I'm mthree. Those are my initials. Always have been, and thanks to a hubby with a "M" last name; always will be.

I've been a designer for over ten years, I was an animator and a filmmaker once, I was a bride before I was a photographer, I'm a new business owner, but I've always been an artist.

You can get a glimpse of where I've been, a better look at where I am and a peek at where I'm going right here.

You gotta S -T-R-E-T-C-H your browser window to see the BIG pictures...

Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy Birthday Craig! And Happy New Year Everyone Else!

Ahhh - the last post of 2007! What a wild ride this year had been. I think I'll save the yearly review for a later post though and hand this one over to a birthday shout-out to my cousin and good friend Craig. My brother and I were born on the 30th, and Craig on the 31st, so the three of us have a long list of family birthday party memories where we all shared the celebrations. And while we all got along as kids, I don't think we would have thought in a million years that we would be such good friends as adults. I say this all the time, but Hubby and I have always felt extraordinarily lucky that some of our best friends are family. I don't think everyone can say that. Even just a few years ago I would have never guessed that Craig would be such a big part of our lives. We were married a month apart, bought our homes in the same year, found spouses that are great friends for each other, and Hubby and Craig even shared a Bachelor Party in Vegas.

When the whole world celebrates your birthday (since it is New Year's Eve) you can party on a pretty grand scale and as anyone who knows Craig is aware- Craig certainly knows how to party grandly. The Craig partying stories are the stuff of legends. But that is another story for another day. The flip side is of course, that a lot of people forget it is your birthday, or prefer to celebrate in other ways and don't spend it with you. So we have been trying to recognize it appropriately. We will all be ringing in the New Year and singing Happy Birthday simultaneously tonight. I hope you all of your readers have a great time as well!

Here's a small Craig tribute - I just had to throw in one embarrassing kid picture.

In sailor suits our Grandma made us (Craig is on the left):

At Buffet a couple of years ago:

At New Year's last year:

With Hubby at the Playboy club in Vegas:

And Finally with Me and our Friend Timm on my wedding day:

(this photo by Heather Cook Elliott)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thirty isn't so bad...

Well, my birthday finally arrived and I survived. I am thirty, though I still don't feel it - which is good.

Last night, Craig and Jamie stayed over to help me usher it in at midnight - very kindly calling out things like "There's only three more minutes left of your twenties!". Very sweet. Hubby presented me with my gift - a fabulous iPhone at Midnight too. Honestly, I think he was more excited to give it to me than I was to receive it. It totally rocks, I'm quickly going to find it indispensible I'm sure. And Danica - go get one already - it will totally help with your coordinating!

So today I woke up to "coffee" with Jamie and then my sisters took me shopping at Bayshore. I'll be honest, it was a little odd for them to request, and I was slightly curious what they were up to, but it was a lot of fun. We came home to go out to dinner with the family (which they had previously arranged with me) and I walked into to a house packed full of people. Hubby had thrown me a surprise party. ALL of our families (well most of them, and that was a house-full in itself) and friends were here to celebrate. What a wonderful surprise! Just one more reason why Hubby rocks. I know he had help from both of our mom's and other family members and a big thank you to all for putting on a wonderful party that made me feel great about turning thirty instead of the impending sense of dread I was feeling. And I got some other fabulous gifts as well - tickets to see "Wicked" in Chicago and a full day of spa and pampering of all sorts from mine and hubby's parents respectively among many other wonderful and unexpected things.

So all in all, Thirty has been good so far and I can certainly handle more of this. And I must apologize that I have no pictures to share from my fabulous evening - for the first time I didn't take any! But, not to leave you dissapointed, I have a few shout-outs to my co-birthday people:

My Brother Christian who graciously allowed my birthday to take precedence this year when we have always shared:
(photo by Heather Cook Elliott)

Our friend Kristin (and her twin sister) who I never see enough (she is on the left in this picture from my Bachelorette Party):

And also my friend Holly (who I don't have a picture of).

Happy Birthday to you all !!

Hubby rocks!

I'm posting this from my brand new iPhone!
hubby ROCKS!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Difference.

