Lowcountry Dog Cover Model Contest Winner!

And the winner of Lowcountry Dog Magazine’s 2012 Cover Model Contest is… Image

Wyatt the Pit Bull!
Thank you to Wyatt and to everyone who participated in the Model Contest!  If you want to see the photos from the Pet Fest weekend, you can see them all here: PET FEST 2012 PHOTOS
And if your doggie has his photo made at the contest, you can still pick them up with a last minute discount of 10% off!  But you’d better hurry, the discount is only good through Sunday, June 17th!  
I am super excited to photograph him for an issue of Lowcountry Dog later this year.
Way to go Wyatt!  

new beginnings

So… I am nose to the grindstone working on all kinds of new projects and cool things.  I am in the midst of a rebranding experience which leaves me little time for maintaining the blog here…

To see snippets of the latest photos/ events/ clients visit me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/olsen.imagery

So many awesome-amazing-cool-nifty things that are coming down the pike!  I can’t wait to share the new beginnings…



Ask and ye shall receive | Charleston Freelance Photographer

ImageI had the great fortune to photograph the King Street Shop Walk last evening. And after photographing as many of the 67 participating shops as possible along the event route I collapsed in a cold wrought iron chair in the courtyard of the Charleston Place Hotel. We had been chatting about the unseasonably beautiful weather we have had this December, which I noted was the reason I call Charleston home. (When the temperature dips below 70 degrees I turn on the heated seats in the car. Not now nor ever will be known as a snow bunny.) Someone had just said how the only thing missing in Charleston is the changing of the seasons. Many transplants love the weather but lament the loss of blazing color during the autumn season.  As I was contemplating this I sighed and threw my head back to behold this scene. It took my breath away.

Seeing this reminded me once more that what you choose to see will be shown to you.  What you ask for you will receive. I asked for wonderful, meaningful friendships and to see and capture beauty everywhere I go.  Guess what I got?

What have you asked for lately?

Produce Work

I have been in a staring contest with my email all day. Waiting for an answer to just about every question that I have asked all week. To keep myself from boring holes with my eyes into my large LCD screen I have a podcast going in the background. I don’t often listen to music while working. I’d rather listen to the thoughts and teachings of other artists. In this technological world we live in there is an abundance of amazing thought and education swirling about, available for the taking.  And the refrain that that I keep hearing is “Artists produce work!”  To be a creative in a creative field you have to create… but if you never show it, never take risks, never push yourself are you really a creative?

When I heard it today, it really struck a chord. I have been so busy this season creating creating creating but for various reasons nothing has seen the light of day. Much of it is coming after the holiday… clients holding on to images as gifts, projects that are in process to be revealed in the new year etc. But I have felt a bit of a schlump with the lack of posting.

So today I picked up my camera pointed it at my Calliope and I produced work.

Are you producing work? Are you pushing forward? Growing in your art or your business? I encourage you to produce something today. It doesn’t have to be the next Rembrandt or iPod. Just take something from start to finish in one day. And show it to the world. You’ll be glad you did.

Feel free to share links of what you produce in the comments! I would love to see what is being produced!

Breathe | Charleston Freelance Photographer

My mind is brimming with ideas and my calendar is full of projects.  I have missed posting regularly all of the wonderful things I get to be a part of as a photographer. I am so blessed to have the best clients in the world… and to have so many of them makes me well up a little in gratitude.  My heart is full!  I have wanted to share so many things with you all, but sadly at this time of year, there are so many people who are in present buying mode that I am sworn to secrecy!  It is killing me! Look out for the deluge in the new year of all the pent up photos!

So I thought today I would share this little delight with you.  I found it on my way back to my car after a recent event that I was shooting.  I was hot and tired and my feet hurt.  But then I stopped. The light was delicious.  I was just lost in the perfection of the scene in front of me.  I caught my breath, cleared my mind, and my feet stopped throbbing so badly.  I thought that if this scene could do that for me, I would share it with you too.

