LOVE IT: Wayfaring

posted on: February 28, 2007

I have to give my hubby props for finding this uber cool tool and emailing it to me! is a free online program that utilizes the power of Google maps to allow you to create your own multi-point map online! This solves one of the biggest issues I've had with a lot of the online map makers for a long time: that I wasn't able to easily create mutli-destination maps and have them all saved onto one map. was one of the first tools that I had seen accomplish this effectively, but it was targeted specfically to weddings with icons like a cake, church, etc. is a multi-point map for any purpose!!


The coolest thing about is that you are able to SAVE your maps, SHARE your maps, EXPLORE other people's maps, and ADD to maps other than your own!! For example, check out this Indy Indie Map created by user afischer. I love the Indie scene for everything from fashion & crafts to film & music, and I have to admit that I've been hard pressed to even find the Indie scene in Indianapolis!! Now I have this uber cool tool to help me find those places that are off the beaten path - and if I find any cool places, I can add them too!

You could use this to organize a scavenger hunt, share your favorite restaurants around town, plan a road trip, or share your favorite picture taking spots!! The possibilities are endless! What are you waiting for? Go check it out! And if you're ever find yourself in Terre Haute, IN, check out my "Best of Terre Haute for College Students" Wayfaring Map!

Painting With Light

posted on: February 27, 2007

Today I hosted a demonstration for photographers on painting with light. Unfortunately I didn't get to take as many pictures as I would have liked, but I did manage to come away with two really cool shots (pictured below). I just loooove painting with light. It's not often that I get to spend time just playing with light- so today was a total treat for me to just have fun experimenting!!!



These were shot at the Mavris Arts & Cultural Center in Indianapolis, IN.


posted on: February 25, 2007

Did anyone else notice that the Academy Awards have become SuperBowl-like in their commeericals? Only, instead of going for the biggest laugh, they go for the most emotional impact with dramatic imagery and powerful music. Ever since I studied advertising and marketing in my early years of college, I've never stopped analyzing commercials and print ads from a marketing perspective. My husband was looking forward to the iPhone commercial, which makes total sense to see at the Oscars, since it's really the creative part of the population who tends to use Apple products. I had to laugh so hard when I saw the Vista commercials because Mac has been doing those things for a while now!! Did you also notice that Diet Coke was the star at the Oscars, but at the Superbowl, it was all about Coca-Cola Classic? Very different strategies in their advertising as well!

As a lifelong choir geek, I loved the Elements & Motion choir. I first heard about a similar choral venture when I saw the Honda commercial (video below). When I was in the Oakland Chorale, our director Mike Mitchell loved to perform music that really stretched the abilities of the voice and the perception of what it meant to be a choir - which is where I developed a deep appreciation for uncommon uses of the voice. It's pretty amazing what a bunch of voices can do, isn't it?! (Not to discount the dancers, which were totally amazing as well!)

Funny quote: "Sound editing is much like sex. It's usually done alone, late at night, and among a bunch of electronics." "And if you want it done right, it's best to pay for a professional." Oh... how true this is with photo editing as well!!

The Oscars have gone GREEN!!!! YAY!!! (Although we all know they can probably go a lot further in their efforts, every little bit helps.) Visit to find out how you can be a little more green in your everyday life. Also, feel free to scroll down in this blog and make a donation to help further research in environmental & energy studies.

I LOVED the Cameron Diaz, Gwenneth Paltrow, and Helen Mirren dresses!!! Can you just imagine those as wedding dresses?! OMG!! I totally agree with the choice of Marie Antoinette for the costume design, it was so haute couture while also reminiscent of the elegance of the past. That movie was short on dialogue but loooong on pure beauty and eye candy! The directing and camera work were stunning and I found tons of visual inspiration for my wedding photography from that movie. It also had a really cool soundtrack which made it all the more fashionable.

After watching the Academy Awards I realize just how many big movies I missed this year, so I'll have to go back and watch them - especially the foreign flicks. I'm so glad that Little Miss Sunshine & Inconvenient Truth walked away with Oscars. They were some of my favorite movies last year and now I can't wait for Roger Ebert's Overlooked Film Festival in Champaign, IL. Even though the tickets sold out in November 2006, I've heard it's possible to get into some flicks by simply taking a chance on going to individual shows.

