I know that is such a generic term “United People” but I realized that there were several that I wanted to thank, so it just seemed easier than writing out all the names!
First, the Showit Crew. This wouldn’t have happened without them… especially Kevin Sturm (second from the left). I know they all spent SO many hours to get ready for 200 photographers to descend onto Santa Barbara, but from what I hear, Kevin was the one that made sure it all happened and fell into place. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million more times, Showit is an amazing company, but it’s SO much more than just a website company. Yes, they have the most awesome customer support out there, yes they have one of the most amazing pieces of software around, but the COMMUNITY that I’ve been able to be a part of for the last four years is something that’s actually priceless. Which brings me to the next couple of people… people we probably wouldn’t know otherwise…
If you don’t know her already from watching Jasmine Star’s reSTARt over the last several months, please let me introduce you to Melissa Kilner. This is going to sound crazy, but I met her because she left a comment on one of my blog posts about our honeymoon in Paris. So then I began to check out her blog and website. And somehow from there we became friends before we even met in person! But, a lot of that is just how Melissa IS. She brings people in and makes them feel like they’ve been besties for a really long time.
When we arrived at the Four Seasons to check into our rooms, we walked into the lobby where several photographers were standing around chatting. Now, remember, I hadn’t actually met her in person yet! So, when I spotted her and said her name, she turned around and gave me that, “where have you been all my life” kind of look and then attacked me with a hug. And this happened almost every time I saw her for the rest of the week! Hugs are the best, you guys. No lie. Yesterday was the last episode of reSTARt and it was a little bitter sweet. Yesterday was the culmination of 3 months of her photography business getting a make over and ALL of us were in tears by the end of it! She put so much of herself out there and allowed others in so that she and her business would continue to grow. And it has already!! She’s done so much in the past few months – hello organizing a styled shoot and shooting like crazy at United! – and you can tell! She was super honest about the difficulties over the last few months, but I love that about her. She’s open and real and honest and she’s helping others because she’s not putting up a front that everything is ok. And all of that mixed together has not just made her business stronger, but it’s made her, her family and her marriage stronger! So… thanks, Melissa. You’re amazing and I’m so thankful to call you friend.
PS – if any of you are getting married around Gig Harbor, WA and you don’t want to fly Ben and me out there ;-)… this is your girl!!
And then, there’s these two :-) I’ve mentioned Chris and Ashley before because they’re the ones we connected with before our honeymoon and then met up with in Paris for a session at and around the Louvre. Well, we hadn’t seen them since then so I was BEYOND excited to see them when we got to Santa Barbara. We’d already planned to go to dinner one night and I was already planning to go to their breakout session entitled “It’s So Them” where they talked about capturing pictures of our clients that completely reflect who THEY are. It was an amazing breakout and like all the other speakers last week, they were completely open an honest on their approach and how they do things. These two have been SUCH an encouragement to us over the last 16 months in every aspect, from our marriage to our business to working together… seriously you guys, THANK YOU. Your words have been so encouraging, so impactful and so… timely. The only thing we don’t like is that you live all the way up in Connecticut!
And just so Ashley doesn’t kill me for posting the photo above, here’s one of my favorites of the four of us from the night before after we’d celebrated Ashley’s first time at In-n-Out!
Happy Thursday, everyone! There will be one more post from United on the blog tomorrow… my new card reader came in so I can finally pull images off my CF card from the yacht shoot! Oh, and if I can talk Ben into it, I’ll let him do a post with some of his images from last week too… would anyone like to see a post from him??