A Journey to Self-Love through Acupuncture

A big part of my purpose is to help others to fully love and accept themselves as they are today. This goes a lot deeper than just how a person looks, but how they feel too. I believe that when we are in perfect balance and are doing what we are put on this Earth to do, we are truly beautiful. I love being able to play a part in helping others to uncover their true selves and to love what they see too.

In my personal quest for balance, I decided to give acupuncture a try. I had been driving past Glenwood Acupuncture and Healing Arts for a few years now and remember looking at their sign and being intrigued by the idea of it. I never went in though because I have been afraid of needles in the past and thought I had to have a very specific medical reason for needing the acupuncture treatments such as pain of some type. It was my husband who started going to acupuncture first and over time I saw what a huge impact it had on him. I saw his stress reduced, a much calmer state of mind and longed for this same type of calm. That’s when I decided to make an appointment with Riz from Glenwood Acupuncture and Healing Arts and I’m so glad I did.

Riz Lakhani, Acupuncture Practitioner

What first struck me about Riz, my acupuncture practitioner, was how comfortable I was basically telling him my life story and why I had some of my less desirable internal traits as a result of some traumas I had been through in my past. He helped me to see how far I had come despite what I had been through and told me that I was a, “beacon of light to others with my positive outlook on the world.” This helped me to see that despite my past, I am completely in love with the person I am today. Soon after we started treatments I wrote a difficult blog article about my upbringing called, “Uncovering My Truth” that you can check out here. After sharing this blog there was a huge release of emotions that felt amazing, like I was being honest for the first time in my life. For my next acupuncture treatment, I asked Riz to help me to release more of the emotions from my past and told him that I was open to receiving help from my spirit guides to do this. He arranged the needles in such a way to help me access my higher power and something miraculous happened next…

Not two minutes after Riz left the room, I felt a rush of cold over my body and saw just my legs raising off the table. I saw a cloud that looked like vapor rise out of my legs and immediately following that I felt a warm embrace that to me felt like it was from God himself. It was the greatest feeling of love I have ever felt and a moment I will never forget. I then called on each of my angels that I had known personally on Earth like my grandparents and family friends and felt each of them as they came to embrace me and tell me they loved me and how proud they were of me. After my treatment I told Riz what I had experienced and he said that although it was rare, people like me who are so open to receiving are able to enjoy sensations such as this while having acupuncture treatments. I was curious to learn more about how acupuncture works exactly and how Riz got started as a practitioner so decided to interview him and his responses are below…

How would you explain to others what you do as an acupuncture practitioner?

Some people call what I do “Alternative Medicine”, but I prefer to consider myself a resource for wellness, healing, and prevention. I’m fortunate to be able to practice true healthcare, rather than sick care — which has evolved over time to become our societal norm. My business is to humbly deliver the various types of care and knowledge that I have learned to the community, and spread positivity so that it may have a ripple effect out to the masses.

What exactly is acupuncture and how does it work in general terms?

At it’s very basic, acupuncture is a stimulus to the body that produces an internal response. When we stimulate the body with an acupuncture needle, or even a laser or light pressure, a cascade of beneficial effects begins – increased local blood circulation, reduced inflammation, trigger point release, a shift in the nervous system from sympathetic to more parasympathetic, and more. Scientists like Dr. Helene Langevin have extensively studied what happens when an acupuncture point is stimulated with a needle and found that more than forty separate reactions occur in those few seconds.

What are some of the reasons people first try acupuncture?

Here’s one reason people don’t try it – because they are scared of needles! Everyone should know how tiny our needles are, and I even carry a brochure at my office entitled “Do Acupuncture Needles Hurt?”. Please come by and grab one if this is a concern for you, and also be aware that we can do non-needle acupuncture too! OK so back to the question – most people are curious. They heard good things from someone else, and they may have unsuccessfully tried other things like pharmaceutical prescriptions, or surgeries, or just lived with something long enough and got tired enough of it to try something new or different. Another reason people come is because they discover that acupuncture is an included benefit in their medical insurance plan, which can sometimes make treatment plans more affordable. Others have had acupuncture in the past and did well with it. These days we are even having physicians recommend acupuncture to their patients, which is awesome!

What inspired you to start your business?

