15 Years Because of YOU

All of us at Shewanders Photography are dancing in confetti of love and gratitude for celebrating 15 years behind the lens.

15 years of gratitude. 15 years of love. 15 years because of YOU.

We’d love to take you on a little vacation down memory lane to where it all began.

In 2002, a friend asked me to shoot her big day. I very reluctantly said yes. I had never shot a wedding before and it wasn’t something I wanted to do. By the end of the day, sparks were flying, adrenaline was pumping; I was in love. A couple months later, I got laid off of my job in advertising and started Shewanders Photography.

Mike started with Shewanders in 2008 and has blown my mind with his raw talent.  He took some photo classes when he was younger, but really claimed his voice at Shewanders.  He started as a third shooter and within a couple of years was shooting his own weddings.  I admire his voice and the sense of immediacy that he captures.  I often look at his work and wonder how he puts people at enough ease for them to be so natural in front of him.

There are a few things over the last 15 years that we couldn’t have lived without.

Suzanne says....

I write in my morning pages every day. It’s how I let go of all the chatter so that I can stay focused and understand what I want. The gems are hidden amidst the words of my everyday writing. It takes putting in the work day after day; that’s where the magic happens.

I ask what if it’s magical? Instead of, what if it’s too hard or expensive? Shewanders by nature has allowed me to live an untraditional lifestyle where I get to travel and work. Work to travel, work while traveling, the whole shebang. When I travel, I know who I am. It allows me to learn, grow, challenge myself, and respond to my environment. While exploring a new place, I want to fill each day to the brim with adventures.

I listen to music to make sense of my thoughts. Sometimes an idea or a problem will be floating around in my mind. It takes the emotional quality of a song or the lyrics to help me understand what I’ve been feeling or thinking.

I always allow myself time to daydream and listen to my inner voice (even when she sounds like a drill sergeant). This gives me the freedom to dream up new concepts and ideas from within, rather than what I see on Pinterest or Instagram.

Mike says...

I believe that love and a celebration solves any problem. Regardless of the stress of a wedding day or the never-ending tasks, when I live in the moment of a beautiful celebration, everything else disappears.

I always stand true to who I am. I never try to stand out, I just try to be myself. I do what inspires me and my clients so that we have a journey together.

I find peace and recharge in fitness and nature. Outside of photography, I do martial arts, running, and bodyweight training. I love the outdoors. Hiking and survival type training is a passion and hobby of mine.

I couldn’t survive without listening to my inner voice. This is driven by reading, film, and new experiences.

Both of us say...

We have constantly been inspiring ourselves so that we can create inspired work. We go to workshops, take classes, have art adventures with friends, and always experiment with new techniques.

We attribute our success to the most amazing friends in the industry and rising together. CAKE Bakery was my first industry friend. We love those ladies like no one else. Our companies grew up together.  We had our growing pains together and all of our successes.  Did you see them win Cake Wars?

We also couldn't have done it without finding our ideal clients.  Oh my gosh we love our clients. Seriously! So many people complain about their brides and grooms and we are head over heels for ours.  Our clients tend to be warm people who are grateful to have wonderful people in their lives.

A thousand thank you’s to all of our friends, at home in San Diego, and everywhere around the globe. Because of you, we have been able to create a life we love.

Cheers to 15 more years of art making and dream chasing!

One Pic : Jamie

What a treat to have Jas from Curl and Revel as our hair stylist for this fitness shoot with Jamie. Collaborating with other talented artists sets our lens on fire. Here are a few words from Jas on creativity and collaboration. 

How do you stay creative and inspired?

There is so much around me that keeps me creative and inspired. I love to take advanced education classes to stay current with the latest hair trends and gain knowledge from others in my industry. I am always up for collaborating with other artists for photoshoots or events. So much creative energy in one space is always inspiring, even if our styles don’t exactly align.

My passion is driven by experiencing colors, textures, feelings, movements and sounds around me. They are often inspiration for a hairstyle, color, or haircut and if nothing else, they just make me feel good so that I can perform at a higher level. For me, I have learned that being artistic takes balance. To stay motivated and excited, I try to juggle exercise, reading, getting outside, listening to music, trying new things, going to the beach, hanging out with friends, or just taking quiet time for myself so that I am continuously tapping into new creative spaces.

If someone wanted to break into the hair design industry, what advice would you give them?

