PASS Premier Denver: Denver, CO Wedding Photographer

Last night I had the amazing privilege to attend the PASS premier in Denver. When I signed up a couple months ago to attend, I honestly had no clue what it would be about, all I knew was that I would get to meet David Jay, Promise Tangeman and Zach and Jody Gray and to me, that was all I needed to know! I knew it would be a great night but I have to admit that I was absolutely blown away by the sheer amazingness of it. I won’t go into the details of PASS but it is definitely something that is going to revolutionize the photography industry and I am so excited for the changes it is bringing. However, even with as amazing as this new technology and capability is, the best part of last night by far was the relationships I got to be a part of and the stories I heard shared that left me reinvigorated in my dream of wedding photography. I am still on a complete high from it today. I left last night feeling, “I love EVERYONE, I want to be friends with EVERYBODY and I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT EVERYTHING!”. Trust me, no one knows the true extent of my craziness better than I. Well, and of course Paul. ;)

Promise Tangeman (one of my favorite designers ever!) and her husband Brian:

I was nervous leading up to yesterday. I always thought if I met a Hollywood celeb that I wouldn’t go all gaga and crazy. And I still think that’s probably true. But a Broadway celeb or a photography celeb??? Yes, I just might get starstruck. Just call me Super Geek with a capital Super. And if you are in the photography world, you probably know that David Jay, Promise Tangeman and Zach and Jody Gray ARE photography celebs. They will deny that title up and down but that only adds to their awesomeness. Yesterday as I was getting ready I said a prayer. It went a little like this: “God, I know I am going to be nervous tonight, please help me to be able to be myself and to be a good conversator”. Yep-conversator. Good one Sara. And that my friends IS PRECISELY WHY I WAS PRAYING FOR HELP! Obviously. I was a little weak in the knees meeting each one of them and I was just praising the good Lord that I didn’t say something too embarassing or trip and fall on my rear. Each one of them was so down to earth though that I felt like we had been longtime friends. Each one of them has such a gift of putting people at ease and making people feel valued. I want to be better at that. I tried not to talk too much, but let’s just call that effort a work in progress folks.

David Jay on the left, making introductions for the night, Promise on the right. That’s right, we’re on a first name basis now. Right, Promise?

Each presentation was beyond wonderful but the one that spoke most deeply to where I’m at in my business right now was the presentation by Zach and Jody. It was as if they gave me permission to run with the ideas I have had for my business. I couldn’t have verbalized it at the time, but when I was planning my wedding, I wanted a photographer I could have a relationship with. Someone I felt so comfortable with because I felt like I already knew them before the wedding day even arrived. However, I didn’t know any better and I assumed every photographer would want a relationship with their clients as well, because well, who wouldn’t? Especially with clients as super cool as Paul and I, duh! (<–Totally kidding friends!) I chose my photographer based on their portfolio alone and I wasn’t happy at all with my wedding photography. Don’t get me wrong, the pictures are well-done, and I don’t blame my photographer because she never claimed to be the personality I was seeking. But I wanted more than just good pictures, I wanted an experience. This has greatly shaped who I am as a wedding photographer. I love people and I love and believe in marriage and I want to invest in THAT. Yes I love photography. Yes I love looking at beautiful art and yummy creamy images, but more important than that to me are the people in my photographs. THEY are what I care most deeply about and their marriage is what drives me in my business. Zach and Jody inspired me to care more deeply for people and to serve more selflessly. It makes me even more excited and thankful for the brides and grooms I have already worked with and those who are putting their trust in me in the future.

Zach on the left, Brian Wurzell (talented musician and Promise’s husband) on the right:

Jody on the left, John of John Payne Studios center, Sara Fachetti on the right:

*Random Sidenote:

The last week of school my 1st graders completed a “1st grade memory book”. In it included a page that asked them to list 3 things they are already good at, 3 things they are getting good at and 3 things they want to be good at someday. I thought it would be fun to try it out and I’m encouraging you all to do it as well! Trust me, the “3 things I am already good at” is the hardest, but you can start with the other sections first like I did and work your way up. I couldn’t think of anything I could consider myself truly good at (since I never have the feeling of having “arrived” at a skill-there is ALWAYS room for improvement, right??) so I texted Paul for help. His response? “Photography! Making people happy/laugh, looking good, being organized and self-motived”. My favorite was when he said I am good at looking good. Because that is awfully kind coming from a guy who sees me with hair reminiscing of a bad 80’s beauty pageant and smudged mascara every morning! Good grief, I love that man.