I had always wanted to be a business owner since I was a child, but as a youngster I did not know what kind of business would be best for me. I think like most people, I did not know what I wanted to do when I grew up. So, I decided to do what most people do – go to college and get a job. After being in the private sector for several years and enjoying some professional success, I yearned to be able to use my hands to do something more useful for the world. I felt like all I was doing was helping the corporation I worked for to grow larger, and often times the emphasis to increase profits would come at the expense of the customers. On a walk one day, I found a place called Tai Sophia Institute, which has since then become the Maryland University of Integrative Health. I had walked by it so many times, but never ventured in until that serene October day. They taught acupuncture and herbal medicine there, and I discovered that acupuncture was a licensed and regulated profession in the USA. In order to learn it I would need to go to graduate school and earn a Master’s degree, and then in order to practice it I would need to obtain a license from the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. It immediately felt like things had come full circle and that this was my true calling. I was so excited – what a unique way to be able to deliver natural health and wellness to the community! I decided that taking the risk to do something good for the world would be worth the potential cost of abandoning what I had spent most of my life pursuing, and I am so very glad and grateful that I did this.

Whom do you primarily serve?

The tools that i work with allow me to help just about anyone. I have treated my own children as babies, and in the clinic I have treated school age children and even patients in their 90’s! I thoroughly enjoy that I have “something for everybody” and that I strive to turn nobody away. However, it is important to know when it is appropriate to refer to other practitioners who may be better skilled at handling particular cases, so I also value maintaining a network of other high quality practitioners.

What is your “signature” or what sets you apart in your field?

This may be a better question for my patients, but if I had to pick something, it would be open-mindedness. Being receptive to learning about what’s new, strange, and different has exposed me to many types of things that aren’t necessarily a part of traditional acupuncture practice. I use a wide variety of technology – computerized meridian diagnosis, electroacupuncture, PEMF therapy, CES therapy, microcurrent, PBM therapy, HeartMath, and more. I think this lends itself to a very nice blend of mixing old and new, Eastern and Western; which I think is more harmonious and realistic in today’s world.

What does self-care mean to you and how can getting acupuncture and balancing nutrition contribute to self-care?

Self-care is a very broad term that could probably be discussed ad nauseum. It means doing that which keeps one strong and resilient, and balanced. It means not holding on to too much stress. It means getting enough movement and breathing, and social nourishment, and eating nutritious food. It means one takes the time to reflect and ponder and meditate, and unify the heart and brain. Receiving acupuncture treatment enables self-care because it can allow the nervous system to release pent up stress and tension, induce better breathing, and allow one to return feeling more like their actual self. However, acupuncture is not something most people do every day unless you live in Asia. This is why nutrition is key – because we eat every day. The state of health is directly influenced by the quality of the fuel being consumed.

I hope that you found these tips helpful and that you will give acupuncture a try too! To set up an appointment, you can contact Riz at 410-489-9175 or visit their website at www.glenwoodacu.com and you can say that I sent you! 😉

What Price Are you Willing to Pay for Freedom?

Last night as I was watching the fireworks with my family to celebrate the 4th of July, I thought of our forefathers who fought so hard for our freedom. They cared so deeply for their country’s freedom that they were literally willing to die for it. The quote by Patrick Henry came to mind, “Give me liberty or give me death.” I feel much the same way and thank the brave men and women who have worked so hard for our freedom so that my family and I have the opportunities that we enjoy today.

What does freedom mean to you in your own life? To me, freedom means getting to choose what I do, when I do it and with whom I choose to do it with and not just on the weekends, but all day every day. This is a freedom that I longed for most of my life and it wasn’t until I started my photography business that I felt a taste of this freedom.

What cost have I paid for this type of freedom? I believe the biggest cost is certainty. I have given up a consistent paycheck that comes every 2 weeks and have traded it in for what feels more like playing a high stakes game. Some weeks I win and some weeks I lose but the weeks I win are that much more sweet. There is great excitement in not knowing what the outcome will be ahead of time and I’ve learned that trusting in myself and my abilities has been the greatest secret to my success. Getting to this level of self-belief has taken a tremendous amount of focus on self-awareness that I feel that I am closer than ever to mastering. I have also shifted my focus to what my business can do for me to what I can do to serve others for the highest good. Sending loving energy to the clients I work with is an important part of my process which ends up resulting in not just great clients, but great friends too.

My business is coming up on its 2nd Anniversary in July and I am so grateful for the people and events that have come into my life to make it all fit into place so seamlessly. My goal was to start a photography business that would generate enough income that I wouldn’t have to return to teaching when my youngest started kindergarten. We are now two months away from my son starting kindergarten and I am so proud to share that I have reached my goal and surpassed it.

