Monday, November 29, 2010


Although D wanted to use our fake tree, I managed to get a real tree this year.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Business Interruptus...

While LHP is on hold, I've been experimenting with a new camera app. Here's my first experiment:

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wow... a month?

Has it really been almost a whole month since I posted? What have I been doing? Oh, yeah. Right. Halloween. Costumes. Lantern Shark/Luke Skywalker/almost Dr. Strange, and Wolverine. Plus, serious parenting things with Hockey this season, stepping in, spending the time. So, any Saturday morning productiveness I used to have when Mark would roll out early with the boys? Gone. Plus, some major scheduling changes, doing the right thing, earning some cash for Christmas, and helping out some very, very good friends. So... not much on the LHP front, as clients (who, thank goodness! are also friends) keep saying "So, we need to order some stuff..." and I say. "Yep. We do..."

Looking ahead in large and small ways. Straight ahead is a return to a 'day job' for a short stint as a teacher again to fill in for a friend in need. Paired with that adventure is the LAUNCH of the first LHP sale. Further out (and stressing me out!) is our holiday season, then some hibernation season, website building season, snowman making season, vegging with blankets season... then some more LHP season 2011.

Keep moving forward.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Reality Check

This week was an LHP bust. Just sayin. I greatly admire those photographers and business women who seem to merge family and business smoothly, particularly the 'work from home while the kids are there' kind. I am not that person. I have learned many things about myself this last year or so; and although I have always known that I am somewhat of a loner I was unaware how true that is. I enjoy being social, but when it is time to get something done I need to be alone. Being able to focus on a task while there are other people around (even astoundingly well-behaved small people) is just not something I'm going to be able to do. This realization means some changes... but it is a good thing to know about myself.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Anniversary Post

One year ago this month, I made the monumental decision to jump off a cliff. Well, not literally. I’ve developed a slight fear of heights as I get older, so cliff-diving isn’t in my future. But it certainly felt about the same. Nervous stomach. Floating, jittery limbs. Complete lack of confidence. FEAR. Lots of fear.

That’s where all of you come in. My friends, family, and online community have supported me more in the last 18 months than I ever dreamed possible.

October 2010 is the One Year Anniversary of LHP. Lani Harmon Photography. (It still gives me chills to write out the name of my business like that.) One year ago, after encouragement from friends and family, I went PRO. I got a business license, a great accountant, some insurance, and I began to dream again, to live for something. Beyond the joy of children, my sleepless nights have felt very similar to the birth of a child, and the first year of parenthood with a new baby. Worry, anxiety, problems, issues, setbacks, creative solutions and extreme joy are a part of every parent’s journey, and LHP has been my 3rd child for the last year. Like all new parents, I relied heavily (sometimes neurotically!) on my support system, and I wouldn’t feel the satisfaction of success that I feel today without the blessings I have received from all of you.

Each new year brings changes, and the same is true for LHP. Since I am strictly a Natural Light Photographer who also lives in Erie, PA my business has a very busy season, and a (cough) not so busy season. I consider April through October to be the Interactive season of my business. I’m out of the house as much as possible: at the beach, on location, at client’s homes, with my laptop and camera, capturing memories and sharing them with all of you. The weather in Erie this summer has been phenomenal, but as every Erie-ite knows, our time in the Sun is limited and fleeting! Once the snow starts to fly, I start to hibernate. The wintertime is a season of growth for my business though, it is when all the ideas that float through my head like vapor during the summer solidify and become reality. It is when new products are announced, new ideas germinate, and things change. These different phases of my business allow me to fully utilize all my creative energy, both with portraits, and with marketing. Lucky, lucky me.

So, while I finish up my Interactive phase, and prepare for my Growth phase, check back often for new information, updates and announcements. I hope to see the website grow, product offerings grow, and creativity blossom this winter, and I hope you can join me.

Thank you. You are my inspiration.

Thursday, September 30, 2010


I think I won him over when I called him dude. It just slipped out. I call people dude sometimes... not all the time, but sometimes. Besides, James is a total dude.

