Disaster and Catching Up!

Thursday July 30th, started just like any other summer day in my household. My daughter was off at summer camp and the boys were playing outside. Meanwhile I was working in the office. Around noontime I decided to take my normal break for lunch not knowing what the fates had in store. When I returned from lunch, my computer was powered off. I didn’t think too much of it as every so often one of the kids will turn off my computer by accident.

I pressed the power on button. NOTHING! I tried again. Still nothing. I was a bit worried and knew it was one of two things. It was either the power supply which I had replaced about a year before or the motherboard. I took the computer to Tiger and they told me it was the motherboard and I needed a new computer. Just to make sure, I took it to Best Buy and they confirmed the bad news.

I was not in the least bit worried about any of the data files. I knew I had them installed on a hard drive I could remove and if that didn’t work, I had all my files backed up on an external drive. I was just more upset at having to unexpectedly needing to buy a new computer. So after looking at a new computer, I bought a Gateway computer. It does run much faster than my old computer. My only complaint is that Gateway does not make it easy to install additional hardware. I called customer service, they told me “We don’t recommend that BUT you can call our pay per call number and we’ll tell you.” Sorry what I heard is “We want you to pay us for that information”

After several tries, I gave up on moving the old hard drive into the computer and restored all the files from my backup drives. I also had to reinstall all of the software I use. All of this had to be done during my busiest weekend of the year. It has taken me about a week to get things back to the point where I can get some work done. Furthermore, I have to get used to Windows 7 as I used to use XP.

Melissa and Dan’s Wedding Album

I have just completed the initial design for Melissa’s and Dan’s album. I thought I might try something a little different. Rather than show you some my favorite album spreads from their book, I thought I would try a complete album show.

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Were you able to view the show. Pretty neat, being able to put a slide show into a blog entry.

Back to Work

The Thanksgiving weekend is over and it is time to get back to work. As many of you know, I’ve fallen a little behind with my album design. There have been two reasons for this. First is the birth of my son, Michah. Babies do take up a lot of your time and it seems that even when he’s sleeping, either he needs attention or I’m trying to keep the other two from waking him up.

The other reason for the backlog has been the change over from waiting for client to select their favorites and then designing the album to designing the album and then having the clients modify the rough draft. When I made this change over, I forgot to factor in album designs from last year where the clients provided me with a list of their favorites. Therefore, I seem to have twice as many albums to design as I expected this time of year. However, now that wedding season is over, I can give these albums my full attention (or as full as I can with a house full of kids) and catch up.

Here are three spreads from Heather and Ryan’s albums which I particularly like.

Wedding Photo collage for Heather and Ryan's Wedding Album

Collage of wedding photos as seen in the album

Collage of wedding photgraphs as seen in the wedding album

New Wedding Album Archive

Well I’m glad the elections are finally over. At this point I really don’t care who won or lost just that they are done! I don’t know about you but, I’m sick and tired of the daily mail attacking one candidate or another. And the radio ads were just as bad. Now I just hope that all the candidates pick up all the yard signs they left around town.

As you know, I’ve been using the view and order page of my website to allow my clients (plus friends and family) to watch the wedding album progress as each revision is made. It just seems like such a shame that once the album is finalized, to remove it from the website. So, once I have some time this off-season, I want to create a wedding album archive. This will be an on-line archive of all my completed albums available for viewing. I have no idea how this will work out, how long the albums will stay up or any other details. It is just something I want to try.

Speaking of projects for the off-season, I can’t believe how many have piled up. There is so much to do, that I’m not sure I can get it all done before wedding season starts up again in the spring. Maybe one day, I’ll get to the point where I have to hire an assistant. Wouldn’t that be nice?


Ever seen the “Whack-a-Mole” arcade game. The idea is to hit the little guy on the head before he runs back into his hole. As soon as you hit one of the moles, another one pops up from another hole. It seems like you are fighting a never ending battle. At least in that game, the time ends the game and you collect your coupons based on your score.

Unfortunately, real life is not quite like that. It seems that my work is like those pesky little moles. Each time I attack one of my piles of work, another one or two pops up and demands my immediate attention. Once again, despite my best planning, I’m getting backed up as we head into the holiday season. We’ve got just another 2-3 weeks before the album companies start applying the holiday deadlines. Meanwhile, I don’t sleep and I keep falling farther and farther behind. Oh those pesky moles!

As soon as I started getting caught up on my albums, I fell behind with proof books. Catch up on those and then I fall behind on my postings, phone calls and e-mails. Well you get the idea. I thought I would have a 3 week lull without any events to allow me to catch up. As luck would have it, over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had Strep (along with the rest of the household), a pyogenic granuloma which required a surgical consult and something I can’t pronounce let alone spell. Anyway here is the attempt, Epiditimitis which required had me in such pain, I needed to see a Dr. — Stat. As it was, I was in bed from Friday night until Sunday morning.

