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Posts tagged Inspiration
Seth Godin's "Your Turn Challenge"

I want to write, but I'm scared. So on top of everything else, I'm making a blog post inspired by Winnie Kao's "Your Turn Challenge" (and Seth Godin's newest book "What to Do When it's Your Turn").

Day 1: Why are you doing the Your Turn Challenge? The Wisdom of Shaking Your Ass

After a long, cold, confusing day, the last thing I feel like doing is writing some sort of thought-provoking blog post. It would be far easier to kick back with Netflix and Instagram for the next two hours, and then go to bed.

But fuck easy. (Oops – are we allowed to say the eff word?)

I’ve spent most of my life as a dabbler – a mind-changer. Couldn’t seem to ‘find my calling’. Couldn’t stay focused. Then, a couple years ago, I read The War of Art and everything changed. I realized that I was scared; scared of hard work, of discomfort, of caring for something and being wrong, of failure, embarrassment, rejection, heartbreak, scared that people would find out I wasn’t the real deal, and that ultimately I would never find love… My ovaries would dry up and I’d die alone, in an apartment full of cats.

That may sound overly dramatic, but it’s the truth (although what’s so wrong with cats, really??).

Somewhere along the way I realized that I’m never going to stop being afraid of rejection and failure, and that’s okay! It takes a few (or many) rejections and failures to have some success… or at least an adventure. And I do like adventure.

A belly-dance teacher once told me, “If you stop coming to class you’ll never learn to shimmy – you have to show up and you have to try."

So here’s to practicing new skills: showing up, putting my booty on the line, and accepting the fear factor!

Seth Godin What to do when it's Your Turn
Seth Godin What to do when it's Your Turn
Travel Adventure to San Francisco: A Love Letter to Maya & Ben

Arrived home this morning from San Francisco, one of my favourite cities in the world. I feel so much – so many things - but don’t know how to say them all at once, or properly. I “met” Maya and Ben on Skype, after we had been e-introduced by their awesome wedding planner Jodi Gagné. Living in California, Skype meetings are routine for these two. We had instant chemistry. There was a lot of laughter, which I now realize is a huge part of this couple’s life (being that they’re both hilarious and Maya is a constant joker). Somehow we group-fantasized that I’d go to the Bay Area and shoot their engagement session,,, and then somehow we made it happen.

I’ve just arrived home.

Palo Alto Engagement Photographer

Talk about adventure: Ben and Maya invited me – effectively a stranger from another country – into their home, and I accepted. We spent the weekend hanging out, eating delicious food, exploring San Francisco and Palo Alto, shooting pictures, telling stories, and laughing our heads off… it was beyond great.

What’s more, I found myself personally inspired by Maya and Ben. Not only as individuals, professionals, and inherently artistic beings, but also as a couple. Now, hold on before you go getting all judgey about how cheesy I am – hear me out.

Ben and Maya see, hear, and encourage one another with remarkable enthusiasm, care and interest. One’s happiness excites the other as if they’ve just met (and they haven’t). And the best part, is that the world is theirs; they have no self-consciousness about feeling this way and expressing it openly. I’m not talking about PDAs (though I have no problem with public displays of affection) – I mean that this love is just 100% out there, no apologies.

We all develop barriers in life, to protect our hearts and our egos from getting hurt. Maya and Ben are brave and confident and passionate in many aspects of their lives, and it is this that I find so incredible.

Thank you Maya and Ben for opening your home and your life to me. I can't wait to share your engagement photos in San Francisco, and I’m so excited to see you in Toronto for the wedding!

Congratulations, and Cheers, and Cheers again! Love, Kate

Baker Beach Engagement Photo
Portraits of Jamie Unwin

One of the most incredible parts of my work is having the opportunity to meet interesting and inspiring people from all walks of life. Jamie contacted me because she needed high quality, natural looking portraits to represent herself; she was running for election in a national campaign to be the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP) National Student Representative. We met at her apartment in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood and spent an hour talking and laughing. The photos below are the result.

Not only did Jamie win the campaign, but she has recently been profiled on York University's planning blog as an outstanding student, researcher, innovator, and community member. Jamie you rock!!

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Jamie's shoot demonstrates the versatility of a simple portrait session - she can choose the smile that represents her best and use these images for any type of profile - work, school, or personal. Although Jamie has used different pictures for the campaign, Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, they all tie together in their similar style, making her face memorable and familiar to everyone who comes across her work.

Are you Free?
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There are some times in life when I’m honest with myself – maybe I’ve had too little sleep, or it's low blood sugar or PMS – whatever it is… But something clicks over and I let my barriers down enough to be honest. And I hear this voice in my head saying, “I just wanna be free." I ask myself, “Am I free?”

Why do I feel this way? I have all my rights and freedoms. I’m a middle class, white Canadian, university educated, blah blah blah… what do I know about not being free?

But my soul has this craving for liberation, and all I want is to fly high up into the sky and scream at the top of my lungs.

Skydiving, Barrie Ontario
Skydiving, Barrie Ontario

Once in 2005, I went skydiving (okay, I went three times but that’s another story). I stepped out under the wing of that plane, and flung myself into the sky at a measly 4000 feet. All by myself, alone. The static line jump. After the shoot opened and I found myself peacefully floating above the breathtaking view of the greater Barrie area (if you detect a slight hint of irony here, you’re wrong and not wrong all at once – everything looks perfect from far away), I was actually and literally speechless for moments. Moments and moments and moments. Like, whatever – I have no idea how long it takes to do a 4000 foot jump – probably not long. But anyway, I was free. I floated silently for some amount of time and then suddenly remembered that this was worth celebrating.

