Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saying goodbye...

to blogger! I finally made the switch over to Word Press! The new blog is up at - please be sure to follow that one! This one will remain up, but I will no longer post on here.

I'm hoping the new blog will streamline our photos and new slide shows. Pop over and tell me what you think!

Friday, January 28, 2011

#11 My Children Will Do it Differently

I have two kids - two girls, to be exact. Alexandra, my oldest, is 6 1/2 and Evanthea is 5. My kids are my inspiration - and not just creatively (they do give me some great ideas!). The fact that they look at the world uncensored amazes me.
We, as adults, are trained to think before we speak (well, some of us are...but that's another post altogether!) - kids aren't. They speak what pops in their minds. Some times it's off the wall, but some times it's really cool!

I actually ask my kids their opinion on things - not that I think they should run my business (although my 5 year old is ready to take soon as she can stay up past 7...), but they give me an honest answer. I ask my husband a question, and his response is generally "I don't know" or "sure"...but my kids - they'll say something's cool and get excited about it...or give me "that" look.
How will they do things differently? I hope they keep this uncensored raw instinct....but learn the fine art of negotiating with manners. I think they'll run their own businesses much more successfully - they already have technology down!
I hope they follow their dreams and do everything they want - even if it hurts them (after all, we learn through our mistakes, right?). I hope they keep their dreams big (Alexandra wants to marry her best friend, be a paleontologist and live in NYC; Evanthea wants to be a dentist and a photographer). I hope they keep reaching for the stars...and I hope a lot of people tell them they can't do anything - because that will push them to can do it!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

#16 Empower Your Best Customers

I firmly believe that as a business owner, I should find that delicate balance of finding new clients as well as make my current (or past) clients just as happy. As many of you know, weddings is my main focus as a photographer - so how can I make current or past clients happy?

First of all, I meet or beat ALL deadlines - that nonnegotiable. I tell them their proofs are ready in 6 weeks and email them in 3 or 5 saying they're ready. If I ask for an additional 4 weeks for their album design and it's ready in 3. I set my own bar high and I meet it. I have never missed a deadline - never.

Next, I don't treat my clients like soon as they sign a contract, they are a part of the "Parsons Photo Family". We welcome them to the family and make them feel like they're a part. About 80% of the Parsons Photo Family can tell you at the drop of a hat what's going on with my kids at this moment. That's cool, isn't it? :)

And they stay a part of our family - my favorite joke turns out to be true: "all weddings lead to Mallory". Mallory, our bride of the 2009 photo of the year, has directly and indirectly introduced us to at least 4 of our couples! And I photographed her little baby, Aiden's newborn session too! (I still plan on bringing their photo to bridal shows because we have found that at least one person knows her and we get a kick out of it!)

The photo at the top of the blog is a bridal show sign. Not mine, though! It's After Hours DJ Entertainment's sign but it's our bride - a wedding we did together. And not just any wedding, Amanda & Todd's wedding. I love Amanda - I tease her because she probably gave me the biggest challenge this year...she told me she didn't like the way she looked in her engagement photos. I know she was being self critical, but I took that as a challenge for her wedding....and I have to say that her wedding was probably my best work. We both won on that one! ;)

How do we empower these customers? Many are secrets that only our clients know of - we have fun games, incentives, secret sales, and giveaways. ;)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bride's Choice 2011

Wow...Jess and I are speechless at this point! We are so unbelievably humbled to have won two of the highest industry awards in one week! First, we found out we were chosen as a pick for The Knot's Best of Weddings for 2011 (that makes a 4 year run!); now we find out that we just won Bride's Choice from Wedding Wire!


Thank you so much to our amazing couples that voted for us this past year. We truly enjoyed working with you and becoming a part of your families! Thank YOU for letting us in to your most intimate time of your lives! We are blessed!!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

#33 Idea Making and How I Make Something

My life is governed by ideas - I am fortunate to have a career that is built upon creativity and I LOVE IT! I have to constantly keep fresh and keep up new ideas. A lot of people have asked me how I do it - where to do I get these ideas.

Some ideas are from other photographers - I see a shot I really like, I save it to my computer and then I study it. I then try to put my own twist to the idea and make it my own. I do give credit for the really creative ideas that I mimic - as I feel other photographers should.

Other ideas are from my kids - both of my kids are pretty creative and they come up with some fun ideas!

Sometimes I'll just randomly Google things when I don't feel like getting stuff done. I come across some fun marketing ideas that way.