Sometime ago Hubby and I were talking about why clients would hire me over someone else. It was a classic discussion between us because he wanted to find mostly finanical reasons, and I had all artistic and experience-related ones. Hubby spends a lot of time trying to convince me that money makes the world go round, and I spend a lot of time trying to convince him of exactly the opposite. It is an eternal discussion with us. And then the other day we were discussing camera equipment and hubby says "It isn't what camera you have it is how you use it." I quietly chalked this up to a small victory for my side of the eternal argument and I was so proud that he understood that difference. And it is really what I am always trying to show clients in every meeting - how I will use all of my equipment (the real camera kind, and the more undefineable artistic kind) to capture their day.

So I was trying to figure out how to illustrate this concept more literally for the blog. The best way to do so is with a comparison - and I do this with all integrity and respect: I came across these two photos from a friend's wedding of the same scene/moment. The first one is by the pro photographer they hired and the second one is by me using roughly the same "equipment" (I found a few moments to shoot some shots around my wedding party duties). Both are legitimate interpretations and fully competent images. And both tell completely different stories. I'm not trying to say one is bad and one is good. It never helps me to denounce another photographer, and that decision really isn't up to me anyway, it is up to the client. I don't really view other area photographers as competition. I compete with myself enough. Every couple should book with whom they find matches their vision - if that is me; great, if it is someone else; that is also great because I am glad they found a good match for this super important day. My clients are attracted to the way I interpret a scene - and that is part of why I love them.

(the two family names have been blocked out with the black squigly line to protect the innocent)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I failed miserably at not only getting our personal Christmas Cards out the door on time this year, but also on getting any Mthree Studio cards out to my clients. Life is busy - but in a good way.

Since I am fairly certain most of my clients read the blog - Have a Happy Holiday!

I'll proubably be absent from the blog for a few days while I enjoy the coming holiday - I hope you all take the opportunity to do the same. I only have one more thing to go pick up today (something I wouldn't have to do if the nasty clerk at Southridge hadn't screwed it up last night -ahh, but I'm letting that go lest it add to my scroogeness) and then it is on to finishing the wrapping and hopefully seeing some out-of-town friends.

Have a good one!

(P.S.- 10 points to anyone who can correctly guess why I would choose that particular picture above for this post)

Friday, December 21, 2007

"Aaahhhhhh" Now this is a Thirty I can handle!

(image from Google Images)

Yesterday I got an early Birthday and Christmas Present from my good friend Jamie. She was so excited about it and I know why now. Wednesday night she gives me this card with a note inside to show up at Neroli at 10:15 am (not too early - yes!). She wouldn't tell me what it was for, but it had to be good. I already had my haircut scheduled there for that afternoon, so this meant I was going to have an almost full day of pampering, which of course Jamie had figured out.

I tell you, I tossed and turned all morning in bed worrying I wouldn't wake up in time to be there and miss my surprise. Still, I got there early (!) and discovered I had been scheduled for a Full Body Massage. I've never had any sort of massage except for the time that my good friend Britany's husband hired a masseuse for me and my bridesmaids and he did a 10 minute back massage on each of us in one of those chair thingys - and that was great, but this was wonderful with a capital W. Fabulously relaxing. I would have never thought to ask for a gift like this - which I think is part of what makes it so cool. And being right before the holidays - when better to get some stress relief. If this is what Thirty is like...bring it on!

Of course, now I have to figure out how to top this for Jamie's next birthday....

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

My Favorite Things...

Only five shopping days left 'till Christmas. I'm almost done, just stocking stuffers for hubby and two other gifts left. Jamie and I are going shopping this afternoon, so with any luck I'll be done by tonight.

I love Oprah's annual "My Favorite Things" show, though I loathe the way the audience freaks out and seems so greedy. Regardless, I thought I would do my own "Favorite Things" list, and you dear readers, get to enjoy it. These are all things I use everyday and love to death, or at least just things I love to death. If I had the budget, I would buy them in abundance and give them to everyone I know this Christmas just like Oprah (well, when appropriate - I don't think the guys would like the makeup).

Caudelie Sauvignon Scrub $35

Caudelie Sauvignon Scrub is so amazing. I first got a sample tube from Sephora and tried it out to amazing results. After just one scrubbing, your skin is so amazingly soft, you will think you had a micropeel. It isn't terribly inexpensive, but it lasts a long time and a little goes a long way. The label claims that it infuses your skin with antioxidants from crushed grape seeds - whatever, it works. I've been using it every morning during my thirty in thirty plan and my skin has never looked better.

