ericamay photography blog: thought studio.

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You can make a difference… and I can give you great portraits! :) May 12, 2009

I am so excited to share with you an amazing opportunity to not only get some great portraits, but to make a real difference. If you’ve been following this blog for very long at all, you’ll remember that I volunteer every year with an organization called Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) — a non-profit organization that hosts youth leadership camps at local sites, which are all planned and executed by volunteers.

I went through the HOBY program as a high school sophomore, and I can honestly say that it changed my life. I know that sounds completely cliche and  a little bit silly, but it did. I explored new topics like entrepreneurship (and look what I’m doing today!), met amazing people (you know, like my husband!), discovered my passion for volunteerism, and really discovered who I was as a leader. I have since returned every year to volunteer on the staff… and now I’m the Program Director, which basically means I plan the schedule of the four-day seminar and recruit speakers who will undoubtedly change other lives.

HOBY‘s mission is to empower young leaders and teach them how to think, not what to think. The entire local seminar (serving 125 sophomores from across the state of Kansas) is about exploring different and important topics, asking questions and interacting with leaders in fields like education, the media, volunteerism, business, medicine, etc. It’s an experience that puts a big emphasis on leadership through service.Since HOBY is a non-profit organization and is run by volunteers on the local level, there’s quite a bit of fundraising and behind-the-scenes tasks that our staff at HOBY Kansas works hard on all year long. I am so blessed to be a part of the team of people who dedicate so much time, effort, energy, resources and heart to HOBY year after year. So, in order to help give back to an organization that has given so much to me (besides letting me meet my super sweet husband!), I’ve decided to offer you all an awesome opportunity to be a part of something great.

Today through June 7th, every single portrait session that takes place will be discounted to $150.00 — as long as your check is made out to Kansas HOBY! That’s right… you will not only save money, but send some directly to support a great cause. How does that sound? :) Each portrait session will include a one-hour shoot at an outdoor location, an online gallery of images and a disc of your edited, high-resolution digital files! Seriously, it doesn’t get any better than this.

Time slots will fill up fast and your session has to take place before June 7th (the HOBY seminar is the next week). I will mainly be doing these sessions in the Kansas City area, although I should have a few Wichita area appointments available as well! To reserve your session, just send me an email: me[at]ericamay[dot]com.

And, because this is a photography blog… here are a few photos from different types of portrait sessions that qualify for this opportunity!

Children and families (perfect for a Father’s Day gift):


Engagements, anniversaries, or “just because” photos of couples:


Seniors, headshots or individual portraits (because everyone deserves great photos of themselves!):


Babies and newborns:


Pets! With a family or without… I love pets. :)


Don’t delay — you can make a difference today (and get some sweet portraits out of the deal!). Contact me via e-mail: me[at]ericamay[dot]com to schedule your appointment early. Remember, all sessions have to take place before June 5th (just in time for Father’s Day!).

How can we make a difference together? This is one way. :)


Calling All Photographers! April 1, 2009



Yes, that’s right. I need your help!

If you’ve followed the ericamay photography blog for very long, you’ve heard about my involvement with Operation: Love Reunited, an organization comprised of volunteer photographers who provide portrait sessions to the families of deployed soldiers at no charge.

I have been doing quite a number of these free sessions for the families of members of our Armed Forces lately, which I’m very excited about. I love giving back. It’s just engrained in who I am. If I could’ve been a professional volunteer, I would have been. You think I’m kidding. :) So since I can’t do that, I do use my profession and my craft to volunteer in a way that blesses families, their deployed loved ones and helps to boost the spirits of people going through really tough times. I’ve met some great people, made friends and have become a part of people’s lives through my participating in OpLove. It’s amazing.


So why do I need your help?

I was recently asked to plan an entire day of portrait sessions for families at Fort Leavenworth who are part of the Waiting Families organization (meaning they have immediate family members currently serving overseas). I am so excited about the chance to serve a large group of families by hanging out at Fort Leavenworth all day and shooting 30 minute sessions for these families. Alone, I can do about 15 sessions. As a group, the organization serves 200 families. Yes, 200.

