15 minute posts,  Life Lessons,  Shop Talk

catching laughter


I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to please people. It’s in my dna or something. I’m like my dad who’s always trying to carry your groceries up the stairs or fix that leaky faucet. Do you need a foot rub? Let me get some lotion… It’s not that I’m entirely selfless but that I truly get more happiness from making someone else happy than I do from making myself happy. And sometimes when I’m really happy, I catch myself looking around to make sure everyone else is really happy too. One sad person can ruin it for me.

You know that feeling when you throw a party and you’re so worried about your friends getting along that you can’t sit down and enjoy their company yourself because you’re too afraid that shy-wallflower-friend-number-three will never feel at ease with crazy-loud-outspoken-friend-number-four? It’s a kind of sickness. Codependency or something. I’m not really sure.

This is not really related to anything but I bring it up because I worried a lot about the pictures of my niece above. Were they too suggestive? Is it bad that I let my fifteen-year-old niece wear a leather corset for a photo shoot? I still don’t know the answers to that. I’m not really open to discussion on it either. My point is it’s a huge bummer because that photo shoot was so so so much fun. I mean, look at her. Is she having fun? Doesn’t she make you smile? Isn’t she beautiful?

And because of my worry and my people-pleasing tendencies, these photos were going to die in the archives of my hard drive, never to see the light of day.

So I said screw it.

I’ve been thinking about the importance of fun. My life could be half over right now. What do I want to do with the rest of it?  Just stop and think about that.


I have a job that is really really fun. We get to make things and play all day. And then I photograph the things I make and try to portray how fun these products really are so that other people will want to buy them and have fun too. And I’ll get to pay my bills somewhere along the way or something like that. Everybody’s got to make a living, so why can’t we have a little fun along the way, right? I don’t want to sell life insurance. I want to sell life enjoyment.




When I was shooting our latest mettaprints Valentines line, it really sunk in that my favorite thing to do is photograph people laughing. It’s like trying to catch fire. It’s fleeting but when you see it captured on film you can almost feel it as if you were there. You can bottle it up and spread it around like contagious happiness.


I always tell my models to laugh. Those pictures always turn out the best.  Everyone is nervous in photo shoots.  Being in front of the camera is stressful but the best way to get over that is to shoot a bazillion photos. Yes, you will look like an idiot in fifty percent of them. That’s just life. But those other photos that you don’t look like an idiot in? Those are gold. So I make fart jokes or act like an idiot and it just brings the whole shoot to life. Sometimes we really really get to laughing too. Like side-bursting laughing. It’s a high. I just want to recreate it over and over.



So I guess I’m just saying it’s good to be forty and doing something that is kind of fun. I can’t believe people actually take me seriously. Fun is good business. Not because I’m making lots of money (I’m not.) but because it’s worth doing.


  • Susan:)

    I know what you mean about trying to make everyone happy, and if someone isn’t, you aren’t fully either.

    I guess I kind of view my job the same way. My job is taking care of kids, but I want them to have fun and be happy more than anything. So I get to play and do creative things with them, which I also love to do. Yay!

    I think your niece looks lovely and def happy in those photos. She’s decent and covered so who cares what she’s wearing?

    How was Bug’s birthday? My older niece turns six this weekend, so we will be partying!

  • cc

    There is nothing wrong with the photos of Amber. Plus, its not like you gave her the corset and said here I found this put it on, it came out of her own suitcase. Which means its parent approved, well at least one parent approved it.

    I haven’t seen her smile like that in such a long time, these photos make me really happy.

  • Cathy

    You’re a people pleaser too? I totally get it. I don’t have a fun fun job like you though – I think if you’re happy in your job and having fun, you’ve found success! Yay for you. :)

  • Susan

    Brenda that is one of your best posts EVER! Amber looks beautiful and so do you, I can’t believe how long your hair is and your smile is beautiful. Here’s to JOY and to thanking you for all of it you CREATE for so many of us!!! XXOO

  • jo's mom

    Amber’s looks like she is having fun and the corset covers more than a bathing suit and I think the pictures of her are some of your best.

  • Natalie

    Amber looks beautiful AND like she is comfortable. If her parents approved the corset then I think that the real lesson here is that you and your family are giving all your kids enough room to explore who they are is a safe and loving environment. Besides 15 year olds will want to look like they are 18, 18 year olds will want to look 24 and 24 year old will want to be treated like they are 30 (taken seriously) and then we hit 30+ and want to look 18 years old again. She looks happy and confident and when she is 30 she will look at those pictures and see a beautiful young woman and will be proud of herself and be proud that she came from family that supported and nurtured her.

  • pinky

    I think your niece looks like a superhero! She is adorable, and that photo of her showing the wings to the camera is perfection :-)

  • Clownfish

    I come here because I love the pics you shoot and the words that tell your story at any given time. I come here because…it’s you B.

    For those who have something negative to say, I say, click the red ‘x’ in the upper right corner. C ya, bye!

    My favorite line of this post, ” I don’t want to sell life insurance. I want to sell life enjoyment.” You love to photograph people laughing. Probably as much as I love making people laugh.

    I’ve begun that second half of life and make no time for the haters. I’ll wish you well haters but I’m hanging with the laughers like B!

  • BeachMama

    Photographing laughter is one of my favorite was to capture people. Their true side comes out. The ones who say “I don’t smile” or “I prefer the serious pics” are the hardest to work with. Something tells me they need laughter more than anything. I love my job and like you am not a millionaire, but I capture moments and share them with Joy!

    p.s your niece looks great, ignore those who say otherwise. I mean LOOK how happy she is!!!!

  • cath

    Wow – just look at that 15-year-old owning those pics and revelling in her style, sass and obviously abundant gorgeous personality! She looks beautiful and happy, and a lot of 15 year olds around the place could learn from her confidence too. How great it must be to have an aunt that gives her the freedom to be herself. So stop worrying!

  • Kuky

    Yes Rapunzel looks beautiful! And I didn’t think any of those negative things when I saw the pictures. I just thought, wow I can’t believe how much she’s grown but then I think that every time I see Bug or Isabelle and I remember that time we visited when they were soooo small.

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