My world has always felt really small. I came from a tight, close knit family who vacationed at Myrtle Beach and went camping in the summers. We lived a relatively quiet, simple life and I always thought that traveling internationally was something that was out of my reach…we never really went on trips that meant we had to fly, because flying was so expensive. I did live in Germany for a few months when I was 5 since my Dad was in the military, but I don’t remember too much of it, being that I was so little. I didn’t fly again after we moved back to America until I was 24! I wasn’t sure if I’d ever have the chance to go back to Europe, but I hoped that I would one day, though imagined it would be in the far distant future.

Visiting Italy has been a dream of mine since I was maybe ten or eleven years old. Every year, growing up I got some kind of calendar for Christmas. Sometimes it was dogs or cats or other random things. And then one year, it was Italy. The photos in that calendar were so beautiful to me! They were unlike anything I’d ever seen (that I could remember, at least). I kept the photos from the calendar for lots of years until they finally got lost somewhere, but I never lost the desire to see Italy!

It didn’t feel real when we bought our tickets ten weeks ago or even when I was there last week walking the cobblestone streets, my jaw constantly on the ground, stuffing my face with pasta and wine. It still doesn’t feel real now, even though I know it really happened AND I have photos to prove it! I kept thinking to myself “I can’t believe it! I can’t believe I’m here!!” It was so crazy to me that I got to go on such an adventure, when I never could have predicted I would get to go. It makes me feel like anything is possible. Anything at all.

I tried to make just one blog post of my trip, but I couldn’t do it! It’s funny, because I don’t always take tons of photographs when I travel…maybe it’s because I feel like it’s nice to take a break from “working” (and yes, taking pictures does often feel like work, even when it’s not for clients) but also because it’s nice to see things with both of your eyes. Ever heard John Mayer’s 3×5? It’s kind of like that. Anyway, something about Italy (and probably being away from my bestie, John and wanting to show him everything I saw) really inspired me to photograph. My personal gallery has about 650 images including phone photos and “nice” images. Take into consideration that doesn’t even include all of my snapchats!!!! Craziness. This blog post will be extra long because I want to share this trip with you guys and hopefully help anyone else who is planning a trip over there soon. I devoured any and all blog posts about it before I went, so hopefully this can help or inspire someone else and not just serve as my own journal about it ;)

So come with me to Italy! Here’s part one of the trip, which started in Rome.

When we first arrived at our hotel, it was already the afternoon and we’d been traveling for a LONG time, but we decided to just drop everything in the room, freshen up a little bit and hit the streets. Naps are for suckers! Or for people who are at home ;) We set out towards the Colosseum, and immediately stumbled across this building! It feels awful just to call it a building…because it’s so beautiful, it seems like so much more! This is what Rome was like to me though…walking down any given street and running into something grand, beautiful, and possibly ancient.

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I was really surprised to see palm trees in Italy!

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The Colosseum was one of my favorite sites! I didn’t think I would be that impressed by it, since I have seen it in pictures, but it was really amazing to stand next to it and see how huge it really is. It is crazy to me how they made something like this without modern machinery!

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One thing you don’t see in these photos is all of the guys running around trying to get people to buy selfie sticks. Ha! I refused to get one, just on principle, but it didn’t stop them from trying to get me to buy one. Once we left the Colosseum we had dinner at Ai Tre Scalini. We shared fresh ricotta and honey and I ate eggplant parmigiana and had a glass of local red wine. SO GOOD! I was very picky about choosing places that weren’t “touristy” restaurants and this place had so many good Yelp reviews…and for good reason! SO delicious.

Iphone photos of the meal:

 

One of the best parts of the trip was just randomly walking in the direction of something we wanted to see and then exploring an entire area. We were able to see so many neat things this way!

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The Pantheon was UNREAL to me! I was shocked at how much seeing it impacted me. We went inside and looked around and it blew me away. I am not very religious, but the details and the beauty of the ancient temple moved me nearly to tears. I don’t have many photos of the inside unfortunately…I had only brought my 50mm with me in an attempt to travel light and there was no way for me to capture how enormous and amazing the space was with that alone. Just do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself and you’ll see what I’m talking about!

