Awesomesauce News

2017 Will Be Different!

It’s 3am and I’m sitting here with a blank blog post open in WordPress, trying to figure out the right words to basically announce to the world, “Hey we’ve got something brand new going on over here!” But the right words just aren’t coming.

I wish I could be eloquent, but instead I’m just going to be honest. 2016 was a year of big change for me. Most of the changes were in my own mindset. I started out the year breaking ties with people and companies who weren’t lifting me up and ended it in an entirely new place, one I’m pretty happy with actually. You could probably just say 2016 is the year I decided to stop giving a shit in a more official manner and really started trying to live the things I taught myself.

I’m happy to say I got a lot of toxic things out and when it finally came down to figuring out what the future was going to look like, it looked pretty bleak for Photography Awesomesauce. I lost my love of this place completely. It grew to a ‘many headed beast’ as they call the Nerdist website. Too many heads, too many voices, too much work, a lot to manage and not a lot of benefits going around except I was paying some really expensive hosting fees to keep it open. Instead of just shutting the doors, which I had been itching to do for years, I decided not to just give it another chance, but to make it something I like.

So here’s what’s changing…


As Lisa Nichols says, “I woke up this morning and I liked me. So your like is extra.” This is the motto for Photography Awesomesauce’s vibe. If you know anything about me, it is the amount of “sameness” being promoted in the photography industry, gets under my skin. There is so much education out there that says there is one way to run your business, one way to edit, one way to pose, one way to do anything. Everything starts to blur together and it makes me wonder about the rest of us who don’t fit in with the sameness going around. So I decided Photography Awesomesauce is going to be the place for the unconventional wedding photography education. A place where if you like what you’re doing and it’s working for you, you’re home. A place where newbies will always be not only welcomed, but protected. A place where we can (and should) swear. This is the place where people dance to their own fucking beat when it comes to business, and it’s celebrated.

If I’m completely honest with myself, it’s that I really noticed in 2016 how not only does my wedding photography business market to offbeat clients, but I run it in a pretty offbeat way too. And according to the success of the last 31 days with the  31 Days to Better Wedding Photography daily periscopes, you guys like the way I dance to my own fucking beat in business too. It seems to resonate, and that’s the vibe. I’m only one person though, so I can only blog and educate about what works best for me. If you like it, awesome. If you don’t, that’s okay because Iike it.

Photography Awesomesauce’s new vibe is about you. If you wake up in the morning and you’re happy with your business, and your photography, then everyone else’s like is just extra.


I’m just going to list these in bullet points for the sake of making it easy. I’m not sure any of these particular changes need any explanation other than I’m doing them because it makes me happy. Remember that whole bit about you liking anything being extra? Because I like me? That applies here.

  • Bye critique Facebook group!
  • Bye social media sharing Facebook group!
  • New rules for our one (and only) Facebook group!
  • Blogging team is dissolved in its previous incarnation, but any of the bloggers, and now readers can submit posts whenever!
  • Weekly Facebook live events in the group most likely! Didn’t realize my crazy home life live on camera was so appealing until we did this past month’s periscopes! Now you can enjoy my phone falling over, me fixing my hair all the time, the dogs stealing my unicorn slippers, and me accepting UPS packages on a weekly basis. Just try to contain your excitement! Although the people watching all those shenanigans on Periscope in December gave me some raving reviews.
  • More fun on Instagram, because it was dying and we don’t want Instagram to die. So instead I will share only photos of my dogs. Just kidding, I’ll try to be useful.

Products & Services

I’m just going to continue this whole bullet point thing. It’s working for me, and it’s now 3:20 am, so I’m feeling pretty productive.

  • There’s an image use agreement template in the shop now! What?! You guys asked for it so I put it together for you.
  • Wedding contract is still there!
  • You can download 101 blog post ideas if you subscribe to the weekly educational GOLD I’ll be sending out in 2017. GOLD I tell you. GOLD. (I’m setting myself some high expectations live on the internet when I say that).
  • You can come to the $99 workshop if you’re one of the handful of people that can get a ticket soon enough and come to Denver to learn in person. I have a pretty small space for the workshop. It cannot accommodate huge groups (that’s why the first ticket buyers will be coming and the procrastinators don’t win). It can accommodate swear words and a shitload of authenticity though – and that’s my teaching style.
  • Online courses will be released monthly on helpful topics like, income taxes, marketing, and maybe even a gigantic wedding photography online course with all the things.
  • Blog posts, so many blog posts. I project approximately 104 educational blog posts over the course of 2017.
  • This bullet is for the things that I’ll come up with during 2017 that I don’t know yet. Let’s just sum it up with I’ll make things, and you will pay me sometimes. Lots of free stuff is on the plan too!

So that’s about it, or as much as I can get out now that my brain is fried. I’m sleeping in tomorrow.

One last thing though…if you need a re-brand or new website this year. Rachael Earl is the designer for you. She did the new PA logo, and has designed and created all 3 of my other business’ websites and brands. If you’re looking for a designer this year >go here to hire her.< If you’re not looking for a new designer, at least do me a solid and go follower her on Instagram and Facebook so she starts out the year with a little extra love for all the things she’s done for me!

