Saturday, January 13, 2018

Tea in Annecy, Ataya

If you know me than you know how much I love coffee. But, for the first time in my life I have found a tea that I actually like, and love. I am to the moon excited about it and want to share it with everyone.

For 2018, I am working on a project called
documenting people following their passions ... doers, creators, artists, business owners, entrepreneurs, bloggers, chefs, designers, illustrators ...  
people or couples paving their own way. 

As an entrepreneur myself I have found working for yourself to be a wonderful thing but also very challenging at times. I have noticed the feelings of people not taking you seriously because you love what you do, continually justifying yourself to others for your decision to work for yourself, or feeling great when everything is going great are all things we as Doers and Creators feel at some point.

My project is really here to show others just how creative, powerful, and empowering it is to work for yourself.
 I hope this project builds a community of empowered people that know their journey is unique to them, but also can take comfort in knowing someone else is going through the same thing. 

I discovered Ataya tea while on instagram. A friend had recently been and I was so curious to try something new. In California I loved going to tea with my sister but it was only for special occasions. Over the years,  I tend to sip tea in the afternoons at home. I really love coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.  So, I thought "maybe this is a chance to enjoy tea again" and in Annecy.

As soon as I entered Ataya I was met with the warmest and kindest smile. A "bonjour' that just made you feel good. Looking over the menu of teas I found out the creator Jess selected and made each blend of tea. Each tea also has a clever and sentimental name attached to it. For example, Sourire de Jess (the smile of Jess) is a blend that she says takes her back to the moment when she came up with the concept for her shop ... as someone who loves history and stories, and asking the question why, her story made me all together inspired. My tea of choice from Ataya is the Péché Mignon ... meaning a "sweet habit" or literal translation: weakness. Ha and it's so true, this tea is my literal weakness. It's a combination of walnut vanilla, bourbon, and a couple other things of magic.

If you are someone in need of a special moment, a pause, or are visiting Annecy ... I highly recommend visiting Jess at Ataya. If you are curious about tea ... Jess will answer every question with great passion and detail. All of the teas are hand crafted and bio. Before sipping, you have the chance to smell the tea that you choose, and can change your mind numerous times, ha I feel bad as the first time I was there I asked to smell at least 5, and settled on my "weakness" Péché mignon. Another favorite is La Vie en Rose, a green tea with light hints of rose, perfect for an afternoon.

I find it important to support, encourage, and write about small businesses. This is something I discovered since moving abroad. The amount of work you put into your passion, your job, is unreal as a business owner. So, if I can offer some type of motivation and encouragement than as a business owner myself,  than I have done my job. Ataya is inviting, warm, and not just a tea shop ... but a place you will leave feeling better than you arrived.

Every little detail has been thought about from the names of the tea, the pastries that are made in Annecy, and the signature tree that wraps it's branches magically through the shop. When I asked Jess about the tree she explained "it's a symbol of life, an idea, and the ability to cultivate ideas ... grow, change, evolve. 

Whether you have been contemplating starting something new, finishing an old goal, or creating, trying I suggest going for it.

I say this ... because just like tea, if you let an idea steep too long the taste becomes bitter
Ideas are like tea, 
you need to let them grow, cultivate them but if you let them sit for too long, 
you lose something, or just forget about your idea all together.
Maybe this is why I love green tea 
it has a moment to be perfect, a moment when it's at its best ...
Don't let your dreams, ideas, or passions become bitter. 
Do. Create. Dream. 

 I end this post encouraging you that if you get the chance to visit Annecy or are a local here, stop by and visit Jess. 
You will be met with a smile, 
and more importantly a cup of tea that is more than just a cup of tea. 

Have a great weekend everyone!! And, if you are curious about my project "We the Doers and Creators" feel free to email me. I would be happy to create a signature portrait session just for you.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Annecy Photographer ... Family Portraits

Since moving abroad and photographing in Paris and Annecy, France I photograph families and couples while on vacation or locals. This concept of photo sessions is something I love and appreciate. Hiring a photographer can often be daunting and especially in a city you may be unfamiliar with. I would also like to say hiring a professional photographer is difficult even if you have lived in a city for some time. For example, some questions that may come up are: What experience does the photograph have? Who exactly are they (anyone can say they are professional, but are they)? What is their photo style? What gear do they have? Are they actually good with people, personable, able to carry a conversation? And what I think is the most important thing is how do they make people feel? These are all things you as a client should think about. Photos are investments but more importantly souvenirs that last for years.

