Class of 2016!

...that moment when you look at your last blog post, and realize it's been an entire month since you posted... Yikes! (covers face)...

Hiiiii! I've been pretty busy behind the camera this last month or so, which is totally a good problem to have, but I'm back, like I never left! And I've missed you guys!

While playing catch up, it's only appropriate that I share what I've been doing. In addition to photographing beautiful families, I've been capturing some pretty special memories for 2016 Seniors as well, and I must say that they have been a BLAST! From cheerleading fun to sports to Seniors that are off to college in the fall, it's been a pleasure getting to knowand connect with these young ladies and gentlemen. Their futures are SO bright!

Enjoy a few highlights below from my latest bunch of graduates: Christa, Josiah, Mia, Janai and Gabby!

Congratulations to my DreamlandLife Seniors!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you've imagined." -Thoreau.

 

WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE...

Growing up, I didn't really watch afternoon cartoons, but I DO remember watching Oprah after school every day. Every. Single. Day. (What 7-year old watches Oprah? Lol.) I remember feeling her passion for what she did through the screen. She was inspiring. She was confident in what she had to offer the world. And I mean...if I can just be honest, she was a BOSS. But building that empire wasn't easy..and I'm sure, just like many others, Auntie O (yes, she's my aunt in my head. judge me. don't care. lol) had plenty of bumps and bruises along the way as well on her way to the top. In "O" Magazine, Oprah often has a column somewhere in the pages entitled "What I Know For Sure." In this article, she shares messages that she has learned in business, personally, and life in general. This particular post will be just that... Things that I know for SURE...and I can only speak on it because I've lived it, I've learned it, and most importantly, I've grown from it.. Transparency 101. *deep breath*

When starting a business years ago, I will admit that I had NO idea what I was getting myself into. Ok, granted I knew the basics and I understood the concept, but knowing it, and DOING it are two ENTIRELY different things.  Transitioning from Corporate America to being a full-time entrepreneur was...interesting, to say the least. The corporate 9-5 world is an ENTIRELY different aspect as opposed to the world of entrepreneurship. I'm a firm believer of the #SharingIsCaring concept... Whether it's a tidbit of knowledge, a great sale, a new makeup product, a recipe or simply a word of encouragement, I love sharing with others what I know and what I've learned along the way. Now...there is definitely a disclaimer to this post...I DO not know it all...I DO not have it all down, but I DO know what has and has not worked for me...so today I've decided to share just a few valuable lessons that I've learned as an entrepeneur;) The good thing is, my nuggets don't solely apply to just photography, they can be used in many fields, whether you are climbing your way up the success ladder or even if you're a budding business owner.. Don't hold me to these tips, but hopefully, you may find a small bit of knowledge and apply it where necessary:) That being said, I present to you...'"What I Know For SURE."

1. There is no Secret Formula.  

...because in reality, there isn't. No shortcuts. Starting (and growing) a business takes work. Lots of it. One step at a time. Initially, I knew that I'd have to put time, effort, and capital into my company, but I don't think I realized HOW much time, HOW much effort, and HOW much capital was required. I was up for the task, but I'd soon find out that every day wouldn't be smooth sailing. It definitely took some adjusting. It was a one-woman show. I was the secretary, the assistant, the photographer, the note-taker. the boss, and..and..and...all rolled up into one person, me. Eek! Those early days were brutal, however I also had some REALLY good days. I captured some REALLY sweet moments, and most importantly, I learned REALLY valuable lessons.

2. Write a business plan.

So...since we're laying it ALL out here..(covers face), my truth is that I didn't have a written business plan in the beginning. Terrible, right? I know..I know...Which is the reason I'm almost CERTAIN I write EVERYTHING down these days. Yes, I knew what I wanted to do, I knew (somewhat) what I wanted to offer, I knew how much I thought I should be making...I had it all figured out. Or so I thought. But you see a business plan will help you to ensure that you are effectively communicating the vision for your company as well as outlining the plans to achieve your goals. It's a clear method of seeing which measures you need to take to secure the success of your endeavors...and plus it just always helps (for me, at least) to SEE your vision on paper and to work towards bringing that to life.

3. Provide excellent customer service.

Give your all EVERY time. Leave the customer with a lasting impression EACH time they come in contact with your company. I'm a people person, so naturally, interacting with clients is always a part I enjoy, but even still, I try to always go above and beyond. Are they satisfied from the very first interaction all the way through the end?  Am I prompt with communication? Am I timely? Am I pleasant? Am I consistently delivering quality goods? All things to constantly keep in mind when dealing with your consumers:) I love working directly with the customer, hearing their desires and providing that very thing to them (and hopefully exceeding their expectations at the same time). What do your clients say about you when you're not around? What does your character represent?

