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3 Ways to Be Prepared for Anything on a Wedding Day

 

Wedding days tend to be a marathon and as photographers who are there the majority of the time it’s important to be as prepared as possible for any emergency. A missing button or a bridesmaid with a headache doesn’t seem like it should be our problem, however it could mean missing an extra 20 minutes of bride and groom portraits if the timeline veers off course. Here are three ways I make sure I am prepared for anything on a wedding day.

My Wedding Day Emergency Kit – to each wedding I shoot, I bring my emergency kit with me to the getting ready room. This box has grown considerably over the last few years because of the different situations I’ve encountered. It’s usually used at least once, and has saved the day on more than one occasion. Some of the things currently in my kit include: sewing kits, first aid supplies, individually wrapped pain reliever pills (tylenol and ibuprofen, allergy medicine, stomach medicine, a crochet hook (for stubborn dresses), moleskin for blisters, wrinkle release spray, lady products, clear nail polish, batteries, water and granola bars, phone chargers, etc.  I recently upgraded to a larger box I found at Target and it’s been invaluable this wedding season!

Hangers  – I bring a box of 25 nice suit hangers (whoo Target!) and keep it in my trunk for every wedding. These are great for the entire bridal party, or just the brides dress if she doesn’t have a cute hanger. Usually I will throw one in my bag for the Bride. I tend to forget them in the hotel room, hence the giant box.  These have been great for detail shots, no more ugly plastic hangers – whoo!

Rain Supplies – I live in Wisconsin so rain happens a lot here! For each wedding I bring 16 black umbrellas (I got mine from Ikea for $2 each and just pick some up each time I go), and one fun clear umbrella for the bride and groom. For easy storage, I keep mine in a light stand bag so my assistant and grab and go if needed. I also keep two sets of clear shower curtain liners (about $3 each) in case of rain or mud to put under the bride’s dress so it doesn’t get dirty!

While it’s not technically part of the job description, it’s so important to be prepared on wedding days, especially if your client didn’t hire a planner! Not only do you save the day (and the timeline!), you also show your clients how much you care about them.

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How To Get Out of A Creative Slump

Good seasons come and good seasons go.

Bad seasons come and bad seasons go.

Seasons of loving what you shoot and produce come…and then they go.

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And when they go, things kinda suck. In those seasons, I feel down, discouraged, and sucked of my joy. When my passion and creativity lack, photography just isn’t the same. Unfortunately for me, I’ve been falling under the “not completely loving what I’m shooting” season. I don’t know what it is but I am not loving my work right now. My clients are happy and I’m giving 100% but when I’m finalizing galleries it just doesn’t feel the same. I’ve been in the place before and I’m here to share my tips of how to get out of a creative slump…at least the ways that have dug me out of my dark hole before. 🙂

  1. Stop comparing. STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO STRANGERS ON THE INTERNET. Strangers, your family, or friends…I don’t care. I think we all need to take a step back sometimes and realize that comparison is the thief of joy and you cannot fully engage your creative side when you are stuck in comparison.
  2. Get off social media. I love social media and am usually pro it. But man, it really does wear on me. The way we continue to put out content and absorb it is scary and sometimes I just need a break from it all. I don’t need to get sucked into the scrolling or videos or whatever. Constantly consuming other peoples’ lives is exhausting and sometimes it’s best to get away.
  3. Take a break. If you can afford it, take a break from shooting. Take a step back, breathe, and think about why you started shooting in the first place. Maybe think about the ways shooting makes you feel and what you want do differently. And if you can take a hiatus, use that time to brainstorm ideas you want to do.
  4. Get connected with other photographers. SHARE YOUR STRUGGLE. I know its hard to be vulnerable but dang it, we need each other. We need to be real because the stress of being a photographer can be really hard. So get connected with people who get it and get real. We all need to be lifted up and encouraged sometimes.
  5. Go back and look at shoots that inspired you. What did you love about that? How can you make more shoots like that happen in the future? Keep your inspiration going and set yourself up for shoots that make you walk away feeling like a boss.

We all deserve to live a happy life and create the best work we can. Make time for yourself and your art and never let anyone tell you to stop creating. Because art and artist make the world a better place. So enjoy whatever season of life you may be in and KEEP CREATING.

