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When I started this journey of my photography business, I spent countless nights into the morning hours nursing a baby while I worked at my dining room table.  It took me nights upon nights to get my first web site live.  I would sit and google one thing after the other trying to work out tech kinks while holding a sleeping baby sprawled across a boppy pillow on my lap.  Juggling all of that while keeping my head above water editing was intensely demanding.  And my priority above it all was being a mother and a wife.  My worst enemy was my self doubt.  It nagged at me, eating up a bit of my confidence each time it crept into my head.  Starting a business isn’t for the faint of heart.  Starting a business with a young family isn’t even for the slightly strong heart.  It’s for the die hard passionate only.  A few years later, I had built a photography business I was proud of and now in an amazingly delightful turn of events, there was a new baby on my boppy pillow on my lap while I grew my business in the early morning hours.  Fast forward a few more years to now, and I reach an epiphany…a longing to give back, because I’ve been given so much by so many.  An article by a notable wedding photographer I had read discussed that the key to longevity in a successful business was to keep reinventing yourself.  I set out on a mission to create a brand that fit me, and start new initiatives to help photographers who are sorting through the pains of starting a business.  They know their craft, but need help lighting their fire, because rubbing sticks together in the early morning hours isn’t working.  This started a process of extended research that lead me to Promise Tangeman-Wurzell and Meg Long at Go Live HQ.  I asked my husband, who has an undying support for my dreams, if I could fly to California and invest in this launch with Go Live HQ.  He’s been saying yes to me as long as we’ve known each other.  If I dream it, he wants it to be my reality.  He even agreed to let me go several days early for a mommy get away with my best friend.  I’ll admit The Price is Right was never part of the branding plan, but those days of bonding and relaxing with my best friend were such a welcome fun release.  So after we hit the Hollywood hot spots, the rebranding mission launched.  I was so scared and excited to sit face to face with Promise and Meg at Go Live HQ and go over all the ‘homework’ I had been preparing.  When I walked in and Promise said, “You look just like your Pinterest board.”  I was immediately at ease.  I gabbed with the girls a bit, and then we sat down at the table (the super cool table, by the way) and in an impressively comfortable flow, we started to build a creative direction.

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It was better than I had envisioned.  These ladies are top notch designers, but they are also joyful human beings to be near.  Here’s the other thing that made it super easy.  I took my business that I’ve had a tight grip on, placed it in their qualified hands and basically let go.  While not everyone takes that approach-I always believe in letting professionals do what professionals do.  Give an artist space to create and you’ll never regret it.  (That’s great advice for hiring a photographer too, by the way.)  We spent the day proofing ideas and I saw them, not taking any short cuts, poring their best into my work.  It was inspiring to watch.  Then I held my breath, and watched in amazement as they nailed it.  Look, Parker the dog, was a huge source of inspiration too.  He’s more than just a pretty face.

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As I got on the plane back to OKC, I wiped tears from my face.  This entire process there has been a flood of love and encouragement over me. The day before the design, life was happening at home and my meal prepping and daily cards and gifts to the kids weren’t going to be enough to resolve it.  I started to feel defeated.  My sister, my mom, my mother in law, and my army of God fearing babysitters stepped into action.  My best friend made me coffee in the hotel room and asked how she could help while I made phone calls turning plan B into plan C.  My mom gripped me through the phone when she reminded me not to lose focus of why I was there.  When I missed my kids, my friend Krissi texted, “They will always be so proud of who their mother is and how she found a way to have it all.”  I was in awe of this incredible love from them all.  I have this village, like the most loving, giving, selfless village.  And of course before them all is my husband and my three kids who keep rooting for me.  My 8 yr old who asked, “When do we get to see your new web site?”  The numerous comments from friends on social media saying, “I’m on pins and needles” and “I’m sitting on the edge of my seat” and “You got this!”  Thank you, all of you for building this for me. I’m setting out to use my talents more for God and to help others.  I physically feel your love pushing me forward and upward.

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Promise Tangeman-Wurzell - August 22, 2015 - 1:24 am

AHH!! You are the BEST! it was seriously an amazing collaboration! We LOVED working with you! :) I can not WAIT to see where God takes you and your business, lady! So full of passion, excitement, and energy! You are magnetic. Keep shining bright!

Adrian Hesselgren Young - August 22, 2015 - 1:35 am

Beautiful, brilliant, talented and now a website to reflect those things as well. Congratulations you brave and bold mommma! This, this defining move that you made reveals so much to ‘them’ boldly seizing things and squashing fear and doubt along the way. You continually inspire me and my how great your village is! So uber proud!

Rachel Graham - August 22, 2015 - 1:52 am

This is incredible, Sheradee! Your new website is gorgeous, and even though I have only worked with you a couple of times, I admire you- BIG TIME! As a photographer and as a person in general. You are such a sweet person and deserve this! Love all the work you’re doing and I aspire to be as confident and put together as you, one day! :) Thanks for the inspiration!

Misti McClellan - August 22, 2015 - 1:54 am

Girl. Leap and the net will appear. You are exactly where you’re supposed to be! I’m so proud!

Shameika Alissa Hanna - August 24, 2015 - 2:14 pm

God Bless as you use your life to bring Him Glory in all you do (1Cor 10:31). Your talent doubtlessly comes from The Father of Lights!

