Personal

ITS LKM'S ANNIVERSARY.....10 YEARS!!!

10 years ago today I shot my very first wedding :)...

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I'm gonna be honest, I have thought of this day all year. I have dreamt up promo launches and fancy videos and feature posts....

but today, I paused it all and just have to say thank you. thank you to those who have encouraged me, invested in me, been patient with me in the busy seasons and reminded me of His perfect provision in the good and the hard. I sat down this past week to map out the timeline of being a photographer.  This is mostly a table of contents for my brain and the conversation of "how did you become a photographer" Read if your interested. Comment if you can. Otherwise--thank you for being here and for being part of the journey. :)

January 2008  - I PICKED UP MY FIRST DSLR and took a local community college course which I failed miserably--mostly because we had our first baby during finals week and didn’t quite finish. :) I did, however, learn about prime lenses and my instructor had a coffee shop meet up and took a portrait of a little girl standing near a window that turned my head. I loved what he froze and the light that he captured--it was something beautiful and real.  I wanted to capture people like that.

(my very first headshot session by my dear friend Emily Rickard)

August 2008 - My first official wedding….and I didn’t know WHAT the crap I was doing. I floundered more than thrived but fortunately still delivered a portfolio the clients were pleased with. I discovered that low light warehouses were no joke and that the art of photography was harder than it looked. I had a LOT to learn. 

October 2008 - Shot a picture of a bride that made me fall in love with the elegance and anticipation of a wedding day. (andrea burns...you haven't aged a bit :D)

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January 2009 - My first season of portraits and captured one particular session with twins. They were as crazy and rambunctious as they come and yet the raw journalism from that shoot and just “go where they go” style flipped a switch with lifestyle photography. I loved that the pictures made me feel the kid's wildness and curiosity. I wanted to do more of that.

Summer 2009 - i loved the connections i was getting to make with couples and shot several weddings i was proud of.

Spring 2010 - went to my first WPPI - wedding and portrait photography international  conference. Met my photography celebrity crush -- Kelly Moore IN THE FLESH, shook hands with Kennie Kim (my destination wedding muse) and came home with a keen sense of ambition......tempered HARD by my season of life as a MOM. My kids were young. I had a 2 year old and a 4 month old. They needed me more than I needed photography...but i'm not gonna lie--the tension was real and my heart had to fight to stay present in the home.

Summer 2010 - I stopped booking weddings. Hubby was facing a career change and were headed to Saudi Arabia to teach English as a Second Language.  Long story for another time.

Spring 2011 - Our time in Saudi Arabia adventure met a detour and we ended up in Tucson with hubby’s family. Started from scratch and we opened LKM’s doors again.

Spring 2012 - Went to WPPI again and Susan Stripling made me weep and fanned a flame for excellence and creativity. SEE THINGS DIFFERENTLY was so very loud in my brain. I had been out of the loop of photography and felt inspired to GO FOR IT. It was my first portrait season in Tucson. I went crazy and gifted ALL THE PEOPLE with portrait sessions. I shot 75 sessions, hyperventilated, had some bad-apple client experiences, got to know Tucson culture better and unraveled melodramatically by the end of the year. Below are some of the highlights during that first year launch in Tucson...

Winter 2013 - rebranded and booked a celebrity wedding for the coming summer. "Celebrity wedding photographer" was a fun label to own but I didn’t want my clients to be my stepping stones. I fought against the pressure to compete and "need" for like and followers. I was surprised by how toxic the hustle could be and I knew my "why" was being challenge and I couldn't quite answer that question.

June 2013 - I shot 6 weddings in the course of 4 weeks in 3 different states and nearly came home with my 2 weeks notice ready to flop on my husband’s side of the bed. BUSY was a hat I started to wear--a badge given by everybody else. I had to figure out a way to slow down but still make ends meet. 

January 2014 - We raised our prices and then held on for dear life. I was scared I was shooting myself in the foot. But in the spirit of “if you build it, they will come” we set our prices to be what we needed to make to sustain a healthy business that paid the bills and its taxes and might even help put food on the table while allowing me to be more present. Business slowed but the clients who invested in me that year were ones that breathed life and joy into the art of wedding photography. They were eager to engage and trusted me. I found a stride and a "why" -- to be better at storytelling with people I could connect with and build a rapport--to tell their story authentically.

November 2014 - Business picked up and I was meeting my max capacity so I reached out to a colleague whom I respected and loved his work and had heard he "hated the business part of things." I asked him if he wanted to come shoot with the studio--under my name, take some weddings and function like a team.  He agreed.

Spring 2015 - It was the year i started to travel. I had several friends who were getting married abroad-- one in the Philippines, Alaska, Northern California, and then a cute little elopement in Mexico. That launched the "travel wedding photographer" part of the brand. To be honest though...we weren't quite sure what to do with it.

Christmas 2015 - wrapped up the year with our 1st attempt to function as a studio with an associate and became acutely aware of how unorganized our back-end was. We had no systems, no workflow. I knew if we were to grow if not thrive forward, I needed to stop looking so much externally or function autonomously. I had to start tending to the bones and foundation of the business. So we went into what I call the "ostrich" season. 

Early 2016 - We started working with an accounting firm who knew their stuff. They asked us hard questions and gave us hard numbers. I started to actually KNOW my business.

May 2016 - I started working with an editor who I’m convinced is actually an angel. Learning how to outsource was a game changer. My world turned to color again and I started sleeping more. (Jo -- you are a gift from God.)

Summer 2016 - We were stabilizing but I still couldn’t keep up. Accounting, studio management, social media, lead generation and retention, shooting, editing, marketing, planning--I felt like all the spinning plates were beginning to wobble. I needed to figure out how to tend to less plates and spin the right ones well.  Introducing …. INTERNS.

Fall 2016 - Makayla McGarvey joined the LKM team and I trained her on back-end tasks while being a regular second shooter. I exposed her to all the things -- family portraits, weddings, headshots, seniors. I wanted her to experience "on location" real world and find her preference. (below are a few of my faves from her this past year as second shooter)

January 2017 - Makayla and I reconvened for a studio pow wow and I offered her a promotion with a bare minimum gaurantee of work and a whole lotta "i don't know what's gonna happen but i do know i need help." She accepted the unknowns and we promised we would take the teamwork in intervals of 6 months.

Spring 2017 - We started focusing on technical and portfolio development. We set hard goals and high standards and she was more eager for feedback than I knew what to do with. Our trip to Maine was a big game changer. I asked her some pretty deep, hard, life, goal questions. I thought she'd run and peace out. Instead, a tearful plane ride home was filled with silent nods and an expression of "i want life to be more than pretty pictures and social media. I want to ask "why" more." We hunkered in and started applying...

November 2017 - Makayla shot her first independent wedding without me...and SHE NAILED IT. Despite the wedding being a rough experience (involving crazy mean park rangers, gnarly wind and wonky scheduling) she handled it beautifully. We officially promoted Makayla to associate shooter.

February 2018 - Major highlight.... Taxes were coming due and I was cleaning up the books. My jaw dropped when i saw the final profit/loss statement for our accountant. We had grossed over SIX FIGURES. My net was modest but it was something real and sustainable--and an intense moment when I sat in front of my husband and showed him the numbers and realized I had matched the average salary of a teacher -- the job i went to college for. I felt like a legitimate business owner and had hit an elusive goal in a changing and challenging industry. 

WPPI 2018 - 2 new interns joined us for WPPI and I experienced a passion for mentoring small businesses and start-ups. Asking hard questions and challenging people’s “why” lit my fire. A shift began in me.

Spring 2018 - Makayla & I traveled. A Lot. It was a season of me passing the baton. It was also our first Indian wedding which rocked our worlds. The culture and 3-day emphasis on family and "celebrating well" had me in tears by the end. 

June 2018 - We soft announced the shift for Makayla’s role as the New England point person

July 2018 - We spent this past month revising workflows, updating backend software, rewriting templates and projecting numbers for 2019. We also honed in on Makayla’s travel/adventure packages... coming soon to instagram feeds near you :)

CURRENT… I've decided to slow down and focus on local gigs and stay in the southwest while Makayla takes over most of the traveling abroad. I am firmly convinced, especially since working on the healthy bones of the business, that it is worth the sacrifice of busyness to live at a cadence I can keep up with and share stories with soul more than stress. 

So, in the spirit of “remember and remember well” this is the timeline of God’s provision...both the chaffing, the challenging and the championing.

Thank you for being a part of the LKM journey. If you made it this far down the rabbit trail of a blog post, you must either be crazy, creepy, competition *cough* colleague, commuty or a companion in this ride. The last few--thank you. Bless you. Cheers to the future and by all means--glory be to God for this job that has been a gift and a joy and a challenging petri dish of faith training. Cheers! | LKM & CO.

A good reason to break blog silence...

I am breaking my blog silence with a vulnerable mushy birthday ode and a particularly personal love story :) Today my husband turns 35 and as ALL birthdays should be  celebrated WELL, this week is gonna be a good one!

This summer we had a two part family portrait session experience with the fabulous Meredith Amadee Photography. (check her out. she is wonderful, relaxed, loves the authentic and brings out the special :D). This session is fun snapshot of our season. We are city folk learning to be desert rats with an edge. We are falling in love with the craziness that is Tucson and the people that are our church home and the unconventional routine and rhythm that is our normal currently.

We have hunkered down, planted roots, leaned into community and looked toward the future intently. We have been asking questions about "what next"-- "where do we want to grow here in Tucson?" "what do we love?" "what are we passionate about?"...And the single most important and desperately poignant answer has been a mile ahead of all others....EACH OTHER.

I am patiently, loyally, absolutely his. Marriage morphs and fuzzy stuff ebbs and flows and we felt the current HARD and we clung to each other. In the privacy of our home and in the tension of our assessive conversations and growing pains, my head has turned more towards him. The horizon is usually my foremost gaze, but when the race with your best friend hits the hard patches, I realized how much i wanted to stick next to him as I run. WE run. Together. 

Oh best friend and only lover ever--you are mine and I am yours and I celebrate you. The simplicity of this is what keeps me tethered to home--to contentment, zeal for our family and a deep passionate longing to grow, still more, with you.

Bring on more desert romance baby. This is OUR love story and i am THRILLED to laugh, love, twirl and make-out among the cactaii many, many more times. :)

P.S. Thank you Meredith, for this incredible treasure of a session. :) you caught the silly, the sexy, the sassy, and the still. :) It was perfect! Love you! And AnaLia...for her magic with makeup. I felt like a movie star :) 

WPPI 2016 | We made the cut for the PHOTOBOOTH promo video!

We made the cut for Photobooth Supply Co's WPPI 2016 highlight video! I just found this gem online and at :34 we might also strut our penthouse pillow fight skills! Click image to check out the video! :)

Nathan + Emily | Childhood Friends get Married | Navy Blue + Silver | Upland California Wedding Photographer

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When I heard Nathan smiling through the phone I wanted to squeal. But I knew that'd probably embarasse him.....so I did. 

He was calling to tell me he talked to Emily's dad and that they were courting. My brother had watched and waited for this little lady for a million years --a good long enough time to have his eyes fixed and his heart hopeful. Who would have thought that back then on the tire swing and in the sandboxes and Awanas and clown parties, they'd have their future hearts align and fall in love. Gaining Emily as a sister is...just so crazy beautiful! :) Here are a few highlights from the Bugbee's winter wedding in Upland, Southern California :)

Guys started off getting ready at Foothill Bible Church. Super casual at a place the Bugbees call home... Nathan found these sweet 'wallet ninjas' as gifts for his men...

We were able to jot down the road a bit to the Claremont Hills Wilderness Trail where Emily snuck up to have their first moment together... by far, one of my most favorite moments of a wedding day is the First Look. The emotions are all just so raw. And there is no pressure, no weird audience oggling, just pure nervousness and crazy beautiful excitement for each other. 

Nathan's groomsmen....were on par. (note: the picture below with emily and her brothers...was NOT posed. Her brothers had never seen her kiss before and were legitimately shocked and flipped out a little.)

Mr. Nakamaura is a long-time friend and notorious for his tears...we joked about what he would be like throughout the day. We were surprised and tickeld to see both he and mother of the bride so so joyful....it was the aisle, however, that broke him. When he saw Nathan's face perhaps. Or realized he was giving away his only daughter... it was a sweet, sweet thing to see. Giving her to this man that waited for her. And would strive to lead her...the whole ceremony was full of celebration and worship!