As a business owner there are days when I doubt myself and wonder if I started it at the right time with my children being so young or doubt that I can really sustain it by myself with all of the changes to social media and technology that make it easier every day for people to take pictures that they feel are good enough to not have to hire a professional photographer. I quickly dismiss thoughts like this though, because I know that what I offer is much more than beautiful photos. I am in the business of creating feelings and emotions in people that they don’t expect to come out after simply having their portraits taken. They leave me feeling confident, empowered and filled with self love and what greater gift is there than that?

Summer Mint Photography
Still there are those harder days that creep up and while I had a day like this recently my husband sensing my frustration asked, “How do you think your business is going?” I told him that I was struggling that day but that even on the hardest days being a photographer is something that is as much a part of me as being a wife or a mom. It’s a part of me that I can no longer deny or suppress as I did for years as a public school teacher with strict instructions on what I had to say and do each day. I am a creative and I need to be free. I am willing to pay the highest price to maintain this level of freedom and know that when I have a hard day, there’s an amazing day right around the corner and there always is.

So my questions to you are, “Do you feel free? What price are you willing to pay for your own freedom?” If you’d like to talk through your own aspirations for creating this type of freedom for yourself, you can email me at julie@summermintphotos.com to set up a free discovery call. Happy 4th and remember to thank all of the brave men and women who have fought for our freedom!

Uncovering My Truth to Help You to Share Yours

I hope that in uncovering my truth, it will help you to uncover yours..

I’ve made it my mission in life to help people to uncover the truth behind who they really are and to bring out the best sides in them through my portrait photography. I realize that before others can trust me to be vulnerable and expose their true selves to me, I need to be honest with them about who I really am too so here’s my truth.

I’ve been told by one of my mentors that I respect dearly that I’m too “polished” and what she meant by that is that I come across to the public like I have everything together, I’m happy and professional all the time and that I always point out the positive rather than focus on the negative of what is happening around me. There is a good reason for this and it starts with being brought up in a household with a mentally ill father. As a child I was afraid to speak up for fear that I would set him off and have to deal with the wrath of his temper. I believe this is why I was such a quiet child and it took me years to shed this part of me and to realize that I was safe and was not going to be hurt for speaking my truth anymore. As a teenager I feared for my life while being driven to school by an intoxicated father who would drift into intersections of red stoplights on my way to school and refused to let me drive us there to ensure that I arrived safely. To this day I have dreams about being in cars with no control as I felt so helpless and like I was going to die at such a young age. I reached out for help but it wasn’t until I met my husband at the end of my senior year in high school that I felt protected. I fell in love quickly with a man (he was only 17 at the time) who made me feel loved and safe and who took me out almost every night so that I wouldn’t have to be in a home where I felt so frightened and helpless. 20 years later we are still together and he is still my protector and biggest supporter in my life.

I was told by my family to never let anyone know what it was like in our home and to always put on a happy face. This privacy left me feeling suppressed and afraid to open up to more than a select few friends that I could trust. Today as a 38 year old woman, I realize that I am safe and that speaking my truth is important so that others will have hope of being free one day too.

Today my life looks much different. I have found my true passion and calling in life to help others see their worth and that are beautiful and loved too. My camera is my tool to capture this beauty and it has been an outlet for me that feels to me has saved my life. There is something deeply spiritual about photography for me. I feel like I am in perfect alignment with who I am when I am behind my camera looking for beauty in others and can’t wait to help them see themselves the way I see them for who they really are which is pure love. When a client is in alignment with who they are and I am in alignment with who I am, our results are nothing short of phenomenal. I prefer to be one on one with my clients because when they come alone they are more likely to be themselves and show me the side of themselves that is the most beautiful and raw.

I would love the chance to work with you and share in this beautiful journey to self discovery together. You can call the studio at 443-900-5170 or email me at julie@summermintphotos.com to schedule your free consultation to learn more about what to expect with a portrait session. If you are ready to book your session, simply click here to select your session date and time.


