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Grand Reopening!

It’s here! Phase Green is here and we couldn’t be more ecstatic to reopen! To celebrate, we’re offering $100 off every photographic experience we offer.

We’re taking all of the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety as they come through our doors. We will have our face masks on, sanitizer pumps stationed all over the studio, and a UV sanitizer for our phones, keys, and payment devices. We are also only scheduling 1 session a day with room to clean and sanitize the entire studio before and after.

We’ve always wanted our clients to feel they are in a safe space and cared for. Now we are just adding on to what we already do by protecting everyone’s health as well.

Let’s chat! Schedule a time that works for you

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PPE Support for Superheroes

In partnership with Skippack Pharmacy and their Support Our Superheroes Fund, you can help provide masks for hospital and emergency personnel.

For every gift certificate or artwork purchase, Allebach Photography will donate towards their campaign to help the essential healthcare workers in our community.

$100 purchase = up to 10 masks

$400 purchase = up to 25 masks

$1000 purchase = up to 50 masks

Your support of Allebach Photography can also support those who need our help the most.

Visit our online store here, to purchase your gift certificate today!

business Mental Health

A Journey Back to Me: How I Took My Life Back from Depression, Entrepreneurship and Fear

Like a rolling fog depression crept into my life.  Whether I didn’t notice or didn’t want to, it’s sneaky claws dug into my back and joined me for a ride into 2019. Entrepreneurship has a way of stretching you, even when the changes are good. Along with some personal stretching came the accompanying dark side of rapid personal growth: fear, anxiety, and depression.  The unknowing nature of the future. I’m reminded of the mantra of “past success does not guarantee future results.” My ego loved to play in the space of imposter syndrome. 

“The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of ‘real’ grown-ups who you believe – at some subconscious level – are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying:

We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not deserve your job, we are taking everything away, and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.”

Amanda Palmer

Every day I got up and I gave the world my best…the best I could give.  My job was fulfilling but thrumming low-level messages of a million negative “what if’s” intensified over the summer.  Fear took over. I didn’t even realized I was depressed.  I would have told you I was stressed out. Eventually, people would ask me if I was okay. I was wearing the signs of depression outward on my face.  I was not okay. What started as slight anxiety and depression turned into graphic images of my own death replaying every time I closed my eyes to go to sleep. Where did my happiness go? 

This shadow cast on my life for 9 or so months.  My emotions were suppressed and bunched up.  Despite having a business that was fulfilling, I was dull. I didn’t feel like myself. I knew something was wrong.  I wasn’t sure what or how to return to me. 

A Journey Back

The journey back to me started with a simple question.  “When am I happy and without stress?” The answer was simple.  I’m happy when I’m hiking in nature with my family or friends or even alone.  So I made a commitment to no longer work on Sundays and hike as much as possible. The thing about depression is it’s really hard to feel like doing the healing thing. So I did my best. I made plans and hiked.  I stuck to my commitments. When I hiked I had no stress, no worries and I was happy. Hiking in state parks around Pennsylvania, I learned my first lesson: the forest heals. This was a crack of light in the darkness.    

Around the same time I started reading Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions by Johann Hari. This book was eye-opening to the current scientific research on depression and anxiety. Many of the ideas around brain chemistry most Americans and doctors share are no longer considered valid theories by neuroscientists. The book detailed the nine disconnections that cause depression and helpful solutions. 

The one that hit me hardest (and I’m sure other entrepreneur friends can relate) was a disconnection from a secure future.  While our friends with jobs get to experience a false sense of security (let’s just be honest, they can lose their’s at any moment), we don’t have that luxury.  There is always an unknowing.  

Seeing that I was in fact depressed and related so much to the book I saw a hopeful, healthy path forward. Another crack of light in the darkness started to appear. 

The Habits that Heal

Prior to depression, I read 10% Happier a book on the power of meditation. What both books confirmed is successful people take time to meditate and reflect daily. I had come to believe that meditation was a healthy and helpful practice.  My scattered brain needed something to help it focus. I signed up for the Calm app and started doing their 10-minute meditations. My experience has been to start a small habit and do it for 30 days straight. The smaller the better. 10 minutes or less. This habit of meditation became the cornerstone habit of healing.  It took about a year for me to go from this is so difficult, to this is okay, to I can’t live without this. Now I start every day this way.

The Trip to Heal
For many people, depression flow in and out and doesn’t tend to have a finite conclusion.  For me, that was not the case. I can point to a moment and place in time where my depression left my body. For months I had been running and running, suppressing emotions.  Then I had a window of time during a photography trip to California with nothing to do. So I stopped running, relaxed and meditated for hours. I just let go. When my mind got very quiet I met with the depression.   

