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I am so excited to be bringing back the blog to share not only my images with you but also my words. I saved a few of my favorite blogs from my old site to include here!! I hope you will read these and gain some insight to my heart and soul. 

 

Stay Wild & Wonderful, 

Amanda

Thursday, April 12, 2018
By Amanda Reed Photography
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It seems like I often want to write when my heart is heavy. Possibly because God knows those of us here on Earth can relate and know we aren't alone. 

April....

Leona McGraw 2/24/42 -- 4/16/11

Rodney McGraw 9/1/39 -- 4/13/13

Vanessa McGraw 7/6/62 -- 4/16/14

 

Within a 3 year span my grandparents and my mom passed away. From 2011 until today I have been adapting to a new way of life. A different mindset and a whole new lifestyle. I wasn't left with an inheritance..... I was left responsibility. Like most things I have faced in life......this would be no exception. It Is Hard. 

We know we all have an end date. I just wasn't prepared for theirs to be so soon or close together. They all came by surprise. Most things do.

Since then I have been watching my children grow and accomplish things. Things that I want to pick up the phone and let them know. 304-438-9167..........they won't answer if I call. It takes me by surprise how fast the thought can come into my mind before it drowns out in my soul. That split second of excitement thinking you can share your joy but you can't. Now I know I can pray and I can speak to them spiritually. I can recall their voices...their fingernails. The lines in faces. 

This story doesn't end with a happy ending. This story is real life. No fairy tales here for me and most likely none for you either. What else can we do but be real and raw about grief. Days get easier and sleep comes again but the longing, that never goes away. The breakdowns in your local grocery store when you see the yams at Thanksgiving or when you see the first Spring butterfly, they stay, at least for now, they stay. 

My grandpa talked about his mother every day of my life and she never lived one day that I breathed. That is grief. That is pain I now know. Pain that only gets replaced with the sound of my children laughing. Watching them grow and live and that makes the knowledge of my own death humbling. I know this time.... our time.... it is an exhale and its gone. 

I could exploit this whole conversation and say take all the pictures but I am going to say........ feel every moment....all the emotions. I leave my camera at home during 99% of my children's activities because I want to see it through my eyes and not my camera lens. I want to feel it in my fingertips. Photographs are a gateway to a time we can no longer participate in. Life is in the participation. Your fans.... they should be the ones that love you back. Your like count....those should be the number of smiles in a day. The number of should be reflected in the people who show up for those moments when you don't want to participate and not measured by Mark Zuckerberg Your blog should be one that is lived out loud and only written when time allows. The longer that I spend sharing this with you the less time I have participating but it must be shared. You must know that right now is the most important time of your life. Right now........while I type, you are my most important moment. So please do not read and go back to your social media accounts, your television programming. Life is asking you to participate. 

 

 

 
Tuesday, February 20, 2018
By Amanda Reed Photography
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You could say, like the quote, "I have mastered the art of bouncing back." Now I need to finish the lesson and figure out the art of not having to. What am I bouncing back from? I call it an entrepreneurial breakdown. I am sure it would be like visiting New York City for the first time. There are so may things to experience that you overload your itinerary with so many activities that you miss the whole thing. You never get the chance to come up for air and experience the real magic of the city. That's exactly how I spent the first two trips to NYC and on the third trip I said "fuck it," seriously, that's what I said and I had no plan. I walked where I wanted, went to the sites at my own pace. If something interesting appeared in my peripheral vision then I wondered off and experienced it. I had no show tickets, no bus tours. The only date I consistently kept was with the Irish bartender in the hotel bar. I enjoyed hearing his accent more then I did my drink and it was a great way to end my day in the city. 

 

My mind doesn't work like my husbands. He usually has three working goals that consist of: meeting his performance goal at work, cutting our firewood and making sure the bills are paid on time. I know I am over simplifying but I know that I overthink. 

