Gracetta Recognizes Love

The delivery of portraits is always special for me, but today was even more special. Gracetta has dementia, but knows LOVE when she sees it. Pictures of her daughters and her beloved caregiver Sara lit her up from within. Yes, it was a very special day!

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Tuesday Tell All- 2/21/17 Jude and Beth

Tuesday Tell All

Every Tuesday, I’ll be hosting a FaceBook Live at 12N to talk about the stories behind the images.  

This week, I’m going to talk about Beth and Jude. They are contributors to my upcoming book, Love Still Lives Here.  This is a book about the families who love and care for those with dementia.  I’m slowly working on it with an editor and hope it’ll be out by the Fall of 2017.  It’s a celebration of love and devotion.  I met with each of the families, we talked and I recorded our interviews.  I also photographed some beautiful portraits for them and for the book.  I’m writing  their stories now and preparing to get them to the publisher.  


The Bigger the Love, The Bigger the Hurt-BUT, but the Bigger the Love- Beth Wick


Have you ever thought about what goes on behind the scenes of a photo session?  Maybe you’ve looked at photos, and wondered about the people in the photos-maybe their story or what was going on at the time.  Beth's quote is beautiful in so many ways.  

Love was going on at the time of this photo- deep and devoted love.  She and Jude have a love that is deep and devoted and enviable.  It's the kind of love we all yearn for, and it always has been. It's the love that defines their relationship- not Jude's dementia.

 

Jude and Beth

I want to tell you about Jude and Beth today- 12N on Facebook Live-Carmen Buck Photography page. 

They contributed to Love Still Lives Here.  I recently listened to our interview and was once again amazed by the deep love and true devotion Beth has for Jude. They met later in life and have a beautiful, deep love.  Jude developed dementia, and Beth continues in her devotion to her husband, but dementia does not define their relationship- LOVE defines their relationship.

What Defines Your Relationship?

What defines your Relationship?  Is it how you met or what challenges you've overcome?  For Beth W., Jude's wife, it is NOT dementia.  We met to talk about their love story and how the disease has impacted his life.  I'm compiling stories in a soon to be published book, Love Still Lives Here to honor the beautiful love stories that exist in spite of and in some cases, because of the dementia.

The Love of Jude and Beth

  • His face lights up when he sees Beth.  Like many with dementia, he may not be able to tell us who she is to him, but it is clear she is important to him.  

 

  • Their love has crossed many BIG hurdles and the commitment is clear.  Dementia has altered their 'retirement' plans but Beth is committed to her daily visits, caring for as much personal care as possible, helping him eat, sharing his favorite music with him, walking about and cuddling.

 

  • Dementia has not taken the core of who he is.  He has remained kind, loving, genuine, open hearted with a beautiful sense of humor.  

 

  • Beth wishes to define their love by these characteristics rather than using the dementia symptoms to describe her loving husband.  She admits to needing to honor what is rather than mourn what isn't and to look at their life with a wide angle lens.  That's photog talk for looking at the big picture but you get it.  

What Defines Their Love?

Patience -certainly in the beginning of their love story and now

Kindness- he is helpful to the other residents in the memory care facility where he lives- Poet’s Walk in Round Rock.

He is a gentle man

He is a spiritual man.  He had things happen that could have lead him away from his spiritual beliefs, but they did not.  He is who he is in spite of what happened.  

 


Love Still Lives Here

Our elderly deserve our respect and love. We sometimes forget how important it is to memorialize every time of our lives-even our later years. These beautiful families contributed to my book Love Still Lives Here. I honor them.

Teaser ALERT!

There is so much more I could say about this sweet man, but you'll have to wait for Love Still Lives Here to come out in the Fall of 2017.  You'll see many more pictures, too.  I fell in love with the animation of is face and his sneaky smiles, but again, you'll have to wait a few more months.   You know this blog post is just a super short version, right?  His wife shared beautiful stories about Jude before he had dementia, once he was diagnosed and now that he is in a memory care facility.  The love is so evident in the images, but you know I can't show those until the book is out!  Love Still Lives Here will be published by the Fall of, 2017.  At it's core, Love Still Lives Here is a book about the love in families and people with dementia.  After years of being in reverence of families caring for loved ones with dementia, I realized these stories of LOVE and DEVOTION need to be shared with the world.  These are the stories so rarely heard.  Love Still Lives Here is about the many expressions of love and will certainly entertain, inspire and open your heart.

