Is Blogging worth it? – Tuesday Tips & Tricks

I recently went in for a job interview at an online distributing company that was looking for a Web Content and Social Media Specialist – I wasn’t really looking for a job but since it was so close to my house and the pay wasn’t so bad I thought I should give it a shot. After sitting down with them and talking about the position for about an hour and a half they seemed interested in hiring me but said they would call back the next day. So I came home and started thinking whether I wanted to take the job or not if they did offer it to me.

Then I came to the realization that if I was going to be writing about a business as well as updating their social media constantly I should be doing that for my own business. But then I asked myself, does blogging really work and is spending time on social media really worth it?

I constantly hear other photographer’s like Jasmine Star and Susan Stripling talk about Blogging, Social Media, and SEO and at first it was all gibberish to me. I have now begun my research and realized that maybe Social Media through Facebook isn’t the best way anymore because of how much things have changed now, especially with the whole paying to boost your post issue. But, there are other ways to keep yourself on top of Social Media: Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Vine, and so many more apps that are being developed each day can help you stay on top of the game.

In this industry finding ways to stand out and marketing yourself for free can seem challenging but it becomes easier as we begin to put more effort and time into it. Blogging is a great way for SEO, in other words for Google to find you through keywords, and if you write articles that are interesting to people they’ll start following you, pinning you on Pinterest, and sharing your posts – meaning they will help get your name out there. One of the best things about blogging, at least from my own experience, is the ability to have your clients/followers/subscribers get to know you as well as grow with you and see your evolution as a photographer.

I have noticed that when I write blog posts about the props I use for my newborn shoots and how I make them I drive people to my blog. People are always looking for content that will save them money, teach them how to do their own DIY projects, or even help them grow as a professional photographer. I love sharing secrets with people because I wish someone else would’ve shared them with me when I was first starting out.

From my perspective blogging has helped me reach lots more people than Social Media. But, I do link my blog to all my social media accounts including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and I make sure to pin them on Pinterest. That will only drive more people to your blog which will drive more people to your website and your work.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: how creativeLIVE has changed my life

CreativeLIVE has changed my life in a way I didn’t even think could be possible. I have learned to have so much more confidence in myself thanks to the workshops I have watched through this online channel that I don’t think I could’ve ever gained from school. I have yet to visit a workshop in person but it is truly one of the things on my to-do list that I need to accomplish soon.

I have previously posted on other blog posts about creativeLIVE and how I recommend it to other photographers but I have never gone in depth about it. I have watched numerous amounts of workshops and even purchased the ones that I really loved so I can watch them whenever I need to; I have also found my favorite photographers through the workshops.

My favorite photographers would definitely have to be Zach and Jody but I also love Jasmine Star. I have watched every workshop from both of these photographers; the latest one I watched is the reSTARt workshop by Jasmine and it definitely gave me that “oomph” I needed to rebuild the business in 2014 and RESTART! I can’t even begin to tell you how that workshop has helped me change the way I have based my business in the past 3 years. Starting with how to design my website and how to price my collections, all the way to identifying what my brand is and how to network with vendors and even other photographers.

I have never missed a Zach and Jody workshop. I have learned so much of the technical stuff from their workshops but especially how to establish a real relationship with all of my clients which I believe should be the CORE of every photographer’s business, especially a wedding photographer’s.

The best part about creativeLIVE’s workshops is that they’re free while they’re being broadcasted LIVE if you don’t watch it I truly believe is because of laziness or arrogance. And both things will not get you anywhere. Laziness will not allow you to learn new things and expand your horizons and arrogance won’t either. Why do I mention arrogance? Because one thing I have noticed is that many people in our industry don’t want to be taught how to do things differently because they think they either don’t need need to be taught because they know everything or they don’t want to be taught by other photographers.  One thing I can tell you from my own experience is that if things aren’t working then you must be doing something wrong and it doesn’t hurt to watch the workshops. Especially if they’re being broadcasted for FREE all day, BUT, if you work all day and simply don’t have time to watch it purchasing them for $150 or $79 while they’re being broadcasted is I think something that’s doable and that will help you out in the long run. In order to succeed in photography one must invest their money and their time.