I remember curling up after meditation and the words kept flowing out “I’m so sad.”  I must have repeated those words a few hundred times. Every time I repeated the words had less power and eventually, the words lost all power.   When I got up I felt light. The emotions worked themselves out of my body. I was renewed, ready for 2nd chances. 


I had already learned hiking weekly outside was something that brought me joy and I tried to walk my dogs a mile a day. But walking wasn’t quite enough. I knew an experience daily would make me more productive and focused. So I picked up the idea of 10 minutes of exercise. Originally I considered Peleton but instead got a gym membership and started running for 10 minutes a day.   My fitness regimen is almost laughable. 10 minutes of exercise is my current goal. But habits are hard to set when they are big and consistency is king. Those 10 minutes connect me back to the person I want to be. I don’t need an hour to get the results I want. Just 10 minutes. 

When my anxiety and stress don’t match my movement, I feel it.  If I move fast enough beyond the vibration of my anxiety, my stress will lower alongside my movement when I slow down. So if I’m behind a computer stressing about money or issues, I need to move until that feeling releases. I run up the steps. Take a break and walk to get lunch. This isn’t suppressing emotions, this is feeling into them. Allowing them.  Matching them with my body until they’ve been felt.

Breath Work: Pranayama & Wim Hof

The work of being human is never done.  While all signs and feelings of depression were gone stress still lingered. Enter the healing power of breathwork and breathing exercises. One day I stumbled across a video from Wim Hof, a real-life superhuman who hiked Mount Everest in shoes and shorts only.  Where do his superpowers come from? Ancient breathing techniques. He teaches a method of breathing that I’ve integrated into my daily routine (a modified Pranayama yoga breathing technique thousands of years old).

If you struggle with meditation, you may find a breathing exercise much easier to complete. I found this lowered my stress level much like meditation but with the added benefit of being very wakeful. 

Box Breathing

After Wim Hof, I discovered the method of breathing used by Navy Seals.  In moments of stress, it’s the cure. Breathe in 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold 1, 2, 3, 4. Breathe out 1, 2, 3, 4. Hold 1, 2, 3, 4. If you visualize a box, the 4 steps will form the edges. Unlike the Wim Hof method which energizes, Box breathing is for use in stressful situations because it grounds you. In as little as a minute you’ll feel less stressed. You can practice in front of people and they will be unaware.  You’ll just appear calm. 

Reflection & Gratitude

I’ve come to understand happiness as a triangle. Mind, Body, Soul with purpose in the center. If I meditate, if I move and if I express my gratitude I am happy. My soul needs to express gratitude.  It isn’t always natural. Sometimes it feels awkward. I’ve found that most days this can be done in as little as one minute on an app ( I use Presently) or by writing a thank you note. 

The Questions I Ask Myself

Socrates said it best, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”  Isn’t it the quality of our questions that determine the quality of our life.  Here are a few of the questions I’ve learned recently I find helpful:

  • Am I living in the future or in the past? What can I do to be present in this moment?
  • Have I gotten enough sun lately?  Should I go outside?
  • Am I hungry? Thirsty?
  • Do I need to move around?
  • Do I need to meditate?
  • Is my breathing shallow? Should I change it?
  • Is this my ego speaking or my truest self? What does my truest self say?
  • Who would I be without this thought?
  • What is the thought opposite of this thought?
  • Am I willing to see this differently?
  • Is there something I could do secretly selfless for someone? Can I compliment? Thank? Gift?
  • Is there something or someone I need to say no to? A boundary I need to set?
  • Am I rehearsing my best self?

The Mantra

If nothing else works. I’ve found the mantra of the Hawaiian tradition Ho’oponopono to be the most helpful. It’s simply taking complete responsibility for my reality or perception of meeting with it and repeating.  

“I love you.  I’m sorry. Forgive me.  Thank you.”

This works for thoughts, ideas, people, shouldas, couldas and wouldas. 

What I don’t say anymore is “I shouldn’t be thinking this or feeling this.”  The truth is I am thinking this and feeling this. It’s what I’m supposed to be thinking and feeling right now.  Let’s meet with these thoughts and ideas and see what happens. And I’m open to the possibility to see things another way.  But this person, feeling, thought, the idea isn’t going anywhere until I meet with it. Yes, I’m literally telling my ideas “I love you.  I’m sorry. Forgive me. Thank you.” 

It might sound crazy but it works.  Try it.  