Tune in to Facebook Live on Carmen Buck Photography page at 12N Tuesday 2/21/17!  Comment and let me know you are there- it'll help me so much!  I'll post it below when I'm all done!

Texas Frog Fest 2016

I have a son, who is my heart.  He is a wonderful young man, daring and loving and strong and kind.  he is a loving husband-a loving man who wants to be his best.  He is an Iraq War Veteran of the US Army Infantry.  He has been home nearly 10 years and continues to heal.  The Lone Survivor Foundation has been a HUGE help.  He had the opportunity to spent time at the retreat center with his friends and also with his wife.  We are all eternally grateful.

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What is Lifestyle Photography?

According to Wikipedia:  Lifestyle photography is a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday.  The primary goal is to tell stories about people's life or to inspire people in different times. Thus, it covers multidisciplinary types of photography together.  

A lifestyle photographer is not only a portrait or people photographer.  A lifestyle photographer loves/enjoys photography as ART in the everyday, 'mundane'  life.  A lifestyle photographer is also talented in other disciplines of photography such as landscape, street photography, fashion, wedding and even wildlife with one's unique vision to inspire people's life.   That's really the ticket:  the unique vision INSPIRES another's life.  

Typically, lifestyle photography is in a 'typical' or usual setting.  This might be hanging out at home, going to their favorite coffee shop, sitting at their desk looking dazed or amazed, going for their daily walk with the dog, playing with the kids... 

When I take lifestyle portraits, "real-life events" are incorporated into their session.   Therefore, lifestyle/headshots (personal branding) might involve pictures taken in a typical workday setting.  If you are looking to let your clients know about who you are, you need to show them something real.   I can help you choose the best place for these type of images.  

Taken at Kendra Scott Gives Back to Bliss Yoga Kids

Taken at Kendra Scott Gives Back to Bliss Yoga Kids

This is an image I took at a fundraiser and just happened to catch these two cuties being little girls enjoying some shiny things.  That makes it perfect!  Can't you just imagine being there?


So how can you achieve the perfect lifestyle session? Here's a couple tips.

1.  Consider a hybrid photo session.  I'll blog more about this in the future, but a hybrid photo session involves some behind the scenes video and images.  Why would you like this?  The images we pose for are beautiful and timeless and incredibly valuable.  Combine this with some fun images showing our quirky, fun, spontaneous and unique self and you've got some awesome memories.  I love the tangible matted images and books and such, but hold the hybrid videos as a media product I just LOVE.  I tend to make these for clients as a documentation of the fun we had and it's sure to become a staple product in my studio.  I've got several videos you can take a look at on THIS page.   

One of my FAVORITE HYBRID PORTRAIT Sessions

Fun with family, horses and lots of love

2: We still PLAN lifestyle photography sessions.   We need a plan, and there might be some posing but as you can see in the video, some of the session are images taken between the images.  It's that moment between the moments that leave me with goose-bumps (God-bumps!) which I believe is a brush with the divine.  Got to go for it!  Those moments are what make life magical.

3: Have FUN!  Life is too short to NOT have FUN!!!  We love the serious, pondering pictures, but the ones we tend to save for a lifetime of memories- the ones we're laughing and having fun.   

4: PSST- here's a secret about this photographer- I'm an observer and participant.  When I do a shoot, I become a part of the experience and yet I'm watching through my lens.  It's a wonderful place to be and why I love what I do.  Sometimes I direct and give guidance- it's a must in photo sessions.  Heck, it's a vulnerable position to be in front of the camera.  Support and guidance is always welcomed!  It's the connection I have with individuals, couples and families that make the sessions so special.  YOU WANT SPECIAL since these are images you'll want to treasure forever. 

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Kendra Scott Gives Back to Bliss Kid Yoga

I was so honored to attend a wonderful fund raiser for Bliss Kid Yoga last night!  

