Fun Day – Fremont Market | The Ciccarellis

This past weekend the rain took a brief break to give us a beautiful sunshine-filled morning. We took the opportunity to test a new lens and take our friend Hisam to the Fremont Market. If you’ve never been, you must. The people, artists, and food trucks are totally worth it, not to mention the delicious smells and unique gifts.

Our favorites: hand-sewn fingerless mittens by an artist who is also a potter (love hand-made pottery!), a Newfoundland puppy who was already over 100 lbs, tulips in all colors, the busy flea market, delicious food smells, a long wood-carved table for 10 (really need a cool house for this one), a jeweler who makes bright flower earrings, and spending time with each other and friends!

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Book Review #5 – The Ciccarellis

In March (our 7th book) we read The Success Principles by Jack Canfield, continuing our 12-in-12 book challenge.

(Catch up with our other reviews by clicking the links: 1st2nd3rd or 4th)

Scroll down to watch our live review via Vimeo or read our review instead just below the video.

Again this book is tabbed like crazy for future use, plus a reread or two.

Book #7: The Success Principles

Wow, this book is an eye-opener/life changer, to say the least. We 100% recommend this book. There are so many basic life lessons that just make sense in here. It doesn’t matter if you own your own business, are a stay at home parent, or work for the man…this book is for everyone. We guarantee you will learn from it! Again, this book is so amazing there are too many things to share so we picked 5 things we do now.

Take-Aways we use NOW:

1. Purpose & Goal Setting – This book is full of activities to do and practice (so get a notebook!). One of the first things you’ll do is discover your purpose. Not your career, but the general concept of what you believe your purpose is and finding actions to fulfill that purpose. Jack is a big believer on setting goals…whether it’s life goals (ex: bucket list) or goals for your career, once you’ve read this book you’ll have lists upon lists of goals!

2. Set Big Goals – In this process we set many goals from small to big, but Jack really doesn’t want you to shy away from anything. If you had a goal when you were younger to be a lion tamer than add that to the list! One exercise even has you list one giant goal (something that other people might think is unattainable). There are so many purposes for goal setting and to write some of those big ones down feels amazing, it helps you believe you can do them!

3. Big Goals need Big Motivation – Sometimes it’s hard to get a big goal accomplished and what you need is motivation. Not just someone telling you to do it, but a great reward or maybe a consequence if you don’t do it by a certain time. One of our latest goals is to have a cheat meal once every 5 days (we’ve done it before but recently have been lacking). We needed some motivation so if either of us doesn’t follow this goal (ex: have a cookie on the 3rd day) then we give up our monthly personal money to the other. If you read our post about Dave Ramsey and budgeting than you know we each get a certain amount of personal money each month to do whatever with (everything else is budgeted) so this money is super important to both of us and we absolutely do NOT want to give it up over a cookie.

4. Success/Thankful Journal – This month, thanks to this book, we both started a journal. Each night we right 2-4 success (big or small) that we accomplished in that day. It could even be that we worked really hard at the gym. One thing we decided to add to this concept was also writing 2-4 things we are thankful for each day. This idea helps give us confidence and is a way to look back and read over some great successes and remember what you’re thankful for when you’re down or need a boost before a big meeting.

5. Educate Yourself– Education continues to be a similar theme in our favorite books. Jack writes about how important it is to continue educating yourself through books, podcasts, workshops, and mentors. We agree completely and are even more dedicated to continuing on this path of 12 in 12 (or more!) books for self-education each year. Two things he said that we love are “be teachable” and “leaders are readers”. He explains that being teachable means you never know when you might learn from someone or an experience so be open to learning in random places…you never know when someone may give you the best advice or knowledge.


Can’t say enough great things about this book. A must read…the best so far! Thanks for reading!
~Erik & Marissa
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Erin & Stephen | Ballard Engagement

Erin & Stephen are beyond cute and in love. Erin is so sweet and bubbly with a never-ending smile stretches across her face. (It helps that Stephen makes her laugh every minute.) Stephen seems enchanted by Erin and definitely supports and loves her with his whole heart. Although more used to her laugh than us, Stephen also smiles with joy in Erin’s happiness. Happy about happiness…what a loving combination for a successful marriage!

We were pleased that this pair chose the Chittenden Locks and Botanical Gardens (plus a few shots in downtown Ballard) for their engagement session, our first one there! All 4 of us kept our fingers crossed since it had poured the following day and called for rain again. As it turned out, it was sunny and warm until the last 10 minutes of our session. Even the rain didn’t effect Erin & Stephen’s happiness as they eagerly popped open their umbrella and we all tromped into the rainy street for the last few shots. They officially have “Seattle” pictures in the rain, as they called them. We only wish someone took a photo of us while we propped our reflector overhead shielding our cameras from the rain!

Coincidence that this couple wore orange and maroon? Nope! They both went to Virginia Tech and randomly met at the airport in Seattle because Erin was sporting her Virginia Tech hoodie. Stephen found it hard to resist that conversation starter and they’ve been together since.

 Since we were in Ballard we obviously had to stop by The Peoples Pub, VT bar where Erin and Stephen go to cheer on their team.

Erin & Stephen, we cannot wait for the wedding only 4 months away! It’s going to be such a fun and happy day. ~Erik & Marissa


Allison Smith Millington - Erin, I can’t decide if you look more like your Mom, or your grandmother. It’s that smile! CONGRATULATIONS!