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The image on the right is the BEST COFFEE I’VE EVER HAD. I actually rarely drink coffee because caffeine gives me horrible headaches and stomachache, but I figured “when in Rome, right?” and went for a coffee with lots of cream and sugar. It was amazing!!! And I didn’t feel terrible at all, surprisingly. I would highly suggest Osteria da Fortunata if you’re in Rome. They hand make their own pasta there and it’s so delicious! I had the spaghetti carbonara, which was excellent.

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How cute is this farmer’s market?? We walked into it after having lunch nearby. I wish we had something this adorable here!

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The Roman Forum was also very impressive to me. Standing next to these huge ruins (look at the tiny people in the bottoms of some of the photos for scale), I couldn’t help but think about life and what a small part of the universe we all really are. We rarely get to see things that are THOUSANDS of years old here in Virginia, especially manmade ones, so this was especially fascinating to me.

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I was so excited to meet this Italian kitty!! I like making cat friends everywhere I go :)

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The only two major sites that we saw that I didn’t photograph were the Spanish Steps and Trevi Fountain. The Spanish Steps were CRAZY. There were so many people sitting on them it wasn’t really worth it to try to get a “good” photo so I just sent a snapchat and saved that. I think they are something I would have really loved if it weren’t for the massive hordes of tourists and the fact that they’re basically in a shopping center. That took a bit of the romance away for me, personally. I would suggest for others thinking about visiting Rome, get out and check out the Spanish Steps early EARLY in the morning…like Sunrise. Otherwise, you honestly won’t be that sad if you skip it. We did get to walk up them though on our way back to our room for the night and I counted each stair…there are 135! Whew. We walked a total of 27,850 steps that day according to the Health app on my iPhone!

In case you’re wondering, we stayed at the Una Hotel Roma, which we both really loved! It’s right across the street from the train station and it’s a short walk from everywhere in these photos. The only times we took a cab were to the Sistine Chapel, which is a bit farther out, and back to the area of the Spanish Steps because it was pouring rain. If you’re looking to visit Italy and see a few different cities, I would definitely suggest looking at booking through Emirates air. The planes were really nice and the experience was so good…they were constantly feeding us and taking care of what we needed. Free food, free wine, beer, and liquor. Free movies in the back of your headrest. Basically, a 9 hour flight FLEW by for me. Haha pun intended. See what I did there??? We flew into Milan and took the train to Rome and the train is awesome too. I would highly recommend it. Spring for business class if you can (it was about the same as economy!) because they serve free wine and champagne!! And the seats are larger, leather seats too. But seriously, there’s not much free in America anymore, so this was such a nice touch that I really appreciated it. The flight was an incredible deal…$399 bucks per person. If you’re interested in this deal, I would recommend signing up for TravelZoo emails, since that’s how I found it. Financially, I wouldn’t have been able to afford to go on this amazing trip if I hadn’t happened across it, so I’m a TravelZoo subscriber for life now! Ha!!

That’s all for this installment of my trip recap! Check back next time for the Sistine Chapel and Florence!!

I honestly can’t believe that I’m writing this post, because if you know me, you know that I have essentially existed on junk food for my entire life. As a kid, my school lunch was a sandwich, a bag of cheetos or another kind of chip, and a pudding or Little Debbie Cake. So healthy, right? Snacks were more junk food (Funyuns, Cheez its, Swiss Rolls, Cosmic Brownies, etc) and dinners were more than likely Hamburger Helper. As an adult, I’ve always gravitated towards junk food…fried foods of any kind are among my favorite things to eat! I loved donuts before they were trendy and never turned down a french fry or a potato chip. I never choose the salad and always order fries. I basically LIVE to eat and have my entire life. Food brings me a lot of joy, so it’s difficult to think about restricting myself or not being able to enjoy the things I love.

That brings me to this thing called Whole 30. Though I had made fun of it in the past, one of my good friends did it twice and seeing the changes in how she felt on a daily basis inspired me. I’ve never felt too terrible based on what I’ve been eating, but I do have a couple of food allergies and I thought, why the heck not? I can try it for the three weeks before I go to Italy to detox my system a little bit and prepare it for what’s sure to be an onslaught of CARBS and WINE (the two best food groups, in my opinion). I have to admit that I didn’t do it for 21 days, but the point for me was to feel a little bit better and to learn to eat a little healthier. I definitely accomplished both of those goals despite not eating strict to the plan for the full 21 days. I’m just not that hardcore, I guess! Props to anyone who’s done it 30 (or more days!).

