To kick off January, I wanted to shoot something fun and creative that was my own concept. I had envisioned a dusty blue flowy, off the shoulder gown with pastel flowers and bohemian hair. I recruited Andrew (@TregotheDJ on Insta & the best DJ, freal.) and his amazing wife Jessi to model for me. Shortly after, Jackie from Wild One Events joined in to style a little basket for us. Bella Bridesmaids was in for the dress and my HUMA go-to, Morgan, joined in for Hair & Makeup. I loved that this shoot came together organically with a few good “friendors” wanting to create some pretty for their January! Enjoy the photos, friends and click here for a BTS of Morgan doing her thang and giving some sound advice for brides-to-be!

 

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Denise Karis Photography Blog Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Denise Karis Photography Blog Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Parisian Inspired Engagement Session. Denise Karis Photography

Denise Karis is an Arizona wedding photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

This year, I set a goal to do a speaking event. Apart from Speech & Debate and Theater in school, I’ve never done a formal speaking event and the thought of starting out in front of 100 thirteen year olds, seemed like a grand idea! So, I signed up for my son’s Career Day at his Junior High.

“This will be cool,” I thought. “Just ten minutes and then I get to answer questions and listen to the rest of the parent’s speak.” Nope. I soon found out my presentation would have to fill FORTY MINUTES and I’d be giving it three times!!! In a panic, I sat down to brainstorm and all that came out of my pen was, “I take photos of people for a living.” Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh kay.

After twenty minutes of staring at the carpet and then drinking a particularly strong coffee, I was back to square one, but with new eyes. I actually remember being in 8th grade quite well, so I decided to plan this out for my 8th grade brain. I remembered being easily inspired. All it took was one well placed quote or a well versed storyteller and I was dreaming big. So my goal was to inspire someone through photography. I also remember being easily distracted. So I also decided to inject fun/funny/quirky/ridiculous elements into my presentation as well.

We started with fun photography facts. We saw the first photograph (Like, ever). We saw the first selfie! Show me an 8th grader who doesn’t want to see the first selfie! We saw the first silly cat photos (from the 1870’s!), we talked about the first Presidents to be photographed and learned that the Windows XP desktop image is the most viewed photo in history.

I told my own story… of losing my family photos as a child and how photos are important because they tell the story of your life. I even included a meme… I mean….my PowerPoint was shaping up pretty well.

I brought in my vintage cameras and some strips of film for them to hold the negatives up to the light. We looked at my early work and compared it to my recent work to emphasize the importance of lifelong learning and persistence and improvement over time. We talked about grit and rejection and being able to get back up, improve and try again.

 

We talked about the rule of thirds and canonical perspectives and then we got out our cell phones and used those principles to take some photos around the classroom.

We talked about how being an artist means you have to be an entrepreneur as well. That you wear different hats all day long from marketing to accounting to customer service. I explained that taking photographs was the fun part, but finding people who would pay you to take those photographs was the majority of the work. I also told them that it is entirely possible to be a full time creative and that they can carve out their own path in life if they’re passionate about that path.

Lastly, we discussed some artistic photographs and what we liked/disliked about them. What we thought about the colors, composition, focus, techniques, processing. And with that, I answered some questions (One of them being “How old are you?” :/ ) and I gave them candy and said goodbye!

Okay, so that was the basic outline of my presentation. On the other side of career day, here is my advice:

1. Come Prepared: Filling 40 minutes is hard! I had a PowerPoint and note cards to help me remember everything. I also practiced about five times at home. Just saying the words almost creates a muscle memory in your mouth (that sounds SO weird) and it really helps you to not trip over your words the day of.

2. Ask them lots of questions. The first “Fun photography fact” we learned was when the first photo was taken. But instead of saying “The first photo was taken in 1826”, I asked if anyone had a guess when the first photo was taken. Keep them involved as much as possible. If you’ve talked 5 minutes without anyone else talking, you’re not including them enough.

3. Entertain. Ok, you don’t have to tap dance or anything but maybe infuse a meme or a cartoon into your presentation. I added my 8th grade photo which got a big reaction. Think of what [eighth] graders like and try to incorporate that. Again, this doesn’t mean “PERFORM!”, it just means, add some color and try not to be too dry.

4. Aim to inspire. Why do you do what you do? What’s the importance? How do you find fulfillment in what you do? What do THEY need to do to get where you are?

