Engagement Photography Tips, Article 2

Are You Serious?

If you are — don’t be! When you go out to have your engagement photos taken by a friend, you need to have a good time. Focus solely on your fiancé and your love for them. Enjoy spending time with them! Too many people focus on the camera and get nervous and uptight: and it shows in the photos.

Hopefully your fiancé is the only person in the world that can help you forget about everything else – which would include the camera…

Do Your Homework

Planning for an engagement session will usually improve the quality of the results. Here are a few steps I would suggest you take as you begin planning:

Run Google searches for “engagement photography” and “engagement photos.” Look for images that you think you and fiancé could imitate. Print off about 20 of your favorite images. Go over them with your fiancé and narrow the list down to the ones that both of you really like and think will be possible. Then, show those to your friend who will be taking your pictures. Whittle the samples down even further based upon their thoughts and feedback. Try to end up with 5 or 10 sample images that everyone is excited about.

Look closely at those sample photos to see what types of location are being used and what the lighting looks like. A lot of engagement photos are taken in either a park or city location. I would suggest driving around and scouting possible photo locations for the session. But don’t just do a “drive-by scouting”! Get out of your car with your camera and take actual photos inside each park of the locations you think would work best. Compare your snapshots with the sample photos you printed off.

You can also do internet research by looking at the web sites of local wedding photographers. While your previous search for engagement photography would have returned nation-wide results, the goal of this research is to see where the local wedding pros are shooting their engagement sessions. You’ll likely recognize some of the parks and buildings that they are working in and near.

Lots of Photos

Hopefully your friend will be using a digital camera. That way they can take lots of images without worry about film expense. Sometimes the difference between an average photo and a great photo is simply changing the angle and perspective of the camera!

This point was really driven home to me with some recent engagement photo sessions I have done. I am in the process of creating an eBook to help couples take top-notch engagement photos. I had another photographer help me out with several engagement sessions. Together, we shot about 600 photos during each two-hour engagement session. During the session, I would often setup and take photos of the couple. While I was doing so my assistant would be moving around and photographing the same scene at different angles. Afterwards, I would look at the photos I took and also some of the side-angles my assistant shot at those same times–and there is often a night and day difference between the two. The couple didn’t move or change their pose; the only difference was the angle at which the image was taken!

So, once you have found a good location for your photo session and you and your fiancé are in position — let your photographer snap away! Don’t limit the shots they’re taking!

And again: have fun with the session. Smile a ton. Laugh a lot. Make the photo session a special memory that you and your fiancé will share for a lifetime.

Vacations Are Possible When You Plan For It

With the spring and summer months right around the corner and summer break right on its heels, most people's thoughts turn towards vacation! My family is no different. In fact, we've been planning all of our vacation time for the past twelve months.

Our goal is to take three trips a year. Two short ones; maybe a weekend trip to another city in our state or a bordering state. And one nice, relaxing, long trip that we have to pack our bags and head for the airport for that lasts seven to ten indulgent days!

For example, about the time our son's April birthday rolls around, we plan a weekend trip somewhere in our state. His favorite is always San Antonio because he likes to visit the theme parks and gorgeous Riverwalk that they have there. Since we live in Dallas, it's less than a four hour drive; and it's usually the precursor to kicking off our year of getting away.

This year, the longer trip will be in the summertime, a week after school is out. We are planning a vacation to Florida to visit Walt Disney World. We will be gone for ten glorious days for fun in the sun.

And then, in October, my husband and I are planning a three to four day getaway to celebrate our anniversary in beautiful Mexico. And that will give us our three getaways for the year! It's as simple as that.

Now, we have not always been able to do this. Why? Because of poor planning on our part. But, that is no longer the case. We've wised up, and if you have not been getting away for a little rest and relaxation because of the same problem, here's how you can guarantee that that will not be the case next year … or the year after that – forever !

My husband, Muri, and I have created what we call a "Battery Recharge" account, or in regular terms, a travel account. All monies that go into it ensure that we'll be able to get away with our ten-year old son, Jordan, or for a romantic weekend on our own!

Have a family discussion and decide where each of you would like to go. Narrow it down, and vote on three locations. One that's far away and two that are within a reasonable driving distance.

Once you've done that, do your research. There are a number of online resources. Thanks to technology, finding attractions in the city of your destination is no more than a click away! You can build an itinerary of what your family will do, as well as get the costs of each show or attraction you'd like to attend.

Then, one-by-one, you begin to fund your "Batter Recharge" account until you have the money to do each trip! What's so great about the two short trips, most can be done for less than five hundred dollars. The key is not extravagance. It's just getting away with your family to bond and re-energize yourself.