This was one of the most profound scenes from Little Miss Sunshine... and I must say that it stirs a fear in me... having to give up a dream to something which you have no control over...

OK - enough blogging for me!! I'm organizing and presenting for an Indianapolis workshop for photographers this week and we start tomorrow! Never a dull moment in my life!!!

The Foundation Workshop

posted on: February 24, 2007

WOW. I went a whole week without blogging, which tells you how intense this experience was for me!

I'm still pinching myself because it just felt like a surreal dream to me. The Foundation Workshop 5 gave me the chance to work with some of the most amazing photojournalists and wedding photographers in the country.

I traveled to Dallas, TX for the workshop and started off with a great evening at Gary Donihoo's house, which was absolutely beautiful and a ton of fun! I have to say that Gary seriously intimidated me when he pointed to me after just meeting me and said, "I bet your images are great. I can tell. Show me your images." He then gathered several other people into his office, and put me on the spot by asking me to pull up my website in front of all of these people I had never met before! I think I stopped breathing until I heard someone speak! "Nice. That's good. Yup. I knew I was right about you. I'm glad you didn't embarass me," he said. What an introduction that was!!

Here are some fun pics from Gary's photobooth, which he rents out for weddings. I'm in the lower left with Janine McClintock on top and Davina Fear to the right. Davina and I roomed together and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect roommate. She is such an amazing soul with wisdom and grace that go beyond what most people are willing to share with others. I had admired her work and philosophy for quite some time and was so glad that our paths were meant to intersect at this workshop. I made her give me her autograph so I could say I knew her when she becomes even more famous!

The workshop was split into three teams and my team was led by Huy Nguyen with Anna Kuperberg as an additional mentor. We were each given a photojournalism assignment and had to go out into the field to photographically tell the story of our subjects. I was given a wonderful family who had two sons, one of which had just received a prosthetic leg three weeks earlier and was celebrating his 4th birthday at school on Tuesday. It was such a moving story and when I get more time to go through the nearly 5,000 images I shot, I'll put together a slideshow that I can only hope will do this family justice. It was an incredibly moving experience for me and I feel so fortunate that they let me into their lives to photograph their stories and intimate moments.

After each day in the field, we would meet as a team and our leaders and mentors would edit our work with us, much like a news editor would go through and find the most compelling images that capture the essence of the story. Here's a little clip of Huy, talking to my team about getting the story from a photojournalist's perspective:

Of course, after a few days of hard work, we also took time to enjoy ourselves. Here's a clip of everyone gathering into one hotel room to surprise Bill Holland, who organized the event and just so happened to have his birthday during the workshop...

After two long days in the field followed by very late nights of editing sessions, we went to a fabulous Brazillian Grill where we presented our final images and shared our slideshows from our projects. If you'd like to see my images, they're on the Foundation Workshop Website under Photographers -> Anne Ruthmann. It's a little better with the music and full frame images, but you'll at least get the idea of what I've been doing all week long! Jesse Reich took this little video of my presentation intro... listen for the part where Huy mentions that I said he didn't look through all 4,000 images from the first day, and then he responds with, "no, because the sun came up!" ;-) Editing is definitely one of the hardest things for me - and he really helped me learn to narrow my focus and concentrate on what's really important. (Caution: my boobs look huge in this video!)

