Mindfulness for relaxation

“Consciously aware in the present moment without judgment.”

Self-care is an essential step to overall wellness.  Being consciously aware in the present moment without judging your experience is something that we overlook when we are continuously preparing or reacting.  Our busy lives have conditioned us always to think ahead or be hyper-prepared for action instead of relaxing and just taking in a moment.

Let’s filter out the forecasting and start being mindful of the details that are happening here and now.  Reconnecting with life, by seeking out simplicity and awareness – finding our peace within. Over-thinking it will have you missing the point, as you don’t need to be religious or on a spiritual journey to practice mindfulness.  It’s just focusing on the present, leaving worry about the future or “what ifs” and accepting that there is no right or wrong way to be mindful.

How is mindfulness relaxing?

When you tune out worries and live in the present moment, you are taking out the static and allowing your mind to rest.  It’s not going to fix your anxiety, or change your negative feelings altogether, what it will do is give you a moment to enjoy the sights, sounds, smells, and happenings of what is happening one moment in time. The continuous bombardment with media and everyday distractions can be debilitating at times, it’s those distractions that can stop you from experiencing very simple joys in life.

Meditation or mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation.  The most significant difference is mindfulness is taking a moment and redirecting your focus to what is happening right now.  It’s not fighting what is happening, or trying to change the way we feel; instead, it is acceptance of a moment without judgment.  Human nature is we want to change things – mindfulness is allowing you to let things be as they are and accepting that moment.

Empowering.

Once you find that you can practice mindfulness, you will feel liberated and empowered.  It’s not something you master, instead, it’s something you practice. Making mindfulness a habit can be a form of self-care and helps us take control over what we are feeling and how we react.

It’s easier than you think.

Most anyone can develop the skill of mindfulness and find an inner sense of calm. Making a habit of this can increase confidence, self-esteem and even contribute to compassion for people around us – and for ourselves.  We are so often worried about tomorrow, or dwelling on the past. Practicing mindfulness can make us more aware of others and how they feel – fostering empathy and empowering us to help those around us.

Where to start?

Find a quiet place and close your eyes.   Try starting by grounding yourself; this helps when you need to calm yourself and relax.

  1. 5 things you can see
  2. 4 things you can feel
  3. 3 things that you can hear
  4. 2 things you can smell
  5. 1 thing you can taste

The easiest way to follow through is to put it on your schedule and make it a habit.  Take a few minutes each day to ground yourself to a calm and relaxed baseline.

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NEWBORN CASTING CALL: DEC 2014 – JAN 2015

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ITTY BITTY YUMMINESS.
FRESH BABY SKIN.
I’m looking for the teeny, tiny, itty, bitty yumminess that we call newborns! Casting CALL starts NOW. I have some newborn awesomeness in props that I want photographed…. so if you have… will have soon… or know if ANYONE having a newborn baby that is 2 weeks or younger IT’S TIME FOR SOME ART!

DECEMBER 2014 – JANUARY 2015… HERE IS THE SCOOP!
Must be a newborn that is 14 days old or LESS
or
UNDER 7 LBS (for any premies that showed themselves early)

Photoshoots will be at my Denver Studio, and if you qualify the session and one 11×14 canvas print will be FREE. Qualification will be determined by the above and our schedule availability! Photographer will have 100% creative control, so we can’t do a list – shoots will be based on our vision.

WHAT TO DO NEXT?
* If you have a newborn e-mail us immediately so we can get you on the schedule.
* If you are due in Dec or January e-mail us immediately with your approximate due date so we can set a tentative date and then adjust it for when the baby actually arrives.

PLEASE POST AND SHARE EVERYWHERE!!!

INFO@FOTOTAILS.COM

To view my work online please visit
FOTOTAILS PHOTOGRAPHY

And follow my JEANINE THURSTON PHOTOGRAPHY on Facebook for updates and all the things going on all year-round!