Lisa Henry - fabulous couple! congrats!

Sandy Smith - Adorable!

Phyllis Reilly - Oh my goodness Erin……so happy for you and congrats on your engagement! These pictures of you and your fiancee are wonderful. Will look forward to more pictures of your upcoming wedding. Hope you remember me from Hersheypark.

Anna Nowicka - congratulations for both of you! pictures are amazing.

Phyllis Reilly - Love the pictures, Erin… happy for youi both.

Nancy Sullivan - Theybarenaomhappy., yeah? In one of the last she really reminds me of you.

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Morgan & Nate – Engagement | Seattle Arboretum

Morgan & Nate are high school sweethearts, which we love because we can relate! The best part is all the stories they have from way back when. Nate was making all of us laugh with stories of their old nicknames and how he remembers Morgan’s backpack wearing days in the hallways of their high school. Morgan was completing the picture for us by telling us about Nate’s days as a wrestler. We could picture it all too clearly and love that they have these shared memories.

We met at the Seattle Arboretum and were completely wowed by all the blooming trees. It also happened to be the most beautiful day with Seattle treating us with warmth and sunshine. This spot and the weather put everyone in a good mood, and Nate soon had Morgan giggling like a high schooler again. These tend to be our absolute favorite pictures and it certainly shows how he can make her smile!

Countdown to the wedding…almost 1 month away! We are so excited to be there with you!

Morgan & Nate also brought their baby, Bailey, although she’s a bit bigger than a baby (160 lbs. actually!) she is a big lover. We were happy to capture a few with them all together!

Thank you Morgan, Nate & Bailey! See you soon for the big day!

Ashley Cuyle - Is there any way to snag a few for the bridal gift I am making Morgan?

Bobby B Blanchette - Not a emotional man, but it brought tears to my eyes. A very beautiful wedding!

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Engagement Sessions – part 1 of 2 | An Education

It’s the first Wedesday of the month and we are going to be more consistent in writing some educational blogs, hooray! This has been a goal of ours that we are following through with, thanks to our latest book challenge books Rework and The Success Principles, which taught us to follow through and share out. These monthly blogs will cover everything from photo to business tidbits for people wanting to start their own photography business, people who are already in the business, or for those interested in learning how to take better pictures of your kid or cat!

April Topic: Engagement Sessions – Why they’re important & making your client comfortable.

This month we are writing about Engagement Sessions, which will be continuing next month. Recently it has come to our attention that engagement sessions are super important! There are so many reasons, but first and foremost is being able to connect with our couples again. We’ve talked, maybe even met, they’ve booked us and sometimes we don’t see them for a year until the wedding! Yikes, the engagement session is a great way to see your couple again, get to know them even better, and build trust that you will be amazing on their wedding day.

Some other reasons to schedule engagement sessions…

your couple gains confidence so the wedding runs smoother

watching how your couple reacts in front of a camera

seeing how your couple works together

having your couple get to know you

showing your couple how you shoot=no surprises at the wedding

giving your couple a set of casual photos they can use

using the photos to market their wedding

We find that most of our clients are actually not 100% comfortable in front of the camera. Either they are photographers themselves and are used to being behind the camera or they just don’t know what to expect and are nervous about the process of getting their picture taken. If you think about it, this could be the first time they’ve gotten professional photos since their senior picture days! And if you are close to our age you know that photography has changed a lot since then. (Although we do have some hilarious pictures posing with our fists under our chins!) We also remind ourselves each session how we felt when we had our engagement photos taken…nervous, excited, unsure of what to do. (Luckily we had awesome photographers, Adam & Laura Queen, shoot ours, which made it wonderful.)

Our first priority is to get our clients to feel comfortable. We start this process ahead of time by emailing surveys and tips weeks before the session. Also we always get to our location early to scout out some beautiful spots. This allows us to be there first! (Clients don’t like to be waiting, unsure of where to go, when they’re nervous already.) Our cameras stay in the car or in our bags so we can greet our clients without their first thought being…photos. We chat and tell them what our goals are for the day. We also tell them how we work and what to expect during the session so they know how it’s going to happen. We may say things like “if we aren’t giving you directions, keep doing what you’re doing” or “we will both be shooting, but we’ll make sure to tell you where to look if we want your eyes on one of us”. Then we start walking. It’s nice to walk a bit to ease your couple even more and most likely one of your first spots isn’t going to be too near the parking lot anyway!

This is a great time for us to practice active listening. Our couple is nervous and one of the best ways to calm them is getting them to talk about themselves so they forget about taking photos for a moment…what they did last night, how the wedding planning is going, where they got their cool outfit, etc. (Some amazing books that mention active listening from our book challenge are You, INC. and Rework.) We are purposeful in picking couples that we get along with so usually this is the easiest time because it’s like talking with friends. If this is not easy for you, however, think of some topics ahead of time or even practice with a friend. A large part of the wedding photo business isn’t even about taking great pictures, it’s about connecting with people! We take our time, don’t rush, and listen to our couple. Surprisingly sometimes we learn things in that first 10 minutes that end up helping us during the session!

Once we’ve come to our first location hopefully our couple is more relaxed, having a good time, and are ready to begin. This is where we’ll start off next month so stay tuned!

Next month we will talk about how we accomplish the type of candid posing we love and how we get our client to do what we want (no modeling experience necessary).

Lesson Learned: Engagement sessions are SO important.

~Erik & Marissa

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