Meaningful Conversations

These ideas and healing did not come in isolation. The most helpful thing people did was to share space and meaningful conversation.  My natural inclination was to be a hermit. Many people didn’t know what I was feeling until I told them. I’m grateful to the people who showed up or invited me to show up or listened. Whether you pay someone to listen, talk to your doctor or find friends to talk with, the journey back to the truest you will start with tools outside of your current thinking and reality.  I’ve laid out the tools I’ve used and what’s worked for me. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can see all of the things that made a difference. It’s a combination of fighting for a new life and allowing others in. You are not alone. This is a road walked by many. Help is out there. Love on your Mind, Body, Soul. Move your body, discover the stillness in your mind and feed your soul with gratitude. Reconnect with people, reconnect with your purpose and spend time in the forest reconnecting with the earth and sun. 

Could it really be this easy? Just adding a few habits to your life? The answer is: I don’t know your situation. Maybe. These tools have been used for thousands of years. Habits are slow to take hold and I don’t know what exactly will work for you.  The important part is to start. Give something a try. When everything seems impossible, give something a try.

Further Reading & Watching

Finally, this wouldn’t have been possible without the insight found in these books and techniques they shared. 

photo by Bud Johnson

Mike Allebach is a photographer of couples boudoir and tattooed weddings. His best selling marketing & branding book Viral Personal Branding is available here.  Learn more about weddings and couples boudoir at


Why Are We Afraid Of The Entrepreneurship’s Darkside?

Why Are We Afraid Of The Entrepreneurship’s Darkside
Why Are We Afraid Of The Entrepreneurship’s Darkside?

There are days when entrepreneurship spills black ink all over the pages of my life soaking into every corner with self-doubt, fear, and anxiety. Out of nowhere thwack, hit with imposter syndrome. The mantra “past success does not guarantee future performance” rings loudly in my ear. And I wonder can owning a business cause depression? Riding the roller coaster and feeling the excitement of launching new things also comes with the reminder of risk and bad days and weeks. For all of its highs, entrepreneurship has some terrible lows. Why is this topic so rarely discussed?

Most of us started our journeys riding high with excitement for the ways we were going to add significance and change people’s lives and our communities. At some point we are jolted with the reality of our decision, being an entrepreneur is not only difficult but it’s profoundly emotional work. Those who are willing to do the job of sharing their vision know, just as the pendulum swings to excitement and joy, it can swing just as far into darkness. We take on the weight for the success of our service, clients, vendors, and employees. Growing rapidly, learning new skills and crushing through personal barriers then waking up at 3 am mind racing wondering if we still have what it takes.

For many, it’s easier to put on a front as an entrepreneur and pretend that everything is all right. This dark side of entrepreneurship is not exactly fun coffee conversation. It’s easier to use our eternal optimism mask to power through. We use the “fear is just excitement” trick every public speaker uses as they step on stage.

Despite what the gurus and Instagram coaches tell you, not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Some days I question if I am. Sure we entrepreneurs get knocked down, and we get back up eventually, it’s in our blood. But some days are hard, fucking hard and I feel this in my bones. There is a heavy weight of charting your path and success. When you own your dreams and passion so immensely, you can fall into a pit of self-blame when things don’t turn out as planned.

Like many people who have carved a path into the ground with persistently working hard to pursue a dream, there are days when the Fraud Police comes to visit.

Punk Cabaret singer-songwriter Amanda Palmer describes it this way.

“The Fraud Police are the imaginary, terrifying force of ‘real’ grown-ups who you believe – at some subconscious level – are going to come knocking on your door in the middle of the night, saying:
We’ve been watching you, and we have evidence that you have NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE DOING. You stand accused of the crime of completely winging it, you are guilty of making shit up as you go along, you do not deserve your job, we are taking everything away, and we are TELLING EVERYBODY.”

What I know is creative, deep and meaningful entrepreneurial work isn’t free. It’s a heart investment. When we sow into our work and into products and ideas to make our corner of the earth a little better – our dreams and heart can get broken. Failure and the fear of failure, although we are told to accept them, doesn’t make for a good friend.

In my search for answers, the one that most resonated was Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl’s

“Don’t aim at success. The more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Happiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I was hoping you could listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long-run—in the long-run, I say!—success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think about it…Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how.’”

So what now? I know bad days and weeks will come and go for both you and me. Maybe it’s time to break the taboo of talking about the dark side of entrepreneurship. I’m not suggesting the faux-authenticity of instacelebs talking about messy hair and wearing only sweatpants. Those are safe and easy admissions. What if we talked about the struggles, stress and mental health of an entrepreneur openly?

I hope this sparks a conversation in your corner of the world. How do you cope with the stress of entrepreneurship? Let us know in the comments below.

photo by Bud JohnsonMike Allebach is a photographer of couples boudoir and tattooed weddings . His book Viral Personal Branding arrives in 2019.  His work has been featured in Offbeat Bride, Cosmopolitan and Huffington Post.  Learn more about weddings and couples boudoir at