3 things I am already good at:

  1. Eating ice cream <–This answer is inspired by one of my 1st grade girls. I miss her. We had so much in common-obvs.
  2. Making Paul laugh.
  3. Being courageous when pursuing my dreams.

3 things I am getting good at:

  1. Being a better conversator conversationalist. Listening more, talking less. Still a work in progress, but I am learning. Paul is GREAT at this, he is the perfect balance and a great encourager in this area.
  2. Being my goofy self in public and being confident about it.
  3. Sending out birthday/mother’s day/father’s day/anniversary cards and gifts on time. My dad’s birthday gift was a week late but my mom’s mother’s day gift only arrived 2 days belated! That shows I’m TOTALLY getting better you guys!

3 things I hope to be good at someday:

  1. Baking light and fluffy chocolate chip cookies. Mine always end up flat and crispy and Paul lovingly refers to them as my anorexic cookies.
  2. Making the perfect cup of coffee.
  3. Helping other photographers build their businesses.
  4. Keeping plants alive for longer than a week.
  5. Backpacking Europe.
  6. Yoga. And not dreading it.

Okay, okay, I have a lot of life goals, you couldn’t have possibly expected I’d only have THREE things I hope to be good at someday, right?

So if you’ve made it this far in my post, here’s where it is your turn. Whether this is your first time reading my blog, your 10th time or whether you have followed my business from the start (hi mom!) I challenge you to comment on today’s post with: 3 things you are already good at, 3 things you are getting good at, and 3 things you hope to be good at someday. Even if you only do 1 thing for each section, I still encourage you to do it! I will NOT think you are a stalker, even if I don’t know you and we have never met. Promise. I will actually love you for it, and then we can be friends. :-)


John Bosley - June 7, 2011 - 1:13 pm

OK, you asked for it:

3 things I’m good at:
– Sitting in front of people when they take pictures (that’s the back of my head in your photos). :)
– Catching spiders who are trying to move in with me (this one makes my wife really happy).
– Coming up with random things I’m good at.

3 things I’m getting good at:
– Not getting sidetracked throughout the day (I’m talking to you, Facebook).
– The business side of running a photography business.
– Networking.

3 things I hope to be good at:
– Constantly nurturing the relationships in my life (after last night, how could this not be a goal!?)
– Remembering people’s names.
– Shaving my beard. Seriously, this thing is never the same shape.

Thanks for the blog post, for sharing your thoughts and for making me think a bit today!

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 1:30 pm

I’m so glad you posted John, they were so fun to read! And I’m sorry I didn’t meet you last night but I had fun trying to use the back of your head to frame the subjects. :-) My hubs is also good at killing spiders. That was a pre-requisite to my acceptance of his marriage proposal. And I ALMOST put “remembering people’s names” as one of my “getting good at” items. I’m glad I’m not alone in this goal. :)

Autumn Teesdale - June 7, 2011 - 2:20 pm

I loved your post! I think I may even borrow it for my blog some day in the near future! :) Last night at PASS was simply amazing and a lot of what they all said really kinda made me go “ok, NOW i understand what I have been trying to grasp’ LOL ok, so here are my 3’s

3 things I am good at
-making lists (which is why I could not pass this up LOL)
-being sidetracked Sally here…I am always, always sidetracked
-recognizing emotions in people…strangers or friends, Ive always been in tune with those around me

3 things I am getting good at
-confidence with my business and with meeting new people (im way shy til you know me)
-Not annoying my husband as much when he is reading or watching movies :)
-not saying “so” at the beginning of every post!

3 things I hope to be good at
-networking and getting out of my comfort zone
-grilling steaks
-my very horrible impulsive shopping habit

Have a SUPER day…BTW, I feel the same with photog celebs!!