4. Don't take it personal. (Easier said than done, right?)

Whew......... I could write a BOOK on this one. Personal and business interactions are 2 ENTIRELY different things. You have to be able to clearly distinguish the difference . Over the years, there have been numerous situations where I didn't necessarily like what a colleague did, but I understood their method because they were doing what may have been best for their business at the time. And THAT, I understand fully. The reality? Well, the reality is that being an entrepreneur, running a business, and climbing the ladder of success takes guts...and tough skin. But you've GOT this! Re-adjust. Re-assess. Keep going;)

T'mil Curtis, entertainment industry expert, sums it up perfectly by adding that being an entrepreneur your feelings and emotions should not dictate your ability to preform, produce, prepare and or present. Couldn't have said it better myself:) (Thanks, T'Mil!)

5. Lastly...STAY THE COURSE.

Seriously. There will certainly be good days in business and in building, but if you're anything like me, there will also be those days where you're just unsure of what to do, and how to do it. And frankly, there may even be a time where you can't see past your current view. But STAY THE COURSE. Remember why you started. Remember the plan. Remember the goal. 

Gina Miller, music industry executive, motivational speaker, friend, encourager, my godmother (and so much more..) quoted something SO GOOD yesterday that stuck with me and I thought it was too good not to share with you dreamers as well;) "The building blocks of your legacy, what will be left and said when you finish, begins today! Dreaming it is one thing. However, there won't be anything to talk about, celebrate and leave later, if you don't start, stay determined and disciplined to building it now."  (Thanks for sharing, G!) Gosh....Isn't that good?!

Stay the course, guys and dolls. You're closer than you think:) Again, these tips may not work for everyone and/or every unique situation, but hopefully you can take a few nuggets away for yourself, and we can all continue on this journey of development, growth, business, success, and more...

Have a great day, Dreamers!

Until next time,

B.

Prom Session Giveaway!

Prom. It's basically a big deal. And for a Junior/Senior in high school, it easily makes the list of one of the most memorable days of your year. Prom pictures are so valuable because they capture the essence of the day. They are your forever tangible memory of the moment, the day, and the feeling. This year, I'd like to offer a very special package to a very special young Junior/Senior. Whether you are attending prom with your girlfriends, or if you have a date, let's capture this moment in time with a personalized photo shoot just for you and your guest(s) of choice!

Your Prom Day Session will consist of a full photo session for you and your date and/or group of friends at a designated outside location. You will also receive $100 worth of prints, and a darling 8.5' x 11' customized photo book with highlighted images from your special day. And as an added bonus, enjoy your prom dinner and a little fun on me! You'll receive a $100 Visa gift card to spend on your prom evening, however you'd like! This package has a combined value of over $350! 

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. You must obtain permission from your parent(s) to enter contest.
  2. You must be a current Junior/Senior attending high school in the Indianapolis, IN area.
  3. Follow  @dreamlandlifedotcom on Instagram.
  4. Grab the shareable image as seen on Instagram and/or Facebook and SHARE on your page. You must tag @dreamlandlifedotcom. (Account must be public in order for entry to count.)

*Note - ALL entries must be received by Wednesday, April 20, 2016 @ 12pm.*

WHAT HAPPENS IF I WIN?

If your name is announced, you will have 24 hours to contact me via email : bridgett@dreamlandlife.com.

*DISCLAIMER*

Failure to contact me within the 24 hour time frame will result in the forfeiture ofyour win. Should you forfeit, a random drawing will take place and a second winner will be announced. The Prom Day Giveaway can not be redeemed for cash, nor can it be exchanged for any other session offered by DreamlandLife.

 

Best of Luck! The contest begins NOW! ;)

#ShareTheLove

Happy April! Spring is in the air, eh? :) Spring always proves to be a favorite (and busy) season here in Dreamland. With perfect weather and lots of sunshine, it's easy to see why I love taking pictures in natural lighting during these months. This Spring, I'm excited to kick off the Dreamland Life Client Referral Program! In this business, a referral is one of the greatest compliments you can give, and to show my appreciation, I wanted to say thank you with this new incentive program.

 

How does it work? I'm glad you asked! It's SO easy! Just 2 easy steps:

1. Have your friend mention your name when they book their session.

2. Once their session fee is paid in full, YOU will receive a $25 Visa gift card to use however you please, and THEY will receive a $25 print credit towards the purchase of their prints.

That's it! Simple, right?

Note:

There is NO limit on how many people you can refer.

