Ditch The Extra Gear: Less Is More

We took turns loading up his film and strolling the Think Tank around the bumpy grass. We watched from a distance, waiting for the obvious sound of the roll signaling a fresh batch was needed. We hustled, we took turns fetching water and we cooed “ooooh, that’s sooooo his style!”,  from behind-the-scenes. As much as I love photographing weddings I find that when time permits, it’s just as important to me to assist other photographers when I can. I try to never pass up the opportunity to help a fellow industry peer and moreso  find it’s in the in between moments where you yourself grow. As I inspected his wedding gear set-up: two medium format camera bodies, three lenses, a fun rolleicord camera, one video light, a tripod, a flash and a few extra film inserts, I gawked at the simplicity of it all. I’d go so far as to say I even felt a wave of panic rush over as if I was given these pieces and asked to shoot in a myriad of conditions for 8 hours. But watching him roam the reception lawn, conversing with guests about his cool old camera and getting in close to the action all while hardly being noticed I accepted the freedom in traveling lightly. To show up with what you need to get the job done, nothing more, and let creativity lead the way. Less swapping of lenses and frantic camera changes and more being in the present moment on a wedding day. Most of all, getting creative with what you’ve got! In the digital (well and film!) world it’s easy to get caught up in having every.single.piece of new gear for every potential photo opt, but if you can get it done with one camera and one lens, why the hell not? Why in the world spend thousands on a 10 pound lens you only use for 3 minutes of the day, or have multiple flash accessories that restrict rather than excite you? (Yes, beautiful light can be EXCITING! ahaha). As as propped his camera onto the tripod for an “experimental long exposure” that I was 100% sure would turn out incredible, I left my job as an assistant feeling lighter. Freed up to the notion that you’ve got to have it all to be a professional, simply master what you’ve got. Ignore the ‘standards’, find your own way, try new things and make your own route. Sure, I like to come prepared (you never know when you’ll need extra slippers or an umbrella!), but you don’t need every lens, filter, flash, remote, lens hood and tripod stand to take beautiful photos that are completely you, it’s just more to think about. Plus, he said his back hardly hurt at all! Say whatttttt? Never heard sucha thing.

The next weekend, forced to travel with a carryon (that still managed to weigh 40 lbs), I welcomed the idea and downsized my ginormous suitcase into a compact and efficient bag of tricks, picking up my toy Diana camera here and there, leaving the rest on O’ahu. And you know what? I didn’t miss a single piece. 


June 9, 2015 - 1:26 pm

ashley nicole Agreed! However, I do feel like I never have enough batteries. haha ;)

June 29, 2015 - 11:02 am

Ashley Goodwin ME EITHER! I just bought some enelopes, FINALLY!

Screw Balance.

As I sit here in unkempt hair, tie-dyed yoga pants and a “partying is my cardio” tank a million to-dos run through my head. “Send client packages. Go to the bank. Schedule meetings. And for crying out loud update your website!”. As business owners all know when we worked for someone else time never seemed to go by fast enough but as we are our own bosses there are NEVER enough hours in the day. Ever. Typically, somethings got to give. Balance? Pstttt. I’ve thrown that notion far out the window in the past year and instead of trying to have it all do it all freaking BE it all, I’ve instead learned to prioritize, which means sacrifice. But not of the bad kind. When growing business here my priorities were simple: get clients. Make mooonayyyyyyy. Man, I miss Honeybooboo. Quickly, and thankfully, photography took off and I became inundated with wedding ideas + blog posts + edits + updated 24/7. I ditched any health goals, stay up late working deep into the night, skipped lunch and took my pups on less walks. I’d sadly even skip reading my Bible. This routine became my norm so much so that my husband would come home from work at 6pm, lay at the top of the stairs and peer into my office, asking “when are you going to be off work?” or on weekends “is your boss going to let you have a day off today?”. Nope, she’s a real B, I’d proclaim, explaining how important it was for someone who once struggled like me to maintain an online presence. He’d sigh and make plans to go golf while I’d put in effort yet still never succeed to tick everything off my to-do list. Then one day, it hit me. The house is always going to be messy, my inbox will always ding and new ideas will FOREVER flood my mind. That’s life of being an entrepreneur. I’ve learned to embrace it but not let it rule me. I was not born to work 12 hour days on the reg, and I CERTAINLY was not put in Hawai’i to stare at a computer screen. Gradually I found myself making more conscious decisions to take back my life while still growing into a prosperous photographer. To ask for help when I need it. To hire someone to  vacuum the carpets and scrub the mirrors when I have a lot on my plate (man, do you know how good THAT feels?) and to put my health above all else and hit up 6am yoga because it soothes me. Hot yoga is relaxing to me. Don’t hate. Yes, I am my brand, but I am not made by the success or failure of my business. It does not rule me. There’s a very fine line between working hard for a life you love and working your life away. As hungry, ambitious entrepreneurs we can quickly become blind sighted, seeing in tunnel vision. Live your life, dammit. And if it means commenting on blogs a little less, or skipping networking meetings to go to dinner with your husband, by all means make it happen, and order up a margarita while you’re at it. After all, it’s the freedom to enjoy our lives that we are working so hard for, right? So live em! (All this coming from a girl who has about 5 new ideas and projects in the works….hahah!).