See you on Tuesday this week with some awesome new blog content! Hmmm…maybe that’s the day I should do a Facebook Live too…

The Photographer Black Friday Sale List by a Lady Who Actually Uses the Services Listed

Disclaimer: This post has a few affiliate links in it, so if you use them I do get a kickback. It helps me keep the lights on around PA and offer free events like the 31 Days to Better Wedding Photography online class coming up December 1st. So if you appreciate all the awesomesauce free knowledge you get from PA, do me a solid and use my links. On the other hand if you hate me, don’t use these links but do use these services anyway.

I know there’s a lot of Black Friday blog posts out there with all the amazing deals you can get all over the internet. This is not the post with the ULTIMATE list of all the deals ever made in the entire internet for photographers this year. This is the blog post of deals, people and things I, personally, think you should be aware of. I’m only listing products and services I’ve used and love personally. Many of these are run by people I know personally and love their message and what they’re doing. There’s a lot of posts out there that just list everything for the sake of it and to make money. I mean I don’t mind a little kickback, but there’s lots of other things I could list that I don’t use and have no experience with just to make a buck. These are the people and things that I think matter, the services that I stand behind. These are the things I use myself. Some of these things I’m not an affiliate for (so I get no compensation for sharing them), I’m just an avid fan of the rad stuff they’re doing and wanted to share it with you.

  • How to Automate Your Business So You Can Drink More Wine and Watch More Netflix – On sale for $149 (usually $199) through 11/30. This class releases today! It has several modules that will go over things like how to automate your email marketing, your client emails, your Instagram outreach, your Instagram posting, your social media posting in general and a few tips to help automate your blog. All the things I’ve done in this course myself, so I’m your crash test dummy for automation. I truly believe (and can’t say it enough) that automating parts of your business is a huge lifesaver. You didn’t get into this business to spend 80 hours a week trying to work 40. You started a business to work less and have more time for the important stuff (or the Netflix watching) so the tools and techniques in this class can help you take your life back as a business owner!
  • How to Get Started with Affiliate Marketing – This is a free class on affiliate marketing by yours truly. It’s a 26 minute long video that will introduce you into the art of affiliate marketing. If you’re not sure what that is, well look to this entire blog post as sample. It’s full of affiliate links which, when you click on and purchase, may send me a small commission or referral fee. This is an awesome way to earn passive income as a photographer and something  every photographer can afford to incorporate into their blogs, emails and education with clients. If you’re already referring stuff to them you might as well get some extra dollars because of it!
  • Shootproof – Shootproof is doing 40% off annual plans for new users and 40% off upgraded plans for existing users. This is my favorite online gallery software because it’s the ONLY one with an automated email system. I utilize these automated emails to market print sales and more to my clients once I send them their gallery. If you want to know more about why I think Shootproof rocks my socks off go read 9 Reasons Shootproof is the Best and How Shootproof’s Automated Email System Can Help You Sell More!
  • Coschedule – They’re having a huge Cyber Monday sale to keep an eye out on! Coschedule is a social media tool that can help you schedule social media, even fully automate it. Plus it helps you schedule blog posts in advance to blast out to social media. That way you can write your blogs, schedule the marketing and know it’s all done for you. So make sure you head over and check them out on Monday!
  • Get Found with Fuse – At the time I wrote this post I had no idea what deals Fuse would have on her SEO tools and classes. I still don’t, but head over there and check anyway. Even if she doesn’t have a sale her SEO skills are WORTH IT. She’s an amazing boss lady who inspires me every day and she really knows her stuff!
  • Moo – Get yourself some new business cards.
  • B&H Photo – Go buy all your gear here! They have tons of different deals going on with all kinds of equipment!
  • Photography Concentrate – 40% off all Photography Tutorials. These are digital online tutorials and great for new photographers!!
  • Borrow Lenses – Use the code BF2016 to grab 20% off all orders through 11/28
  • Lens Authority – 10% off store wide. The discount is applied automatically! This is the used sales department of Lens Rentals (mentioned below). It’s the first place I go when buying new camera gear because you get quality gear, excellent customer service, solid shipping practices, and the best prices all in one. It’s pretty much too good to be true. Just a secret, I grabbed two D750s for sale with their 10% off on Monday for about $1400 each!! ZOMG! Get your asses over to Lens Authority and use them to buy all your used gear. Also if they don’t have it in stock, just find the listing anyway and sign up for an email notification when they have something in stock. They’re worth the wait.
  • Lens Rentals – Grab 25% off Rentals with the code: BLACKFRIDAY
  • Know YOUR Beautiful Campaign Tees – This is a campaign special to my heart because the woman behind it, LaJune King believes we should know what our beautiful is (so no it’s not a typo). She’s selling tees with her message for 30% off. Go grab one and use the code: KYBBLACKFRIDAY
  • Pixifi – 15% off! For photographers who need studio management software to help keep them organized, Pixifi is the shit. Yeah you can do online contracts and invoices to your clients, which is important and will help you get that paperwork signed and give you a better chance of getting paid faster. The real kicker for me with Pixifi is the amazing automation tools it has. You know I’m a killer for automating. Pixifi’s automated email system allows me to send out resources, tools, and information to my clients the entire time between when they complete their booking until long after their session or wedding takes place. This gives me a lot of room to use the affiliate marketing course mentioned above to make some passive income. Plus it helps develop a lot of trust through consistency by anticipating what my clients need to know before they need to know it. I get nothing but compliments from my brides and grooms about how helpful the emails are and it totally takes emailing clients off my shoulders. Now the reminders about wedding day timelines and what to wear go out without me having to make sure they do. The real reason I stand behind Pixifi is the owner, Tim. You could not meet anyone with more dedication to his customers and customer service than Tim. This is the guy who spent hours digging a client I deleted out of the archives for me. He always goes above and beyond. So when you invest in Pixifi, you’re investing in a true small business and helping Tim put a roof over his family’s head and food on the table.  I know people are hesitant to set up Pixifi because it seems overwhelming, or you tried it out years ago and it was too much. Tim has worked hard to make it easier and easier. I set mine up in about 3 hours or less all on my own and Tim helped answer questions when I needed it. So really – you need to just sit down and dedicate the time to the set up because you won’t be sorry after!
  • Fundy – Fundy is doing a 35% off sale. If you don’t know who Fundy is you might be like WTF Carrie this sounds like something weird. I promise you Fundy is awesome. First because the people behind Fundy are some of the best in the photography industry. They’re just kind souls and good people. I like to share good things that amazing people do. I’m not even an affiliate for them, so I get no kick back talking them up. Fundy is software for photographers. They have several different types of software that include album design, wall gallery design, creating blog collages and more. They have the best album design software in the industry in my opinion.

