My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, graphic designer and model who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. I love sharing my life as a creative professional and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.
My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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As the years have passed, it’s been harder and harder to get together with some old friends, so when we ate at TGIFriday’s last month, I thought I’d throw in an extra fun celebration – just a little celebration of time and friendship.
We met in 2006, some of us completing in the same pageant, one giving up her Miss Arizona USA title, and somehow our lives overlapped and intertwined which brought us together. Marriage, babies and the like has left us with less time (and let’s face it, energy) to meet up nearly every week like we used to. Oh savor the youth ladies – go out with your girlfriends for dinner, the bar, group vacations, outings as much as you possibly can!
I decided to go play with the theme of “Birds of a feather, flock together.” I found stationery from Mara Mi, I picked up on clearance at Aaron Brothers awhile back.
Brought along this fun Polaroid camera and printer for the night too! As you can see, it was a hit!
Here is the little flock (minus one who couldn’t make it).
Please pay no mind to our dessert we devoured! Yum yum! If you have a group of friends who are all close to each other, feel free to take this theme and run with it.
I find the older we get it’s harder to have a group of collective friends who all get along and have individual relationships with each other outside of a group setting so typically friendship groups have formed during younger times (like college and high school), so always cherish the group dynamic because it isn’t easily found!
My best friend since university – Jackie. She drove 3 hours to see me when I was home in Nor Cal.
Last year was a little tough for me. I learned who to draw myself closer to, and away from. My heart got bruised – but I learned to let go, forgive, and trust that space and time can heal wounds. As the years go on, I realize that not everyone is meant to be close to you and some are not meant to carry through life with you forever – sometimes they are there for a while and God puts them there when you really need them, and life and careers can change it, but it doesn’t mean goodbye forever. And sometimes, it does, and that’s OK, because you can still be incredibly thankful for that friend because you know you spent good time with them, and your heart did so every well when you were together. But that was 2013.
This year, it’s almost over in a blink of an eye and I have spent the year surrounded by those who have supported me in ways I never knew I could be supported. These past three months I’ve been spoiled being surrounded by them through visits!
When we’re young, we can make friendships with almost anyone because we don’t really know ourselves very well – and they typically are on the surface because our souls aren’t mature enough to be much deeper. Being social is really like an extra curricular activity which is exactly what you do in your youth – do everything you can to figure yourself out. When you get older, time is put into perspective and you realize time isn’t to be spent with just anyone. Life experiences happen, careers change, crisis occur, babies happen, and you begin to see who lifts you up, who makes time, and also come to the realization you can’t be friends with the whole world.
But the friends who are in your world and have stayed, they become so much of your world. They are the ones you bounce ideas off of, meet up for laughs, travel the world with, ask for prayer, advice, and they hold you accountable to be the best person they know you can be. And those are the people who you keep in your life – the ones who can catch up as though no time has passed at all, who remind you of your spirit when you think you’ve lost it (and your brain), the goals they know you can achieve, and you delight in them and are filled with so much joy because you know a friend that good is worth their weight in gold.
I go to Anthropologie more when I’m home in Nor Cal than when I’m back in Phoenix. I know I should say home in Phoenix, but well, we know the battle I have in my heart over California homeland and where I am now – even though I know I will love Phoenix again in a month – just give me time! I need a break from this heat!
I want to make the above horseshoe plate stand display – I have a horseshoe that I am sure is not authentic and was probably overpriced. I think I’ll spray paint mine gold and find some blocks of wood in our storage shed.
These pink bowls below, I must have a set of four. We don’t have much matching stuff, I don’t really care for it to be honest, a few sets of 4, another set of 8, a set of 12, whatever. Silverware I have a collection but I just love mixing and matching.
OK, so finally after 12 days of being back in my hometown with my home girls, I’m “home” again. With new sparkle slippers. I kinda do have an Anthro style home, right? The blankets were made by my mom, inspired by Anthro style throws. Couch and pillows all Pottery Barn.
Let’s be real, I live in a Pottery Barn and Anthro world.
Ah, ok, I’ll stay a week before I head to New York. Slippers: Snoozies Women’s Ballerina Metallic Shine Sequin Slippers.
I stared at the HTML coding and figured it out, just a few more coding here and there, and presto, the graphic I created was uploaded. Little would I know the hobbies of a 15 year old would come in handy. Then I started to think about all the other tidbits of hobbies of playing with design programs, enrolling in classes, small side projects I did as a teen that led me to where I am today – and also saves me money when I need to create. In fact, I think knowing those things helps me jump into the next creative career.
Little stepping stones some call it, they are building blocks of a career, really, and as you continue down your path your noggin’ is full of skills, education, things no one can take away from you.
Step, step, step, step in Aix-en-Provence, France
As I have returned from my third blogging seminar/course/workshop in Los Angeles, I am reminded of how important it is to continue to pursue education. I took countless and poured thousands of dollars – no exaggeration, into workshops, mentorships and conferences to grow in my photography. I went fearless as a total loner to some events because I yearned to understand lighting, I purchased DVDs, books, enrolled in online classes, and completely emerged myself into the world until I was doggone sick of it that I started throwing away the magazines!