…as I finish this post my husband, who has not been home for over a month just laid down in my office door and without a word gave me “the look”. I know what that means and I will accept it, time for an Aloha Friday, y’all!



May 22, 2015 - 12:14 pm

Jim Baker love this: “I’ve instead learned to prioritize, which means sacrifice”

Clearly stated and lived priorities are what is going to make us not regret our lives on our deathbeds.

Thanks for this post. Being self employed is crazy, especially when you have a tendency towards perfectionism, which I bet most self employed people have.

Happy Aloha Friday!

May 22, 2015 - 12:50 pm

Tamika | Bajan Wed I’m all for that! Of course, I’m sitting here staring at a computer screen on a Friday night with an exhausting to-do list- but I have promised myself that I will try to let go more often and live – life is meant to be enjoyed, I miss reading and sleeping and having a drink with friends! Sigh! Thanks for this reminder :)

May Obsessions

If one didn’t know me well, they’d probably take a glance at my crazy stashes and think I was hoarder status, reacting from a childhood of extreme poverty subsequently buying certain things in bulk. They’d be wrong…kinda. The only good reason I have multiples of items is because I quickly become hooked on things and out of fear they will be discontinued (like the Sun Tan candle from Bath and Body Works that smelled just like sunscreen!) if I fall in love, I stock up. I refuse to let my heart be broken. In contrast, I also go through seasons of my obscure obsessions, like scents. Or warm and fuzzy blankets. Or hot pink. While my affinity for tassels and all things gold will undoubtedly never change, here are the things I simply can’t live without this month:

1. Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector. Ladies. You can’t live without this stuff, trust me. Blot it over your cheeks, nose, heck your entire face with or without make-up underneath for some serious balmy, dewy goodness. It’s perfect. I use the color opal but would love the other colors as well.

2. Nike Pegasus 31 Running Shoes. I’d be partially lying if I said if I wasn’t running the marathon for the shopping excuses…and malasada at the finish line. These shoes are ridiculously comfortable and so damn bright it’s insane. No worries about getting run over, trust and believe.

3. Kiehl’s ultra facial overnight hydrating mask. Whatta name. But, it does everything it says! Hitting the big 3-0 got me into a “I gotta take care of my self” tissy, and this impulse purchase has proven to be worth it’s weight in gold! A little bit goes a long way, so it’s reasonably priced for all the hydrating it does to my face. I swear I can see a difference every morning!

4. Bath + Body Works White Sand Beaches Candle. I get some serious “Hawai’i guilt” when working inside all day. Hard life. Lighting this candle as I chug along helps ease my brain, creates a cozy work environment and maybe, just maybe, helps me pretend I am adventuring across the islands. Plus, after recently watching Parks + Rec and seeing Tom’s “Girl Heaven” apartment, I have become determined to create my own. Fuzzy blankets, check!

5. Clean Warm Cotten Perfume. Between all these candles and my other impulse perfume buy, I am in a season of “scents”. I believe everyone should have a signature one, and while I alternate between Bobbi Brown Beach + Bath, I have recently integrated Warm Cotton by Clean. It may sound crazy, but it smells just like fresh laundry and is some kinda good. You know how I feel about freshly laundered smells…I went to the ends of the earth to have fabric softener from Thailand shipped here! This isn’t too strong, stays all day, and can be layered with my “Beach” perfume for a winning combo.

6. Kimchi Blue Lace Bras. TMI? Maybe. But these cozy babies are perfect for work days, lounging, and even under loose dresses and tanks. I bought one and went back for them in every color. Naturally, they are on sale now.


I love sharing my favorites with others, what are YOU currently hooked on? Let me know below! 


1 comment

May 29, 2015 - 10:21 am

Leslie I am so into my Becca’s it’s not even funny …. it’s ahhhhhhmazing!

[Married] Erin + Jonas

Erin + Jonas, who met during mardi gras (amazing, right?!?!) traveled from Louisiana to the beach of Makapu’u on O’ahu to become husband and wife. Set against the crashing of waves, salty breezes sealed with a Hawaiian chant by Kahu Bruce, their elopement was nothing short of perfection.

Location: Makap’u Beach  |  Cordination: O’ahu Wedding  |  Officiant: Kahu Bruce  |  Film + Camera: Contax 645 + Fuji 400h



May 19, 2015 - 10:28 pm

Urška Majer So dreamy and beautiful!

June 29, 2015 - 1:10 pm

Deborah Zoe Gah, your images make me fall in love with Hawaii even more… I didn’t even think that was possible!! Beautiful Ashley!!