If you’re like me, a self-confessed junk food junkie, I would suggest trying out this way of eating for even just a week! You will learn a lot about foods that bother you, foods that don’t, and what real food really tastes like. It was actually very delicious to eat this way! Note: It might be more of a challenge if you are someone with a big sweet tooth (I’m more of a savory person, myself).

Here are a few of the things I ate while trying this out! It wasn’t all salads (meh) and raw veggies at all!

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(Excuse my terrible iPhone snaps!)

Day 1

1. Two hardboiled eggs, roasted red potatoes, Frank’s RedHot sauce
2. Ground turkey, Zucchini sautéed in ghee, wholly guacamole
3. Chicken soup with carrots, chicken, kale, mushrooms, celery, and onion
Snack: Applegate Naturals hotdog and grapes

Day 2

Pre Workout: Larabar
Breakfast: Two fried eggs, sliced and fried Applegate Naturals hotdog,  roasted red potatoes, grapes
Lunch: Leftover chicken soup from Day 1
Dinner: TJ’s Just Chicken topped with wholly guacamole and pico de gallo, sautéed zucchini, and pineapple
Snacks: Banana and boiled egg

Day 3

Breakfast: Pineapple Pastry. Yeah, I have no idea whats in it, but I know it wasn’t approved. In my defense, my friend brought it back from Taiwan for me and they were fresh and delicious!! Totally worth it.
Lunch: Scrambled eggs, ground turkey, and pico de gallo
Dinner: Baked potato topped with ghee, wholly guacamole, and pico de gallo and grapes

Day 4

Breakfast: Two hotdogs with mustard and a boiled egg
Lunch: Roasted squash, ground turkey, Wholly Guacamole
Dinner:  Turkey burgers with green bean “fries” and applesauce
Snacks: Diced pineapples and half a larabar

Day 5

Breakfast: Shredded sweet potato fried in ghee topped with a fried egg. Grapes.
Lunch: Trader Joe’s Just Chicken and boiled egg with Truffle mayo and guac. Sauteed zucchini on the side. (The truffle mayo had canola oil but otherwise approved ingredients.)
Dinner: Pre packaged shrimp from Farm Fresh and green beans

Day 6

Breakfast: Carrot Cake Larabar
Lunch: Sliced and sautéed hot dog with fried eggs and grapes
Dinner: Trader Joe’s Pork Belly, sauteed shredded brussels sprouts, and cauliflower rice with mushrooms and onions

Day 7 

Breakfast: Boiled eggs, sautéed zucchini, half a grapefruit
Lunch: Ground turkey, guacamole, and green beans in a bowl
Dinner: Sauteed turkey burger, red potato with salsa, and sautéed peppers and onions.
Snacks: Half a grapefruit, Seasnax

Tips to making the most of eating Whole30ish

Make it easy for yourself.
For me, convenience is key. Which means having certain staples in the house all the time and prepping time consuming things ahead of time so there’s almost always something I can grab and eat quickly or put together without a lot of prepwork. My favorite staples were:

Trader Joe’s Just Chicken
Wholly Guacamole
Larabars
EGGS!!!!
Ghee

I know I didn’t do this program the “right” way, but it was very eye opening for me, and I feel like even trying to eat that way for a short period of time really gave me a lot to think about and consider when it comes to the way that I eat. I think I will try to eat less dairy and refined sugars going forward, but I don’t see anything wrong with eating white rice from time to time or having a glass of wine (or two) or a brownie (or three). At the end of the day, I believe in eating everything in moderation…but maybe I’ll add a few more veggies into my usual rotation too, now ;)

 

 

This post is specifically for Richmond, Virginia brides! We work all over the East coast, but we frequently work in Richmond and I love this getting ready location so much I wanted to dedicate an entire blog post to it. If you’re not getting married in Richmond but you still want some tips on picking a great getting ready location, check out this post here.

