LOVE YO BODY.

Hello World!

While it is embarrassing that I haven’t posted in nearly a year… or that frequently before that I find it fitting that I am making my re-emergence with this post.  I have been working professionally as a photographer now for 12 years and full time for nearly 7.  Most artists try to continue to grow their skillset even as they enter the professional world because sometimes when your exchange your craft for money your passion takes the backseat… and no one likes a stagnate cranky artist 😉

The last several years I have focused immensely on upping my game in the lighting category.  Lighting is basically the foundation of photography so mastering added and artificial lighting makes the world your oyster.  2017’s project was working on a new, harsher lighting.  Most of my past lighting focus was for portrait work and so I needed a new and more challenging project so this year I decided to focus on fitness photography.

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the weirdo who can’t get enough of a good sweat session or the endorphin high after cranking out a new PR.  So entering into this new line of photography was not only fun but it allowed me to combine some of my passion with my work. (winning!)

After I learned some of the lighting techniques I needed for fitness photography (a HUGE thank you to all of the fitness instructors I used as guinea pigs 🙂 I should do a post for them at some point!)  I wanted to do more than just shoot professional athletes or fitness pros.  My favorite part of my job is not capturing the ‘money shot’ or the 8×10 great grandma will hang on her mantle.  My favorite part of what I do is working with families and people in such an vulnerable way that I capture ‘THE’ shot.  The shot where a person can see themselves through my lens the way loved ones see them.  Beautiful.  Strong.  Capable.  Loved.

Our society puts so much pressure on all people to be a certain way, act a certain way and achieve certain goals and without completing this imaginary list of conquests we are told we are worth nothing.  I hope that through my work (both hired and personal) people can treat themselves a little more kindly and see themselves in the light that other people view them.  Which with that longwinded journal entry brings me to my project!

This project was birthed to show everyone of all fitness levels, interests and walks of life that there is an inner athlete in you.  Everyone can be fit, strong and do amazing things.  You don’t need to do cross fit, run marathons or be a zumba instructor. (though if you want to, more power to you!)  Everyone has their own starting point and often times people have *multiple* starting points.

The main goal is to view your body as this amazing machine that enables you to do AWESOME things.  So we should really love it instead of constantly hating it, criticizing it and worse; trying to starve it to mold it into something it isn’t meant to be.  Fuel your body.  Love your body.

As I finally delve into the ACUTAL post a huge, huge shout out to KIN Movement for hosting this event.  They have an awesome space to help people from all fitness levels achieve their goals.  Their mindset is unlike any I have found in a gym and their support through this project has been unparalleled.  Also a HUGE thanks to the folks who showed up and were vulnerable enough to let me use them as my models.  These are just regular people (NOT fitness models!) and I hope you give them a standing ovation for their awesomeness.

2017-08-22_0001Bob: Triathlete and would be diplomat.
Always be ready to embrace the suck.  May not be the fastest but always moving forward.

2017-08-22_0002Cole: Manager/Specialist at Human Element and Single-Mom-Extraordinaire
Strives to be stronger and more fit to set an example for her son.  Wishes she could be a travel writer to show him the world.

2017-08-22_0003Hannah: Owner/CEO Metric MKTG
Loves the beach, her kiddos and kicking thyroid disease in the butt.
Favorite actress is Candace Cameron Bure and would be a professional singer in another life.

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Holly: Mama of two sweet babes and part of University of Michigan’s Sea Grant (School for Environment and Sustainability)
Multi-sport competitor and Proud Canadian.  Mama who nurses/pumps WHILE working full time (that is a marathon folks for those of you who have never done it!)

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Jesse: Swim instructor and coach.  University of Michigan student.
Would be professional gymnast.  Favorite book is The Hurt Artist by Shane Neimeyer.

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Katie: Mama and Manager of Health and Wellness of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
Would love to travel to Greece and favorite color is yellow.  Has a PhD but in another life would be a Labor/Delivery nurse.

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Megan: Nurse Anesthetist, bad ass and dog mama.
Loves Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and would be a race car driver if being a nurse anesthetist didn’t work out.

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Nikki: Mama to 3 littles and fitness lover.
She is a beach lover and Paul Walker fan.  If she could tell her younger self anything it would be: To stop spending so much time caring what other people think because what matters is what YOU think!