But my favorite ideas stem from negativity of others - yes, you read that right! All my life, I have always taken "you can't do that" as a challenge of how I can. Most recently was my random thought of having a bride and groom do snow angels during their reception...I was told I can't. Well, I think the photo says it all! ;)

How do I make things happen? I open my mouth for starters! Those of you who know me, know I am not afraid to ask or talk. If I need help, I'll ask. If I don't agree with something, I have no problems either saying something or excusing myself from the situation. I think that's the best way to get things done - use your brain first, then your mouth! :)

Keep an eye out for some of our new ideas coming up this year - see if you can figure out how I developed that idea!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

#5 Technology That Empowers Me

There are many things I can list - but truly it's technology that keeps me going day to day: the computer I'm typing on right now, my TV that's showing a slideshow set from my computer, my DSLRs, my back up hard drives, my portable drives, my off side backups...shall I go on?

The one technology that empowers me, oddly enough is the same technology that I griped about yesterday! My cell phone.

Most specifically my Verizon Droid X - this is truly the first phone that I can run just about my entire business up on! Thursday night, at the fashion show, I was able to book 8 sessions, schedule those sessions, send the clients email, accept their credit card payments, email them receipts, deposit check payments into my account, and email Jess my schedule. How cool is that? :) That was all before I updated my Facebook status!

So, as much as I hate to say it - the technology that empowers me has got to be my Droid! :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

#10 Somebody Has to Say It

Cell phones make our society stupid. There...I said it.

Yesterday, I was at Ocean State Job Lot, a quirky store that is massive in size and has just about anything you want...but the aisles are so tiny, two carriages can barely make it through. One lady parked herself in the middle of an aisle, leaned on her carriage bar and was concentrating on her cellphone (texting? web browsing? who cares - it was annoying either way). So many people politely said "excuse me" to get by her. She ignored 2, glared at one, and scoffed at another. She could have very easily moved her carriage aside and then took up her task on the phone.

The other thing that brings us down with our cell phones is general courtesy. I can't stand it when I'm speaking to someone in person, their phone rings, then they grab the phone and say "oh, it's so and so" and picks it up. No "excuse me" or push the mute button. Or when you're at the store and the people gabbing in the checkout line - hang up, finish what you're doing and call them back.

And this one I'm guilty of - who knows anyone's phone numbers any more? I don't know my husband's cell phone number. Why should I? It's programed on my phone - I just push his face and it dials...easy!

Now, our phones take us to where we want with navigation (men everywhere are dancing - now they don't need to ask for directions!!), pretend to be photographers (don't get me started about cell phone photogs at weddings...), they schedule our personal and business appointments in a matter of seconds, they allow us to track our kids, they allow us to accept payments, we can even shoot pigs with angry birds (some of you might not get that one...)!!!

But in general - I think cell phones make us stupid...just look at the statistics of car crashes caused by cell phones/texting.

[side note, the child in the photo is not using a real cell phone - this is a Tinker Bell plastic one. No child was made stupid for this blog post! And the photo was taken by my 5 year old - pretty cool technique!!]

Friday, January 21, 2011

Holy cow - 4 years in a row with The Knot!

I am bursting right now...for the 4th year in a row, I received the email that stated: "Brides voted, YOU WON!!". I'll admit, I was a little nervous about not getting it...but I'm still shocked to get it!!

I posted this on Facebook and one of my favorite brides posted "Why does this surprise you Diane? You and the staff do a great job with capturing important moments in time!!!! We ♥ you!" (thank you again, Melissa!! We love you too!!!) - it does, it surprises me every time! It's humbling to see how many lives we have touched, it truly is.

As I stated in another post, photography is one of my true passions. And along with photography comes my knowledge of weddings - I am obsessed with weddings. I love every little detail and I love that my clients love every little detail!!

I thank my clients who voted for me; but most of all, I thank my amazing staff. And most importantly, Jess...without her...well, I probably wouldn't have any more cameras left (since I always manage to lose one at a wedding)!! THANK YOU to everyone!

Jess & I have decided to step up and make 2011 a KICK A$$ year! 2011 couples - you have been warned! ;)

Thanks again everyone for bringing this award to us - we are truly blessed by everyone who has touched our lives! Thank you!

Boudoir Fashion Show

Last night we co-hosted a Boudoir Fashion Show with Salon Alexander and Beauty Entourage (located in Newington). This idea was the brain child of the salon's owner, Ashley Stone. Ashley and I worked together to come up with this really fun and innovative way to show women what a boudoir session is and how with the fun clothes, cute hair and makeup, and some sexy poses - anyone can do a boudoir session!