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Anytime one of our couples says they’re getting ready at the Linden Row Inn, I get so excited! In my opinion, it’s one of the nicest places to get ready in Richmond. Typical hotel rooms can be tight and the decor can be nice, but not really bridal if that makes sense. The Parlor Suites at the Linden Row Inn are a lot more roomy and the decor is a much nicer backdrop than almost any other typical hotel rooms I’ve shot in (think Holiday Inn, etc). The wood floors and vintage furniture are perfect backdrops for your getting ready details, and the rooms are more spacious so that you can get ready among a larger group of friends than you could in a typical hotel room.

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These rooms are also perfect for shooting BRIDAL PORTRAITS!! I love to take some time to photograph the bride by herself when we’re shooting at the Linden Row Inn!

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If you are getting married in Richmond and your venue does not have a getting ready room that is well lit with lots of windows and neutral decor, I would highly suggest booking a room at the Linden Row Inn! You can also use it as your “honeymoon suite” the night of the wedding!

Here are a few of my favorite images from getting ready at the Linden Row Inn:

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A little while back I wrote about starting to use Evernote after hearing so many good things about it. I’m definitely a digital kind of person when it comes to organizing my lists, calendars, etc that I need to keep my life in order, so I figured it would be right up my alley. The only thing was, I wasn’t exactly sure how to use it! It seemed a bit overwhelming to me since there were so MANY things you can use it for. I thought it would be fun to share an update with what I’ve been using it for over the past month or so…hopefully it will help someone else who’s thinking of trying it out!

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First of all, I LOVE things that I can sync between my computer and my phone. That’s one of my favorite features! I like being able to add a note or make a quick list really fast when I’m on my computer and then still be able to access it on my phone later on. This really comes in handy for me! Especially if I’m using it to meal plan or make a grocery list. I can look up recipes on my computer and type out my shopping list, then I can check things off on my phone as I’m at the store.

I also really love the NOTEBOOKS feature. I used to keep all my notes in the notes app on my iPhone, but having notebooks in Evernote is so cool because I can categorize all of the different notes into their own separate notebooks. I have them for workouts, business related things, workshop stuff, travel things, grocery lists, and random personal items. (Yes, I write down all of my workouts.). It might seem strange to keep grocery lists in a notebook, but I love to look back at old ones for ideas of things to eat. It works for me!

Speaking of workouts, another cool thing is being able to take photos in the app and save them into your notebook. I will often take a photo of my treadmill or spinning bike when I’m done with my workout so I can compare it to future workouts to see what kind of progress I’m making. I used to do that on my phone with the regular camera feature, but doing it in Evernote keeps it all organized!

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Evernote is great for PDFs too! I saved PDFs of all of my travel documents for my latest trip along with a copy of my Passport into my travel docs notebook. That way everything is there if I need it! And if I were to lose my phone (knock on wood) I could log into Evernote somewhere else and still be able to access those documents. Nothing like the peace of mind of having it stored in the cloud!! Along that same line, before the trip, I started an Evernote document of things I wanted to see while in Italy and shared it with my travel buddy since she also has Evernote. I like being able to share things if I want to. I could see this being useful for sharing things with John!

I realize that there are a lot of different apps and programs out there that do things that Evernote does…I could totally use Google Drive for some of the things I’m using Evernote for. However, I LOVE that it consolidates a bunch of the apps I was using into one program. Super simple. Simplicity is my jam! I am still learning a lot about the best ways to use Evernote, but I am really enjoying it! I’m really excited to implement it this coming wedding season and see how I can use it to make my life run more smoothly!

I hope this helps someone else who may be interested in trying Evernote out. If you have questions, I would definitely suggest joining the Evernote Users Facebook Group! There are lots of experienced users in there who are doing all kinds of creative things with it. Check it out!

 

 

The way photographers and small business owners are using social media is rapidly evolving. When I started my business, Facebook was the ultimate in promoting your business. Since then they’ve changed the way it works a lot and the way we use it has had to adapt. One of the things we’re doing differently is focusing on other forms of social media in addition to Facebook. Instagram is one of my favorites! As a photographer and someone who is very visual in general, Instagram is wonderful!