 

My mind works like this: I could die today. My brother could die today. My kids could die today. Did Lydia get her softball bag. Did my son really wear shorts to school in February. I need to finish editing that session. I need to get my dog and cuddle. I really have to meet that magazine deadline. I should call this client about their payment. I should write a book. I should start a t shirt company. I could buy a food truck. I could do a 52 week photo project for my brother. In the middle of all those ideas I haven't showered, ate breakfast or brushed my teeth. All of this crosses my mind before 7am. That is how my mind works. It is a myriad of hopes, dreams, fears and ideas. Some brilliant and others crippling. Just like those thoughts my life has reflected it over the past 4 years. I have had moments of brilliance and moments that I did not want to get out of bed.

 

I have been bouncing back...baby step by baby step. I have accepted defeat in many areas and to that again I have said, 'fuck it," I tried. It didn't work out. I don't have the time. I don't have the motivation. I don't have the real pull to travel in that direction any time soon and most importantly, I don't care what anyone thinks of my failure. What has remained constant even when I have tried to pray it away is my desire to hold my camera in my hand and create something that makes you look at it for a few seconds longer. I am reminded of how the family pictures on my grandmothers wall made me feel loved and prayed for by the people in them whom I had never met. I appreciated all the lines in my great grandfathers face from his picture under the maple tree because my grandpa had told me many stories of how those lines most likely got their definition. I am reminded every time I enter my house and I see the 30x40 canvas of a pink rose on my mothers casket that it tells part of my story. The image of children laughing in the dining room tells my story. Every time I pick up my camera I am in fact writing my own book and yours with the stories I capture and the biggest lesson I have learned is.... It is Enough. 

 

Amanda Reed and the word settling have never gone hand in hand. I have always had something to prove to someone but I couldn't remember the last time I proved something to myself and life was handing me up that opportunity on a platter. I proved to myself that it was okay to fail. It is okay for life not to look the way you imagined it. It is okay to say I am content. 

 

This week I am bouncing back to Florida. Four years ago I was the keynote speaker at little convention called SYNC and the truth is it isn't so little at all. Four years ago and I would change so many things about what was in my presentation. Four years ago I believed things that no longer have any bearing on my life or business because in four years life has slowed me down with a lot of painful changes I did not ask for but in that pain I found what was important. I am excited to be bouncing back to a place that inspires the creative in me. I am excited to be bouncing back to learning, friendship and craftsmanship. 

 

I know there will always be things to bounce back from and rather than learning the art of not having to bounce back.... I have my sights set on bouncing back with humility and grace. 

 
Saturday, November 04, 2017
By Amanda Reed Photography
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I get asked often to photograph newborn portraits and 7 out of 10 times I decline. Why? Well, 7-10 clients love what's popular in newborn photography right now and that is cute positions, baby wraps, extravagant props and the like but the older I get the more I appreciate and cherish the relationship I have with my children and I am not saying these parents do not I am just saying my feelings have changed. Instead of looking back on all of these images I have of my children in an awesome studio with top of the line accessories I wish I had more of those real time moments. I wish I had a photographer peeking in to capture me rocking Lydia, her daddy snuggling her to his chest. I wish I had images of Reed lying on our living room rug which was his favorite place to be while my golden retriever watched him through the window. Those are the moments I want to capture so I attract clients with those similar needs and others I send to the baby whisperers like Andrea Martin and Nikki Painter in Beckley, WV. If I wanted all those awesome poses you see all over Pinterest then these ladies would be my go to photographers here in WV and I refer to them often. If I am being 100% serious, I don't have that kind of patience. I really don't. I know what I am good at and what I am not. With that said, I think I am good at newborn lifestyle photography and while I do not accept a ton of newborn lifestyle commissions I am always happy when one shows up on my schedule as it did this morning.