Here, Ashley and I are welcoming everyone and explaining about sessions and what to expect. Thank you everyone for coming out and supporting us! Jess & I booked 8 new sessions on the spot!! We are so excited about the upcoming shoots! (It's not too late to make your reservations for Valentine's Day!!)

One of my favorite shots from the day!

I love the roll playing costumes! So much fun! great idea if you man's a cop!!

Congratulations to Theresa! She was the winner of the free session and free hair and makeup for the session!!

we had a bunch of games for the ladies to participate in. The first one was a scavenger hunt - we had everyone search the salon for the answers...I loved watching the stealthy tiptoeing around!

The next game was a blindfold runway game! I'm not going to give too much away, because I think this one is going to be a tradition!

Back to the show! LOL!

Here's another one of my favs!

Here's an homage to our flier photo - the candy lips! I loved the whole ensemble with the hair clip and the knee highs! Too flipping cute!!
Rocking the baseball jersey!
Thanks Ashley!!
Thank you to Salon Alexander, Beauty Entourage for co-hosting with us! and thank you for the amazing job on hair and makeup!! We are looking forward to working more sessions and weddings with you ladies!!

And thank you to all of the ladies who came out to support us!! we will be planning more fashion shows and we're getting ready to unveil a new surprise! Want to book your own fashion shoot? Let us know!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

#4 A Community I Love

In light of yesterday's post, I have to continue on with the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market. Years ago, I saw a sign about 1/2 mile from my home, in an empty field advertising the Coventry Farmers' Market. Dave & I thought, what the heck, let's check it out - the girls (who were still in the stroller then) might get a kick out of it. We wandered around and thought it was so cool - who would have thought that one day a week, we can get fresh (and I mean FRESH) produce, meats, and other yummies LITERALLY down the street from us!Then I read in the Coventry newsletter that the market was looking for professionals to swap skills for cool discounts (who am I to pass up a good deal?). At that same time, I discovered an old (well, we're not old...our friendship goes back to the stone ages...I mean, grammar school!) friend, Jean Nelson (thanks to Facebook and the ability to post your maiden name to!) who is one of the market masters. She introduced me to Winter Caplanson, my marketing partner in crime! ;)

Ever since that first opening day on June 7, 2009 (oddly enough, it was my birthday too) - I was hooked on going to the market. I felt like the old Greek men who have to go to the coffee shops to play poker or backgammon. I was drawn there. I photographed, I bought, I talked, I reunited with old friends, and made some new ones!

Ever since then, I have become a part of the market. I currently invest in the market financially as a business partner because I believe that you need to give back to something that has given to you. I still photograph the market, but we have taken it a step further - we brought brides to the market to show how brides can shop locally for their wedding; we held a toy drive at holiday time - photographing children and families and accepted payment only with a toy or monetary donation to Rockville Hospital; we did portraits of people with their pets; portraits of grandparents with their grandkids.And what did I get in return? Amazing friendships from a fantastic little community called the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market! I reunited with grammar school friends, met new photographer friends, got addicted to unique pizzas...and saw vendors who worked just like I do - with a smile on their faces, LOVING their "jobs", and welcoming customers to their tiny 10x10 corner of the world!Thank you Coventry Regional Farmers' Market for THE community I love! :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

#49 Your Ideas And My Ideas- How We Play Together

One of my favorite things to do of late - co-marketing! Meet a friend in a similar industry and find a great product to promote together. Win-win situation!

First time I tried it this past year - I met an amazing woman, Winter Caplanson, Market Goddess of the Coventry Regional Farmers' Market (really, that's her official title! She has a shirt and everything!), who in her spare time makes soaps, Sleepy Moon Soaps to be exact. These cute, amazingly smelly, awesome soaps. I asked her what she thought about working together - together we developed Soap Poppers. Winter wraps up her end cuts (the not so perfect ends of the soaps) and packages them with the Parsons Photo label, we named them Soap Poppers (anyone out there know where the name came from? Bonus points for that!), and now I give them as thank you gifts! In return, I am at Winter's beck and call for photos! ;)

Another play together idea is happening RIGHT NOW! Well, tomorrow actually! I am working with Ashley Stone, owner of Salon Alexander and Beauty Entourage (a mobile hair and makeup crew for weddings - how cool is that?) to host a Ladies' Night of Boudoir Fashion Show. Together we're going to show how sexy every woman can feel AND look with these photo shoots!! Ashley is going to talk about hair and makeup and how they can give ladies that perfect bedroom look and Jess and I are going to show how we can photograph ANY woman and make her feel sexy and therefore LOOK sexy!I love the whole idea of "your ideas and my ideas and how we play together" - I welcome anyone who has ideas of how we can work our businesses together to benefit us both! What would you like to see??

