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When inspiration strikes, it strikes hard and fast, and it’s amazing how under pressure, one so quickly retreats to the safety of their roots.

I had the opportunity this past weekend to be part of the first St. Eugene Mission Bridal Fair. It’s close to home, and even though we live in Calgary now, my heart is still in the Kootenays. I’ve really been thinking through what my style is, who my ideal bride is, and what I am most passionate about shooting, and the funny thing is that what I am drawn to is what I’ve been all along: country.

Old barn boards. Burlap. The smell of freshly cut wood. Vintage palettes, and character pieces. DIY weddings full of mason jars, river rocks, and wildflowers. I had a vision of what I wanted my booth to look like, what I wanted to use to represent myself and my brand visually, and when I got home and told my mom about it, all she said was “You’ve come home.”

It’s true. In many ways, that’s what I’ve always known and always been drawn to, and it took me almost six years of business to realize that I need to stop being what I think that my clients want, and just be ME.

In digging through thrift stores, my grandma’s house, my parent’s house, craft stores, and pinning images on Pinterest, I was finally able to really SEE what my style is. It was like a light went on: BLINK! and I knew exactly who and what I wanted.

The bridal show was successful- I met some incredibly talented and fun photographers, fantastic wedding professionals, and ate delicious cupcakes- but ultimately the biggest thing I got out of this experience is that it doesn’t take much to find your brand. It’s inside you. You feel it, not find it, and it just seeps out and colors your world.

WHEW! ok… so enough philosophy… Let’s break down what I did to make my booth AWESOME… because I know if you’re reading this and you’re a photographer like me, you’re wondering… how much did it cost? How’d you put it together?

I literally had NO BUDGET for this show. It came up out of nowhere and I really felt like I should do it, so………..  yeah. We did it.

My motto for the show: Beg, Borrow, and Steal.

Stolen from Wed Studio Display, & two very satisfied clients:
-Sample Albums (you’ll get them back, I swear!!)

Borrowed from Grandma’s house:
-Vintage purple wicker chairs (they were my great, great, great grandma’s) along with the vintage dresser
-Cameras (!!!! HOW HAVE I NEVER NOTICED THESE BABIES BEFORE?!?!! One was my great grandfathers-it went through WWI with him in his pocket, the other my grandfather’s first camera. So cool)
-Lamp

Borrowed from Mom, who held Mia ransom until items were returned:
-Barn Boards (off of our barn…sorry cows…)
-Rustic table
-Bottles and Mason Jars
-Crates

Begged:
-Dad & Graham made the lovely barn board frame for my iMac- and instead of doing a slideshow because it would have taken time I did NOT have… I let clients peruse my shiny new Showit site offline in preview mode. So simple. SUCH good branding.
-Dad also cut up a gorgeous birch tree for the crosscut you see beside my Mac. Brilliant!

Purchased:
-$83- Promotional price sheets with new logo, branding, and package info
-$20- frames from Goodwill (were super ugly… and so super cheap!)
2-16×24, 1-11×17, 3-8×10
-$4- paint from Michaels for ugly ugly frames-white and brown
-$5-Raffia from Michaels
-$65- Professional photo prints from my lab- the one thing I knew I couldn’t cheap out on- quality matters in a print!
-$10- Burlap from a fabric store
-$23- Fresh Flowers from a grocery store…sorry Monica!
-$112-booth space at St. Eugene :)
GRAND TOTAL: $322.

I was provided with an 8-foot table with black skirting and a black tablecloth… but the more I thought about it the more I wanted to stand out. My booth ended up being between two other photographer’s booths, and while I got some pretty nasty looks at the beginning when I was setting up, I definitely think it was worth it. (We all ended up being friends at the end anyways…) Brides were saying “WOW” when they walked in the door, which is sort of what I was going for.

Without further ado, the images from the day! Thanks so much to my family for being my biggest cheerleaders and supporters, and also for all of your help with designing the booth and helping me set it up…. and also for letting me raid and pillage the night before the show. xoxox

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