So I started to scream! I whooped and hollered, and hooted and howled, and felt like I was Jonathan Livingston and that nothing could stop me.

As I mentioned, it’s a whole other story about how I got my feet back on solid ground… But let me ask you right now:

Are you free? Are we??

Because there’s something inside you that needs to be let out; let go; let be; and set free.

Ask yourself at this moment, “What can I do to be free for just one second, right now?” And do it.

'Cause when that craving fades you’ll be back in the Matrix and, not that there’s anything wrong with that but, wouldn’t you rather be alive for just one second (and have everyone around you think you’re a weirdo) than let that feeling pass for another day?

If the answer you said is 'no', just ignore yourself and listen to me instead: yes! Go and strike a victory pose, or howl at the moon, or call your fiancée and tell her you freaking love her, or dance a little jig, or buy that plane ticket. In two seconds you’ll convince yourself back to conformity and you’ll have to wait until tomorrow (/ next week / next month / next year) for freedom to present itself again.

Written from an open place.

Love,

Kate

hello@sweetheartempire.com

2013 Year Review… Prepare Yourself - it's Emo.
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So it’s mid-January and I'm finally writing a 2013 year review... There is much to say. A year ago I was obsessively researching websites for Sweetheart Empire's portfolio. For those of you unfamiliar with the phenomenon of “obsessively researching” I'm talking about Procrastination. I studied all sorts of stuff until finally – for whatever combination of reasons – I snapped out of the fog and took action.

I started even though I felt I wasn’t ready… And everything began to fall into place. A year later I have experienced the following list of awesomeness.

Neither chronologically, nor in order of importance, in 2013 I:

  • Launched my own website and had to stand by my work all on my own
  • Experienced weeks and months [on and off] of debilitating fear of rejection and failure, self-torture, doubt, excitement, and more fear
  • Flew to Las Vegas (first time) alone for eight days, and attended WPPI – the world’s largest wedding photography conference
  • Had a portfolio review by José Villa (I was starstruck, and had to concentrate so hard on controlling my facial expression that I almost forgot to listen to the feedback)
  • Attended a Jesh de Rox workshop, had my mind blown, and felt that I had found “my people”
  • Meditated and worshipped the new moon with belly-dancers, yogis, philosophers, MBA students, and other such wandering souls
  • For the first time, a couple booked their wedding date based on my availability (and sent me a delicious babka to boot!)
Jose Villa, Nico Koenig and Babka
Jose Villa, Nico Koenig and Babka
  • Celebrated my mum’s 70th birthday in the same week that I found out my sister was pregnant
  • Experienced, from afar, the death of my nana and my uncle
  • Had a broken heart
  • Faced things about myself that I had been trying to ignore for many years
  • Experienced moments of self-acceptance so profound that words couldn’t explain the shocking peace of it
  • Relapsed back into judging and then judged myself for being judgmental
  • Began to work with some of my favourite photographers in the city, and was astoundingly lucky to learn and grow both professionally and emotionally from this
  • Co-produced my first video testimonial
  • Photographed my first magazine cover (and spread!)
  • Shot my cousin’s incredible wedding in Manhattan, and got to know family members who have lived in Ireland all my life
  • Assisted in the delivery of my sister’s beautiful daughter - indescribably life-changing.
Manhattan, Persian Tribune & Elle Daftarian, Baby Aisling
Manhattan, Persian Tribune & Elle Daftarian, Baby Aisling
  • Met several new soul-sisters and reconnected with old ones
  • Made many mistakes, stayed up late nights, relapsed into perfectionist-procrastination, doubted my decisions, let down my loved ones, over-booked and over-worked, missed many birthdays, hunched over my computer for too many hours
  • Started doing yoga again, dancing more, singing louder in the shower, going for walks around the park, and making green smoothies
  • Forgave
  • Took another Jesh de Rox workshop and consequently started training in Beloved Technique
  • Had my first interview published online
  • Made the commitment to only work with people I feel a connection with
  • Doubted my commitment and felt scared
  • Read Seth’s opinion on choosing who you work for, and felt good again
  • Then booked several awesome new clients who I totally feel the connection with!
Silverline Studios, Jasper Savage, Jesh de Rox, Sunset
Silverline Studios, Jasper Savage, Jesh de Rox, Sunset

...and finally, the topic to which this website is dedicated… In 2013:

  • I got to know amazing couples who put their faith in me, and allowed me to witness their strengths, vulnerabilities, and unique expressions of love and family.
  • And felt so overwhelmingly grateful that there was no appropriately powerful hashtag… so I kept it for myself, in my heart.

No doubt this is the same year most people experienced. Possibly with fewer bouts of neuroses – though really it’s just the "normal" neuroses, I like to think. Anyway, come on - the emotional roller-coaster is pretty okay!

So. Now is not the time to list my resolutions – you're all listed-out for today. But I do hope to start posting some of the many beautiful moments that took place, here on the blog, and I hope you will join me for more adventures this year.

Follow @SweetheartEMP on Instagram to catch a glimpse of the Empire, or just reach out to me and let's have a chat. Happy 2014!

Sincerely,

Kate

hello@sweetheartempire.com