Even after earning my B.A. from UofA, I took a few design classes, ones that lasted a week but heavily focused on design programs. I was also blessed to have the company I worked for at the time invest into the cost of the education.
I believe if you are going to be something, be a real one. Learn the craft, the rules, take the time and spend the money.
Is there something you want to learn more about? I am also thankful to my friends who have helped make connections for me to help me bloom into a new career – the support of knowing I had a mortgage to pay, refusing to take anything for free, referred my services to anyone who needed a photo. To this very today I have a list of people I have to thank for the introductions, my heart swells with gratitude.
Maybe this is the time for you to step out – you’ve said goodbye to that unhealthy relationship, you’re tired of building up someone else’s dream, or you just have this new passion ignited in your heart – now’s a better time than any to step out on a limb – or on the next stepping stone. This past month I’ve seen an increase in my prerecorded online photography workshops which makes me happy to see there are still photographers investing into learning!
If there’s something that scares you, makes you curious, or something you wish you could do, consider enrolling in a class. Don’t let fear paralyze you from learning! Confidence is the key to anything and the more equipped you are with knowledge, the more you can conquer the world! And if there’s nothing you want to pursue now, what about a friend, what can you do for her to help her pursue her dreams?
If you’re a blossoming photographer, read my interview on Rock the Shoot’s blog. I hope it inspires you.
Diana Elizabeth says it’s always a good thing to explore new interests. Go get ‘em.
I saw the prettiest little makeup packaging when I in the cosmetics aisle at CVS. I’m really loving the leopard print bronzer that while I don’t need bronzer, I might need that one. All of these things are under $15 and can be found at Forever21 or your local drugstore. Most in fact are under $10 and as low as $3. Perhaps a little gift for someone special? I don’t think the cost of a gift is as important as the thought of course, but the cuteness of packaging – now that’s what us girls squeal over, right? Ah, the simple pleasures in life.
Also if you’re looking to refresh on accessories, check out Stella & Dot’s End of Summer Sale - additional 25% off sale items! Get a head start on Christmas shopping, I’m almost done, yep.
Diana Elizabeth has the little makeup brushes from Forever21, perfect for traveling!
I often get asked by parents about how to get started in the modeling or acting industry because their young children or teen has shown interest. After last week’s chat with a mom I figured I would write a post on how to find a modeling or acting agent. I’m going to be straight to the point and totally honest with my 12+ years of being in the industry.
May 2013 issue of PHOENIX magazine
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments below, I’ll try my best to respond.
Diana Elizabeth says it’s fun and great extra money but again, alway be at peace with who you are and what your capabilities are. It’s a fun thing to do, but also hard work, she wouldn’t do it for free if it wasn’t for the money.
Doesn’t mean you should - or at least not right now. Or not all at one time.
I didn’t mean for that to sound discouraging. You know I believe in pursuing your dreams, exploring ideas, being creative, trying something new – but sometimes that antsy feeling for another project can make you burn out a little sooner than you thought.
Lately, as I have begun to feel better in health, I am constantly thinking about the next thing I want to do. The reality is, I’m distracted by creating distractions.
Being creative brained and having an entrepreneur spirit has it’s advantages and disadvantages. Before you think I’m a great go-getter (thank you I can be), I’d also like to tell you about the times that I completely changed my mind and I’m glad I did.
I laid in bed earlier this week with my heart and mind racing. Then I decided it was time to let Mr. Wonderful in on my crazy thoughts so he could help me make sense.
“What did Nancy Reagan say?” asked Benjamin.
“Um, are you referring to ‘Just Say No’?” I hesitantly answered.
OK, so maybe Nancy meant drugs, but maybe taking on too much is like a drug.
And so, I started saying no. I reevaluated all the things that even though I could do it all, I shouldn’t, or at least not try it all at once. So I started saying no, and though my head felt a little sad about not having more chaos or something to take up my time, my heart felt lifted – this is not the right time. You don’t have to do everything, or rather, you don’t have to try to keep doing everything just because you started (knitting for example). It’s alright to try it, figure out you don’t like it, then stop. It doesn’t make you a quitter, it means you’re refining your life. But just a note to myself, stop and take a rest before pick up the next heavy thing.
Back to that scarf I was trying to knit, well, it’s done.
Thanks to my mom who finished the last block and a half of color because I just couldn’t handle it any more. Just in time for fall!
Have you ever taken on too much or realized you were in over your head? I’m trying to tame to my entrepreneur spirit without completely ignoring it.
Diana Elizabeth still hated sending out that no email, she had to say no, right now. Sometimes our reasoning is just crazy and we need to talk it out to get a better perspective.
Yes, the backyard really sold me, but there was so much more to finding the perfect house
Sometimes when I give advice on a post I don’t want to give you the impression I’m an expert – they say you need 10,000 hours to be considered an expert. If I were a real estate expert I’d be Donald Trump. I thought I’d just write a little post on buying a home if you’re hoping to one day and my thoughts and experiences.
