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November 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Today, and everyday, I am thankful for the super amazing crew that we have at ARP!!!!

Jeff and I could not make it without these guys. Running a business is difficult no matter how you slice it. But trying to run a business successfully, creating a culture among the team of people that work there, where we all get along, we're productive and we like our jobs is HUGE!

When Jeff and I mentor other photographers we constantly remind them that the actual taking of pictures is a very small part of running a studio. One of the wonderful things about our staff is that they take care of so many things for me so I CAN concentrate on shooting. It's important that I get to spend time with our ARPfamily of clients, get to know all my little ones that walk through the door, develop strong relationships with our new mommies, big families, graduates and brides. I can't do that if I'm answering the phone, returning every email, placing orders, packaging orders, processing files, backing up files, designing Christmas cards, working on new product design, over seeing quality control of incoming orders, doing payroll, paying the bills, oh my - I could list 1 million things!!!!!!!!!

Don't get me wrong - I'm involved in ALL of those things, but there are moments when I'm shooting during our busy season when they know the only thing I can and need to concentrate on is doing a great job creating Sessions of images that our family of clients love. 

I can't possibly mention EVERYTHING they do in this blog post, that would be a book not a blog, but let me give a quick description of how they make ARP possible.

Margie : Studio Coordinator (the sweet voice you hear when you give ARP a ring)
She keeps my schedule sane. She explains the ARPexperiece, makes sure you get a spot on our calendar, keeps you on track with your appointments and answers all of your questions.

Molly : Creative Manager (she bosses me around:)
Molly is incharge of all things creative - that means everything from images to orders and all of the details that get these orders produced after your Ordering Appointment.

Hollie : Sales Assoicate (Just call her Vanna :)
Hollie runs the Ordering Appointments and helps you make final decisions about what you want to do with your favorite images

Calvin : Designer (a true worker bee)
Calvin is in charge of all design related products, albums, cards, websites, blogs, www.lbobi.com etc
Poor thing not only has to read my mind sometimes, he also has to deal with my obsession with type design, but hey - it's totally fine if part of his job is to put up with my artistic oddness :) right?

Emily : Bookkeeper (Lord help her... Jeff and I are artists)
I LOVE numbers, I like to understand all of the financial info about our business - I have to - I teach it! BUT getting it into a pretty format and understanding it the way Emily does... well I'm just so happy we have her. 

Sometimes I joke and say "I just take pictures here..." but it's true, they can run this place without me :) I can't tell you how great it makes me feel to know if something happens and I need to be somewhere else - they can handle it. Unlike a lot of photography studios, we work normal hours. We get to spend time with Fable & Ever and we don't feel like we've been beat up at work all day. That is because we have an amazing group of people with us everyday - people that we consider family - and they help us make ARP what it is today - and most importantly they help us take care of YOU.

{ There's a big possibility ARP will be looking to hire in 2012 - so if you have mad skills - let us know:) }

So thankful,


We need a new headshots... that WILL be happening once this studio move takes place. BUT for now I thought I'd leave you with a silly picture of the pretend us (minus Emily... so sorry Emily - you must be in back office having fun with a calculator!!)


(Margie is breaking out some sass with her hand on her hip, Jeff's hair is shorter and I would NEVER let him wear a shirt like that to work..., Calvin is the token vampire with pale reddish hair, don't talk to me about cute Molly :) and Hollie is super tan...





Comments: 1

Beth Lucchesi (11-23-2011 at 2:51pm):

Allison, your staff is very lucky to have you and Jeff! after the first meeting I had with you for our wedding I could tell that you and your staff have a very unique and special bond. what a great place to work! i would love to join your team ;)


Today I am thankful for images of my dad.

At first this may seem like a sad post - but it's not.

I am truly so thankful for the images that I have of my dad and when I look at them I might feel a tinge of sadness that he's not here, but they also make me feel happy. Why? Because they make me remember. It is one of the things that I love most about photography - it stops time. I can look at each one of these images and remember the day, how it felt, what was going on, and I can enjoy the memories.

This is why I always talk about how important it is for you to have FUN at a session. You will think about what was going on when those images were taken, and you want to have great memories. NOT memories of OH MY - that was just dreadful...

Here is what I think about when I look at these:

1: a lovey granddaddy - at Ever's 1st birthday party - she wasn't too sure about him...
2: me practicing trying to catch my dad in a relaxed smile- very difficult. This was taken in 2003 so I was practicing for the start of ARP in 2004
3: On the front porch of our old house. I don't think he could look more proud. He's so happy I didn't even have to worry about a fake smile.
4: Our last Christmas and singing of course... My dad had an amazing voice & if you haven't heard - Fable has his talent.
5: the silly side of my dad - kinda looks like the faces I make in Sessions :)
6: the first ARP studio - he came up to help us get it set up. The saying on his hat is something I remind myself often. ARP would never have started with out his support.
7: I love this image of him. It's bold & confident - he always taught me to shoot for that within myself.
8: a bitter sweet image - the last image I shot of him and the last time I saw him. I looked through the camera and thought - look how beautiful grandmama looks, I should take this, we need more images of her - oh and it's pretty cool dad is in the background. WOW am I glad I shot that image.

Are these image perfect? NO Do I care? NO!  Do I love them? YES!!!!!!
And I look at them all of the time.

MY point???

IF YOU WANT- I'll even post some tips on Wednesday about how to get better images at family gatherings. BUT you have to tell me you want me to either here or on FB :):):) 


Thankful :)








Comments: 4

Kristy T (11-22-2011 at 7:26pm):

Beautiful. Would love to read your tips on family photos.

kate krull (11-22-2011 at 8:06pm):

Allison, what a beautiful post. Written with such passion and love. Happy Thanksgiving!