Hashtags are hugely important to getting seen on Instagram. They’re a way for people to find your work AND they are a way to catalog your work so that someone who clicks your hashtag can see a large variety of your images at once. Here are a couple of my best tips for hash tagging!

Hashtag 101 for Wedding Photographers

1. Use relevant hashtags on each of your photos. I use hashtags that are relevant to my work, like #weddingphotography or #weddingphotographer because people who are looking at those hashtags are likely to click my image and like it or even follow me! Hashtags are huge for getting your work found and for developing a following. I also keep the hashtag #katienesbittphotography going so that I have a home for my images where someone can see a bunch of my work! A key to setting up a hashtag for your business is making sure it’s unique! For example, there are lots of people who might use #knp as a hashtag for one reason or another, but #katienesbittphotography is a lot more unique! If I used #theworkshop for my workshop hashtag, you’d see a lot of things not related to my workshop. But since I use #katienesbittworkshop, almost everything there is unique to my workshop!

2. Add your hashtags in the first comment, not in the image caption. If you’re using a lot of hashtags, it’s a good idea to add them to the first comment of your photo, rather than the caption. It tends to look cluttered if you put them in the comment (depending on how many you use) and if you make them the first comment, when others comment on the photo, the comment with your hashtags will be hidden!

3. Save your most used hashtags to a note on your phone. I typically use a lot of the same hashtags on my photos, so a big time saver for me has been simply saving all of the ones I normally add to a note on my phone. I then copy and paste them into the first comment on the image rather than taking the time to type them all out. Obviously some photos will call for different hashtags, but if you’re generally using a bunch of the same ones, this tip is super helpful!

Bonus tip! To mention people you’re not following, you can search for them by going to “Tag people” and searching for them by their name. Once you see their username you can just type it into the caption to “mention” them that way!

If you liked this post and the tips here, sign up here to be the first to learn about my next workshop, where I cover social media and more!

 

It came to my attention thanks to social media that last Friday was National Proposal Day! First of all, how would anyone know about any of the random holidays out there now (like National Sibling Day, or Drink Wine Day, etc) without Facebook or Instagram?? I would be missing out on celebrating all kinds of fun things! One of my favorite things to hear from each couple we chat with about wedding photography is about how they got engaged! These stories are always so much fun and they usually tell you a lot about the couple and their relationship dynamic. I’ve never blogged our proposal story before (but I did share how we came to start living together here), but I thought this holiday was the perfect excuse!

Photo by Katelyn James

We had been living together for a little while when we started to realize that we were both in it for the long haul. Neither one of us could imagine a future where we weren’t together. We knew that our lives were basically becoming one life that we shared, marriage or not. I can’t actually remember having an initial discussion about getting married, but I remember looking for rings together. It started kind of casually as it sometimes does at that stage in a relationship…by just popping into a jewelry store while you’re already in the mall anyway. I pointed out some styles I liked and we actually bought a ring.

That sounds horribly unromantic, doesn’t it? Like it was just a mutual decision like any other we’d make on a regular basis…like deciding to order chinese food and then going to pick it up together. Big whoop, right??? John decided that he was going to keep it and then just come up with a way to propose to me that felt right to him. I protested…I didn’t care. I’m not really one for a big spectacle and the idea of a big production made me anxious. It being a mutual decision would have been a-ok with me…I just wanted to be engaged and then get married!

The Sunday morning before Christmas was when it finally happened. It started out like any other Sunday morning would for us, with a breakfast run. John went out to get us something to eat from Burger King and I waited at home for him to get back. When he arrived with the food, I tore into the bag, starving. John disappeared for a minute, but I didn’t really read anything into it. I figured he was washing his hands or something. In all honesty, I was probably just super focused on eating!

I was sitting there, my mouth full of ham and egg croisanwich when John came out with the ring box. There I was, wearing pajamas, with a greasy sandwich in one hand, probably looking kind of homeless when he proposed. I wish I could remember exactly what he said, but I don’t remember the specific words. I remember him saying that our life together was the best thing about his life, and knowing in my heart that I felt the exact same way. We haven’t had a perfect life and we don’t have a perfect relationship, but what we do have is very special, and it makes my life worth living! When he opened the ring box, I expected to see the ring we’d picked out all those months ago, but instead, a pile of cat kibbles fell out.