While establishing my business in France I have built a community of Coeur de La couples, creators, and families in the two areas I mainly photograph, Annecy and Paris. One of my favorite things to do is treat families to a local view of the city, photographing you and your loved ones on tucked away streets, hidden and often uncrowded spots that make family photos all together more enjoyable. 

 I also love when a couple comes up with a unique, creative, or original idea for a location. For example, on a family hike, at their favorite coffee shop, a casual day at home ... these locations allow for true and authentic images.

When hiring a photographer you are not only hiring someone to snap a few photos, but you are choosing someone to spend time with the most important people in your life and lets face it, time is oh so precious. 

I am so excited to share with you a recent family photo session I did for a very special family from Annecy. I photographed these four last Spring, and I was completely honored to photograph them again. One of the things I miss most about photographing in California are the families I photographed since their childrens' births, mom's during their pregnancies, families at weddings. These families ... time and time again referred me to their friends and families, and for that I am ever so grateful.

 For me, being a family photographer is truly a huge honor and this Annecy family has a special place in my heart and memory card :)

I chose to photograph this dynamic foursome in old town Annecy. We were a bit hesitant because the weather was not ideal for most of the day, but around our photo session time the clouds literally parted. With brisk temperatures the girls (and parents) were champs. I did not hear one complaint or grumble. The girls were all smiles and giggles as we talked about school, homework, life, and of course the upcoming holidays. For me, one of the main things I love focusing on is capturing children for who they are. I love imperfectly perfect moments, because when you look back when is anything perfect?  The little moments in between photos are my up most favorite to photograph.  
These are the real moment, the ones you want to hold onto forever. 

 For me the coolest thing about photographing for over 8 years, I can look at a scene and now exactly what I want to photograph, how I will photograph a family, and the story I know the family wants to see.
Annecy is a magical place for photos. Walking through the streets you can feel a since of energy, history, and quaintness. When I photograph families in Annecy I want them to look back at their photos and feel just how special Annecy is.

We ended our photo session with smiles and chatting about the cafe with peanut butter hot chocolate. By the end of the photo session I think we were all dreaming of warm beverages (did I mention we are all from California and not use to "WINTER") More importantly, we ended another family session with a photo session the family will remember as fun (maybe cold) but warm because of the experience.

 So, if you are a family living in Annecy and want professional photos I will create a signature photo session just for you. If you are traveling to Annecy or Paris, I would be honored to photograph you and your loved ones. I promise to end the photo session pointing you in the right direction of the best marcarons, coffee, or food. :)

And my answers to the questions I proposed for you to ask other photographers:

What experience do I have? I have photographed professionally for the past 8 years. Studying art, photojournalism, and literature. I have developed a signature style of photography that is journalistic and fun. I photographed and styled a National Best Selling cookbook in the United States giving me the confidence and skills needed to further my career. I specialize in photographing families, weddings, lifestyle and food.

Who am I: Friends call me Caro or Coeur ... I love to run and hike mountains in my spare time. Believe that passion can only take you so far when it comes to following your dreams. Moving abroad was the biggest risk I have ever taken and this has made me more courageous, and fearless. I love coffee, but recently started drinking green tea. I believe luck is a culmination of hard work and effort.

What gear do I have? I believe a photographer can use almost any camera as long as they know how to use it. I photograph with a Cannon 5d mark III and photograph with a 35mm f/1.4 L lens and an 85mm f/1.2 L lens. After years of photographing with fixed lenses I have created a photography style that is tangible, soft, and journalistic.

Am I personable: if you have yet to figure out that I love talking, communicating, telling people's stories visually than you have missed the point of the post. The main goal of my photo sessions are: to make people feel good and see themselves for who they are. I feel grateful to photograph and show my enthusiasm often.

I am currently booking 2018 and 2019 Destination Weddings and Elopements ... all destinations are welcome. Booking lifestyle, food, and family photography as well.

Email me with any questions, inquiries, or just want to chat about photography at: