Cheyenne, Carpe Diem & Clarity….A seniors story of strength & love. {Welch Foto|Goshen, IN Senior, Newborn and Wedding Photography Studio|

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Professor John Keating (played by the late Robin Williams) in the film Dead Poets Society uttered these words, “Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary”. I met with a senior this past fall who is 110% living those words…

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I met Cheyenne & her mom, Christie, during a consultation at the studio in mid fall of 2015. Every time I get to a point in my career where I think I could do sessions without consultations, I am quickly reminded as to why they are so important. Cheyenne & her family were my much needed reminder that consultations will forever be a staple in my business plan. In their consultation, I learned what needed to be known in order to create what this family really needed.

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Our consult started just as any other would; me asking the high school senior questions in order to try and learn more about them. We also chitchat a little so they can see that I’m a pretty nice gal that isn’t completely out of touch with teenagers. (I hope! I’ve become a “thirty something” recently, and I’m trying to stay “hip”. ßThat word is my jab at my parents’ generation!) As I spoke with Cheyenne, I quickly learned that she was an amazing girl, and would be graduating a year early! She had gone through something with her dad that lit a fire in her, and she couldn’t wait to start her college education to make an impact on the world while she had the chance. (Seriously, isn’t that just amazing?)

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I was soon to learn how she became this awesome girl who was ready to take on the world.

Blinded by her amazingness, I forget how our conversation transitioned from “The Amazing Senior” to her family, but I quickly realized we would be doing more than just the standard senior session. Cheyenne & her mother began discussing how their 2015 had turned from wonderful to nearly tragic. With tears welling up, I learned how Brian, Cheyenne’s dad, suddenly & without warning, became a heart transplant patient. As her dad battled this physical fight with his body during 2015, this family discovered what was the most important in their lives; family…and time.

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We discussed adding a family mini session to the end of Cheyenne’s session, and I was impressed that a senior was more excited about that, then getting to have a day to be pampered for just her! (Our seniors get their makeup professionally done & we like to make them feel like a superstar for the few hours we have them in the studio – Cheyenne was thrilled just to spend an afternoon with her mom and dad.)

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We scheduled both Cheyenne & her mom for makeup with our makeup artist, Sallie, whose father had a heart transplant as well. With my grandmothers’ heart battles (she had multiple open heart surgeries), Sallie’s family history, and this family’s current battle, the whole session day was filled with emotions. The girls all bonded over hospital stories during the makeup application, and then we were off to Ox Bow Park for the session.

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Cheyenne was a natural, and an absolute joy to photograph. Once I had what I needed from her solo part of the afternoon, we headed into the family portion.   I finally met Brian, and was thrilled that he was willing to wholeheartedly participate (most dad’s take some convincing.) We tried many different poses so that I could give them a variety to pick from at our ordering appointment, but I must be honest; I had moments during the family portion of the session when I had to take a breath & collect myself (hoping they wouldn’t notice.) Through my lens, I was seeing why I chose this profession. I was staring right at a family that was holding on tightly to a member they could have lost. They were cherishing each other, and taking a moment to capture the bond that they had.  I watched moments; moments like a husband and wife smile at each other with thankfulness, a mom & daughter that had learned to rely on each other for strength, and a father & daughter giggling like nothing had ever gone wrong in the first place. They were in the moment, and also making sure that their relationships would never be forgotten. I was honored that they chose me to be the one to capture those bonds.

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During the session I learned Cheyenne’s motivation for being so driven. She had reached a place of clarity at just 17 that most need a lifetime to reach. She didn’t want to waste any time getting to her goal. She understood that times end is unknown, and that time is a gift that cannot be renewed. She watched her father battle with an illness no one saw coming, and she would seize every opportunity she had with the time she had been gifted.

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We talked about my reason for choosing this profession during their consultation, and I’m still in awe at how often these types of clients find me. I feel like certain people in life are brought together for reason’s unknown, and this family was my reminder, once again, that this profession matters, taking the time to be photographed matters, and we shouldn’t forget to take the chance to be remembered.

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Through the grapevine, I’ve heard Brian is struggling with his health again. It makes my heart ache that Cheyenne, her mom, and their family have to deal with this life battle. I do take comfort in knowing that they took the opportunity to be photographed when they had it, and I’m honored to be the one to share their story, for it is a story of love, faith, thankfulness & strength.

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When I’m tired, I try to remember that there is plenty of time to sleep later, so in the honor of this family, I urge you to take the time to hold tight to those you love & honor that love in whatever way keeps it alive in your hearts.

With love,

Abbie W.

*I’ve recently learned that Cheyenne has decided to earn her degree in pediatric nursing. I have no doubt that her experiences will make her an amazing advocate for patients’ families, and she will be a gift to those who end up needing her.

  • What is your favorite way to show your love for your family?  Share it below in the comments!

Recreating the Wedding Looks for Wall Art|Welch Foto|Goshen, IN Wedding Photographer, Mishawaka, Warsaw, Elkhart, Fort Wayne

This past May, I had the pleasure of photographing Ashley & Jason in the studio.  I wasn’t the photographer for their wedding, but the backstory is; their wedding day had very gloomy weather mixed with rain, and the couple dodged puddles the entire evening.  YUCK!

J & A came to the studio with wall portraits in mind that they could decorate their home with.  Ashley had her dress cleaned, and Jason rented the same tuxedo he wore the day of.  I grabbed a bouquet of roses from Walmart that were SUPER close in color to their wedding colors (who knew Walmart would be so handy for flowers?!)  They recreated the same looks they had on their wedding day with a hair stylist & make-up artist.  It was such a great Saturday filled with laughs & love, and we couldn’t be happier with the results of their session.

Photography Studio Dressing Room, Welch Foto
Goshen, IN wedding photographer, bridal portraits, northern IN, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Warsaw, Chicago
Goshen, IN wedding photographer, bridal portraits, northern IN, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Warsaw, Chicago
Goshen, IN wedding photographer, bridal portraits, northern IN, Mishawaka, Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Warsaw, Chicago

We also took Jason and Ashley aside during the session to make little mini-video-love-notes to each other, and we incorporated those into a video.  Their anniversary is TODAY, and we’re so excited to release that video for them….


Ashley & Jason, we are so happy for the two of you as you celebrate your first anniversary!  We could feel the love you both have for each other during your session, and it made the shoot so easy.  Congrats, and we wish you much more love & happiness in the years to come!

Are you friends or family of Ashley & Jason?  Send them a love note, a congrats, or write your favorite memory from their wedding below in the comments!

Meet My Children [Goshen, Elkhart, Mishawaka, Granger, Middlebury, Warsaw Indiana Portrait Photographer, Abbie Welch, Welch Foto, Bulldog Lover, Pet Mom]

I’ve dedicated my life to photographing clients and their children, and many of my clients ask about mine.  Well, here they are.  Just like yours, they add chaos and calm to my life.  They bring me joy, and drive me bonkers.  I over-photograph them, talk about them way too much and they basically run my life.

Meet my children…

It’s 7:30 am, and my husband is getting ready for work.  The sun is forcing its way through the window shades as I roll over stalling as long as I can.  I REALLY don’t want to open my eyes, but alas, a wet nose touches mine.  This is then followed by a sniffing sound, a snort and a wiggle that can even be felt throughout our Temperpedic mattress.  I’m awake – kind of.  This morning ritual and my life at home in general have become what I call “The Zoo”.  Three pets, all adding in their comic relief much like a TV sitcom.  There really never is a dull moment.

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It’s Miss Lilly, or Tank (aka “bubba”, “Ted” or “chunky monkey”) drenching me in their morning sneeze. It could be one or both of them that is stalling, not wanting to wake up, either.  They are instigators in my life long struggle with mornings.  (Mornings.  They just keep coming!  I tried to stop them, but apparently my strongly worded grumbles every morning didn’t do the trick.)  Tank and Lilly, my Victorian Bulldogs, are just as groggy and unmotivated in the mornings as I am, and that is why we are a match made in heaven!

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Miss Lilly, named after Lilly Aldrin on “How I Met Your Mother”, is petite and athletic for a bulldog.  She is a mere 50 pounds with barely a gut on her tiny little waist.  She loves swimming (with a life vest, of course), can run 10 minutes straight next to a
bicycle, and she’s in charge of our house (I tried to be, but she won that battle.)  She’s half spunk, half diva, and has the good looks and wrinkles to melt even the toughest of men.  (Just ask one of her many suiters!)  When I have a rough day, her little, wiggly but get’s me moving again (wether I like it or not!)

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Ted the Tank, named after Ted Mosby also from “How I Met Your Mother”, is the exact opposite.  You would never believe this 100 pound bully is from the same litter as his sister.  He’s calm, reliable, quite the gentleman, and is the studio mascot.  I often compare him to Eeyore the Donkey from Whiney the Pooh because, well, Tank will get there when he get’s there.  There is no rushing him.  You’ll often find him sitting in the pet chair watching me retouch images while doing what he does best – he keeps me company.  When life gets crazy, he keeps me calm.  He reminds me to slow down, and to enjoy a nap…or two.

Wait! I forgot to mention the scratching noise at the door.  That noise I know for sure is our rescue cat, Marvin (you guessed it, also named after a character on our favorite TV show.)  He never leaves me alone.  NEVER.  Which, in case you were wondering, is why my bedroom door is shut in the first place!  I’m pretty sure that sneaky little feline can even open up locked doors because I haven’t been to bathroom by myself since we got him.  :-/  (But, he LOVES to clean Lilly’s wrinkles at night, so he can stay!)

Just like any parent, I tend to take wayyyyyyy too many pictures of my kids (as I am told by my husband.)  Most of those images are on my phone, but I have them (and I promise I will take my own advice and print them!)  In a world where life is too short (especially for our fur-babies) why not document their every move?  They impact our lives, and deserve to be remembered.

Why would I want to forget that Lilly came in the house covered in mud? (She dug a whole under our front porch.  Thanks Lil.)  Why would I not want to document Tank napping in the bathtub?  Someday I WILL snap a photo of Marvin finally getting loose from the pantry.  (Sorry buddy, if you’re in there when I shut the door you’re on your own!)

I  would be sad if I had missed capturing any of this:

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Those moments are hilarious!  I hereby give all pet lovers permission to be what you are, “crazy pet owners”!  Dress them in clothes!  Buy them expensive treats!  Carry them in your purses (well, I won’t.  But, you can.)  Take thousands of ridiculous photo’s of them, and force all of your friends to look at them!

They are our children after all 🙂

P.S.  Tell me below the funniest thing your fur-baby has done.  I really do like to hear those stories.

P.S.S.  If you want to have some awesome pet portraiture done of your kid, check out our “pet project” at the studio called Project Treasure!  www.ProjectTreasure.info

Why I Do What I Do. [Goshen, Warsaw, Mishawaka, Elkhart, IN Newborn & Wedding Photographer]

  • When I started this blog, I had set a goal for myself to post at least once per month, but last month I was at a loss as to what to share.  This month is a completely different story. –

As we go through our lives, every single action we take has a motive.  We go to the grocery store because we are hungry.  We exercise to lose weight.  We go to work to pay the bills.  I was reminded twice this past month about  my motive for being a portrait photographer and why I choose to do this job every day.  Maybe these two stories will explain my “Why” without blatantly telling you “why.”

Story #1:

Saturday, a husband from Illinois brought his wife to the studio for some headshots.  She works in real estate, but after chatting with her for a couple of minutes I knew she had an artistic, fearless spirit.  Donning her red lipstick she was open to whatever I threw at her, steering clear of the normal poses that pop in your head when you hear “headshot.”  This woman is who I still hope to be ‘when I grow up.’

We let loose, had a great time, I hit the shutter button about three times as many as I usually do, and then we sat down to view her proofs with her husband.  As we were going through them, we reached one image that elicited this comment from the husband:  “When she is gone, that is how I want to remember her.”

Silence.  I looked down to conceal  the lump in my throat, and the tears welling up in my eyes, and then looked up to see them looking at each other, sharing a smile and a look only true love can create.

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Story #2:

Sunday, I was blessed to be asked to photograph a newborn named River.  The family arrived to the toasty warm studio, Ninja Turtles were streaming on the television for River’s brother, and once River was fed, my assistant snatched him up (along with his extra long fingers and toes) and we began his session.

His first set of poses was nearly flawless and as we headed to the first father/son shot I said the dad: “Was River planned, or was he a surprise?”

Daddy stopped for a second as he was holding his son close to his chest, skin to skin, looked up at Mommy, gulped a little, and said “I knew when I met her….we knew we wanted him.”

He looked down at his newborn son, and we all began to tear up a bit.  It was a special moment, a small, vocal declaration of what a magical moment we were all blessed to experience.  Love had created life, and that love filled the room.

Northern Indiana Newborn Photographer

My interest blossomed in photography after my grandmother passed away, and the only recent photographs we had of her were not of great quality.  The best image we had of her was from when she was a teenager.  As I began my journey of development as a photographer, my “Why” became very important to me.  My “Why” is what keeps me going when my schedule gets crazy, or when all of the Christmas orders come rushing in.  I’m guessing by now you already know my “Why”, but here it comes.

My grandmother.  That father.  That husband.  You never know when someone will be gone, parents don’t realize how fast a newborn baby will change and grow, and photographs are really the only chance we have to hold on to those special moments.  Being the eye behind the lens, attempting to capture what loved ones see in each other, and achieving an image or creating a moment for someone that brings out emotion is my “Why”.

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A portrait not only captures the moment that sits before us, it triggers memories that might otherwise be forgotten.  I know that every time I see the images from this past weekend, I’ll feel what I felt when they happened.  Fulfillment.

What fulfill’s you?  What keeps you going when you’re tired, overworked or uninspired?  What brings joy to your day and get’s you out of bed in the morning?  Let me know below!

Date Your Photographer, Seriously! [Goshen Newborn, Family, Senior, & Wedding Photographer]

How hard is dating?  Am I right?  How many bad dates have you been on?  How many were you so excited for only to be disappointed in the end?  How many dates left you wanting another date, and another?  Dating is a means to an end, a way to find your perfect match that you’ll spend the rest of your life with.  Dating reveals the flaws, and characteristics in a person that help educate you on if you can begin and maintain a long and happy relationship.

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Just as you would date a person in search for love, you should date photographers!  Ask questions, consult with them, have conversations, and view their work to see if you are a good match.  Here are some Photographer Dating Tips that I hope will help you with your search, and hopefully save you some heartache:

#1, Safety First!

LITERALLY!  One important question you need to ask of your photographer is:  “Do you have liability insurance?”   Liability insurance is needed to cover that random accident.  Insurance protects the photographer and the client.  Daring poses are often requested by clients, and having an insured photographer will give you piece of mind.  Should you or your child get hurt during a session, your medical bills will be covered.  That’s also true for parents of newborns.

If your an expectant mother, your second question should be, “What training have you had on handling and photographing newborns?”  The safety of your precious baby should be a top priority and a real pro has received that type of training.  Handling, soothing, and posing newborns without compromising their safety is an absolute must.

#2, Do you like the style of the photographer you’re considering?

Visit a photographer’s website, Facebook page and studio to view as much of their work as possible.  Photography is one industry where the phrase “What you see, is what you get” is dead on!  Photographers are artists, and the professionals all have a vision and style.  The good portrait artists can bend a little to accommodate a clients requests, but you can’t expect them to break.  Find a photographer who’s current portfolio work matches your expectations.

#3, What products do you want?

When it’s time to schedule your session/wedding with a photographer, sit down with the other members of your family and discuss what your ultimate goals are for the session.  Do you want wall art to decorate your home?  Would you love to have an archival album as a family heirloom?  Do you want custom art pieces or just a new Facebook profile picture?  These are all questions that clients should consider initially.  So find a photographer who can provide the end product you are searching for.

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#4, Can you be honest with your photographer?

The relationship you develop with your photographer is important to creating great portrait art.  Work hard to develop an open and honest relationship.  Don’t just show up without opening up.  Not only will you have more fun during your session, but that crooked smile of yours that bothers you can be lit in a way that it won’t be as noticeable.  That extra 10 lbs. you’re sad about having could be shaved off either during the session with proper use of light and shadow, or in photoshop!  By all means, don’t tell your photographer about the Taco Bell meal that just didn’t settle right, but do share with them what bothers you about yourself.  A good photographer can turn your imperfections into something beautiful!

#5, Avoiding the Amateur Blues.

Just because your cousin owns a camera doesn’t make her a photographer.  Would you hire a seamstress to fix the plumbing in your bathroom just because she owns a plunger?  Price IS IMPORTANT to your budget, but the value of good photography is worth the extra dollar.  That loveable cousin may have the best of intentions, and she may even own a good camera, but if her lack of experience and knowledge blows your wedding, one of the most important events of your life, she can turn a joyful celebration into a FAMILY FEUD!

A hobbyist with a digital camera is not a professional.  So ask yourself a question:  “Will you be heartbroken if your final images don’t turn out how you hoped?”  This is your brain telling you to hire a pro.

Even if you’re on a tight budget, hire a real pro for your irreplaceable events.  What life moments do you want hanging on the walls of your home, and which ones will be in a scrap book on the shelf collecting dust?  If you can’t afford a pro for all of life’s photo ops, hire a real pro for you “Wall Moments.”  And, if you can’t afford your favorite photographer, it never hurts to ask about payment plans!

So go on, date photographers while you’re searching for your perfect match.  It could save you heartache, money, and you may even find a photographer for life!

Taking The Leap – [Northern Indiana Photographer]

For some reason, the word fear has been popping up in my personal and professional life constantly in 2014. To avoid sharing my personal narratives, I’ll just focus on my top 2 professional fears that I’ve been forced to tackle this year. Hopefully this inspires you a little!

2014 Fear #2: Portrait Session Fears!

For those who have followed my professional growth the past few years, I’m              hoping you’ve noticed that the quality of my images have improved! I’ve been working & studying tirelessly trying to get better for my clients, and there has been two sessions that have pushed me artistically, as well as made my heart skip a few beats. They were TOTALLY worth the risk, too!