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Sam: Teacher for STEM Prep school in Nashville.
Runner and newly minted teacher from EMU.  If she could live anywhere it would be to her newly relocated Nashville, living the dream!  Favorite song is ‘Before He Cheats’ by Carrie Underwood.

2017-08-22_0010Stacey: Mom of two and Battle of Waterloo finisher
Loves making gains in the gym, pushing herself harder and being epic for her two sons. If she could tell her younger-self anything it would be “Don’t compare yourself to all these girls. Don’t change a thing about what makes you you. You and your life end up to be really amazing! ”

2017-08-22_0011Susan: Fitness Guru and Marketing pro
In another life would be a photographer or a veterinarian.  Miami transplant to Michigan and warm weather lover.  If she could live anywhere it would be Brazil.

 

Thank you to everyone who has supported me in this journey!  Posting this has taken a bit of vulnerability on my part as an artist because as we learn new crafts we see only the flaws in our projects… much like how we view our own body’s in the mirror.  I hope through this journey of life we can all view ourselves a little more kindly and honestly give ourselves a pat on the back.  Being a good human is no joke, so lets all be nice to each other, give each other high fives and encourage each other to be the best, strongest human ever.

run often, smile more!

Amanda 🙂

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The Arrival of Éowyn

So anyone that knows us from before the birth of Lalo knows that we waited a LONG time for Lalo to be born.  By that I mean he was due Christmas Eve… and he was born January 7…. and the doctors kept assuring us that whole time he would be here ‘any day’. (starting around THANKSGIVING time they thought he could be here anyday…)  It was a long Christmas, New Years and after season…  After a very rough delivery and recovery he finally was with us!!  Needless to say, he was worth the wait and effort! 🙂

When we decided to try adding to our family we were met with some hurdles of a miscarriage and quite a few months on either side trying to get pregnant again.  So when we found out we were expecting little Miss Éowyn we were hesitant to celebrate and prepped ourselves for a long and late pregnancy.  Well, Éowyn had very different plans.  She ended up coming not anywhere near her due date of April 21… but the last week I had planned to work and a full month before her due date March 30.  🙂  She came quickly and easily and has proved to be polar opposite of her brother the last few weeks she has graced us with her beautiful self.

Thanks to a wonderful community of friends and church we have been enjoying lots of snuggles with our sweet little miss and adjusting to life as a family of four!  Lalo is an awesome big brother and so far Éowyn seems to be a much better sleeper than her big brother (YAY!)

We owe a HUGE thank you to my friend Miranda at Inner Circle Photography for capturing this beautiful moment of Lalo (and my parents!) meeting Éowyn for the first time.  I am so thankful she was able to capture this moment (and drove out twice to get it 😉 🙂 )  View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily View More: http://innercirclephoto.pass.us/lauchufamily

What’s Up Recap!

So, on a rare Saturday evening off in July I was sitting at the table eating a yummy dinner (of leftovers… like I said… it was a saturday off 😉 ) with the boys when Lalo gets out some stampers…. and then before we know both boys are giggling (well I guess laughing since boys don’t ‘giggle’) and I look over to them both covered in barn yard stamps… everywhere.  When I could have eye rolled or even gotten frustrated that they were covered in ink… I instead took a deep breath and realized how I felt unbelievably blessed.

During the midst of ‘the crazy season’  I think I just needed a reminder that its ok that sometimes I miss being home, sometimes I wish I didn’t have to work and sometimes I miss out.  I mean not everyone gets to work their dream job, so I count myself as completely blessed.  Just sometimes it is a bummer to work during everyone else’s time off and vacations.  But today as I worked on some ‘wediting’ watching the Lego movie with the boys before bed I was grateful for all of the memories we do have together…

So I bring you a sappy and nostaligic blog post of our recent happenings.  Because sometimes, when work is busy you forget that life is still happening around you.  Even if it is chaotic… you can still enjoy it.  🙂  So take lots of pictures, be intentional, make time for laughing and for getting stampers everywhere or digging in the dirt… because even if you can’t dwell on the moments for too long in the present, reminiscing will be that much sweeter later 🙂