My parents are into real estate in California and Mr. Wonderful and I own two properties – my sweet little town home will forever be our investment rental and and we have the house we live in now. Even though I didn’t buy my first place until I was 23, my apartments were in prime locations. I learned when you say, “Wow! That’s a great location!” when you say where you live, it’s truth.
The best advice I have ever heard verbally: Pick a house based upon location, not what the inside looks like. You can always change the inside but never the location.
This advice was given to me by a makeup artist friend 10 years ago while I was looking for my first place. He lived in an area that he hated but he lived in a nice new condo and he hated coming home and seeing an icky neighborhood. He couldn’t even sell it to move, either, he was stuck.
Our home is 1750 square feet, small, but I love it!
Where we live now we have flyers sent to our home introducing families hoping to move into our neighborhood and every so often the door bell rings with someone asking if we will consider selling. This makes me feel super great about where we live, and as we continue to add things to the inside of our home to really nest and make it ours, it’s so worth it.
So that’s what I’ve got for you – find a home in a good location that you love.
Enjoy the process of making a home your own, it’s so fun! Have you learned anything from searching for a perfect home? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Diana Elizabeth and Mr. Wonderful might want to add on, but right now, the size is great!
I’m going to start a very slow series – slow as in – I’m not sure when the next tip is coming, haha! But, I know this needs to be shared, and I want to help with your shooting and showcasing techniques that you might find helpful in attracting certain clients.
When I first entered weddings I started at $1,200 for 8 hours of coverage and that was made before I paid my second shooter Amy who has been by my side from day one!
I have loved every single one of my clients from the beginning of my career to now, but when I first began, my goal was to get better at my photography talents, continually learn, and to charge more. My package is now at $6,000 and it’s taken a lot of workshops, marketing, equipment, hard work and money to get to where I am – that’s where the price increase is justified.
With that said, I know some of you want to increase sales, bookings, and perhaps reach a new clientele. So today, let’s talk about the important shoe shot.
If you’re one of my 10 male readers, you should start watching the Style Network, pick up Vogue, or ask your girlfriends the names of labels. Louboutin (not the same as Louis Vuitton even though it sounds close), Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Manolo, maybe you can turn on Sex and the City to hear what Carrie talks about – shoes!
If you have a bride who didn’t buy designer shoes, do not showcase the label, don’t emphasize a huge shoot from up top because no one cares, including the bride because that’s not why she bought those shoes. She bought them because they are cute. So, prop the shoes creatively and show the details of the shoe. By not showcasing the non-label, when you blog post it potential clients will focus on the shot itself, not being distracted by the Mossimo shoes, other random thoughts, and perhaps disregarding your photography services.
Now the following images are by the one and only Kate Spade but here are some ideas where you don’t see the label that still allows you to show off the cuteness of the shoe. You can do this with non designer shoes because I’m sure they’re still cute, after all the bride liked them enough to wear on her big day.
Take any shoe sole pads out too.
You want to make people love your shot of the shoe, not be distracted by the non-designer label. Below, these are designer,but nevermind that, showcase the back details!
Shooting Tip: Shallow depth of field, shoot the shoe detail, focusing on the end of the shoe. Shoot the shoes on with the bride wearing them.
If you have a stylish bride who spends $1,200 on an amazing pair of Louboutins, Jimmy Choo’s, or Valentino’s, you better showcase that label because that tag alone cost half the price of the shoe. Make sure it’s real big on your blog to attract the clients that will think, “Oh my gosh those shoes, I die!” I know this sounds crazy, but even the designer labels are pretty. They just are.
Shooting Tip: Shoot at an F stop that focuses on the label AND the shoe detail, red sole included if applicable – avoid missing the mark and only having the label in focus.
The goal is to shoot the shoes tastefully showcasing the designer because it’s important to the bride, but also for this bride, the shoes were just as important as the dress!
I even spotted the bridesmaid and had to pull her aside to snap a photo of the red sole! But of course, I focus on her because the photo is about how gorgeous and stylish she is, but it’s a just a little hint of the obvious.
Do this with guests too – if you see a red sole, chase it like there’s a 50% off clearance on them! In my dreams…
Diana Elizabeth had Badgley Mischka shoes on her wedding day – designer but not overly priced.
I believe the only way to utilize the most out of your closet and make shopping for cute outfits easier is to already have a dresser with the right undergarments to begin with. I believe everyone needs a half slip as most dresses nowadays are unlined and sheer. I use this white one by Kokoon. A bandeau top is excellent for slightly sheer tops, or any low cut or loose fitting tops so you don’t flash anyone bending over – try bright colors or lace for fun. Different than a barely there g-string, these seamless thongs are amazing because they actually lay flush with your body with no squeezing. Fashion tape while not an undergarment is a necessity to keep straps in place for normal strapped bras, or secure clothes from shifting. Since I bought a racerback bra earlier this summer I no longer have to worry about looking tacky as my straps are hidden under my clothing, such a relief.
I also found a nude and black in each is best – white doesn’t seem to make much sense since it practically draws more attention. Do you have any other must-have suggestions?
Diana Elizabeth thinks even a fun bright color is great for the tops that might show a peek that is unavoidable, a little pop of color is always fun.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a writer, photographer, wife, model, and Christ follower. Welcome to my blog!
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