Weddings

How to Handle Pokemon Go at Your Portrait Session

agidian events place

You may discover it is a little harder to find a spot in your cities more popular public places for your portraits sessions, and it’s not an Uncle Bob.  No, it’s a more menacing threat that you may be facing, a group of people just trying to catch them all.

That’s right folks, your favorite photo location might just be overrun by people playing Pokemon Go.

Now, I should preface that I personally love Pokemon Go (team red represent!) and think it’s a fun game with tons of nostalgia. However, at a few recent weddings I’ve shot, we’ve arrived to our planned photo locations and have found hundreds of people playing Pokemon Go. Lawn chairs, pizza, and people everywhere sitting and playing and just looking for a Snorlax on a Saturday afternoon. Can you say stress for your family or bride & groom? It’s hard to get those genuine photos when there are tons of people mulling about. It’s even harder when the location is a spot your client has dreamed of having their photos taken in.
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Photo By: Calfa Photography

So, what can we do about it? Largely, there isn’t a ton we can do. It’s impossible to try to keep people from playing their game in a public place. Throwing Pokeballs at them to get them to move is probably going to be frowned upon. However, you can do a little extra planning to make your wedding day or family session running smoothly and avoiding stepping right into a Poke Gym.

1 ) Scout Your Location – The easiest way to prepare is to scout ahead of time. Visit your portrait spot around the same time you’ll be doing portraits another day of the week, see how the flow of traffic goes and try to find a few alternate spots in that location that aren’t as popular. There may be a less populated section of the park you can take your clients into. Weddings can be pressed for time as it is, so picking a few back up locations will help you save time later!

2) Find A More Secluded Spot – If your location is totally overrun and your client doesn’t have their heart on a more popular location, perhaps finding a private venue would be a better fit. Make sure to check out if they require a permit!

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Photo By: Elizabeth Haase (iphone)

While not 100% ideal for us as photographers, Pokemon Go is here to stay and is something everyone will eventually run into. These “Pokefolk” might be in the way, but most people are understanding that you are doing formal photos and will move if you ask them nicely. If they don’t, you can always drop a lure on the other side of the location to get the group to move!

 

What to Wear to Photograph a Wedding

What to Wear to Photograph a Wedding

What to Wear to Photograph a Wedding:
Balancing Being Creative, Professional & Comfortable

It’s wedding season again. I was looking through my closet to pull out my go-to outfits and…. wow. Fraying seams. Strings hanging off. Pilling. Cracks in the soles of my shoes….. Crap. I had worn all my favorites to death and need to actually shop.

I am totally picky about what I wear to weddings. I want to be comfortable, but also look the part of a trustworthy, creative, professional business owner.   I am always struggling to find this balance. I muddled my way through finding my new go-to “uniform” for this year and thought I would share some tips for finding those perfect shooting outfits.

This list comes from years of trial and error and discovering the hard way what DOESN’T work for me (like dresses). Your list might be different, but here are some tips to get you through if you are like me and dread shopping for shooting attire.

  1. SHOES:

    Creative Professional - wedding photographer
    Feminine and romantic-inspired clothing to wear to a daytime wedding.

    It is so worth it to invest in a really good pair of comfort shoes.  I have a shoe fetish and love fun shoes, but when it comes to being on my feet ALL day, I have to wear comfort shoes with good arch support or I literally won’t be able to walk by the end of the night. A couple brands that I like are Sofft and Dansko. Style-wise, I dig mary janes or dress flats, but my second-shooter-sister can rock a pair of leopard-print Dansko clogs like a boss. We watch for clearance sales on them. (I got really lucky and found killer deals on Zulily and 6pm.com this year.)

  2. PANTS:

    I look for slacks, “ponte” or “ankle pants” made with stretch fabric so I can get up and down, crawl on the ground, bend over, lie down and climb stuff. This year, I was able to find comfortable stretchy slacks to fit my body type at Target, but I’ve also heard great things about the Betabrand “Yoga Dress Pants” – yes, you read that right. I totally have these on my wish list.

  3. LEGGINGS:

    Creative Casual - photographer
    Earthy-inspired clothing to wear to an informal garden or beach wedding.

    Leggings are meant to be athletic wear, not professional wear. If I am going to push the professional boundaries and pull off leggings to photograph a wedding, I want to make sure to choose a well-made pair in a heavy weight knit. I also pair them with a long tunic or short dress, nice jewelry and nice shoes. Basically, I try to up the formal ante on all of my other clothing items to overcompensate for the casualness of a legging-type pant.

  4. TOPS:

    A blouse or nice collared button down shirt is always a safe bet. Again, I consider how the fabric moves and breathes. I try to be aware of necklines and cutouts to make sure I will be comfortable moving in all sorts of ways. I love tops with embellishments like lace or beading, but that means I also have to watch out for stuff that might catch on my camera gear.