Do research and find a great school in your area. Definitely assist under one or two stylists when you are starting your career. There are plenty of hair artists, but choose the ones that will help you grow and push you out of your comfort zone. Learn the basics so that you can break the rules and don’t be afraid to try out new techniques. Foster your passion by taking additional education courses, working with people that inspire and challenge you to be better, and never stop learning.

What season inspires you most?

I love fall! The various colors and crisp air are refreshing and energize me.

What is your dream project?

Recently I’ve been dreaming up a few projects. A shoot in the sand dunes with a tribal flare, another in the woods incorporating archery (giving a hunger games feel), and lastly, this coming winter, I would love to do something gritty in the mountains, not your typical ‘Winter Wonderland’.

How has collaborating with other artists shaped or inspired your business?

It has been so fun collaborating and seeing what inspires others. Everyone has a different expertise and does their unique part, but the end result is always something beautiful. Getting out and working with others on projects is what keeps me excited to be behind the chair. For me, it feels great to break up my daily routine and do something different. Collaborating allows me to meet and build great relationships with people I may not otherwise meet. My business has grown because they refer new clients to me, introduce new projects that allow me to showcase what I love to do, and push me to put my best work forward.

Are there any trends or styles you are in love with these days?

I absolutely love Balayage Highlights and Boho Hair! Balayage is a free-hand hair painting technique that gives blended, natural highlights. It is a more subtle, sun-kissed look as opposed to traditional foil highlights that typically have harsh lines, especially during the growing out process. Braids, knots, and twists mixed with beachy/bohemian waves are my jam. It’s a somewhat undone style that looks so beautiful and effortless. By adding a braid, your hairstyle can transform into a completely different look.


Creativity Tell All // Kico at BoxMade Goods

It was so great running into Kico and Jen at Station in South Park. I follow them on Facebook but it's always good to see old friends face-to-face. Their wedding was almost 10 years ago and it still felt like yesterday. We had so much fun. I knew Kico would be up to something exciting and I was stoked to hear about his new project. Here are some clips of inspiration from Kico of Boxmade Goods, a custom artwork and apparel imprinting company based in San Diego.

How do you continually stay inspired and creative?

Mostly from internet archaeology and curating. There's plenty of easily accessible inspiration out there, too much actually. It helps to be selective. I look at Dribbble, Behance and TheDieLine a lot.

Is there anything special or unique about your morning routine?

I wouldn't say it's unique, but my mornings are special because I get to spend time with my daughter; getting her ready for school and dropping her off. Between getting her ready and entertaining our dog, it's a long morning before I get to do anything for myself, but I'm fortunate to be able to have that time with both of them.

If someone wanted to break into your industry, what advice would you give them?

Find a niche. There's a million screen printers and apparel decorators out there. Specialize in an industry you love and believe in.

Did you always know this career path was ‘the one’?

Nope. I knew I didn't want to be desk bound and I've always enjoyed making things and being creative in general. I also knew I wanted to run my own business someday. Screen printing happened sort of by accident, but was a great fit both on the business and creative fronts.

What season inspires you most?

Fall. I love the anticipation and build-up to the holidays. I also love fall clothing; jackets, blazers, scarves and boots.

What is the best advice you have been given?

"Be the change that you wish to see in the world." - Ghandi. I heard someone repeat this Ghandi quote in a great video podcast I watch regularly called Barbell Shrugged.  It's a simple inspirational quote, but really resonates with me. Be the change. It's become a bit of a mantra.

What is your dream project?

To design and print a logo that transcends it's initial purpose.

If there was a song that played every time you worked on your craft, what would it be?

So many come to mind! "I Ain't No Joke" or "Paid in Full" by Eric B. & Rakim. Also "Home" or "Route 66" by Depeche Mode if I had to narrow it down.

Is there anything in particular you are obsessed with these days? 

Mostly learning more about the art, business and craft of screen printing.  I'm also constantly reading stories about people who completely changed their lives after discovering CrossFit. So many of them not only lose weight and get more fit, but change careers or life paths. I also watch a lot of Barbell Shrugged videos and pretty much everything Aaron Draplin does.

What would you do if you had $40,900 for a vacation?

Take my wife and daughter to New York City and Paris. We would stay in nice hotels and spend the rest on phenomenal food in both cities.


Suzanne, Mike and the Wanderers