Bare Escentuals Makeup $25

Bare Escentuals Makeup is my secret weapon. When I turned 24 my skin totally freaked out - suddenly I had acne and I was allergic to everything I tried. This makeup is free from the preservatives (read formaldahyde) that is in just about every other makeup and is safe enough to sleep in. It covers beautifully and holds up even in the heat - I have been loving this stuff for at least five years now. And Dad, hint, hint - if you still need a gift for mom, she really wants a starter kit of this stuff.

Silver Plated Rolodex $49

The Silver Plated Rolodex from Pottery Barn adds instant chic to any desk. I'm old school, I like to keep people's business cards - I don't have an electronic address book. This looks great, accomodates my goofy filing system for cards that only I understand and has a retro feel to it.

The Coach 6x8 Agenda $218

The Coach 6x8 Agenda is my little organizing companion. A gift from my brother a few years ago, I have faithfully used this to keep track of appointments, make endless notes and lists and even plan my wedding. It is just large enough that I don't feel like I'm writing in miniature and small enough to tuck into my purse. I have an electronic calendar on my computer and I use that faithfully as well, but I get a small joy out of syncing the written one in this little book up with the digital one.

F.Y....eye by Benefit $22

F.Y.eye by Benefit totally rocks. It is an eyeshadow base that actually works. Seriously, my shadow never migrates or looses its grip thanks to this stuff. Everyone I have recommended it to loves it.

Mac ProCare $99

The secret to keeping my laptop running and therefore my business too, is my ProCare membership . The sleek little black card in my wallet gets me to the front of the line everytime I go in the apple store, getting my questions answered lickety split. Anytime I need a repair or maintenance done on my equipment, my machine jumps to the front of the line too when I flash this little card. It also comes with yearly tune-up, consultations on back-up systems, advanced reservations at the genius bar, and complete set up of any new system. It also gives you access to apple training. If you have a Mac user or lover in your life - get them this membership, they will love it!

Xacto Board Cutter $10

I've cut thousands of things over the years, and I've tried just about every tool out there. The right tool makes all the difference and Iove this cutter so much I own four of them. I can trim invitations for hours with this thing without cramping up my hand. It's design makes precise cutting so intuitive, it is hard to make a mistake.
If you have a bride in your life or a scrapbooker - this is the perfect stocking stuffer.

O&H Danish Kringle
3 months of Kringle Club $59.95

Okay, I confess, I don't actually like Kringle (I have a thing against fruit filling). But if you are in Wisconsin, you have proubably sampled the wonder that is Danish Kringle from Racine . As a Racine native, I can testify that the best comes from O&H bakery (not the stuff you see in the grocery store) and is to die for. I have lived in several parts of the country, and each time when I introduced them to this stuff, they went nuts. When I lived in L.A., I actually paid the composer on my thesis film in Kringle from O&H. This would be a great gift for just about anyone.

Gregory Maguire Novels

If you've heard of the stage show "Wicked" you've heard of Gregory Maguire. I still haven't seen the show, but if it is half as good as the book, then it is fantastic. All of his books are in fact. He takes the fairy tales we all grew up with and looks at them from an adult perspective, weaving tales of intrigue and peppering them with just enough references to the version you are familiar with to keep you fascinated. Each time I start to read one of his books I have a hard time putting it down. He has written five in all I think, only one of which is pictured above. This is one gift I did buy for someone on my list this year.

What kind of photographer would I be if I didn't mention that a photo session with Mthree Studio would make a great gift for just about anyone on your list. See below for a previous post on my Holiday Special. A few of you have already taken advantage of this - even one bride who is thinking of using it to buy herself a Trash the Dress session. Really, it can't be beat!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Sarah & Jim

On Saturday Sarah & Jim and I (and trusty assistant Katie) braved the snowstorm for their engagement shoot. I've never shot during a bonafide snowstorm before, and despite being almost soaked from head to toe in snow after two hours, numb toes (hubby has been claiming for a long time that I need actual snowboots, I finally agree) and even number fingers (and a camera that actually needed to be warmed up to keep shooting) - it was a blast! Sarah and Jim were such troopers through it all. The winter light is so gorgeous, and on an overcast day it is like shooting under the world's largest softbox - beautiful!

