My Little Home Office ...and How it All Started

Thank you to each and every one of you who's been following along with all the new templates for photographers releases in Miller's Lab Design Market, and thank you for the occasional notes and emails :)
It's been a bit since my last blog post here.

Within the month, ewcouture.com will be sporting its fresh new look, and the blog and I will be getting re-acquainted.
Meanwhile, you can peek behind the scenes of EW Couture over at elenawilken.com - or as I fancifully more than occasionally call it - EW Couture Backstage. With a mix of personal musings and snippets of my art endeavors, you can also find me on Instagram.

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Thank you for stopping by! Looking forward to getting better acquainted with you.
...I will always want to learn about your goals and dreams for your photography business and studio. This is truly my goal with every EW Couture Collection product I create - to delight your clients and leave more room for you to do more of what makes you awesome - create photographs and make more art for your clients' homes.
Feel free to drop me a line anytime, with feedback or product requests.

If you are new to EW Couture, or would simply like to learn more about the the artist behind the brand name and the work, allow me to share with you a post that I originally shared a couple months ago on elenawilken.com

Happy to see you here! I hope you stay for awhile :)

My Little Home Office ...and How it All Started

cross-posted from elenawilken.com / EW Couture Backstage

A few months ago I moved into a work space outside our home.
The new office is beautifully lit on sunny days, and the streets outside the window delightfully buzz with life. Aside from the background noise it is very quiet. ...There are no children running around or hopping in as they pass by the door. I dearly miss the thought of those moments some days, but just as dearly, I appreciate and welcome the quietness :)
This new space feels like home and I am so thankful for the opportunity to be there. 

 Here is a little sneak peak at this new spot I am spending my working hours in these days, with a little Meyer Lemon tree by the window.

Here is a little sneak peak at this new spot I am spending my working hours in these days, with a little Meyer Lemon tree by the window.

...But it’s not this space I want to show you. Not today.

...Let me first introduce myself.
I am Elena, the artist behind EW Couture Collection, an illustrator, letterer, graphic designer, and a self-declared photographer at heart. And before that, a wife, a mom to our 3 loves, and one part of a less traditional family with a working mom and a "domestic engineer" dad (aka our most awesome stay-at-home dad).

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

Almost 9 years ago to the day, out of my love and passion for photography, intertwined with my graphic design knowledge, I started EW Couture Collection - a line of designer Photoshop templates and marketing materials for the professional photographer - Christmas cards, business cards, albums and mini accordion albums, CD, DVD and USB templates, presentation boxes, baby announcements, graduation invitations... you name it. All photographer marketing materials you could think of. 
It was about one year after our first baby was born.

7 years ago, before our second baby was born, I left my associate graphic designer position, and the part time gig became a full time contracting job.

Fast forward to almost 4 years ago after our third baby was born - my husband took on the role of a stay at home dad, and I took my work more seriously than ever. We strongly felt that it was the right direction and fit for our family and it made the most sense for us and our kids. So we stepped out into this adventure, and never really looked back. Only forward.
Along the way, I also started a collaboration with Mpix, creating for their beautiful collection of handmade photo goodies and keepsakes, and stationary.

It’s been a whirlwind ride that's been leaving me speechless and still fills me with thankfulness again and again. It allows me to make a living doing something that I enjoy, while leaving a mark on other peoples’ lives.
The people I've met, the friendships I’ve made, the things I am learning about myself and the way this journey is shaping our family, will forever stay with me.
That's not to say that there are no sacrifices we've chose or had to make along the way, or that life is in bright shades of pink everyday. But we both know we are in the right place, and wouldn't do it differently, given the choice. The kids are thriving, and they love having Paul around so much! ... I am sure I will be sharing more about our experience, as I become more friendly with my blog again, so stick around ;)

But for today, I wanted to take a moment to be thankful for - and honor - the little  place where I started my journey.
If you'd know me, you'd learn that I get attached to places, and they become very meaningful to me. That was the case with my little home office, too.
This place saw me at my highest and at my lowest, and it's here that I've learned to navigate the complex world of owning a small business. ...The place where so many projects were birthed, where I first tried modern calligraphy and lettering, where I first ventured into watercolors and illustration, and where I first started thinking of myself as a professional artist and small business owner. I love this little room and what it meant for me and implicitly, for our little family!

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

The cork board wall was one of my favorite features, and something that I recreated in my current space, as well. I love being able to pin on it inspirational pieces, torn magazine pages, things I might be working on at the moment, or little notes from the kids.
I happened to photograph how my husband and I installed it, so if you are interested in the process and how we went about getting it done, check out the blog next week for a feature.

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

In an effort to stay relevant in the industry, and out of curiosity and delight too (once I got the taste of it), I learned and taught myself new skills. It would be dishonest of me not to admit that a good part of the drive to learn new things was linked to getting a paycheck and making a living for our family.
I am an introvert, I am not a thrill seeker, and I am very happy in my comfort zone ...I have yet to take on something new without any fears, and fully believing it will turn into a smashing success :) So, anything that gets me motivated and pushes me forward, out of my comfort zone - I'll take it!

I am sure many are plagued with the fear of getting started, but what I learned is that most times that's all it takes. Getting started is half or more of the journey.

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite classes that I took, while learning lettering, calligraphy, and watercolors. I'll update with a link to the feature, this coming week. I started adding them here, but this post is getting lengthier than I intended it, as it is :) 

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

Watercolors and gauche are two other mediums that I've fallen in love with, in my creative explorations. And sure enough, I have a few awesome and very affordable online classes to recommend for these, too ;)

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...And then, there is digital illustration. Oh, the possibilities!
I can completely blame my stumbling into that, on Paul :)
A couple of years ago, we went in to pick up a new desktop machine, and I walked out with the iMac - and an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. Because "This is going to open up so many possibilities for you!" And indeed, the iPad Pro has been one of the best and most lucrative investments I made for the business, aside from education! I am thrilled he insisted I'd get it.
It's been part of my workflow on about every other project I've worked on since I got, and it will be part of every single one, as I wade into surface pattern design this year.

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...About a year ago when I contacted Heidi of Velvet Owl Photography for updated head shots for the website, I didn't know I was going to move out soon. I am so glad that I decided to have the session in this little office.
With the move, this room is now a bedroom, with no sign of what is has been. I will forever treasure the memory of this little space as my little creative heaven.

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

...And this is our gift baby, the one that has my heart wrapped around his little finger. And also, one of the reasons I started to seriously consider a work space outside the house :)

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

 image by Velvet Owl Photography

image by Velvet Owl Photography

Thank you again for stopping by! And if you got this far, thank you for allowing me to share part of my story with you :)

What is your story? How did you start your business? What is your passion? What do you love to create art of most? I would truly love to hear from you.

...I'll leave you with a few images of photography products I've created over the years. Enjoy!