20% of the sales from Kendra Scott Jewelry on South Congress St. in Austin, TX were donated to Bliss Kid Yoga and they had a wonderful turnout.

 LOVE LOVE LOVE everywhere!  

This is what makes LIFE so FULL- giving and receiving.  Be sure and read on to learn more about both these organizations.  

Carmen Buck Photography (that's me!) donated my time and talent and learned about the wonderful things Kendra Scott Jewelry does.  It was an honor to be there!  Bliss Kid Yoga is a favorite non-profit organization of mine and I look forward to photographing the cool stuff they do and watching them GROW!  You can read more about this HERE on a previous blog post on CarmenBuckPhotography.com.  

 


MUST SEE VIDEO!


Bliss Kid Yoga

Bliss Kid Yoga is a nonprofit dedicated to providing yoga programs for children, families and educators in order to help nurture physical and emotional health within the community. To discover more about their programs click here.

Bliss Kid Yoga is a 501(c)3 approved public charity.

SOUTH CONGRESS   1400 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE, SUITE A-170   AUSTIN, TEXAS 78704

SOUTH CONGRESS
1400 SOUTH CONGRESS AVENUE, SUITE A-170
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78704

 Big THANKS to Kendra Scott who is CEO and founder of Kendra Scott Design, Inc.   We spent the evening at their South Congress Location in Austin, TX. This happens to be their flagship store!  How cool is that!  Kendra Scott lives in Austin and is well known for her philanthropy and support of non-profit organizations.  

According to Kendra Scott Jewelry website, the company continues to design and operate out of Austin, TX with a focus on Family, Fashion & Philanthropy. In the past 12 months, the company donated $1M and 50,000 pieces of jewelry while working with over 1,000 local and national organizations.

I (Carmen with Carmen Buck Photography) LOVE THIS!   Congrats to Bliss Kid Yoga and Big Thanks to Kendra Scott Jewelry!  

Show your love by leaving a comment for me and these lovely organizations.

 

Personal Branding- What Message do you Send?

Let’s talk first impressions

  • How long does it take to size someone up?   (about 7 seconds)
  • How long do people take to look at a webpage before moving on?  Less than 10-20 seconds unless there is a clear value or something drawing them in.

So, you do not have long to impress.  Make the TIME count! 

#1- our message has to be clear and concise.  

#2- we want people to trust us.  They will determine if they think that maybe they can trust us in what- about 7 seconds.  In this case, trust is about being open to listening a little more versus tune you out.  If we are not authentic, people will not trust us.  


How do we impress and gain trust? 

Let’s talk Personal Branding vs Headshots.

‘Head shots’ have traditionally been rather dull, flat images that have little personality.  Ah, but the Personal Branding photography is about YOU. In the world of entrepreneurs, corporations and social media the days of simply self promoting are gone.  They want to know the why behind our businesses and they want to know about us.  This is one of the most fun things about I do.  I get to know people and guide them through.

 Personal Branding is about self-expression where we deliberately shape our image and persona to let the world know what we have to offer, how we are different and WHY.  Our style shows through.  

Feeling a little Vulnerable?  

Yes, I get that.  What if your style or your way of expressing yourself is a put off to some people.  Get ready for this!  This is what happens- those who are drawn to you are YOUR clients. They’re the ones who will want to do business with you- who’ll buy from you, who’ll hire you and so on.  Those who are put off are not going to be your good clients.  And if they decide to, they’ll be the ones who lead to some drama for you.   You will not please everyone.  Attract the clients YOU want to work with.  There will be a future blog about CHOOSING YOUR IDEAL CLIENT.


WHAT IS YOUR STYLE?

So, you’ve decided that you want to think about your own style- where do you begin?  If this doesn’t sound daunting to you, then either you haven’t thought about it much OR you REALLY know yourself.