  5. COLOR:

    Not only do black and dark grays look instantly classy, but wearing black is also very practical in that it helps us to blend in and be less distracting during the event, it won’t cause color casts, it won’t show up most dirt or spills and it also will help make cheaper or lighter weight fabrics appear dressier. I know there are some who will argue with me on this, but really, you can’t go wrong with black. When incorporating other colors, I prefer subtler tones that don’t attract too much attention or cause color casts. Bonus points: colors that match business branding.

  6. LAYERS:

    There is so much variation in weather and venue temperature, I like to layer to prepare for comfort. I tend to get hot while shooting, but may also freeze in a heavily air-conditioned venue. A pretty typical look for me is a lightweight, sleeveless or short-sleeved blouse with a cardigan and stretchy knit blazer – this way I am prepared to add and remove layers as necessary.

  7. CONVERSATION PIECE:

    Creative Professional - wedding photographer 2
    Classic and tailored inspired clothing to wear to a formal evening wedding.

    I choose to wear statement accessories to offset my very neutral black and gray wardrobe. I pick accessories like a funky necklace, pretty wrap, or off-beat shoe pattern that fit my personal style and brand. Restricting the personal styling pieces to accessories also makes it so much easier to get different looks out of the same outfit.

  8. APPROPRIATENESS:

    It’s always important to talk to our clients about the venue, how formal the wedding is, and any dress-code requirements (especially for cultural or religious ceremonies) to ensure that your attire is appropriate for the event. I’m located in Seattle so we’re a little more laid back here. If you are on the East Coast or in certain parts of the South you may have higher expectations for formal wear than those of us on the west coast.

This is not intended to be a guide to say that every photographer should dress the same way. My hope is to help others who are trying to find that balance of being comfortable enough to shoot, looking professional and being true to your style and brand. Remember that it’s not just our pictures, but what we do and what we wear are also reflections of our brand and our business.

 

 

 

6 Ways to Add Passive Income to Your Wedding Photography Business

6 Ways to Add Passive Income to Your Wedding Photography BusinessHow cool would it be if you just got a check in the mail every month with extra money on the side for your business? Sounds too good to be true right? Well, this isn’t any “get rich quick” scheme. It won’t exactly make you rich right away, but it can be a great tool to add to your business if you think it might be a good fit.

This blog post is about becoming an affiliate! Affiliates are usually people like you and me who sign up to be an affiliate with a company, and you get a custom link. When you give that link out to anyone and they purchase something from the company through that link you get a little kick back. I love affiliate programs because they’re great for bloggers to earn a little extra bit on the side.

Here are a few tips you should know about affiliate marketing before I get to the nitty-gritty and tell you some awesome places you can become an affiliate for as a wedding photographer.

  • Affiliate marketing requires that you have a disclaimer on any blog post, email or social media post that you earn money when people purchase through the link. Make sure you read more about how you’re required to provide disclaimers. Sometimes different companies have different rules, and you always need to obey the law.
  • In the US the law really wants you to make it bold and easy for people to find your affiliate disclaimer. That means don’t bury it at the bottom of a blog post or try to hide it. You can put a big disclaimer at the top of the post, or put it right next to the link that you make an income from. Just try to be obvious and honest.
  • Don’t become an affiliate for anything and everything just because you can. Be an affiliate for companies you know you’ll actually promote a lot and actually like. That way it’s genuine when you link to them and suggest them.

Now, before we really really actually do dive into where to become an affiliate I need to tell you something. Truth. I don’t want my clients to print at Shutterfly or Canvas Pop. Obviously, I’d like them to print through me as much as possible. However, my theory is that if for some reason they are going to print through someone else – at the very least I should make money off of it. That’s why I’m an affiliate for companies like Shutterfly and Canvas Pop. At the end of the day I’m a business and I do have to pay the mortgage and eat. I know some of you are judging right now, but don’t worry – I always push ordering through me and my quality labs first.

  1. Shutterfly, Tiny Prints, and Wedding Paper Divas – These are all the same company. In fact, Borrow Lenses is also part of the Shutterfly team. Shutterfly can be good for quick prints for scrapbooking and I love sending clients to Wedding Paper Divas to make save the dates, invitations and thank you cards. How great is it to get a little kickback off each of their paper goods at every wedding? I have done a lot of in person sales in the past and used to design and offer these paper goods as services I could provide, but I just didn’t find joy in it and decided it wasn’t for me and this was a better alternative.
  2. Miller’s and Mpix – Miller’s and Mpix have an affiliate program now! I know a lot of photographers who would suggest Mpix to their clients as a good consumer printer lab. Now you can make money every time you suggest it and they go print there.
  3. Modcloth – Modcloth might not be for everyone, but they have some wedding dresses, bridesmaids dresses, and great shoes which a lot of my clients love!
  4. Artifact Uprising – If clients don’t want to print an album with me, this is one of the amazing places I suggest.
  5. Canvas Pop – If they want to print their own canvases…here you go!
  6. Mixbook – This is a new album printing company. Or at least it’s new to me. I discovered it because one of my brides used it and loved it, so I figured why not promote it too?

