family photography

Developing some Wanderlust

Were you someone who grew up with a home base? Do you have somewhere that you go back to that is "home?"  I have an area... but not a structure. Scott Valley feels like "home." As does Northern California in general.   As a kid who mostly "traveled" just up and down I-5 (Medford to Mexico was my range...) I grew up wanting to do the whole road-trip-across-the-country" thing. Once I hit middle school age and was pretty stationary in one area, I never ached to get out of Siskiyou County for good though (like so many other classmates of mine did. Every other Etna High Senior seemed to be dying to get out of town asap!) because I had lived in the city already, and I enjoyed being settled in our safe little Scott Valley. Security... I guess that's all I ever really felt like I needed. HASHTAG:WOMEN lol right?  Thankfully, I find peace in knowing that God
 


But now - I've gone from one end of the country, and back again... a few times, Lived from California to Florida and a handful of places in between, and enjoyed all of the new places for sure. But have ALWAYS hated the leaving! Do you know the feeling of the slight social anxiety that comes with having to build a new network? Eeshk. Not my favorite.  Aside from the last 3 years... I think that most of my life I've moved every other year.  Whether it was same town and just from house to house or to a different town, different county or different state... packing up, unsettling, and re-settling has been a part of my life... For-Eevv-Eerrr.   And I have always loved that. And I have always not-loved that too... Forgive my awkwardness. Pardon my confusing tone. I'm an INFP and the struggle is real.  (Total side note here - but you know that saying, "I'm not a night-owl... I'm not an early-bird... I'm some sort of exhausted pigeon."?? HAHA! I feel like that is me with anything! - So the moving all over going from place to place, loving it, hating it, desiring being settled, but always having wanted to travel the country..? Yeah.. I'm an in-between sort of person. Don't ask me to pick a favorite. Ever. Of anything.) One of the biggest life lessons that God has used all of this for me is to be present. To soak life up here and now. 


Did you go through a season, maybe early college years, where you loved what you were doing, your life season, the excitement of your future, but at the same time... struggled because you didn't feel like you had a home base? *Emoji girl hand raise* Yes!! Me too!  and that was soo un-nerving. All of the THINGS that couldn't fit with me were in storage in various states (Arizona, Tennessee, Florida and California), and the things that I wanted with me fit into a couple of suitcases. MAN, that was a lot of work toting and loading those all over! lol. But those years where you're not a care-free high school kid anymore, and you don't totally feel like you're capable of adulting completely yet... are confusing, and emotional, while mixed with so much reward and fun memories.  *see what I mean?*

Through ALL of that... I've always and forever, wanted to have a beautiful place to land. I've dreamt of having a "homestead" that my kids grow up in and never have to leave until it's time. One that they can come home to through their awkward exhausted pigeon stages and feel secure, like they know where they belong. Where they can look at a certain hallway or doorstep and be flooded with memories from most any time in their life.   So that is ultimate goal number one. A forever home. 

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BUUUTTT are you still wondering if we're going to get to the wanderlust part? Here we go. Hi, I'm Valisa, I'm a photographer and I'm super settled and don't want to leave but I am addicted to the idea of traveling the country in an RV and homeschooling my kids on the road for a year or two. Bouncing the country from state parks, to towns our friends and family live in that we rarely get to see. 

See what I mean about the confusing thing? I'm a big ole walking contradiction.  I guess it comes with the desire to connect to those I'm close with... And after having lived in a few different states... I've got loved ones all over the place that I do NOT get to see nearly enough. AND... I want my kids to get to know some fun things about this beautiful country we live in. To really explore and learn... to enjoy the company, and glean from the wisdom of godly people we love that SHOULD be big influences in their lives but that live too far away. 

So there you have it. Ultimate Goal Number 2 - Eventually... I want to travel. I want to *safely* throw my kids in an RV. And for a year or two live in state parks, giving my kids an enriching start to life... and I want to do it while they're still young enough to WANT to be with me in close quarters for long periods of time... so that it's me that has to battle the going crazy part... instead of them. lol.... Maybe at some point I'll be able to take my photography business on the road, and come be able to photograph all of you sweet friends that aren't local to Nor Cal and Southern Oregon areas, and that I haven't seen in ... FAR too long. 