Your style or brand identity should:

  1. Authentically represent you and your business.  Ask the question ‘why?’ over and over.   I’m going to use myself as an example-

I did this and was amazed at the light bulb moments for me.  I was working long hours but loved what I did.  I did not love a lot of it though.  I went over and over asking 'why' until I got to the root of it for me.  Why was I not taking care of myself?  Why did I say yes to everyone but myself?  ….Why wasn’t I following what I was really passionate about.  Once I did this, the path was really clear for me.  It’s not that I didn’t get pulled in other directions some, but I was and am so certain about what I do.  Exactly how it's going to look- now, that’s the mystery that I so love.

I had to really do the hard work.  I had to get to the marrow of what I wanted and who I am.  I’m still working on this.  It's a fluid thing and just trying to stay on the right track will be work.   As humans, we evolve and adapt.  

So, going back to the #1- authentically represent you and your business. What is YOUR Style?  

Your Style or brand identity should:  

  1. Authentically represent you and your business.

  2. Be distinctive/memorable- it should make it clear to others what sets you apart from your competitors.
  3. It should help you get to where you want to be quicker.
  4. Be unique
  5. Be consistent and cohesive between your personal image, your website and your social media.   It all needs to go together.  You need to be clear on who you are and what your business is. 

 

Why are images important?  

How much time do you have to impress and be memorable- in a good way?  About 7 seconds in person and 10 seconds or so on the computer.  Maybe more- maybe less  

What messages do our images send?

A key component to Personal Branding is to determine how you wish to use your images. 

What will the images be used for:

  • Social Media- banners and or profile picture?  For personal or professional pages or both?  
  • Magazine, newsletters, blog posts about you or your business?
  • Personal use- has it been a long time since you had portraits taken?  Would your significant other appreciate a special beauty shot?  
  • Do you need images from different parts of your business- i.e. your office, with your coworkers...
  • Do you have special events coming up that you want to promote?  

Examples of the messages our images send:

  • Fun
  • Serious/Pensive
  • Open or Closed
  • Engaging
  • Non-threatening
  • Vulnerable
  • Confident
  • More and More

How do you get this message across:

  • Your words (style and meaning)  - written word is easily misinterpreted 
  • Your images- what they are and where they are placed
  • The colors you choose
  • The consistency 
  • Cohesiveness

Summary:

  1. Your Message- your Personal Branding is about you- you represent your business.  Your business is a part of YOU.  Don’t lose sight of that.  

  2. Be clear on your message by being clear about who you are and what you do.  Stems from your VALUES. (Watch for future BLOG post about VALUES  because they are important.)   Keep is REAL.  People will not trust us if we are not authentic.

  3. Know that not everyone is going to like you.  Know that this IS okay.  Your perfect clients are out there waiting for you.  

  4. Make sure that what you show the world is consistent with #1 and #2.  Now, you can think about colors, logo, website design and so on.  Now you know why this is NOT step ONE! 

Do you need help deciding what kind of images to use for your business:  social media, website, paper materials and so on?  I now do phone consultations to help you get to the root of your needs.  I consult with every client I photograph but I realize that not everyone lives nearby.  It's the next best thing-SKYPE or other medium to discuss this virtually face to face.  

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Beautiful Gifts

Gifts come in many forms- items, trinkets, words and even thoughts and prayers.  When I decided to start my photography studio, my friend Marcy gifted me a few antique chairs that had been in her family for generations.   As if that wasn't special enough, she and her daughters also wrote a beautiful blessing that I keep framed in my studio.   I read it everyday as a reminder that I AM Blessed.  

These are the things that make life sweet. It's in the moments.  It's when you know someone is thinking about you and really rallying for your success.  It's love.  

In honor of Marcy and Mother's Day, we did our photoshoot with her mother Sandy, and daughter and we had a BLAST!  We did an indoor shoot and an outdoor shoot because, well, they're just that special to me.  They, in return, allowed me to use the images, including the behind the scenes images for my blog and marketing.  You'll see the full blog post 3/18/16.   There is also a sweet video that might make you cry.  In fact, there are two different videos because I wanted to show more behind the scenes fun.  Life is just too short to not have FUN!  The videos are short- I know we are all busy!

Do you like the videos of the shoots?  I often do a little video footage along with the still photos for my photoshoots.  It's a wonderful combination of behind the scenes personalities that don't always show in photos along with the beautiful photos.  You can have that too!  You can see more here.  