Centennial High School Senior Portrait Session with Caroline: Class of 2019

I first met Caroline at the beginning of her Junior year when she came to our meeting to learn more about what to expect as a Street Team model.  What struck me first was how confident she was and how she appeared to be mature beyond her years.  As confirmed by her parents she is a high achiever in all areas of her life, the most significant of her talents being her singing and dancing abilities. For one of our community service projects this year, Caroline sang, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” to the residents of Gilcrest.  She had the staff, some residents and myself in tears from the pure, angelic sound of her voice. You can listen to her song here.  I also had the opportunity to watch her in her school play at Centennial High School, and I was once again impressed by her confidence and ease with which she performed in front of such a large audience.  

For Caroline’s senior portrait session, she decided to go to Lake Kittamaqundi since she was going for a natural look with the lake in the background and also because she likes to go to Columbia mall which is close by so the location would have significance to her.  For her first outfit she chose to wear her ballet leotard with a skirt so we were sure to capture some photos of her in dancing poses since this is such a significant part of her life.  

Next, she changed into a flowery dress which highlighted her softer side and we had fun doing Cinderella spins during which she explained that acting like Cinderella was easy for her since she is in fact a princess.  ;). Her love of animals during the session came out while she was delighted to see the ducks swimming by and dogs happily walking by with their owners during her session.  All in all it was a great night and I am honored that she chose me to take these portraits for her.  My hope is that she and her parents will enjoy looking back upon these photos for years to come as they showcase exactly who she was at this time in her life.  

To learn more about what to expect while having senior portraits taken with Summer Mint Photography, you can call the studio at 443.900.5170 or email julie@summermintphotos.com. Sessions are held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays and the best time to have senior portraits taken is the summer before you start your Senior year.  If you book your session by the end of June, 50% of your session fee will be donated to the Ellicott City Partnership Fund to aid the victims of the flood and if you book your makeup session with Jayshree at Vedic Spa, she will be donating 50% of the cost of your makeup session as well.  Your session can be anytime this summer, it would just need to be booked by the end of June in order to contribute to our fundraiser.  

Want to hang out?  Follow me on Instagram here and on Facebook here.

My Top Ten Tips for Studying for Exams

The last day of school is quickly approaching and that means lot of final projects and exams too.  Here are some tips to help you get the most work done in the least amount of time.   Although I’m no longer a student, these tips still help me to this day to stay focused and get work done that I need to do for my business in a limited amount of time  I hope these tips are helpful to you!

  1. Start by writing on index cards everything you need to complete.  Each card gets its own task like, “Edit English essay.”  Once you’ve written all of the tasks out that you need to complete, stack them in the order that you need to complete them with the most pressing task on the top of your pile so you can focus on that first.  This will prioritize your tasks and help you to see that you only need to focus on one task at a time.  
  2. When you get home from school, choose a healthy snack like apples with peanut butter to give you a boost of energy before you start working.  
  3. Find a quiet place in your house to do your work that has limited distractions.  Leave your phone in another room so you won’t be tempted to look at it and if you’re typing a paper, close all of the other tabs so you can focus just on the task at hand.  Let your family know that you are doing this and can’t be interrupted.  
  4. Chunk your time and reward yourself at the end of the timeframe.  For example, set a timer for 90 minutes and during that 90 minutes you should do nothing else but complete the one task that you have chosen as top priority.  When the timer goes off, reward yourself with a 15-20 minute break.  You can do whatever relaxes you like listen to music, call a friend or go on social media, but make sure you don’t go pass your 20 minutes.
  5. Take a break to eat dinner with your family and don’t bring any phones or work with you to the table.  Enjoy your food and the break from working.
  6. Get back to your studies for your second time block and work on the one task that you chose as the priority for that block of time.
  7. When that time block ends, make a list of anything you didn’t finish so you can return to it the next day.  
  8. Map out the time blocks for the remainder of the week in a planner so you know how you intend to spend your time until all of your work is complete.
  9. Make sure to get off of your computer and phone an hour before you plan to go to bed so you don’t have trouble falling asleep.  
  10. To help you fall asleep, listen to spa or relaxation music or try a guided mediation on YouTune to relax you and help you drift off to sleep.
For some reason this is how I always sit to do my best work at home!  Since I don’t have an official office space, I clear all clutter so there are no distractions and make sure I’m comfortable before I start working.  🙂

I hope this list was helpful!  I still use these tips while working and have found that when I chunk my time and limit all other distractions, it’s amazing how much I can get accomplished.  Anything I don’t finish I just write in my planner to complete the next day.  Good luck and you are so close to being free for summer!!!  What do you plan to do after school gets out?  I’d love to know!  Just add it in the comments below.  🙂

How to decide if a senior portrait photographer is right for you

This is me at a photography convention in Colorado learning how to be a better senior portrait photographer!

