Dec 25, 2009


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Something big happened on Monday.  A shift.  Like earthquake magnitude 5 kind of shift.  I am still processing it and will blog all about my thoughts on the first Making Things Happen 2010 Intensive shortly.  As Ashley Baber said, “What an amazing and inspirational day with such passionate, talented, honest people. We all cried, laughed and got FIRED UP!” There is something big happening here, friends.  People aren’t settling anymore.  The energy in that room was palpable… and it keeps doubling by the second.  OK, I have to stop.  More soon.  I’m fired up, hopeful, beyond blessed and completely in awe at the strength and power of the people I met this week.. like Emily.


I’m currently sitting in my kitchen writing this while I watch my mother cook up a Christmas storm.  The doors are all open and the crisp Florida winter air is breezing through the house.  Ari is working in Chapel Hill today unfortunately (Thanks so much for the gift, Ari. See you tomorrow!), but I’m happy to be here with my funny grandmother, mom, dad, brother, and my brother’s friend Alberto from Brazil.  If you follow me on Twitter you know I am also donning my special Christmas suit.  It was a gift from my dad many years ago that never ceases to get a collective belly laugh.  I have a very special Christmas gift for you, but first, I want to introduce someone who has been a gift to me this year… Mr. Jeff Holt aka “Holt”.    image below :: nick onken


I met Jeff at WPPI this year and life hasn’t been the same since.  I started following Jeff on Twitter after being introduced to him through a shoot he produced with Fred.  Jeff, who lives about three hours west of me in Charlotte, sent me a message just before WPPI telling me he’d love to meet me and say hello.  Long story short, I had a fab private dinner for the photographers who contributed to our premiere issue the first night in Vegas.  I didn’t know Jeff at the time and little did I know he was off having McDonald’s by himself.  Yes, I constantly remind him that he will be the VIP guest at my dinner this year to make up for that!


I twittered something about being done with dinner and inviting everyone to join us at Diego.  Jeff popped his head in the door and we instantly became friends.  Harmony, Jeff and I shared a cab to Sara France‘s party at Luxor and talked our faces off till the wee hours of the morning with all of our new friends in tow.  He probably forgot about this, but Jeff, Kyle and I started a “secret society” that day.  I’m not exactly sure what this secret society was all about but something to the effect of world domination… in the wedding world.  We had a handshake and everything.  Since then, a whole slew of people have joined this not-so-secret society called Lara Casey Reps.  I owe the birth of LCR to my first client who brought the idea to me not even a week after WPPI, Jory Cordy, and to Jeff and Kyle for fostering and encouraging its growth.  WPPI was, for all of us, the tipping point.


I flew to New York to visit Jeff and Nick Onken this summer and to ask Jeff to come on as one of my rep clients.  I clearly remember him saying, “Really?  Me!?  Lara, I’m just not ready… are you serious?”  I saw serious potential in him.  If he could motivate me to start a brand new business, he could motivate himself to become the best photographer he could possibly be.


Jeff has been my great encourager through so many business hurdles.  Best of all, I’ve watched him grow from a fresh-on-the-scene photographer to a budding superstar almost -what feels like- overnight.


From concept to reality, the Winter Shoot images you see here are all his creation.  Styling by Shannon Sewell, hair and makeup by… well, me.  PS- you have to see Shannon’s images too.  Have to. Much more to come from the Winter Shoot. For now, enjoy this exclusive preview.


Moments after Jeff took the images above, he came to show me the previews.  Such a proud moment for me to see him beaming with pride.  He was pretty nervous that morning.  He had put his all into this shoot and his hard work paid off.   image below :: jesse ryan


Jeff has not only photographed stunning images for me, but traveled the world with Nick Onken this year helping to produce some of the most mind-blowing shoots I’ve ever seen.  I think Nick and I see the same thing in Jeff… he makes things happen.  He never says “I would like to” do something.  He always says “I will.”


When I review portfolios, the number one thing missing is always details.  Brides want to know that you will take great care of the little treasures they’ve worked so hard to create.  Photographers always say to me, “Lara, I just need someone to put the details in front of me and I’ll do the rest.”  Well, friends, why not create them for yourself or partner with a designer to bring them to life?  You can’t wait your whole career for that one bride to come along and change everything.  You have to literally make it happen.  You get what you give, so give brides a peek at what you are really made of and they will flock to you.  Make the shoot reflect who you are and what really fires you up.  Remember, if you aren’t excited about your work, no one will be.  Do whatever it takes to get fired up again in 2010.  When Emily and I started planning the Watercolor shoot, we knew exactly what we wanted for Jeff.  The results were magical.