So I’m only able to scratch the surface with photographing 15 families. That’s where you come in. If you’re currently an OpLove photographer, wonderful. If you’re not, that’s okay too… as long as you’re okay with working within the guidelines of the organization. We’re looking for professional photographers who can give all day or even just a few hours of their time to the families at Fort Leavenworth!

I have all sorts of details for you if you’re available and interested, so please send me an e-mail (me[@]ericamay[dot]com) or a message through the contact form at, or a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you! 

The basics of what I’m looking for:

1. Professional photographers

2. At least 3-4 hours of time on April 18th in Leavenworth

3. The willingness to provide free portrait sessions

4. The ability to send 4×6 albums of prints directly overseas to soldiers at no cost

5. The availability of all the images online to the family members for additional ordering (optional)

6. A fun attitude, a giving heart, and a desire to help! :D

If you’re interested, please get in touch with me. The response has already been huge… so the more, the better! :)I’d love to share more details about this exciting way to give back something to the families who are sacrificing sooo much so their husbands/wives/moms/dads can serve our country overseas.

I’m headed out to do an OpLove session this evening, so watch for those photos later!!


Engaged! Workshop for Kansas City Brides March 24, 2009

Getting engaged was one of the most exciting days of my life. Our engagement (which was only about 6 months!) was a time that I would never trade for anything… I loved that whirlwind time of engagement . Planning a wedding was one of the most exciting… AND stressful… experiences of my life. :)

For those of you who are currently engaged, you know what I’m talking about!

This past weekend, Sharon Ivy with KiSS Events, a Kansas City wedding coordination service, helped brides, grooms and families ease the stress of wedding planning. Sharon hosted the Engaged! Workshop and brought in a collection of wedding vendors from across the city to give advice and offer their expertise to those in the middle of the planning process.

I had such a great time speaking with the group, taking photos of the event and meeting some fantastic vendors.

The event was held at Third Eye Event Space in the Crossroads District of Kansas City. If you’re looking for a fun, open event venue in the downtown area, Third Eye is an awesome location!



The amazing centerpieces were different on each of the tables, to give brides ideas and show the price range of various options. They were all incredible… provided by Bella Design Studio:





The event was catered by Above and Beyond Catering, and it was delicious. They did such a fantastic job not only with the food, but with the presentation. They created the catering bar to fit the theme perfectly, and it really tied everything together so well. Also, did I mention the food was delicious? :)






Each of the vendors had a table set up with samples, business cards and information. It was a great time for brides and their guests to mingle with a variety of wedding vendors and have their questions answered one-on-one.


DIY invitation ideas were provided by Archiver’s.


Carson Swisher, a great cinematographer and photographer, was there as well. If you are thinking about wedding videography, contact Carson!


Sharon and her team were absolutely wonderful. Here are the KiSS Events ladies, looking super cute in their workshop t-shirts. :)


Sharon is a totally talented woman… if you’re even remotely thinking about hiring a coordinator, contact her! She’s fantastic, totally organized, creative and tons of fun.




It was a well-done event, and I’m hoping Sharon plans another sometime soon. I highly encourage my brides to attend events like this to get ideas, learn about things you might not have considered before, and to network with vendors! Plus, we gave away lots of fun prizes — including free wedding coordination services!

If you’re still looking for some of your wedding vendors, check out these talented people:

Bella Design Studio (florals)

Celebration Party Rentals (reception rentals, linens, etc.)

Icing on the Cake (bakery)

Debbie Jackson Productions (DJ)

Third Eye Event Space (wedding/reception venue)

Archiver’s (invitation supplies)

Above and Beyond Catering (catering)

Carson Swisher (cinematography)

KiSS Events (wedding coordination)

Ericamay Photography (photography, of course!) :)


Wednesday Whirlwind. March 18, 2009

Filed under: ericamay business updates — ericamay @ 4:04 pm

A few random, yet important things to share:

1. I will hopefully be updating this week. If you visit the site and it doesn’t load or things look a little bit “off,” please don’t panic. :) It’s just me, updating the site with some new and beautiful photos! Who doesn’t like that?

