Posts Tagged ‘Business’

The final countdown of 2009 is here.  What an intense year it’s been–full of high-highs and low-lows.  And yet somehow, we have not only endured but found moments to celebrate, believe in the impossible, keep loving when we felt empty, and wake with a sense of hope for the new day.  The resilience of the human spirit is breath taking.  The resilience of your spirit is amazing.  And if nothing else, you are worth celebrating tonight!

To celebrate, I have artist exercises…I know, it’s a crazy Type A thing to offer today.  :)   These exercises are like rituals that help me bring closure to the year as I prepare for the next.  They are exercises that feed my artist within.   Some are random in nature.  Some are thoughtful.  Some are easy, and some…I consider super, heavy lifting.  I thought I’d share a handful with you.

Take 15 minutes, or if you can 60 minutes, to yourself today or tomorrow.  Pick one, two, or more exercises below .and let your artist child run free.  There is something powerful about starting a New Year with the innocence and possibilities that children possess.

10 New Year’s Exercises for the Artists Within!

1. If you had to pick a color or colors, what colors would you use to describe 2009?  What colors do you want to begin 2010 with?

2.  Take a 15 minute photo walk.  Look for something that catches your eye.  Something that reflects, represents, symbolizes 2009.  As you walk home, be on the lookout for an image that represents your hopes for 2010.  Share the photos with someone you love and trust.

3.  Grab a handful of magazines and cut out any image that makes you smile.  Don’t over think this one, if you smile, rip it out.  Then walk away from all your cut outs for a few hours.  After time has passed, return to your cut outs and write down the consistencies you find. What are the common threads?  What are these common threads saying about your heart’s desires?  How can the recognition of these common threads help you build dreams for 2010?

4.  One of my favorites from the Artist Way; write an encouraging letter to yourself.  Write the letter from a place of Great Love for yourself.  What do you need to hear as you step in to 2010?  How do you need to be encouraged?  You know your heart’s needs better than anyone.  What words of life can you give to yourself in this letter?  When your done writing, mail the letter to yourself.  What a wonderful gift to start the New Year with!

5.  What was your favorite recipe in 2009, and why?  What is the recipe you were scared to try?  Any thoughts on why?

6.  Dreaming Big:  If you could wave a magic wand, what three dreams would come true?  Dream BIG for this exercise.  Don’t do necessity dreaming—like paying the bills.  But really push yourself to dream beyond your most urgent needs.

7.  For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, find a way to go and see a movie by yourself.  (This is one of the toughest things for me to do, but when I’ve done it—it has made all the difference.)

8. This one is from my wise business coaches, Karen and Fay: As you look back, what motivated you to change and to move toward your heart’s desires and your goals?  Inner desires or intentions?  Outward events or people?  Necessities?

9.  Your Heart’s Garden:  With your journal, take inventory of your heart’s garden.  What is blooming?  What is dying?  What needs to be pruned back?  Are there any unexpected empty plots?  What is thriving in the garden of your heart?  Something you didn’t expect to survive the storm?  What does it feel like to lock yourself in the bathroom, turn the fan on, close your eyes for 60 seconds and picture yourself in that garden?  What sounds do you hear in your garden?  What scents?  Are you at rest in your own garden?   If not, what are things you could do to find rest?

10.  My favorite exercise with the family:  Take some time to sit together.  Each family member gets their own turn.  Set the timer for 60 seconds and be still together, waiting on God, opening your heart to any word or picture of encouragement for that family member.  When the 60 seconds is over, share your impressions one at a time, and have someone write them down.  Maybe even start a Family Prayer Journal for 2010.  This is one of our most treasured books.

Happy New Year Friends!  With great excitement, we picture you on our left and right as we enter 2010 together—supporting each other.

All our love,

Me Ra, Brian, Pascaline and Blaze

p.s. Over the next few days, feel free to share your exercise results on today’s blog post!

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That is right ladies!  We are going to dress you in fashion!  Jill-e Camera Bags is our NEW SOAR! Partner as of this morning!

What does this mean?  The three SOAR! winners will receive;

1.  Their own, hand picked, camera bag from Jill-e!

2.  A Gift Certificate to Upgrade to a LARGER Camera Bag when they have outgrown the first one (before the end of the year!).  Jill-e for LIFE ladies!

3.  And more, but we’ll announce that later!  :)

Here are just a couple beautiful samples!

Isn’t this AWESOME!  Jill and her business partner, Gail, both have BIG hearts for empowering women.  Can you imagine a better fit for SOAR! than Jill-e Camera Bags!  Not only are we going to equip you with the equipment, software and business consulting, but we are going to make sure you LOOK GOOD while you are shooting!  And yes, looking the part, especially highlighting your tastes and personality, is a BIG part of your business succeeding.  And we’ve got you covered now!

So ladies, go over to Jill-e’s website and start looking at the options.  Details will be sent to the winners after January 1st!

In the meantime, keep SOARing!  We’ve got more fun news to come and more videos!  That’s right, a dozen new videos or MORE, are going up later today.  Thanks for your patience in getting the new videos up.  The team reviews each one before we go live, and we are getting more and more.  It’s going to be a full weekend!

We are also working on getting up a FAQ on the SOAR! site.  AND, all your comments on the SOAR! website are so great.  We are listening and thinking about how to make this even better for all of you!  So much to learn with this being our first year.  Yes, Carey.  Brian wants you to know that he WAS listening.  He has already started putting first names to each video entry.  :)

Post a comment friends and tell Carey how much you love her and her hair!  :)  A BIG thank you to her for introducing me to the newest SOAR! partner!)

