We are excited to continue an ongoing series of Day in the Life Features from some of our fabulous contributors. These blog posts will take you through an average day of some of the top photographers in the industry.
Today we are pleased to feature Christina of Christina Block Photography. Enjoy ~
Let me start by saying I am by no means a morning person. The night before I have to set an alarm up on my dresser & I also set my iPhone alarm, I mean alarms: 6:40 am [snooze], 6:45 am [snooze], 6:55 am [snooze], 7 am [snooze], 7:05 [snooze], and between 7:15-7:24 I have a couple more go off. My son, Asher has to be at school by 8 am and we always get there on time, many times even early. Lets just say he takes after his Mother, I hear it all, for instance, “Mom, you just don’t know how tired I am” or “Mom, I don’t feel well”, he also has tried to convince me many times that I just don’t know what it feels like to get up early & have to go to school all day, I assured him that I totally do understand & if I had to do it, he has to as well. Between you and I, it makes me smirk inside my mind, simply because I was that same child years ago.
On the ride home after dropping him off at school, I usually call my Mom to say, “Hey”, unlike me she's a morning person, you would think after all these years she would know I don’t want to talk details until at least 10 am, but that slips her mind, a lot. We have fun with it though, a running joke if you will.
Today I spent the morning at Bolles, my son’s school, they were having a Thanksgiving party & of course I am always asked to be the photographer, and I totally don’t mind because I would be there anyway helping out. Bonus time with my little man, they are only small once. Once that was done I stopped by Starbucks on the way back home, I always get the same thing: a grande cafe mocha, two pumps and no whip. Any other morning I would just make some coffee at home, but Starbucks happens on my busy mornings.
Typically by this time I am still in my sweatpants & sporting a messy bun but today meant looking like a put together human. Mmmmmm coffee. After taking the dogs out to do their business, I sat down on the couch and go through my emails, via my iPhone. For most of my business life I would get up and while packing Ashers lunch & such, I would also flip through my emails…but I realized that was dumb. Dumb because I was overloading my mind first thing in the morning. I think all creatives have issues with their brains running 24/7, so anything I can do to lessen that, I try to implement.
By this point I sit down at my desk…or the kitchen table…or the couch with my Macbook Pro. I am on my second one & just love that I can get my work done anywhere. I am getting back with any clients or business stuff that may be going on and reply to those emails first. Then I start editing some work that is que. Some days I do not edit, being on the computer editing all day, every day is not fun and does bad things to you. And I know this because I did that for a long time. Hello headaches, neck pain, tension, blurry vision & etc. On a side note, I have to get a deep tissue massage done every month, sometimes even more. There’s a man that has been working on me for almost 10 years now, I am one of those people that holds all their stress in the neck area & when it starts getting too tight, him working on me is my only fix. If I just keep on ignoring it with Advil, it just leads to migraines & bad stuff. If you’ve been a working photographer for years now, I am sure I am singing to the choir.
Up until now my editing has been interrupted by texts, emails and a few phone calls. I also get side tracked with laundry & picking up things around the house. Working from home is awesome but you also have to keep really disciplined or else the side tracking happens. Starting next year, a few days a week, I want to start editing & working at a little coffee shop down the road, at least it will get me out & not focus on my house chores/other random things that need to be done around here.
You know what’s awesome about today? I have to go grocery shopping! Like have too. We are out of water & a few other things that are extremely important, like coffee creamer! I wish I could insert the eye roll emoji here because if anyone loathes grocery shopping, it’s me. I like to go by myself if I am able because if Asher is with me, it’ll add on 20-30 minutes & I am the queen of in and out shopping. On a side note, how do big families keep up with grocery bills? I go once a week & it’s only my son and I, never have gotten out of the grocery store without spending $200. Props to everyone that uses coupons or bargain shops, but I have no patience for that. I would rather be waxed every day of my life then go grocery shopping, truth!
Back home from the joy of shopping! From now until 3 I am on the computer getting some various work done, today I wrapped up a couple family shoots, returned all my work emails & got some stuff packaged up to mail out.
At 3 pm I pick up Asher from school, the day usually goes by so fast and I feel like I have barely conquered anything. Some mornings I will be on the phone or emailing, then I will check the time & boom, the days already over. I like to pick my battles with this, whatever needs to get done asap is what I usually try to do first. There are a couple days my son stays with his Dad [single mama here], on those days it’s all work…basically living in my sweats & coffee, editing from morning until night. Two days ago I had one of those days, I started at 8:30 am and turned my computer off at 11:00 pm. That doesn't always happen, but it’s usually during busy season, fall, which I have to do that a few times to stay on track of everything.