2014-08-02_0002My sweet, sweet boy 🙂  So photogenic but just like every other child needs a little coercion to get a ‘good’ picture (ie… not sticking his tongue out) so like all good mamas… I bribed him 😉 with taking a picture of me after I got the picture *I* wanted of him.  2014-08-02_0003those eye!!!! 2014-08-02_0004how did I get so lucky to have such a handsome, loving boy!  2014-08-02_0005and this is how he sees me 😉

So on that funny note, here is a recap of our summer thus far 🙂  *LOTS* of trips to the Henry Ford and Greenfield Village!  Grammy and Gramps have a membership so we go a LOT 🙂  2014-08-02_0006Lots of time playing with Chani …. and she still acts as if we don’t play at all 🙂  An insurmountable amount of time wrestling with papa and calling Mama a ‘butterfly’ since we don’t pile drive mama on the floor…..2014-08-02_0007Made some home made bread and meals for dear friends to love on them.  Got a ton of snuggles in 🙂  Dressed up as dragons… and then slayed them 🙂 Got to hang out with some *awesome* photogs and the creator of HH Boogie for a summer ‘retreat’ of sorts for photography creatives.   2014-08-02_0008Played in the rain, walked to the ice cream place.  Snuggled with Starbucky and read lots and lots of books.  I also got the opportunity to do the Chicago Ragnar Relay race!! 200 miles in three days! (Well my leg was about 25!)  In addition to running I have also been kicking booty working out at RydeOn and PureBarre Ann Arbor! (staying fit GREATLY helps morale and energy levels when you feel like you have no time to even sleep!) 2014-08-02_0009We got more snuggles in (see a pattern 🙂 ), had some family tickle fights, watched some firework shows by Papa in the hammock 🙂 Fell asleep buried under tons of lovies and snuggly things and watched entirely too many cartoons snuggled in blankets while mama was still covered in sweat from her earlier morning run…. 2014-08-02_0010I realized writing this post I still have written about my Birthday Trip/Easter Trip to the Smoky Mountains so I will do that soon 🙂 But here is a hiking picture from that trip 🙂 Some burying of Chani under dirty clothes, and yet MORE snuggles 🙂

Over all when I look back at the last three months I feel how much I have worked (Dear To Do List: please let me BREATHE!)  but more I see how blessed I am that I have the opportunity to hang out with two awesome guys nearly all the time… and when I do have to work, I get to come home to their smiling mischievous faces! 🙂

Not only do I have one of the world’s most awesome jobs of serving people by providing images of their important moments but I also get to have important life events of my own, as long as I remember to make time and be grateful for them.

 

Until Next time… which will probably be in October when its time for Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Pumpkin farms, Firefighter Open Houses and Cross Country 🙂

run often, smile more and LIVE 🙂 No one else can live your life but you  ❤

Amanda 🙂

We love trains, can’t complain- all we know is we love trains!

This week I bring you our family obsession, trains!!!

Being a typical boy Lalo fell in love with trains at an early age!  About 18 months we got him a small wooden train set and his enjoyment prompted us that Christmas to invest in the whole kit and kaboodle.  After more than a year it is still one of his favorite toys!

2014-03-05_0008Since Christmas last year he has basically been obsessed with anything that whistles!  Grandma and Grandpa Hancock took him to see Thomas in the spring at Greenfield Village and then this Christmas we took him to see Crossroads Village Christmas excursions!

2014-03-05_00092013 was a fun year full of trains and we started 2014 off with the next level, model trains!

2014-03-05_0002Rico built model trains with his dad when he was little and even before we were pregnant with Lalo he looked forward to future train building! 🙂

2014-03-05_0001A few weeks ago Rico took Lalo to the Ann Arbor Model Train Show and bought him his first model train set.  Lalo is in love!

2014-03-05_00032014-03-05_00042014-03-05_0005From the time he wakes up until the time he goes to sleep he wants to play with his diesels!

2014-03-05_0006We haven’t gotten much in the way of decorations yet (plus Lalo really enjoys changing the tracks!) so he has his lizards as acting decorations and bystanders 🙂

2014-03-05_0007I just love him! 🙂 ❤ Every time I go to work, he asks if it is so we can buy more trains! 🙂

FIFTY BLOG POSTS! Yea!

I just had my fiftieth blog post!  Blogging for me has been hard and I made it one of my 2014 goals to blog MORE.  So I am commemorating this moment 🙂

So to celebrate I bring you a goofy picture of Lalo and Chani playing tug of war the other night!  I promise Chani is *not* the big bad wold, but, check out those TEETH!