Chanel (11-22-2011 at 9:19pm):

Like you said this is not supposed to be a sad post but it did make me tear up. It was when you said take pictures this thanksgiving. I think that is the biggest problem I have as a photographer is not taking enough pics on my own time. I also think this made me tear up because I remember you calling me a few hours after your dad passed away and it makes me want to get some really good images of my family since you just never know! Thanks for posting Allison and have a great Thanksgiving!

Brenda T (11-23-2011 at 5:29am):

Very precious! Thanks so much for the reminder. I will have my camera ready this Thanksgiving!!

Monday, November 21, 2011


I'm so thankful for my church - Christ The Rock.

Let me just put it out here pretty boldly that I LOVE this church. Why? Well, because CTR deals with and disciples people with REAL issues. We all have them so it's nice to be at a place where I know if I screw-up (and I will - so will you) that the family of friends I have there will stand by me, help me get back up and get my self together. It's not "surface church" and the relationships that I have with people there are something that I honestly thought were NOT possible.

I'm technically an only child, and that makes me a little too independent at times... But at this church, I've actually started feel like (what I think it feels like) to have sisters, and that's pretty awesome.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you are looking for a place to call your church home and you haven't felt one that feels right and pushes you to grow then join Jeff and I at CTR. Just email me and let me know you'd like to visit :)

As they say it takes a village - this church is where I found mine!

Thankful :)





Comments: 1

Becky Bennett (11-22-2011 at 4:25pm):

Loved this!! Almost got a little misty-eyed ;o)


I'm sooooo thankful for online shopping... 

I personally feel like I'm on a train going 100 MPH and I'm about to get on another one going even faster as we approach moving the studio. This is a very busy time of year for people with Thanksgiving this week and Christmas right around the corner. Some people have teased us a bit about putting our tree up early, but the truth is we get so busy (Sept-Dec) that we just wanted to get a jump start on enjoying the season.There's nothing worse then feeling like your holidays are rushed! 

Over the next few days, I plan on getting a good bit of our Christmas shopping done online. I do love to go to the stores and we will do that for a few things, but a "shopping trip" has to happen in small doses when you have kids. We'll go to a Hallmark store and pick out an ornament. Jeff will take the girls to Bella Vita to pick something out for me. (YOU might want to send your family there to shop for you -awesome stuff) But shopping via the awesome interwebs is the best use of my time.

Here is a list of a few places I will shop:



Does it take some of the holiday charm out of the season - sure a little. TRUTH - I'd rather be spending time with my peeps making cookies - not dragging them in and out of a car trying to find more STUFF that we all do NOT need.

So I'll shop online, but the best gift is the gift of time :)

Thankful :)




Comments: 1

Izzonet Shopping Cart (08-17-2012 at 4:02am):

That’s so great! With online shopping, you really don’t have to go to massive stores with a lot of people to shop. You can get most of the best gifts or items online without any hassle at all. I’m sure you get to be with your kids that time while shopping… Are you still doing this, even for a non-holiday?

Friday, November 18, 2011


Today I am thankful that I pretty much failed my first year of college...

HA! I'm certainly not saying that having almost ZERO transferrable hours after your first year of college is something you should shoot for, but that fact that I had to get my self together after a horrible first year served me well.

It's really hard to figure out what you want to do with your life. Some adults struggle with this now - mainly because they chose the wrong thing. I have this conversation often with our ARP Preps. A career decision sounds so final! I actually knew what I wanted to do way before college, but then I became a scaredy cat. I opted out for "undelcared" then I went to "nursing/medical field." PLEASE do not think I'm saying the medical field is not full of good career choices, it's an awesome field to be in, just not what I wanted to do. But I was going for job security...

I did awful my first year, I did a lot of things besides school. Year 2 - I transferred to Delta State - home of the fighting Okra :) Still in a medical related field - I was a Chemistry major... WHAT??????????????

I was convincing myself that I would learn Chemistry and develope a make-up line. I just wanted to make something creative and pretty... I was grasping obviously.

Shortly into school, I was asked by a friend to model for her photography class. One step into the Art Department and I was a goner... It wasn't long before I changed my major so I could work towards a BFA - despite the disapproval of well - mainly my father. Job security remember? He was not so secure in my decision, but I was. Once college started, I just needed a minute to breathe. I needed a minute to be away, in a place where I could figure out who I was meant to be mistakes and all.

I graduated in 1997 with a double major (not so bad since I really did it in 4 years) in Graphic Design & Photography. The time I spent in classes like: figure drawing, sculpture, art history, the history of photography, typography, mix-media design, ceramics, bw photography (I shot film in college) WOW all of that taught me so much more than how to click a shutter or design a logo. It taught me how to understand color, composition, the use of texture & pattern, shape, negative /postive space,the RULE of thirds,and most importantly it taught me that being an artist is a process. An ebb and flow of creative ideas, things that work, things that don't.

I'm not a photographer, I'm not a designer - truly deep down I'm just an artist - it doesn't matter the medium I choose. And that my friends was figured out because I screwed up my first year of college.

God has a plan, we might not realize that the bumps in the road are part of it - but they are :) So don't be afraid to follow your dreams.



PS: In 2008, After ARP landed the cover of Professional Photographers America magazine and a huge story talking about our success, my dad was convinced I made the right choice. What an awesome day :)


Comments: 2

Tom Spatig (11-19-2011 at 7:38am):

Honest self reflection and useful info on finding one's true calling. Refreshing to see someone making a living doing something you love!

Rachael Earl (11-19-2011 at 3:10pm):

This sounds SO familiar :) My parents did not support me going into art after I graduated from high school in 1998 with a full-ride scholarship for academics. They wanted me to pursue math or English. Glad I stuck with my intuition and got a BFA in Art ;)