Blog : Photography

Travel Diary // Giant’s Causeway and Northern Ireland

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As much as I loved London and Scotland, it was Ireland that really took my breath away.

Not that we didn’t have to work for it. There were forests with paths that disappeared into the brush to wander through, and piles of rocky cliff remnants at the edge of the ocean to clamber over while the waves thrashed and threatened to hide the way through. Cliff paths took us dangerously close to edges that dropped off for hundreds of feet before meeting pebble + boulder beaches and clear blue waters, the depths of which were surely frigid if not studded with rigid reefs of rocks. Wind wound its way above the cliffs, not light summer breezes but a force like a weight, resisting, pushing, pulling, threatening to topple us over the precipices.  And the natural world wasn’t the only force to be reckoned with; parts of the way were guarded by security to keep interested eyes away from movie and tv sets filming in the area.

And yet, there is no place I’ve ever been that was this worth fighting to see.

As we walked along deserted beaches and delightful paths high above the Atlantic Ocean, passing almost no one the entire way, it occurred to me that this is the first time I’ve planned a trip solely on a whim of where I wanted to go, picked a place we’d never really heard of in the scope of a broader land that is well-known. It wasn’t inspired by seeing someone else’s trip, or photos of something amazing from a certain place. It honestly wasn’t a trip that I was even expecting to be very me by way of style or colors or mood. We decided we wanted to walk this place, and that, simply, was our motivation to make this trip happen.

So here’s what my heart tells me to share: go somewhere for you, not because everyone else is going there or because you’ve seen amazing pictures of it. Pick a place because it calls to you, because you want to see what it’s like and nothing more. These are the places that will teach you things about yourself – teach you that you are strong, that you are small, that you play a bit part in this wide, wonderful world, but that you can do anything and your part is yours for the taking.

Ireland, I love you.

 

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All photos taken with a Fujifilm X-Pro1, 18mm and 35mm Fuji lenses. See more photos and daily adventures on Instagram.

Modern Houses in Palm Springs

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Back in February, we almost bought a house.

It was a charming retro split-level fixer-upper, with so much potential. But it wasn’t to be.

And then, a week later, I went to Palm Springs and spent a morning biking around some of the neighborhoods, where every house was my dream house. Modern houses in Palm Springs are abundant.

In Annapolis, not so much.

For years, we’ve talked about whether we want to stay where we are, close to family, or start a new adventure somewhere else. Because sometimes, we feel like this place isn’t our perfect fit – not that we don’t love it, but that the things we desire require more work to find or create in the place that we currently live.

And while it takes more energy to make our own way, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible.

It just means that being different and finding the easiest path don’t usually (or hardly ever) go hand-in-hand. But we hold on to our value that being true to ourselves and our desires is always worth it in the end, even if the wait seems to take forever in the meantime. Whether we make a way to have our perfect home here, or happen to find it already exists in another place, there’s a part of me that loves to dream of the possibilities. So for now, I relish the anticipation of finding the perfect way to celebrate the things that make us unique.

And until then…I’ll just come right back here to look and dream and remind myself of exactly what it is I’m waiting for.

 

 

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Photo Field Trip // Workshop and Travel Diary

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There’s a Field Trip tradition (that I was lame and did not participate in), of doing a polar bear plunge into the cold Pacific waters every morning at the start of the day, that seems like a good metaphor for what Field Trip is all about.

Having the courage to jump in.

In a nutshell, Photo Field Trip is camping and photography, a workshop in the woods/canyon/desert that feels like summer camp…exploring and adventuring, encouragement and learning. There are classes and campfire chats and photo walks and dance parties and so many ways to create your own experience and find or refine your inspiration.

I don’t know that I walked into Field Trip with a ton of expectations. I was excited, but unsure of what I was hoping to find. There were a few people I wanted to meet (and am so grateful that I did!), and I hoped to walk away inspired with new things to try during weddings and portrait sessions.

I didn’t expect to walk away with a greater sense of where I wanted to go/grow and who I am as a creator and artist, but somehow, in the midst of classes and walks and watching sunsets and napping in tents, I found something I’ve been searching two years for. I discovered my desires, my loves, my heart. And it has a lot to do with color and joy and warmth and hugs and stories.

There’s so much talk in the photography and creative world of discovering your “why,” of following that above all else to find your way. And while maybe I couldn’t put it into words when I left Field Trip, my heart was touched shortly after returning by this instagram post and the caption beneath:

 

Our “why” is not hard to find. In fact, it is the same for all of us:
To serve others in the present moment.

 

Although our “why” may all be the same, we are each unique in the knowledge and skills and talents and gifts that we have in our serving toolbox. And this was one of the most amazing things about Field Trip: although I was there to learn how some incredible and amazing human beings serve others with their talents and gifts, they taught me how to find it, and embrace it, within myself.