The latest session provoking doubts in my mind was photographing twins for the first time. I can do a newborn session with a single baby in two hours or less, but adding a second baby to the mix offered up unknown variables.

                        “What if one baby is sleepy, but the other is wide-eyed and wiggly?”

                        “I only have two hands, they have four!”

                        “Will my single baby poses translate to a twins session, or will I            have to relearn EVERYTHING for twins?”

I’m pleased to say that my first set of twins were the perfect models, my assistant     showed no fear, and we were able to create some beautiful images for mom and dad. Twins – CHECK

Goshen Newborn Photographer

The second session that made my heart race was the Baranski Wedding sunset         shots in Maryland. If you’ve watched the behind the scenes video (Here’s a link to the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4zCfMh0KvSY), then you may understand a few of my reservations. My biggest fear was that the bride and groom might slip and hurt themselves! My second fear was the possibility of getting attacked by crabs in the water (not to mention dropping my camera in the Chesapeake Bay to be never found….ever!). Luckily, our preplanning made for perfect images for the new husband & wife. Cold Water Session – CHECK

Indiana Wedding Photographer - Welch Foto

2014 Fear #1: Fear of Failure

Moving my studio to a new town after doing so well in Fort Wayne, IN was             terrifying. When I added in a new leased space in Goshen, the fears mounted tenfold.

                       “What if I can’t find clients in this new town where NO ONE knows                          who I am?

                        “What if I can’t make rent?”

                        “If this new studio fails, how will it affect my family?”

                        “What if this…. what if that…. what if I FAIL?”

I’m still in the growing phase of what I am calling a brand new business (even after being open since 2008), and I will continue to build this new studio for the next few years, but so far so good! I feel like I literally JUMPED, and I took a chance on an old school house, dedicated myself to creating great art, joined many area organizations to get involved in the community, and my summer efforts are starting to show! October is fully booked, and we’re starting to book for November-January & 2015 weddings. The response so far is uplifting.

I normally set a few goals for myself every year as this helps to push me creatively and as a business. I think from now on, I’m going to add one fear to that list every year. And I already have my next fear lined up for 2015; teaching & becoming a mentor. Many have asked about that, so it may be time.

Living fearlessly doesn’t mean you don’t feel fear, it means you act in spite of the fear! So whether you’re a photographer trying new techniques, a stay-at-home mom afraid to go back to work, or you’ve just always wanted to skydive, just give it a chance. You never know what good things may come. Cheers to stomping all over your apprehension, and in the words of Nike: “Just Do It!”

So what are you afraid of?  What personal or professional fears do you need to tackle or have you tackled this year?  Let me know!  Leave a comment below & don’t forget to subscribe.

Blogs, Art & Growing Pains…OH MY! (Goshen Photographer)

Blogs scare me!  Personally, I only read blogs when someone seriously recommends one or I occasionally just browse to check out photographs from other photographers.  I have a respect for those that blog, and I admire those that can share their thoughts with the world without fear.  But, why would anyone read a blog written by me?

I have spent this past year seriously diving deeper into my craft, studying more than I did in college, attending seminars, conventions, and business classes.  I’ve been practicing new techniques, discovering who I really am as a photographer, and what it is that I want to say with my photography.  What will my impact be on my clients?

This journey has deeply impacted me in every way.  I have discovered that I am not just a photographer, but a portrait artist.  My gift is not solely what I can do with a camera but what I can create with light.  I have the ability to help women view themselves as beautiful for the first time.  I can capture the innocence of a newborn boy that will never again be as small as he once was during his first week of life on earth.  Frozen in time will these photographs be, forever evoking emotion in those that view and cherish them every day.  That is fine art.  Just as a certain smell can take you back to your family vacation on the beach when you were seven, staring into a fine art photograph can make you feel the same love you felt when you said, “I do.”

Learning and accepting who I really am, an artist, has been a journey that has taken my work to a whole new level.  Apparently, others have noticed!  Other photographers have asked for help with their business plans, and hoping for retouching tips.  The clients I have coming through the door are putting their trust in me more often than ever before in my career, giving me total creative freedom (which is where my best work comes from.)  I am honored at these compliments, but nervous at the next step….BLOGGING!

I have been told that blogging will have a huge impact on my business.  So, I’m taking the plunge.  I’m diving in head first not knowing how this will impact my studio, my art, or my life.

Here’s to growth, art, and growing pains.  Here we go!

Abbie Welch, Goshen, IN Photographer

www.WelchFoto.com

Portrait by Welch Foto Make-Up by Sallie Davis

Portrait by Welch Foto
Make-Up by Sallie Davis