Take 60 seconds to gaze and breathe.  The madness of the season is just beginning.  So my gift to you all is one minute.  One minute to for joy. Sixty seconds for a smile. One sixtieth of an hour of stillness.  It may be tiny, but if you let it, it might just brighten your entire day.

Enjoy  🙂

Coffee | Charelston Photography

hope & union doesn't serve decaf. they respect the brew.

I just heard about this new site called Klout.  It gives you a score based on your social media interactions.  Being highly competitive by nature I had to sign up and crush the competition!  What’s funny is that it told me that I am an expert on Photography and Charleston (I knew that, but thank you Klout.com for noticing!)  But what I thought was funny is that it said I was an expert on … Coffee!

I was photographing an event recently and was introduced to someone who said, ” Yeah, I know you… you’re the photographer who knows good coffee!”  Seriously!  My caffeine sniffer is known far and wide! Albeit I had just redone my website ‘About Me’ page and had included a few interesting things about myself (my undying love for Ethiopian coffee was among the salacious revelations about me included) in addition to the standard “I take pictures of stuff” info that a bio usually contains.

So to keep up my reputation I thought I should share more coffee-type stuff on my blog.  Enjoy!

R.I.P. Buddy

In the past year I have decided to focus more on the Pet Photography portion of my business.   I love working with pets and their owners, it’s so fun to play for a living!  Now, don’t get me wrong… it’s hard work, but even the boring office parts are a little easier when I am ultimately doing what I love.

But each time I complete a session I feel ‘the tinge’.  I think it’s because I have had dogs, dear, precious dogs to me pass away.  I feel the tinge that I just captured something fleeting, forever.  I know the pain of loss, so each time I click the shutter I feel that I am helping a dog owner hold on to the moment, the personality, the quirk, the memory of love, for always.

I saw a post on Facebook this morning of a friend’s dog, that I had never met or photographed, had passed away. I commented my condolences with a heavy heart.  But that prompted a comment from a past client that I was not expecting.  Buddy, dear Buddy, is no longer with us.  He passed August 11, 2011.  He was a rescue with special needs and Patsy took him in because her house was already outfitted with ramps from a previous dog with disabilities.  It was difficult for him to move around when I met him, but his spirit… was lively and as loving as a puppy.  Anytime I hear of a rescue dog with physical limitations, I think of Buddy.  His physical limitations did nothing to hinder his loving spirit. 

I am not sure why the tears surprised me.  Then I realized that other than our own dog Jasmine, I have not been notified of the passing of any dog that I have photographed.  I knew that it would happen.  And it will again.  I feel it a tiny bit each session that I have, but my fears have never come true… until today.

Hold your furry ones a bit closer today.  I am off to snuggle with Peanut and Calliope in the middle of the day.  Because they are here.


After this posted I received a call from a blog in AUSTRALIA (!) that wanted to feature dear Buddy.   Check it out at www.prettyfluffy.com

Women’s Equality Day 2011 | Charleston Event Photographer

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am crazy about popcorn.  I’m just crazy for it. If I’m out for dinner and a movie, I don’t care if I just had a seven course meal… course number eight will be popcorn.  I think that’s why I love movies so much… I do have a point and it has to do with photographing the Governor.

A few years ago the Center for Women sponsored a showing of a movie.  Thinking there might be popcorn, I attended.  There wasn’t.  The film was Iron Jawed Angels. Somewhere along the way I heard it was Women’s Equality Day. Interesting, I thought to myself, still disappointed in the absence of my favorite butter flavored snack.  But in minutes I was riveted to the screen, watching the story unfold of the women who fought for the right to vote.

I was raised to take pride in my right to vote.  It just so happened that my eighteenth year fell on an election year and I have voted every election since… even most local ones.  I have always felt the responsibility to participate as a citizen of the US of A.  Learning the story of the suffragettes’ struggle for my right to vote at age eighteen was astounding.  I couldn’t help but feel that they were proud of me for exercising that right.   It all came full circle for me when I was snapping away, a few Women’s Equality Days later and I heard Governor Haley reference and recommend the movie that inspired me so long ago.

