Why I Became a Photographer

Ely_Fair©-1 Why I became a photographer

January and February are typically our slow time. So Ryan and I use these months to do our taxes, sleep a little and take some time to reflect on the year and re-evaluate where we are, how we feel about what we have done the past 12 months and set some goals on what we could be doing better. It’s a good time to step back and focus again on what we want Ely Fair Photography to be.

I recently listened in on a webinar through Creme Brands, which encouraged artists to create their brand around the why, not the what. Answering the question of why I am choosing to shoot weddings and family portraits, and not focusing on what is inside my frame. Which in general I feel like I’m pretty good at having the perspective that I am “creating memories for people”.

So, awesome, how more general and stereotypical can I get on the why? Of course every single person who owns a camera wants to “make memories.” Thanks for that Kodak marketing.

Anyway, so I took a moment to really think why being a photographer was meaningful enough to me to step away from a steady 9-5 job that had benefits and more friendly tax incentives to pursue Ely Fair. And, because I’m not a word person, my mind settled on these photos.

You see, I didn’t grow up around my grandparents. It was a relationship that was saying hello over the phone on Easter and Christmas, cards with checks in the mail on my birthday and a visit every 3 or 4 years. I probably had more one-on-one in-person interactions with my pediatrician than I ever did with my grandparents. And I’m definitely not saying this to complain, there’s no hard feelings between anyone– it was just life living several states away. I love my grandparents– but it was hard to know them.

I think that innately as humans we crave to be known and to be known by others. And for me the way that I got to know my grandparents was sitting down with my Grandma Mecozzi and going through boxes of old, faded square photos with creamy white boarders. She had three boxes, one of them floral print, one blue and one pink. And she would sit down with me and tell me all about them. Every photo came with a story and a new jumping point to have a deeper understanding of my family. In addition to the time together, it allowed me to know my Grandparents in a way I never could with out a time machine– I got to know their past.

Ely_Fair©-2I got to see my grandma when she was pregnant. So adorable, although she wasn’t too keen on the photo. And see my Grandpa so handsome in his Air Force uniform. And hear the story about how he didn’t have a middle name until he enrolled in the AF and had to choose one. George is what he chose. And stories and images of my Grandmother’s favorite house she ever lived in. And what it was like to shop on the base grocery store. And the photo of my grandpa holding up my Aunt in front of the cows– so imperfect with the disheveled chair and a little underexposed– but that photo speaks to me in silent words that touch my heart.

So for me, photographs are about relationships. The way that they can start a story that allows you to have a deeper relationship with others today, and in the future– and that’s what I hope will happen with my work. I think it’s really hard these days with Pinterest and Instagram to feel like you have to create a world that is perfect, with clothes that are matching and the latest cute trend.  But when it comes down to it, my heart leans towards the moments of everyday because although they may be messy and a little disheveled, the everyday is real and worth knowing.Ely_Fair©-3 Why I became a photographer

(Isn’t my grandma the cutest in those glasses??)

So, you tell me. What speaks to your heart? I would love to hear.

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Brides of Oklahoma Shoot with Emerson Events

EmmersonEvents_007© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_014© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_006© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_009© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_008© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_011© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_013© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_012© Ely Fair Photography EmmersonEvents_010© Ely Fair Photography

See more photos on the Brides of Oklahoma Website!

Vendor Credit:
Event Planner: Emerson Events & Design
Cake: Amy Cakes
Hair: BLO.
Treats: Brown Egg Bakery
Invitations: Chirps & Cheers
Jewelry: Naifeh Fine Jewelry
Rentals: Mariannes Rentals for Special Events
Venue: Oak Tree Country Club
Make Up: LJ. Hill Makeup Artistry
Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions
Food: Cheever’s Catering & Events

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Weekend Favorites: Surprise Wedding!!

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Year in Review: Weddings 2014

Year after year we feel honored and blessed to have been a part of our brides and grooms wedding days. We want to take a moment to thank you for inviting us to document your day, we cherish these moments as much as you do.

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Ely Fair Photography | National Wedding PhotographersEly Fair Photography | National Wedding Photographers

And after showing you our best pictures of 2014, we will show you our WORST. Our end-of-the-night-after-a-sweaty-day-of-work Selfies. This year we decided that we wanted to document ourselves at all of your weddings. We only managed to remember to do it for 8 of our weddings, we will do better next year. New Years resolution pinky promise.

wedding_selfies

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Year in Review: Engagements 2014

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Year in Review: Small Business Series and Corporate Work Favorites of 2014

One of the surprising developments of 2014 was my love for working with businesses. If you had told me two years ago that I would be falling in love with environmental head shots, I would have laughed at you and argued about how I would never stray from the emotion and excitement of weddings. But I think that owning a business has given me so much perspective on how much love is also poured into lots of people’s work. Which makes these near and dear to me.

Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Sara Moore Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Sara MooreEly Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design | Styling by JuniperEly Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design | Styling by Juniper
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design | Styling by Juniper Cuppies & Joe | Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Cuppies & Joe Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Designs Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Designs Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Love Well Handmade Home Line Bloom Culture by Juniper OKC | Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Verdigris Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Pencil Shavings Studio
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | INTEGERS Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Sara Kate Studios EF3_1614 Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Louise Dean Designs | Styling by Juniper OKC Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Louise Dean Designs | Styling by Juniper OKC Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Louise Dean Designs | Styling by Juniper OKC Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product lines | Juniper OKC Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Hoboken hoboken Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Dutch OKC Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product lines | Lovewell Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Chirps & Cheers Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Mariposa Coffee
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design | Styling by Juniper
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma City Environmental Head Shots & Product Lines | Wednesday Custom Design | Styling by Juniper

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Year in Review: Kiddos & Newborns

Wow, I know I say this every year. But 2014 flew by. I can’t believe it’s that time of year again that we are doing our year’s favorite photos. But here we are. Thank you so much to so many of you who have made our year so great.

Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamiliesEly Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies | Scotland Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies | Scotland Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies | Scotland Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies
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Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies
EF3_6379 Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies
Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamiliesEF3_5027 Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamiliesEly Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamiliesEF3_4936 Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies Ely Fair Photography | Oklahoma Family & Newborn Photographer | #elyfairfamilies

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Cottage Hill: Merry Christmas, Darling

We are excited to have done some work with Cottage Hill for the holiday season! They have prettier words than me, so you should go read the article :-)

elyfair4Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Christmas Shoot Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Christmas Shoot EF3_4936 Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Family Photography elyfair3 EF3_5027 elyfair2 Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Bedtime Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Winter Cider Untitled-4 Cottage Hill | Ely Fair Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Custom Tags Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Christmas WrapEF3_5004 Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Christmas Cards Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Christmas Wrap Cottage Hill | Ely Fair Cottage Hill | Ely Fair | Poppy Lane |Christmas  floral gift tag Cottage Hill | Ely Fair ——

Photography by Ely Fair Photography :: Creative Direction + Floral Design by Poppy Lane Design :: Hair and Makeup by Kelsie Loyd :: Calligraphy by Design Roots :: Wood provided by Big-Name Lawn Care :: Cards by Rifle Paper Co. provided by Dutch Floral & Home :: Special thanks to Melissa Click and family

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Weekend Favorite

Ely Fair

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Small Business Series No. 18: Mariposa Coffee Roastery

Today I want to share with you a company that I think is absolutely the bee’s knees. I got to spend a afternoon with Daniel and Amyie Kao of Mariposa Coffee Roastery as they did a coffee cupping session (for quality control) and it was amazing! Honestly I’m not a huge coffee drinker (be known that this post is from Ely, not Ryan– he is a huge coffee lover) but hearing their story and passion for a quality product was inspiring. But even beyond that, the heart behind their product is to have a socially minded company that has a positive global impact and social justice. A portion of Mariposa’s proceeds go to partnering with Water4 to help give people access to clean water, specifically in the regions that their coffee beans are grown. Amyie recently gave a Ted talk and one of my favorite things that she said was “local actions can have a global impact.” I love this way of thinking, and I love Mariposa’s goal, in their words, “to honor the hard work that is poured into every every single coffee bean that’s gone before us.”

Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography

Name: Daniel and Amyie Kao

Business Name:  Mariposa Coffee Roastery

Website: www.mariposacoffeeroastery.com

Favorite Dessert:
Amyie: Depends on the season and the occasion, maybe a meyer lemon sorbet during the summer and creme brûlée in the winter

Daniel: Homemade Chinese Egg Tart. Brings me back to the memories of my childhood.

Favorite Artist/Album:
Amyie: This one is tough—all time favorite? I’d say “Winter Trees” by the Staves? Since it’s the holidays maybe a compilation of She and Him and Sufjan Stevens.

Daniel: Never thought I’d say it, Elton John. His Tumbleweed Connection album, definitely an all-time classic.

When did you start your business? 2009

What inspired you to start it?
It was serendipitous, really.  Daniel was fascinated with how far each bean traveled, the transformation of taste during roasting, and the endless tinkering that came with crafting specialty coffee.

