Love It! Hate It! Photography Edition

Love It

This edition of Love It! Hate It! is geared towards photographers because recently I’ve had some great experiences in the photography community that I wanted to share!  As small business owners we spend a lot of time alone in front of our computer and it can get very lonely.  There is no watercooler to go hang around and talk about the latest Glee episode.  There is no one to bounce ideas off of or ask for advice from.  In my case with my husband deployed I don’t even get an adult to talk to in the evenings.  I spend a lot time talking to my dogs, see if I was just talking out loud to myself you might think I’m crazy but since I have dogs I’m totally normal 😉  Unfortunately they can’t talk back and if they did I’m afraid they would tell me to shut up half the time.  So instead I like many others turn to Facebook and forums to feel connected to others.  While it can be great meeting people online it reminds me a lot of that country song where the guy says he is really hot online but in reality he’s in his parents basement.  I don’t want to be the freaky girl in my parents basement!!  So check out some groups I love and how we are getting out from behind our computer screens to support each other and be co-workers.

Love It!

1.  Digital Wedding Forum aka DWF!  I came across this forum a couple years ago, I can’t remember how but I signed up for their free trial and then a full membership.  The advice I have gotten here is priceless.  I don’t think there is a situation out there that one of these photographers has not been through.  They are great with providing examples of their experiences and how or why they did something.  They cover a large range of topics on the forum including business, marketing and sales, critique, albums and gear to name a few.  So after being a member for awhile I’m finally attending their convention this year and I’m really excited to meet everyone in person!!!  I fly out this weekend to San Antonio and will be spending next week surrounded by photographers and learning as much as I can from them.  I also get to attend the Imaging USA expo which is a huge tradeshow for photographers.  I can’t wait to stop by my favorite lab Millers to see what new products they have for 2011 and to check out more samples of their albums.  I highly recommend attending at least one convention if you are a photographer.  The past two years I’ve attended PPA’s Imaging USA and came home with tons of notes and full of inspiration.  I just wish I had known more photographers at those conventions.  I’m really excited about DWF convention this year because it is smaller and after spending 2+ years on the forums I actually know people that are attending.  Next year David and I are already planning to hit up WPPI (another photography organization) in Las Vegas!!!  Wahoo!!  I’ve never been to Vegas so I’m super excited!  Also based off my #2&3 love its I will know people going there also and have friends to hang out with.

2.  Facebook Groups!  Over the last six months I’ve made friends with local photographers and we chat on facebook and hang out downtown.  This has been great because it gets me out from behind the computer and give me a chance to talk with others that are going through the same things as I am trying to build their business for the better.  Right around the holidays a couple ladies in my state setup a facebook group for us all to join and get to know each other even more.  Also to help each other out a lot quicker and with more responses then what I’ve had access to in the past.  It is like having a room full of co-workers to bounce ideas off of or ask advice from.   I was also invited to join another Facebook group of photographers local to the Fredericksburg area.  We are having our first get together tonight and I’m really looking forward to meeting local photographers I’ve admired and catch up with others I’ve already met.  What I really love about the photography industry is that we are all working to make each other better and not tear each other down.  You could say that we are all competition to each other but to me that means someone is a winner and someone is a loser and I don’t feel that at all from these groups.  I feel like as artists we all have our particular style and preferences so we produce different work.  My clients may not be the same as clients of others and I may not specialize in things that others do.  I highly recommend finding local photographers you can connect with and get out and meet.  You don’t have to talk about the nitty gritty parts of your business but just talk about your love of photography!  Get out and connect with others!

3.  Photographer Unite!  I had the pleasure of attending a meetup in Richmond last week with 17 or so other photographers.  This group in united in that we are all Christian photographers.  I truly believe that the Lord is guiding me along in this crazy world and while I don’t always understand the plan I know he has one for me.  I believe that one of my gifts is photography and capturing moments for people and this year I want to use that gift more in my church and give back.  Being a part of a group that challenges me to keep my faith and encourages me to make my business better is heartwarming and spiritually fulfilling.  I look forward to growing my business and my faith as a part of this group!  I encourage you to check and see if you have a local chapter of Photographers Unite and if you are in the DC, MD or VA area you can join ours here!  Thank you to Katelyn James for starting our chapter and arranging our get togethers!!

Hate It!

Okay so my hate it is not photography related but instead life related.

1.  Destructo Dogs!  I love my girls with all my heart but I need a dog whisperer or doggy psychiatrist like yesterday!  As I’m attending these meetups with my photography groups my dogs are destroying my house.  Now you might think they aren’t getting enough attention or love or food or something.  I can promise you these girls are spoiled rotten ask anyone who knows them.  I have actually noticed that they are depressed that their Dad isn’t here, it sounds weird but I swear they mope.  Now I’m at home pretty much all day and I don’t know if they think when I leave that I might not come back either or what.  All I know is that whether I’m gone for 9 hours or just 3 I come home to something being torn up at the front door.  Maxie is known to scratch and bust up the trim around the front door at times she gets scared like when Quantico is bombing but she is taking that to a whole new level now.  It involves chewing on plastic bins left by the door, tearing up the box of coffee meant for Daddy and spreading it all over the living room, tearing trim off the front door and the closet and as I noticed this morning chewing on the tv stand.  Even better there are teeth marks on the doorknob, big ones, she is biting the doorknob to get out of the house.  I think she is working herself into a frenzy and just destroys whatever is in front of her.  I have no idea how to fix this problem and I’m leaving for a week soon where my wonderful sister will be housesitting.  I’m worried that they will truly think I’ve left when I’m gone for a week 🙁  We’ve tried crating before and Maxie just destroys the crates too, she actually bent the last metal cage we had to the point it was no longer usable.  I ended up taking them with me to the bank today because I was afraid to leave them home.  I’m going to try  more exercise before I leave tonight for my meetup and I hope that helps.  How can I get mad at these faces though?

maxie-moose sadie-mae

Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

  • Harry HildersJanuary 18, 2011 - 9:44 am

    Beautiful and sweet photos. Keep up the good work.

  • MelissaJanuary 19, 2011 - 6:51 am

    Hi Melissa! Great Post and I couldn’t agree more with all of it 🙂 It would be nice to finally meet you.

Miami newborn photographer

Hello & Welcome

I'm Melissa! Luxury maternity and lifestyle newborn photographer in Charlottesville, sail boater, lover of Lilly Pulitzer, and obsessed with true crime and interior design. I'm so glad you found me!


more about me


Favorite Blog Posts

free download


Disclosure Statement is a participant of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a commission from qualifying purchases. participates in other affiliate programs, and receives commissions when purchases are made through the links. This is at no extra cost to you.

Melissa Arlena is an award winning Richmond and Charlottesville photographer. She recently earned her Master Photographer Certification in the Maternity, Newborn & Family categories from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers. Melissa offers maternity, lifestyle newborn, and family photography in her relaxed, natural, and joyful style.


Melissa serves Charlottesville, Richmond, Staunton, Fredericksburg, Harrisonburg, Waynesboro, Culpeper, Gordonsville and beyond.



Melissa Arlena Photography captures newborns, maternity, and families.

Charlottesville and richmond, va

Like what you see?