You’ve watched your older sisters have their senior portraits taken, your friends from sports, and in grades above you enjoy this special time in their lives and now it’s your turn.  You know you want something more than just a photo for your yearbook where you have no say in what you  wear or where it’s taken, but how do you choose the right photographer for you?

I want to share with you a list of preliminary things to research when considering a senior portrait photographer when you first start looking….

Do you know anyone whose portraits they’ve already taken that you can ask what it was like to work with them?

This is really valuable information to know because chances are that if they treated your friend well, then they will treat you well too.  Of course it matters how your friend’s photos turned out, but you should also ask what it was like to work with the photographer.  Did they make you feel special and did the whole process feel easy and fun?   Were their parents happy with how everything went?

Do they shoot in studio or on location?  

This is important because studio shoots have a very different look than an outdoor shoot would have.  Your photographer should be open to shooting at a location that means something to you and that reflects your personality.  If they don’t even ask you and just tell you where they shoot, then that could be a red flag that they aren’t as interested in making the shoot all about you.

Do they seem genuinely interested in getting to know you before the shoot?

Some photographers meet their clients in person before their shoot, but at the very least your photographer should speak to you on the phone to get to know who you are first and what you envision for your shoot.  If they simply send off an email and don’t set up a phone consult or in person meeting before your session, then they may not be as interested in meeting your needs on the shoot either.  

Do they offer digitals?

A little behind the scenes action.

Some photographers only offer digitals and will send you an online gallery following a shoot for you to choose your favorites from.  Others offer full collections including albums, wall art and specialty items like phone apps.  It’s important to know this ahead of time so you can ideally find someone who offers both digitals and print products.

Do they specialize in seniors or do they shoot lots of different genres?

This is important to know because if someone specializes in seniors, then you know that they are dedicated to seniors and that they will give you the time and attention you need to feel supported throughout the process.  They will most likely also have extra perks for seniors to make them feel more special during and after their shoot too.  

Do they clearly state on their website why they like shooting senior portraits?

If a photographer can’t immediately answer this question, then they may not be as committed to senior portraits.  Their response should resonate with you and make you feel special and that it means something to them to have the opportunity to work with you.

Do they have a polished website, and up to date social media accounts?

Carolin, Centennial High Senior Class of 2019

Their website should look professional and inviting and their social media accounts are a reflection of how active they are in their business and the commitment they have to it.  Their photos should show a style of work that speaks to you that you can see yourself loving for your own session.  Check out their “About Me” page on their website and see who they are as a person.  Does he or she sound like a person that you would enjoy spending time with and can trust to make you look great in your photos?

If you like what you’ve seen so far after doing your research, then the next step I would take is to call them!  After a few minutes of talking to someone on the phone you can tell if you feel a connection with them or not.  Personality is so important and you want your photographer to be approachable so you can feel comfortable requesting whatever you want to make your session go the way you want it to go.  After you hire them, they should send you some kind of welcome packet or magazine to answer any questions you may have leading up to your shoot.  

If you want to find out if I would be the right fit for your senior portraits, I’d be happy to set up a complimentary phone consultation.  Call the studio at 443.900.5170 and I’d be honored to be considered as your own senior portrait photographer.   Or you can spy on me first on Instagram here or Facebook here.  😉 






Special Feature: Tin Lizzy, Fashion Boutique on Wheels

Tin Lizzy Mobile Boutique

    Have you ever heard of a fashion truck?  I’ve heard of a food truck before, but never a fashion truck.  When the owner of Local By Design in Annapolis suggested that I contact Laura Layton, owner of Tin Lizzy Mobile Boutique  I was immediately excited by the idea of having my Street Team models styled by her for our next model shoot in Annapolis.  I told Laura that we were wanting to have a nautical theme for our shoot and she happily agreed to style the girls accordingly.  I was curious as to how this fashion truck came into existence so I interviewed Laura and here’s what she shared with me…

Laura Layton, owner of Tin Lizzy Mobile Boutique

    “Tin Lizzy is a 1997 Grumman Step Van given a new life as a traveling shop specializing in fair trade, USA made and ethically sourced women’s apparel, accessories and gifts.  Through my business I hope to make positive change in the lives of artisans who make the items for sale in Tin Lizzy. These artisans (mainly women) are improving their lives, families, and communities by having meaningful work in which they earn a living wage. I also hope to bring attention to the importance of not only shopping at local businesses within your community, but also supporting ethical practices in an industry dominated by sweat shops, cheap labor and fast fashion.” 