Although Friday night, I did attend Meghan’s Consecration ceremony. She is getting to be such the little lady. I’m not sure who’s smile was bigger, hers as she was getting consecrated or mine as I watched her with pride. Nana and Poppa drove in from Milwaukee to watch Meghan. Despite being told I should take it easy, there was no way I was going to miss my daughter’s Consecration. This is the reason, I’m a photographer. To be able to set my own hours to be with my kids when it is important to them.

The next day, the in-laws all met to celebrate Sheryl’s birthday. Happy birthday! I’m told they had fun. I slept through it at home.

So anyway, the next two weeks will be filled with whacking moles and trying to catch up before the moles take over.

Outpouring of Support

By now you all know Sheryl and I are expecting our third child any day now. At our last Dr.’s appointment, the Dr. said our son was measuring about 2 weeks ahead of schedule. It is very likely he will be born before his due date of August 7. Mathew followed the same growth pattern and was also born early. This news was not a big surprise to me. The Dr. wants Sheryl to complete 37 weeks of pregnancy before the baby is born. That would be Monday July 17. It basically means the baby could arrive at any moment now.

Meanwhile, I am scheduled to photograph Michelle and Ryan’s wedding on Saturday. The photographer who had previously told me he would be my backup, decided to take another booking. I was panicked. If I have a backup photographer, the baby will wait. With my luck, without a backup available, it is 100% certain my new son will decide to arrive at the worst possible time, on Saturday during the wedding!

I put the word out via several of my wedding photography networks. I received many replies from photographers. Some were available and others were not but they were calling their photographer friends on my behalf to find somebody to assist me. What an outpouring of support! This is one of the benefits I receive as a member of my professional associations. While you hope to never need the help of your fellow photographers, it is nice to know they are there when you are in a bind.

During the week, I have been busy working on several projects. I completed the first draft of Maureen and Jason’s wedding album. They are going to have a great heirloom to show their kids and grand kids about the day they got married.

Collage of wedding photos as seen in the album
Wedding Photo collage for Maureen and Jason's Wedding Album
Collage of wedding photgraphs as seen in the wedding album

On Sunday, I photographed the engagement session for Cheryl and Mark. They are getting married on September 9. We had a lot of fun at Twin Lakes in Palatine during their engagement session. It was a chance to get to know these folks a little better. Mark has a great sense of humor and I can’t wait to join them on their wedding day.

Cheryl and Mark's Engagement Photo taken at Twin Lakes

Next, as a special gift for Meghan’s Kindergarten teacher, I created a 22 page book chronicling Meghan’s first year of school in photos. I started at the first day of school and followed her through the year. We concluded on report card day. Here are some of spreads from Miss Sullivan’s remembrance book.

Event photo collage for an album
Album collage with event photographs
Album photo collage with photos taken at Brookfield Zoo

Jenna and Chris’ First Draft is done!

I just finished the first draft of Jenna and Chris’ wedding album. There were so many great images, that I had a hard time decided what shouldn’t be included in the album. I guess that Jenna and Chris will have to tell me what to do next.

You can view the album at http://www.mmpix.com/Webpages/showpages/Jenna.htm

If you have not already done so, you will be prompted to install the Photodex Presenter in order to view the album. I hope you enjoy it.

Lot’s of hard work

I just completed the initial album design for Cara and Michael. This means my album design backlog is now less than a month. Currently, I have one initial design to complete and three album redesigns which were requested. Hopefully, I can knock these projects out in another couple of weeks.

In the meantime, I’ve got several office projects to complete. Including cleaning the office, completing my business plan for the upcoming year and writing some articles for the state professional photographer’s magazine.

Furthermore, I’m thinking about creating a special line of parent albums which will be orderable via my website. The parents will select a predefined number of photos and they will be placed one to a page. However, that means making some changes to my website’s on-line ordering system. The work never ends.

Finally, I also need to create a couple of new sample albums. I’ve been selected as a preferred vendor at Starved Rock and Pheasant Run resorts. I’d like to create sample albums specifically for those venues. In addition, my current samples are getting just a touch out of date. I really think that Cara and Michael’s album will make a nice sample with some minor adjustments. You can view their album
By Clicking Here

Anyway, here are two of my favorite spreads from their album

Wedding Photos from Cara and Mike's Wedding at Mission Hills Country Club

Wedding Photos from Cara and Mike's Wedding at Mission Hills Country Club