At some point during the ceremony it rained hard. And before preparing for the couple's reception grand entrance, we grabbed a few sweetheart spins together in the puddles outside of the church.

And then it was time to dine...speeches were raw and the theme was deep deep gratitude. It was casual and large and hugs and 'yehaws' resounded in the church gym topped off with a surprise groomsmen dance for Emily.

Congrats you two!! It was such a treasure to be part of your wedding day! I hope these moments and this full full day is such a treasure-trove of memories for years to come! Welcome to the family Emily! | LKM 

P.S And also....super important to name a few key partners for this particular wedding... Emily Rickard & Elyse Defoe came to join the LKM team and capture this story! They took the reigns whenever I (Laura) could be IN family pictures and also be part of the story too! So so thankful for their precious spirits and creative eyeballs! 

LKM - who we are and why | Meet LKM | personal

It's a new year and we are continuing to build, develop, and refine the voice, message and trajectory of LKM STUDIOS.  We rewrote our "about page", broke it into two parts--"Meet Laura" and "LKM Philosophy." We are excited about the sweet stories we have yet to share from last year and are particularly stoked about what this year has in store! 

Click on the links above to read about who LKM is and the approach we have towards photography, our clients, the culture of our studio and the life we aim to pursue holistically! Thanks for stopping by! | LKM

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My Grandma Turned 90 so I Flew to Florida to Celebrate! | Personal

My grandma, Gloria Williams, turned 90 over the weekend. I  flew in for a short visit to just hug that woman and be with family. I'm so glad it worked out. My highlight all weekend was our leisure afternoon, Friday before the party. She started talking and sharing memories with us and I stopped what i was doing and got out my laptop and started transcribing. My fingers could barely keep up and she was giving me these details that I had never heard. Now that I was writing them down I was seeing them and remembering them and realizing ... oh my gosh, THIS is such a precious treasure. She is alive to tell these little details that otherwise will fade! She kept pausing and apologizing for talking to much and i just glowed and stumbled over encouragements to keep talking! It was so so fun. 

So i thought i would share a few of her memories from when she was a little girl and on into her time as a nurse and meeting her husband, my late grandaddy. I hope you enjoy these little windows into her childhood set min-century as much as I did. :) | LKM

