colorado – my new home, with my new/old voice.

let me tell you all about how fun it is to move your business two times in less than three years. it goes like this: you get to your new city. you hustle, you sacrifice, you go to those awkward networking events so you can “meet people in the industry.” the bookings start to trickle in. so and so says they’ll mention you to so and so. people start to recognize you in the street and beg for your autograph (just kidding, that never happened), and right as the flow of inquiries becomes consistent—right when you start to make a few true blue friends who are also in this crazy photo/wedding business—its time to pack up and start all over again.

from scratch.

when i first started this photo shebang, way way way back in the beginning, and up until about 4 minutes ago, i was of the mentality that i need to make myself sound fancy to my adoring public all the live long day. you know what i’m talking about right? the whole, “i’m so awesome!”  “clients are coming out of my ears!”  “i am so successful!” “look at my shiny white studio!” giggle. that’s what everyone told me i needed to say to pull this whole thing off. to convince the world i was legit. to prove i wasn’t just another momtog who bought a dslr with my tax return.

but you know what?

i just don’t care to pretend any more. because pretending makes me quiet, and that’s just not me. when i’m always worried about how i will come across, i have a hard time saying anything at all. i’m too scared i will tarnish my fragile reputation of “making it.” and i want to write and say whole lot more on this blog, whether i’m making it or not.

but don’t misunderstand. in many ways, this whole yan photography business has been good to us. for all intents and purposes, we have made it. i mean,  we’ve had just enough business to get us through this time while uncle marty is a student, and just little business  to not drive us completely insane. but we have had to work for




of it.

and we have had to work hard.

there has been sacrifice from every member of my immediate and even extended family. there have been a lot of tears, and not a moment has passed by untainted by self doubt. by the feeling of, “can i really do this?” “am i good enough?” “am i strong enough?”

sigh. sometimes i still don’t know the answers to those questions. maybe i never will. i just know that i’m going to try to keep this business going. even in a brand new state. and i know that i’m way better at acting like your friend (i want to be my clients’ friends), than i am at acting like an over confident artist/professional. i just can’t communicate as though there is a curtain between us and i’m not letting you see the oz behind the curtain. if anything, all i am is the oz behind the curtain. in fact, the curtain is non existent, forget the curtain!

and then there is colorado, all big and new and sprawling in front of us. almost no one in colorado has heard of yan shman photography. the scrambling and hustling is about to commence, heaven help us. and i’m going to ask you to help me spread the word.  if at all applicable, please please please, from the bottom of my heart, i ask you, tell people about yan photography.

yes, i realize the 10 people who read this blog are all photographers plus my mom, and it might not make sense to promote another photographer in your area, but if you’re not in the area, and you know someone who is, you just might want to drop a yan bomb during the duration of your next phone call or email or facebook chat.

in the last few weeks, there  seems to have been some confusion about just where i am at (idaho? utah? colorado?)  so let me be perfectly clear:


what are we doing here in denver? my husband, the infamous uncle marty, will be attending a master of recording arts program at the university of colorado denver campus. I will be tending to the 3 mini marty and me’s as well as working working working with my camera to support our not so little anymore family.

questions you might have:

are you still taking sessions in utah and idaho? – for family sessions, on an extremely limited basis – for weddings, yes yes yes. i go anywhere for weddings.

are you cheap? – nope. yan photography cost money. that’s right. that’s my first dirty secret i want to share with the world. i want my business to make money. i’m not doing this just for fun. i don’t relish having to be away from my husband and kids hours and hours and hours just for a little creative indulgence. even though i love what i do, i have to make a profit people. and guess what? $500 for a two hour session that includes a disc of all of your images ain’t gonna cut it. it comes down to the fact that i cannot run a profitable business if i operate that way. expect to pay a decent amount of money, and expect to be met with someone who is incredibly good at drawing out the best parts of you for the camera and provides you with a unique, thoughtful, and breathtaking product (i just said my work was breathtaking! and i meant it!)

simple sessions on a regular basis are no more. but next week i will be announcing dates where i will offer several days with mini session slots. and let me clue you in, this is as cheap as you’re going to find me. and your second clue, i like to under promise and over deliver, which definitely works in your favor. sheesh, i have to do something to get this colorado ball rolling. so watch for that.

for all i know, this might be your  first time reading this blog,. you are probably  wondering what i’m all about, whether i’m worth the cash and all that. well kind sir and/or madam,  listen for a moment and i’ll tell you about the yan in yan photography. i am a lifestyle wedding, child and family FILM photographer. yes, i said film. it is my medium of choice, though occasionally you will see about 4% digital work sprinkled around this blog.

but heck, that description is  just words. let me show you some pictures that demonstrate what i mean. here is a perfect example of a yan photography shoot, done in the client’s home with the family just being all family like. and let’s just call a spade a spade and say that the fact that this family is unusually adorably, with a schockingly well designed home makes the photos all the better.