As a photographer, I always find my job a teensy bit harder when I am photographing an even that I find really interesting.  I am so torn about photographing and paying attention.  Such was the case this Women’s Equality Day. Governor Nikki Haley stopped by for a chat with Jennett Alterman, director of the Center for Women and two hundred other interested women (and a few men) and was put together with the help of the League of Women Voters.   Politics aside, it was so inspiring to hear the story and philosophy of a woman who will not be stopped.   Just as the mixed fluorescent and yellow spot lights would not stop me from capturing the moment.  She had inspired me to persevere.

There were several questions during the Q & A from Ashley Hall students about what inspires her to keep going in the face of adversity and who in her circle helps her when the going gets tough.  I loved seeing the look of revelation on the girl’s faces when the Governor replied that she too needed a group of friends to support her with a listening ear and encouraging words. You could see that they were making the connection that the people you surround yourself with can indicate your trajectory in life.  She spoke of overcoming challenges in her early life and how that uniquely prepared her for facing challenges in her professional life and now in her political career. “[A life in] politics is different for a woman, not harder, just different.”, she insisted, to the room full of young ladies and women on the verge of running out and signing up to run for the nearest elected office.   The eager young girls in purple plaid swarmed the Governor when she left the stage to mingle.  They all snapped shots of her and with her using their cameras and iphones, giggling amongst themselves at their proximity to a woman of power.  That alone was fascinating to me, a photographer and a people watcher.  I would have enjoyed watching that for hours… with a bucket of popcorn, of course.

My good friends Erica and Jason of Docent Prodigy Videography captured the whole thing in action and I will post a link to the whole talk when I get that from them.  Until then, Enjoy these!

Click here to see a slideshow.

Storms | Charleston Pet Photographer

I don’t know how many times recently I have had to say “Trust me, the rain is going to clear and the light is going to be AMAZING!”.  The key, I have found, is to try to say it convincinly enough that  A) I don’t sqeak when I do things like – oh, I don’t know – predict the weather?!  and B) I believe the words that are coming out of my mouth.  Clients can smell fear. Ironically, Charleston is just out of the worst drought in years and most of my photos from this year look like I have Ursula from “The Little Mermaid” on speed dial. 

 Here are a couple photos from my session this evening with Lisa, John and little Charlie who stuck it out when I said “Just trust me!” as they watched the wipers sqeak across their windshield. 

We arrived and said hello, only to run for cover minutes later.  In our optimism we struck out without umbrellas and that was promptly met with a torrent of rain.  Of, course we were.  So, we ran for the protection of our umbrellas which, as it turned out were more like garlic warding off vampires than actual umbrellas shielding rain.  Because we toted umbrellas the whole way there was no more rain until we were saying our good byes at the end of a breathtakingly gorgeous session.  Pet, people and weather – all gorgeous!  *squeal* I am a lucky photographer!  

Guys, thank you for trusting me! It was worth it, no?  🙂

MISIU Beauty| Charleston Commercial Photographer

MISIU (mee-shoo) / n. / fr. POLISH: a teddy bear; a term of endearment; something held close to the heart.

One of my first memories of him is moving for her lips with purpose with saying, “Darling, you look naked”.  A quick swipe of lipgloss and all was well with the world.  Classic Andrew.  Lips shall not be naked near him!   So when he shared with me that he was going to pursue his dream of creating a gloss line of his own all I could say was, “Naturally!”.  He had a glimmer in his eye when he showed me a tattoo on his wrist with the letters M I S I U.  It means: a dear teddy bear, a loved one that you hold close.  The Polish term of endearment was about to open a wonderful new world for him.

As with any dream, it feels equally like it began yesterday and like it’s been dragging on f o r e v e r !  And I am proud to say that the end is in sight!  The launch is in late September, stay tuned for details. I have had the privilege of working with him on the photography and I can’t wait to share the campaign!  I snagged the image above from the cutting room floor, more to come!


Follow along with @MisiuBeauty on Twitter and Mishiu Beauty on Facebook  for the latest on the launch!