I wasn't going to blog about James. He's pretty private, but I did get him to smile a couple times. And, really, he's a pretty awesome guy (dude), and I had cool music, and he plays guitar, so I felt like I needed to know if he's gonna like the slideshow I made...

Time will tell. Best of luck to you James. Once you find your path, nothing is going to stop you.

Music by AdamCaptured

Monday, September 27, 2010

Beautiful Girls

Having mom-friends has been one of the biggest blessings of having children. I’ve had plenty of friends come and go, but when it comes to the types of friendships that will endure, mom-friends cannot be beat. Case in point: My beautiful, talented friend Amy. Our kids met at preschool, and we have great plans for her oldest daughter and my oldest son... but that is in a far distant future, and is not discussed with her wonderful husband Matt in any detail.

Amy and her girls are just simply FUN. And so beautiful and creative and clever it sometimes makes my heart hurt to look at them all together. Add in her incredibly handsome (and camera-shy!) husband Matt, and it is just pure family joy.

It is a lucky day when I get to spend time with them; Amy and I play phone tag on a constant basis... but when we connect it is relaxed, enjoyable, and always delightful. I spent a lovely fall evening at their house recently, and I brought along my camera... thank goodness!


Music "It's a Beautiful Day" by Tim McMorris

Saturday, September 25, 2010

I like to read...

My husband would say that I LOVE to read. He would be right. I read. A lot. I remember one of my first apartments had a small shelf with about 30 books on it, ones I wanted out because I would re-read them if I ran out of new books and needed something quick. A friend came over and said: "That is A LOT of books." (heavy emphasis on A LOT) I was in shock. 'A lot?" I asked. He said "Yeah. Did you actually read all of those books?" Um. Yeah. More than once, actually. More than 3 times, some of them.

I read at night before bed. I'm usually in bed, about 2 hours before I want to fall asleep, reading. About an hour after I should have fallen asleep I put the book down and close my eyes, but it still takes a while to fall asleep. (I'm always amazed at how quickly my husband falls asleep). Sometimes, I read so late it is almost morning before I can put the book down.

Something has changed. Now, I work. A lot. Instead of reading to relax and unwind, I'm at the computer, editing. Researching. Gathering Inspiration. Revising. Planning. WORKING, until my body is literally falling asleep while I sit here. I used to finish a book in about 2, sometimes 3 days. I read the last Harry Potter book in 11 hours. (Straight. I was lucky enough to be on vacation in Rhode Island with my sister and family, helping my cousin "Raise the Roof", so I didn't have the normal family duties). I honestly cannot remember a time when I didn't pick up a book for at least 20 or 30 minutes before falling asleep. Maybe college, but I doubt it.

The last 3 weeks I've hardly read anything. I have been working late, and getting into bed, and just falling straight to sleep. I can't remember that ever happening.

I don't really miss it. Things are good.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rock&Roll, Tombstones, and GREAT boots...

This month I’ve concentrated on being thankful. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude.

I couldn’t be more grateful that I know Kate. I know her from some unfortunate health issues I have to deal with, but she makes the task of dealing with a chronic disease so much more simple. When a routine phone call to the doctor to update him on my symptoms turned into a conversation about my business (and stress) it lead to another item I can add to my gratitude list: Devin’s Senior Portrait session.

From the moment Devin walked in, I did a mental fist pump. She was awesome. She has funk, and style, and is not afraid to show it. We exchanged some ideas, and some emails, and I got a good impression of the type of awesome teenager Devin is. She was open, and honest with me about what she wanted, and very DEFINITE about what she didn’t. See? No fear.

The day of the session I was totally nervous. I had some ideas, but what I really wanted was to put some images together that would support this unique personality. That would showcase her individuality and gorgeous features.

When Devin arrived, and throughout our session, she was PHENOMENAL. Calm. Graceful. Open. Daring. Brave. Willing to ask for things she thought would be cool that I overlooked. She was exactly right, and she was smokin hot.

Here are just a few from our session. I wish you the best this year Devin. Your world is about to expand, and I’d love to continue to hear about your journey.

