Introducing: August Light Studio

Can you believe it is already close to the end of August? I can’t either…summer flew by this year, and for good reason. I had planned to slow down the business a little bit, restructure, focus on my advocacy work, and spend as much time at the pool with my kids as possible! By those standards, I’d call this summer a success!

One of my largest projects this summer has been creating a new business, and I’m so excited to be finally launching it TODAY! The name of this new project is August Light Studio, and if you’ve been following me on social media this summer, you’ve probably seen the name bouncing around! I wrote a post over on the August Light Studio website explaining more about the in’s and out’s of August Light, but I wanted to post something here as well, because I’ve had a ton of questions from friends and family wanting to know, “Wait, does this mean it’s the end of Crazy Bananas?!”

The short answer is NO! Crazy Bananas will still be here, just like it has been since 2004 (OMG, I’m seriously a blogging dinosaur, you guys). But things will change a little bit.

One of the main reasons I wanted to start a new brand is because my family life has been slowly changing. I suppose that’s actually one of the mainstays of this blog…it’s constantly evolving based on my life situation. When I first converted this space from a blog into a business almost three years ago, I had just quit my full-time job and one of my kids was still only in preschool part time. I wanted to find a way to convert this space into a place where I could still write about our life, but also share my photography and freelance writing projects, in the hopes of building a sustainable business. I focused on photography, because that was a place where I felt I could grow myself and create a business that would work for my family. I could be home (mostly) during the days with my son, and then work at night and during the weekends. It was a great fit! And by keeping it all in one space, here on Crazy Bananas, I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel. I already owned the domain, all the social media handles and had lots of content from all of my blogging years. It worked wonderfully!

But in the past year I’ve felt a big shift in my life and my family’s schedule. Both of my kids are in school full time, but are very active in evening activities. I found myself hiring babysitters to take the kids to and from skating practice and soccer games. I was missing out on important moments, like helping with homework and evening time together as a family. I realized that while I love having a flexible schedule, I needed to focus more of my work hours during the day, between 8:30 and 3:30, when my kids are in school.

With my background in public relations, advertising and marketing, I realized that I had something unique to offer to small businesses and commercial brands. I have extensive knowledge of social media marketing, online branding, and more…and I wanted to combine those skills with my photography business to help brands get more clients and do better work. In the last year I’d started taking on a few business-to-business commercial photography projects, such as headshots for staff or project photography for architects and engineers. It felt like the perfect fit for me, but not necessarily a perfect fit for Crazy Bananas.

The idea for a new studio was formed, one that focuses on branding and business photography, as opposed to personal and family portraiture. I’ve worked for months on putting together a business I’m proud of, and I’m so, so excited to be launching today! Along with our online home at augustlightstudio.com, I have moved into a new physical studio space at the Bauer Building in the Crossroads District in downtown Kansas City. This is literally a dream come true, and I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity!

I have to give a huge shout out to the amazing Jenna Murillo from J. Lynn Designery, who created my logo, branding look and website. She is simply incredible, and her process was simple, streamlined and fun. I always loved getting her emails because I knew there would be something beautiful inside! If you’re looking for a web designer or someone to refresh your brand look, I highly recommend her! Please head over to the August Light Studio website to see more, and make sure to follow August Light Studio on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. You can also sign up for the August Light Studio newsletter by clicking here.

Now, back to what this means for Crazy Bananas Creative Studio…don’t worry, it will still be here! I created this blog over 13 years ago, and I have no intention of quitting now. The blog will still exist as it always has, a space for me to share my thoughts, loves, happy moments, advocacy and life in general. The photography section of the site will also be around for the time being, as I plan to continue shooting personal and family portraits. As August Light Studio is only focused on business-to-business and commercial photography, I’d like to keep my portraiture side of the business right here for now. So if you’re looking for family photos, newborn sessions and senior photos, Crazy Bananas is still the place to be. This may change in the future, but I’ll be sure to let you know if and when any changes occur!

Finally, I have to thank my family for their endless support and love as I navigate this new adventure. I don’t really have a rational, linear brain, so the idea for this new studio came in bits and pieces and was often difficult to articulate, but I’m so excited they stuck with me and trusted me to make something great! Onward and upward!

The Great Debate : Podcast vs Vlog

A few weeks ago I reached out to my social media followers with a question: Would you rather listen to a podcast or watch a video blog (aka, a vlog)? The answers surprised me a little! Podcast won the vote, but not by much, and many people said it was too hard to choose, because they like each medium, but for different reasons.

I mean, yes. That’s why I asked?! I couldn’t decide, so I was hoping my readers and followers would do it for me. But no dice. Rats.

So what did I decide to do….?

Being a Type A, recovering perfectionist, I decided to try both! The current plan is for the vlog to show a bit of behind the scenes and possibly also some “how-to” type segments, while the podcast is going to be an interview series focused on women who are totally amazing! My goal with the podcast is to talk with other women who have achieved some form of success (in their career, as an activist or advocate, creative, entrepreneur, mother, or just as a human doing good in the world) about how they have failed along the way and what motivated them to keep moving forward.