What the heck? I was confused for a second, but John got up and said “Oh, that’s weird” and left the room. “LUCY,” I heard him saying as he came back into the room carrying our cat/child “What are your kibbles doing in the ring box??” He brought her to me, and that’s when I saw that the ring was on her collar like she had stolen it and left her kibbles in the box! It was hilarious and also perfect because Lucy is a huge part of our life. John took it from her collar and asked me to be his wife. Spoiler alert: I said yes.

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So, that’s how we got engaged! With Burger King crumbs all over my face and cat food inside of the ring box, I became John’s fiancé. The proposal wasn’t glamorous or super romantic, but it was US. It was sweet and simple and reflected the life that I was so happy to say yes to living for the rest of my time on Earth.

03.19
2015

Bon Voyage!

What’s the etiquette behind saying Bon Voyage? Can you say it about yourself?? This is my last blog post before I go to Italy this weekend, so I thought it was a fitting title! I’m really excited about this trip because I haven’t been to Europe since I was little. Case in point, my passport actually expired like fifteen years ago!!! I had to get a whole new one just for this trip.

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My friend Karla and I are going to be traveling to Milan, Rome, and Florence together. I’ll be stopping in Boston to have brunch with my friend Annmarie first (join us if you live in the area!) and then heading out to NYC to photograph one of my 2015 couples before we take off for Italy!

Emails will be slower than usual while I am away, though I will try to respond as quickly as I can. If you are interested in following along with my travels, be sure to follow me on Instagram…I’m @katienesbittphoto!

Otherwise, I’ll see you guys on the flip side!!!

It’s been a tough winter for engagement sessions! Winter has been horrible this year…so much colder and rainier than in years past! We have had to reschedule many of our sessions multiple times now due to the weather, which sucks! We finally got a break of sorts though this past weekend when we had a sunny, 60 degree day on Sunday afternoon! Unfortunately, it was extremely windy, but I think we made it work! Early Mountain Vineyards is such a picturesque location…it’s one of my favorite wedding venues to shoot at, so I was so excited to photograph Abby and Scott’s engagement session here! I’m so excited for their Charlottesville wedding coming up in May!

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Katie is a Charlottesville Wedding Photographer booking for select 2015 & 2016 dates!

I’m one the kind of person who HATES to spend money on things I could be doing for myself for free. I held off from spending on a studio management solution for that very reason. You can technically do everything that these systems do for you on your own for free…but is it efficient to do it that way?? Like I’ve said here on the blog before, one of the reasons I started this business was because I wanted to life a life where I HAD a life…where I was working to live and not living to work. So if there’s something that’s taking up a lot of time, or could be simplified, I know that I need to come up with a system of some kind to make it easier. And sometimes that means investing in it!

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I was very skeptical when I started using Pixifi at the end of 2013, but I wanted to give it a shot because of the questionnaire module. Before I used Pixifi, I sent contracts through Sign Now and did invoicing through Google Wallet. Invoicing through Google Wallet was discontinued and I started booking at a higher volume to where I needed to pay $14.99 a month for Sign Now, so I thought to myself if I like Pixifi, it’s only ten dollars more a month than what I’m already paying JUST for signing contracts online. Pixifi has a 30 day trial, so I tried it out to see. I’m a huge believer in “you never know until you try”.

For me, the initial setup was a little bit intimidating. It was a lot of work initially, but over the last year or so, the time I invested in setting it up and getting started was well worth all of the time it’s saved me over the long run. I use Pixifi to create proposals for new clients who are in the booking stage, to sign contracts, to send invoices and questionnaires, and to organize all of my client information. That’s not even all that Pixifi does, but it’s all I use it for right now. I’m keeping it simple ;)

This has helped my business in a few ways:

1. Proposals help you sell more without having to upsell. A proposal is where clients go in and choose their package and any add ons before signing their contract with me. Before I did proposals, I rarely ever sold additional products. With proposals, clients have all the options and pricing right in front of them while they are booking and then are more likely to add an extra hour of coverage or a bridal portrait session since they can see it and add it to their “cart”.

