used to think that I was one of the few people in the world who found certain things funny. Like, really, really funny. JD, my family, anyone within earshot might give me a weird look or a disapproving glare, but it wasn't until I've been on the road that I've been able to connect with people who are just as weird as me. AND I LOVE IT. These are people who laugh at my jokes, think my inappropriateness is, well, appropriate, and don't think I talk fast.
In light of knowing these people exist, I'll continue to post these random posts because there might be other people who think Friday is a great day to get cray. And, yes, I use cray in every day vernacular.
Proof my mom is no longer the best mom in the world.
I'll end this post with this...because, really...it stopped me in tracks and made me think.
Shooting Star : Photo Discounts + Booking Policy
'm a creature of habit. In fact, I secretly think I'm part bear because I eat like I'm storing food for winter and hibernation always seems like a good option. In light of keeping things constant, JD and I recorded another installment of Shooting Star because it's been a few weeks and YouTube was sending me forlorn letters asking if we were in a girl fight. Then we hugged it out and I answered a few questions.
These questions are some I wasn't able to answer when they were asked via Twitter, so here's some video love from Chicago! In this installment of Shooting Star, I'll be discussing...
*How I handle offering photography discounts to friends and family (or what I call "The Homie Hook-up")
*My booking policy for holding a date for prospective clients
*Whether I watermark images I give to the creative team after the wedding and if they're high res
I hope this helps at least one person out and as we've been on the road for theFIX, I wanna say THANK YOU for the patience, support, and encouragement. We've been able to keep life, blogging, and letter writing to YouTube somewhat normal. Internet, you complete me.
A Photographer's Workspace
here's nothing more I love than a good heart. A heart that teeters on brink of bursting out of someone's chest and smothering you with good, 'ol fashion love. And Katelyn James? She is the owner of such a heart. Not only is Katelyn a great photographer, she's one of the most caring, giving, and kind people...and she dedicated to making the photo industry better. You might recognize her because I was lucky enough to photograph her Virginia Wedding on 10.10.10, but has since grown her business in amazing ways.
I'm honored to have her guest blog today and offer great insight into how to create a beneficial workspace...and, now...here's Katelyn...
I realized several years ago that PHOTOGRAPHY could not be my only outlet for creative expression since it had become my career. I needed something else. So I started decorating... A LOT. I think I've re-hung the frames in our living room at least 5 times and when it's Christmas time, LOOK OUT WORLD! I get a little carried away! However, over the last several years, I've learned how to become ORGANIZED and decorate on a BUDGET. I've also realized that creative individuals who own a small business need to have an inspirational work environment! It's a MUST!
I started my business right before my junior year of college and so my office was at the end of my bed..... NOT ideal. That 9x12 foot room never felt so SMALL! Talk about a TIGHT SQUEEZE! I actually had to pick between displaying my JEWELRY BOX or my iMAC! There wasn't room for both! However, despite the lack of space, I was able to create a workspace that was totally functional and inspirational. After graduating college, moving home before my wedding and then eventually moving into our first home, I have realized that there are several key components to having an organized office, no matter the size of the space!! Whether you have a fancy studio office or are working out of the corner of your bedroom, here are some tips to help make that space not only ORGANIZED, but inspirational as well!
1. Keep the desk CLEAN! This will make such a difference! Seriously, if I leave a Diet Mountain Dew can, a stack of file folders, and lens caps strewn all over my desk at the end of the workday, guess how I feel when I re-enter my workspace in the morning.... OVERWHELMED! If I started every workday automatically feeling unorganized, I would never get anything accomplished! So how did I fix this?... Well, at the end of every day, even if my work isn't done, I CLEAR the desk. I have a secret drawer that exists solely for "desk clearing". Anything that I'm still working on or isn't ready to be filed away, I put in that drawer at the end of the day. This allows me to come into my office in the morning and start FRESH. My motto is: Easy on the eyes = easy on the mind. Having a clean desk creates an atmosphere without distractions and stress.
** Quick Tip: If you have a SMALL SPACE, try decorating with MIRRORS around your desk! No, I don't like to stare at myself all day.... but instead of feeling like I'm stuck in a corner, the mirrors give an optical illusion that my office is bigger than reality! I used this trick when I was in college and my computer was resting on top of my SOCK DRAWER! Just one mirror beside my chair made the room double in size! **
2. Show your Systems! I learned very early on in my business that I needed a work-flow. Things just were not getting done and I didn't know why. I had a work-flow planned out in my head but it wasn't until a year ago that I actually started DISPLAYING my plan of attack! I highly recommend showing your systems. Having my work-flow, client production chart, and album guide all in clear view during the workday saves me SO much time! I like to call this a "Production Wall". It's the wall that keeps me sane and on track. It's positioned behind my desk so that I'm not constantly staring at all I have to accomplish, but it's there when I need it! I'm a firm believer that in order for things to STAY organized, they have to be EASILY ACCESSIBLE. This production wall has made a HUGE difference in my business and it's very easy to replicate! All I did was make a few charts in Photoshop that display my different work-flows, I had those files printed and then displayed them in frames from Target. I write on the glass with a dry erase marker and it's very easy to maintain! It's the same idea as a White Board, only classier!! :)
** Quick Tip: My charts are broken into three categories: Client Production (Takes me from the initial booking through album ordering), then I have "In the Works"
(which helps me through the work-flow for current shoots) and my last chart is an album guide! **
3. Brand your space! We spend so much TIME and EFFORT on the branding of our businesses. The colors, the look, the feel.... we want our brand to exude US! .... and I think our work spaces should mirror our brand as well. There are no limits when it comes to branding and decorating your office space. Now I don't want to get all "Martha Stewart" on ya but it can be as simple as finding a cute teal mug to hold my pens or as extravagant as hanging a vintage chandelier from my ceiling! My advice would be to start checking out the clearance aisles at Target, Pier One, World Market or Anthropology for little goodies that could make your office more "YOU"! After adding a ceramic vase, vintage clock, or elegant lamp, it may make a huge difference in your work environment! Studies have shown that the lighting, temperature and atmosphere of a work environment directly affect our work habits and creativity! (I use that little nugget of information whenever I have to convince Michael to let me get a new lamp!!!)