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

#40 Ten Guilty Pleasures

My Top Ten Guilty Pleasures - not necessarily in order!

1. Soap Operas - most specifically Young & the Restless...I don't know what it is, but I can't stop watching!
2. Pedicures
3. Italian & Greek pastries...can't you tell? ;)4. Facebook - sometimes I just like to gather all the gossip
5. Shoe shopping (that's a given with all women, right?)
6. Grocery shopping alone - I just walk a little bit slower and I love it!
7. Getting my hair done - wish I had more time to do it more often, or my hair dresser came to me!
8. Watching silly kid shows/movies with my kids.
9. Perfume (buying and putting it on)
10. Coach pocketbooks, apparel, etc - I just love Coach!

Monday, January 17, 2011

#1 How I Use Facebook

I can hear the smiles on this topic...those of you who know me, know that if there isn't a post from me...well, then the world has ended! :) Bert Fonseca of After Hours DJ Entertainment calls me when I claim to take a day off - he laughs because he thinks Facebook will crash without me! ;)

I was against Facebook - I figured who has time to send updates and read what the world was up to. I reluctantly joined in 2008...then I found some classmates from high school...then I found some brides of mine...then I found some vendors...then it just exploded and became a part of my daily routine. (as a matter of a fact, I'm uploading photos as I type! LOL!)

I love Facebook - I admit it! I love reading everyone's updates, seeing other photographers' photos, reading other people's inspirations, woes, etc. I love uploading my photos, tagging my couples, then anxiously waiting for the "likes" and comments to see who liked my favorites and to read the responses. It warms my heart when I get the comments and feedback when my clients like the photos!

I love it because I have become closer with my clients as well - I am reluctant to call them clients because I think of most of my peeps as family. My Facebook "friends" have become such an amazing support network on a personal level. Recently, we have met a lot of health challenges with our 5 year old daughter and the overflowing support and concern of everyone on Facebook has been amazing. I am eternally grateful to that as that support really helped me get through that rough time.

Now, I use Facebook instead of Google...when I get a request for a wedding or portrait session, I check Facebook first to see who I'm emailing. I look up business information on FB - a lot of research can be done!

Look us up! I'm on personally (if you want the personal scoop, send me a friend request) and Parsons Photo has a business page. Maybe we'll see you online!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

#63 You Are Here

How many of you remember that giant red dot on the maps at the malls? With the big words "you are HERE" next to it. I remember my brother and I thought it was the funniest thing in the world - how did they know where we were? And, more importantly, if it showed where I can my brother be at the same exact spot? Our mom didn't find the same amusement in it.

Now, as an adult, I find a slight comfort in the "you are HERE" red dot when I look at the mall maps...or as our culture has matured to - GPS. On our GPS, the "you are here" had become that silly triangle that points you in the right direction. I find comfort in that dot and that arrow because, I figure...they always are pointing me in the right direction!

I like the little red dot or the blue triangle because it seems to ground me...I am HERE. How profound...because I am a planner and I am usually 5 steps ahead of myself, causing myself to be...well, honestly - there. Sometimes that little dot or triangle reminds me that I am here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Brandy & Kevin - Maternity teasers

Back in October of 2009, I was blessed to witness and document the wedding of Kevin & Brandy. Thanks to Facebook, we've remained friends! Now, they're expecting their first baby - little Gavin. And I can't wait! ;)

But in the meantime, let's photograph him from the outside!
One of my favorite shots!

How cute is this? Brandy and Jess worked together for this one! Love it and thanks to Jess for the tying trick.

Bubbles, bubbles, and a belly!
This next shot was completely by accident - completely not the look I was looking for...but I LOVE LOVE LOVE the glow around her! THAT'S the pregnancy glow! Love it!!

We had a full series of really hot, sexy shots - and I love one more than the previous...but alas, this blog is typically PG13! But trust me, it was boudoir, prego-style! :) Here's the PG13 shot we can post!

LOVE the necklace Kevin bought Brandy with the baby's birthstone on it!
Jess wins the prize with this one! I LOVE it!! Thanks for being a great sport, Kevin!!
Who said pregnancy isn't sexy? Brandy ROCKING the sexy pose!!
Congratulations, Brandy & Kevin! We are soooo looking forward to meeting little Gavin in February!!