2. Proposals make my life easier. I basically set up a proposal that’s based on a template I have already created and then I’m done with the booking process in two minutes. The clients handle the rest on their end. Once they’ve chosen their products and any additional add ons, the contract and invoice are automatically generated for me. No more creating a contract and an invoice for everyone. I just do one thing…the proposal, and I’m DONE.

3. Proposals help me make money faster. One really cool feature of Pixifi is being able to add a required payment to a contract. I add a “required payment” to every contract so that the clients are prompted to pay their retainer immediately after signing their contract. They can pay online with credit card right there. It makes it easier for them to pay me, which makes it easier for me to get paid, and get paid more quickly too! You can also use your business bank’s merchant processing with Pixifi (if it’s supported) and mine guarantees my money is deposited into my account the next day. Doesn’t get any faster than that!

4. Proposals (and contracts, invoices, and questionnaires) through Pixifi look professional. I consider myself to be running a higher end photography business, so the way I run it needs to reflect that. Having professional invoices, contracts, and other communication is important to me. I can change all of my invoices, etc to match my brand so that the experience is cohesive for the client.

5. Pixifi helps keep all of my client information organized and paperless. Back in the early days of my business, I would send a contract PDF and most people would mail it back with their retainer. The booking process was a lot slower then, but that also meant I needed to sign their contract, make copies, and then send them a copy of the one that I had signed. And if I wanted to keep one on my computer for safe keeping, I had to scan it in there! It wasn’t convenient for me OR my clients. These days, all of my paperwork is stored in Pixifi and my clients are automatically sent a copy of the signed contract once they sign. They can also access their contract or invoice at any time! The internet is magical! This is especially huge for me since I don’t live near the majority of my couples.

6. Pixifi has the best customer service. This is one of the top things that I love about Pixifi and is a huge reason I haven’t been tempted to try out Tave or 17 Hats or any of the other things that people use for Studio Management. I meant this post to encourage people to check out ANY studio management software as a way to make their lives easier, but Pixifi is where I will be staying. First of all, I like companies that treat me the way I would treat my own clients. Pixifi is constantly going above and beyond in the ways that they take care of us, their clients and are constantly working to improve it. Tim, who is behind it, and Lisa, who helps run it, are such incredibly generous people. They are the ones who help you if you’ve got a problem and if you’ve got an idea for how you’d like Pixifi to work better in the future, more often than not, Tim creates your suggestion! I really appreciate this about them and it’s made me incredibly loyal because I want to support small businesses that really care about PEOPLE.

Like I said in my last bullet, I’m totally in love with Pixifi, but if you’re not using any Studio Management Software, I think any is better than none! Anytime you’re investing in something that will not only make YOUR life easier, but will provide an easier experience for your clients, that’s a win/win in my book.

 

One of the wedding day investments that goes the farthest is the bride’s bouquet! In general, having incredible flowers does so much to add to your wedding day decor and the overall atmosphere of the day. But investing in your bouquet in particular gets you a huge return on investment. Especially, if you’re spending a good deal on professional photography as well, because your bouquet will appear in a large amount of your photographs! It will be in most likely ALL of your bride and groom portraits, your bridal party photos, and posed family photos too. You’ll see it in your album, in the framed portraits you look at every day in your home, and if you end up not liking it that much, you may be bummed

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I say that both as a wedding photographer who’s photographed over 80 weddings AND as a former bride! Not loving my bouquet is actually one of my wedding day regrets (which, I blogged about previously here) and it’s one of those things I would change if I could go back in time. We did all of our own flowers because of our budget, but since we’re not florists by any means, my bouquet did not have that “look” I’d been hoping for. Some things are really best left to professionals…and bouquets are one of them! Every time I look at our wedding album or at our framed portraits, I do feel a little bit sad that I never had my “dream” bouquet. I obviously can’t do anything about it now, but I’d highly encourage future brides to invest in their bouquet, especially if they’re also investing in professional photography.

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I’ll be blogging more about things that make a big visual impact on your wedding day and photograph really well. If there’s anything you’d like to see, let me know by sending me an email or leaving a comment.

Top bouquet by Intrigue Designs, Bottom florals by Amanda Burnette.