Thursday, December 15, 2016

Current (useless) Ponderings

I wanted to stop in for a quick hello and offer you my
 Current Ponderings:
It's so cold my toes might freeze
I am in need of a thicker winter coat (not the kind of coat from eating too much good cheese)
Is it possible to drink too much tea? 
The "Save" feature on Instagram is creepy (you can save pictures and no one can see what you save) YIKES.
Chocolate, I never liked it until I came to France
My French is getting better ...slowly but surely
Sometimes when I speak French I need someone to translate what I said (haha)
I am obsessed with zucchini noodles
Training for an Ultra Beast (if you don't know what it is look it up)
Dry Shampoo, Coffee, and Red Lipstick are magic
I am currently wearing a lightning bolt pin, it makes me feel like a superhero
Favorite Holiday Song that I try to Sing: Baby it's Cold Outside 
(and I do not sound like Zooey Deschanel at all)
I want to shoot an entire wedding with a pinhole camera
4pm in France is "baguette hour" 
Current Favorite Instagram account: Shut the Kale Up
Book I am reading: Uninvited
Duty Free Purchases after a couple of glasses of wine are:

Favorite Quote at the moment: The woman at Macy's asked, "Would you be interested in full-time elf or evening elf?" I said, "Full time elf." I am a 33 year old man applying for a job as an elf. 
-David Sedaris

Starting a business in another country is: surreal, challenging, and exciting
When starting anything new put blinders on and don't compare yourself to anyone

 That's it from my neck of the woods,

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Le Chicken ... Frenchy Annecy, France

Le Chicken: A chicken burger to write home about ... yup that's what you will find at Frenchy in Annecy. I thankfully was given a tip from a fellow American and friend, that if I was ever homesick I should try the Le Chicken (a chicken burger) at Frenchy. This advice was too good on several levels. First, I met someone who I could speak English with :) then she recommends a chicken sandwich to cure my homesick woes ... amazing.

So, time went by and I forgot about the advice I had received from my friend. Then one day after a long class in French history (a mandatory class for expats) I remembered the chicken sandwich tip off
Le Chicken!

I had BIG expectations for this chicken burger and almost unrealistic expectations. How would a burger cure homesickness and compare to a burger from the good ole US of A? Well my food loving friends ... it did. It was breaded in cornflakes for pure perfection!! Cornflakes! And if you live in Annecy and want to taste an authentic chicken burger that tastes like America and with the right amount of French twist go to Frenchy, seriously, do it. PS the fries, the fries, are simply put ... delicious.

PPS ... Excited to give you an ongoing list of places to go, restaurants to try, and things to see from Annecy, Paris, and places in between. Stay tuned!

Friday, December 9, 2016

What's in my bag ... camera bag

"What's in your bag ... your camera bag?" This is a question I get asked a lot. I mean, A LOT. In the beginning I thought: hey no it's my bag. But, you know when you find something you really love and then you want to tell the whole world. Well, those are my feelings and I want to tell you what is in my camera bag. What camera I use and other photography info.

PS this is not a sponsored post. 
 Canon, ONA bags, Moo cards, if you feel inclined feel free to sponsor me :)

I remember looking at the photo works of Henri Cartier Bresson and Richard Avedon in my first photography class in college, and was immediately moved. I started looking into the lenses and cameras that they used and became "fixed" on emulating film photography but shooting digitally
 (yes I have photographed film but it's currently a hobby.) So, for me I mainly shoot with a 35mm f/1.4 an 85mm f/1.2 and a 50mm f/1.4... these are all fixed lenses. These lenses have helped me develop my personal photography style. I do not zoom to get closer to my subject. I move. And moving allows me to capture photos that are more personal, more tangible.

This my friends, is important. I second shot for one of my favorite photographers Edyta Photography and she gave me some the best advice when it came to camera gear, "Caroline do not get caught up in what other photographers are using" this gem of advice has helped me when I have had the urge to buy a snazzy new lens, a break your bank new camera because another photographer has said oh you need to.
Instead, I trust my gut and use my tried and true gear.

My camera: I use a Canon 5d Mark III and love it. (I've recently been asked about my thoughts of the Mark IV) honestly I am not one to jump on the band wagon and buy the latest camera in the first year of release. My Mark III feels like a part of me when I shoot with it. I know it like the palm of my hand. Now ... don't confuse this as me being hesitant to invest in gear, I am the person who invests in good gear and really, really, really uses it. (I still use an iphone 6).  I am not the person that believes buying a good camera will make you a photographer. 

No, no, my belief is: do the research, take the classes, embrace your talent, and use a good camera to only enhance the skills that you already have.  
A camera will not make you a photographer, end of story. 

It's funny because I get this sentiment all the time: "well my Uncle or someone I know has a good camera and they can shoot my wedding, take my family pics, etc?" I ask, "is Uncle such and such creative? Would you want him to photograph you through his perspective?" 9 times out of 10 people pause, think,  pause again and say ... no.

You see anyone can buy a camera, call themselves a photographer, but when you hire a photographer you are hiring, paying, and choosing what I like to call a visual storyteller, an artist. No camera will make you an artist. You are hiring someone to see the world in which you live and photograph the people you love dearly.  Last thing, when a chef makes an incredible meal, do you say after, oh hey, just curious ... what wooden spoon did you use? No way, or at least I don't.