September 17, 2011 - 4:10 am

maria shkoda - Hi,
you don’t know me, but I read your blog very long time
and I adore your photos (;
I think you very brave!!
good luck to you in Colorado!!

September 17, 2011 - 6:58 am

erika - I’m guessing that felt pretty good when you hit “Publish”. I hope it did. Good luck with all & I’ll absolutely name bomb if I know anyone in Colorado. How could I not?

September 17, 2011 - 9:24 am

ellen patton - I love your photos. Have for a while. I just sent a link to this post to a good friend that recently moved to CO. Good luck with getting your business rolling again.

September 17, 2011 - 9:56 am

Natalie - I love you diana, and I am proud of you.

September 17, 2011 - 10:08 am

Abbie - Your work is beautiful and has such great energy. I wish I had friends in Colorado!

September 17, 2011 - 10:55 am

simplygrove - I am so glad that you were honest!!! And you deserve to make all of the money in the world!! You work hard and it shows. No one should ever take that for granted.
Now, lets talk about that shoot….HOLY CRAPPER!!!!!

September 17, 2011 - 11:34 am

Michelle Edmonds - Woohoo! I love when photographers are honest. I feel ya…I just moved to Utah, and am still kind of trying to figure out how to get business here. It’s rough. Especially when I don’t know how long I’ll even be here! And PRICING. And being VALUED. That’s always fun to figure out.

Good luck in beautiful Colorado. I’m sure you will be well received :)

September 17, 2011 - 12:04 pm

stephanie robertson - Way to tell it like it is and stand up for yourself. The “I’m so awesome and famous” Internet speak drives me nuts. I cringe. The fact that you take pictures like this, well it speaks for itself and screams – YAN IS WAY MORE THAN AWESOME (and way more famous than you let on…. 10 readers plus your mom, pshhhh!).

Love you.

September 17, 2011 - 3:00 pm

Valerie - Beautiful Yan. I shared your love and honesty on my facebook page. You know I would be the first one walking all day long all around Colorado to promote your amazing work right? Good luck. You deserve it all. xx

September 17, 2011 - 4:20 pm

Heather J - I <3 yan and yanPhotography. Denver will never be the same again!!! Xoxoxo

September 17, 2011 - 8:23 pm

martin - good. this is going to be fun. but love, promise me you won’t reveal any embarrassing things about me??? he he.
i love your writing. it’s like slam poetry, but beautiful and without violence and minus the curse words. see what i mean?….slam poetry.
leedle hooug beeg keess

September 17, 2011 - 8:26 pm

martin - beautiful shoot!!! just really beautiful. you can tell you’re interacting well with the family. and i like that you shot in front of the pictures with the right depth of field. it really adds to the homey feeling without distracting. swell, really.

September 17, 2011 - 8:35 pm

Jayme F. - Your work inspires me. I wish I had peeps in Colorado!

September 17, 2011 - 11:44 pm

melissa - you are right this is definitely an unusually well designed home. I am all sorts of green with envy. LOVE The wall paper in the room.

YOUR pictures!!! AWESOME!!! love this shoot. everything about it.

September 18, 2011 - 4:51 pm

Becky Earl - ah man…I am serious…you are good and I miss you. Please write like this more often. You are amazing, my friend.

September 18, 2011 - 5:04 pm

Kate Craft - I adore your work!!!

September 18, 2011 - 7:45 pm

Emily A. - Yeah, girl! You can do this!! Go Yan-Power!!

September 18, 2011 - 11:22 pm

Rachel - You are so much cooler than me.

September 18, 2011 - 11:59 pm

cassidy miller - I love this post, Yan. Good for you and good luck in Denver! I have friends there- I’ll be so happy to spread the word. :)

September 19, 2011 - 12:00 am

Yvonne Min - I wanted to welcome you to Colorado. I adore your work. I’m in Denver too. If you need anything – tips on locations, photography events with some groups here, etc etc, let me know. We communicated once about some one-on-one mentoring and Becky Earl did a little photoshop mentoring with me too (pssst – there are far too few workshops in the Denver area). I look forward to seeing your work here!

September 19, 2011 - 10:42 am

Rachel Lee - several of my best friends that I’ve made at school are from denver. I’ll be sure to pass you along!

September 19, 2011 - 10:44 am

Nicole - Welcome to CO! I have a sister and a SIL in Centennial (I’m up North of Denver) :) There is a CO photog group on FB. I’m going to try and find you on FB and invite you!

September 19, 2011 - 10:48 am

Nicole - Nevermind….FB is too confusing! If you’d like an invite to the group email me and I’ll try and hook you up :)

September 19, 2011 - 12:32 pm

Haley - Well stated, my friend. So excited to have you in Denver and better yet, just a few streets over :) I posted on my photoblog and on my fb page about your move to Colorado. Hoping that drums up some business for you. You are awesome – can’t wait to meet!

September 19, 2011 - 3:43 pm

brittany purlee - Honestly lovely words AND images!

September 19, 2011 - 4:38 pm

Kia Gregory - Yay for new adventures! You’re going to do Yan-tastic! Already sent a potential client your info and I hope she follows through.