Thank you Jill and Gail!  We are so excited to have you aboard as we SOAR!

xoxo,

Me Ra

p.s. If you are not entering SOAR! but love these bags, I believe there is a holiday discount happening right now on Jill-e’s website!

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This is a big day.  It is the last Friday before the SOAR! Scholarship Deadline.   I know a lot of you have yet to turn in your video.  You and I know that this weekend, tomorrow and Sunday, are your days to get it done—maybe Monday but that is SERIOUSLY pushing it.

Have the voices become louder as you’ve come closer to the deadline?  The voices that say, “You aren’t worth of this scholarship.  You don’t deserve it.”  Or maybe they say, “Look at all those Video Entries so far.  What makes you think you are that creative.  What makes you think you can do this?”  Don’t you hate those voices?

I must confess that even though I’m not an applicant, I have had my own voices to battle.  The SOAR! Scholarship is my own leap of faith.  ‘Can we pull something this big together?  Will it grow into what I envision?  Will women respond?  Will they hear my heart?’  They are all the doubts that you run through, just a different scenario.  And yes, they have become more and more loud as this deadline has approached.  Yesterday morning I got up extra early to get a head start on my day.  I did my workout and before leaving the gym, I decided to sit upstairs and write my morning pages.

I heard someone behind me messing with one of the elliptical machines.  I turned around and saw this man standing there, he was looking at me, and so I turned around and kept writing—choosing to ignore him.  In that split second I had a weird feeling, but I was at the gym of all places.  And then I heard the sound of someone urinating.  I turned around, and he had opened up his pants, exposing everything to me, and was looking right at me as he peed all over the equipment.  Insane, right?  Disgusting…violating.

I went downstairs, told the front desk.  They confronted the man.  He didn’t act senile or overly medicated.  He wasn’t a homeless guy who had wandered in.  Instead, he was a member.  And he was angry and offended by what he was being accused of.  They came back to me and said that there wasn’t much they could do but have me fill out a report for their records.  Since a staff member had not witnessed the incident, it was my word against his.  He was allowed to keep exercising.  …I had been here before.  This felt to familiar.  How was I not supposed to feel like they believed him since they were letting him stay?

I’ve been through the sexual assault court system enough to know that if nothing else, we can report the incident to the police so there is a record.  The staff called the police, and I waited in the office for over an hour.  There are these big glass windows in the office where you can look out on the basketball courts and upper level.  The track is on the upper level.  There he was–walking the track.  Doing his exercise instead of being asked to leave.  I had been here before.

In that next hour, I went through a myriad of flashbacks.  Almost twenty years ago, I was raped by a student on campus.  I had reported it to the police, but lack of evidence kicked the case out of court.  He was allowed to enroll back into classes.  As he stalked me for nine months, the college continued to say, “There were no other witnesses.  There is nothing we can do.”

As I was waiting for the police, one of the gym employees came in at his defense.  She told me that this man had been a gym member for years.  She had never seen or heard of him being inappropriate.  His medication, if he was taking any, was probably getting the better of him.  She walked away without asking me once how I was.

I had been here before.  This felt to familiar.

The man left when he was done working out.  The gym said they didn’t know if they could discontinue his membership.  Hard to prove what happened—even though there was urine all over the equipment.  The police finally showed up.  The officer talked to me outside.  I told him what happened, and he looked at me and said, “I believe you.”  Those three words almost undid me.  I told them I would testify.  They took my information, and I left.

I left the scene, but I had not left that familiar place.  That place where all my power seems to disappear.  Brian met me.  I looked at him and said, “Why did I sit upstairs by myself?  I should have known better.”  With passion in his eyes, he said, “No Me Ra.  That is not the voice of truth.  You’ve spent to many years battling that voice to let it have a say now.  This was not your fault.  You didn’t invite this.”

He was right.  That voice of unworthiness had crept right in and was now speaking for me.  How fast it happens.

I came home, laid down on the bed, and Blaze came and snuggled with me.  I had all these great plans for the day.  Plans to help promote SOAR! even more—with a dozen different ideas.  I felt like yesterday was our biggest viral day to promote SOAR! before Monday.  And now the day was lost to something like this.

The house was quiet.  The kids were at rock climbing club.  I lit a candle.  It was a red candle that my business coaches gave me last Spring.  They  told me to light it when I needed to remind myself of the light in the darkness—the power of that single light that is gentle, but ever present—that single light that is in me.  The power of Feminine Wisdom.

I felt like I had lost the day.  But in the quiet of this moment, as I write to you, I know that this isn’t true.  There is a light inside of me that cannot be put out.  I know this because of all the trauma I have had to endure, the light still shines.  I still love at the end of the day.  I still laugh.  And I still believe that we are all worth more than we could ever know.

I get to write to all of you that are struggling with the voices, the old, familiar, ugly voices.  And I get to say, you and I are worth more than what life has thrown at us.  You and I are worth more than we could ever imagine.  We are capable of more than we ever imagined.  We are meant for MORE than we have dared to dream. I believe this with all my heart.

