Shop Talk

Garden Show

For someone who is trying really hard not to work, I sure do a bad job. I don’t know what my problem is. I guess I just have a problem saying “no” and of course there’s always the money issue. It’s hard for me to say “no” to a quick buck when my checking account is gasping for funds. The thing is, I’m a full-time mom and working doesn’t exactly fit into my schedule.

So when the Big Local Mall called me up to photograph their Garden Show again, I called up my mom and lined her up as babysitter. Then my sister-in-law decided to come too and brought along my niece, SuperChic. Before I knew it, the quick photo job had turned into another family extravaganza. The more the merrier, right?

Almost. Things were not going very merrily this morning. I’m always such a stress case whenever I have to be somewhere at a certain time. I hate being late and I hate leaving my house in a royal mess. But it’s kinda hard when you have family in the mix and they need to have their bedding and suitcases and miscellaneous stuff all over. I did my best to be Ms. Hospitality and Ms. Neat-nick at the same time but I think I came off as Ms. Chicken-with-her-head-cut-off instead.


I had to be at the mall at 9 am and pick up a camera at 8 am. Nothing went smoothly. I think that’s just the nature of being a mom and trying to juggle too many things at once. We managed to get out the door at a decent hour but then I took a wrong turn on the wrong boulevard and ended up smack in middle of morning traffic. I wanted to bang my head on the steering wheel. IF ONLY I had taken a different turn we would be sailing to our destination with time to spare. BUT NO… we had to stop at every light and miss every green arrow we came across. I was chewing the stitching off my steering wheel by the time we actually got to the coffee shop where I would meet a friend and pick up the camera. Did I say I hate being late? I really wish I could just learn to chill sometimes.

Thankfully, the camera loaning friend was super cool and he didn’t mind waiting around reading his paper and drinking his coffee for fifteen minutes while I sat in traffic melting bumpers off with my laser eyes of anger. We even had a few minutes to get our own coffee and a quick overview of the many camera functions. It turns out my friend’s camera is ten times better than my old camera and he even taught me a few new tricks.

We made it to the Big Mall with plenty of time to spare and the rest of the day went remarkably smooth. The camera didn’t break and I managed to get all the shots they requested. Plus, the photos didn’t even turn out half bad. I usually come away with a dozen photos that need to be re-shot because they are blurry or something but this time almost every single picture turned out. This just goes to show you that yes, I need to learn to chill. Why do I always get so uptight when everything usually works out in the end? I don’t know. It’s just the way I’m wired.

Baby Bug had a great time tagging along with her cousin and my mom and sister-in-law seemed to really enjoy the Garden Show. I made some money and learned a few photography tricks. Not bad for a day’s work. But still…even after all that good, I think I need to say “no” next time. I’m just not cut out for the pressure I put myself under.


  • Marissa

    Gorgeous photos. May I suggest something; how about offering them as postcards to folks (for a price of course)? I really like the do-hickeys picture (the lady bug and bee things); that would be such a cute postcard!
    Thanks for sharing these pictures with us!

    SAJ says: That is a great idea but The Big Mall owns all the rights to these photos and they probably wouldn’t take kindly to me selling them. I’m probably not even supposed to post them here… but I figure the low quality gif will keep most people from ripping them off. Another problem with making postcards is that the actual production of postcards ends up being $1 or so each and I’m not organized enough to get enough buyers to really turn a profit for the amount of work I would have to put into it. It is something I’ve thought about but these photos aren’t an option. Thanks for always thinking of swell ideas for me though, Marissa

  • margalit

    You just described me to a T. I’m totally a whacko when I’m late. I HATE to be late. I was always the person at work who pulled into the driveway at 7:30 when we didn’t have to be there till 9, and most of the people rolled in around 10. I must be early.

    LOVE the photos. My fave is the dish running away with the spoon. Too adorable. Love that postcard idea, too!

  • Liane

    The photos are beautiful…You should share some of your photography tips with us sometime!