For today, I say THANK YOU! to Marcy and all who have supported me in my portrait photography work and studio, the photo/documentary about dementia I work so hard on and all that goes with this!   Let's celebrate good friends, love and yes...BEAUTY EVERYWHERE!

Makeup/Hair by Duane Sevelin Cosmetics and assistant for the day for Vanessa Copp.  Hey, we sure had fun didn't we????  Show some love and leave a comment for Marcy!

A Family Session with Horses

We had so much fun photographing and video taping this family, that we opted to do a few more with their horses.  The girls love the horses and so- why not?  I'm so glad we did because it was probably the highlight of the session.  

You can have your family photos uniquely yours also.  This family opted to have video with some behind the scenes along with their portrait images.  These images will mean more and more to them with each passing year.  

Family sessions begin at $200 for sitting fee.

Don't wait to get your family photos done!

Because there's always MORE to the story...here's a little video/slideshow with some behind the scenes. 

A Beautiful Family Session

You'll feel the love and joy in this family.  I've started integrating a little behind the scenes video and love capturing some of the fun between the poses.   What happens next?  This family has beautiful portraits that will mean more to them with each passing year.  They have beautiful images to hang on the walls and desks.  They also have a meaningful portrait video showing things that still images miss.  It's easy to share with their friends and  families.   PERFECTION!  You can get yours, also.  Call 512-920-2825 to schedule.

What Great Artists Do

MayaAngelouQuoteRedBud

I was driving back from a YMCA workout.  It was raining but you know these beautiful trees only bloom a short time and thought the rain and wind may hurry them along.  So, I went home, grabbed my NIKON D610 (people ask me what I use) and a LensbabyVelvet56 lens and shot these beautiful images.  I took these 3/10/16 in Round Rock TX.  

It was raining and I stopped off a busy road to take these pictures in a large private parking lot.  Nobody kicked me out and it only took me about 5 minutes.  So worth the little step out of my box, because, well, WHY NOT?  

Hope, Love and Being Better Everyday

All the art of living lies in a fine mingling of letting go and holding on.
— Havelock Ellis
Dot Albright Alone-28.jpg

Delightful Dot!

Dot and her daughters  are contributors to my upcoming book, Love Still Lives Here. 

I was blessed to meet with Dot and her 3 lovely daughters, Donna, Delaney and Delinda.  What beautiful stories they had to tell about growing up and growing older with their mother.  We chat. We took pictures.  We laughed.  We laughed a lot.  

I look for themes in the stories of families caring for their loved with dementia.  Dot's family had so much to share and as always, I learned  a lot about life.  Dot has done relatively well with her dementia and her daughter's recognized that there could be personality changes that are sometimes for the worse.  They feel very fortunate that Dot has, in fact, become more pleasant as her dementia has progressed.  Sundowning is a problem, but all has been manageable and they feel their mother is content.  What a gift!

This has given them  hope believing that perhaps aging isn't as scary as it might have been had they not witnessed their mother's graceful walk into old age.  Dot is 85, thought she certainly looks younger!


These ladies have love and joy and laughter.  An afternoon with them was pure joy.  Don't you see it in their faces?  

From left to right-Delinda, Donna, Delaney and sitting is Dot.

From left to right-Delinda, Donna, Delaney and sitting is Dot.

The expected publication date for my book,  Love Still Lives Here is September 2016.  You will learn more about this admirable family and walk away with a sense of awe.  Their stories ARE about HOPE, LOVE and BEING BETTER EVERY DAY!  Be sure and 'like' my Facebook page (Carmen Buck Photography), follow me on Instagram @CarmenBuckPhoto and Twitter @CBuckPhoto

I am so thrilled to tell you more about Dot.   You know this blog post is just a super short version, right?  Her daughters shared beautiful stories about Dot before she had dementia, once she was diagnosed and now.  The love and humor are so evident in the images, but you know I can't show those until the book is out!  Love Still Lives Here will be published by November, 2016.  At it's core, Love Still Lives Here is a book about the love in families and people with dementia.  After years of being in reverence of families caring for loved ones with dementia, I realized these stories of LOVE and DEVOTION need to be shared with the world.  These are the stories so rarely heard.  Love Still Lives Here is about the many expressions of love and will certainly entertain, inspire and open your heart.