But here is another truth I have found.  As I stretch my wings.  As I get into position to fly—to take my next leap—a little higher, a little scarier.  The voices come alive and things start to happen around me—things that make me scared to jump—to not fly—to never soar.  When those things start to happen, when the voices seem to be screaming at me from every direction, when I feel like I have been here before–that this place is all to familiar—I know that I am on the cusp of flying.   A shift is about to happen.  And all the powers that have come against me know they are powerless.  All I need to do is leap.

You can try to close out the voices—just block them out, but I have found that they are still audible until after the leap has happened.  I can’t wait for those voices to shut up—or I’ll never leap.  I guarantee that if you wait for those voices to shut up, you will NEVER make your video entry for SOAR!  And we both don’t want that.

So close your eyes. Picture me standing with you on the ledge.  Picture me surrounded by all my familiar places and horrible voices, and I’ll picture you surrounded by all your familiar places and horrible voices.  Together, we know how hard this is.  How much courage this jump takes.  And together, we will leap.

With full confidence in you and myself, I send you all my love and faith this weekend.  And I will be looking for your SOAR! Video Entry.

xoxo,

Me Ra

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Are you ready to see our first handful of SOAR! video submissions?!  If you click on the SOAR! tab or go to www.soarwithmera.com, you can watch our first handful of SOAR! video entries.  These women are so brave, so courageous.  As I’ve watched them I can tell that making a video was not easy for some, but I’m standing on my chair and applauding each one of them.  Because to be quite honest, one of the first steps of having a successful business, having a dream come true, is making the choice to put yourself out there!  And these women have taken the first step!  (So proud of you!)

See them now at www.soarwithmera.com!  Click the Video Entries tab to watch!

FAQ for SOAR! Scholarship

We are also working on a FAQ page for the website due to all the questions we’ve received.  Hopefully that will be live soon.  For now, here are a few answers.

1.  You NEED to submit a 2 minute (or less) video with your application to qualify.  If you already submitted your application but still need to submit your video, CLICK HERE!

2.  Your video needs to be under 2 minutes.

3.  You don’t have to be a mom to enter.  SOAR! is celebrating ALL women!

4.  If you already have a small business in the last year or two, can you still enter?  YES! But keep in mind that we will be using your Sony camera gear throughout next year.  SOAR!  also hopes to empower some women who don’t have money to buy the gear to start.  Having said that, if you feel like your a good contestant, be confident and enter!

5.  If you missed a question on the application, you can resubmit.  But you need to start the application over.  There isn’t a way for us to give you access to your original application.

6.  You must live in the United States to enter.  (I’m sorry to all those who are out of country (yes, it includes Canada too).  It’s a legal thing that I’m still trying to figure out.  We apologize.)

7.  What type of video file/format should we upload?  We’ve received all types of formats.  Go for it!

8.  Did you know we have a SOAR! guestbook now.  Right under the SOAR! video on the main page, you can leave a comment!

TONIGHT!

Are we going to see each other tonight?!

After a terrifying flight to San Diego which I’m sure I’ll write about more later, we are here!  I can’t wait to see you all our Costa Mesa peeps tonight!  Last night’s event in San Diego was so much fun!  A big thank you to all the wonderful people that showed up!

If you are coming tonight, you don’t need to register, but you may want to get there a little early!  Here’s the details for tonight.  See you soon!

The Juicy “Sony Style Store Tour” Details!

TONIGHT in the OC!

Date and City: Wednesday, 12/9, COSTA MESA!

Time: 6pm-7:30pm

Location: Sony Style Store in South Coast Plaza

xoxo,

Me Ra

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Christmas lights went up this weekend in our neighborhood. We even got our first Christmas card! Eeks! I’m still finishing off our pumpkin pie! I’m not ready for the holidays to be official! Are you? You know what, I don’t think it matters if we’re ready. I think the holidays are here whether we’re prepared or not. So let’s form a circle! Gather in! :) We must support each other! I’ll support you tossing the leftover pumpkin pie as I make room for the eggnog. I’ll support you buying your own stocking stuffers b/c let’s face it, Santa doesn’t stuff our stockings the way mom did. So here we go ladies and gents; this is my Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for the Photo Enthusiast whether you are a beginner or pro!

I admit, you need a BIG stocking for #1. But it’s so worth it! The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here!

#1 Me Ra’s Sexy Copper Brown, Sony a330 DSLR Camera and Lens!

Price: $549.99 BUY HERE!

Family Circle magazine highlighted this Copper Brown DSLR in their Favorite Holiday Electronic Picks! Check it out on the newsstands this month! And remember, the secret Sony trip we made this summer? We were filming a revised DVD for them called Kids in Focus. I’ll blog about that amazing experience more later. But here is the coolest news, when you purchase your new Sony Alpha DSLR, Sony will include a copy of our newly released Kids in Focus DVD! Exclusively available at Sony Style stores and Sony.com! If you get it, you must PROMISE to send me a photo of yourself with your sexy, new camera!

#2 The Buttery, Background 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Price: $149, BUY HERE!

I love this lens b/c it gives you the low fstop ability to create buttery, blurry backgrounds! FYI, all the images, shot live, for the Kids in Focus DVD were captured with the Sony a330 DSLR and 50mm lens! And believe me, I pushed the camera and lens abilities to the limits, and they both blew my expectations out of the water!

#3 NEW Refuse to Say Cheese Organic Cotton Baby Onesies w/ FOUR Colors to Choose from!