    SAJ says: Heh, one of them I’m too embarrassed to admit I didn’t know already.

  • BeachMama

    Don’t you dare say ‘no’! Those photos are so gorgeous and I am sure they aren’t even the ones you took for the job. The older BB gets the easier it will be and perhaps next time you should arrange to go ahead and let them join you after if they like. Sometimes it is more flustery to have two or three people to get ready instead of just one. And with your talent…. sigh…. I wish I could get a job like that one :).

    SAJ says: actually these are most of my favorites. I had to take a lot of people and product shots and most of them my flash came out a little too harsh. I hate flash. But overall the shoot went prety well. You are right about the flusteries. I think I will organize it that way if there is a next time. You could have a job like this. I only got it because I’m friends with the Big Mall owners.

  • DeeJay

    You are a talented photographer. I hope when your life slows down a little that you are able to pursue photography a little more.

    I too am a lateness freak. Don’t make me be late because I will end up biting somebody.

  • OMSH

    Oooh la la … I would love to be asked to shoot a garden show. Well, I need an indoor flash b/c mine doesn’t cut it, but that would be fabulous!

    You did very well, of COURSE! I really wish the animation didn’t have to be forced into .gif. When I run animations I’m always saying out loud – SOMEONE MAKE THIS WORK WITH .JPG!

    SAJ says: My indoor flash sucks too. I think they all do. Sometimes it wasn’t so bad but most of the time I was just wishing I had a tripod and everybody would just be really really still! Not gonna happen in a busy mall. And yes, gifs are gritty and yucky. But they do cut down on the image theivery.

  • bluejaye

    I love your pictures. You always have a great eye for things. I especially love the one of the yellow flowers suppended in black. Loverly.

    SAJ says: Then you would love Hawaii!

  • Chris

    Lateness is the one thing that drives be batty as well. I can be in the best mood ever, but throw a few red lates and some bumper to bumper traffic in my way and I completely melt down and the mood is shot for the day.

    Gorgeous pics. I wish I had your eye.

  • Sheree

    I can guess at which Big Mall & which flower show you were shooting. We’re going to visit this weekend, too (if the small ones cooperate). Lovely shots!

  • Angella

    What amazing shots! And if you ever figure out the secret to chilling out about being late and how to say “no”, can you clue me in? I’m the same as you, and I hate that sick-to-my-stomach feeling when I’m either running late or have too much on my plate. Bleh!

    At least you got to be around pretty flowers :)

  • Annika

    I love the postcard idea. I know you can’t do it with these photos, but I bet if you ever decided to make them with other pictures (photos or illustrations) you’d sell enough in a heartbeat. I loved your Paris postcard and I would have paid for it.

  • Gramma

    I think your Auntie is off to Carlsbad with Uncle Dave to the flower fields today. Nick will pick Rapunzel up at school and bring her to my house so we can make sticky buns. I’m having a blast making things with your Mom’s bread machine. Hope your Mom and SIL and Glittery are having a great time at the mall.

  • beck

    Beautiful photos. You should do a series of ‘how to’ posts for photography in words that most of us would understand. You could make even a boring old camera manual sound fun!

  • Kuky

    I always love your pictures and I’d love to see your photography tips. It’s so cool the jobs you work on. I never work on anything cool.

    SAJ says: What!!!! Have you looked at your own website lately? Everything you do is cool!

  • Marissa

    “Thanks for always thinking of swell ideas for me though, Marissa”
    Aw, shucks! Thanks for listening to them! :D You’re really talented and I do enjoy reading your blog everyday – you’re the first in my blog-roll.

  • Sharon

    Me too Brenda! Your photo tips would be a hot list on your blog. Your photography is amazing and as I told you, I’d love to sit and watch over your shoulder anyday to pick up tips!

  • Bethany

    I want to know what thing you are embarrassed to admit you don’t know. That comment of yours got me curious. :-)