 

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Rocking A Senior Business without a Senior Rep Program!

If you’re anything like me, the thought of adding another item to your business to-do list may call for another pint of ice cream or jar of Nutella. But there’s hope. For the last few years, I’ve been running a great senior business without a senior rep or spokesmodel program. Believe me I tried and let me tell you it was an epic fail. My senior reps were shooting with the competition and not referring any clients and I had spent a ton on rep cards, swag bags, and t-shirts without any return on my investment. I couldn’t even get a genuine re-post on Instagram or a share on Facebook without asking first. I was losing the fight and decided to go against the grain and operate my senior business without a senior rep program. And guess what? It worked. Instead of depending on someone who possibly still forgets to turn in their homework to refer me business, I became the spokesperson for my business. And you can too.

Here’s how:

  1. Rock Your Brand. That’s right wear your own company t-shirt while heading to the grocery store, mall, movies, or running errands. You are best spokesperson and face of your company! Building brand awareness for your company is great and allows clients to “put a face with a name.” This is great especially if you’re in a new town or have recently launched your business.
  2. Be Your Own Kind of Awesome. Say goodbye to doing what your competition is doing. Be your own kind of awesome. Your senior clients will love you for who YOU are. If you’re into sports, Broadways and musicals, video games, or shopping, show them and share your awesome. They’d love to know more about the person who’s taking their photos and book someone they can relate to. Don’t be afraid to post behind the scenes of you doing your favorite hobbies on Instagram. You’ll be surprised how much they adore you for just being you.
  3. Be Visible. You can’t be the number one senior photographer in your market if you’re always behind your computer. Get out and be visible in your community. Whether it’s volunteering at their school, handing out business cards or flyers at the local craft show, being involved in the PTO or booster club, or attending sporting events. Teens would love to get to know you and your business.

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Growing your senior business will take work but being active in your community and truly getting to know your clients will have the parents talking about YOU in no time! Before you know it teens will be talking about you and spreading your name with no strings attached!  I’ll tell you more next month about how I’ve built lasting relationships with seniors! Senior photography is all about building relationships with your clients.

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Hey Photographer! You Rock!

PHOTOGRAPHYAWESOMESAUCE.COMHey you! Yes you! Ugh do you ever get sick of the photography industry’s ability to just judge everyone and tear each other apart? We’re all guilty of ranting and complaining, but today let’s stop for a minute and do things differently. Let’s acknowledge that we’re all human and we’re all doing the crazy insane hustle that is owning a business. Owning a business is literally the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s also the most rewarding. So today, smile and remember you’re awesome for even being here and trying this thing. It takes a lot of guts to put your work out there, to ask for help, to make mistakes, and run a business.

I don’t care if you’re a newbie, an experienced photographer, a hobbyist or something else. I don’t care if you charge $10 or $10,000. Maybe you’re working for free to build your portfolio. Lets put our judgements aside for just one small minute and give ourselves a pat on the back for even being here and trying to do this thing. Because this business shit is hard enough. What makes it worse is when we don’t acknowledge how hard we, or others in the industry are working to get to where our personal goals are.

Today I just wanted to post on the blog to remind you that you’re awesome, you’re worthy and to keep kicking ass. Ignore the Facebook posts complaining about photographers who do XYZ, or the haters. If you’ve ever been a hater, stop for a moment and re-evaluate with me. We all make that mistake. Be proud of where you are now and what you’ve accomplished.

If you do one thing today, aside from reading this blog, I want you to be proud of yourself. Find 5 quiet minutes today and sit down and list 3 things you’re proud of in your photography business. You don’t have to shout them out to the world or post them in a Facebook group where you’ll have to worry about the judgement of everyone around you. Just say them to yourself and take a minute to realize that it’s okay if you’re not where everyone else is around you. It’s okay if your goals aren’t as lofty as that photographer down the street. You do you and be proud of that.

Seriously have MAD RESPECT for yourself (and hopefully others) for even trying to do this photography business thing. Spend some time today celebrating that! We all make mistakes and we all learn from them. Today let’s wipe our slates clean, start fresh, and be proud of wherever we’re at.

How to Handle Pokemon Go at Your Portrait Session

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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!