Price $24 Holiday Special $19.20 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Style 1

Style 2

Photography Printed Onsies for Babies

I’ve been wanting to make Refuse to Say Cheese onesies forever! Aren’t they sweet! They are by far one of my favorite Stocking Stuffers! We even have two styles to choose from for the little ones. Sizes range from 6-18 months. And the boys versions are green onesies with the brown camera!

#4 Can’t forget about Mom! NEW Refuse to Say Cheese Women’s American Apparel T-shirts!

Price $29.99 Holiday Special $ till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Style 1

Photography Printed Tshirts for Women

Style 2

Photography Printed Tshirts for Women

You asked for them, and we got them just in time for the holidays! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!!!

#5 Our Award Winning Instructional DVD Set.

Price $ 49.99 Holiday Special $39.99 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Instructional Photography DVDs w/Me Ra Koh

Fox News recommended the DVD set on TV as a top Holiday pick! NAPPA gave the DVD set their prestigious Gold Award! Sony’s new Kids in Focus DVD was inspired from this DVD set. And thousands of customers have emailed us their praise for Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box! What are you waiting for!

#6 The Sony External Flash for a price that’s hard to BEAT!

Price $129.99 BUY HERE!

I love this little flash because it solves the red eye and black cave problem in seconds. With this flash, you can point it toward the ceiling and bounce the light. Bouncing the light gets rid of all the red eye, and your kids don’t look like they are climbing out of black caves. It’s light weight, easy to snap on, and the price is pretty amazing!

#7 The BEST Photo Editing Software EVER: Adobe’s Lightroom 2.

Price $169.99 BUY HERE!

We do ALL our photo editing with Adobe’s Lightroom. I could sing Lightroom praises for hours. This software has made photo editing ten times faster. When you have little ones running around, fast post process is a BIG deal. Lightroom is super intuitive and Dynamic with a capital D! Ask other users, they will confirm what I’m saying.

#8 Stop Reinventing the Wheel with our Popular 101 Kits!

Price: $99, Holiday Price $79.20 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Essential Nuts and Bolts for Photography Business

Do you want to stay up all night trying to reinvent the wheel on starting a photography business? Or, do you wish that someone did the research for you and just shared it all with you? I SHARE IT ALL in our popular 101 Kits. You’ll receive photo release waivers, marketing tips, package pricing, and much more. Just read the reviews when you click to buy now! We’ve received hundreds of HAPPY emails from customers! And when you buy two 101 Kits, you get an even better deal. Our Portrait 101 and Wedding 101 Kits are the most popular!

#9 Chic jill-e Camera Bags that will make Her Giddy!

Price: $24.99 to $384.99 BUY HERE!

extraordinary Pro camera bags by jill-e designs deliver function and fashion

My girlfriend Carey bought me a Jill-e Camera Bag for my birthday a couple years ago. Love it! Love it! You can’t beat the classiness of these camera bags for women (and they’ve got some pretty hip ones for men too–Brian approves! :))

#10! Me Ra’s best resource for Artistic Inspiration: The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity-10th Anniversary Edition.

Price: $26.40 BUY HERE!

If your creativity needs to be inspired, this book is for you. There are endless exercises that jog your creativity, whether it’s tackling fears, beliefs we have regarding our worthiness to create, you name it, this book tackles it! It is my Bible when it comes to creative inspiration. You’ve heard me quote it several times, why not treat yourself or someone you love to their own copy!

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You have it friends! Our Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for the Photo Enthusiast! If your purchasing a product from our store (tshirts, onsies, DVDs, 101 kits) remember to use the Coupon: stockingstuffers. This Coupon will give you 20% off until this Friday, December 4th!

Happy Holidays!

xoxo,

Me Ra

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16 Baby Shoots in 6 Hours!

I want to start by thanking every parent who emailed me a photo of their beautiful baby. As I said before, my Inbox has never looked so beautiful. It was painful to narrow the final count down. If you were not picked, it’s not because I didn’t love your baby. I LOVED all the babies (too much!). For this first book project, I had to fill specific holes, certain traits, certain ages, etc. But thank you so much for sharing your sweet baby with me. I really loved meeting them through your email. And I will keep all your emails on hand for any future projects!

After receiving hundreds of beautiful baby submissions, we narrowed the entries down to 16 babies.

On Saturday, I did 16 baby shoots in 6 hours. Brian filmed the whole thing so you’ll get to see behind the scenes footage of how and why I set the babies up!

A HUGE thanks to all 16 babies and their wonderful families. It was a honor to work with all of you! Thank you so much for your time.

And what a time we had!

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

I’ve never tried stacking that many baby photo shoots in such a short amount of time. Has anyone? :) Part of me was like, ‘Am I popping crazy pills?’ When Brian heard what I was up to, he was like “Really Me Ra? Your going to do a photo shoot for sixteen babies in six hours?” But when you have a book deadline, you’ve got to do what it takes. Right! So yes I am! And, yes we did. And those babies had me laughing all day.

16 Baby Photo Shoots in 6 Hours w/Me Ra Koh

We hit every emotion you can imagine from crying to cooing to screaming to laughing in seconds. And yes, I also brought a handful of different outfits for myself. I’ve been photographing babies long enough to know that I’ll get spit up on or peed on without notice. But it’s all worth it, if I get to hold those little ones before we say goodbye.