THE BONUS
For every newborn 2 weeks or less photographed by me in December 2014 – January 2015 they will be entered into a drawing on February 1st, 2015 for a BABY BOOK!

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A snapshot of your child’s life.

There is no place to compare our children to others.  Not to others in our household, not to others in school – because there is not one child out there like another.  They love different things at different times, they learn things at different speeds. Their minds are so busy with taking in every bit of information, categorizing it, filing it, re-filing it and this is a never ending process.  WE CAN encourage and lead by example… and we can accept that some children will learn information in different ways.  Finding what they excel in and celebrating that can give them encouragement to work on some of the things that they maybe aren’t learning as quickly.  Every child has something that can be celebrated… find that in your child.

Today, start a list… by listening.  For a week keep a piece of paper on your counter and start writing down things that your child says, what interests them and make a collection of who your child is right now.  Do this yearly, monthly, however often you can and put it with a photo when you are done.  This is the most amazing memory book you can ever assemble – it allows you to see who your child is – a snapshot of their personality.  Then take a day and celebrate all the things that make your child amazing and unique.

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Family Portraits 2014

Three of many reasons to get family portraits done this year.

1. You love your family and want them to have memories of you all together, and/or of the kids as they grow – for yourself, for your kids, and for your grandkids.

2. You have just realized they are pumping Christmas music at EVERY store you walk into already – because of course it is not Halloween anymore.  You suddenly realize you haven’t started Christmas shopping yet… well – photos are a great gift for family and grandparents.

3. You are looking through photo albums… and your 6 year old asks why you have 5 albums of you and your dogs, cats, lizards & fish…etc… but there is only 2 pages of them.  Whoops… time for more photos of your kids!lol

Of course I would love to see you for portraits any time of year!!!  Contact us to schedule your session at
jennyb@fototails.com or call 720-566-9770

We still have a few openings through November and the first week in December 2014!

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The number 1 way to keep a flower alive.

 

Black Calla Lily

Black Calla Lily by Jeanine Thurston

I’m going to tell you straight off… I KILL FLOWERS.  Not on purpose, but if you leave them in my care… well – they don’t last long.  And… I’ll attribute that to my LOVE of flowers – you always want what you can’t have, or in my case what I can’t maintain.  I find them fascinating!  The shapes, the colors and because I can’t grow them or keep them alive for long, I have decided that photographing them and hanging them on my wall is my only option.

So the number 1 way to keep a flower alive?  Hang a portrait on your wall in a print or canvas… PERFECT FOREVER.

Go ahead – comment below – what is your favorite flower?  It may be the next one I photograph!

Floral Series

Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

 

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Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

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Photographer: Jeanine Thurston

Floral engineer – art, flowers, fun

ImageA little creating this weekend for a beautiful floral look-book coming soon.  Featuring the beautiful work of Julia Kaaren of Mulberries and the make-up and hair styles from Samantha Koch of LadyCharm Artistry.  This is just the tip of the iceberg… I’ll be posting the book soon with some beautiful creations!

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Wealth of knowledge or over loaded?

In a day when we can go to the internet or scour youtube for much needed information, I would like to pose a question.  Are we blessed with a wealth of knowledge at our fingertips or over loading our brains with too much information?

It’s easy for me to see both sides with what I do for a living.  I can learn faster, and as an artist my style has developed and changed faster because of all the images that pass by my eyes in a given day.  But just about every week, I take a moment an pause and think about how much time I may be spending “gathering” knowledge and try to put the brakes on to see how it may be hindering time that I’m actually learning on my own.

Absorbing knowledge or photo-copied knowledge. 

I have to enter into this from an artists point of view because that is who I am, so I apologize for using my own reference points and hope you can relate it to your own.

I can look at an image from another photographer, or I can see a certain “pose” that I’m fond of done by someone else – and trying to remember a specific thing like a pose makes me cringe.  Every time in the 25 years that I’ve been a photographer that I have tried to mimic an image of another, it is a struggle, it is uncomfortable, it isn’t me.  I see some photographers out there trying to “duplicate” an inspiration shot and part of me says they are learning and the other part of me says they are just photo-copy machines.  They can make their images look good only because they are copying what they have seen.

Trying to find yourself as an artist.

People ask all of the time “who inspires you” and I think the question that prompts me to look at myself is actually “what inspires you.”  What inspires me is how people move, the colors in nature, the personalities of a person, and the study of light and how it bends around a room.

Inspiration boards.

Pinterest – although definitely is an additive endeavor; allowing you to hoard all of this eye-candy of inspiration onto a single page right before your eyes is defeating in personal inspiration at times to me as well.  Clients bring in sheets of what they love, but as an artist it can definitely stunt your creativity – you are trying to make your work look like “the board” and then I have to ask.. how much of YOU is in your work?

LOVE OPEN DISCUSSION.

While I personally find it more important in my own growth to study the basics of light, shadows, colors, smells, and movement/interaction to help me find my best work.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the instant access of “how to’s” available to us as photographers or artists and if you find it more as an inspiration or push to grow or if spending so much time “looking” and quick learning may defeat the purpose of your own art?

For photographers:  When it comes to the actual session and you are creating a portrait – what is in your  mind?  Are you thinking about trying a “pose” or are you studying your subject how they move, how the light is on them and how you are going to get them to respond to you naturally?

ok… now… your turn.

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Let the photographer be an artist for you.

In this – I speak only for myself, I can’t say that every photographer feels the same; however, after photographing for over two decades it is how I work best.

Let the artist create.

As an artist – inspiration is a beautiful thing.  When you schedule a portrait session – tossing out ideas that you like or maybe sending a photo that you adore is a great direction to give a photographer so that we know the style that you like. Brainstorm with your photographer about themes and the things you love best about your child, you as a couple, your wedding so that we get your energy and what makes you excited and happy.   But I have to say – my best images and best sessions have been when the client then comes in and says… do what you do best.  Personally it opens my mind faster, and allows me to create images that I love and in the end – the result is typically the showcase images you see on the walls or in the albums, or submitted into professional photographic competitions.  While a real professional photographer can re-create nearly anything he or she sees – it takes away our art and becomes nothing special to us.  I don’t like copying – I get asked a lot to do shots by another and typically nod my head and do a quick shot and then move on to images that are how I see it best.  Nobody has the same body type, no child is the exact same, and no image should be copied.  When I shoot – I read personalities, most of the time I develop shots in my head based on the subject’s natural expressions or the way they react back to me – and THAT is when you get the best images out of an artist.

So story boards are great for inspiration – but replication to an artist is tying their hands…. and wouldn’t you rather have something completely you and unique anyway?

A letter on my door step: The follow-up

Ok – honestly, I had absolutely no idea what would happen over the last 24 hours.  Although I’ve been in professional photography for around 24 years – I did not set out to post something that would be passed along to so many people.  Today, my e-mail, blog & twitter were turned upside down with mass communication beyond comprehension.  95% of the voices I heard through Facebook, Twitter, E-mail as well as blog posts were a grouping of similar stories, people who could really relate, and thankful people that loved the reminder to give a little more love an attention to those that you love around you.  About 3% were questions about me, about the family, and about photography.  That left a very small 2% that found the blog post offensive and questioned my integrity in doing so.  Looking at the percentages – I will say that there will always be a few nay sayers and negative people, but the astonishing positive and thankful feedback actually has left me in tears over half the past day.  So I went to the studio with no make-up, hair in a mess and nice big puffy eyes – and am grateful for all of the stories shared from all corners of the globe.

Just because everyone isn’t rosy and positive doesn’t mean they don’t have a valid perspective, so I feel like I should address some questions in today’s post.  These are answers to only questions I’ve received up until now – and I apologize if I’ve missed something from any of you, and will try to go through and e-mail some people directly as well.