Now it’s up to me to find the courage to jump in and follow my bliss. And I have never wanted to do anything more.

 

(I didn’t take a lot of photos during Field Trip – not that there weren’t opportunities to do so. You can see some additional photos over on instagram. But sometimes living life is like trying to photograph a sunset…no matter how beautiful it is, it never looks the same in all it’s vibrancy and gorgeous hue in a photograph as it does in real life. Sometimes, it’s better to sit back and enjoy the view and take it all in instead of trying to capture it, because there will be another one tomorrow…just like there will be so many more times to take beautiful and amazing photos, but this was a time to just experience it all. I did, however, borrow a tilt shift from B&H, who were so kind to provide us with an opportunity to try new things during our time there, and had fun playing near the ocean at sunset making the photos that accompany this post.)

 

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I am so grateful to the team at Field Trip and the partners and sponsors for making it possible for all of us to come out and camp and find ways to follow our bliss. It was truly life-changing.

Photografriends

 

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The more I get to know other photographers, the more grateful it makes me to be a part of a creative community.

It’s so funny how you hear about other people, you see them post on Facebook and you have tons of the same friends, but yet it takes awhile to get around to meeting in person. There’s an anticipation that builds up around actually seeing each other face to face…and I always feel a little bit star-struck, like I’m finally meeting someone famous.

Which is why I so loved getting to meet some of the local photographers whose paths had not yet crossed mine at other networking events – and catch up with others who I haven’t seen in awhile. We grabbed drinks (or in my case, a bowl of brussels sprouts – I’m rather obsessed with them at the moment and they’re a perfect appetizer!) and then spent the evening roaming the streets of Annapolis with models. Yes, models. Like we were the paparazzi. Life long dream accomplished.

The whole point of the outing was to play around at sunset and into the dark and to try different things with off-camera lighting. I brought along a light stand, a shoot-through umbrella, and two flashes in addition to my regular bag of lenses and things. I really ended up loving these from the sunset portion of the evening though…and it really shows why the golden hour is the very best time for portraits!

 

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It was so fun making new photografriends and playing in the streets at night. Can’t wait to do it again!

New Prints in the Print Shop!

 

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Four new prints have made their way into the cheerful print shop! And some other new things have happened too…

But first the prints! I fully intended to add these to the shop in May, because in my mind, new prints once a month is the goal. But in reality, lots of other things have been happening behind the scenes as well.

So I’m super excited to finally have these new pieces ready for you to hang on your walls and add cheer to your favorite spaces! There’s a series of three Arrows of a Feather prints that are lovely on their own, or hung together in a group. And the fourth print is one of my favorite instagram photos from the past month that I want to hang on my own wall!

What’s even more fun…visit the shop by June 8th to get free shipping on any print you want!

 

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I’ve also been busy updating some things around the website and creating new spaces to connect with people in need of wedding and portrait photography!

// There’s a new FAQ page with information about weddings, portraits, and just some general photography questions! Feel free to check it out if you’re interested in learning more about what it’s like to work together!

// For weddings, I now also have a storefront on The Knot! It’s a great place to read reviews about the photography experience of past brides.

// Last Tuesday, I made some amazing new friends at a photographer’s meet up in Annapolis. We played around at sunset, and even went into the darkness of twilight to play with off-camera lighting setups. I’ll probably post a few more images from it soon, but for now, there’s a sneak peek on Facebook!

It’s a double wedding kind of weekend, tomorrow and Saturday! I can’t wait, and I hope you all have something amazing planned too!

Cheerful Print Shop!

 

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Making my house pretty is one of the few things that brings me as much joy as making photos.

During the slow season, I get to spend a little bit more time on it than usual, and my latest obsession is finding cheerful art to put on the walls. I want my house to literally be my happy place.

Our current art collection at home, if you can call it that, is a mix of things I’ve picked up on our travels or made myself, and I refuse to bring anything into my house that I do not absolutely love. It’s a slow process to find just the right things, but one that I relish and enjoy.

And because I enjoy it so much…I decided to launch a little print shop so that you can have some cheerfulness in your home too! You can stop by at society6.com/annareynal.

I’m starting out with just four simple prints, but will be growing my little curated collection over the coming weeks and months. The work that I offer in the shop will be different from what I showcase here on the blog, although you might see things crossover from time to time.

In addition to affordable prints to frame for your walls, there are also other fun things like clocks and phone cases and pillows and totes! Annndddd…if you use THIS LINK between now and April 13th, you get $5 off each print you order + free shipping!! New things will be popping up in the near future, and I can’t wait to share them with you!

Cheerful Branding // Helfrick Photography

 

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I was super excited when Mandy from Helfrick Photography reached out about making photographs for her new website. Previously a wedding photographer, she’s transitioning her business to do primarily work with high school seniors – and I am so incredibly excited for her!

