My answer is always YES!!! I love capturing the lives of my clients and being a part of their special moments. But if push comes to shove… or someone just flat out asks (because what does ‘push comes to shove’ mean anyway? Aren’t pushing and shoving the same thing? And who pushes people these days when trying to get an answer out of them? Aren’t we all practicing ‘non-violent communication’ or is that just me? The last time I pushed someone it was my “little” brother Adam, and I think we were kids. Ok, maybe we were teenagers… but I digress), “what’s your specialty?” I say, “wedding photography.”

However, about two and a half years ago I picked up a new specialty. Ready for the cheese-o-meter to get hit so hard the bell at the top shatters into a million pieces? On February 24th 2015 I became an Auntie to Adalynn. This year on February 27th I became an Auntie to Jaidyn. And some days I think I’m a much better Auntie than I am a photographer. I also became a wife this year! I’m hoping that will also develop into a specialty for me, but I can’t speak to that yet. You’d have to ask my husband. He’d probably say, “She’s getting there… but I wouldn’t call it a SPECIALTY just yet.” I get it – I’m a newbie. I can speak to being an Auntie because my niece and nephew can’t really argue at this point… my husband can.

So right now my focused specialties are, Wedding Photographer, and Auntie (working on my Masters of Fine Art in wifey – at what point can I say I’ve mastered that? 10 years? 15? 20? …..1? Probably not 1.)

Every Thursday I get the pleasure of being the care-taker of my sweet niece and nephew. It’s my favorite day of the week. And pretty often I bust out my camera to capture the shenanigans. We run around with balloons, we play hide n’ seek, we make play dough, we try new foods, we sing, we dance, we cry, we throw fits, we take naps, we have silly conversations and lots of giggles, and so much dang love.

Here’s a small snippet of one of our recent Thursdays with Adalynn & Jaidyn.

For more information about wedding photography, or for lesson’s on how to be the worlds best Auntie (I’m modest, right?) – please visit our website at http://www.BriannaCaster.com

 

I wish there was a secret to balancing your professional life and your personal life… if there is, and someone knows it – and you haven’t already shared it with me…. then you suck.

I don’t think there is. It’s something I am constantly learning how to do…. in good ways and in unfortunate ways. When you own and operate a small business you get excited and want to include as many of the closest people to you that you can. Who better to share your success with than your friends and family? And who easier to reach out to and trust with your business and your clients? I’ve met so many amazing people, talented photographers, mentors, and friends throughout my journey in professional photography. For the most part it’s all rainbows and butterflies and everyone is your best friend!

Then all of the sudden you have to start making difficult decisions and actually ACTING like a boss and that’s when it gets sticky. I’ll be honest, the thing I like LEAST about my photography business is putting on my “boss” hat. When my team first started using the term “boss” with me I hated it. I’m a confusing person, I admit it. Because when I first ventured off on my own I felt a freedom I had never felt before. I didn’t have to listen to my business partner anymore or play by rules I didn’t like. I got to play by MY rules. I got to treat people the way I wanted to (which is with compassion, respect, and love). I was high on the warm fuzzies I got when I was able to take control of the relationships I was forming and didn’t have to follow the agenda of someone else. I still love that! What I don’t love is having to set boundaries for other people. But there’s no avoiding it when you run your own business. If you don’t, people take advantage of your kindness, they lose respect for you, and they make you feel crummy.

So finding that balance of being the “boss” and the friend is really hard. You want to always make decisions that benefit everyone, but that’s just not always possible. You disappoint your team sometimes, you have to be the “boss” and not the friend no matter how much you don’t want to. At the end of the day all you can do is try to be the most effective communicator you possibly can be, even when you prefer to ignore the frustration and hope it just gets better. It doesn’t. It only gets worse, and it only gets harder to address.

I am not a perfect boss. I know that. I also know how lucky I am to have such a kind, forgiving, talented team of women who work with me. The truth is they wont always understand why I make the choices I make, even when I try to explain it. I try to be as transparent as I can be, because I know what it’s like to work for small businesses and not understand why decisions are made. I do realize, however, that every decision does not have to be disclosed or discussed, but I try to practice openness and transparency so as not to build walls between us, but rather to keep lines of communication healthy and fair. I know I don’t have to justify my business choices, but I do anyway. I do this in the hopes that my team will always feel comfortable coming to me and communicating their needs or concerns.

All I can do is hope that my business practices nurture an environment where everyone feels heard, validated, and excited for the opportunities I provide them. It’s hard but I hope they all know how hard I try.

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I don’t know what’s going on with wordpress – so if this gallery came out weird, forgive me…. I hope you enjoyed these beautiful wedding photos anyway!

 

For more information about Orange County Wedding Photography, or Destination wedding photography – please visit my website: http://www.briannacaster.com

 

I mean – I feel like I’m pretty good at admitting when I’ve been wrong. And maybe wrong isn’t really the “right” word – I wouldn’t say that what I’ve done most of my career is WRONG per say…. I’ve just been cheating a little.

Let me back track a little and apologize to my readers that don’t understand photography jargon. I’ll do my best to explain what I’m talking about as I go.

Ok here we go. I use my camera in ALMOST full-manual mode. I set my aperture, shutter speed, and ISO all manually. I always have. This allows me to get the creamy skin tones, and super shallow depth of field that I LOVE in my portraits. But I have always used my white balance on Auto. I figured I could just fix it in editing later…. which is true. You can. But what I didn’t realize was that I was making my post-production jobs SO MUCH HARDER.

I’m sure all of my photography pals out there are rolling their eyes at me, shaking their heads, screaming at their computers that I’m a fraud…. However – whenever asked, I have ALWAYS admitted that I (used to) shoot on auto-white balance.

No more! I finally have started shooting in Kelvin. For my non-photographer readers… White balance is all about making the “whites” in your images, true white as they appear to the eye. This is achieved by adjusting the temperature. If you’ve ever seen a wedding photograph of a bride in a pure white dress, and the dress has blue shadows – it’s because the white balance is off. The white balance / temperature needs to be “warmed” up in order to eliminate the blues and get the dress to appear white, as it does to the naked eye. On the other end of the spectrum, when you see a photograph of someone indoors under artificial light, they appear very yellow or “warm” – this is when you need to cool down your temperature / white balance to achieve a more natural look.

When you shoot with professional gear, the auto option is pretty darn good… which is why I’ve never really bothered with it much. If it was slightly off, I could fix it in editing later. However, now I am shooting in Kelvin! This allows me to control my temperature in camera, which means later when I’m editing – it’s pretty friggin magical… and I hardly have to do any white balance editing in post. I say “hardly” because I’ve only just started doing this, so my Kelvin temperatures are not perfect… YET.

I was never embarrassed to admit I shot in auto-white balance, until I realized what a HUGE difference it made when I finally began to shoot in Kelvin. It’s like a huge metaphorical lightbulb came on right over my head, so big that it smacked me in the forehead and shattered all over the place. Now I feel crazy for having shot in auto!! It’s definitely not something I recommend to people learning, because it can get frustrating trying to understand all of the settings and knowing where they all need to be. My advice would be to learn your aperture, shutter and ISO first. Once you can walk into a room and NAIL those settings, start learning to set your white balance in Kelvin. It will change your editing life.

So anyway. That’s my confession. Don’t judge me too harshly. I pulled some images from last weekends wedding at Faulkner Winery to share because I shot with natural and artificial light, all setting white balance with Kelvin and it was AWESOME.

Enjoy ❤

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For more information on Wedding Photography in Orange County and beyond, please visit our website at http://www.BriannaCaster.com

Venue: Falkner Winery

Florist: A Cottage of Flowers

DJ & Live Band: Still Listening Productions

Photobooth: Westside Photobooths

Videography: Amari Productions

Photography: Obviously… yours truly: Brianna Caster & Co. Photographers

We’ve all been there – right? Super pumped about going somewhere and so ready to book your flight. That was me when I was ready to book my trip to photograph a New York Wedding. I got to pack up my little Orange County wedding photographer-self and strut my stuff on the East Coast – AGAIN! YAASS!

Then you realize that for some reason every airline wants your first born child as payment for your ticket and you’re like, “excuse you?” And one airline in particular is in hot water right now, so they happen to be a lot less expensive than the others… so even though you swore them off years ago because of their bad service, you’re like, “I’ll take advantage of their mistakes. Book me!”

What I didn’t realize at the time of booking, was that United’s lower price had nothing to do with their recent scandal. It had everything to do with a new category/policy they started one month before I booked my flight… which is their “Basic Economy” category. What is that, you ask? It’s where they suck you in with a cheaper ticket price making you think you got a hell of a deal because they made some BIG public mistakes, and they’re trying to make up for it…. while they sit back and snicker and their devil horns grow REAL sharp *insert evil doer laugh here* and once you click purchase they go, “GOTCHA SUCKER! NO CARRY ON FOR YOU!!!”