Music by AdamCaptured

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Gratitude Cards

I love thank you cards. I try to always have a supply handy. I've never managed to send them when they're expected (although I did send them from my wedding. Let me know if you never got yours). but I love sending them when they're not. :)

I purchased a set of pretty, press-printed Thank You cards about a year ago. I 'invested' in a set of 50, although I really wanted a smaller pack, but the ones I really liked only came in packs of 50. I figured I would use them 'eventually'... and spent the money.

I opened the box today to send one to a friend. Not technically a business thank you, but in another way it really is. When I opened the box I realized. THEY ARE ALMOST GONE. In one year I've been blessed SO MUCH that I've used something to say thank you that I thought would take me forever to use. And, I will confess something else. I keep forgetting to put them in people's orders. Isn't that crazy? Where are they all going?

Anyway, I am Grateful today that I will need new Thank You cards soon. Oh..... Michelle!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More Gratitude

I'm grateful for so many things today. This isn't a formal post, I have some other ideas percolating for another 'official' gratitude post. Today I just want to say Thank You. I never imagined that this journey of starting my own business might lead me closer to my faith again, but it has, in large and small ways. I've always believed that EVERYTHING happens for a reason. EVERYTHING has meaning. I can see connections now that I've found this Photography path that I didn't see before. (more on those later). I have also always believed that the TIMING for things is perfect. A favorite song of mine has always been "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks. It has been a long time since I have formally prayed regularly, but my one prayer mantra has always been "Please show me your path" and I'm so thrilled to see where that path has lead me.

I got a call today. My first unsolicited recommendation from a client. I also got some amazing positive feedback from the people where I have my treatment every 8 weeks. It's just been a really, really good LHP day, and I am THANKFUL.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fit and finish...

I'm having trouble fitting it all in. There are so many things on my plate. The boys, school, teaching, the business, the marriage, the family, the to-do list, the want-to-do list, the fullness of my life.

This may not seem like a Gratitude post, but it IS.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

40 Years

A week ago, I had the distinct pleasure of capturing a piece of history. My personal history, because this is family, and there is nothing stronger in my life than family. In college, I couldn’t wait for breaks to go to my hometown and be surrounded by the noise, insanity, love, and affection of my extended family. I was shocked to learn that my college friends didn’t have the same feeling of homecoming, and I realized then what a lucky person I was to be blessed with the family I have.

When my aunt asked me in the spring to help commemorate the 40th anniversary of her marriage, I was thrilled. Stunned, overwhelmed, honored, and thrilled.

Being only 35, it is hard for me to conceptualize a 40 year relationship. One that you choose to continue, in large and small ways, on a daily basis. One that sustains you and supports you. I have been blessed to witness and learn from several strong marriages in my family; this is just one example. I’ve seen arguments, laughter, discipline, support, contentment, change, upheaval, tension, and lots and lots of laughter. I’d love to share with you what I learned about two important people in my life this past weekend

Their sense of family does not stop at their own children. It includes mine:

Ice cream is better when you share it, even if it gives you an ice cream headache:

Even after 40 years, you aren’t allowed to dress yourself without having your wife ‘fix’ it:

Although passions and interests will change, and they aren’t always shared:

For a marriage to be a success, those passions and interests should be supported:

Here are a few that show my aunt and uncle as I know them:

A life of love and laughter, simple moments shared and enjoyed, stories told and retold, traditions passed from generation to generation, a life shared and a family built.

Jayne’s parents on her wedding day; Lawrence and Ruth Parrott:

Gary and Jayne Magee, August 11th, 1970:
(don’t they look happy?)

Thank you for allowing me to capture memories for you and your children. It is my sincere hope that I’ve captured the things you love about each other, and I wish you 40 more years of love.


Create your own video slideshow at

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Another good idea...

One thing that I want for my business to set it apart is customer service. I'm not so hot at it right now :-/ but it is a 2010 goal to improve.

I was reading INC. mag today (so surprised how awesome this magazine is.) and they suggested that you write out 10 customer service goals and POST THEM in your space.