Photo credits are for new clients ONLY and are non-transferrable.

 

To my past, present AND future clients, thank you for supporting ME!

I couldn't do this without you;)

Happy Sharing!

 

 

behind the lens...

Take a look at the picture below.

 

Seems like a simple maternity picture, featuring a beautiful woman and her baby bump, right? Well, technically, you're right...but to me, this image means so much more. You see, this image was taken during my very first year of full-time photography.  I initially would photograph family, friends, anyone I knew that was interested in having their pictures taken, so that I could build my portfolio...but then something happened. My phone started ringing...people wanting sessions, businessmen needing professional headshots, families needing updated pictures, and so on and so on...So I did the only thing I knew to do. I got to work. But....NO ONE warned me of the amount of work that was required as a freelance photographer building from the ground up.. YIKES! I had NO idea what I was in for. It's so much more than clicking the camera...trust me. I was up for the challenge, though;) I was nervous, excited, anxious, ready, and most importantly full of hope.  That's the thing about passion...you ENJOY what you're doing. Even the not so fun work that's required, you DO it with joy because of your heart for the act. I knew that this was what I was supposed to do. I came alive behind the lens. The exhilarating feeling I'd get every time the flash went off was unexplainable. So no matter what it took, I was committed, and I was confident that I was where I was supposed to be. Finally.

Now granted, I wasn't sure HOW I'd make this thing happen, but I knew I had to try. Can you believe that for the first few months in business, I was actually using a borrowed DSLR camera from a fellow photographer? Yes, you read it right. Didn't even have my own equipment. *covers face*...(Never despise small beginnings, right?) SO many things that I look back on when thinking of that first year; DEFINITELY high moments, but in all transparency, there quite a few blunders as well, but I kept pushing, and I wouldn't trade a moment of my story. Up to my head in tutorials, workshops, paperwork, memory cards,  "practice sessions" and more...I'd say that year was, er..uh... interesting. Whew!... but I had never felt more fulfilled with a career in my life. While my photography journey over the years has taught me many lessons and provided me with memories for a lifetime, I'm embracing the fact that this is just the beginning;)...To be able to daily do what you love? Talk about grateful,

So yes, this picture technically is a maternity image of a woman expecting her sweet bundle of joy, but behind the lens, there's so much more...;) 

 

B.

 

Where Will We Shoot? - Favorite Indianapolis Photo Shoot Locations!

So you've booked your session with Dreamland Life. GREAT! Almost always, the VERY next question I'm asked after booking is "Where will we shoot?" I'm glad you asked! Indianapolis has SO many options for shooting photographs; some you may be familiar with, and some you may have never heard of. Below, you'll find a few of my top locations where I absolutely LOVE to shoot. These are in no particular order, but I did want to share to help you as the client gage the possibilities of locations. Of course, this is just a small portion of the endless options, but it's a start, and may help get your wheels turning as far as the overall look and feel that you're desiring for your photo session.

1. Coxhall Gardens (Carmel, In)

Easily one of my favorite shooting spots! Tucked away in a beautiful neighborhood, Coxhall provides a special children’s play area with a miniature village, a gorgeous wedding ceremony area, countless acres of beautiful green landscaping, as well as a massive pond.

2. Indianapolis Museum of Art (Indianapolis, In)

The IMA is located on the Northwest side of Indianapolis, and it is the home of the ever so popular LOVE statue. With gorgeous grounds, beautiful gardens, and the perfect backdrop, it is easy to see why this location is a favorite for many photographers in the area. From seniors to newly engaged couples and more, I love the fact that each session can look completely different at the IMA. Honestly, not much more is required when shooting here, the scenery says it all ;)

3. Broad Ripple Village (Indianapolis, In)

Easily the trendiest spot on the list! With numerous colorful buildings, The Monon Trail, countless bridges, and the cutest little shops, Broad Ripple serves as a perfect touch for a fun and urban vibe for your photo shoot.

4. White River State Park (Indianapolis, In)

AHHH....It's perfect, guys. Just trust me. With the downtown Indianapolis skyline right behind you as the view, the canal waters cascading in the background, the colorful flags, the waterfall fountains and the beautiful gardens, it just doesn't get much better than this, if you're wanting to capture fun moments and portraits outside that incorporate the city.

5. Downtown Indianapolis (Indianapolis, In)

...because you can never really go wrong in the heart of the city! Whether you stop by The State House, Monument Circle, stroll the canal, stop in a local vintage bakery and grab a few pictures, hide away in a colorful alley, the options are plentiful for an urban setting. Both casual and formal settings work perfectly while downtown, depending on the look you're going for. If you're a city gal/guy, you won't be disappointed with this choice.