Now, I’ve got to tell you how you can make these affiliate sales happen. I do it in two ways. One is through my automated email reminders with my clients and another is through blogging. With automated emails I use both Pixifi and Shootproof‘s systems. I use Pixifi to send email reminders from the moment they book up until the day after the wedding. In those emails I link back to a lot of blog posts and other resources I think my clients would love and I can throw in a few of these links too. Once their photos are delivered I switch to Shootproof‘s email system which is connected to their online gallery. With each email reminder there’s instructions to order through me, coupon codes for ordering through me, and several of these printing options with my affiliates that I suggest as well. It is totally okay to say, “If you appreciated working with me at all I’d love it if you used one of these links when you order because it sends me a little kick back.” If you want to start using Shootproof use my exclusive coupon code to grab 25% off any annual plan. Code: SWAILS25

When it comes to blogging I know I can blog about any one of these companies, and mix them up into various resourceful posts for my clients as well.

This is just how I roll and it’s something I’ve implemented more recently, but I’m already loving and seeing a lot of success from. This isn’t going to be for everyone, but for those who have asked I hope this post helps. Maybe you’ll find it appalling that I’d even let my clients order from Shutterfly and that’s okay too. I get it. We all run our businesses differently and do what works best for us and this has been an amazing way to but a cherry on top of the cake of business income.

If you want to know how to become an affiliate for a lot of these companies you can head right over to Share a Sale, which is a website that can connect you to all kinds of companies to start doing affiliate sales. All of these except Millers are listed on there and you can even use my link to sign up with Share a Sale and hey it sends me a little love too (note the disclaimer)! Here’s a link to Miller’s information about affiliate sales.

5 Reasons Fundy is Going to Change Your Photography Business

PHOTOGRAPHYAWESOMESAUCE.COM-2Back in October at United 2015 I had the pleasure of meeting Kate from Fundy. United had a mini vendor expo and Fundy had a booth. I kind of casually walked by and was like, “meh I don’t really do albums” because I don’t, but Fundy has changed me completely since then.

I have never pushed sales for albums because I’ve always pushed sales for canvases and wall images since they’re my favorite. Plus albums are such a pain to design. Let’s be honest clients can take forever to get back to you on proofs and then they’re a pain to design and ugh…by the end of it I hate doing albums.

Fundy completely changed everything for me. They got me hooked with Blog Collage, which is a better version of Blog Stomp (just in my honest opinion). Now I’m in love with the entire thing, the company, all the people, and I thought I should tell you why!

 

 

 

  • Blog Collage – This software is very similar to Blog Stomp. I have been a user of Blog Stomp for years – literally years. Unfortunately the service and quality I was receiving wasn’t my favorite, I just didn’t know there were better alternatives. I always struggled with getting the output quality right on Blog Stomp, but Blog Collage is seamless, easy and great quality. Blog Collage is a similar price point to Blog Stomp, so if you want to invest in a company that’s as invested in you – I highly recommend getting Blog Collage.

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  • Automated Album Design – Fundy is about to release version 7 of its design software, which features automated album design. Like automated as in…you pick the photos and voila it puts it in a layout for you. You can go in and adjust a few things here and there if you want to, but OH MY GOSH the time saving this will give photographers! I’m sold.
  • Gallery Designer – Gallery designer is the wall designing software from Fundy. You can design awesome examples of print and canvas layouts for your clients. This is such a great tool to show clients how sizes work and how bigger always looks better in the home.

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  • Customer Service and Community – One thing I’m always looking for with companies I invest in as a business is great customer service and community. Fundy has that. I love the idea of investing in a company that’s also as invested in you. These guys are run by amazing people and they’re huge advocates for photographers. They really build products based on what you want and you can’t beat the feeling that you’re loved when you meet them in person or encounter them online. They truly are invested in learning and creating products that make photographer’s lives better and help you generate more business.
  • Direct Album Ordering – One of the best album design features is being able to send your design right to your favorite labs right in Fundy. That makes it so much easier to order albums. You also have proofing tools if you need them before ordering, but this makes the entire album design process so much easier!

Just wanted to tell you guys about one of my new favorite companies I’ve had the pleasure of working with recently. I wasn’t paid to write this post and I get no kick backs. I’m just sharing about good stuff that I think can help you make your business better!