Do you relate to this... ooooorrrrr do you think I'm crazy? Haha you're free to tell me either! Start the conversation below: Comment below with your thoughts! And if you're someone not-local to me... how cool would it be? You'd have to get your friends on board to booking shoots and then I could pretty much plan to come to you right? Check out Knorpp and South! They do it, and do it WELL (with 9 children mind you). 

The What to Wear Dilema!

I'm not talking about my clothing choices here. That's a whole other story for another time! But, have you ever been unsure of what to wear, or what to dress your kids in for a photo shoot? I'm doing a shoot in a few weeks of 3 little kiddos. My client wanted suggestions on clothing for them so I went scouting. Now, little kids are easy. Honestly they look cute in anything! I've done shoots of my kids in crazy mis-matched, dirty play clothes... and they're adorable. Biased? eh.. maybe. So really, I don't feel a ton of pressure  on perfect dressing when it's kids! It does turn out amazing when outfits come together perfectly.. but they turn out pretty great none-the-less. The hard part comes when it comes to dressing ourselves for this sort of thing right?? Ha! Anyway... I digress! 
First step - Figure out what item it is that you really want to incorporate, or find something you like that has multiple colors in it. One piece, for one person... It totally takes care of your color scheme for you! Then try basing other items off of that. Coordinate Schmoordinate! not Matchy Matchy! 
Since we were starting from scratch and getting all new things - I went searching for something with a pattern or print that I could base the other outfits off of. I'll be honest - its easiest to do this for the girl of the group usually... not always. I found an adorable plaid shirt for my 2 year old boy last Fall for our photos, and that became the center piece that our other colors were based around.  I figured since I'd basically be sending my client suggestions - I would try and keep everything at one online store. I checked my go-to's: Target, Gap, Janie and Jack, Gymboree, Children's Place....andfinally landed at Old Navy. There were a lot of single pieces I liked at each store, but the coordinating 2 boys and 1 girl part proved to be best suited to Old Navy this time around. I found this shirt at OldNavy.com - and it was perfect! (A little Pantone Color of the 2016 slipped in here!) 

Pink and Blue Floral Girls Top
Boy's Clothing Pantone Blue

After finding her shirt, I worked on the boys outfits. Toddlers and babies are easy, so I started with the older boy. One thing to keep in mind is texture and layers. So I went with layers for him... Notice how I'm pulling out the dark and light blues. This is the set I put together to send to my client... Obviously there are some choices there for her to choose from... but I'm basing the outfit for him, off of the colors in her shirt. I don't usually worry too much about the combining patterns thing, because I've seen some super cute shoots with stripes and plaids.. You just have to be careful. But stripes and florals are a total YES. :)  

The little guy was easy - something about a button up with rolled up sleeves is adorable on a little one! Kept him simple, but I think he ties both of the other kids together well. Here is a case of options to coordinate, but not matching... I feel like its done well!  

Little Miss ended up with some Navy leggings,  and we will throw in some accessories to brighten things up for the little miss some.. and bam! 
 

Can't wait to see it all come together! 
 

Loving Pink Bokeh!

I do NOT know much about trees, and plants so I can't tell you what kind, but there is a line of really pretty trees out front that are usually red leafed.  In the Spring they have the most beautiful pink blossoms! It SERIOUSLY makes me want to visit DC and the Cherry Blossoms everywhere! I've noticed a few times how amazingly the sun sets behind the row of these trees and told myself - I really need to get some pictures before they're all gone! They are definitely transitioning to their red-state. So a few evenings ago... in the best impromptu type of unplanned way (as you can tell by my daughter's super coordinated outfit) I popped out there to just snap a couple of shots. 
One thing I really am drawn to in these, is the Bokeh!! So often that beautiful bokeh when I get it, is filled, and lush with greens, yellows with maybe a few spots of color here and there... This is just so different! I love it! 

