Thursday, January 31, 2008

Bradley and Meridith in Versailles, France

Hey everybody!
As you know, a few weeks ago Meredith and I traveled to France to photograph a proposal, an engagement, and a wedding couple session. For the wedding couple, Meridith and Bradley, we went to Versailles, a short way from Paris, for some really great backdrops. I hope you enjoy them!
Talk to you soon,

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Ellie's Big Night

Hey everyone!
Like most parents, I often find myself carrying on and on about my child. Tonight will probably be no exception. I headed in to Joplin this afternoon so I could witness Ellie's big night. As one of the busiest three year olds I know, she had both ballet and a winter program.
In ballet tonight, they began working on their recital routine. It was fun to see the messiness of the beginning because it will make the show that much sweeter. She's so fun to watch!
Then, we headed off to her preschool at Joplin Family Worship Center, where a make-up program (due to the ice storms) was slated. Ellie's group sang "Down in my heart," "Jesus Loves Me," and "I Can Do All Things," based on one of my favorite verses: Phil 4:13: I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me. It was a pretty sweet night overall, and I couldn't be more proud of Elizabeth!

Preparing for ballet class...

Concentrating on the moves...

Rockin' the stage...

With my mom (grandma)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

13 Months of Giving: January

Hi everybody!

I'm in my 2nd month of my 13 months of giving. Each month I want to find a great way to help non-profits, those less fortunate, etc. Last month was really easy (with Christmas), but I want it to be an important part of not only my business, but who I am.

After last month's post, my friend Valerie, marketing director for United Way in Joplin, approached me about helping out with a photography need she had. I was happy to help!

One of United Way's great ideas is that underneath it all, we are all united for the common good. I love the concept and spent a day photographing a variety of individuals, from school superintendents to students to financial advisors to girl scout troupe leaders, all wearing the "Live United" shirt. These images will be used for publications and billboards, so keep your eyes peeled for this great message!

Talk to you soon,

Monday, January 28, 2008

Favorite things...

So, I'm kinda like Oprah. Below, I've put some of my favorite things. This list consists of the favorite things I use at work. Enjoy!

1) Starbucks. Yes, I use Starbucks. Just about everyday. My drink of choice: Venti skinny iced chai with light ice.

2) Mac. I used to have a Macbook. I need another one. Not just want... I NEED one. My current computer is going, and going fast. My computer of choice: MacBook Pro (or even just the MacBook). By the way, I do NOT want the Macbook Air. Can you believe all the stuff it doesn't come with?! Other cool Mac products of choice: ipod nano (which I give out in my biggest wedding packages), iPhone, Apple TV and display, etc.

3) Canon. I've used Canon since day 1. From the Rebel G (in 1998!) to the Elan, the 1n, the 3, the 1V-hs (and then digital) D30, D60, 20D, and the 1D, I've owned lots of camera bodies over the years. Before this wedding season, I hope to again upgrade my equipment. Also, I hope to buy more lenses, and a new flash.

4) Adobe Photoshop. My workhorse. My first love. I've been with this program since Photoshop 4.0 more then 10 years ago!! Can you believe it?! Currently, I have Photoshop CS2, which until recently, was the top of the line. However, as technology advances, I now gotta have the new CS3.

5) Volkswagon Jetta. This car is how I get home after a long day of photographing a wedding. It's what gets me to a dinner with a bride. I love my little Jetta. It gets a lot better gas mileage than my XTerra (my previous auto).

So, that does it for this edition. Thanks for checking the blog. And things for reading this far down.

Talk to you soon!

Monday, January 21, 2008

JBailey Occasions website!

Hey everybody!
I just wanted to drop another blog today and let you know that a rockin' cool wedding planner (and friend), Jenessa Bailey, has a website that you all must see! Check it here.

Meredith and I love Jenessa, and her awesome wedding services. Can you believe that she'd sit down and address all your thank you notes?! And take the tuxes back?! And decorate the honeymoon suite?! How great is that!!

Though Meredith and I don't have any sort of date for our own wedding, we have 100 percent decided that after our destination wedding we will have Jenessa plan our reception!

Talk to you soon!

P.S. Here's a screen shot of her new website (but still click the link above to get to it)

Congratulations! and... Time Running Out!!

First off, I would like to say thank you to all the engaged couples Meredith, Lauren, and I met at the bridal fair Saturday. We had a really great turnout out (thanks to all who signed our engagement guestbook!) and spoke with lots of couples with really great wedding ideas for the upcoming year! I would also like to say thanks to the wedding couples who booked with on Saturday - by the way, June 21st and November 15th are completely booked now.