Ok that may or may not be a minor exaggeration. But yeah – basically they dropped ticket prices in “basic economy” and the trade off is that you don’t get to have a carry-on OR choose your seat. Well, I missed that fine print. I kept thinking it was weird that I didn’t get to choose my seat… so I went back looking for where I could pick my seat because that’s how obvious this new change is NOT. I then found the fine print that said I couldn’t choose my seat, still found it weird, but said, “oh well it was cheap.” And stopped reading. Oops.

It wasn’t until I was literally hopping into John Wayne Airport with all the excitement in the world ready to take on a New York wedding!! While checking in to print boarding passes a window popped up reminding me again that I couldn’t pick my seat – and then there it was… a massive sucker punch to the gut… NO CARRY-ON! All the tires outside began to screech and every person crash into the one in front of them as my heart began to pound out of my chest.  I stared at my husband who was not paying attention, with my jaw on the floor. He was like, “what?” And I just pointed at the screen. Then my blood began to boil and I marched over to the counter.

After asking politely if I could just pay the upgrade cost to check my bag, and explaining three times WHY I couldn’t check my photography gear, and being continually told no… I began to get heated and scare my husband. He frantically sat on the floor while I argued, opened my photography bag, and backpack… and began playing tetris to see if he could get all of the important stuff into my backpack. I was on the verge of demanding a manager when Randy stood up and said, “Babe – it’s ok. Look. I got it all in the backpack. We just have to check your flashes.” At this point I’m pretty sure smoke was coming out of my ears and I was growing a pair of my very own devil horns. I was furious at how unaccommodating they were. I don’t know why I was surprised – but if I’m ready to happily PAY EXTRA to carry on my bag and not get the seat upgrade I’m paying for because I want my gear on the plane THAT badly – WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!? I was about to explode. Reluctantly, I listened to Randy… and we checked my flashes. My cameras, batteries, lenses and memory cards made it into the backpack. Before releasing my vice-like grip on the bag, I got ahold of my friend in New York to locate a B&H in case I had to buy new flashes when we arrived. When she told me she found one, I let them pry the bag out of my hand… and a single tear of rage fell from my eye, as I walked away defeated. I told Randy that if he would have JUST let me fight them, I would have got the whole bag on… but he was worried I’d be on the next cell phone footage gone viral of someone being dragged out of an airport….And then he found a wine bar and ordered me two glasses of wine at once and bowl of mac n cheese. He knows the way to calm my rage.

Thankfully the flashes were in working condition when we arrived in New York…. and I captured this beautiful Spillian Wedding:

 

So what did I learn? Never fly United. Double check the carry-on situation (but seriously, who would have ever thought no-carry on was a thing?). And always wine.

For more information about destination wedding photography, or orange county wedding photography – please visit our website at http://www.briannacaster.com

Hi Friends!

Yep – I’m here to blab some more about BOOKING YOUR MINI SESSIONS!! I posted a lot on Insta and FB the first week we announced them… My calendar fills up crazy fast when we announce these so the last two years I have brought in more members of my team so that we can accommodate more clients.

Why do we do Mini Sessions?

It’s no secret that we are primarily Wedding Photographers. Through that journey we are lucky enough to build relationships with so many couples. Several of those couples start families and we are honored and humbled to know they enjoyed working with us so much that they want us to continue documenting their big life moments. How could we say no!? Because we book so many all year long (slow season doesn’t really exist for us, thankfully), it is often difficult for us to accommodate the number of requests we get for holiday portraits.

With all of that in mind, we have decided that Mini Sessions are a win-win for everyone! We get to accommodate all of our requests for seasonal family / couple portraits in 3 days, everyone gets their session in, AND its quick easy and INEXPENSIVE!

This year our sessions are taking place on:

October 21st – Little Corona Beach, Corona Del Mar as well as Griffith Park, Los Angeles.

November 26th – Carbon Canyon Regional Park, Brea as well as Griffith Park, LA.

And for the last minute Lucy’s – December 2nd at Jeffrey Open Spaces Trail, Irvine.

We still have space available on all 3 dates in Orange County & Los Angeles. If you refer a friend (new clients only) – you’ll receive $25 off your mini session.

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Book Today!! Call or text us at 657-223-3060 – or email us at briannacasterandco@gmail.com

For more information on full sessions, wedding photography, or any other events, visit our website at http://www.briannacaster.com

Alright Caster. Time to wrap it up.

