In this series of blog posts we are introducing the folks who are team members and organizers for Inspire 2013 by posting about personal projects and how they have helped us as wedding and portrait photographers. Paul is the owner of STUDIO FOTO and specializes in Wedding and Baby and Boudoir photography.

The theme for this year’s Inspire Team blog posts is personal projects.  At first I thought I didn't have any then after a bit of prodding from other team members and a bit of introspection I think I have too many, lol!

I will start with the biggest personal project I have ever done, Our Studio!  This Project took us from 2003 until 2007 and it's sort of still going on;)  It all started with our first studio in 2000, located adjacent to this building that was vacant.  The first 3 years of owning a business in the pre PUG era we were absolutely uneducated in running and owning a business.  We bounced around in three different locations until buying that building. It was still vacant and we got it for $2500.00, yup the decimal point is in the correct place;)

We started with this in 2003 for $2500.00

Sounds like a good deal right..... Well this is the next 4 years in a nut shell. You will see that $2500.00 didn't get us much, enjoy!

This project took us YEARS, however Krystal and stayed strong and committed the entire time.  Looking back makes me a tear up because we had so many friends selflessly help us and EVERYONE believed in us, we were CRAZY! but nobody ever said we were and now we have an amazing space to create and use however we want!

So that was the doozy, now for the fun personal project. Krystal and I were expecting our first child in October of 2011. I know, who has a kid right in the middle of wedding season, right!  Well we did and it was AWESOME!  So as much as Penelope is a personal project I am writing about something that I was doing for our business and how it turned into a personal project.  Krystal and I used to send gifts to clients who booked us, until one day I was sort of over it and I realized we were just trying to fit a mold that wasn't for us. Don't get me wrong, I loved the idea but the expense and the random "things we love" were sort of meaningless.  We looked around for something more meaningful to us and decided it had to be made by us, by hand.  So we decided to make soap, yes soap!  So long story short Penny's Apothecary was born.  I tapped into my chemistry/Biology background from UCONN, yup, pre vet/animal science student turned art student here;) I taught myself how to make soap, and the ideas and philosophies behind real, natural products.  We know make all natural soap, body butters, balms, room sprays, floral sachets.... we sell at small farmers markets, craft fairs and a few gift shops.  We now send a truly hand made product to our clients that we love and have fun making!  We love taking time away from the studio that has NOTHING to do with photography, it makes us use different parts of our brain and brings us joy as a family and takes the conversation away from customers and editing and, and, and.  We needed something to get our hands "dirty", something that didn't use a computer screen, we found it!

And now for my favorite personal project;)  this is AMAZING!!!

See you all at INSPIRE 2013!!!!!