Laura with her mom posing in her fashion truck

     When asked what inspired her to start her own business, Laura responded by saying, “I went to school for fashion and was most interested in working for fair trade organizations after graduation. I always wanted to own my own boutique focused on ethical fashion. I was young and on a budget so I decided to start as a mobile business, but quickly realized what an advantage it was to be on wheels.”  

    I asked Laura what sets her apart from other fashion boutiques and she explained, “Being on wheels definitely sets me apart from other local retailers. It also makes my business incredibly versatile because I can set up shop in women’s driveways, at community gatherings, fundraisers, festivals, on the side of the street, the options are endless!”

     Going forward Laura has aspirations of designing her own clothing or jewelry line and growing her online business as well.  I am so happy to have been introduced to Laura and such a fun boutique and I know my models can’t wait to work with her as well.  To find out where and when you can visit the Tin Lizzy Mobile Boutique head to her website here or check out her Facebook page here.  On Saturday, July 28th you can find her at the Trifecta Food Truck and Music Festival at the Maryland State Fairgrounds that you can find out more about here.  

Relief for Main Street: Summer Mint Photography and Vedic Spa Team Up to Raise Funds for Flood Victims

Fundraiser to Support Flood Victims

Carolin posing on the infamous bridge

This past Saturday night, I enjoyed a night out in Ellicott City with my best girl friend.  We went to La Palapa and The Phoenix and had no clue the devastation that would take place there 24 hours later.  Only two short weeks before, I had a senior portrait session on Main Street and we were talking about what a great place Ellicott City was to grow up and she insisted on getting photographed on the bridge since she saw it as a rite of passage as a senior. Now, it’s all been washed away and once again the town is left to clean up what remains.  

When the flood hit in 2016 I wanted to help, but was so new in my business at that time that I was limited in what I could offer financially.  Today, I am in a different place and am ready and able to give back to this amazing community.  I am going to donate 50% of the session fees for senior or family sessions booked by the end of June and give it directly to the Ellicott City Partnership Fund to aid flood victims.  My goal is to raise at least $1,000 and it would make me so happy to be able to give back in this way.  The session itself can be anytime this summer, it would just need to be booked in June in order to go towards our fundraiser.  In addition to this donation, Vedic Spa in Ellicott City has generously offered to match our contribution and donate 50% of the cost of makeup for anyone who books a makeup session with Jayshree for her senior session.  To book your makeup session, call Vedic Spa at 410-720-9401.

If you’d like to book a senior or family shoot, you can call the studio at 443-900-5170 or email julie@summermintphotos.com with the type of shoot you’d like to book, the best phone number to reach you and time of day to call so we can select your date.  My shoots are held on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday evenings 90 minutes before sunset.  Your shoot does not have to be in June in order for your session fee to be donated, you simply need to book your session before the end of June, but the shoot itself can be anytime this summer.  Thanks and I look forward to helping this amazing community to once again rebuild and to come back better than before!

Centennial High School Senior Portrait Session with Carolin: Class of 2019

    This past weekend I had the pleasure of taking senior portraits for Carolin, a rising senior from Centennial High School’s Class of 2019 in Ellicott City.  Carolin is a model on my Street Team so we’ve had multiple opportunities to work together now and every time we do, it gets better and better.  I first met Carolin when she was a student in my fifth grade class at Centennial Lane Elementary and never dreamed that we would meet again under these circumstances.  Today she is a beautiful young woman with many musical and artistic talents.  Her rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” that you can watch here was so beautiful that it brought me and the residents of Gilcrest to tears when she and a fellow model on our team performed there as part of their community service project this year. 

     Carolin also is our team’s videographer and has made me the best videos so that others can see what we do like this one and how much fun it is to be a model on our team.  I wasn’t surprised to learn that Art and Guitar were her favorite subjects in school because she says that they allow her to be creative and to give her mind a chance to rest during the school day.  She also says that as she’s gotten older she’s learned how to open herself up to new friendships and to hang out with friends who have similar interests that she does.