Sarah & Jim brought their puppy Henry along for the fun. If you know me personally, you know I have some serious puppy fever and Henry only fueled the fire on that. (All I want for Christmas is a Yorkie...) Loveable cute and spunky! And Sarah and Jim could not love this dog more - just look at their faces when they have him in their arms - such love and pride. I hope one day I get to shoot these two with their children, I can only imagine the way their faces will light up when they are already so bright with this puppy. Indulge me with some of my favorite shots of them with Henry:

I am so in love with Henry's expression here (that dog was shivering cold - but a good sport, and Katie was waiting in the sidelines with a warm blanket.)

I know Jim looks goofy being mid-sentence, but I love the interaction of Sarah and Henry here:

And for one of my new all time favorite shots - quite literally the second to last shot of the day:

I don't know if it is the nostalgia of the holiday season, but I felt compelled to do a bunch of desaturated editing:

Before I give you the slideshow - a small shout-out to assistant Katie who suffered in the cold right along with us - but was such a good sport. Hey, don't feel too bad for her - her main responsibility was watching Henry.

Enjoy the pictures!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Jamie & Jake

Jamie and Jake braved the very cold weather last Saturday for their engagement shoot. The camera moves slower below 30 degrees, so it is a different experience shooting outside at this time of year. They were real troopers though, and I do mean that, because Jamie was in oh-so-cute high heels and willingly stood in a foot of snow for several shots. It didn't hurt that Jake gave her piggy back rides through the worst of it:

(Oh yes, that is a "restricted sign in that shot - we were very dangerous in our hunting for good locations!)

We did duck into several warm indoor locations to keep us going - the Milwaukee Art Museum, Design Within Reach and the Renaissance Building. It was a very fun afternoon - Jake kept asking for something special with the pics, so I give you Mthree Studio's first photographic time lapse:

Enjoy the pics guys!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Jamie!

(photo by Heather Cooke Elliott and Ari Rosenthal)

Happy Birthday to my good friend (and cousin) Jamie today! She is now the big 2-5.

Ahhh, twenty five....if only.....

We celebrated last Saturday with the third annual Surprise Dinner (Jamie falls for it every year apparently), and tonight is our usual Wednesday night dinner with them, so we will be celebrating again.

The pics are of Jamie and me on my wedding day and her wedding day, which were one month apart. The one from her wedding day also shows Jamie's friend Angie - the three of us were the marrieds, thus the ring shot. I do say though, that the "face" in the picture from our wedding really sums the two of us up well.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The Trash the Dress Shoot (finally!)

I feel like I need a drumroll or a trumpet fanfare here- I have finally (finally!) finished editing the first Trash the Dress shoot. I still may play around with a few textures on some of the shots - but it is done. Whew! I guess it is just a testament to how much business I have had that I haven't been able to find time to get this done.

Harmony and Ericka totally rocked this shoot. We had rescheduled due to weather and the moment they showed up at my house it started raining. But they both were totally game for giving it a go - even when I wanted to call it off, they both said "Let's get to the cornfield and maybe we can shoot between the rain". Well, someone was helping us out because we got a very light drizzle at best, and only here and there. The girls were game for just about anything, crouching in mud, laying in a dirty field, climbing all over a suspicious abandoned and collapsed house, all in their wedding dresses. Ericka even did it all in her high heels - now that was interesting! Surprisingly, they didn't get that dirty - just the hems of their dresses really, and their shoes.
Big kudos go to my dad who helped for part of the shoot - lugging equipment, holding the umbrella and offering his jacket.

The shot at the top of this post - I swear to you I did not steal it from America's Next Top Model - that is just Harmony rockin' her mojo! And Ericka - she is confidence personified in every shot - just beautiful!

Here are a few shots of our process - Erica's dirty shoes at the end of the day and my dad being, well my dad. ;0)
Then there is a MASSIVE slideshow at the bottom. Enjoy and please let me know what you think! Ericka and Harmony - your disks will go in the mail Monday!