When we first got married, I didn't have a large budget (really ANY budget) for decorating my office. I would find amazing pieces from Restoration Hardware that I wanted to order and my husband would just raise his eyebrows as if to say "You want to spend WHAT on that chair?!!". There was NO way that was going to happen. So I had to get creative!! I wanted to have a work area that looked like my brand had come to LIFE! So I took the layout of my Showit site and recreated it with a wall of thrift store frames. These frames cost no more that $10 and that settee is a budget friendly piece from Target! Can you believe it?!
** A quick tip! : One VERY easy way to start branding your workspace is to simply FRAME your LOGO. Just print a 5x7 of your logo and find a funky frame! Wa-la!
You've started to create a space that will inspire! And lastly.... I think Jasmine would agree that having a fluffy office buddy is always a good idea too!:) **
So whether your space consists of a desk on wheels (I've had several of those!) or an office with a view, there are several ways to make your work environment a place that INSPIRES YOU. Making a few little changes can dramatically change your attitude towards your work space and if you're like me, we spend WAY too much time in our offices to not love what they look like!! So here's to clean desks, a fresh start and an organized business!!!
theFIX : The Crew
hen I was a kid, I begged my parents to play baseball with the city league. But there were fees to pay (without money), practices to get to (without a car), and league rules to bypass (girls weren't allowed to play). Against all odds, the neighborhood pulled together to help my twin sister and I sign up for city league. I played for The Pirates, batted fourth, and squatted squarely at home base as the catcher. At the end of the season, we stuffed homemade cupcakes in our faces and cheered for not being in last place (we were second-to-last).
That was the first time I worked with a team. And I loved it.
Years later I'm lucky enough to be on a bus with an even better team for theFIX. What's come together in the past few weeks has proven when you surround yourself with smarter, nicer, and overall amazing people, the end result is far better than anything you could have done on your own.
We've been traveling by bus across the United States and it couldn't have been possible without our bus driver, Jay. While we sleep at night, Jay is hustling us from one city to the next, sometimes driving as much as 17 hours in a row...he's awesome.
This is Jen Dawson. She's been my right hand in planning how life on the bus appears as well as organizing everything at each venue...she's there at the very beginning and the last person to leave every night. Jen is invaluable and I love her with all my heart...even though she makes fun of me for asking her for How To Be Hipster tips.
This is Andrew Barlow. He's our Operations Manager and does everything related to audio, visual, and wearing fitted shirts. Andrew is one of the hardest working guys I know, makes new friends in every city, and has become a dear friend who regularly kicks it into high gear with a huge smile on his face. All.The.Time.
This is Ashley Goodwin, a girl I convinced to join us to trek across the US and help engage in photography dialogue, make people feel at home with her Southern hospitality, and spice things up with twist of island life. She's also helped planning the routing logistics and parking of the bus which may or may not have caused a grey streak of hair to appear. Don't worry, boo, I'll give you a box of dye at the end of this!
Speaking of Ashley, she snapped this photo of me and JD in Tennessee...on his birthday...
I couldn't end this post without this photo, because, really...we've become family in the past few weeks and I'm indebted to their hard work, loyalty, and support...nothing means more to me than having friends by my side for the long haul!
Lastly, Polo would like to thank PASS, WHCC, and Adorama for their support...because...really...he couldn't be traveling with us if it wasn't for their belief in our ability to represent their amazing companies.
Making It Feel Like Home
here have been many questions about our dog, Polo, and where he's staying while we're traveling for the month. Well, the answer is he's with us. Yup, our ragamuffin is traveling around the United States for theFIX and I couldn't be happier. When I feel homesick, he'll jump on the bed...his cuddle reminding me home is where my heart is.
We're trying to make sure he's taken care of as well as he takes care of us, so this weekend in New York City, we found a Dog Park and visited more than we should, further proving my family's accusations that we spoil him. And maybe we do. Maybe he has a string of toys I've bought him in every city. Maybe I sneak cured salami into his bowl at dinner time. Maybe JD gives him too many treats.
Maybe it's a big price to pay for bringing Polo along, but it's a small price to pay when he makes us feel like home.