September 19, 2011 - 5:00 pm

Becca - That can’t really be their home, can it? It’s straight out of a cool magazine – The decor and the cute fam!

September 19, 2011 - 10:19 pm

lindsay hurst - That was so so lovely. The words, the photos, the love. You have so much love to share, it’s so amazing how you can make each family you photograph feel like you are their best friend. You are wonderful. Denver you are so incredibly lucky.

September 20, 2011 - 1:19 am

dana orrego - hey my friend!! i know i’ve said this before but man i wish you lived closer! we’d book you and recommend you!! hope you are super successful!

September 20, 2011 - 9:27 am

Cassandra Plummer - I am one of those followers that never writes…but when I read your post I yelled across the room for my husband and read to him your entire post out loud. Thank you for being so raw and honest (like your work)…I am a beginning photographer and just moved from ohio to boston after 1 year of business. I can’t tell you how encouraging it was to read your words…it was just one of those days that I just thought to myself “it’s too hard.” Thanks for lifting my spirits and giving me a kick in the butt. If you have a moment, would you mind sending along any other thoughts in regards to how to restart?? If you are busy, just know that your work is thought to be beautiful.

September 20, 2011 - 1:09 pm

Rebecca Malouf - The perfect storm of amazing photographer, darling family and amazing house. I just pinned several of these images to Pinterest. I know lots of people in Parker…my ex’s family all live there…I will help you spread the word!

September 20, 2011 - 11:20 pm

Amanda McKinley - YOU… ARE… AMAZING!!!! PRICELESS my wonderful friend!!!

September 20, 2011 - 11:54 pm

laurel - I have something for you. It’s name is love.

September 20, 2011 - 11:58 pm

rowe - oh yan… what an absolutely beautiful shoot! i just love love love it!!! gorgeous light and super creamy skin tones… perfect in every way! rowe x

September 21, 2011 - 2:12 pm

Sally DeFord - I don’t know you personally but I know your work and I love it. I also live in Colorado but I live on the other side of the mountains in Grand Junction. I will spread the work of Yan in these parts for you. You’ll do great in Denver. You are so talented.

September 23, 2011 - 5:51 am

Toni Raper - Oh Yan why couldn’t you have moved across the ocean to Australia? We need a Yan here desperately! Good on you for blowing your own horn, you’re an incredible artist, I’d pay anything to have you shoot my family. This session you’ve shown here is very very beautiful.

September 23, 2011 - 6:06 pm

shipra - you are fantastic and your work truly does take my breath away. Thanks for your transparency :) You’re going to take Colorado by storm. The autograph seekers? You’ll be beating them off with a stick. It’s only a matter of time!

September 23, 2011 - 6:15 pm

trish - Oh Yan! You are my inspiration! I so look up to you and what you stand for. I know it will all work out for you….why you ask? Because YOU ARE AWESOME!

September 25, 2011 - 10:54 pm


2. you are worth EVERY PENNY. Do you hear that people? I still had 10lbs of baby weight and I like the pictures you took of me more than like ANY OTHERS when that 10lbs is off, if that isn’t a reason to fork up cash i don’t know what is

3. I’m OBSESSED with Meta and her style, family, in fact I was just about to try to exploit her, and now you’ve gone and done it, and email will be sent probably shortly


September 26, 2011 - 5:17 pm

Darcie - Why the crap are there so many comments? are you famous? does this beautiful home look like your studio? could that family be any more lovely? can we be neighbors again? i know i’m overbearing, but you’re underbearing soo… also, i’ve been wearing heels with the grocery store. if there’s one thing you should know about me it’s that i always eat my words.

September 28, 2011 - 2:27 pm

amber fischer - YAN, you are going to rock it in Colorado! I read this post at precisely the right time . . . my husband just found out that he’s getting a promotional transfer to MINNESOTA (we’re near Boise right now). I’m kinda freaking out and feeling very alone with my emotions because I feel like no one around me can really relate. Thanks for being so transparent about your move and how that affects your business. I’m inspired and comforted by your words.

p.s. Amaaaaaaazing session. Amazing work.

September 28, 2011 - 9:28 pm

sarah jane - eeek! I have been looking at these ALL day!!! Can’t get over it. Does this family have a blog? I swear I’ve seen her and this space…any chance she has a webspace? GREAT photoshoot…so inspired:) and way to be honest. LOVE.

September 29, 2011 - 11:27 pm

meta coleman - I just saw this post and I love it! Thank you for being so real. I will do my best to spread the word.
I can’t even tell you how happy these pictures make me feel. I think I could go on and on about how amazing you are! Not only are you a very talented photographer, but you were so good with Henrik and all of us. You really put your heart and soul into this shoot and it shows. Thank you! Thank you!

October 5, 2011 - 3:30 pm

Jim Wilson - Wow, another move. Hope you do great in Colorado. Thanks for all you have done for our family. The family collection above is simply beautiful.

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