You work hard, everyday. Take some time to enjoy the fruits of your labor with the ones you love and cherish. Your mental, physical and relational well-being will be all the better for it!

Happy vacationing!

Money Mastery – Three Easy Steps to Mastering Your Financial Destiny

When I was a kid I was constantly told, “We can’t afford that; we can ONLY get this; ask your dad if you can have that; you must save your money for a rainy day; start saving now for retirement.” Don’t get me wrong, I understand the intention of some of these messages and that they may even hold value for some folks but I also have learned that these statements can lead to potential financial paralysis.

By hearing those statements over and over again, I developed what could have been my Money Destiny. That Money Destiny led me to believe I would never have enough money, that I must always save and never spend, and that I was not financially safe. These messages repeated themselves in my mind every time I needed to make a money decision or anytime I thought about money. Soon thereafter I found myself resenting the “mean green” and at times wanting to rebel against it. Thank goodness I realized one day that should I continue down this same Money Destiny road, I was destined to have just enough (not plenty) or none at all for that matter or worry about money constantly, and stay in the middleclass.

When I noticed how I was making decisions that would keep me in the same place and never propel me forward financially, I knew it was time to bust my old patterns, break debilitating money-habits, and create a new money system, a new Money Destiny. Doing this was going to take some mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical work, oh yeah, and financial work as well! It meant I was going to have to stop listening to what I had been told all my years growing up as a child as well as stop playing the “tape recording” of these messages over in my mind. It also meant I was going to have to buck this old system every time it flashed before my eyes! My intention in sharing this article with you is to help you break down your conditioned mindset and build it up with a new one that actually works with you and not against you. This is a mindset that YOU are going to create, nobody else will be creating it for you. Isn’t that exciting?

So what does mastering money look like? Mastering your money literally boils down to one thing: your mindset. Have you ever noticed that when your bills are paid off for the month and you have some extra “bread” in savings, you are just bouncing around the planet like you are rich (even if you aren’t)? However, on the contrary, have you noticed that when you don’t have enough to make ends meet and you’re struggling to figure out where the next dollar will come from to pay your rent or mortgage, you never seem to see the light? And, have you ever noticed that you actually decided, either consciously or subconsciously, which of those scenarios would play out in your life?

What I would like for you to do is sit for a moment and put yourself into both situations. First, visualize yourself in the moment when you have no money, nothing in the bank, in fact you may be in the negative. You’re not going to be paid for another week and all of your bills are due yesterday. What is the first feeling that you notice? Desperation, anger, frustration, helplessness? Take a quick note of that. Now, go to the visual of having money in the bank, all bills paid off and in essence you feel free. You have extra money to do what you would like and everything seems to be going right in the world. Again, take note of the first feeling that pops up for you when sitting in this visualization.

Let’s take an even further step. Picture that you are in control of both scenarios. You actually designate or choose which will happen in your life. And, you actually choose the same scene over and over again. Which do you choose? Do you choose the visualization with lots of money and financial freedom or do you choose the daunting visual? I venture to guess you wish to choose the one of Money Mastery.

The concept of Money Mastery has to do with having a destiny when it comes to money. Some folks actually are destined to be rich, middle class or poor. For most of us, we witnessed how our parents behaved with money, listened to things they said and then modeled after them. If our parents were rich, we figured as adults that we, too, had the right to be rich. If our parents were poor, we grew up thinking we did not deserve to have more money so we followed in the footsteps of our poor parents.

I am here to tell you that you don’t have to follow in anybody’s footsteps when it comes to mastering money except your own. Today, you get to decide your new Money Destiny in just three steps.

Step One: Change Your Money Talk-

As I stated earlier, mastering money has to do with your mindset so if you have been saying repeatedly, “I don’t have enough money” or “I need more money” then I venture to guess you haven’t had enough money for quite some time. So, I challenge you to begin saying(even if you don’t believe it in the moment, trust me, you will learn to believe the following statements wholeheartedly), “I have plenty of money,” or “I am grateful for the money I have,” or “Money is a precious gift.” These are simple statements yet extremely meaningful. These affirmations are packed with power! And here’s why: when we hear ourselves say something, we generally believe what we say-whether it is good or bad-we believe it! Thus, if you are constantly saying, “Money is a precious gift and I am grateful for it,” somehow your mind hears that statements and translates it into action. Before you know it you are taking action to have more money in your life or better yet, money is finding its way to you and you did not even lift a finger!

Do you see where I am going with this new verbiage? Positive thoughts become positive feelings which lead to positive actions that grant you positive results.

Step Two: Change Your Money Feelings-

If you feel badly about money all the time you will not get money in return or worse yet, you will spend it like water because you want to get rid of the bad feeling. Makes sense, right? Therefore, it is imperative to change your Money Feelings.