Now I need 10 customer service goals. :)

Monday, September 6, 2010

Gratitude, Day One

Gratitude: the state of being grateful, THANKFULLNESS

I'm trying hard to make goals I can stick with. Goals that include me making drastic changes are always doomed to fail, goals that take me too far out of my comfort zone are going to crash and burn within hours of their conception. (things like a routine for laundry or even general cleaning, or being consistent, or remembering my goal once it is written down... these things border on impossible for me)

For September, my creative cycle is set to 'inspiration' and in particular, THANKFULLNESS. Next month marks an important milestone for my business, and is making me think back on the last 18 months. When I do, I see people. I see the faces of the people who matter, the people who make LHP a success. So, my goal this month is to make sure they know how GRATEFUL for them I truly am.

This first post is dedicated to the families who made my first attempts at capturing their personalities a reality. They know who they are, but here are their names:

Thanks to Beth and Curtis, who stuck with me through my first session, even when "R" didn't like the water, and both kids wouldn't stop throwing sand. That reality made up some of my favorite images from that day. Your continued support means more than you will ever know, and I cannot wait to find out which images are your favorites from this year's session!

Thanks to Amy and Mike, (and Mike's parents!) who allowed me to follow them around while they played, get baby-cuddles, and capture their kids in a setting where they were totally comfortable to be themselves. Here's to another great session early next month!

Thanks to Jaime and Jeremy, who put up with strange archery equipment smack dab in the middle of my beautiful location, and made the appearance of this stuff into a fun time instead of just something really strange. Also, thanks for the FB-love, when you say I captured the boys personalities perfectly you have no idea how much that means.

Thanks to Lynn and Ron. I'll have my 2nd session in a cemetery this weekend, and yours from last year is proof positive that it can totally create beautiful images. Thanks for trusting me to not include any tombstones in your family portraits, and for using my images on your holiday cards last year! I hope our new location this fall provides the same opportunity, although it is impossible to take a bad picture of your beautiful little girl!

And finally, Thanks to Olivia and Chuck, even though Chuck did an awesome 'duck and cover' to avoid being in any pictures! The location we used continues to get comments from my portfolio, and the challenge of 3 active kids provided a wonderful learning experience.

A sincere thank you to the families that made the first summer of experimenting, trial and error, and blind faith a true blessing. Your continued support is the backbone of my business, and your faith keeps me going.

(PS - I promise that I have that hard drive issue resolved, and if I lost your pictures last year IT WILL NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN. )

Much love and gratitude,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

There are two sides to life:

Resentment or Gratitude.

Pick one.


Things that are currently ping-ponging around in my head:
Work/Life balance.
Owning a business while being a stay-at-home mom.
How valuable is my time?
Where should I be focusing my time right now?
What's next?
How many more days can I listen to the same Pandora station before I'm sick of it?
Next photo session.
Next 4 photo sessions.
Customer service.
Endless to-do lists.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Happy Tuesday

Today's game plan is more work on branding and identity. So important! It was fun yesterday, and I made some serious progress. However, two days in a row feels a lot more like work...

Monday, August 30, 2010

All good things come to those who wait...

In February, I thought for sure I had to have a website to be successful this year. I thought it had to be perfect. I even had some written text for some of the pages. Then, my external hard drive crashed. (still feeling the pain from some lost images of my boys) So, that set me back months. I did finally purchase my domain name, and threw some stuff up, but it is so far from perfect that I try really hard to not show people... not exactly the purpose of a website! Summer came along, and I got busy, and the website stayed the way it was, even though it's, well, it's, um.... it's crap. It serves a purpose, but yeah. I can definitely do better.

I've been working on some ideas, and I'm loving where it is going. Yea Me!

Good enough...

So, I've had this blog, and I even have a website. But, they're nothing I'm thrilled with. They are a chance to communicate with existing clients, people already in love with what I do. But they don't represent ME, or LHP. So, out they go. Sort of. I'm working on newness. Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Styles. Contrast. Two halves of a whole.