Location: Watercolor, Styling: Joy Thigpen and Ashley Odille, shot for the latest issue of Southern Weddings.


SO lovely and these details really reflect who Jeff is:  grounded, fun, earthy, and warm.


Mr. Holt sets his mind to something and stops at nothing to get it.  It’s his drive and perseverance that motivated me to ask him to join the MTH2010 Tour as my support and to tell his story.  This whole thing was his idea in the first place!  I called him one day last month (yes, this all just started a month ago) overwhelmed with a slew of new client inquiries and he said, “Lara, you have so much to share with people.  You should just travel to do workshops so people can experience you one on one.”  I knew he was right, so I didn’t waste any time.  That day, the Making Things Happen Intensive Tour was born.   I’m thrilled to introduce Jeff to you today and can’t wait for you to meet him on the road.  In two short weeks, we start a marathon of stops including Dallas, Seattle, Los Angeles, Minneapolis and Chicago.  After that, we’ll hit Raleigh, Vegas, New York, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, and Hawaii. I will be announcing the phenomenal list of guest speakers soon, too. Let me tell you, I can’t wait to learn from them as well! This tour is sure to be nothing short of life-changing for the attendees and for me.


In 6 short days –January 1st– the MTH2010 rate will increase, so jump on it folks.  I learned a lot from the first workshop and increased the time from 3 to 6 full hours (we talked till 1am at the last one it was so exciting!) and decreased the amount of attendees to 20 per city.  The most valuable time for me was my one-on-one sessions after the group intensive.  I plan to keep that same level of personal attention throughout this tour.  Register now while there are still a few seats left.


Without further ado, my Christmas gift to you…  Leave a comment here telling me what you want to make happen in 2010 and I’ll give you a special code for a $20 credit toward MTH2010 registration.  The code is only good till the New Year and you have to leave a comment by New Year’s Eve.  One lucky commenter, to be chosen at random, will also get a copy of my favorite new book by Gary Vaynerchuck, Crush It!.  Merry Christmas, y’all!



PS after the overwhelming response to the MTH2010 scholarships, lots of folks have been asking me if I will be offering another scholarship opportunity.  I’m going to say this now so you know… I’ll be offering one more scholarship seat.  Just one, not twelve.  I won’t tell you when it’s coming, but not anytime soon.

PSS my dad got me a really meaningful gift that lifted me up today.  Wishing you all bold, joyful, purposeful steps as we move into an exciting New Year.


  1. Emily Ley on December 25, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    To anyone that has the opportunity to attend MTH2010 :: do it. It was, as many people have twittered, a sincerely changing experience. It’s an opportunity to get really real – both with yourself and with other pros. It. will. Rock. You. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  2. April W on December 25, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Hi Lara, You can exclude me from the giveaway, but I just had to leave a comment after reading your post. I somehow stumbled across Jeff on Twitter at the beginning of this year & with a shared love of photography & goldens,I’ve enjoyed following him over the year. Also living in the Charlotte area, I randomly had the chance to meet Jeff recently out in his area in town and have to agree that he’s quite a passionate, inspiring person… and I only chatted with him for about 10 minutes 🙂 God has blessed him with an obvious fire for life!

    Through him, I’ve also been exposed to your work and I’ve been so inspired by both of your passions for your work.

    As someone who is just dipping their toes into photography, it’s been so inspiring to see what both of you are doing. Thanks for sharing this awesome story & I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for both of you! Good luck on MTH2010 and thank you for being so passionate with doing what you’ve obviously been gifted with what you love.

    Merry Christmas!!

  3. nancy ray on December 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    i am making relationships happen in 2010! i’m spending more time with people, face to face, laughing & talking. i’m spending less time in front of my computer. i am ready for a people-centered, balanced business!

  4. Josh on December 25, 2009 at 11:28 pm

    I’m so fired up for the new year! Love the comments about waiting for someone to give you some details to shoot…didn’t we just have this same conversation?!?! I’ve got the first concept shoot coming up next weekend in the NC mountains, and I’ve already got a couple of more in the works! Thanks again for all of your insight and inspiration, here’s to making 2010 the best year ever!

  5. Lara on December 26, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Yes! So excited to hear that Josh! I’ve been thinking about you and hoping you were scheming and dreaming up your shoot. You’re so welcome. Cannot WAIT to see what you create!

