Aug 22 2011

cheese! cheesy cheese!

Last night we spent the evening at my brothers place.  I had just come from a photo session and so I still had my camera with me.  My nephew used to hide from the camera when I’d try and take his picture.  He has now grown out of that, and has turned into a cheese ball (who wants to see every picture after you take it)

It’s entirely possibly, however, that this is just a learned skill from his father. Witness:


Aug 20 2011

hello, beautiful.

Dear Green Hydrangeas:

I love you.



(Sometimes it’s nice to blog about nothing but a pretty flower.  And I really like pretty flowers.  Especially green ones.)


Aug 18 2011

serious jam.

Dave took the morning off and helped me make jam. It was a very serious event. As you can see.
If the global economy goes down the tubes, Dave & I could totally live off the land. You know, now that we have jam making down, what else would we need to know?


Aug 17 2011

times, they are a changin’


I wanted to share a little about what I experienced at the Visual Supply Co. workshop this past week.  I wrote a little on my photography site, but I felt it a tad unnecessary to go into detail for the sake of newcomers to my site.  But!  This being my personal site…well, I guess you would come to expect me to write things about personal experiences…right?

Here goes.

We arrived in San Francisco on Sunday evening, after a two day long drive from Abbotsford.  {READ: “The Long Long Drive”}  Monday, Dave and I spent the morning and afternoon together, as I would be busy for the next few days.

Monday evening…it all started.

I was feeling a little panicky.  Meeting photographers scares the crap out of me.  I never know what to say.  For those of you who know me personally, you’ll know that I’ve had a hard time connecting with photographers in my area.  Because of that, I’ve become a bit of a lone ranger with my business.  Bad.  I know.

So there I was…thrown in the middle of a cocktail party with a bunch of strangers.  And they are all photographers.  And let’s face it–after talking with a few of them–they are all more experienced than me.  Yep.  I never expected to be in the “experienced workshop-goer” category at this workshop, but it was pretty insanely humbling to quickly find out I was very near the bottom of the heap.  The more I chatted, the more work I saw, the more I realized how much work I have to do to step it up.

I think it’s a fair assessment to say that I was ridiculously overwhelmed at the first dinner.  Jonas Peterson (international photographer extraordinaire) sat next to me at dinner and Sean Flanigan sat across (also, international photographer extraordinaire), and I must be honest…with the exception of a few “Uh huh!”s and “Absolutely!”s, I was silent for a good 45 minutes. (I hope I didn’t seem like a complete dork).  I may have asked a question or two (but they were probably pretty dumb).  I sat there and listened to every bit of photography information that they passed back and forth.

The next two days were to be equally overwhelming.  But in a good “holy crap I’m learning so much” sort of way.

All the speakers were amazing.  I don’t need to go into detail about what they talked about, because, well, that would take forever.  And you didn’t pay anyway, so I’d be sharing their secrets. ;)  We had a live shoot (the images above are from that–while working in Jonas Peterson’s group).  I was surprised how little instruction on movement the photographers gave.  I’ve always been paranoid that I don’t instruct enough.  Whenever I get new clients, their biggest concern is “Are we going to have to pose?! All on our own?!”  The photos that I always enjoy, however, are never the posed ones, but the ones that I’ve caught them off guard and they are interacting with each other.

The main thing that I wanted to share though, is how I plan on changing my business.

Here’s what I’ve discovered:

- I had no focus.  (funny.  Photographer with no focus.)  I took pictures based on what I thought people in my area would like, and not based on my artistic eye.  My bio on this page describes me as a sci-fi loving crazy cat lady.  Now, I’m not going to make your pictures look like you’re floating in space amidst kittens (heh heh) but I feel like so little of my work displayed in my portfolio matches my personality like it should.  My branding is also boring.  My website lacks a vision.  I don’t make people want to hire me.  This needs to change.

- I don’t charge enough.  This is a tough lesson.  It’s one thing to be humble with your work and say “Oh, well I’m not good enough to charge that much”.  But your pricing contributes so much more than you really realize.  Photography is 10% of a wedding.  If I want to be doing much higher caliber weddings, I’m not going to get those charging what I do.

- My entire post processing workflow is way over complicated.  Keep it simple, stupid.

- I’m going to spend the time/money on marketing.  Booyah.

- I’m gonna be working overtime to achieve all of this.  I have an colossal fear of mediocrity, and that’s probably why I’ve been struggling so much with liking my business over the last few months.  I have no plans on being a middle of the road sort of photographer.  I’m leaving that behind.

So, what’s going to change then, you ask?

Pretty much…everything.  I’m treating this first year in business as school.  Last week in San Francisco was final exams.  And I scored a 60%.  Not good.  I have plans on a complete overhaul on the exterior of Courteney Rodda Photography.  New site, new logo, new cards (well, I only had a few of those anyway) marketing packages…etc.  I’m excited.  The way I approach sessions will be different.  The way I edit will be different.

Times, they are a changin’.



Aug 16 2011

{♥} inside our house

Does it seem absurd to anyone else that I got this oil painting for $6 at the thrift store?

I looked up the artist, and all I know is that he’s from Vancouver (I found another person from California who had 3 of his paintings that he has bought over the years at auctions, and all he said on his website was that it was a painter from Vancouver).  I do know one thing for sure:  seeing as it is a ridiculously large painting (it’s 30″ x 36″) even the frame is worth more than $6.  Never mind the fact that it’s a real painting….that wasn’t mass produced by a factory in China.


I really like it.  I love the colours, and I love that it really fits in with our 60′s inspired decor.  And even if it turns out that this painter painted thousands of paintings and his stuff isn’t worth a dime, I still like it.

Funny thing is, Dave and I have been talking a lot recently about going to art auctions out in Vancouver and investing in some paintings.  Well…I think $6 is a pretty good start, don’t you?