So, after all is said and done, what did I learn?
- That I tend to be more self-conscious with a camera in my hand and that I need to approach people in the same way that I would without the camera. I think this comes from my own insecurities about being photographed, and I need to not impose my feelings onto other people.
- That I can get a lot closer than I have been in the past, and that it can create some really powerful images to capture people in such close proximity.
- That I've been lazy about cropping my images. I've always taken pride in my ability to frame things just the way I want them in the camera so that I didn't need to do any cropping later, but I've learned that cropping can sometimes help me see something differently or draw attention to something that may not have been as noticeable otherwise.
- That I should take more risks and spend more time just "playing". After I've captured the safe shots, I need to go back and make them better, different, more compelling. It's not enough to just get the shot and say "OK, next!"
- To stop treating digital like it's film. To not hold on to each frame so preciously and to not worry about wasting frames after the decisive moment. Perhaps something better will come along - and that's what I'll be prepared for.
- To let my vision be the strongest vision in my work and that sometimes dumbing my work down so that everyone can understand it is not the best thing for me.
- To go out and find compelling stories of interest to me and to force myself outside of my comfort zone by challenging the way I see and interact with the people around me.
- That I can experiment more with light and angles - going more extreme, more interesting, more different.
- Last but not least, that I'm a really good photographer. It sounds silly to say that, but I always had this question of "how do I measure up" in the back of my mind because I never really knew, because no one had ever really critiqued my work with a critical eye. I'm definitely one to think that my client's opinion is the only opinion that matters, but I had always wondered if the people that I admired thought my work was any good. I received a ton of amazing compliments about my work from people who just blow me away like Greg Gibson, Emilie Inc., Brooks Whittington, Tyler Wirken, and David Murray. I'm going to try VERY hard not to let it go to my head, but I have to say I feel like I can do anything now!!! More than anything, I just feel so incredibly lucky that I get to do something I absolutely love.

I'm so sad that it's over and that I won't be able to see everyone again for quite some time!! It was such an amazing experience for me and I only hope that I can give back to others all of the things I've learned. The year ahead is going to be full of amazing experiences and wonderful surprises. I can't wait!!!

Everything is bigger...

posted on: February 18, 2007

... in Texas. I'm just double checking everything I gathered together last night and getting ready to head on out to the Lone Star State... land of George "Dub-a-ya"... land of TexMex... land of big hair, big belts, and big hats. OK, so that last part is a little bit of a stereotype, but I'll be sure to share a picture with you if I see it!! ;)

What's my secret mission? To attend FW5. I've had my eye on this workshop since last year (FW4) and I'm very excited that I was finally able to go this year!!! I'll be working closely with some AMAZING photojournalists- and while it's really exciting for me, it's also really nerve-wrecking!! This will be the first time that my work has been seriously scrutinized by highly trained eyes, which stirs up some of the same anxieties I had when I would perform as a soloist in my music degree (those were called juries, and it really felt like you were on trial!) Nervousness is good because it means you really care about doing well, but for me, it's bad because it causes all kinds of chemical reactions - so of course I'm totally breaking out like a teenager going on a first date!!! ACK!!

I may be slow to return emails because I'll be in workshop pretty much all day, but please know that I'll definitely get back with you ASAP! Email is usually best for me since I can respond at 3 am, but feel free to call my cell phone if you don't mind waiting a while for me to get back to you. ;-) I'll try to blog while I'm in Texas, but I've heard that I may be pretty busy while I'm there. I should be back in the office by Saturday 2/24. Please keep me in your thoughts as I travel - it looks like we'll have pretty warm weather!!! HUGS!!!

Wedding: Tiffany & Jeff

posted on: February 17, 2007

I know I've said it before, but I just love the getting ready moments... some of my favorite pictures are taken while everyone is full of anticipation.

Tiffany's something old.... her baby bonnet, turned wedding hankerchief... I loved the poem...

Isn't she stunning?

We also slipped in a few shots of Jeff before the ceremony, wiith little sun flare for a something different.

Tiffany & Jeff were married at St. Paul's Presbyterian in Livonia, MI which is one of the few churches that has plenty of natural light for beautiful ceremony pictures!!

Through the stained glass window at the back of the church...

Happily marred!!

Kids are always good for a few laughs...

Their reception was at Burton Manor in Livonia, which is one of the few event facilities that really goes all out to make each even spectacular. Check out their grand entrance - this was definitely one of the most original grand entrances I've seen yet!

There were quite a few emotional toasts...

This flower girl was soooo cute!

First dance..

Their families made a circle around them about halfway through their first dance and it continued through the parent dances. I think that's such a wonderful way for families to particpate in those special moments and you can just feel how strong the love is in the circle.

What a fun party!!