Elder Remembrance Photography

 In my 37+ year nursing career, I often cared for elders who had no recent photos.  It wasn't unusual to see people in their 80s whose most recent photos were from their 40s and 50s.  When did our later years become a time not worthy of being memorialized?  Sure, elders aren't smoothed skinned anymore, but there is still that light, that smile, that expression that is so uniquely them.  Elder remembrance photography is about honoring our later years, and recognizing the beauty that is still there.  It's about seeing the love that families have for one another-even within the mundane everyday stuff.  It's my mission to bring Elder Remembrance Photography to life!  Watch for E-Books with simple tips about how to take great photos.  Add some stories about your loved one and you've got magic! Sign up to get updates!  

Sometimes I Just Need a Little Glamour

A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.
— Coco Chanel

We had a wonderful time shooting this session.  We shot some beautiful girl next door shots in white linen with little makeup and lots of wavy loose hair.  (That one coming soon!)  Then we did some fun ones with balloons.  We got into Old Hollywood Glam mode and oohhlaalaa.  Our friend and model, Billie Jean Bachmann totally rocket this.  Our makeup and hair ARTIST is L Duane Sevelin.  He has his own line of cosmetics as well as other fun things he does.  You can't help but recognize what a HUGE difference a team effort makes.  

You don't have to be a model to have a photoshoot.  Nope- you just have to be willing, be open to try something new perhaps and surrender over your experience to have fun and experience your true beauty.  Duane and I help with styling and he brings out your best with hair and makeup.  I bring out the best in posing and our interaction.   It's MAGIC.  

Call and schedule your special photo shoot.  We are open to something new and fun- inside, outside, themed, not themed....you name it.  We artist types love this, you know?  

Leave me a comment and share the love with the team!  We read them and respond.

Leap of Faith Part 2

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘NO’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.
— Steve Jobs

Back February 7th I wrote about my Leap of Faith.  I told you that I took a Leap of Faith and promised some details.  

So this is what happened in the past TWELVE months.  After years of working with the elderly and especially dementia, I had a revelation one night.  Yep, this all came to me in one night-granted it took years to reach that night, but still.  

Every day I sat and listened to patients and families and did my best to offer what I could as they suffered with dementia. Dementia is a neuro-degenerative disease that has no cure and no real way of even making it better.  Behavioral changes with paranoia and agitation occur along with memory problems.  In any event, families and patients would open their hearts and tell me what was going on even when sometimes all I had to offer was kindness.  I'll have many more posts of the interview/pictures with these lovely families.


What they gave me was far more than I had to offer them in return.  They shared such beautiful stories of love. They demonstrated love even while in the midst of such difficulty.

February 17, 2015 I came home and the idea that someone needs to tell these stories-these love stories.  My husband suggested that I be their voice.  I should write the stories.  I had the idea to write a book, and had even attended several workshops, but just didn't have clarity until then.   My personality is to over do it in a Clark Griswold kind of way so writing a book just isn't adequate if I can add some pictures too!  I loved photography but had never taken classes or anything.  So, I attended a workshop in March 2015 (shout out to Precision Camera University), invested in some gear and by July started doing some practice shots.  That's right- JULY 2015.  

Fast forward- I have a photo studio in my home that used to be our converted garage and I've progressed to the point that I left my full time job in January.  I am pursuing my dream.  I've started the book with words AND pictures and expect it to be published by October 2016.  Wow!  I've met some wonderful people who helped propel my new career, discovered that I had some real talent and am now taking good care of myself.  I'll describe this is more detail in future blog posts.   Much thanks to my husband for having faith in me and supporting me.  His love and support give me strength.

That's me doing an engagement shoot in Waco, TX.  Beautiful couple and wonderful experience.

That's me doing an engagement shoot in Waco, TX.  Beautiful couple and wonderful experience.

Please leave me a Comment!