What a day! As Pascaline would say “Foofy-Do!”

p.s. A big thanks to my beautiful Genie for helping me with the emails. And I want to give a BIG shout out to Troy Nesby for all these Behind the Scene photos as well as helping us with all the in between details throughout the day! We love you Troy!

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Remember to submit your Photo Contest entries soon! We’ve got two photo contests going on right now that you don’t want to miss! I’m loving the submissions, but if you haven’t submitted-you’ve got until December 1st. To read the details on what our Photo Contest Themes are CLICK HERE!

Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! The DVDs were also recently featured on FOX News as a TOP GIFT recommendation for the holidays! Refuse to Say Cheese and , click either title!

Thinking of starting your dream Photography Business?! You can totally do it with our popular 101 Kits! Inspired from the 100’s of emails that Me Ra Koh receives each week, asking the how to’s of having a Photography Business, Me Ra has compiled all her answers into her popular 101 Kits! For more info, click on the titles of your choice, read the reviews and make your dream a reality! And don’t forget to send your success stories to Me Ra at [email protected]!

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I have to admit. I think I was holding on to the slim hope that at some point yesterday, our new website/blog would go live. But alas, some bugs are more buggier than others. So in the meantime, as the team continues to iron with amazing diligence, we move forward.

And what better post, then to tell you what my kids did last night. The kiddos know we’ve been working so hard on the new website and a handful of other projects. So while Brian and I were working on the new site, they decided to surprise us. They came downstairs dressed us as teenagers (or at least this is what they picture teenagers looking and acting like ;)). It was hilarious!

Photo Tips for Moms w/Me Ra Koh

I know what your thinking ‘underwear on the outside of your pants?’ The kids explained that teenage boys are always wearing their pants so low, and since everyone can see their underwear, why not just wear them on the outside? Totally!

Blaze wanted this shot. As I was shooting, he kept saying “That’s classic mom. Just classic.” He told me “classic” is a teenage word. Duh, mom.

photo tips for moms w/Me Ra Koh

Notice how they planned their socks? Yes, that was planned.

I asked them to give me their best “teenage expression”.

Photo Tips for Moms w/Me Ra Koh

Isn’t that funny?! I love the socks dynamic in that one too. :) I don’t even know if they “know” any teenagers. Nonetheless, they have a definite idea of what it means to look and act like a teenage boy.

This is my favorite! So much attitude going on.

Photo Tips for Moms w/Me Ra Koh

So how did I make the lighting happen on these images? I used my external flash.

Photo Recipe Time! This is something you can totally try yourself! If you have an external flash, turn the flash on auto and leave the buttons on the back of your flash alone. Turn your camera to an ISO of 800, Shutter Speed of 60 or 1/60th, and an fstop between 4.0 and 2.8–up to you on fstop.

Then take your flash head and instead of pointing it at your kids, point it at the ceiling. This is called “bouncing”. Bouncing gets rid of the shadows and looks more like natural light. I love to bounce behind me, but for these images I tried bouncing off the ceiling. And that’s it friends. If you try it this weekend, show me what you get! Email them to [email protected]. I totally want to see!

And maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a new website/blog early next week! (I pray to the website gods, please, please, please!)

xoxo, Me Ra

p.s. Oh, Don’t forget to submit your Photo Contest entries! We’ve got two photo contests going on right now that you don’t want to miss! I’m loving the submissions, but if you haven’t submitted–you’ve got until December 1st. To read the details on what our Photo Contest Themes are CLICK HERE!

p.s.s. We have 16, yep SIXTEEN!, babies showing up on Saturday for our Baby Extravaganza Photo Shoot. Brian is going to video tape the whole thing, so maybe we can give you a baby peak! It should be interesting with that many cute babies!

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Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! The DVDs were also recently featured on FOX News as a TOP GIFT recommendation for the holidays! Refuse to Say Cheese and , click either title!

Thinking of starting your dream Photography Business?! You can totally do it with our popular 101 Kits! Inspired from the 100’s of emails that Me Ra Koh receives each week, asking the how to’s of having a Photography Business, Me Ra has compiled all her answers into her popular 101 Kits! For more info, click on the titles of your choice, read the reviews and make your dream a reality! And don’t forget to send your success stories to Me Ra at [email protected]!

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We are in the last leg of having every piece in place for the SPARKLY, NEW Me Ra Koh Website/Blog. I know I’m super excited, but all I can feel at this moment is complete exhaustion from doing hours of ironing. You know, the kind of ironing where you iron out one wrinkle, and then up pops a new wrinkle. Our web designers have been amazing with design and implementation. They have been so patient with me, and I know I’m not the only one staying up till 2am to try and get every wrinkle ironed out.

Here is a fun sneak peak at the new “right margin” of the blog (in progress)!

Me Ra Koh Photography Blog

This little sneak peak announces a couple great things!

1. If you read the fine print for the Newsletter box, you’ll notice that if you join our Newsletter you are automatically entered in a new drawing to win a Copper Brown Sony DSLR (Me Ra’s Favorite) camera! Yep, not joking! Sony is celebrating our new site with us, and they are doing it by partnering on a new DSLR camera giveaway! So get ready to sign up for the Newsletter b/c on top of winning the camera, you’ll also get the scoop on all kinds of stuff like…new, sweet, little baby onsies that say “Refuse to Say Cheese”! (just in time for the holidays! :))

2. Do you see that button below the newsletter called SOAR!? Well that is a seriously cool project Brian and I are working hard and fast on. In a nutshell, we’re wanting to create scholarship, SUPER COOL scholarships, for women. So stay tuned! I’m updating our progress on Twitter, so if your not following me–head over there now and look for “merakoh”.