6. Holcomb Gardens (Indianapolis, In)

If you love nature, THIS is the place for you:) Nestled on the far north side of the Butler University campus, Holcomb Gardens provides a stunning weeping willow tree, a gazebo, a waterfall, and well-groomed greenery. If you're an outdoorsy (totally not a word, lol) type of person, you'll absolutely love it here.

7. Downtown Central Library (Indianapolis, In)

Gorgeous architecture. Lighting that is unmatched. Huge windows. New and old books with gorgeous marble columns as the backdrop. This location is simply breathtaking. Though I do enjoy shooting at all the locations on this list, the library is a personal fav. It's so enchanting! PERFECT for couples, engagement sessions and more :)

8. The Indianapolis Arts Garden/Circle Centre (Indianapolis, In)

This option can serve a few different purposes; you can have the choice of shooting with the city as your backdrop in The Arts Garden or you can even venture into the mall for more of a laidback, lifestyle photo session. With great natural lighting, huge windows, huge lobby areas and sprawling windows, this locations houses tons of hidden jewels that will make your images just what you're looking for. ;)

9. Studio (Indianapolis, Indiana)

Shooting in the studio is always always ALWAYS an option! If you're prefer more of a traditional setting as opposed to outside, if you're looking to grab a few business headshots, if you're wanting more of an editorial/beauty vibe, I suggest the studio for sure. With a variety of backdrops, great lighting, personal dressing room and more, the studio is sure to make you feel right at home, comfortable and ready for an amazing photo shoot.

10. Wild Card! (Indianapolis areas and beyond. *Travel fee may apply.*)

You pick! Though I have photographed at numerous locations in the city, there is sure to be somewhere that I haven't been yet! Remember, this is your session, your memories, your moment...Do you have an idea in mind? A location special to you and your family? That special place where your fiancé proposed? Whatever the occasion or reason may be, I'm open! Just let me know the details and as long as it is within reason, we'll do it!

 

 

 

 

 

Tiny Tots

Hi. Hello. Hey!

Happy Friday, all!

Today's post is brief, but pretty sweet, considering my subjects;) Recently, I decided to conquer the DREADED task of cleaning out and condensing the 9 million files on my computer. (Ok, I'm exaggerating...#TeamDramatic, but it WAS a lot. Lol)....Files that dated back at least 3 years or so. (Eek!) While browsing my system, however, I came across some pretty sweet smiles that I just HAD to share! Some recent, some a bit older (hence the pre-rebranding Dream Photography watermark), but the cuteness overload was too much to keep to myself! There's something special about that sparkle in a little one's eye..the candid emotions, the cute little smile that literally melts your heart. I absolutely LOVE those moments behind the lens. Moments that make it all worth it:)

Kick off your weekend with a few smiles from these little ones:)

Enjoy!

B.

"Every child is a different kind of flower, and together, they all make a beautiful garden." - Anonymous

#TBT-Senior Edition

Happy Thursday! Sharing a few images today from past Senior Sessions!...because...Who doesn't love a good throwback? :)

Seniors are always such a pleasure to photograph. You can almost feel the excitement through the lens during their session. Most times, they are just a few months away from one of the biggest days of their life: Graduation. Senior portraits are the PERFECT way to commemorate this season and capture that moments and feelings, ensuring that they'll last forever.

Enjoy a few highlights from a few of my past Seniors below:)

B.

 

 

 

 

#BirthdayGirl

Meet Ericka. My sister-friend, and latest client to step in front of my lens. :)  Recently, Ericka celebrated her 40th birthday, and what better way to ring in the new year and decade than to capture the moment with a few pictures? Last Saturday, we headed out to Broadripple Village (the weather was too amazing to pass up!); I posed her a few times, and the rest was up to her. If I can be honest, candid, natural, mid-laugh, shots are my fav anyway:) This was such a fun session! Enjoy a few highlights below:)

Happy Birthday, girlfriend!

B.

#TheClevelandShow:) Heather + Stanley.

Meet Heather and Stanley. Recently, we headed to the heart of the city in downtown Indianapolis to photograph this special season in their lives. This couple was a blast! Lots of adventures, smiles, and laughs. The love between these two was evident, and the cityscape backdrop was icing on the cake. From the White River Canal, to the Indiana Statehouse to Monument Circle, the day could not have been more perfect. I can't wait to photograph their wedding! #TheClevelandShow is sure to be an occasion to remember! Congratulations, Heather and Stanley!

More highlights to come, but for now, enjoy a few shots from their session;)

-B.