I met Carter and his parents at their home in Lewisburg today. I love photographing in home. I see all of those things that you love. I see what you choose to display and how. I notice the picture of your ultrasound placed beside two Bibles on your shelf. I feel the pride from the reel of ultrasound photos hung on the fridge with magnet. I get to watch your pets find their new role in your larger family. The nursery you worked so hard on, the special personalized touches and the things you created in your home to feel more at ease, take for example the screen door CJ made for Carter so Shadow wouldn't disrupt your sleep but could still watch you from the doorway. When dad says, I need to cut my nails but we all agree he shouldn't because the hard working hands of a father are also the same hands that comfort us.  All of these little things help me to complete the story of why I am here and that is what I love. 

 

 

 
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
By Amanda Reed Photography
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I honestly cannot tell you how long we have been hosting Toy Drive Christmas Sessions but I do know we collect and distribute upwards of $3,000 in new gifts throughout communities each year. This is a cause very special to my heart. I remember one winter in particular after my parents divorce that my mom had honestly zero dollars to purchase anything for our family. I knew my grandparents would come through with some gifts for us but I was worried more about my younger brothers having nothing under their tree on Christmas morning. She probably won't want me to brag on them or their church but Sandy Sorrells along with her sister Debbie and their church if my memory serves correct funded our Christmas that year and that was a huge relief to my mom and to me, not because I felt I was in need but because I wanted my brothers to have a good memory of Christmas after their divorce. I knew that if I had the opportunity to give back one day then I would do so to my fullest ability. Our family has always had the tradition of giving back not only at Christmas but every opportunity we can serve but I wanted to do more and exchange my service for new gifts instead of a traditional setting fee. Sure, I give up fattening my own bank account but my heart is so full that I couldn't worry over dollar signs if I tried.

My services are expensive. It is where I have landed that make me comfortable and my supply and demand profitable for myself and family. I know that many if not most cannot afford what I do consistently on a full session so I deeply discount these sessions by 50-75 percent on most products. So how do the sessions work? 

1. Book your session and pay a non refundable $100 reservation fee that applies towards your purchase.

2. Bring a new gift valued at $35 for each person photographed at your setting. These gifts are donated throughout our communities.

3. View your images online and order within 7 days to make sure your products arrive by Christmas.

So what are your options when it comes to packages? Each client goes home with this price list:

 

2017 Annual Gift Drive Christmas Sessions!

Thank you for your generous donation to our cause. Your gift will be donated throughout our location to children in need of a brighter holiday. There were many Christmas’ when events like this put gifts under my own tree for my brothers and I when we were growing up and it is an honor to be able to give back.

Your reservation fee of $100 will apply to your order. Packages are listed below.

 

$100 Remaining Balance $0

2 Digital Files with Print Release

 

$200 Remaining balance of $100

11x14 Print

4 Digital Files with Print Release

 

$375 Remaining balance of $275

16x24 Wall Portrait

6 Digital Files with Print Release

 

$500 Remaining balance of $400

16x24 Wall Portrait

4x6 Artist Originals

All Digital Files with Print Release

 

Ask about adding an Heirloom Gallery Wrap Canvas to your order.

 

What can you expect at your session? I allow one full hour for every client. Some clients, if you are adults can be in and out in 20 minutes and other times we have six children who have other plans so I work on their time frame and in my experience this allows us plenty of time to get your desired outcome. Expect a laid back atmosphere, for my daughter to hold your babies and feed them cookies. We allow them to play with all the toys on set and give them a filling of familiarity once the session starts. 

If you are interested in booking a Christmas session or would like to be put on our wait list please fill out the contact for here: Toy Drive Session Contact Form

 

Thank you for making this a continued success. It would not be possible without you my clients. 

 
Monday, October 16, 2017
By Amanda Reed Photography
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Our winter sale is happening November 1st through April 1st. These are the lowest prices of the season! The price of $475 plus tax includes a 60 minute session with unlimited outfits and 15 poses with a print release which allows you to print your own images up to the size of 8x12! Print where you want and as many as you like! I will however give you my information for my preferred printer so your prints turn out as awesome as we created them. Hurry and book your winter sale soon by calling or texting 304-667-8507!

 
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