Aug 22, 2017

Pre Senior Year Thoughts

I'm starting to draft this on Monday, Eclipse day, also two days before my first day of my senior year of high school which is this Wednesday. I spent a lot of the day Sunday stalking USC - Aiken's social media because it was move in day for them. I've almost completely decided that the University of South Carolina - Aiken is hands down the right school for me, and I've already planned another visit to the school for their September open house. I kept imagining myself this time next year on campus, moving everything right on in! To say I'm excited is a bit of an understatement... Anyways, on Friday I shared some general reflections I had following my Junior year of high school, and as this school year is starting on up... I have a few thoughts about it as well. 

As far as course loads go, this year is a dream. I'm a prospective communications major so I wanted to really take this last year and really focus on classes that go along with my interests and well, communications! This year I'm taking AP literature and AP Spanish (prayers, please for Spanish.. I haven't really done much practicing lately) and also as current editor of the yearbook, I can work on more digital and visual communications as well. In addition to those classes, I'm taking Environmental science, Algebra 3, and Personal Finance (which is also taught by my yearbook adviser!). This course load is so much lighter than what I'm used to. Over the Summer I got my government and economic classes out of the way thus freeing my schedule up for -wait for it- MORNING SENIOR STUDY HALLS both a days and b days! What a blessing! 

The light course load is sure to help me out when there's peak seasons in senior portrait bookings. It's also going to be nice when we get closer to crunch time in yearbook, as well as when I get back into applying for scholarships. 

In previous high school years I often get distracted with class work and family things that I would skip on a lot of sporting events that others deem crucial to a high school experience. This year the home games will be my primary focus. I have this love for the reactions of people in the stands, be they parents, friends, teachers, siblings... and I really want to make it my priority to capture those via my camera. I love featuring photos like those in the yearbook, and there's a plan to display some of that type of photo that some fellow photography classmates of mine and I captured last year, around the school. I also have this plan to capture the spirit of my small town in photos throughout this year as well. Basically, my camera will be on my shoulder just about 24/7 and I cannot wait! 

Since freshman year, I've really cultivated some awesome relationships with the teachers at my high school. I've been lucky enough to have really great teachers that I have learned so much from, and many of them I've had for multiple years in a row. It's going to be a little upsetting when I leave for college with all new people and professors that are unfamiliar to me too - don't get me wrong, I'm very excited about college, but I'll definitely miss the teachers that have helped me grow. 

Ah okay as much as I love talking about college, I think I need to stop just because I have an entire year left that I really need to make the most of. College can't start until I graduate high school first! 

I really don't get that nervous before a school year starts. Like even before my freshman year I slept just fine. This year I'd say I'm slightly more nervous for some reason. I actually have no idea why. I assume it's because my school district isn't starting back until Wednesday, AFTER today's eclipse, which is about a week later than we started last year. We've already had our first football game (my school won, but I didn't go because it was an away game), and our big rivalry game takes place this Friday! That just means two pep rallies in a three day week... Sometimes after a slower end to the Summer, jumping straight into a busy school year can be a weird transition for me. Maybe that's hat has me slightly jittery.

I'm finishing this post at 11 pm the night before school starts. Yikes. Here's to jitters and stomach butterflies, and an awesome senior year!

Aug 19, 2017

Editing Playlist

In case you are a long time follower of Classy Cathleen, you probably noticed that my instagram account tends to be filled with other faces than my own most of the time. That is because recently I decided to open up shop as a portrait photographer, specializing in affordable senior portraits. I've been offering my services for almost a year now, and business has picked up much quicker than I thought it would. Anyways, as you can imagine with business picking up and the sometimes multiple portrait sessions a week, I'm constantly using Adobe Lightroom and editing photos. Although it's very easy to have Netflix going while editing pictures, I have a bad habit of getting sucked into whatever it is I happen to be watching, and then I tend to get little to no work done. This Summer, I decided I was going to do my best at maximizing my editing time and doing the most work and the best work in the shortest amount of time so I can enjoy the rest of my day away from my computer screen! I created an editing playlist, that reflects my completely eclectic taste in music, as well as providing background music that doesn't distract me from my edits. And I must say, it's a pretty good playlist... You can learn a lot about someone by the music that they listen to, so here's your opportunity to learn a little more about me!

Editing jams - playlist
* make sure you listen to it on shuffle though otherwise you'll have The Beatles and Fitz and The Tantrums back to back to back

Aug 18, 2017

Post Junior Year Thoughts

Wow. I really should have written this post a few months ago, right after my junior year ended. I've been out of school since June 1st, and it just seems like this Summer has flown by. With getting my older brother moved out and into his new group home (more on that soon), photo shoots upon photo shoots, volunteer work, and taking two classes... the past few months have been nothing but go go go and I haven't really stopped to breathe. Anyways, excuses aside, I'm about to embark on my final year of high school and I have a multitude of feelings about this upcoming year. Before sharing some of those thoughts and feelings (what one is supposed to do on a blog, right? Man, it's been awhile since my last post...) I figured I'd take some time, not only for you fellow high school students, but for myself as well to reflect on my previous junior year of high school. 

