Thursday, August 16, 2018

Fortune Favors the Bold



Fortune favors the bold.

It’s what I say to myself whenever I need a kick in the pants, when I'm hesitating on something, or when I'm about to plunge into water, be it dark, deep, mysterious, or most often, just really really freakin' cold. And I said it to myself two years ago today, when I pulled the trigger and bought my very own underwater photography gear.

I had dabbled with the underwater photography thing before this, but I had always rented the gear and had never gathered the nerve to take the plunge (ha ha, water joke) and make the substantially expensive investment of buying the equipment for myself. It wasn't a small amount of money and it's kind of a niche type of photography, so while I've always been really at home in the water, and while I'd long admired underwater photography, I hadn't seriously thought of pursuing it. Cut to January of 2016; my friend Jessica Dunbar, an amazing artist who I admire, asked me if I would help her with a series of paintings she had in mind by shooting reference photos of models underwater for her. That lit a fire under me, because I wanted to do a good job for her, even though I said to her very plainly at the meeting where we first talked about it, "I've done some underwater, but not very much. I might suck at this." (She laughed and told me she had faith in me.) We planned dates and locations and worked together to find our first set of models, and the Mermaid Project was born. Two years ago today, after our first couple of mermaid/underwater modeling days and after renting the equipment multiple times, I finally decided that I wanted to buy the housing and own it for myself, which would open up a whole new world for me and a new focus for my business.

So I sat down in my office, fired up my computer, and I priced it all out.

Eep.

I hemmed and hawed. A lot. Then I hemmed and hawed some more. Finally, I went down the hall to Brendan’s office, totally freaked out, and told him what I had planned and illuminated for him the decently large amount of dollars it was going to take. I finished talking and waited, thinking he would laugh at me or tell me that it wasn't a good idea. But, in keeping with his title as Best Husband Ever, and true to his constant unblinking support of everything I do, and in line with his calm and steadfast encouragement when it comes to my various wacky schemes and cockamamie business ventures, he grinned and said, “Do it. I know you and you can get really good at this, and if you own the equipment, you'll have the freedom to really go for it and not be stuck having to rent it whenever you want to shoot underwater stuff. Just go order the equipment before you talk yourself out of it.”

So I cried a little, and then I ordered it. And right as I went to the final order review screen, I whispered to myself,

"Fortune favors the bold"

and I hit "complete order". Boom. Done.

I haven’t regretted it. Not for a second.

I get that two years might not seem like much, but I feel like the pressure I have put on myself to make this whole thing worth it has been...well, worth it, I guess? I feel like I’ve grown pretty darn fast in this realm. Am I the best? Heavens, no. I have tons of room to grow in this and it has been the most challenging thing I've attempted in my career thus far. I am really really hard on myself, but it feels like this is paying off, and I think (I hope?) that I'm continuing to make my clients feel gorgeous and that I'm keeping them happy. As much as I have my own nagging self doubt and for as many times during learning and experimenting with shooting underwater that I've said to myself, "man, this is harder than I thought it would be", I have a lot that makes me want to keep going. I have a growing influx of lovely folks who want to book me for their own aquatic adventures. I have constant inspiration from Jessica and her art, and whenever she gets started on a painting based on a photo I've given her, I sit here thinking, "Hey! I helped!". Moreover, I am beyond lucky to have the fervent, funny, and unwavering support from my own little Mermafia; they lend me their faces, tails, pools, and participation when I need to test new equipment or add to my portfolio, they're always down for an adventure out into the wilds of Florida, and maybe best of all, they never complain or hesitate when it comes to diving right into the water with me, even when it's so cold that it makes all of us go, "Whyyyyyy are we doing this? We could have stayed up on the deck where it's warm!!!" And of course, I have Brendan, who never questions me or lets me question myself. He's always there to remind me that things will be okay when I’m doubting myself and that I need to quit fretting and just let things flow.

TL: DR; underwater photography is sometimes scary, always challenging, and super rewarding, and I’m addicted now. Because, damn, y'all, more than anything? It's just ever so much fun.

Life is the bubbles and I'm a lucky lucky girl.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

It's Chaos. Be Kind.




There's no sense to it.

My wife was a true crime writer and researcher.
And the phrase she hated
THE MOST,
was,

“You know,
everything happens
for a reason”.

She was like,

no,
it fucking doesn't.