Let me start with – I still don’t have it all figured out. I have been successful, yes – but there are still mountains I want to climb and goals I want to hit that make me feel like I’m still a big nobody in this industry.

Like any smart woman in any sort of sales business, I knew I had to start making relationships of my own. Up to this point no one really knew who I was. When I went to industry events, my former business partner did all the talking and I was barely introduced. Believe it or not, I am actually very shy when it comes to introducing myself to strangers, so it was time to put on my big girl pants and pretend I was good at it.

At every wedding I photographed I got business cards. The big break I got was actually based on a relationship that I initially got with my former partner. When things went south with us, other struggles surfaced. I put the client first, I did everything for the client with only the goal of taking care of these people – not the goal of getting money in my pocket. The way I handled these issues did not go unnoticed. A few months down the road (October to be exact – two months to my deadline) I received a phone call from the team at Wedgewood Upland Hills asking me to come out and meet with them to discuss becoming their exclusively referred Photographer. I jumped at this opportunity to work with them and their couples.

By December word had gotten around at other Wedgewood properties. I was asked to come on as a 2nd preferred team at Vellano, and the exclusive team at Sierra La Verne. Now it was time to make some decisions about growing my team so that I could grow my business.

In January of 2015 I launched my 2nd photography brand, Shy Heart Studios. Why did I launch a second brand instead of keeping just one? I get asked this ALL OF THE TIME. My first reason was because I knew I couldn’t photograph every wedding personally, and I felt it may hinder our growth if Brianna Caster & Co. was hired but Brianna Caster wasn’t the photographer. I wanted to give my entire team a fair and unbiased chance at growing together and booking as many weddings as possible. My second reason was so that we could really cater to our Wedgewood couples with a website that highlighted each property. I kept Brianna Caster & Co. as my own personal portfolio and brand. Maybe one day the two brands will merge, but for now I love the growth we have experienced under both brands. Having both brands, at this point, allows us to reach a wider range of clients and allows us to cater to most budgets.

I have been very fortunate with the relationships I have built and maintained. If it wasn’t for my experience with my former business partner, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today. I still have set backs, and I am still growing and learning every day and I love every minute of it. Sometimes it’s hard and frustrating, but I wouldn’t change it. Each challenge sets me up for success down the road. Each challenge forces me to learn what steps to take next. I go forward with the mindset that it’s all teaching me something and setting me up for bigger and better things ahead. I never let myself think I have it all figured out – I am always learning, always trying new things (for at least 1 year), and figuring out what the next move is. The moment you think you know it all – is the moment you stop growing, and start losing. Keep at it! I’m right there with you.

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Fore more information on wedding photography – please visit our website at http://www.briannacaster.com – or email us at briannacasterandco@gmail.com

My story is a bit longer than I thought…

I’ve said this before, and I will say it again – no one succeeds alone. There are life circumstances, good and bad, that shape who we become. There are many people that cross our paths, good and bad, that also shape who we become. Sometimes those circumstances and people in the moment feel like the worst things to ever happen to us, but if we move forward with the reminder (as painful as it may sometimes be) that “everything happens for a reason” – once we get to the other side of that dark tunnel, out into the light, we can look back and understand the path that lead us there.

In my 31 years I have only worked for one large company. I always worked for small business. My first job was at my Aunt & Uncle’s restaurant; my second was for American Eagle Outfitters (the one large company); my third was for another small restaurant; fourth was for a private lesson music school; fifth, sixth and seventh were all about the same time. Two of those were photographers and one was a marketing company. I learned a lot of very powerful lessons from all of these jobs. I watched all of these small businesses make huge mistakes, and have huge triumphs. I watched them hurt their business, and grow their business. I think the thing I paid the most attention to, was how they treated their employee’s and independent contractors. All of these things helped shape how I run my business today. I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do….

I had some personal things happen in my life as well during my college years that made me make emotional decisions. I attempted my first business partnership because I didn’t want to start a business alone. I didn’t think I could be a self-starter. I thought I needed someone else to give me direction… I thought I needed a boss in a way, or someone to hold me accountable. I was an art major after all, not a business major. I didn’t know what I would do alone. I quickly learned that that business partnership was not a good one. It was early on in the partnership that I realized it would not be a healthy fit, so I got out of it.

 

I also got my heart broken by someone I worked with at the time. So as I was finishing my last year of college, I was dying to get away from that job – away from the constant reminder of my broken heart. I felt if I stayed, I would never heal. I started looking for jobs and I got a job with a photographer, and a marketing company at the same time, both promised with a start date the first Monday after graduation.