 It is the chef, not the spoon.

My bag: I have went through several camera bags and my go to is my ONA bag. It does not look like a camera bag and I love that. I have taken it on multiple trips to Europe, traveled with it, and I use it for day to day use. This little thing (and not really little because it fits all my favorite camera gear) has been with me for the past three years. I can wear it for a shoot outdoors or an evening wedding, I love the versatility of it.

Other things in my bag:
my first train ticket to Paris for an engagement shoot... it reminds me to keep going after my dream (yup I am sentimental)
2 Flashes (just in case one fails)
Extra lenses (I switch between my 85mm, 35mm, 50mm (I will write a post on other lenses too)
Business cards (I love my moo cards they are tiny and easy to take with me on shoots)
Back up Batteries
Back up Chargers
Lens Cleaner
Extra memory cards (huge fear is shooting a shoot without a memory card in my camera)
Lip Gloss (always)
Snacks (just in case I get hungry but make sure they are on the go and won't leak)

All right ... that's that. Now you  know what I put in my camera bag. I would love to know what is in yours? And feel free to email me if you want to geek out over gear or want to talk photography.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Photographing in ... Paris and Annecy, France and of course ... San Francisco

Back when I started this blog I always had a dream to establish my business, Coeur de La Photography in California, then expand worldwide. In my head I would say to myself worldwide, worldwide, worldwide haha like my very own rap song mantra.

Worldwide, Worldwide, Worldwide

Fast forward, and that is what I am doing currently. I am now photographing in Paris and Annecy, France. Now do not think it is all glitter (I actually don't like glitter, it's messy) and croissants (I love croissants, warm fresh out of the over croissants) it has been a challenge. 

Think:  a bit of a language barrier at first (but nothing French lessons can't fix) and feeling like a small fish in a big pond when in the US I had just finished photographing a cookbook. Yup, a cookbook for one of my favorite's Ayesha Curry. The cookbook, "The Seasoned Life"  is a best seller and the photos are an absolute love letter to my craft. The experience taught me so much about myself as a photographer. I learned I was a self starter, can work within small time frames (and that I like small time frames), tight deadlines, and take direction. All things that are necessary for a food photographer. Not to mention ... working with my friend and someone I admire, Ayesha Curry was a blessing.

I had the honor to photograph and style 100 of Ayesha's recipes. So, think of how odd it is having worked on a cookbook, then coming here (France) and having people have little to no idea of what I worked on, and or the cookbook's title. Yup, that will surely knock anyone down from their pedal stole or pop the air out of your balloon quickly, but hey, that's ok. I am all for a little humble pie. I constantly remind myself: it's a new place, new country, new experience, and there is no offense taken.

SO, what I've learned is: dreams and the road to your dreams, you know the dream of me saying WORLDWIDE WORLDWIDE is and will be daunting, challenging, and there are new roadblocks to deal with. But, I am a firm believer things always workout how they should (professionally and personally). "That there is beauty in "the mess".

I think back to when I started this blog, people would say: what is a blog? Believe it, there were no Pinterest articles giving you step by step instructions on how to create a blog, how to make money for it, or how to gain followers. My fellow renegade bloggers, Lauren Hartmann, Alicia Lund, Mara Fereira all did it for community, not to make it big, get paid, etc.

I remember when I first started my food blog (because that's how it started, as a food blog) I only hoped be a simple, stand alone portfolio that I could show others saying: hey look I photograph my food, write about it, and love it. A portfolio of sorts. At the time believe it or not, people thought I was crazy. That I was wasting my time, that hey, "why don't you do something that is worthwhile". A lot of the same sentiments I get now with photography (yup people still say this), and especially with my dream of going WORLDWIDE and establishing Coeur de La Photography in France.

So, why did I do it, it being, come to France and photograph? I have always loved challenging myself and if I am being honest, there is nothing like photographing a couple in Paris ... truly it takes my breathe away every time (hopeless romantic no matter how hard I try not to be). And photographing food in France, come on it's the top of the top for cuisine, I mean it's FRANCE! 

I am sure by now you are thinking come on Caroline, get on with it, what's the meaning of this post? The meaning of this post: haha there is one. This post is my little reminder to keep going, brush off nay sayers, remember why I photograph, and encourage others to go after what they want. Maybe this post will inspire you to do something that has been nagging at your heart strings: starting a business, trying a new hobby, booking that trip, etc.

  It's also my way to say to people who are getting married in France, visiting France, or living in France that: I am here now and taking clients!! This American, moi, also speaks French and I promise to make you laugh when we work together. I can also tell you where to get the best macarons and coffee after I photograph you :) win win. 

 there you have it I'm here in France, booking clients and weddings in Annecy and Paris  for 2017. 
I am also booking worldwide, and California peeps I love you, and would never forget you, 
I'm booking in San Francisco too!

 That's it for now! Bon Courage fellow entrepreneurs. It's a tough road out there, a road filled with ups and downs, but there is validation when working for yourself, because at the end of the day you are a success and success depends on: you. 

PS ... I'm planning a photography workshop in Paris for my fellow photography, food loving, wanderlust loving friends ... more information to come.