Next, if you were one of the couples who spoke with us at the fair - contact us right away if you're interested in us photographing your wedding. So we can focus on customer service and a unique customer experience, we only take a certain number per year... and we are rapidly approaching that number!! We'd love to meet with you to discuss your wedding and to see if we fit as your wedding photographers! To see more wedding images and info, check out our wedding website!

And finally, I'm very excited that I've been asked to teach some photography seminars coming up in the next few months. As you might know, I currently teach a basic and advanced photography class at the collegiate level (and have also taught high school since earning my Masters degree 5 years ago), and I always look forward to giving back to the education system that has brought me to where I am today!

Thanks to you all who support and encourage me on a monthly, weekly, and daily basis. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you all!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Mitch and Maggie: update

Hey everybody!
I have exciting news! Mitch and Maggie want Meredith and me to photograph their wedding in Minnesota later this year! If you remember, Mitch is the fellow who sought me out months ago to photograph his proposal in Paris to his (now-fiancee) girlfriend Maggie.

They've just now come back to the US (must be nice, right?!) and are working on the text for their custom designed website, so I thought I'd put a few more images from their engagement shot up here as a teaser for the website, which should be up in a couple weeks.

Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Laying floor is a headache!

For those who saw me at the bridal fair today and was too polite to ask what happened, here's the story:



Minus the need for a good sweep, I think the new floor looks really great and I am proud to say that I did it all by myself... living up to the Benfield legacy... ha ha ha!!

Talk to you soon,

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Monday's Child Boutique

For Christmas, Ellie and I went to Different Strokes to make Meredith a painted plate. When we finished, it was warm outside so we decided to walk around the shopping center and found a VERY CUTE children clothing boutique, Monday's Child. We went in and Ellie headed straight for the toy room off the main floor. I, however, hopped from rack to rack to see their collection of the cutest children clothes. And then I noticed the greatest bags (diaper bags) and I kinda felt like I wanted another child just so I could have an excuse to buy one of these. I did find a fleur de lis shirt I could not live without buying for Ellie, so I bought it and signed up for their mailing list.

A week later, I got an event invitation from Monday's Child owner Lauren. The event was an open house to showcase the new Spring/Summer line, so of course I had to go! I brought my camera and had a great time meeting Lauren, her family, and Emily (who works there). I've posted a couple of pictures below that I liked. I hope to work with them soon on a couple different projects.

Check out their current website: - They have a big sale going on right now!

Talk to you soon!

P.S. Holly R, if you read this, I bought a present for your newborn boy at Monday's Child. I'm mailing it to you soon!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Little Londyn... 1 year old

Hey everybody,
Let me introduce you to a gorgeous little girl. Londyn Eidson, daughter of Sarah and Austin, turns one in just a couple weeks and I was extremely happy to photograph her. We started early in the morning (she was still eating in pajamas) when I arrived. I gave her a present I bought her from Monday's Child, a super cute children's boutique clothing store in Fayetteville (see more later this week). We decided to wear it for the shoot (see the Burberry pattern skirt below). Sarah and Austin's home has great hardwood floors with lots of great available light!

After we left the house, we traveled the town and had a blast. I was really happy that Londyn warmed up to me so quickly! Of course, presents help. Check out our images below!

Talk to you soon!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sunset shoot in Tampa with Mike Larson

I'm safe. I'm sound. I'm home!

Florida was good to me. I had a great time meeting and hanging out with some of the top wedding photographers in the country. I attended many sessions about everything to do with wedding photography.

One of the highlights of the week for me was to accompany Mike Larson on a bridal shoot. Though we ran late, it was well worth the time we spent to brainpick, as well as photograph in sunny Tampa Bay. Check out some images below!

Talk to you soon,

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Missing Home...

Hey Everybody,
Three days after I got back from Paris, I headed back out the door to attend ImagingUSA in Tampa. Don't get me wrong, Tampa is nice with it's 72 degrees and palm trees, but I'm really missing good ol' NWA. More, though, I'm missing Mere. I haven't been able to even talk to her much because workshops and such run from 7am (6am Arkansas time) until about 9:30pm.
I'll be coming home Wednesday night. But until then, I have pictures to keep me warm. I put a couple below.

Talk to you soon!

Alaska Proposal; The Time I Almost Blew It.

Hey everybody! Did you ever know something 100% in your heart, but you almost screw it up?  So goes the story of my proposal to Tyler. ...