After getting Asher from school we headed to our old neighborhood to check on his cat friend, Mater. He did some snuggling then home it was. By this time I am ready for my second cup of coffee…I whip up some here & indulge. Some people drink alcohol, I guess you could say coffee is my alcohol.
Typically by this time I am helping Asher get his homework done, however, it’s Friday…which means no homework. Sweet! He’s in the second grade so even though it’s his homework, it’s mine too, the little ones, or at least my little one needs help to stay on track & focus.
While drinking that coffee, I sat down to write up my day so far. It’s 6:45 pm now and just finished cooking some dinner. Tonight it was shells with my 4 cheese, red sauce…it’s actually one of my sons favorite and it’s quick & easy. The dishes I will do later! After finishing our meal I sat on the couch with Asher & Biscuit [our cockapoo]…getting in some snuggle time and watching Johnny Test, which is a cartoon that he loves. Thank goodness for Netflix, right?
I decided to play with some artificial light this evening…often times I have to beg Asher to let me photograph him, I can’t blame him really, the camera has been in his face most of his little life. To be honest, I feel like my work with him is some of my best. I had picked up some masks while up in New Jersey shooting a wedding, so I got those out and took out my camera for a few quick shots. I am a natural light photographer, however, some evenings it’s fun to play with various light sources.
I’m so glad tomorrow is Saturday and we don’t have to be up early for anything. Some weekends I do have shoots or weddings, but I don’t mind, my weekends could be exchanged many times for Mondays & Tuesdays. We will probably keep things nice & chill this weekend, the first weekend in November I photographed 26 families & just finished editing those 2 days ago…needless to say, I need an editing break. I do have a shoot on Sunday that I am looking forward too. Sometimes Asher will come with me to my shoots, he actually likes it, only if I know the clients though, many times they enjoy seeing him too.
I was texting a friend earlier today & telling him about this article I had to write, and that I was worried I may be too boring for some people. I truthfully wasn’t worried, I knew ahead of time when Design Aglow had asked me to do this that I wanted to show the real me, no fluff or frills. I know with social media, some people make it out to look like they have this perfect life, and sometimes that bothers me. I am one of those people that likes to be transparent from time to time because, let’s face it, we all go through journeys & sometimes those journeys aren’t so pretty.
Asher’s now playing some football on xbox & I am starting to get tired, I go ahead & let the dogs out and start closing up shop. We live in this little bungalow, an old historical home & with that comes some down falls. We are currently leasing & have told our property managers that the heating & air conditioning does not reach the back of our house, the units too small for the house. That being said right now we usually just co-sleep, usually we just put on a movie and snuggle until drifting to sleep. As we were turning off the lights, I noticed him playing with a little flashlight in bed, the light was lovely, so naturally I ran [well walked] into the dining room & grabbed my camera to take a few shots. When I see a moment, it’s hard not wanting to photograph it, so I indulge. He’s usually out in 20-30 minutes & me, not so much. Tonight I went through a few more emails on my iPhone, then flipped through some articles until my brain slowed down enough to get some sleep.
Before I wrap this up I just wanted to say a few things to all my fellow creatives, photographers, artists and everyone making a living doing what they love. More so, all of you that are trying to start a new journey in the world of art. Take a moment & ask yourself, “Do I really love this?”, “Do I feel passionate about this?”, “Am I ready to make lots of sacrifices to get to the next level?”…if you answered yes to all of these then you are where you are supposed to be. I didn’t get to where I am overnight, in fact, I am still not where I want to be. As artists, I don’t think we ever get to that last level, because there isn’t one. It is an infinite journey, one thing leading to the next. There is always some sort of transition stage going on & whether you are in the first stage [just beginning] or in the middle, keep on going. If there is passion & love there, then find a way to make it work. No one said it would ever be easy, in fact it’s opposite of easy, the beginning years are tough. The big thing is keeping your head up & taking everything one day at a time. As a single parent and business owner, I can safely say that I have had those days where I have wanted to quit because everything seemed completely overwhelming, but after a few days I realize [again] that I am doing what I love, connecting with people & photographing some of their most intimate moments and they really treasure that. I treasure that. If you are passionate about it, you are where you should be.
~ Stay tuned for more Q&A posts from our wonderful contributing photographers.
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As photographers, we’re always on the lookout for new tools that will make our workflow faster and easier (while making our images look their best), and when we found Mastin Labs’ film presets for Lightroom, specifically Fuji Pro, Ilford B&W and Kodak Portra, we knew we had hit gold!
We downloaded and installed all three, and watched the included Getting Started tutorials Edit Your First Image and Using Tone Profiles that hold your hand and walk you through the presets and how they work.
The presets are incredibly easy to use, and quick to apply. And, we love that they are designed to replicate the films that we have known and loved.