  6. Jimmy Moncrief on December 26, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I can’t wait to see the speaker list! This looks awesome! Are you giving away $20? (heard via Twitter)

  7. Phyllis Cheung on December 26, 2009 at 2:43 am

    Hello Lara!
    I’m SO fired up for 2010!!! I’ve already signed up for the Los Angeles intensive – Cannot wait to meet you and Jeff! I’m looking forward to learning everything I can from you in 6 hours! Here’s to Making Things Happen in 2010! Cheers!

  8. Cherin on December 26, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    In 2010, I want to make this business a priority. I work so hard all year long, but the balance of my biz with my full-time job is becoming a challenge. I really hope to attend MTH2010; that’s my first goal for the new year! 🙂

  9. Alexandra Jusino on December 27, 2009 at 1:13 pm

    I’m attending just after the special events show in New Orleans. I will need the extra boost and I’m definitely ready to make things happen and being the year of living fearlessly.

  10. Jenni Bailey on December 27, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Lara, in 2010 I am starting my business. I am truly at the GO point of Making It Happen and I can NOT tell you how inspirational and helpful your blog has been to me. Literally, there are not enough words in the English language for me to express my gratitude. I am going to Make It Happen without fear or apology. Your words have helped me see that I’ve been holding the strings for a very long time and all I need to do is tie the knot. I am SO excited and I just can’t wait to ring in 2010!

  11. Lisa Jeffries on December 27, 2009 at 9:50 pm

    Know what I want to make happen in 2010? Making things happen!!! Haha! Seriously though, I am one of those people at night who have trouble “turning off” because there are so many ideas in my head. So many thing I want to do. I rarely get to put as many of them to work as I’d like. That’s my goal for this year… more “getting things done”, Lara Casey style! And if I can add MTH2010 in Raleigh (or, as we like to say, Raleighwood)… then that would be the highlight of the year!

  12. Geomyra on December 28, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    For the past few months I have been claiming that 2010 is going to be my year. I want to make my business a priority and learn to balance my personal and professional life. I have a million and one ideas that I have brainstormed and just need to take the leap and conquer my fears. I am so looking forward to attending MTH2010.

  13. Kristi on December 29, 2009 at 4:33 am

    Lara, I am a newbie to your blog and I must say that I am so impressed (as you can tell…it’s 4:30 in the morning right now). Your words have been very inspiring – thank you! 2010…is my year to Make Things Happen!

  14. Leika on December 30, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    This year, I am determined to finally start the business I’ve been talking about for years. I’ve let fear – of failure, of burnout, of lots of things – stand in my way for a long time, but your blog has been a major inspiration to quit letting my doubts stop me and just do it! Thanks so much!!

  15. Heidi @ idieh | design on December 31, 2009 at 2:14 am

    My goal for 2010 is to map out a plan of how to make my true passion – running my business, idieh design – become my ONLY career versus having to work a full-time job on top of running the business. I want to create a road to success that will make all the work I’ve put into the business thus far ALL WORTH IT! I’m ready to MAKE THINGS HAPPEN instead of wishing & hoping the day will come when I can take that BIG leap! I’m crossing my fingers I can find a way to attend MTH2010 – which, BTW, I think Phoenix would be a FAB place to host one of the sessions 😉

    I look forward to having the opportunity to meet you, Lara!

  16. Melissa Hayes on December 31, 2009 at 11:39 am

    Hi Lara! I just recently started my photography business, and I feel fortunate to have found your blog so early on! I am eagerly anticipating the session in Chicago!

  17. Lisa on December 31, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    The last couple of years have been REALLY tough. I’m so ready to LIVE these next 10 years and not sit back on 12/31/2019 and say “where did another 10 yrs go?” I’m hoping this will help me find the ‘light bulb’ moment.

  18. Mandy on December 31, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    2010 is practically here and my simple philosophy is out with the old and in with the new. I have always been one of those people who listens intently, learns and then shares with others, but I don’t think – I know – it is time to focus on catapulting my career and my studio to the next level and not worrying about the ones who ride my coattails. In 2010 – I will be traveling a little bit lighter!

  19. andrea mcmahon on December 31, 2009 at 8:47 pm

    In 2010, I want to make my business mine again. 2009 took me down so many paths that at times I felt I was running around in circles. I want to get back on the right path for me – the one that follows my dreams and leads to my goals. See you in HOTlanta!

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