Eventually, the marketing job turned into a traveling marketing job and the photography side of it diminished. I was all of the sudden in a strictly sales position and unable to find time to do any photography. I slowly backed out of the other photography jobs I had picked up along side the marketing job as it became full time. Once I realized I was deviating from my dreams, I left the marketing job and went back to the photographers I had slowly stopped working with. They both took me back and I was back at two photography jobs and trying to build my own portfolio. One of the photographers I worked for became an incredible mentor. She understood that I needed to build my portfolio and she helped me every chance she got. The other was the polar opposite. She restricted me from working with others in the same field, and made me sign a contract stating that I would not compete in her field. This felt very ugly from the start, but I was naïve. I thought I needed to pay my dues and this was how I needed to pay them.

Flash forward 2-3 years and countless frustrations later and I somehow found myself in another partnership with the same Photographer who pigeon holed me to begin with. I remember getting into the partnership thinking, “this isn’t what I want.” But I did it anyway. The devil on one shoulder telling me I had no other choice unless I wanted to start from ground zero shouted louder than the angel on the other side telling me I could do it alone. So I signed on.

About a year later I found myself so unhappy I couldn’t keep a positive thought in my head about my partner or the business we were starting. I even tried to give up shit talking and complaining for Lent that year. I was so miserable that forcing the ugly negative thoughts out of my head felt like the impossible task of climbing mount Everest without training. I dreaded going to the office. I felt like my opinions didn’t matter, and I had only ever been needed as a pawn in a vicious game of good cop bad cop that was being played. At the same time I felt stuck. I was in a business partnership with someone who I knew would make it hell if I tried to get out. I was with a partner that strong-armed me at every turn and if I simply didn’t want to work with this person any more I knew it would be an ugly fight – one I was terrified to take on. I really felt stuck.

Then one day the final straw that broke the camels back was forced in place. It was a fight that went on for three days. It was “Get out.” “Good. I’m done.” “Great!” and a door slam. Then it was, “Everyone leaves me. Please don’t leave me… I need you. Get back here.” Just like any super nasty co-dependent relationship. When I refused to return things got really ugly. Clients were stripped from me, and I was left with nothing. No portfolio, no clients, no money.

There was a point that I stood in the middle of my kitchen after another fight on the phone where I thought, “this is what business rock bottom looks like. I have nothing. Literally nothing. How the hell am I going to do this?”

Eventually, through very difficult discussions an agreement was made where I was granted a handful of clients that would float me through the end of 2014. That was my deadline. I had 8 months to get my business going and enough weddings to pay my bills… I had no money for marketing, just enough to get me by and hope that a website revamp, Facebook boost, and referrals would get me started in 2015.

I called my Mom and told her. I said, “I don’t know what’s going to happen but I have until January. Mom… I might have to get a REAL job.”

To which she replied, “Don’t you dare. You can do this Brianna.”

“But, how?”

“I don’t know. But you can. I know you can.”

I was angry at this statement at the time. I was frustrated, I was terrified, I felt like a bird with two broken wings and had no idea how I was going to mend and get back in the air…. I needed her to tell me HOW I was going to do this. But she had literally no answers other than, “I just know you can.”

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I promise to finish this blog next week! For now check out Sam & Becky’s beautiful wedding in San Diego:

 

For more information on Orange County Wedding Photography or Destination Wedding Photography, please visit http://www.BriannaCaster.com

I get asked to share my story more often than one might think. It’s a long one, so I typically try to sum it up in as few words as possible…. Being that I’m not one of few words, that’s a real struggle. So I’m going to try to tell you about how I got this party train started in a blog post… where I can use a lot of words because it’s good for SEO 😀 If you’re not up for a longer read, go ahead and skip this weeks blog (and next weeks because it’s a two parter) – I don’t blame you… but it’s Tuesday so if you’re bored at work – indulge!

I knew in middle school that I wanted to get into photography. My sister took a black and white film class as an elective and she would tell me about the “dark room” and how she would develop her images and it sounded so fascinating to me. One of the images she captured was one of our dog Champ. This photograph was the first time I really paid attention to perspective in an image, and saw a good example of it. His nose was in the lens making it look a bit larger than life and the rest of his head trailed off a bit. I loved that dog so much, and I became obsessed with wanting to try my hand at the dark room and get cool photos like my sister did.