The website home page is also going to feature FOUR videos! I can’t wait for you to see them. Brian at Taco Lamp did an amazing job with the video editing! Brian and I pretty much filmed them with a camcorder, and Brian Garcia used his editing magic to make the videos sparkle! Brian Garcia has also been staying up until 2am to put the finishing touches on the videos. (Thank you so much Brian! How lucky am I? I got two great Brians on my team. :))

And our web design team…well, they are amazing. Their name is Chopping Block. I don’t know if you remember me posting a tweet in early summer about looking for a web design team. I got a handful of responses, and then we ended up finding Chopping Block in this random sort of way. They do all the design and web work for Rachel Ray along with other brands like Phish, Dave Matthews, Sex and the City, etc. They have incredible experience in what it takes to brand a personality online.

It seemed like a good fit at the time, and let me tell you, it’s been an incredible fit. They have challenged me, helped me fine tune my online brand presence, and taken us to a new level. I can’t wait for you to experience their magic on the new www.merakoh.com.

The experience (with even more surprises than drawings and scholarships) happens tomorrow (fingers crossed)!

Now to get back to the ironing!

xoxo,

Me Ra

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TWO NEW Photo Contests, TWO WAYS to WIN! Deadline is December 1st! To enter and WIN, read the details HERE!

Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! The DVDs were also recently featured on FOX News as a TOP GIFT recommendation for the holidays! Refuse to Say Cheese and , click either title!

Thinking of starting your dream Photography Business?! You can totally do it with our popular 101 Kits! Inspired from the 100’s of emails that Me Ra Koh receives each week, asking the how to’s of having a Photography Business, Me Ra has compiled all her answers into her popular 101 Kits! For more info, click on the titles of your choice, read the reviews and make your dream a reality! And don’t forget to send your success stories to Me Ra at [email protected]!

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Want a fun photo exercise idea for the weekend? The gold and red leaves won’t be here much longer. When the sun breaks this weekend, grab your camera, make a pile of leaves and let the kids go for it!

Photo Tips for Taking Fall Leave Photos! Me Ra Koh Photography

I love to get kids involved with photo shoots. I had these two build me the BIGGEST pile of leaves. I told them to grab two handfuls and on the count of 3, throw the leaves in the air as high as they can. But kids will do exactly what you tell them and sometimes nothing more or less. So that just means they need even more photocoaching. I told these two to keep their arms stretched high to the sky and smile as the leaves fall down all around them (and I demonstrated what I meant with exaggeration). We practiced a couple times (I shot each run through–just in case). When the three of us knew we were all on the same page, we yelled our countdown “ONE, TWO, THREE! THROW THE LEAVES!”

For all my Photo Recipe Lovers: Aperture/ftsop was a 2.8 to give me a blurry background. ISO was down to 200 for maximum color saturation. With all that sunlight, the Shutter Speed was cooking at 640th of a second or 1/640–plenty fast to freeze their action and smiles.

Have a wonderful weekend friends! Brian and I get to spend the weekend with the beautiful November Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop ladies, starting with a fun Meet and Greet at our house tonight. We are so excited. And next week, oh my goodness I can hardly wait, our new website/blog goes live with special announcements and goodies for the holidays!

Love you all!

Me Ra

p.s. If you emailed us about your baby being in my new book, we will be in touch by Monday! The photo shoots will happen on Saturday, November 21st, starting at 9am. If your baby fits what we are looking for, we are going to email you time slots so you can sign up. All the details (location, what to wear, how long the session will be, etc) are coming soon so watch your Inbox for an email from me or Genie! xoxo

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TWO NEW Photo Contests, TWO WAYS to WIN! Deadline is December 1st! To enter and WIN, read the details HERE!

Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! The DVDs were also recently featured on FOX News as a TOP GIFT recommendation for the holidays! Refuse to Say Cheese and , click either title!

Thinking of starting your dream Photography Business?! You can totally do it with our popular 101 Kits! Inspired from the 100’s of emails that Me Ra Koh receives each week, asking the how to’s of having a Photography Business, Me Ra has compiled all her answers into her popular 101 Kits! For more info, click on the titles of your choice, read the reviews and make your dream a reality! And don’t forget to send your success stories to Me Ra at [email protected]!

read more

Meet Amanda DiMonda!
Amanda DiMonda Portrait Photography Featured on Me Ra Koh
Amanda is our Amazing Mom feature today. She is based out of Long Island, NY. And she has two beautiful twin girls!

1. Amanda, when did you start your business and what was the turning point of taking it from a hobby to a business of charging people and putting up your beautiful website?

I have always had a love for photography; however, my first love was animals. I grew up wanting to be a veterinarian. In college, I was always interested in taking a photography class and for one reason or another I never did. I did take my camera around campus with me when I needed time for just me and to reflect on life during a time when I was really trying to find myself.

Fast forward six years later and I found myself becoming a mom of beautiful twin girls.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

My camera and I formed a new relationship. Would you believe I actually started off taking pictures with my Sony video camcorder?! It also took still shots and it was the only camera I had. After literally thousands of pictures later, capturing my girls every moment, my video camera fell at a birthday party and broke. While it was being fixed my husband and I went to the store and he asked me what kind of camera I wanted. I said, “Well if I could get anything it would be the Canon Rebel XTi.” At the time I had been drooling over it for a very long time. It was then that he looked at me and said “OK.” What?! I was really just joking and throwing it out there…never expecting to actually get it. He told me that it may take time but that everyone always compliments me on my pictures. And maybe one day it could end up being a business purchases, and I could start my own photography business.