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Your Race.

“let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”

Regardless of your religious affiliation these are just good words to live by.  Found in the Bible Hebrews 12:1b it has become my daily mantra.

Throw off everything that hinders and entangles.  Run with perseverance the race marked out for you.

Read that again.

The birth of social media has been both a blessing and a curse.  It can be used for some many good things but it can also be a trap that ensnares us. It becomes a time suck, a soapbox, a gossip generator and an isolator and my biggest trap: a vehicle of comparison.

A wise woman once told me to remember that people’s blogs, facebooks, twitters, etc are only snap shots of their life that they want you to see, the top ‘portfolio’ of their life if you will.  With this ugly comparison monster it is so easy to view your life as less than adequate or even mark it as a failure.

As of late I am in the process of ‘unplugging’.  I took facebook off of my phone, I am enforcing ‘office hours’ and I am intentionally participating in my life with  face time (no, not the Iphone app, real face time 🙂 )

At first it was almost a painful realization that life had been happening around me without my noticing but worse was almost feeling lost without constant social media intervention.  I am purposefully working on deciphering what ‘my race’ is without the constant interference and opinions of media influence.  And I am plodding onward with the direct support of those who take the time to invest in me and I in them.

In this new age I challenge you to really look at life.  Are you reacting to the life happening around you or are you living your life?

Being a mom of a little one my biggest fear is that I will somehow wake up and realize mine and my son’s life will have raced past me while my face was stuck to a computer screen.

So make some goals, stick to them, reevaluate what is important you and run after it with all that you’ve got and do not let anything get in your way.

This is your life after all.  Own it.

Lasting Love

Weddings are beautiful, fun and often intoxicating [no, not just the alcohol… I meant the mood!!].  It is soooo easy to get pulled into the mindset that everything depends on.that.one.day.

Enter shameless plug here for why it is a *great* idea to hire a day of coordinator [at the very least]. 😉

However, wedding planners are not my main reason for posting 🙂 The real reason I am posting is because in the end, it is only one day.  Yes, it can be a very magical day to remember and you can bet your bottom dollar I am going to capture some fantastic images to make those memories last a life time.

But that is just it… the most important thing is that you have a lifetime with your hunny to enjoy them!

As much as I love shooting weddings, it is not the actual event that I am fascinated with capturing but the relationship.

There are very few things in life that can compete with photographing raw emotion and a wedding day should be *filled* with some raw emotions.  You are pledging to spend the rest of your life with someone!! Regardless of how long you have been together, known each other or ‘had that feeling’ this is HUGE!  AND AWESOME! And a reason to CELEBRATE!  WOOO!

One of the things that meant a lot to me as Rico and I were planning our wedding was how real our loved ones were with us about marriage.

Marriage.is.work.

But just like all things that require work, if you put the effort in the rewards are unbelievable!

A gift someone gave us before we got married was The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman.  This book changed our lives!  There are some spiritual elements to it, so if that isn’t your cup of tea I challenge you to read it anyway, the information he shares far supersedes the spiritual aspect of it!  Because this book has been a huge foundation in our marriage I give it to each of the couples I meet.

I want each couple that is interested in AMP to know that I am not only 100% invested in their wedding day but I am invested in their marriage.

I mean sure, from a business aspect I would love to not only photograph your wedding but also your maternity, newborn, family, dog, sweet 16, etc…. 😉  But seriously, marriage is awesome, to be respected and I take it seriously.

Another cool bonus I started offering this year is anniversary sessions.  All AMP couples that booked me for a wedding (past included!!!) receive a *FREE* anniversary session within a month of their wedding date, every year so long as they travel to where my business is located!  How awesome would it be for your 25th or 50th wedding anniversary to have 25 years of professional photography documenting your life as your family grows, changes and matures!  One thing I have learned through photographing my own family is that when life throws you a curve ball it is imperative to have those photographs of memorable times.

As AMP begins to grow I strive to grow a client base built on loyalty and memories.  From new couples just starting out booking alongside families I have known from the beginning.

As Valentines Day 2013 comes a close I hope that your love is lasting and grows stronger every day!!  Can’t wait to see and hear all of the great love stories beginning tonight!!! ❤

jillian gordon michele