     When Carolin told me that one of her favorite hang outs is Old Ellicott City, I knew that it would make the perfect backdrop for her senior portrait session.  She took me to the bridge where she said she had seen so many people having their photos taken and had been waiting for the day when it would be her turn to pose in that same spot.  Her hair and makeup was perfect when she arrived having just come from Artistic Edge Salon in Marriottsville where Kelly Hoffacker had styled her.  Carolin also told me that she had shopped for her accessories that she wore for the shoot in one of her favorite shops on Main Street called, Sweet Elizabeth Jane.  Julia Littlefield, from Burleigh Manor Middle School was my Assistant for the day as she is an aspiring photography business owner as well.  The evening went perfectly as we went from spot to spot chasing the light to capture the most gorgeous photos possible and I am so excited for Carolin’s upcoming Session Premiere when she and her family will get to see the slide show of all of her final images!

     I am so grateful to have had the chance to reconnect with Carolin after all of these years and to be working so closely with her again.  She is wise beyond her years and I can’t wait to see where her path takes her next.  Thanks so much for choosing me to photograph you, Carolin and I can’t wait for our model shoot this summer in Annapolis!

     If your daughter will be a rising senior this summer and she would love to have her senior portraits taken by Summer Mint Photography, please call the studio at 443.900.5170 or email julie@summermintphotos.com for available dates.  If your daughter is interested in modeling on our Street Team and is in the Class of 2019 or 2020, please email me at julie@summermintphotos.com and I’d love the chance to work with her as well!

Photography Workshop for Teens at Local By Design in Annapolis

     Annapolis is one of my favorite places to visit with the gorgeous waterfront and the sailboats floating by in the background which makes it a prime destination for high school senior portrait sessions.  I have always enjoyed shopping in the local shops and never dreamed that I would be teaching photography in one someday!  The owners of Local by Design, Suzi Jett and Susan Sears  presented me with the opportunity to teach photography to teens at their new location in the Annapolis Mall and I gladly accepted.  I made a visit to their shop and was in awe of the beautiful artwork adorned there and felt so honored to be among the local artists that they support.  I interviewed Suzi and Susan to learn more about their business and what makes them so passionate about it.  Here’s what they had to say!

     “We have over 60 local artisans and artists in our shop. We want to be the go to place to find furniture, home decor, art, gifts and classes.  We are passionate about helping small creative businesses find a place to show and sell their artwork. It is difficult for small businesses like us to find affordable storefronts so we have all come together to share in the expense of running a local small business.”

Inside Local By Design at the Annapolis Mall location. 109 Main Street Annapolis~ This is where we’ll meet for the Shoot-Out on June 16th.  Go here to register!

     Suzi, the creator of Gallery 3976 (now called Local by Design at the Gallery) located in the Annapolis Design District, has already successfully proven her shared space concept by having 13 small businesses coexist in a 3,500sf working studio space. Susan has worked in the retail industry for over 20 years and has an extensive background in selling and merchandising products. Now they are combining their skills and passion for supporting small local businesses and taking it to the prime retail district of Annapolis. Local by Design showcases furniture, art, jewelry, home décor, apparel, gifts, accessories and so much more. With their proven skills, along with a savvy professional selling team, they will provide you with a unique shopping experience every time you stop in!

     We will have classes to support our small business owners with topics such as, How to sell on Etsy, how to start your own creative business, branding and social media and product photography just to name a few.  The class taught by Senior Portrait Photographer, Julie Goetzinger of Summer Mint Photography will be called, Snap Happy for Teens and the first session meets on Saturday, May 12th at 2:30pm at Local By Design’s Annapolis Mall location.  In this class, Julie will be teaching teens an upbeat 60 minute Photography 101 class.  You’ll walk away with simple strategies that will teach you how to take better pictures with any kind of camera (or phone) you already have.  Julie will even show you how to pose to look your best in any photo going forward! No cameras will be needed for this workshop, just something to take notes on.

Register here for the workshop!

     On Saturday, June 16th we’ll be having a 90 minute shoot-out in downtown Annapolis when we will practice what we’ve learned in class by photographing models and teens will receive one-on-one instruction from Julie.  For the shoot-out we will meet at Local By Design at 109 Main Street at 6:00pm on Saturday, June 16th. You should bring your camera or phone to take pictures for this workshop.  To register for Snap Happy for Teens, the shoot-out or both go here.  With questions regarding Snap Happy for Teens or the shoot out, call Julie’s portrait studio at 443.900.5170 or email julie@summermintphotos.com.  Thanks and we can’t wait to see you there!