As part of her rebrand, she wanted photographs for her website that show who she is and reflect an edgy, editorial style. Which got me really thinking about translating a brand into photographs and how to work with other creatives to give them visual content that connects with their clients.

 

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Branding a creative business is so much more than a website or logo.

Branding is an experience. How you make people feel. Telling your story. Bringing something of value into their lives.

These are things that you need figure out first, and then translate them into your visual collateral. Bring the feelings to your logo, bring your story – your treasures, your history, your values – onto the about page of your website and into the content you produce. And absolutely bring emotion and positive value into every interaction you have with your clients – that is an experience they will remember.

And as a photographer helping other creative business owners establish their brands, I want to know their stories, what they want another person to feel when that person touches their brand. Because I want to create photos that feel the same way. So that the creative looks like their brand and the client can see themselves in the photo of the creative.

When I’m planning a photo shoot for a creative brand, I think about the emotions (what words describe the brand and are integral to the story? how do those words translate into actions, poses, fashion, locations?), the location (where does that person usually do their work? what does that space look like and how can it add context to the story in the photograph? what details are in that space that add to the story?), and the wardrobe (how can we convey the emotion through color, texture, style? is it feminine, masculine, formal, casual, etc?). Then we work together to incorporate these things into the photos I take so that the photos feel like – and really are – an extension of the creative brand.

 

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I absolutely love helping creative businesses. If you’re interested in working together, please let me know!

Questions or comments about branding? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

 

 

 

Austin Workshop // 02

 

Holding Coffee_Anna Reynal | Cheerful Photographyhttp://annareynal.com

 

Our first photo shoot at Nessa and Sara’s Austin Workshop was in a field. A beautiful, open field.

So naturally, our second photo shoot was in the city. A wonderful, colorful city.

I love, love, love, love learning and workshops. When I started my business, I promised myself I would never be afraid of investing in knowledge.

But at the same time, it is an investment. Not a commodity. Which means you probably won’t be able to do every workshop that you see and have to make choices and choose a learning experience that you truly believe is going to increase your value.

Finding exactly the right workshop and teachers just took awhile. I was looking for something that would be new, that had different content than what I could easily find or learn online. Choosing this workshop, I hoped to learn lots of artistic things. Composition ideas, posing ideas, location ideas.

I think I got all of that…and more that I hadn’t planned on.

Because at the end of two days, my two favorite things that I brought back home were how to find amazing light – and actually use it correctly – and lots of new ways to find all of the incredible people I hope to work with in the future (read: conquering social media and SEO, and yes, it is possible, and yes, it actually works).

Or maybe my favorite thing was learning new places to find inspiration. They introduced me to some of their favorite artists, and products, and even gave us a book list (!).

And it’s always fun to see what works for other people and then find ways to make it work for you. I absolutely loved taking a peek inside their wedding albums and post processing. Even though I’ve spent countless hours processing images (my own and other photographers’), I took home some new ideas to try. Nessa and Sara were so transparent about their businesses – not afraid to share their secret sauce – and for that, I am so grateful.

After all of this, I am so excited to continue creating. There are so many things I want to try and I can’t wait to find lots of new places and make beautiful photos in unexpected locations.

So much excitement.

Okay, maybe that’s my favorite thing.

 

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Austin Workshop // 01

“You don’t want to look like your heroes;
you want to see like your heroes.”

– Austin Kleon

 

It’s been on my list for so long now. Do a workshop.

But it’s was hard to choose one. So many artists I admire; but first I needed to figure out my purpose and where to make my art.

Because I am fearful of copying. Of being too much like anyone else. Of not being an original, even if that is an impossible standard. No man is an island, none of us live in a vacuum.

So I chose one taught by two amazing photographers, Nessa K and Sara Byrne, whose styles are absolutely beautiful but a little bit different from mine. I loved that. Not because I want to dramatically change what I do, but because there is so much there to learn, and their work is so very artistic. And differences fascinate me.

I have been thinking non-stop about the lessons they taught since I left Austin on Saturday. These two girls know this craft. And they know how to talk about it, show it, explain it in a way that makes perfect sense, so that we could embrace it and make the techniques work for ourselves; so that we could be better prepared and confident in making better photographs by having the tools to do so.

I came home with a to-do list for my business and the motivation to make opportunities to find the images I’ve always been dreaming of. I made 13 new friends from around the world who I am excited to cheer for as they share their adventures. I am grateful to stand on the shoulders of these beautiful, generous girls who are undoubtedly destined for incredible things. And I am thrilled to now be able to see the world in a new way…the way my heroes see it.

 

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This was just day one. Soon I will show you day two. Leah and Taylor were so chill having 14 cameras on them for over an hour. Empty fields are full of possibilities.

 

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