It's chaos.
It's all random
and it's horrifying.
And if you want to try to reduce the horror
and reduce the chaos,
be kind.


That's all you can do.


It's chaos; be kind.


It's chaos.

Be Kind.


~Patton Oswalt~

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Website Updates, Memory Lane Trips

I've been working on updating my website over the last week after a refresh on my gallery pages that my super awesome and incredibly talented web designer Erick did for me to improve how the site loaded on mobile. (If you're in need of a web designer extraordinaire, give me a shout and I'll happily supply you with his contact info; he's the best!) Anyways, as I worked on getting my galleries full and pretty again, I came across more than a few images from years ago that I still like. This made me feel pretty good, because I'm notoriously hard on myself and very critical of my own work. Seeing a few oldies but goodies was a nice little surprise as I was working and sorting out what needed to go into my new and improved gallery pages.

I know I can say with confidence that anyone who works in any sort of creative field would agree when I say that going through older work is sometimes cringe-worthy; very often when we look back at where we were skill-wise a handful of years ago, those of us in the artistic disciplines want to cry, rip our eyes out, drink a gallon of vodka, or all of the above. So to find a handful of images from back when I was really just getting this machine that is RSP fired up that I still like made me feel pretty darn good. Also, giant shout-out to my clients who were so willing to help me as I got up and running back then; a lot of them are still with me now, still trusting me to capture the important stuff in their lives, and that's no small thing.

Here's to progress, to revisiting some old favorites, and to the realization that even though I'll never stop being my own sharpest critic, sometimes it's nice to look back. It lets me see how far I've come and also helps me to appreciate that even when I was just getting things figured out, I got lucky with a few shots here and there. Onward and upward, friends, but enjoy a few of my recently unearthed faves from the archives. Here's hoping you are well as we all dive into spring!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Surf and Turf

We're coming up to the end of our first contest of the year, Surf and Turf. I'm so stoked to be able to give out not just one but TWO free sessions as we get into 2018! For this contest, one lucky winner will be selected for the 'surf', scoring an underwater session, and our second recipient will be chosen for the 'turf' regular portrait session. I can't wait to see who wins...we'll be doing the random drawings for both sessions tomorrow evening!



Want to try your luck and enter to win? Just drop us a line at rsullivanphotography@gmail.com or send us a message on our Facebook page (facebook.com/rachelsullivanphotography) and let us know if you're entering for surf, turf, or both. You can't win both but you CAN enter for both and double your chances of being selected for one or the other! Just make sure your entries are in by 11:59pm on Friday February 2nd and you'll be in the drawing!



Questions? Give us a shout, and good luck to all who have entered!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Seasons Greetings!




Hello from holiday central, AKA my office! We're crazy busy and loving it, working hard to get caught up on our holiday season sessions, Santa minis, and weddings. I'll be sharing more images from our recent weddings and sessions as soon as I can, but just wanted to pop in and update since it's been a while in between blogs. So, hi! Hoping you and yours had a great Thanksgiving and that you're enjoying the holidays so far!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Tyler and Trish: Married!

Put the finishing touches on this sweet couple's wedding gallery this week; Tyler and Trish are a truly adorable pair, and it was so fun to be with them for their spring wedding at the gorgeous Lake Mary Events Center. LMEC is one of my favorite venues for weddings in the Orlando area, and the wedding celebration of the new Mr. and Mrs. Lahman was a day to remember.







The weather was perfect for Trish and Tyler's lakeside ceremony; not a cloud in the sky.









Being able to meet and work with Tyler and Trish's family and friends was so much fun, and their wedding party kept us laughing all day!









Tyler and Trish are so perfectly suited for each other, and I absolutely love how their post-ceremony photos turned out. Their smiles look so genuine because they are...both of them were grinning from ear to ear as they reveled in the fact that they were finally husband and wife!









As the sun began to set over the lake, it was time to head inside the gorgeous grand ballroom at the Lake Mary Events Center for the reception!




The love that Tyler and Trish's families have for them was so evident, and their father-daughter and mother-son dances were wonderfully heartfelt displays of this.






Once the music kicked into high gear, the party was in full swing. This couple and their friends know how to light the dance floor on fire!












It was a delightful, joy-filled, wonderful day from top to bottom, and we were so glad to be a part of it. Tyler and Trish, here's to your happily ever after, and thanks again for allowing us to be with you as you said I do!