Hana_Mike-0003-web-seo-keywordsONE OF MY FAVORITE things is getting hired to be the wedding photographer of one of my former students.  As teachers, we want the best for our students. We enjoy watching  them grow out of those high school drama years into fine young adults.  We want to see them grow up to be happy.  The bonus for me is that I get to capture and share with friends and family those images of loveliness and happiness that occur at the wedding.


In addition to taking my photography class, Hana ran 4 years of track for me at Apollo High School.  Her ability as a distance runner grew year after year.  Her running abilities were crucial in helping  Apollo win our region and earn a 2nd place finish at State her junior year.

Out of my many memories of Hana’s career, the one that I remember the most is her competition with a runner from Prescott.  This girl consistently had better times than Hana all year.  Except when she raced against Hana.  Every time Hana and this young lady ran head to head, Hana won convincingly.  Those races were truly remarkable to watch.  Lots of high fives all around.

I also fondly, I think, remember how many times in those 4 years Hana came up to me and said “Coach, you spelled my name wrong…again!”

Hana completed a successful 4  year career at Apollo and went on to attend NAU, where she eventually met her future intended, Mike. They both graduated from NAU.  She now works as a K-8 art teacher and he works for the State of Arizona in the area of environmental quality.

Hana and Mike were freshmen at NAU when they were introduced to each other by mutual friends.  They became close friends before they finally decided they were the right person for each other.

Hana describes Mike as a chef, a true gentleman, and tells me that Mike is “all things outdoors, like a lumberjack.”

Mike says that Hana always has an elegant look to her.  He loves to listen to her play the guitar, and describes Hana as “a tomboy and a pretty princess all at the same time.”

Together they enjoy cooking, “artsy stuff” outdoor activities, and of course their two dogs.

On Sunday the 20th, the three of us got together to shoot their engagement session.  I first met Mike at Katie and Jason’s wedding . Hana was one of the bridesmaids. Since I was a bit busy that evening, I didn’t get a chance to do much conversing with the two of them.  I found it nice to finally sit down, talk with them, and get to know more about Hana and Mike as a couple.  It was even better to go out and shoot the session and watch Hana and Mike interact with each other as they express their affection for one another in front of my lens.

You now know a bit about the princess and the lumberjack.  Here are a few of the wonderful, lovely moments from Hana and Mike’s engagement session.

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In my former life as a high school football coach, one of the yearly traditions was to take a 3 or 4 day road trip and hit a coaching clinic with big time college and professional football coaches speaking.  As a bonus, these clinics were usually held at exotic places such as Anaheim or San Diego.  The main goal, other than getting out of the house, out of the city, and off from school for a couple of days, was to come away with a nugget or two of useful information that could help next season’s team succeed at a higher level.  I was pleased to find that these types of educational opportunities were also available to me in my new life as a photographer.

As I made the transition from one career to another, I sought knowledge from multiple sources.  I needed lots of help.  Not only did I need information to help me make the switch from film to digital, I needed to know the ins and outs of running a successful wedding photography business.  Throughout my earlier blogs I have documented many of the educational opportunities I have participated in which have been major influences on my photographic style and my business practices.  Last week I had the opportunity to add to that list by attending Melissa Jill’s MJ2Day workshop.

First a little background on Melissa and her workshop.  Through my semi-participation in the Photographer’s Adventure Club, I went to a meeting which featured Melissa talking about using blogging as a business tool.  After her presentation, I talked to Melissa for a bit and discovered that she and I had attended Azusa Pacific University.  Fellow Cougars!  Orange and Black forever!  From that day on I looked at the educational posts Melissa has on her website, as well as twice taking advantage of Melissa’s one on one hour long coaching sessions.  But my ultimate goal always was to attend one of her MJ2Day workshops.  I am OK at learning from books and videos, but I really learn the best in a “hands on” situation.  I felt this workshop would be a great one to go to.  I was not disappointed.

MJ2Day is a 2 day workshop held at Melissa’s studio.  It is intense.  It is information packed.  It is worth it.  No, it was well worth it.  Whenever I was at the in law’s house for dinner, my father-in-law used to say “if you go away hungry, it’s your own fault.”  Melissa’s workshop is just like that.  If you go away with your brain empty of knowledge and ideas, it’s your own fault.

Check the links here and here for Melissa’s official blog posts and photographs from her 13th MJ2Day workshop.


This is Melissa Jill.  Wedding Photographer. Blogger.  Educator.  Runner of the MJ2Day workshop.  Owner of the cutest dog, Dixie.  And most importantly, fellow Azusa Pacific alum.

I have a friend who likes to say about a female in the company of one or more males. “She is a rose among many thorns.”  If you look at the head shots Melissa took of the workshop participants, you will notice that there were a couple of thorns among many roses. It was a fun bunch of people and a great group to work with.  I am sure we all came away with a little something that will help further our respective businesses.

A special shout out to Melissa’s assistant Sarah.  While working behind the scenes to keep the workshop running smoothly, and more importantly picking up lunch and keeping the snacks going, she helped me solve a Lightroom problem I had been having.  When I hire an assistant, I hope to hire someone as hard working and tireless and as exceptional as Sarah.

I got a chance to expand my restaurant list as we ended Tuesday with a meal at Postino’s.   Trendy on the west side is Old Country Buffet.  Postino’s was a nice change of pace.

MOVING ON….to the original reason for me writing this post.  I wanted to share the most exciting part of the workshop and the impact that it will have on me and Poole Photography.

I WON!!!

MJ2Day raffles off prizes from its many sponsors.  MJ has enough prizes so that everybody wins one, BUT, as much as I would have liked to have won the aqua blue camera bag or the full spread advertisement in DESTINATION i do magazine, I am excited because I won exactly what I and Poole Photography needed.

I haven’t been happy with my website for a long, long time.   I quit updating it about six months ago and have just concentrated on my blog.   In September, my once a month photography consultant, Vonn, suggested that I needed to work on my website as it was lacking punch.  What could I do but agree with her.  I sat down a few days later determined to totally recreate my website,  But as I sat at my computer with my fingers  not moving at all, I came to the decision that I would wait until after the MJ2Day workshop.  I was sure that MJ would have some relevant information about website construction.  Best. Decision. Ever.

My prize at the MJ2Day workshop was one free StyleGroup Design  of my choice from Sitehouse valued at up to $350, AND one full year of hosting for free on Showit, a $429 value.  I now have a little slice of website heaven.  The StyleGroup Designs are done by Promise Tangeman, who is a rock star of website design, and Showit is used by many big name professional photographers such as Jasmine Star. Part of me wants to do a Wayne and Garth and get on my knees and say “I’m not worthy!  I’m not worthy!”

The old website is shutdown.  The new website is being created.  I will post on this blog and on Facebook when the new website is up and running.

I find the word “awesome” to be a tired, worn out term that is used way to often to describe average things and should be banned from being used in the English language.  However, in the case of the MJ2Day workshop, I will relax my standards for the moment.  It. Was. Awesome!

FUN FACT #1 As I am writing this post, the wife asks me why she can’t get on my website.  Oops.  Forgot to tell her I had shut it down.

FUN FACT #2 The song I was listening to while writing this post was “A Day in the Life”  by the Beatles.  Did I even need to tell you?


While Melissa was shooting our head shots, we were to take head shots of each other to share.  While taking these shots, I also did a little  “behind the scenes” shots of the others doing their photography.  What can I say, I like to do candids.

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Poole Photography, LLC, is located in Glendale, AZ.  We photograph weddings, specializing in small, intimate weddings.

Tim Poole/ owner, operator and photographer.