I received my camera for a Christmas present in 2007 and never looked back. I was literally floating. Photography woke up something inside of me that I knew was there but never actually took the time to listen too. My camera let me show and “say” more then I could ever put into words. More and more people continued to tell me that I should pursue photography because they loved my eye.

It wasn’t until last winter (2008) that an amazing woman I met by chance through a mommy and me class, asked me to take pictures of her boys. She knew I could do it, just like many others telling me, before I did. And for some reason I listened and said I would love to. After my first photo shoot I was re-newed in spirit and on such a high that I saw all the pieces of my life fall into place. And just how amazing it was to produce such a priceless gift for another person and truly love every minute of it. That is when it started. I did do a few jobs after that for free and slowly started charging people from there. In April of this year, I decided to put up a website to have some way of actually showing what I do. Through my website and mostly word of mouth, I have started to take off. Some days I find myself holding my breath wondering if it is truly happening. I mean how many people can honestly say they LOVE and have such passion for their job?

2. What inspires your photography?

Definitely my children.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

It is amazing how quickly they go from one stage in life to the next. I want to remember all the little things. The way their eyes light up when they do something for the first time, or how innocent they look while sleeping or laying next to their puppy, all those silly face only they make so well. I could go on for hours, but just to watch them grow and come into their own…is so beautiful and takes my breath away.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

They inspire me to try my best to capture that, so one day they can look back and treasure those moments and see how amazing they have always been.

3. What inspires you as a person, artist?

Just life in general and a desire to want to show people what I can’t put into words.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

I am a deep thinker, always have been and I am sure always will be. Growing up I always felt “older” then I was and the things that went through my head were not the normal things I should be worried about or thinking of. I was always sensitive to situations that would normally go right over a child’s head. Life itself was such a big question to me: Where exactly did I fit in this big world? It amazed me to think of all the possibilities. I saw and felt so much, yet I never found a way to let all that energy out and have always just taken everything in. My camera bridged that gap. Now I can show people what I see and help them notice something beautiful in places they might never have thought to look or taken the time to feel.

4. What made you decide to do photography as more than a hobby? What was your turning point?

I found my self 25 years old, a mom blessed with newborn twins and unable to have any more children due to a heart condition that was a result of my pregnancy. That one stung for a while. As thankful as I was that I was given two amazing children, I didn’t like being told I could not have any more kids. I LOVED being a mom and thinking that all these moments that pass too quickly would never happen for me again was heart breaking. Those tiny newborn hands, those belly laughs and toothless grins. Everything. Only once. It crushed me.

Fast forward a few years later and I realized that there is a reason for everything! I found my camera, this passion…and I actually took that “leap”. Just the way I felt after taking pictures for someone else for the first time, it was so empowering. I finally saw all the pieces of my life fall into place, and it felt right. And I find that I am blessed again every time a family allows me to step into their lives for just a moment and capture their own child’s story.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

I get to relive those moments every time I do a session! It truly is a special gift and dream within a dream!

5. What are the classes/workshops/DVDs you’ve watched to teach yourself photography? Were they helpful?

I honestly have never taken a photography class or workshop before. I have learned what I know from playing around and reading information anywhere I could find it. Then I bought Me Ra’s Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box DVDs. They absolutely helped me in more ways then one. They showed me in simple terms how to understand Aperture. That was the most technical thing from it that I truly appreciated getting out of the DVDs. Then even more then that was the confidence it inspired in me. The DVDs, just your blog in general and you, and the information you provide and your encouraging sincere way. How you show in more ways then one that you can take this amazing passion and make into whatever you want it to be. All you have to do is look any fear or doubt straight on and jump in with two feet and the rest will fall into place. Whenever I feel my self confidence lacking all I have to do is read through your blog and take a deep breath. Then I realize I can do this, just keep moving forward.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

I also attended MeRa and Brian’s CONFIDENCE workshop in Minneapolis, and I am still in awe of the whole experience. I had hit a glass ceiling in my photography and had not even realized it until the first day of the workshop. By the second day I realized why I was where I was, and Me Ra and Brian gave me the tools and the courage to go out there and challenge myself in new ways. I can not even put into words how amazing these workshops are…and there is NO question. Everyone should attend one…it is that simple!

6. What is one or two pieces marketing/self-promotion ideas that you can give our newbies? (something you did to get your name out there)

Definitely business cards. Even if you do not have a website yet, and are just starting out. I would absolutely tell anyone to just get business cards. You can put your own pictures on one side and on the other just have your name and contact information and write down photographer or child photographer how ever you choose to word it. Hand them out to friends and family to give to people, or ask if you can leave them at certain businesses. Or if you just meet someone and the conversation comes up you have something to show a piece of your work and have all the info right there.

I have also found the Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation. I did not realize all that I had been through children could be subjected to as well. It is such a misdiagnosed condition and as soon as I found it, I knew I wanted to do my part to help them any way I could. I decided to donate 10% of my prints profits during a certain time frame to their organization. When they found out they were so excited and wanted to help promote me as well and in turn hopefully helping them at the same time. So they posted about me on their website, and I have gotten recognized through that. If there is something that speaks to you…something you would love to help out in some way–you can do it with your photography…you can do it! You never know the possibilities that can arise and at the same time you are helping others and that always feels amazing.