2. With this new site update, we’ll have two — yes, TWO! — wedding galleries, so you can peruse wedding “moments” that I capture separately from the creative portraits. This should help you understand what images are caught as they happen and which ones are more planned portraits — although all of my portrait sessions take on a very natural feel. It will be especially helpful for all of my new brides when you’re thinking about the bride and groom portrait session on your wedding day — the options are endless.

3. Spring portrait session time slots are getting booked up so fast! I just checked the calendar today and couldn’t believe that almost every weekend slot is taken between now and the end of May. If you’re planning a springtime family portrait session, get in touch as soon as possible to reserve your date (weekday evenings work great too… hint, hint!). :)

4. The calendar is officially open for 2010, and wedding dates are yours for the taking! I’d highly encourage you not to wait… booking before our 2010 rates are published is a great deal for you — and you’ll have your choice of wedding dates!

5. Did I mention that I have the BEST wedding line-up for 2009? Because I do. I can’t wait to work with all of these amazing couples.


You didn’t know I was this cool… March 11, 2009

Filed under: ericamay business updates — ericamay @ 3:54 pm
Tags: , ,

Well, now you do. :)

I take photos of other people all. the. time. But I hardly ever see photos of myself while I’m in “photographer mode.” When Chris Hsieh of La Brisa Photography shot Nick and Sarah’s wedding back in January with Jeff and I, he snagged a few action shots of us… and I have to admit, I laughed out loud (yes, I actually LOL-ed!) when I saw how crazy I look. Do I seriously make those faces all the time? No wonder you all are smiling so much in your photos…

Oh well, at least it shows that I’m having fun! :)

You can see more photos that Chris took from this wedding (including some cute ones of my husband!) on Chris’ blog.



(Notice how I’m not wearing a coat in the second photo — taken before the ceremony — and in the first — taken after the ceremony — I’m all bundled up? Yep, that’s Kansas weather for you!).

Thanks for the action shots, Chris! :)


Photographer Hang-out time with Sarah Jeanne Hill February 28, 2009

Today I got to have lunch and meet in person the lovely Miss Sarah Jeanne Hill, a photographer in Manhattan, Kansas, who is starting her career as a wedding and portrait photographer. Sarah is well on her way to having an awesome business with a great portfolio! She has been doing absolutely everything the right way — learning, learning, learning! She’s been shadowing our friend Chris Hsieh with La Brisa Photography since early last fall, and Sarah’s starting to shoot weddings for herself this summer! I was very excited to have some time to hang out with Sarah, share some of the things I’ve learned in my own journey, and encourage her to keep doing what she’s doing! :)

After a delicious breakfast-for-lunch, we headed back to my house to let my poor husband in (who I had mistakenly locked out of the house… oops!), and it turned into a great time to really show Sarah hands-on all of the things we had chatted about over our biscuits and gravy. :)

I was explaining to her how Adobe Photoshop Lightroom transformed my editing process, cut the turnaround time way down (meaning my clients get to see their photos faster — who doesn’t love that?!), and how easy it is to use. To demonstrate this editing tool and to show her a little bit of my post-processing workflow, we did an impromptu less-than-5-minutes portrait shoot in my office. 

Sarah looks just gorgeous for me asking her to get in front of my camera spur of the moment. :) So, Sarah, Lightroom makes the process easier, but YOU make the photos awesome!



And, some black and white processing:


My favorite… you can see her fun personality in this one! :)


Sarah, best wishes with your journey in photography! You are headed for such great things! :) 

Check out Sarah Jeanne’s blog and leave her an encouraging note! :)


Tweet, tweet. February 25, 2009

Filed under: ericamay business updates — ericamay @ 8:02 pm

After hearing from so many photographer friends how cool Twitter is and how it connects them instantly… I gave in. I created a Twitter account last night, and I’m just trying to figure it all out. It’s simple. I like that. It makes people accessible. I like that, too. And it only wants to know the answer to one question:

What are you doing?

So, if you care what I’m doing at random times when I decide to update my Twitter status, look me up! My Twitter name is, of course, ericamay. I’d love to find people I know on there, so I’m not just talking to myself… :)

Click on the logo below to sign up and look me up!


Also, does anyone know how I can add a twitter feed to my blog? Can I do it with a WordPress blog? If you have all sorts of technological secrets, leave me a comment! :)