Here’s an exercise: Take out a one-dollar bill. Look at it, in fact, examine it. Notice what you like about the one-dollar bill. Is it the color, the images printed on the bill or perhaps it is what is stated on the bill. I want you to find at least two things you like about the dollar. Now, sit there for a moment and FEEL what you like about it. It may help you to close your eyes and just be in the feeling, be in the moment. Now, think about what you can get for just one dollar. Maybe an apple, a banana, an orange. Maybe a pack of gum or two packs of gum even? You can give a tip to somebody after buying a coffee or you can get change for your one-dollar bill and put money in the meter to prevent getting an expensive ticket. Do you see how far that one dollar went? Did this give you a new feeling and new perspective about that bill? For what appeared to be a small bill it certainly turned into big things, didn’t it?

The idea here is to constantly associate positive feelings with money in order to get more of it. Let me give you another example. I used to get angry every month when I had to pay the bills. I would say to myself, “I get so angry working so hard for my money only to turn around and give it over to somebody else.” Then one day it dawned on me that I should be grateful that I have the money to pay the bills in the first place! Suddenly I reframed my thinking to state,”I make plenty of money to pay my bills every month.” And believe-it-or-not, I no longer resent that time of the month when I have to pay bills and more money has been coming my way.

Step Three: Change your Money Behavior-

If when you get your paycheck and you turn right around and spend it then I am going to challenge you to pause for a moment and not take the same action. In fact, I am going to ask you to replace that action with a new action: Paying yourself first. What I suggest to my clients is that they take at minimum 10% of their paycheck and pay themselves first by putting it in a savings account, retirement account or money market account. What is better is if you can automate this so you never even see that 10%. These days, most banks or employers offer an automated savings plan whereby they take whichever percentage you desire and they put it into whichever account you want. This is a great way to begin paying yourself.

Now if you are the type who never spends a dime, I ask you the question, “What exactly are you saving for?” Don’t get me wrong, I am not encouraging you to not save your money, but I am encouraging you get really connected to what exactly you are saving for. If you are saving in case of an emergency rather than for freedom, excitement, purpose, joy, or love, realize what will manifest is an emergency. My challenge to you then is to change the reason for your saving.

When we stop and really think about the phrase, “Money Talks” we realize just how truthful that is. What’s important to note is that we have the power to dictate the conversation with and about money so that it is either a rich conversation full of financial freedom and joy or it is a poor conversation wrought with desperation, frustration and debt. Here, you have been given three powerful steps to Money Mastery. My question to you: Which conversation will you now be having?

Scottsdale Culinary Arts School

Getting a formal education for whatever career you want to pursue allows you to get a secured position in the industry. But to succeed in any field, your mind should be in tune with what your heart desires. It's true, is not it? How can you last in a job that you are not happy doing? This also applies in the world of culinary arts. If you believe deep in your heart that your greatest passion is cooking, then you have a bright future in the food service industry.

Before you aim in getting a higher position in the industry, you should first get a formal education in culinary that many top culinary school provide, such as Scottsdale culinary school – the Scottsdale Culinary Institute or SCI. There is no better way to prepare you for a career in the field of culinary than taking the world-restructured courses included in the Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Arts program. The institute gained its international popularity from the quality culinary programs of Le Cordon Bleu in culinary or patisserie and baking. SCI is accredited by the Accreditation Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology and the Culinary Arts Program is accredited by the American Culinary Federation Educational Institute Accrediting Commission.

This top Scottsdale culinary school, SCI, offers degree programs that prepare students for an exciting and rewarding career in the field of culinary arts. With a stern emphasis on hands-on training, the school's programs provide graduates with a degree and the experience to immediately advance in their careers. Beside the student study center and library, the campus houses 8 kitchens, bakery, and meat shop- all equipped with the latest culinary equipment in the industry, enabling the students to keep up with the modernization of today's food service establishments.

To help you set your goal in the food industry, here are some of the Culinary Arts and related courses of study and degree programs of Scottsdale culinary school:

Associate Degree of Occupational Studies in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary, which can be completed in as early as 15 months and an externship that will last for 3 months at a food service establishment of facility of your choice.
Bachelor Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Culinary Management, an advanced program of Scottsdale culinary school that provides advanced culinary education together with the management and communication skills required managing a restaurant. If your goal is set in a way that you run a business in food service industry, this program of Scottsdale school of culinary arts is the best for you.

Associate Degree in Le Cordon Bleu Hospitality and Restaurant Management, a combination of culinary arts program with practical knowledge of restaurant and guest service operations, which prepares students for entry-level positions.