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 2:30 pm

Autumn-thanks so much for commenting! We will definitely have to meet sometime since we didn’t get a chance to last night! I almost laughed out loud when I read the you are getting good at “not saying ‘so’ at the beginning of every post” because I have that issue too! I am starting to notice patterns in my speech and writing and it drives me crazy! In response to your #2 under “hope to be good at” my mom taught me: never learn how to grill because once you do, you’ll be doing all the grilling. ;-) Lucky for me, my husband can grill a mean steak! And I still don’t even know how to turn on the grill, haha.

Lydia - June 7, 2011 - 3:01 pm

Sara, this is such a fun post! I don’t have time to write out my list right now, but Promise did inspire me to think about my strengths in a whole new way. I can’t wait to contact my graphic designer with all my new ideas!

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 3:24 pm

Thanks Lydia! You should do it when you have time and see if you have some fun stuff come out of it that could help define you and your brand more clearly! Then let me know-I’d love to hear your list! Who is the graphic designer you are working with?

Zach & Jody Gray - June 7, 2011 - 4:14 pm

You are the best! Thanks so much for the post and all the kind words! It was great meeting you and we hope your
business is blessed!! :)

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 5:00 pm

You guys are awesome-thanks for everything!

Promise tangeman - June 7, 2011 - 6:31 pm

Wow! What a great post. It was sooo great to meet you! Hoe to see u soon. You rock!! :)

Lisa Szenina - June 7, 2011 - 8:20 pm

Sara, I will send your 3X3 later, for now this is just a reminder that Father’s Day is coming up soon ;)

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 8:55 pm

Thanks Promise! I’m so happy to have met you!

Sara Hasstedt - June 7, 2011 - 8:55 pm

Ha, thanks mom! I look forward to hearing your “3×3” as you put it. :) Always the math brain.

Sara - June 8, 2011 - 1:09 pm

Sara! I was reading your blog post when I was surprised to catch myself in a photo! haha :) Does this officially make me a superstar?? Maybe someday! I adore your blog and your writing voice. You are so sweet. I’m definitely a new fan :) Looking forward to getting to know you better!

Sara Hasstedt - June 8, 2011 - 1:41 pm

Awww, thanks for reading Sara with no-h twin! I look forward to getting to know you better too!

Rochelle - June 8, 2011 - 2:18 pm

I’m good at
1- Mad Gab, can’t lie, I kind of kick butt at that game.
2- Loving my boys.
3- Texting

I am getting better at
1- Cleaning
2- Trying to understand a situation before overreacting/patience
3- Making cakes

One day I would like to be good at
1- Cooking
2- Sign language
3- Playing guitar

Sara Hasstedt - June 8, 2011 - 2:33 pm

So cool Rochelle, thanks for sharing! Is Mad Gab the game where you are reading random words and it is supposed to sound like a well-known phrase? I am good at the “beginners” side of the cards and really bad at the “expert” side. As for your second #3, your cakes look gorgeous! Keep it up, I love seeing them! And I totally admire your last number 2 and 3. :)

Lauren - June 16, 2011 - 11:55 am

I laughed out loud a couple times during this post (mostly the end, with the anorexic cookies and you saying “obvs.” haha), so I had to share.
I’m good at:
I am getting better at:
-confidence at work
I hope to be good at someday:
-keeping in touch with loved ones

P.S. Can we make that Europe backpacking trip together??? That is also a life goal of mine!

Sara Hasstedt - June 18, 2011 - 12:46 pm

You are definitely getting better at keeping in touch with loved ones! I think that one could go in the 2nd category. :) Paul and I are hoping to be able to do some backpacking in Europe next summer so we shall see!


Reading Between the Lines

Our conversation was laced with the jocular feel that typically comprises our casual banter. Being acquaintances, we discuss our day to day happenings, what our plans are for the weekends, and the latest funny and light-hearted story from the week. Our conversations only ever occur in ten minute increments, and neither party has any expectation of the conversation going any further. Yesterday’s chat began in much of the same way. “What are you doing this weekend?”, “How were your students this week?” are typical Friday afternoon questions.