7. What was your first “paid” shoot like? How did you feel on the way, during and after?

My first paid shoot I was very nervous. I was so scared that the “idea” of actually being paid would just get in my head to much and I would never give them something they would actually want to pay for. I had my work cut out for me as well as it ended up being the coldest day of the winter up until that point. It was of two little boys and the youngest was only about 15 months. He was so cold and not happy to be outside, and he cried every time we tried to get him to walk around. I totally understood why! It wasn’t until I got home and started looking through the images that I realized ‘Wow I really can do this, I had so much against me with the weather yet I still captured images where you would never known how miserable it was outside and that the little guy was so upset!’ I ended up making them happy and have actually taken their pictures again since then. It wasn’t until I got their mom and dad’s words of how much they loved the pictures that I actually started to breathe again! It felt empowering to make others so happy.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

8. What is the best and toughest part about doing photography while being a mom and wife at the same time?

Guilt and time. By nature I find it very hard to do things for me and when I do…as much as I know in my heart I need them and despite my husband’s encouraging words and support to go get and achieve anything I want…I still feel tremendous amounts of guilt. It is funny to me, as much as this is my business and a job, it is so much fun and I love doing it from the bottom of my heart that I sometimes forget about feeling guilty for going out, away from my family to do a shoot. That I am creating something to treasure for others, making them happy which is priceless for me, and I am contributing to my family at the same time.

Also time, finding the time to sit at my computer and edit all the images I capture. I struggle to find the right time that I am not taking away from my “job” as a mommy or wife and yet not staying up all hours of the night working on pictures and then getting no sleep! (sometimes I just get so into it that I can’t stop to go to bed! Lol! The house is quiet and when does that happen right?!)

The best part is that I get to give people something and make others happy, while at the same time doing something I truly love for me. And I get to share my passion, especially as my children get older and hopefully inspire them to go after their own dreams.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

9. Is there one more piece of advice you’d give to newbies?

To stop waiting and just go for it. Fly. Do it for yourself, especially if you are a mom…You know how we all get to these points where we are doing things for all these people and then we stop for a second and think…but who am I again? It will fill that space and empower you to do more in every area of your life! And don’t let those days where you are lacking self confidence bring you down. Just breathe and keep moving forward…it will come back. You can do this!

And to have a good support system behind you. I could not do what I do with out the support of my husband. He is so enthusiastic about what I do and wanting me to grow and succeed. He is always willing to help in anyway with our girls so I can go out and meet with clients and is always by my side reminding me why I started this and how proud he is!

I love that I can make people happy and slow down for a second in this crazy life and take a moment to appreciate the beauty in love in their own lives.

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

A client once told me that she had never known her husband to cry and as he looked through their on line gallery he had tears. That was the best compliment any one could have given me, especially just starting out.

Through photography I also found a way to give back on a personal level. I found The Littlest Heroes Project, which is a non profit based organization helping children who sometimes feel forgotten because of an illnesses or life altering condition by offering free photography sessions. I have yet to do my first session, but was accepted as a photographer a few months back. I am so excited to be able to take my love for photography and not only start a business but also reach out at the same time and make a child feel wonderful. I am not the founder of this amazing organization or anything to do with how it started, I am just waiting to partake and do my part! If you are interested check them out and see if they are in need of photographers in your area! http://www.littlestheroesproject.org/Littlest_Heroes_Project/Home.html

Photography has opened my life and heart to so many amazing things and I am so honored and thrilled that you, Me Ra, have given me this opportunity to take another deep breath and open up about my incredible new journey. If I can do this anyone can!

Photography Tips / Mom Feature w/ Me Ra Koh Photography

Dearest Amanda, I will never forget meeting you at the Minneapolis workshop. You have such a tender soul. You soak in all the energy around you, and you turn the energy into beautiful images. I was looking at your blog last night, and I was blown away–just in total awe of your beautiful images. You seem to capture the human spirit in such a soft, gentle way. Thank you for sharing your story, your fears, weaknesses, triumphs, your honesty…thank you for sharing YOU with all of us. We are better people today because of you.

Much love, Me Ra

To all our blog readers,

To see more of Amanda’s beautiful imagery, CLICK HERE! To follow her blog, CLICK HERE!

Did you see the last five Amazing Mom features? If so, check them out here!

1. Interview w/ Leslie Webber from Indianapolis, Indiana!

2. Interview w/ Michelle Riddle from Santa Cruz, CA!

3. Interview w/Tracie Stier-Johnson from Milwaukee, Wisconsin!

4. Interview w/Lora Ayers from Atlanta, Georgia!

5. Interview w/Carey Schumacher from San Diego, CA!

p.s. AND, would you like to be featured on our blog too?

If you have attended our workshop, purchased one of our five 101 Kits , or watched our DVDs, and feel like your life has taken a new and wonderful turn for the better, then please send me an email at [email protected] . I will send you directions on how to be featured! We can’t promise to feature everyone, but I want to do this type of blog post more and more. Hundreds of people have sent us the most amazing emails regarding our workshops and DVDs impacting their life, their before and after photos, their revived passion; I would love for all of you to hear those stories!

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