We were just two broke college students, really. He didn’t have money for an actual roaster so he used an old-fashioned popcorn popper and later built one from a barbecue grill. In the beginning, we planned to use our passion for coffee to fight injustice and both ended up falling in love with the very art of craft coffee. Plus, we discovered that there is much injustice that is tied to specialty coffee alone. So we are focused on doing life as responsibly as possible. We’ve just sold our house and have gone back to renting and our hope is to do business as responsibly as possible and stay true.

We are dedicated to supporting our local and global community as well as crafting the perfect cup for each person we serve.

One of the things that I love most about Mariposa is its social consciousness. Can you speak a little on what things you do to make sure that your company is having a positive global impact?
In the beginning we rotated different causes and then we realized that there was so much unmet social responsibility within our own industry. We were shocked to find that our number 1 ingredient and the very tool we use to curate the very best handpicked coffees (in the world!) were often not available to the very people picking coffee cherries and I think we were heart broken. So ever since we discovered the overlap between economic water scarcity and coffee growing regions, we haven’t stopped advocating and saving funds to build wells. We’re a tiny operation and so we’ve only managed to put one well in but are working towards our second in Rwanda. Here’s a link to some pictures and videos:
https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.618903774788220.1073741824.117870724891530&type=3
and some blog posts:
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2014/3/13/more-than-a-beverage
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2013/8/17/coffee-with-a-conscience
http://mariposacoffeeroastery.com/blog/2013/8/16/community-passion-justice

What would you say was your biggest challenge to overcome?
Financial resources and space.

Our parents came to this country with nothing of their own (Amyie’s parents were refugees) and we do not have the wealth or space to slowly renovate.  We have dreams of cultivating a enchanting cafe but will have to grow slow and roll with our coffee trailer for now.

Who/what was your biggest encouragement and why?
When people from our very own community and those who we do not know but enjoy our coffee become advocates of the way we craft our beans and do life—when they catch our vision and become advocates of Mariposa.

What is your favorite part of your business:
For us, coffee is more than a beverage. Endless hours of labor and sweat are poured into the cultivation, harvest, and processing of each coffee bean. Then these beans travel millions of miles before even reaching us. Locked within each bean, are delicate flavors and aromas waiting to be released. We hand craft each small batch with the hope of honoring all the hard work that preceded us.

As craft roasters, we value the art of coffee and are fascinated with curating each coffee through a variety of brew methods. We love how the same coffee can illicit memories and inspire creativity. We love that a single origin coffee can be so different from season to season. The terroir of the coffee: soil quality, altitude of growth, origin, and roasting technique can all bring out the finer details of flavors hidden within a coffee bean.

If you had advice to anyone who might be starting a business like yours?
Carve out time for rest, and enjoy the everyday adventures living life! (Amyie)

I’m (Daniel) going to get sappy. You will never truly know how passionate you are about something unless you sacrifice every ambition to run after it. This may sound intense but I look back at our ambitions, and all of them have been shelved for Mariposa. Was it worth it? Absolutely, it’s made us know better who we are as people. It’s necessary to have a life outside of business and intentionally have relationships in your life other than those tied to the business. For me, when I leave the roastery, the work will be there the next day. That’s not necessarily so for people – particularly my family. We all age and we’ll miss out on moments of our children growing up. Will my work be there every Christmas and holiday the same way families enjoy each other? The answer is obviously no, so it’s a necessity for me to cherish every moment with my wife and child(ren).

Anything else about your small business that you’re passionate about?
Enjoying coffee is in many ways, a universal experience. It wakes us up on weary mornings, transforms the atmosphere of gatherings and, warms us on chilly days. There’s something magical about stories shared over coffee and the traditions that include it. We believe coffee is a key component in building community and encouraging creativity.  We love identifying the roast profile of each coffee and highlighting taste notes that spotlight its origins. When these delicate notes reach our palate they get us going. I think I can go on and on, but, it truly warms our hearts when our coffee becomes part of those storied traditions and gatherings.

Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography Mariposa Coffee | Small Business Series | Ely Fair Photography

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Thank you so much Daniel & Amyie for being a part of the series. Your small business reminds me of the way little things can create an impact if you step back and look at the big picture.

So if you guys love good coffee, good people, and doing good things for others check out Mariposa’s website to purchase beans for your own brewing, or you can find them at Bleu Garten through the holiday season (see schedule here) and say hi to the Kao’s for me! Also, check out Amyie’s Ted talk, it really is inspiring.

We hope that this SBS post has inspired you to remember not only to give to your friends and family this holiday season, but also extend your heart and reach to those that could use a blessing. To give directly to those who need clean water, check out Water4 based out of OKC, or Second Mile Water who are dear friends of ours who are doing great things. Some other places to think about giving or volunteering are the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, the City Rescue Mission, United Way and so many more. If you guys have more ideas please feel free to post in the comments!

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