First and foremost, I'm most proud of myself for choosing the courses that I did. I remember being very nervous this time last year about my ability to juggle an AP US History course as well as an AP language and composition class with an Honors level Spanish course. Needless to say, I did it. Obviously my priorities were mainly geared towards those more language based courses, and with my honors level photography class and yearbook, my algebra and chemistry classes received a significant less amount of attention than my more difficult (and not gonna lie, more fun) classes. I do regret my lack of attention in those courses, because although I don't think they would have significantly boosted my GPA, I could have paid a lot more attention and studied a lot harder.

AP language and composition was the class that completely confirmed my love for rhetoric. It confirmed my ambition to major in communications, and let me know that I was on the right track. My teacher was very passionate, and I don't think I've ever loved a class' assignments more. It sounds weird, but I swear every assignment in that class had purpose and meaning and I wrote some pretty decent papers if I do say so myself. Also, I've never passed an AP exam with anything but a 3 until this course and AP US.

Taking marketing was also a really positive experience. The teacher was actually experienced in the professional marketing world, and was able to critique our campaigns with criticisms that ultimately allowed me to grow. I really enjoyed the business minded work that we did, and I plan on getting my masters in business administration after my bachelor's degree.

Aside from classes... well sort of, because yearbook was a class... I loved being a part of the creation of the CHS 2016-2017 yearbook. Everyone in the class really contributed and wanted to create the best book we could. And it was awesome! My favorite part was taking pictures of my fellow students - not so much the posed pictures, but during pep rallies I looked through the stands for the perfect candid moments and I did my best to capture those. Chapin students that read my blog? Get ready. WAY more pictures coming this school year! I love seeing students doing more than just learning, but growing at school. By sophomore and junior year students are so much more comfortable in their environment and are all about cheering on their school. And of course the senior class is always so full of energy. Yearbook allows me to capture that energy and preserve it into a physical book that we can all revisit in years to come. I get to be a part of something that tells the story of our small town through the youth. Clearly I can gush about yearbook and why I love it for hours... but you get the point. 

As I reflect on my junior year, I really need to thank all of my class of 2018 Cathleen Slagle Photography representatives. I was very unsure when first launching my rep program about who would even sign up and want to support me and my budding business. But y'all came through - and quickly too! It was such a compliment, and I honestly can't even express how grateful I am. At the time I had only taken maybe 6 people's pictures before in like a full on portrait session set up so I definitely lacked the experience that most photographers have. You guys took a chance on me and believed in me and my work, and I cannot begin to tell you how much I appreciate it! Also, the prom group that I photographed? Y'all are incredible! I DEFINITELY lacked experience especially in photographing large groups yet everyone was so kind to me and were key in helping me expand my following as you shared the photos. I couldn't have asked for a better first (official) year as a photographer.

In addition to my photography business, I took a photography studio concentrations class where I hoped to learn how to better organize myself and actually see concepts for photographs instead of just opportunity snapping (although, I love random adventures and random photos from random adventures). I learned a lot. I grew a lot.

I mentioned my experience photographing prom, and you can see me in my prom dress here, but I didn't really like the prom itself. I did however have such a great time planning prom, and putting together goody bags, designing the tablescapes, and coming in early to set up prom. That for me was such a better experience than the actual event. I'm not a big event gal I guess... or at least not formal big events. I'm not a big dancer, and a lot of the songs that were on weren't my taste I guess. Now when Handclap by Fitz and the Tantrums came on, I was a happy girl! Anyways, It was a good experience because I got to reconnect with some old friends that I had lost touch with throughout the years. All in all though, planning prom > going to prom. I am glad that I didn't have super high expectations for the night. I got to do what I loved that morning when I went in to help set everything up, and I got to do what I loved that afternoon - eating chick-fil-a and photographing people which helped cancel out the fact that I didn't particularly love the prom itself. I must admit, I did get some pretty peonies and a nice dress out of it though!

The summer before my junior year my family and I adopted 4 dogs, unfortunately the oldest of these passed away in the Spring, but I truly think that our new family members helped me get through my junior year. It's difficult to be in a bad mood at school when you check your phone and see one of your dogs as your background. Although they can be a bit of a distraction when assignments are due, I definitely think from sophomore to junior year, my outlook on life was even more positive after rescuing Jewel, Tygee, Snoop, and Lottie. That's weird to include in a reflection type post... but I honestly think that I'm a better person because of them.

All in all though, this school year I struggled to balance just about everything. School assignments and volunteer work, building my photography business, and spending time with my family. It doesn't seem like much, but organization and time management have never been my strong suits... But y'all know this already from my lack of blog posts.

I think the biggest highlight from my junior year though was finding my passions. In finding the things that I care about and deeply love, I found goals, ambition, and most importantly self confidence. Through my passions I was able to express myself, my true self. The myself that would often hide at school from my peers. I wouldn't say that I came out of

my shell, I would say that I almost totally lost my shell. I don't need it anymore! In doing what I love, I lost my fear... Sophomore year, I thought I was self confident, but I learned quickly that I still needed to love myself a little more.