 

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below, where we’ll be giving out extra special discounts and a few free products only for subscribers this Winter. You can also join 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! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll need to head on over to your email after you hit the submit button here to confirm your subscription. If you don’t see a confirmation check your junk/spam!

 

3 Last Minute Things to Do Before Wedding Season Starts (aka: Holy shi@—is it spring already?)

wedding photographer tips

3 Last Minute Things to Do Before Wedding Season Starts (AKA:  Holy shi@—is it spring already?) 

 3 LAST MINUTE
As wedding season wrapped,  and the winter months settled in—the list of ‘to do’s’ I had in mind to conquer was a-plenty.
All of the ‘workflow, ‘marketing’ and ‘business development’ ideas I had stuffed into my perpetual to-dolist  (but did not have the time to complete while fully engaged in ‘season’ ) were ready to hit the scene over the winter months I had off.  (I mean man, a whole three months “off!”)
And yet, though I did accomplish some of these things:  somehow, its nearly April. I blinked. And,  here we are again.  Its wedding season 2016 and many of those tasks remain untouched.
So what’s a girl to do when, in two weeks:  it is prime wedding season?  Here are a few ‘hail Mary’s’ for my fellow photogs friends who are also in my last-minute shoes:
Wine and cocktails anyone?  (no, seriously.)  Vendors Relationships are everything!   Get out there and set some appointments with your favorite venues/wedding pros.  Invite a few of your planners, hair and makeup artists or caterers to a meet-up over coffee or cocktails.  (I always prefer cocktails;-) About 80% of my business comes to me via relationships with others in our industry who refer me to their clients.  Keep in mind—this is the same for many other (successful) photographers in your market!  So when you sit down to chat—discuss both of your ‘ideal clients’ (uh-hum: referrals are a two-way street my dear!) so you can each keep a lookout for each other in a more specific way than ‘refer-me-all-the-things.’
Its a lot more difficult in the sea of photographers for folks to refer you if you don’t immediatley pop into their brain as the ‘right’ fit for their specific clients. (I.e, I adore intimate weddings of wild-child,  adventurers having elegant/outdoor weddings .  I want my wedding industry peers to think of me when they come across these folks.)  So in a few weeks, Im hosting a little cocktail party at the studio to gather some of my favorites all in one place as we hop into season.  (Its impossible to be referred if you are not on the forefront of people’s minds and you cant be if you are not in contact..)
 best charlotte wedding pros
(My ‘theme’ for our our vendor cocktail meet up. Who doesn’t freaking like tacos? If you say ‘you’–you are not my people.)
Get your Gear in Gear:  If you are like me—since I do not photograph much outside of weddings—my gear does not get as much use in the off-season (other than an ocaasional workshop or personal project)  Other than my core body and a few lens/flashes.. some of it is gathering dust.  So, pull open those drawers, closets, bags and boxes and compile all of your gear.  Inventory it.  Make sure everything is functional and organized in the manner you prefer. (I recently purchased the Think Tank (ginormous) rolling bag,  so for once—ALL of my gear can fit int one professional looking bag that can rolled into the venue doors.)
Get any replacement gear orders rolling—for example, I found one of my flash triggers was no longer functioning and placed an order  along with a few extra camera batteries.  (Thank you Lord, for Amazon Prime.)   Also—think about sending off anything that may need annual ‘clean and check.’ (If you are Canon and are not a CPS member—get on it!)
think tank logistics manager
(Totally expensive..but totally worth it.)
Blog it!  If you are a better woman than me-you kept up with your blog all winter.  Kudos! If not—time to step up. Make this week a crash-course in giving your blog some lovin.’  (The last thing you want is for a prospective client stop by your blog and see content that is from last fall. You look both not busy and a little lazy.
‘But Cass—how can I cram 3 months of blogging in in a few weeks?’   Drum roll please:  Year-end wraps-ups are a great way to recap your favorite images of the year. (As are behind-the-scenes posts which always get a laugh.)  Both of these types of posts are some of the highest rated for me in terms of both ‘google juice’ and my most mentioned by clients/peers.  They are also a great place to link to when replying to client inquires. Clients get to see a bit of your ‘high lights reel’ all in once place with a bit more ‘personality’ than dropping by a website gallery as you have the ability to tell stories with your copy.
best charlotte wedding photographer
(you can check out mine here)
 
Bonus Tip:  Take a an overnight get-away.  My hubby and I are getting the hell outta dodge this weekend for a little mountain air before season starts and ‘life’ gets away from me.  (As you may recall from this post...I am a BIG believer in how much you enjoy your business and stay creatively motivated is directly proportionate to how much you are enjoying your life.)  Taking a day or two to just ‘be’ before the chaos of season allows you step into it refreshed and ready.
Now, go forth young soldier—we’ve got a wedding season to slay!