** Were you blocking a lot of negative comments so far?

Actually no. I have currently only “unapproved” 5 posts so far… all of which contained either foul language or I felt were bashing the feelings of sincere people that posted comments on my blog.  I e-mailed a response to each person that I “unapproved” explaining exactly why I had done so, as well as addressing their concerns or harsh words.

** Is Karen still alive? Can you post photos of her and her family?

Sorry to say that she has passed.  I do have images from past sessions and wedding; however I and the family do not feel it is the right place to put faces to her words – as her words speak for themselves.  They prefer not to be recognized, or contacted – especially with young children involved.  Morning and dealing with a sever loss is really a personal matter – and it is a very fragile situation.

** Was the post a marketing ploy or hoax?

No.  The only benefit I feel from this is that others can bond and feel some greater picture.  I have my own family, a full-time business and want to pass along how important loving relationships are or can be to my children.  Cancer has hit close to home in my family as well – and it was a very awakening experience for me.  A reminder of how quickly life passes, and how even I put off photos with my children.  As photographers, we are behind the camera – and the nudge that this letter provided me was to do more portraits with my husband and children…. and ME in the photograph.  It’s about setting aside the thought of a few extra wrinkles, or couple extra pound because you don’t feel like you look perfect and getting in front of the camera for sentiment sake.  Unfortunately I don’t think I could possibly convince some people of this – but I felt like I still needed to try to explain my actual intent.  I by no means believe this was her last “wish” as one so un-kindly put either.  I know her and I also know that she probably sat down and wrote a number of letters to people because that is the kind of person she was.  Loving.

** Do I expect people to spend thousands on photography?

That is quite a personal decision and really – with my own family and trying to support them on a photographer’s budget I have to tighten my belt too.   I am all to familiar with paycheck to paycheck.  So in short… NO… that isn’t something I would demand or expect – or force anyone into.  Many seem to be un-aware that photographers are small business owners – we are no different than anyone else with a job (except we rarely get a steady paycheck).  We have lots of bills, many of us have families, we pay our own insurance –  if we are pros and we also have increasingly large over head expenses with continually upgrading equipment & computers.  We work all hours day and night too.  It is as far from a 9-5 job as most will ever understand.  Many photographers (myself included) have actually lowered our rates or offer payment options or packages to make it easier if a client chooses to hire us for their memories.

I want to make it abundantly clear that at least 90% off all my photographs of my family and children are “candid” on the fly and “in the moment.”  And yes – these are prized by me just as much as the professional looking images.

** Guilt trip?

Well – I guess you can call it what you would like.  Some people have called it a real awakening, some have said thank you for the reminder, and some have said I was a awful person too.

Here is my opinion.. or view I guess you can say:

“Call it whatever you want!  I LOVE MY FAMILY.  I know now more than ever that there are hundreds of thousands of people that feel love for their families and friends.  If yesterday’s post made just ONE of you pick up your camera and take a family photo or a few extra shots of your children or parents/grandparents then that 2% that are disgusted with me, don’t matter – my love and concern is with those that the post touched in a positive way.  I would love to photograph as many people as possible in my lifetime, but it makes me happy just to know that others out there do see value in what a photograph IS.  It is beautiful memories of past lives, the building blocks of who you are today and who you will be tomorrow, and it is stories for  children and generations to come.”

I am very proud to be a professional photographer

I am proud to be in a profession that touches so many people in an amazing – astounding way for generations behind and ahead of me.

I am proud that I can see beauty in everyone…. EVERYONE.

For all photographers out there – professional or not – be proud that you record our history, love and our lives.  For clients or potential clients… we photograph people because we love the spirit and uniqueness of every person.

I wish everyone a beautiful and heart-felt 2012!!!!  My many thanks to everyone that has and will post about their experiences.  I enjoy reading and hearing about all of the amazing connections out there and have had many e-mails and posts stating how much they appreciate everyone posting and seeing all of the love and kindness!

Here is the link to the post that this follow-up refers to as well:

https://fototails.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/a-letter-on-my-doorstep-portraits-are-more-than-paper/