My junior year was challenging academically, but I really lucked out that it was pretty light socially. I really didn't make too many new friends this past school year, but I was able to reconnect with some old friends that I definitely had lost touch with over the years. Not too many high school students can say that they go through their high school years pretty drama free... I can though for sure! Through focusing on my interests and passions as well as career minded goals, and working on strengthening my relationship with God and growing my faith, I was able to work on myself too and ultimately grow as a person. Although my extended family members cannot believe that my high school experience has nearly drawn to an end and I haven't really dated at all or even considered relationships, I'm really proud of myself for prioritizing my junior year and although it may have been a little lonely, I really grew up and spent my time wisely... Or as wisely as a 16 year old can spend her time.

Excuse my scatterbrained writing and reflections... It's honestly more for me to look back on in the years to come, and see how much I've grown over the years. You know, like that one spot in your house that your mom or dad would get you to put your back to the wall and they'd draw a little mark at your head and measure how tall you are and how much you've grown over the years. It's like that - but the digitally written version. Current/Rising high school juniors - enjoy this year. Find what you love to do and the people you love to do that with (remember that it's okay if that person is yourself) and do that thing. Your junior year is the perfect time to explore your passions and really make yourself proud.

Anyways, that's it for today. HOPEFULLY, more content to come. 

Jul 1, 2017

June Recap / Summer Happenings

Obviously, my blog is not where I want it right now. But let's catch up! 

June has come and gone... which is crazy. We are halfway into 2017, you guys.

It's been crazy! Photography, marketing photography, animal photography, and volunteering at a couple animal rescues... Hmm studying for Summer classes, wow. I thought I did more this June.

o n e // Cathleen Slagle Photography

CSP has been slowly hopping into business. I've been doing my best to meet up with each of my Cathleen Slagle Photography senior reps to do their Summer photo session. It's been awesome so far! I've met with 2 this past month, and I've got three on my calendar for next month! I know I'm lagging behind a little bit, but remember, I live in South Carolina and Summer kind of lasts until September. Here's some of my favorite shots from the past month:

 It's been a good month... I can't wait for what I'm going to shoot next month! Oh yeah, and side plug? Seniors in the Columbia, South Carolina area: It's never too early for your senior portrait session.

t w o // Vacation Bible School

 I had the absolute pleasure of photographing my church's Vacation Bible School with the amazing Courtney Dox of Courtney Dox Photography. The kids were beautiful, their spirits and kind hearts were beautiful, and my heart was so overwhelmed with joy! Also, my sweet friend Finley's (precious little girl next to me in the picture below) mom took this picture of me with some of the second graders! So much love for all the amazing volunteers and my awesome church!

t h r e e // studying at the new library

A new library recently opened up in my area. The Richland County Public Library - Ballentine branch is beautiful! I've been there almost every day since it opened earlier this month. It's the perfect place to sit and study... oh yeah! And check out books! Among the books that I have checked out right now - Wildflower by Drew Barrymore, Kevin Hart's latest (which is HILARIOUS so far), Fried Green Tomatoes by Fannie Flagg, The Elephants in My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra, and Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. I've actually been reading y'all!! And like I mentioned earlier, I've been studying a lot too. I'm taking two Summer classes: Government and Economics so that my senior year I can take Yearbook (fun fact: I'm the editor of my school's yearbook next year!) and AP photo as well as a study hall. Although I may grumble on my instagram story, I'm actually really proud of my decision to take these classes.

f o u r // animal rescues + animal photography

If you've stuck around since last year, you may remember my photos from SQ Rescue! I'm still working with them, but I also started working with a bigger rescue in my area. Pawmetto Lifeline is an animal shelter in Columbia that brings in an insane number of animals each week from the local county pounds and then find them new homes. The work they do is absolutely amazing. This past week I was able to volunteer to help with a "camp" for kids aged 8-12 at Pawmetto. Fur Friends was such a fun time and kids enjoyed meeting and petting a bunch of dogs and cats, puppies and kittens, playing games, and learning more about how to be a good pet owner and what Pawmetto Lifeline does. Here's a couple quick pictures: Pictured below is the precious puppy, Carrie who I fell in love with on Thursday, and the amazing Miss Alexa who organized and led Fur Friends! Oh and the best part is that I'm helping with another round of Fur Friends next month! Woohoo for more puppies! 


 Another thing that I now do with both rescues, is photograph adoptable animals. It's really remarkable the difference a high quality pictures of a dog or cat can make in getting them adopted from a rescue. Instead of including EVEN MORE pictures in this post... you can check out this one on my photography blog for pictures of cute animals!  I also learned this month that I have a mild allergy to cats... Figures because my dad has a pretty severe allergy. Ah well, you learn something new every day!

So writing this post helped me realize how little I actually did this past month... oh well. June left me full of happiness and joy and I'm so excited for July (my birthday month)! I'm looking forward to a nice and quiet 17th birthday at home with my sweet family. Thanks for reading, friends! It was good to prove to myself that I actually can still blog and form sort of complete sentences... 

Happy July!