Unfortunately by the time I was able to take an elective, photography was not an option, so I didn’t get to play like she did in middle school. When I got into high school I took digital photography as an elective and loved it. I loved learning Photoshop and my obsession continued. When it came time to start thinking about college and a career I knew then that wedding photography was my calling. There were some naysayers… there were many people who told me that photography would be “hard” and that there would be a lot of competition, and that I probably wouldn’t make very much money. So when I began journey at Irvine Valley College I changed my major about 3 or 4 times. I began thinking with a “what career can I make a lot of money in” mindset. Because one think I knew for sure was that I didn’t necessarily need to be rich, but I didn’t want to struggle financially…. Another thing I knew was that I couldn’t do the same thing every single day, so the struggle to find a dream job was going to be REAL. So the search for a new calling was on. Marriage and family counseling? Too depressing. Interior Design? No talent for that. Event planning? Too stressful.

One day I sat down and thought it out. What could I see myself doing every day and not getting sick of it? There was no other answer that made my heart leap like photography did. Wedding photography. I finally gave into the temptation to do the “hard” job. Because I realized that if I was going to choose a career, it was going to be something I was passionate about. And I knew if I were passionate enough about it, I would not struggle financially. I would thrive and succeed because I would LOVE what I was doing; and in case you don’t already know this – I am stubborn as hell. I stopped feeling sad and discouraged by the naysayers and started to get irritated at them, irritated enough to prove them wrong. When I start something, I put my all into it… they would see. I could be successful at photography. And so my major was declared. I would work toward obtaining my Bachelor of Fine Art in Creative Photography when I transferred to Cal State Fullerton in 2006. I’d show them all that when you’re passionate enough, you can succeed at anything.

…………………………….. ❤

 

I’ll share the next part of my wedding photography business story next week! As with every blog post, I have to share a wedding right!? I love this sweet couple Judy & Gil – take a look:

 

 

 

 

As someone who recently got married, I can confidently say that the BEST decision I made for my wedding (besides my husband of course) was hiring my wedding planner. I tell my clients all of the time, if I could have you hire ONE person other than myself as your wedding photographer, it would be a wedding planner.

Wedding planners are painfully underrated. So many people think they can handle it all themselves, or have friends or family help plan and coordinate the day of… and then they wonder why the entire process is so stressful. The sad truth of it is that even after the fact – I think people still don’t realize that hiring a planner would have changed everything!!!

From a brides perspective I can tell you that my planner (Megan at Sweet Peach Planning) took so much weight off my shoulders throughout the entire process. She organized my budget, found EXCEPTIONAL vendors that were within my budget, scheduled the meetings, and kept me on track for what I was allowed to spend on each and every aspect of my wedding keeping us from blowing our budget out of the water. Not only that, but she handled all of the conversations and contracts with my vendors and was there to make sure that things were going right every step of the way. The day of my wedding she had everyone organized with what time they were to arrive and where they needed to be for set up. She was there to handle set up, organized every single detail so I didn’t have to check a single thing. She knew my vision, and she brought it to life. All I had to think about on the day of my wedding was having a good time. There was absolutely no stress on me! Yes – things went wrong (that were out of my planners control) but Megan handled each situation without saying a word to me. Because we are now life-long friends… when I got home from my honeymoon she told me about some of the things that happened (like that our bartenders didn’t show up!!) and I was blown away that she handled it all and never let me worry about a thing. She was also there all night to tear down the rentals, and back early the next morning to make sure everything was taken care of and nothing got left behind. If I could put into words the gift that is, I would. But it’s impossible. Wedding planners, and I cannot stress this enough, are WORTH. EVERY. SINGLE. PENNY.

As a vendor – having a planner organize your timeline, and keep everyone and everything on track means I get to just be your wedding photographer and not also have to attempt to coordinate with all of your vendors to make sure everything happens on time and we stay on track. Having that load off my shoulders, allows me to be more creative as I get to focus on just your photography. Without a planner, your wedding photographer and DJ are often the people who have to organize your day and that takes us away, on some level, from being able to dedicate 100% of our energy on the reason you hired us!

So if you can, let your wedding photographer be your wedding photographer!! And let your family be guests who get to enjoy the day. Don’t put them to work. Hire a planner!! I have many fabulous recommendations. Just ask!

This is a wedding that I photographed that Megan and her team at Sweet Peach Planning planned and coordinated at Vibiana in Los Angeles, and it was perfection.

 

For more information on wedding photography in Orange County, San Diego, Los Angeles, or literally – anywhere!! Please visit our website at http://www.BriannaCaster.com

 

 

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