Jennifer Davis Rogers - August 25, 2015 - 2:38 pm

So very deserving. Congrats on this.. your dream. Proud to call you friend. (and sister)

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There is something to be said for perfect timing.  Chris and Amanda’s wedding day timeline was exactly that, perfect.  I’ve shot a lot of weddings. A lot.  Every couple makes their own decision on if they want to see each other before the wedding in what’s called a “first look.”  It’s the time we set aside for a bride and groom to see each other, alone, before the ceremony while we photograph it.  Typically, grooms are more emotional in a first look, and feel comfortable enough to react authentically rather than having 300 wedding guests staring at their reaction.  First looks are great for many reasons, one of which is you can photograph EVERYTHING with the family, bridesmaids and groomsmens, and the couple before the ceremony, no waiting to go to your reception. However, first looks aren’t for everyone.  Some couples, like Chris and Amanda, just don’t want to do that before the ceremony.

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Here’s where their timing was spot on.  They chose not to do the first look, but fully understood that the use of time for photographs needed to be well planned.  They understood the importance of moving from one thing to the next right after the ceremony, because they wanted to stack most of the photography time in front of the ceremony.

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Immediately after the sand was poured and the couple was announced…

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They wasted no time jumping right into photographing the wedding party, family, and the two of them.  No time was wasted, because every minute wasted, is a minute your guests are waiting for your arrival to the reception. And really, it’s your wedding day, that precious time is intended to be celebrating, not taking obligatory photos.

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Here’s where Amanda veered from the typical no first look timeline, and in my opinion, it was a brilliant decision on her part.  Instead of using photography time to have us stand around photographing hours and hours of dancing waiting for their sparkler send off, she opted to use more of that time in front of the wedding, capturing the sweet moment when her dad saw her in her dress, and photographing the moment she opened her gift from her husband, and the countless other moments, that weren’t posed or forced, but just unfolded during their day.  She also chose to do a different type of “exit” photos at the end of the night.  This would prove to be the best move in the timeline.  Right after we photographed the family, bridesmaids & groomsmen, and the couple, we went straight into the reception, where one event lead into the next.  Couple introduced, first dance, father/daughter, mother/son dances, cutting of the cake, the fun kept coming.  It wasn’t rushed at all, in fact, it was a really natural flow of one happy moment to the next.  So, I was able to photograph all of the traditional reception happenings.

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Plus, we had plenty of time before the ceremony, to get lots of pre-ceremony photos.

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And then plenty of time after the ceremony, to get the couple photos.

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So, by only having us photograph the reception for a short amount of time, she got all the usual stops (garter, bouquet, cake cutting, dances, etc.) and she got loads of photos before the ceremony, and “exit” photos that are so very sentimental. Amanda told me she would rather plan the schedule of the day that way, then have us shoot dancing for several hours just so we were still there for the exit.  It was the best use of time.  I told her in lieu of the traditional exit photos, I would take them back outside for a few minutes before it was time for us to leave and get some sunset shots of them.  This would be their end of the night photos instead of the send off of whatever your wedding guests might be throwing or waving at you as you leave for your honeymoon.  And, boy, will she be glad she did that.  These two got a few minutes to just be with each other and giggle and take in the glorious evening.  Like a first look, except after all the activities of the night.  After our sunset shots, the couple went back in and danced the night away, but they had utilized their photography time in such a grand way. And, they had photos that told the close of their wedding day story without the hours of dance floor pictures. (Don’t worry, we still snagged plenty of groovy dance moves before the sunset shots.)

You don’t have to follow the rules of tradition.  You don’t have to do what everyone has always done.  Amanda will end up with many more photos from her day that are of her and her husband rather than hours of dance floor reception photos.   Your happy ending doesn’t have to end with a bang, in fact, it can end in perfect silence and still be just as happy.

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www.sheradeehurstphotography.com

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idoappointments - June 15, 2015 - 11:03 pm

Reblogged this on Idoappointments's Blog and commented:
Love this wedding!

All photos in this blog post were shot on film)

Things are changing.  Things are always changing.

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In our sleep, while we work, even when we stop to take it all in and be intentionally present.

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There is a constant wind of change.

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But lately, I’ve felt that wind, in a big strong gust. It’s been growling at me.

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I’ve felt the push to do some of the things I’ve longed to do, but just haven’t.  And you know why I haven’t?

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Yep, the fingers are pointing at me.  I’ve been standing in my own way.  How embarrassing, huh?  There are no life changes of a move, or a baby, or any of that sort.  My happy family of five isn’t going anywhere.

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But, there is a desire to at least set out on the journeys I’ve dreamed about. Looking at my kids growing so lightning fast, I just know…

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There is limited time to really dive into the things that pull at me.

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There is such a short time to embrace these things.

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So for that reason, I’m putting on a smile

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And I’m saying, “Why not?”

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Why not go for it?

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If it’s worth the dream,

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then it’s worth the effort, right?

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You just don’t know what you are capable of building if you never try.

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So, here’s to trying.

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Let’s see what I build.

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Robin Elliott - July 8, 2015 - 12:57 am

Can’t wait to see it all happen! Go for it!

Mom - July 8, 2015 - 1:38 am

I don’t know what you are talking about, but I think you’ve already built the most beautiful thing you will ever build in your life. And you’ve done an exquisite job of it.

idoappointments - July 8, 2015 - 2:05 pm

Reblogged this on Idoappointments's Blog and commented:
If there is one thing that is constant, it’s change. Embrace it today.