Tiffany & Jeff faced some really difficult family struggles leading up to their wedding and it was simply amazing how so many people came together to make their wedding a joyful celebration. Tiffany & Jeff - I'm so honored that you chose me to capture your wedding day moments... you are so blessed.

LOVE IT: Pretty/Modest Blog

posted on: February 15, 2007

Former bride and now good friend, Jennifer B. has started a blog called Pretty/Modest where she shares her web finds of fabulous one-of-a-kind handmade crafts, clothes, jewelry, etc. She's as much of an Etsy and Flickr addict as I am and has a love for old hollywood glamour and classic cars. Her quest for finding pretty and modest things is grounded in her Christian beliefs, but I think women of any religion can relate to the idea of wanting to be pretty and attractive while wearing clothing that isn't overly revealing.

I was surprised how my tastes in clothing changed pretty dramatically when I got married- I'm definitely more in tune with modesty now than I ever was before. I look at some girls who are just putting everything they have out there for all to see and it makes me think.... why should a guy try to woo you when you're giving him (and everyone else) the show for free? But with the same breath- I'm no angel. I look back at my past and have to admit that I was a lot like "that girl" for a while and to be honest, I didn't know HOW to respect myself or how to harness the power of my personal beauty, and I definitely didn't realize that I was "giving away" so much in just the way I dressed and how that affected the perception people had of me and how they treated me. I did know that it brought me a lot of attention, but in retrospect, it was a lot of unwanted attention.

"Be a creature unlike any other." was rule #1 in The Rules and it was one of the things that really changed the way I viewed myself and how I handled myself around men. I was a supervisor at B. Dalton Bookstore when I first heard of the book and it was quite the rave on a few different talk shows, so I thought I'd check it out. It seemed to say all of those things that I probably should have known before dating, but were never really brought to my attention. Some of the rules seem pretty harsh or unrealistic, but I was amazed how quickly my life started changing once I follwed them. I don't think I have a lot of blog readers that would benefit from reading "The Rules" at this point in their life (especially not if they've already met the man of their dreams), but I'm guessing you may have a friend or two who seems to constantly get her heart broken by men and just doesn't know what she's doing wrong... that's the kind of girl who needs "The Rules". But I digress...

I found out this weekend that one of my favorite stores, NY&Co- the only store in the local Honey Creek Mall that gave me some small hope of fashion redemption- has officially closed. The Macy's here is farrrrrr from what you would expect of a Macy's and it makes me wonder if they forgot to bring the new clothing along with the new sign, because there's a fashion tragedy happening here which is most definitely not something Macy's would want to feature in their catalogs. We also don't have a Target in Terre Haute, which would at least be the affordable fashion this town is looking for, but upon inquiring if Target would be opening a store in this three-college town, they basically said they had no interest in opening a store here. So... my closest fashion refuge is Plainfield, IN but it still doesn't have anything ultra fun like an Anthropologie or Urban Outfitters. Thank goodness for blogs like I am fashion and domino so that I can at least see what's really going on outside of this Walmart monopoly I live in. (There ARE good things about Terre Haute.. but fashion is not one of them.)

And The Winner Is......

Before I announce the winner, let me say that everyone who entered the Valentine's Day Giveaway will receive $100 off a Film Noir Boudoir™ session- good until next Valentine's Day!!! There were so many touching and romantic stories which made this incredibly difficult to choose, especially since romance can take on so many different forms!!! But there could only be one winnner, and here is her story......

Hi Anne,

I had a hard time choosing a romantic story for the valentine's competition because there have been so many wonderful things that my fiancee, Andrew, has done for me. So many times he has made me dinner by candlelight and given me flowers. He has suprised me, driving six hours in the middle of a a blizzard just because he knew I was really missing him. He really is a wonderful person and I am so lucky to have him. But there is one story that really takes the cake.

Two years ago we went on spring break together to Mexico and had a wonderful time. We tried to make plans for last year but it never happened because I really couldn't afford to go anywhere. So he ended up going on spring break with his friends and I stayed home moping. I was so excited when that week was over.