Tips and Tricks on a Sunday: My “Bling Ring Kit

Glitter Wedding Ring Shots

Many of you may have the same problem I’ve had in the past when shooting a wedding. You have all these ideas of detail shots you pre-plan for in your head but when you arrive at your client’s house or … Continue reading

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Engagement Shoots and Client’s Personalities

I am a true believer that an engagement session is one of the most important things a Bride and Groom can look forward to from their wedding photographer. But in order to have a successful engagement session a photographer should listen to what their client’s needs and wants are.

Most photographers will tell you that an engagement shoot is a way for them to establish a relationship with their clients before their wedding, but I think the relationship should be established well before the engagement session.

A connection should be formed the minute the client calls you or e-mails you to inquire about your wedding collections, if there is no connection then there will probably be no relationship when you photograph their engagement session and it will truly show in the photographs.

For instance, Lyndsey, in the photo below is my boyfriend’s really good friend’s sister. I had met her once before she inquired about my wedding collections and booked me to do her wedding, but when I met with her, I made sure to listen and get to know her and her fiance, and I noticed she’s a giggler right off the bat. Well when it came time to do her engagement session she was a little more comfortable with me but she giggled non-stop, it’s part of her personality, and it  shows in her photos. Of course, it may be a little easier cause she’s more familiar with me but you can achieve this with even a random client.

Matheson Hammocks Engagement

Natalie and Ken, on the other hand, I had never met before. But as soon as I met them we clicked! Natalie has that bubbly personality, where when she laughs you can’t help but laugh with her, and Ken (or Kenny as I like to call him…lol) is quite the opposite, he’s the shy and quiet type of guy that gets embarrassed so easily! But you can totally see it in their photos. Natalie (below) was cracking up because of an incident that took place while I was shooting them and Ken immediately tensed up and got embarrassed.

Greynolds Park Engagement ShootMeanwhile Jesus and Erica, were the type of couple that didn’t like to be the center of attention, they also wanted their shoot to be different and not the typical “corny” engagement session because it’s not who they are. Jesus has a funny sense of humor and is a bit of a clown and Erica is just an easy going, nonchalant type of girl. Matching their engagement session’s location to their personality was so easy when we decided to do it at the Fair because it was going to allow them to let loose and be themselves.

Youth Fair Engagement Session

This is why I really believe getting to know your client’s personalities before their actual engagement session will make for an even better shoot and an even better time during their wedding. It will help set up the location for the shoot, their outfits, and even the poses you may want to do with them or the spontaneity of the shoot.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Finding an Assistant Photographer

I have a couple of Second Photographers I completely trust with my eyes closed during a wedding. Meaning I know that IF I have to rush to the bathroom during the first dance or toast they’ll be able to take full control of the situation and shoot just as if I was the one shooting. This really has never happened but you always have to think 5 steps ahead during a wedding, because you just never know.

Weddings are not something you can really predict, anything can happen, and by anything I mean from getting your car lost at a Hotel’s Valet to getting a flat tire and being late to the ceremony or being sick to the point of throwing up and not being able to stand for very long. Not that these things have happened to me, (except for the first one, my car did get lost at the Bride’s prepping hotel) but I’m always thinking about all the wrong things that can happen during a wedding, that way if they ever DO happen, I’m already prepared and have a Plan B or Plan C up my sleeve.

This is why I find it imperative that all photographers use an assistant photographer during a wedding and I always include one in all my collections, because brides just expect the day to be perfect and sometimes are not very realistic.

The hard part comes down to finding the right assistant photographer. When I was searching for one, I would go on Facebook, I would google photographers in Miami, I would ask around, and I even considered training people I knew, to be my second photographer. I started off doing weddings with my boyfriend’s cousin, Danny, and he was amazing because as a guy he knew exactly how to deal with the grooms, but I knew it wasn’t really his thing. Danny was more into the cars and the artists than he was into doing weddings. So I had to move on and find someone else so he could venture on his own stuff. So of course I had to try new people and different eyes but always researching them first.

