BALTIMORE, MARYLAND -

Turbulent times. Insanity everywhere. How is one supposed to stay grounded when everyone has seemingly lost their grip?

Family. Thank goodness for family.

In photography and life, my family is my foundation. My best friends, my comfort, my support, my confidence boost. Steve and Julia are my sustenance -- my life blood. I don't know where I'd be if not for my husband and daughter. But I do know where I am, and it's so much because of them.

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Over the last five years, I have been steadily building my portrait, landscape, and event photography business, and as with anything in life that's truly worth the effort, it has not been an easy process. Rejection. Struggle. Learning curves. Trial by fire. In another life, I would have given up. 'Why bother?' I would probably say. "I'm not worthy." 

In that same time period, I have read countless stories on Facebook about wannabe photographers giving up on their dreams because those close to them thought they were "crazy" for wanting to explore their passion. "You'll never be successful," they would say. "No one will ever pay those prices for your work." 

It makes me a cry a little anytime I read something like that. I know what it's like to be told "you're worthless" by a close family member. It's earth-shattering. It's something you take with you to the grave, despite your best efforts to shed the skin along the way. It's a voice inside your head undermining your every move.

That voice for me rears its ugly head more often than I'd care to admit in photography and in life, but it doesn't stick around nearly as long as it used to. I credit Steve and Julia for that. Without their words of encouragement, hugs, support, kind words, and willingness to help in any capacity they can, I would be lost.

Truly. 

Their support isn't just relegated to my personal life either -- they are just as ingrained in every facet of my business, even though they are not official partners in it.

One example was this past Mother's Day when Steve and Julia woke up with me at the crack of dawn to drive 45 minutes to Havre de Grace so I could capture sunrise landscape photographs for a project I'm working on. Who wakes up at 5 a.m. to watch someone else take pictures? My family, apparently.

To give you another example, October 14 and 15, JLB, LLC will be on hand for the 54th annual Catoctin Colorfest, a nationally recognized juried arts & crafts festival in Thurmont, Maryland. I applied months ago and I'm thrilled to be there.

Only problem is, I'm booked to photograph a wedding in Davidsonville the afternoon of October 14, followed by Providence Center's 2017 Harvest Bash in Arnold that evening. How can I be in Thurmont and Davidsonville and Arnold at the same time? Well, the easy answer is, I can't. But the amazing man that is Steve volunteered to cover Colorfest for me that day and isn't getting paid a dime to do it. That's love, baby. 

Julia too, who assisted me during an extended family portrait session in the Outer Banks in July, as well as recorded a video of a surprise proposal in August. I also recently gifted her my old DSLR camera on which she can practice and maybe someday surpass me in photography.

Because my family is becoming much more apparent in the outer workings of my business, I decided they each needed an Offbeat Head Shot to include on my website's "The Team" page.

What makes an Offbeat Head Shot session different from a regular, professional head shot session is the personality you're able to include in an Offbeat Head Shot.

For Julia's pictures, everything in the scene represents her and her favorite pastimes. Starting with a fancy dress, she is surrounded by Legos (a common occurrence in her room), art supplies, Harry Potter books and her first karate belt. Add to that her ability to completely charm the camera, and this image is my girl to a T.

For Steve, his Offbeat Head Shots were taken in his favorite place on earth: his garden. For about 10 years, he has spent learning and perfecting his vegetable and fruit gardening expertise and the rest of us have been reaping the delicious reward. Though he has many talents and pastimes to his credit, nothing screams Steve more than a baseball cap and his garden.

Offbeat Head Shots are the future in my opinion, though I do professional head shots, which you'll see in a future blog post. But Offbeat Head Shots are so much more fun, and representative of the subject. And there are so many uses for an Offbeat Head Shot: Social Media and Dating Profiles; Fantasy sports avatars, or gift ideas for your family. And if you're like me and find yourself in an Offbeat business structure, who says they couldn't also make great professional head shots?

You know you want one. Shoot, I'm thinking of doing one for myself, that's how excited I am about it. Get in touch and let's start planning your next Offbeat Head Shot session.

In the meantime, comment below a time when your family was there for you through thick and thin. Like Julia said to me recently, it's a lot easier to remember the negative. Let's force ourselves to focus on the positive. 

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