Now, before I tell you the next part I have to explain a little more about Andrew. His family goes on alot of vacations and when they do, they all get something they like to call a "trip gift." Anytime they go somewhere they get some sort of little present so he has started buying presents for me when he goes away.

So I was expecting something silly like a t-shirt or a hat. But what I got was so much more. It was a picture frame, but to my suprise it was already filled with pictures. It had four slots for pictures and three of them were filled with pictures of us from the year before in Mexico. The fourth was filled with a letter. The letter said:

Please let me fill this slot in the frame with a picture from next year's spring break. I 'll go wherever you want and wished I would have never left you this spring break. I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you.

Then before I could speak he told me the reason he filled the frame with pictures from the year before was because he wanted to remember his spring breaks as being spent with me instead of without me and he was just going to pretend we had spent that last one together. Then before I could respond he suprised me with the biggest suprise of all......he had booked a trip for two to Paris the following spring to make sure that it didn't happen again!

Anne, I really want to win this for him because I cannot think of anything more romantic than Paris in the springtime and a person who truly loves you.

Thank you,

Congratulations Erin (& Andrew)!!! We'll be in touch to schedule your free Film Noir Boudoir™ session at the romantic and historic Yellow Rose Inn in Indianapolis, IN!!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

posted on: February 14, 2007

You can download both of these pictures for free to use as your desktop background or for a special Valentine's Day Card!! Click on each image to start downloading!!

As I was reading through the Film Noir Boudoir ™ giveaway entries, I cried, I laughed, and I cried some more... and now I'm out of tissues!! Thank you so much for sharing your stories- you are all so blessed to be with someone who truly loves you and would do anything for you!! I noticed that many stories had quite a few things in common that seemed to be universal among what many women, and one man!, considered to be the most romantic thing their partner has done for them. Your romantic stories weren't about lavish gifts, huge public displays of affection, or any of those things that we normally associate with above and beyond romance. For many people, it came down to the little things like making sacrifices and sticking with each other through extraordinarily hard times, making an extra effort to spend time together when distance kept you apart, doing something unexpected that relieved burdens or stress, or by simply being thoughtful each and every day in the smallest ways. The strongest message that came across to me after reading all of the stories was that it was never about gifts, but it was all about the thoughtfulness and actions that demonstrated how much your partner cares for and loves you. Since you didn't make choosing a winner very easy, I'll be bringing in some extra help on making a decision and the winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon!! In the meantime, have a wonderful Valentine's Day and spend time remembering all of the little things that you love about each other every day of the year!

Here's a little playlist I made to help you set a relaxing and romantic atmosphere on Valentine's Day...

Engagement: Christine & Joce

posted on: February 12, 2007

engagement photo

I had soooo much fun with these engagement photos!! I met Christine when we were both in the Music Education program at Oakland University and found that she was one of the nicest people ever and that we had a lot in common. She and Joce were high school sweethearts, except that they went their seperate ways for a while after high school only to fall in love again.... and this time they're both ready to make that life-long commitment to each other. When Christine showed me some awesome pictures that she and Joce took of each other at Clinton River Park when they were in high school, I thought it would be great if we could go back to the park and be inspired by the fun memories they had there.

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Chritsine & Joce also have a big heart for dogs and have been a foster home to several dogs who were without a home to go to. Ulysses is their "boy" and Diamond is their little "girl." Working with dogs is definitely not an easy task, but how can you resist them?!!

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This was an idea they wanted to try for a frame with three apertures... I love it!

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We started out with these outfits, which were good for rolling around in the grass (which happened to be a little wet... sorry!)

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.... and then they wanted to change into some more "fancy" retro-inspired digs - which I loooooooove!!! Joce's 3-piece tweed suit is shagadelic baby, yeah!!!

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Joce just might kill me for posting this photo, but I loved how Christine's socks went with his tie!!

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I wanted to do a photo-booth style picture and ended up with this great series of images - inspired by the Three Stooges!

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The very first photo and this last photo are my absolute favorites. I'm seriously thinking about turning these into big gallery wraps for my office!! Chrstine & Joce - I love you and I can't wait for the wedding day!!

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