I attended a workshop last week focused on branding and business for creatives. It was one of those things I looked forward to for a while, had high hopes for and went in with my head held high. This world of glitter hearts and love and shiny amazing things that I found myself in two years ago has been such a blessing, but it's a place that I've suddenly found not fitting quite right. Like those awesome pants you buy on sale that fit perfectly except for the length or the size of the pockets. Those small details that make you question the whole. 

You see, I just turned 29. Well, I guess I've been 29 for just 30 days now and holy cats, does it feel uncomfortable. 29 is so close to 30 and no, it's not that 30 scares me. I'm actually hoping to welcome 30 with arms wide open. It's that this number represents a sort of passage, a kind of growth. Personally, professionally, in all the ways that matter most. 

At this workshop, and actually, in most of my daily life, I find pride and accomplishment in being the age I am and what I would deem a success. This business sort of happened upon me seven+ years ago and I can easily say I found myself in creating these images that make people so so happy. I went from being that awkward kid in high school to being this business woman who's slowly / quickly sometimes making a name for herself in this industry.

When I made the decision only a short two years ago that bar + bat mitzvahs are the events I want to photograph for the rest of my life, it was like someone turned on the light in my heart. Documenting these events is like looking into one of those fortune-teller globes; these kids hold so much promise. I could be in the midst of future presidents, doctors, lawyers, teachers who are going to impact other kids forever. Their future is unknown and SO SO bright. And for as much as I hope the world for them, I also realize who I was always meant to be when I'm in the midst of them, dancing and eating cupcakes and wearing glowsticks on their heads. Feeling the beat of the music and laughing and making memories with their friends. 

On Tuesday, I thought I had it all together. 

At day's end on Tuesday? Total mess. [Slight disclaimer: my mess came in the form of a call home to Mom, reassurance and a slight kick in the pants. See also: Ben & Jerry's pint of strawberry cheesecake]

After the ice cream was gone, I realized something quite remarkable: I had already known I needed to make a change. But that tug in my gold-glitter heart became an unavoidable pull. For as much as I'm growing more every day into who I'm meant to be, these kids are too. The word is spreading and the events get bigger and bigger. I photographed 5 past clients for their senior portraits this year. These kids are growing up! (Insert sobbing / proud me here)

It's time for this cute gold glitter heart-filled world to grow up a bit and change into something a bit more sophisticated, a bit more classic but still 110% me. 

I want to assure you I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be blogging, still be working (oh goodness, the number of families I'll meet this month is AMAZING!) and come early 2015, I'll be a little bit older and a little bit more me :) I say this always and I never want to not say it: your trust and faith in me to continue doing this work pushes me to do even better every time. When your business is YOU, there are decisions you can make that are both personal and professional. This brand refresh is both of those intertwined. And for the record? I know you're all going to love it even more than you love this look + feel. 

As always, you all rock my world. The amount of people I connected with yesterday at a bar + bat mitzvah event fair was astounding - I wanted to hug all of you! I hugged a few, passed out more chocolates and am crossing fingers they call to book me into 2016. The families who have booked for this fall's mini session dates? You make my heart sing. This business feels like a team effort much of the time - I'm putting myself and my work out into the world; you're receiving it with open arms and spreading the love.

Thank you. I'm forever indebted and in love with each and every one of you.

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Back in November, I traveled to San Francisco / Oakland for a few family sessions and before the "work" portion of the trip began, I decided to take a few days to vacation. A word I still am unsure the meaning of! This was after a non-stop summer, a couple of personal triumphs and a few more personal lows, so it couldn't have come at a more perfect time. I'd only traveled alone one other time - to the Maine Media Workshops in 2009 - which proved to be a life-changing series of moments. I was ready for a bit of magic! Special thanks to Jonny Edwin and Olivia for their fantastic recommendations and to Rachel for reconnecting over beer near Washington Square. 

I spent the days running, bus traveling, walking, sleeping and keeping my eyes and ears open for adventure. I ate pizza, I drank wine, I went to cheese shops and bookstores. I had my tintype taken HERE, which I just read closed up shop earlier this year - so grateful I had the experience when they were still open!

The best part? I encountered the BatKid experience on my last morning run; proof that dreams come true and good people help make them happen!

Everything was new, everything was perfect. With the slight exception of the worst cough/cold on the history of the planet, but I didn't let that stop me. 