BorrowLenses Photo & Video Rentals

31 Days to Better Wedding Photography

As photographers I’m sure most of you reading this have gone through a time when you’ve rebranded your business, relaunched and challenged yourself to take it to the next level. If you’ve been with me since the beginning of Photography Awesomesauce then you know all the different things I’ve tried, challenges I’ve given myself and you’ve seen my successes and failures first hand. I’m proud of all of them (the good parts and the bad parts) because they’ve helped shape where I am today and where I’m going in the future.

That said you can probably anticipate that it’s about time we give Photography Awesomesauce a new facelift, and a bigger, better purpose. So with that in mind we’ll be shutting down blogging completely during December to make some time to really revamp the website and prepare some awesome new things for you guys. December is also notoriously slow for blogging anyway if I’m completely honest with you. Traffic deters and people pay attention to their families. What time they do spend on their business tends to be in the mindset of goals for the new year and big changes they are making in their own business. So it leaves little time for new ideas when you’re taking all the new ideas you’ve had all year and are finally implementing them.

So that brings me to our own little revamp. While blogging may cease as we revamp the website we still have some important work to do. I’m going to be doing a 31 Days to Better Wedding Photography online event. Starting December 1st you can log into the Periscope app and learn a little bit about wedding photography every single day in December. Some days we might discuss lighting, other days we might discuss contracts. We’ll talk about marketing, posing and everything in between. I know so many of you are getting ready to dive in and start your first wedding season or are eager to learn more and up your game. I don’t think I have all the answers, or that how I run my own wedding photography business is perfect for everyone, but I’m happy to share the things I do know and let you decide if they’ll help you or not. There are a few things you need to do to participate so I’ll outline them below. Don’t forget a step or you might miss out!

  1. Download Periscope on your phone and follow me! Periscope is essentially a live video app that really helps other entrepreneurs learn from each other. While you can watch live broadcasts from your internet browser, you are limited to only watching and can’t ask questions or participate. That’s why you need to download the app. It’s free. Don’t worry about being live yourself, you’re just watching me live and can sit at home in the comfort of yesterday’s makeup, bedhead and no pants while you learn. Periscope saves live broadcasts for a limited time, so if you don’t catch a certain day’s as long as you log in soon after you won’t miss a beat!
  2. Follow me on Periscope. When you first download the app there will be lots of buttons to play with. Just head to the magnifying glass on the top left for the search function. Select ‘people’ and type in “carrieswails.” Once you find me select “follow.” From there the app will ask you to enable notifications. Feel free to not get the notifications, but if you want a little reminder sent to your phone everyday to remind you to log in and watch the free broadcast, then make sure you have notifications enabled. For a quick reference on how to download Periscope and just so you know what my profile looks like, below is a link to my profile as accessed from a desktop, just remember you can’t participate in a broadcast, just watch it (and PS I love answering questions live). >Carrie Swails Periscope<
  3. Follow Photography Awesomesauce on Instagram. I’ll be posting reminders and clips there as well to make sure you go log in!
  4. Sign up for the 31 Days to Better Wedding Photography emails. These emails will have links, resources and reminders all related to our daily content. The email list is the basis of everything, so if you don’t want to follow along in other places, at the very least make sure you’re getting the emails! There may also be some fun giveaways and interesting things from our sponsors via email!

Even if you’re not a wedding photographer there are probably lots of behind the scenes business tips and photography or lighting tips you can learn by tuning in! So share with your friends and lets spend December getting our knowledge on! I can’t wait to see everyone there!


If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web!