My second thing was meeting with them and talking to them, seeing that they would agree to my terms while always making sure I was being considerate of their own feelings and terms. Just because their “second shooting” for me doesn’t mean I have to treat them as if they’re below me, NO! if anything I want them to feel extremely comfortable with me so that it’s pleasant to work with one another.

I, unlike other photographers, let my second shooters keep their photos and give them a USB for them to place their images on. But I let them know my terms ahead of time. I don’t want my second shooters friending my clients on their facebook or instagram, or uploading their images and taking the credit as if they found the client. They can credit the image as them taking it but my client doesn’t need to know that or see them posted everywhere else but my page. At the end of the day they ARE representing my business and they need to understand that. Why do I let them keep their photos? because I want them to be able to access them years later and see how they were shooting before and how far they’ve come. I want them to see the difference in their own work and be proud of it. I want them to build their own portfolio and I am not that greedy photographer that needs all the credit to herself. That’s not what I’m here for, I’m here to photograph YOUR day not make it about myself.

I do believe if you want to find someone and train them or mold them to do things the way you like them to be done you can do that, but don’t forget just because you’re training them doesn’t mean they’ll see things the way you see them behind the lens. I also don’t expect my second photographer to take the most important photos, that’s MY job, that’s why the couple hired ME. They hired Andrea, because they like Andrea’s style so the portraits will always be done by me. I want my assistant photographer to shoot what I’m not shooting, meaning if I’m shooting the Bride and Groom during the ceremony and the bride’s mom is crying in her seat, I want my assistant to photograph that. I also like to make sure that my second shooter is professional at all times, does not have an attitude with my clients or their guests, dresses the part, and FINALLY just has FUN! I want them to just have fun at all times and to feel like I’m their friend and not a boss, because I don’t consider myself to be their boss, they’re independent contractors that are doing what they love and doing me a favor. My second photographers own their own businesses and I try to make sure to book them ahead of time, but if they book something of their own I am understanding about it and always have more than one to go to that can back me up.

Tuesday Tips & Tricks: Photographer Role Model/Mentor

If you follow me on instagram you probably read how I was ecstatic the other day because Jody Gray liked one of my pictures on instagram and wanted to use what I said as a testimonial for them. May sound dumb, I know, but it meant a lot and I’ll tell you why.

I feel that in order to really grow as a photographer you can either attend workshops, assist a couple of photographers, or just research and practice a lot. But the most important thing I believe anyone can do is to find a photographer that really fits your style, your personality, and speaks to you while teaching. If this photographer is willing to take you under their wing or mentor you then do it. Whether or not you get paid for assisting, but the experience you’ll gain will be like no other.

I have been following a couple of photographers for quite a while, both locally and nationally. On instagram, twitter, facebook, workshops, WPPI, you name it. I’ve been following many of them through social media. One of my favorite wedding photographers has always been Jasmine Star, she’s amazing and I admire her for always looking so neatly dressed while shooting a wedding, I really don’t know how she does it! lol But I came across Zach and Jody Gray recently through a workshop and ever since the first time I watched them I was hooked!

They’re God-loving, creative, and a very smart couple that work together photographing weddings and have been doing it for quite a while. They’re based in Nashville, so unfortunately having them take me under their wing is completely out of the question but their live workshops online and advice are like no other! The best part is that they’re willing to share so much of their information, that a lot of other photographers really don’t want to share with you.

I truly do believe finding a photographer that matches your style and personality and learning from them is one of the best ways you can move further in the creative field. There’s so many ways to do this now a days through technology you don’t even have to feel like you’re in a classroom setting, you can do it from the comfort of your own home in your pjs the important part is that you actually do it!

DIY: Whimsical Frames

I had been wanting some whimsical frames from The Organic Bloom for a while but obviously they’re a little pricey. My next resort was to find someone to make them for me but it’s a little hard to find people … Continue reading