I took my camera with me only once, on a 5 hour bus tour of the city that should have lasted only 2. I had a lot of time to spend looking, seeing and dreaming. I captured the majority of these images on that bus tour, exploring lines, composition, angles and colors, all from a bus seat. Unfortunately, I didn't picnic in front of the Painted Ladies like I had hoped, but there's always next time! And who knows, maybe then I'll run into Uncle Jesse and little Michelle from Full House. Dreams really do come true! 

Looking through these images, I'm so grateful for the few days I had here and am counting the months until I can return. There is so much more to see and explore, but for now, these images are enough San Fran magic for me :)

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Remember June 2014 in Minneapolis? It rained EVERY SINGLE DAY. I'm talking torrential downpours, floods, the whole 9 yards. I know a lot of you are still overcoming your feelings about all the standing water in town, so I'll move on :)

On June 7, the Liz Logelin Foundation hosted it's annual Run, Walk, Hope 5K + 10K race. In one of a thousand downpours. It was a fabulously wet adventure had by all and the most memorable race so far!

A cause that I sort of stumbled upon back in 2011, the LLF provides grants to widows and widowers with young families and offers resources and support for those grieving loss. I've been so blessed to be able to document past races for the LLF HERE and HERE. Over the last three years, Matt, Lindsay and so many involved in this organization have become friends. I'm grateful for their friendship, support of my business and the belief they have in the importance of helping people. Plain and simple? They're awesome.

If you want to learn more, go to the website and buy a ticket for the gala this fall on September 20th. It will be at the Target Field Metropolitan Club for the 2nd year in a row - I can't wait to see my photos on the JumboTron again! 

I adore this photo of Maddy and Matt - so classic! Maddy donned in her running gear of t-shirt, shorts and shoes. Matt was clearly unprepared, raincoat, wool pants and winter boots. But Maddy? That girl can run. She's honestly my hero. 

 

xoxo,
Sydnee 

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Guess who this bright, shining face is?! MY SUMMER INTERN ANA! YAY!

I was so excited to receive her note earlier this spring about interning with me for the summer - my head instantly was filled with ideas for projects, fun lunch dates and ice cream breaks galore! An interesting tidbit: Ana was my 2nd ever Bat Mitzvah client way back in 2010. I've stayed in touch with her fabulous family and she's just the sweetest!

We've had a few work sessions so far, with plenty more to come. I can't wait to share more with Ana about photography, how I got started, how to run a business ... the list goes on!  I'm so excited to see where this experience takes Ana. If anything, I know where I can find my next headshot :)

Cheers to many more ice cream + donut tasting times - and getting that to-do list checked off! The best part? She took all these amazing photos below - a natural, I'd say!

A note from Ana: Hi, I'm Ana, Sydnee's new intern! Next year, I will be a senior at Breck, but for now, I am having an awesome time getting to work with Sydnee, learning how to run a business, as well as working on my own photography too. I have always loved exploring new and different places with my backpack, typically with camera in tow, along with the notion that photography allows one to share and experience again a period of time, even after it has passed. Looking at the work of adventure photographers, especially those from National Geographic, as well as the photoraphers that are closer to home, like Sydnee, I have been inspired to improve my own photography, so I could evoke the same emotion and memories that I feel when looking at these photographers' images.

Huge thanks to Sydnee for letting me tag along with her, and for teaching me so much...and being such a fun person to be spending time with! 

xoxo,
Sydnee (+ Ana too!) 

Posting a photo of a dry, WARM desert is probably the meanest thing I could do when we're in the midst of yet another #polarvortex here in Minneapolis. I'm even upset at myself for doing this! 

This amazing desert photo was taken by the ever-fabulous Maria Bartrum in May 2012, a mere days before I quit my full-time job and made the leap to a full-time freelancing career. I was unsure. Everything was unknown. It was scary. I was SCARED. I kept looking outside of myself for the assurance I was doing the right thing. 

When I left Nevada, Maria told me to follow my heart, that it would never lead me astray.

For the last two years of gold-glitter magic, I've worked hard every day to do just that. And Maria was right. Everyone who told me to speak from the heart, follow my heart, trust my heart, was right.

Things keep growing. They keep moving. Clients keep calling and we keep becoming fast friends. I keep partying with 13 year olds on the weekends during the biggest event of their lives and I keep going back for more. I keep running (literally) and I keep facing fears. I keep dreaming big big dreams and they keep coming true. Teaching 400 kids in a year with a nonprofit "job" I love? No problem!