Pink Blossoms
Pink Blossomed Tree

Of course this girl had to get in on the action and bring her style ;)
 

Girl with Blossoms

the Value Factor

I've lately really been faced with looking at my value as a small business owner and in my craft. This running a business thing for a full time income is not for the weary! Its hard work you guys! Seriously... Who would've thought? ;) haha..... But seriously - What do I value about my work and my business... What do I want clients and potential clients to value about my work and business? Pretty Images....? I'm not so sold. While I have spent a good 6-ish years developing and honing in my craft as a photographer, and in editing... (And plan to continue doing so.... ) I've come to realize that I value my work because it is something that I put my heart and soul into. I want to get to know my clients, not just pop some photos in a gallery and send them on their way, never to be heard of again until next Fall for family photos or the next stage of life. I want to be excited about editing and post processing, because I know how perfect a certain expression matches a person, how I KNOW I grabbed a good shot of the toddler who won't sit still... ever. lol! How I caught that daddy daughter relationship that you value or the history in something as simple as a funny face phase that will probably pass in a few short months... or Might be the beginning of something that will stick around and give a good laugh a few years down the road.

I haven't always been successful in developing a proper relationship prior to my photoshoots, but the types that it has worked out in that way have honorably turned out to be some of my best work.Website (149 of 472) It can be hard to develop a relationship with my client at times... especially when you know me enough to know....that I'm not the best conversation starter with people I don't know well! (unless there is just something driving me to randomly ask you to be my friend... lol... I've never done such a thing! *that sounds desperate....moving on*) but it's not difficult to do if that is what YOU, as my potential client expect. If you KNOW that I care to see a glimpse of your family values, the dynamics in the relationships you wish to capture, or the phase you're dying to freeze in time... You will be more apt to share those things with me if going in, you know that I care to know them! If you know that knowing you, and your "WHY" for wanting my work, makes my work BETTER.... it is likely that we will develop a bit of an understanding and rapport with each other before our session.... a connection. You won't be one to freeze or get quiet when I ask about when you two met, or who the funny one in the family is.....Right? Are you following or am smacking a nail with a crayon?

My work is valuable to me. I want it to be valuable to YOU but... I can't make that happen without first valuing it myself. Which is why I've been reflecting on what puts the Valisa in Valisa Henderson Photography?... and allowing more of myself to infiltrate my brand.

It IS valuable to many of my clients, and to those who have valued my work before I saw it's value - I am truly thankful!  When I asked myself, "What is it about a client who values my work?" The answer landed me back to ... relationships. Those that ask and ask and ask when I'm planning to come visit and make sure I'm planning on scheduling shoots while I'm there - shows me that My work is VALUABLE to them. Granted I know I have clients HERE in Northern California and Southern Oregon that value my work, for sure! But I feel my point is made clear with Arizona; There are TONS of photographers in Phoenix, Arizona; seriously. REALLY great ones... but when I visit that city... I have clients ready in waiting... because I have formed relationships with those that value my work. I have grown with them, or they have grown with me... one or the other, or both I guess ;).... It is NOT because I'm the best photographer (Because I do not possess that horn to toot!)...  My work is something that I want to promote... yes, but also protect. Because it's valuable. Why have I transitioned to selling prints and not just passing around digital files like they're candy? Because the color calibration matters, the way I crop something matters, the time I spend working on my business, the time I spend with you, and FOR you behind the scenes, the care and diligence I spend crafting your images... because of the relationship I like having with my clients... is worth far more than the changes and manipulations that non-professional, corner-store printing options do to *ahem* ENHANCE *???* your photos... i.e. my art, that I value.  Can you see how without that connection and relationship... it could be hard to value my work? I do know that that does not allow for just anyone to pop in and value my work in the way that I pray my past, present and future clients will. And I have to accept that. Not everyone will agree with how I do things... and  in finding VALUE in my business lately - I've learned that THAT IS OKAY. There will be others out there, and how they do business is valued by a different niche of clients. I want to attract those that find value in and appreciate my work, value in my one-woman-show business, and value in the ME inside my brand.

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