Most everything I design, create or do feels like it doesn't have a flow. I know what I don't like, but I also know what I do. So when I take samples, pictures and visual representations of what I like, it doesn't ever seem to go together well. In attempting to find some patterned paper for my blog site, I've come to a realization that there are two separate souls that reside inside my body. One is clean, fresh, minimalistic. The other is vintage. How the heck do you merge those two?

In my home, there is no merge. Of course, right now all is chaos. I admire people who have beautifully designed homes while also being home with children, but it's not a part of my genetic make-up. So, instead, everything here is primarily based on function, durability, and organization... of a sort. :)

In my sessions, as I review images and purge, sort, select, there are often images that just call out to me for something else. As a general rule, I don't post-process my images beyond making a few corrections, and a very slight color pop. (Remember? Clean. Fresh. Minimalistic) But these other images, they have such potential for something more, something different. Out of all those options available in Photoshop, the ones that appeal to me are (of course) vintage.

So, I'm considering creating two area's. LHP Fresh, and LHP Vintage.

Ideas, thoughts, and randomness...

In January, things were sketchy. No computer, another hard drive crash, lost images (which still feels like a punch in the chest when I think of what is gone forever). Doubt, insecurity. Gradually, I made some decisions. Gradually, slowly, I took small steps. Other than in October when I registered LHP legally, there was never a point where I thought "THIS IS IT" and went all-in. I still haven't. I still feel like I could back out if I wanted to.

I don't want to.

What an amazing summer. Inch by inch, step by step, things have progressed. I've had phenomenal clients, amazing support, and gorgeous weather. I still don't feel that moment of 'all-in'. I still feel like I am taking small steps, but I feel growth and forward movement, even if it is slow. It is a pace I'm comfortable with.

I've been watching an amazing, epic event at creativeLIVE with Jasmine Star, Wedding photographer. Although it has confirmed that I have no desire currently to subject myself to the stress of photographing someone's wedding day, it has a lot of value in other ways, particularly in learning about her work ethic, marketing techniques, and branding philosophy. I'm definitely a person who takes what I can use, and leaves the rest. I have heard before, and will hear again that it is best to brand yourself into a niche, Family Photographer. Pet Photographer. and have separate branding and websites, etc for that niche. That doesn't work for me. As a client, I am a huge fan of 'one stop shopping'. What can you offer me, all in one place, thank you very much. Don't make it hard or confusing, or I'll just be annoyed and go somewhere else.

My philosophy is that I want to capture memories, moments and connections. (weird - I think I just came up with my 3 words - also a J* marketing/branding idea) and that happens with babies, pets, families, married, single, gay, straight, black, white, special needs, PEOPLE and RELATIONSHIPS. Cutting myself off from a group so I can be thought of as specialized makes no sense to me. So, this verbal diarreah that I have on the blog after 8 months of silence is to try to find ME inside my business. Try to find the parts of me that I want represented in my marketing. Marketing is the one part of the business I haven't focused on (and with joy I can say that I haven't needed to. unreal!) But true growth happens when you put yourself out there. So that's my 6 month plan... to finish the website and blog, and to start adding content relevant to me and my business.

In the inner workings of my brain, something about the separate branding kept coming back to me. It wasn't an exact fit, more like a rounded cornered block into a circular hole... no sharp edges but almost could work... so one of the things that I'm considering will be posted next, to keep things separated. (gotta keep 'em separated)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

LHP is taking a break

There are lots of legal, functional, and business basic items on my to-do list. And, the desktop computer hard drive crashed, and needs replaced.

So, LHP is taking a break. I know... what's different about a 'break' and your random, sporadic postings currently? Just my guilt factor. Now you have been notified, and now you know I won't be here. Until I come back. Nice of me, eh?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Back from Vacation

LHP has been on vacation for a few weeks. It has been great, since the boys were off of school it made sense to spend this time with them, planning and celebrating our holiday. We saw family and friends, and played, played, played with all the new stuff Santa brought. Really, just a lovely, lovely time.

Next on the list is the inevitable back-log of things that happens when you take any sort of break. So, several days of office work, then I'm off to photograph some of the most awesome babies I know... will post sneak-peeks once I finally get that far!

Happy New Year!