Do you know someone like that? Bonus if they are from KC or the midwest! Have them send me an email at megan@crazybananas.com or tag them in the comments if you think they’d be interested in being featured! And if you think YOU have a unique story to share, send me a note! I want to talk with you!

The Vlog and the Podcast will be coming out soon, so if you want to be sure you don’t miss them, sign up for the Crazy Bananas Newsletter!

Farm Sunset October 2016

Being Here, in 2017

Friends! It’s the start of a new year…and honestly, it’s a time where I can get easily overwhelmed. In the past I’ve written about lofty goals and ideas I want to tackle in the next 350+ days, but this year feels different. I have been struggling to wrap my head around last year and plan what comes next in several facets of my life. But after a chat with a good friend I realized something really important:

I’m already here.

The last three years or so have been a crash course in goals, resolutions and overcoming obstacles. Almost every facet of my life has gone through a fairly extreme overhaul…from my marriage to my career to my parenting status to my family. Illness and health have been a huge factor in the past few years, both for myself and for those I love the most. After really taking a look back on last year and everything I went through, I felt a sense of calm. Did I accomplish every goal I set out for myself last January? No. Not even close. But I learned so much and one of the biggest lessons was that I don’t have to wait until January 1 to decide to change my life for the better. I make that choice on a daily basis.

Farm Sunset October 2016

Last year was a big one for my business. I completely overhauled my pricing and the way I sell my photography. I created and facilitated the 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge, which had hundreds of participants. I did a dozen television segments. I went to Greece to photograph a refugee camp. And I photographed dozens of families, newborns, children and couples…it was a fantastic year! Personally, I went through many (MANY) challenges, but I’m very proud of how I came through it all, even though there is MUCH to improve upon. One of the biggest personal goals last year was getting fit, slowly and surely, over about nine months of hard work, exercise and nutritional changes. I feel better physically today than I did in my 20s, which is saying something! I am officially in my mid-30s now and I feel stronger than I ever have. I also started working to find ways to make an impact as an activist in my community. This is something I didn’t plan on when 2016 began, but now I’m grateful for the opportunity.

In 2017, I’m looking forward to some more changes in how I do business, with a focus on continuing to be profitable while also serving my family, friends and community. There will hopefully be a few more writing and blogging projects (which took a backseat last year) and maybe even a new creative endeavor or two! I want to create more than I consume, and make the world a little more joyful every day. I am excited to reach out and work with even more creatives and amazing people doing wonderful work in my community.

If you’re interested in working with me in 2017, or you have an awesome project you want to chat about, send me a note at megan@crazybananas.com. Let’s make this the best year yet!

CommunityAmerica Ballpark Dinner and a Show!

A few weeks ago our little family was fortunate enough to work with the crew from the Kansas City Star on an advertisement for CommunityAmerica Ballpark! The home of the T-Bones baseball team, the ballpark is running a fun special this summer where you can enjoy “dinner and a show” on Saturday nights. And I can tell you, we taste tested just about EVERYTHING that the stadium had to offer for this short ad spot, and it was all Peters family approved! The atmosphere at T-Bones games is so fun, and it’s a great, budget-friendly alternative when you want to get out to a pro baseball game, but don’t necessary want to drop a ton of cash. We had such a good time working on this ad and spending time out at CommunityAmerica ballpark! We will definitely be headed back again before summer is over!

Fun Fact: When we shot this ad, we had just flown into Kansas City from a few days away in Tennessee for a memorial service, so we were totally exhausted. I was worried about the kids keeping it together (even though the spot is short, the filming took a few hours) for the entire time, but the crew did such a great job keeping them excited and engaged. The production assistant even taught Tate how to beatbox, and he’s been running around doing it ever since! Thanks to the team from the Kansas City Star for such a wonderful experience!

Grammy Flowers

In the Meantime….

Grammy Flowers

Wow, friends, this has been a massive blog hiatus! But I promise, it was totally unplanned. You see, my 30 Days of Summer Photo Challenge launched at the beginning of June, and while I am so excited about all the participants (more than double what I anticipated when I started planning for this project), it’s taken up more of my time than I’d originally allotted. Paired with the fact that it’s SUMMER now, the kids are home from school, and I’m getting into my busy season for client photography, I haven’t had time to blog.

Now, listen…I know, okay! I’ve taught classes on blogging to photographers and entrepreneurs, and one of the first things I say is that in order to making blogging work, you have to make it a priority. But to be honest…right now it’s just not a priority. And that’s okay too! As a blogger, you’ll go through ebbs and flows in terms of your time, priorities and business. I’m excited to share a few of my latest photo sessions with you in the upcoming weeks, as the 30 Days of Summer Challenge winds down. I also have some fun personal posts to share (We went on a roadtrip! We had dance camp and theater camp! We got a KITTEN!).

Until then, make sure you’re following me on Instagram to get daily updates on both the challenge and life in general! I’ve have a ton of people contacting me because they wanted to join the 30 Day Challenge, but missed the sign ups. The best way to make sure you don’t miss out next time (next time?!) is to sign up for the newsletter and get all of my updates delivered directly to your inbox! Hope you’re all having a fantastic summer!

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