CHILDHOOD MEMORY
The great depression was in the 29s and the 30s were spent recuperating. everybody seemed to be on the move. settling. finding settlement. hobos would be on the road, traveling. so they would come to your house and knock and you’d take them to the back door. we had to figure out safety factors. as a child that safety measure impressed me. we’d take them to the back door. they would eat outside. there was an understanding.
CHILDHOOD MEMORY
I was 5 when we were in Gainsville. there was this thing called the Honeywagon--a wagon would come along and make sure they took care of our sewage. they’d come by and pick up our waste every day. we’d bring it out and they’d take it away. and we’d chase after the wagon like it was a grandest thing.
DUNNELLON MEMORY
my father decided farming was really for him. he raised 3 pigs and he was done. so he bought the grocery store in Dunnellon. I would go and visit them. Dunnellon , on first impressions was a typical little grubby country town with old houses,old sidewalks, brick streets.  One water tower,one bank, one hotel-boarding house, and another hotel. The favorite place to eat was Miz McDilda’s café.  She was also well known for advice to teen agers.  “If it can’t be done by 10 0’clock you shouldn’t be doing it”
MEETING ROBERT
On my days off I would take the bus to Dunnellon. They traveled thru Williston to Dunnellon, so it was a long .  But usually my friend Willie came with me.  On one of those times Dunnellon we were hanging out clothes, and a young man hoeing corn on a lot on Walnut Street came over for a drink of water. Later I learned he lived across the street from the corn patch!
I thought to myself, now there is a nice young man. A man who would hoe. (laughing) I don’t think Robert touched a hoe once after that day.
NURSING MEMORY
In 1947 I was employed  by Marion County Hospital. Actually, from that time on I could fill out an application and go to work the next day. In 1967  I applied for a transfer to the VA Hospital In  Sepulveda California, and had to wait a whole week before they put me on schedule..That was my first realization of the feelings of rejection when you are not successful on a job application.
HIGHSCHOOL MEMORY
then the war started. and we all started making scarves to go to the british. i made 1. only time i knitted. to send a scarf to a brit.  that was the time i saw a b17 on display . the biggest bomber to bomb in world war 22. in those years there were fleets of planes flying over all the time. the trains going by would be hauling tanks and motorized vehicles for the soldiers. if you stopped at a train crossing. you would see all boys in the unit pass by with their trucks. It was always safe to be friendly on the train or bus, because Uncle Sam was chaperone.
SCHOOL MEMORY
my father wanted me to be a secretary and sent me to Jacksonville to learn. i lived with my aunt who worked at a perfume factory and lived right next door. Massey’s Business School and i got a job as a secretary. After a few months I was bored out of my skull. there was so little. A lot of people love office work but that was not for me. I learned how to short hand my own way and learned to use a dictaphone. But i got out of that business school as fast as possible. When they started putting me on machines I fled. I hated machines. So then i got a different job and used a dictaphone. I decided I wanted to go into the navy. There were recruiters looking for woman to fill as nurses and I jumped on that.
I couldn’t go into the US nurses cadet corp until I was 18. I got out when I was 21 and got a job in Ocala. The hospitals had nursing quarters. My friend Willy and I stayed in one of the rooms and the other girls were in the other rooms. I met willy in training. there were 5 of us who were protestant and we kind of stuck together through the programs. Got a job and lived together in the nursing colleges. We lived at and were paid on the property.
SCHOOL MEMORY
so we worked 8 hours a day and went to school the rest of the time. that lasted 3 years and by that time the war was over. the last 6 months of school i could do whatever specialty i wanted and i wanted to go to Jacksonville college and took my 101 courses. i took state board for nursing -- or waited to take them and Ocala hired me before i even passed the state board.
NURSING MEMORY
i was a red cross polio nurse, about 3 of us. and the reason that’s important is because that’s why i have all this immunity. most people who worked with polio at the time would get the beginning of the virus -- low grade temperature and mild symptoms. i think we were all just building up an immunity to it.
ROBERT MEMORY
1948 Robert and I were going together and he didn’t get a job and I went on my life in Tallahasee. He couldn’t stay away. He was burning rubber going up there all the time. so that’s when he decided what he would do about this degree. I was in tallahassee and he was down here and we agreed to go to Alabama and their was no option to do it unmarried. So we got married. He never asked. It was just the thing to do. We got married on christmas day, December 1949 and then left for Alabama.
ROBERT MEMORY
When we decided to go to Alabama for Robert’s second degree, He already had the basics as far as his degree goes but he got a job right out of college to make gun barrels and Lockhead head hunters found him there in Birmingham and he was a no-brainer. He had an auro-nautic engineer degree. They moved us to Murrieta, California to work on the C130. They would test the engine at night. It had propellers and turbines--a very durable machine. I have heard airplanes my whole life that when I would hear that rumble it was like music to my ears. I always felt so safe as long as i could hear airplanes in the air.

Here are a couple highlights from the modest party we threw for her and a few friends. She was glowing several days after! Such a treasure! | LKM :)



LKM is an Affiliate of Kelly Moore Bag!

We are now a proud affiliate of Kelly Moore Bag!

Short story--these are the best camera bags in the whole world. They have been one of the most important investments in our photography arsenal and they continue to crank out new materials and design options and brand development as the years go by.

I, Laura, vouch for these bad boys. They are a pretty penny. They are an investment. It will also be the best camera bag you'll ever purchase! 

To celebrate our new position as pom-pom shakers for KMB they just announced a 2 day FALL SALE on their camera bags!

GO HERE AND USE COUPON CODE: FALL (expires oct 31)

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And just in case you are on the fence or need a nudge or are trying to figure out what the hoopla is about, here's my fanaticism boiled down to its beginning. :)

I started off with an awkward borrowed camera bag that was nearly 20 years old and didn't hold my equipment and hung awkwardly on my shoulder or around my chest as a sling. It'd nearly dump out all of my stuff every time i tried to open it on the fly. I'm a mom so it was just another thing to drape around my body next to a baby, a baby bag, maybe a purse, maybe my computer bag... I know i carry too much most of the time anyways. And it didn't help. 