We were chatting through the same topics we always do and the conversation continued in the same light-hearted manner even as she casually transitioned into how she was abused by her mother as a child and therefore was moved around between various foster homes since the age of 3. With the same light-hearted tone in her voice she confessed that she would often be called to the principal’s office in the middle of class and they would tell her that she would be living with a different family who would pick her up from school and she’d start at a new school tomorrow. “Every time I got called to the principal’s office and was told I would be moving to a new school with a new family, I thought it was because I had been a bad girl and had done something wrong to make the teacher and my current family not want me” she said with a chuckle.

Despite the seriousness of what she was saying to me, the smile was still on her face and the laugh was still in her voice. I matched her tone but this time, I couldn’t help but drop a note of seriousness as I responded with, “(Her name), I’m so sorry, that is so sad!”. Super eloquent and sensitive, I know. I may talk a lot, but the gift of having insightful and comforting words in moments like this is not a gift I have been given. All I could think to do was respond honestly with what I was thinking at the moment. Affirmed in what she must have been feeling, her now teary eyes met mine and with a choked up voice she simply responded, “Yes, it is sad” and she turned away and continued about her work.

During those couple moments of silence between us I said a little prayer. I rarely think my efforts at words of comfort probably help because it is certainly not my strength. The very best way I know how to help is asking for help from the only One who can truly supply it. After the silence had passed she told me she was sorry she did that to me. “Sorry for what? There is absolutely no need to be sorry for anything!” I responded, but what I really wanted to do was give her a hug and tell her that she is braver than I am because she chose to allow herself to be vulnerable with me. Something that I feel is difficult to do, even with my own husband.

As I walked to my car I couldn’t help the tears that burned in my own eyes for her and the pain that she still deals with, even decades later. And it made me wonder, how many conversations do we have on a daily basis with people that may seem casual in passing because we cover up the hurt that lies beneath the surface with humor? I know I have been guilty of it! She might never know it, but in that brief moment when she allowed me to see the hurt in her eyes, she made me want to care for people more deeply. She made me want to read between the lines of what people are saying in casual conversations. She made me want to be a better listener, to be a better friend. She made me want to be a better person who sees people beyond the casual demeanor they put on and for that I am grateful to her, although she may never know it.

Nathan Madsen - April 11, 2011 - 1:51 pm

You’re a good person Sara!


Love you more!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or as I like to call it, Happy Good-Excuse-To-Eat-Chocolate-And-Tell-Someone-You-Love-Them Day!

Paul was my “assistant” at an event I photographed on Friday evening in Fort Collins. His title is in quotations for a reason people! Most of the night I wasn’t exactly sure where Paul was and when I DID run into him he was casually looking debonair, drink in hand. At least he was enjoying himself while meanwhile I was wondering where my “assistant” had disappeared to! I guess I get what I paid for!

;-) But really, it was so fun having him there and, in his defense, had I been even halfway decent at giving him any sort of direction, he would have been right by my side with flawless assistance!
Friday night just so happened to also be our 3 1/2 year married anniversary. I know some people may think I’m ridiculous for even keeping track of the “half year”, but ours is so close to Valentine’s that it has always been a little extra special to me. That and, our first year of marriage was NOT easy folks. Getting to that first 6 months point felt like a major accomplishment. Now I like to keep track to reflect on how far we’ve come. Did I love him? Of course! Did he love me? No doubt! Did we regret getting married? No stinking way! But it was h-a-r-d. We were both finishing up our degrees (my bachelors and his graduate), living in a 400 sq. ft. basement apartment, learning how to read each other’s minds communicate expectations and poor Paul was just beginning to discover the depths of my uncanny talent for being stubborn. Suffice it to say, when we got to the 6 month mark that first year, I was singing praises that the poor guy hadn’t given up on me! And thankfully, he still hasn’t.
Since I’m always the one behind the camera, we rarely get pictures together anymore, so I am so so thankful that I was able to snag Chris to take these pictures of us playing around at the end of the night with my Photobooth props. Paulie, thank you for making me one lucky gal! I love you more!