5. Bring visuals and if you can, a giveaway. I brought little candy camera boxes to give away and they were super inexpensive. I also brought film, vintage cameras, and a very lively PowerPoint. Have something for them to look at. Listening to anyone talk for 40 minutes straight is hard…. spice it up!

6. Emphasize the importance of lifelong learning. I think I read this in an article somewhere and I ran with it.

7. Ask your friends for help! I have four teacher friends and they all gave their own advice. One said to set expectations early on and to not give them candy until the very end. Another said to tell them what you thought you’d be doing at their age and what path led me to photography.

8. Set intentions for your presentation. I wanted mine to be fun, inspiring and informative so I made sure each section had at least one of those elements incorporated.

That’s it! Have so much fun creating your own career day presentation!!

Denise Karis is an Arizona wedding photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris

She asked, “What do you feel were your greatest takeaways from blogging for 100 days?”

I had just posted the directory for my “100 days of photography” series on Facebook and someone had commented.

My reply was, “I learned I have a lot to say.”

A couple of days ago, I celebrated my 100th day of blogging. Last summer I had a goal that I wanted to blog 100 times in 100 days for photographers and I did it. Like, for real, I did it. And if I’m being honest, I’m absolutely shocked that I did.

I am one of those people that has BIG plans that end up no further than the notebook I wrote them in. I plan everything out, how to’s, ideas, steps to get there, and then I stop. It’s ready, set, go, but without the GO. It’s more like ready, set, take a nap and forget the whole thing.

So when I told myself, “hey, I want to blog for a hundred days straight,” I also immediately told myself “Ok you can try but don’t like, tell people you’re doing it because around day 25, you’ll fade out and people will be like, ‘hey whatever happened to that blogging for 100 days thing?’ and then you’ll have to face the fact that you quit… again…”

But then I thought, “What if I DID tell people I was doing it? And then what if I actually did it?” The cynical me scoffed, “Yes, darling, we’ve had this conversation before.” This went around and around and around until I just shut up and did it. Each day. Even on the days I didn’t want to, even on the days I thought I would throw up if Canva tried to download a PDF rather than a PNG to my computer for the 100th time. Even when I mistyped the password to my WordPress admin and it locked me out.

So today, I’m sharing what I learned in month two of being a full time photographer and that is this:

I’m more than what I thought I was.

I am not limited to the shortcomings I stamped on my own forehead in the moments of, “I guess I’m just not that type of person” or “Maybe this path isn’t for me.”

Being a full time photographer has come with a lot of control. I control everything. I no longer have a start time in the morning. I don’t have a time set for me to take lunch. I don’t have an employee handbook telling me what is an appropriate use of Facebook while I’m punched in. I don’t have a payroll team to make sure taxes come out of my check. All this control has been passed onto me and placed in my hands. A lot of it is scary, a lot of it is a mix of intimidating and fun, a lot of it is empowering, and some of it is incredibly enlightening.

Because no one is going to tell me I can’t. Or I won’t. Or I’m not good enough to have something I want. This month I’ve learned that just because someone else has an amazing business or a successful blog or podcast doesn’t mean I can’t. There’s a place for me too and it can be wherever I want it to be. Because I control the narrative. My voice can exist. And so can yours.

We are infinitely more powerful than we give ourselves credit for, friends. We are meant to be exactly what we have the desire to be. What you want is meant to be a guiding light… it leads to motivation and drive for a reason. You want what you want because you were MEANT to have it!

When I started my 100 days series, I thought I wouldn’t have anything to say, or at least anything new to say. I thought my posts would all be a compilation of tired subjects that 1,000 other blogs had already written. But as I started writing, I started unlocking things I had been waiting years to say. Things I didn’t even know where there. I started sharing my own unique thoughts and perspectives which lead to MORE unique thoughts and perspectives. I started telling my personal story because I realized I was proud of it!!

So, month two… I walk this path with confidence because if it wasn’t my path, I wouldn’t be on it. I have faith in this year because I have faith in myself. Because I’ve shown the cynical me, the skeptical me, that I can accomplish any goal I commit to.

What does your inner pessimist say to you? Does she tear you down and make you feel like you can’t? Show her you can and watch her join your side. Your dreams are totally waiting for you.

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