When i saw Kelly Moore, one of my top favorite photographers who inspired me at the very beginning of my own journey, launch her line of camera bags, my jaw dropped. Really? It was possible? Functional and classy? Variety and personality? Well-built and intuitive design? WHAT?! 

I won my first bag--the Classic Kelly Moore. It was her first and only design for a couple years. It turned heads and I felt so put together. No more masculine clunky things or velcro sounds or spilt equipment. Couple years later they released the LIBBY and i knew it was what i needed. It was my additional limb. It went with me everywhere! I can prove it. From 2012-2015 nearly all our family vacation pictures plus my behind the scenes on-location work pictures have that baby by my side. I'm emotionally attached. 

I've, in the last year, branched out and experimented with a few other designs from the Kelly Moore Bag line. Trying to alleviate the weight on my shoulders but still have a bag that would be optimum for my style of shooting, I've got my eye on a few and saving up!

So go check them out! Get yo'self some eyecandy! Then come back and tell me what you think! I've got my eye on the ESTHER or the SONGBIRD. :D

Which one has your name etched all over it??

7 Tips on How to Make Camping with Kids Worth It | Personal

 Before kids I thought kids would mean the death of independence and spontaneity.

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This past weekend a few families went and camped in Arizona's Cochise Stronghold. We came back with notes and thoughts about camping with little humans and made a list for how to make camping with kids kinda sorta awesome. 

The quickest way to another parent's heart is to love their child. And that is where community is born.

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We, as parents, are responsible for their memories.

If you are curious what our "7 tips on how to make camping with kids worth it", go HERE! 

 

Luke + Juliette | Corn Fields, Rock Quarrys + Shire-Like Hillsides | Engagement Session

I get another sister folks. Lets start with that. and this is her. and my brother. on their engagement session last weekend in the foothills of Mt. Baldy, Southern California. My brother is a prodigy of an artist. It's kinda rediculous. The things that he makes out of nothing (beat). They were highschool sweethearts and part of Luke's proposal included a series of paintings that told their love story as missionary kids in the Philippines, love birds and college students and now soon to be weds this summer. This is a snippet of some of their affection... 

The crazy. busy. wonderful. | personal update

We're gonna be a little real this morning. Life is a little bit crazy. I have a few hats that I am responsible for that i feel like i'm holding onto with my dear sweet life while a hard wind is trying to blow it off and make a mess of things. I don't know. Maybe that analogy doesn't work and i'm just being dramatic. Lets just go with...i'm trying to figure things out. 

I'm in my busy portrait season right now. I have more portrait sessions this month that i have had all year combined. That sweet little LKM flash sale a few weeks ago was exactly what i wanted it to be--an incentive to book early so i could shoot early and have a holiday season (theoretically) more focused on my own family and memory-making with my own community instead of working through the season and missing out on much.

This is my job. A joy-filled one. A job and most excellent, intuitive gift from God that breaths life into my daily responsibilities but also demands balance and perspective. daily. (deep breath)

Hello friends. If you are reading my blog because you have been trackin' with me for years, hi and here is my hug. Thanks for being awesome and supportive and touching base and investing into Laura K Moore Photography. If you just happened upon my website and are a stranger--curious and distant from me as a personal human being...welcome to my landing page. I haven't blogged in a while because i'm trying to stay on top of wedding and portrait deadlines. I don't apologize because people are more important than my website traffic or analytics. But i do value excellence. I do recognize how systems work. I do welcome you into my world, if but for a moment, and hope that you have a wonderful week and delight in memories...AND... if I get the privilege of capturing your own memories with you, your family, your beloved, your loved ones this season...i look forward to seeing you soon. 

Happy Tuesday. | LKM

 My dear friend hope and I this past weekend at our church's women's retreat. | remembering to have fun, let loose, love much, live lots, learn even when painful and corrective, balance more...

My dear friend hope and I this past weekend at our church's women's retreat. | remembering to have fun, let loose, love much, live lots, learn even when painful and corrective, balance more...