Because that girl who didn't look in the camera in 2012, who wasn't sure where she was headed, is so very grateful to be standing here now. Because I know where I'm going and guys, it's gonna be so great. Probably filled with a lot of confetti and sparkly things! I can't wait! 

It took far longer than two years for me to realize that everything I ever wanted to know about growing a business, moving forward in a career, building a life out of everything I love would reveal itself in due time. That people would come in and out of my life to teach me lessons to carry in my toolbox forever. That this idea of trusting the process that I've held onto for almost ten years is 10000% the best idea ever. 

When the Minneapolis branch of Creative Mornings asked me to speak at their January meeting, I started writing this speech. A SPEECH. As in, "I've called you all here today..." BORING. About two minutes before I stepped up to the mic, a friend looked at me, put his hand on his chest and said, "Just speak from here, you'll know exactly what to say." 

What I need to know is in my heart, in my gut. Now being removed from THE LEAP, I wish I could tell that girl in the desert to believe in herself. To stare right down the lens of that camera and never take no for an answer. To love every single second of what life throws at her. To laugh and tell your story with such passion that you inspire strangers. If you would have told the girl in the desert photo that someday, you could search for her name on YOUTUBE and a video of her speaking from the heart would appear, she would have laughed. 

Now? I'm just reveling in the fact that my Grandma tells everyone I'm a celebrity. And that's just fine with me :)

xoxo,
Sydnee 

ps. Thanks to my new awesome friends Ryan Gates and Dale Carlson for making me look cool. No really, you guys rock! 

11 days. Less than 264 hours until I cross the finish line near the St. Paul capitol building and have that shiny medal placed around my neck.

That's right folks! The Twin Cities Marathon is almost, finally, here!

I sent a cute email out to my family and friends this morning with fingers crossed they would cheer for me on the slidelines. And once I hit "send," I thought: but what about all my secret admirers and clients turned friends and friendworking buddies? 

So here you are! If you're near the route on Sunday, October 6th, I'd love to see you! Throw a little gold glitter on a piece of paper, throw it in the air, whatever. Bring your glitter and your brightest smiling face - I can't promise I'll be in tip top shape, but I can promise a smile :)

As many of you know, about three years ago I started running. Actually, I learned "how to run" first and I've never looked back. I never thought I'd call myself a runner, get up before sunrise to meet friends to run the Mpls lakes, all of the things that come with this lifestyle. But, I wouldn't have it any other way. This "thing" I do has changed my outlook on life, helped me refine my goals, made me a better and stronger person and it's been a gateway to meet some of the coolest people I know! 

Another aspect of this runner-life is that some of you have been inspired - we've ran your first race together, instead of going for drinks we went for a run, you've asked for advice on shoes or routes or just plain called me crazy - and honestly? These are the reasons why I keep doing this: to pay it forward and help inspire others live their best life by every day choosing to live mine.

The next step in this journey? the Twin Cities Marathon on Sunday, October 6th - all 26.2 miles. 11 DAYS AWAY!

I've spent about 5 months training and feel ready to crush this race. Every Sunday for the last three months, I've been running 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 18, 20, 14 miles around Minneapolis and St. Paul. So many of you ask: "what the heck do you DO during that time?" It's simple: one foot in front of the other. But really, it's spent thinking about all of you. All the support and encouragement you've provided along the way and reminiscing about times we've spent together - all the things that helped me get to mile 12 or mile 20. THANK YOU!

Now, it's purely mental. Part of this mental preparedness comes during the race itself - feeling inspired and pumped up by all the spectators along the way…So…if you're willing...

I would LOVE to see your smiling faces along the route - this race is known as the most beautiful urban marathon in America! With the gorgeous fall colors, lakes and popular sites along the way, I'm sure you'll have a great time :) Plus, you'll see me speeding by! (fingers crossed) 

But, this isn't totally about watching me run - there are so many inspirational stories coming out of the marathon this year, especially in light of the April Boston Marathon events. It's great to hear the background of fellow runners - I'm sure you'll hear plenty of these stories on the spectators side of the race too! 

All the information you'll need is here: https://www.tcmevents.org/_asset/kt87s2/2013-Spectator-Guide.pdf

I would love your support as I reach this goal - send prayers, good vibes and love on October 6th! Fingers crossed for good weather, safe running and an amazing journey to the finish line!

Don't hesitate to ask questions or call me crazy one last time ;) [For specific race information i.e. race number, what corral or what I'll be wearing that day, email me!]

xoxo,
Sydnee