Modern & Fun Virginia Wedding Photographer » Creative and fun Virginia Wedding Photography

Masthead header

Book Review – Worth every penny + The glass castle

I finally bought a kindle just a couple of weeks ago, and since then my love for reading has come back in full force! One of my goals is to read more business books, so the first book I picked up was Sarah Petty’s Worth Every Penny. I had seen it recommended by Justin and Mary and felt like it would be a good read for me.

Well…it was! The book is basically about how to create a boutique business that will attract customers who are willing to pay what you are worth. A lot of the principles I already knew…some are just good common sense. But there were also a few really good nuggets of wisdom that I think will really be helpful if I apply them to my business. I think this book would be GREAT for someone who seems to be struggling with having all of their clients leave them for Sears Portrait Studio or the Picture People. Worth Every Penny is a manifesto of sorts for boutique business that don’t compete with those big box places because they don’t have to. The book teaches that by providing something those big stores don’t have, you have an edge!  What you lack in volume you will make up for in style, expertise, and the personal attention you can give your clients! Worth Every Penny breaks all these things down for you  in a very easy to read, very light way.

As my personal read this month, I read The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Oh gosh. What can I say about it, except SO GOOD?? If you haven’t read it already, it’s a memoir (picture me saying that MEM-wah like Kris Jenner) about a girl’s childhood in an extremely dysfunctional family. I’ll be completely honest and say that since I half knew what it was about, I thought it was going to be a difficult read. I was worried it would be depressing and that I wouldn’t even want to finish it, but once I started reading it, it was SO hard to put it down. The Glass Castle is so thoughtfully written that even Jeanette’s incredibly neglectful parents seem to have their redeeming qualities. I. Loved. It.

Yesterday was the first day of Summer…what have you been reading by the pool? Anything I should add to my list??

TOPCONTACT MESHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THISEMAIL

YESSSSSSSSSSS THE GLASS CASTLE IS MY FAVORITE BOOK. oh my golly. SO GOOD. so glad you read it!!!!! gah i want to read it again now

Now I really want to read these books! I’m so happy I’ve had time to read lately, I can hardly get my hands on enough books 🙂

For photographers: figuring out your brand

Let me just preface this by saying I’m nowhere near an expert on branding. I’m not even close! But I do understand how overwhelming it can be to try and figure out a way to express your personality in a visual way. When I first started trying to decide what I wanted this blog to look like, I had a bunch of random ideas that I thought were “professional” but weren’t really me. I knew I had to come up with something that showed off my own style, but I honestly wasn’t really sure what my style was. Style??? I never wear jewelry and I can’t accessorize to save my life. Figuring out my style was actually pretty intimidating.

One thing that has helped me a lot is the ever popular pinterest! I created a board  for my brand and searched and searched for items that I was drawn too. After a while I started to see common elements in a lot of my pins.  I noticed I like deep, muted colors like charcoal gray and lots of modern, urban elements. Before I started cultivating the brand board, I really thought I wanted my brand to be rustic and handmade…I love DIY projects and mason jars and would die over a barn wedding, but I’m just visually attracted to mid century furniture and quirky illustrations. Seeing all of those things pinned together helped me discover patterns in the things I’m drawn to and uncover a “style” that suits me better than barns or butterflies.

Another great thing you can do to figure out your brand is to go into your closet and take a look at the types of things you wear on a regular basis. Are you into sequins or glitter? Maybe your style is very glam. Do you wear lots of polo shirts and pearls? You might be classic and preppy. Or maybe you’re like me and you wear cardigans, skinny jeans, and lots of stripes. That could mean your style is pretty casual.

Also, if there are things you really, really love…like Apple products, funky earrings, horses, or junk food, make that a part of your brand!! The more things you incorporate that showcase who you are, the better! We know Jasmine Star loves magazines, and Katelyn James always comes to mind when I see something teal. And I always think of my own wedding photographers, Jodi and Kurt, when I see a cameo or some pretty lace! These photographers didn’t become associated with things they like by accident. They made sure they included things they liked in their branding because not only do they set them apart, but they also attract other people who like the same things! If you incorporate your love for NYC into your blog, a bride who loves NYC might read it, feel a connection with you, and decide she just has to have you at your wedding. And that’s what you want!

Lastly, work with a designer! A great designer will help you figure out how to take all of your ideas and make them visually cohesive! A designer can also help you elevate your brand into something that is also very professional, but still very you at the same time.

I know these tips probably seem pretty basic to some people, but I feel like there are others, like me, who might need a little bit of help. So hopefully this post might have given you some more ideas that will help you succeed with getting your brand headed in the right direction!

TOPCONTACT MESHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THISEMAIL

Great tips! Branding is SO overwhelming! 😀

so much good info 🙂

love this! I’m trying to figure out my style and branding right now and it’s taking a LONG time.. this is tough work! great blog post 🙂

great post Katie! you are so right on all aspects! : )

tips for balancing your day job and a photography business

Like everything else in life, working a full time job and trying to start a photography business is a delicate balancing act. If you aren’t mindful of your time and priorities, things very quickly go from manageable to straight up cray. I am heading into my last week of doing this tightrope act, but I decided I would share some tips and other things I’ve learned along the way in case they might benefit someone else. Hope this is at least a little bit helpful to at least one person!

1. Make to do lists For me, if something isn’t on my list, it just doesn’t get done.! I love making lists, but I love crossing things off of lists even more! It’s just so satisfying! Sometimes I will even add things I’ve already done to the list and cross them off because it gives me an extra boost of motivation and also gives me credit for all of the work I really did. As far as the physical list goes, sometimes I write it out on paper, but most of the time I create the list on my iPhone in the Clear app. It’s 2.99 in the app store, but well worth it. I love the satisfying little noise it makes when you cross something off of the list! I also really like being able to access the list from anywhere I go. I might not remember a paper list, but I always have my phone with me!

2. Pre make your meals or be really really nice to your spouse (or roommate, or parents, or the Papa John’s guy). I found that cooking, eating, and cleaning up after dinner took up at LEAST an hour of my evening every night, if not more. Pre planning out what I was going to eat every night helped out so much because I could buy all of the ingredients and do prep work ahead of time or even make a bunch of meals all at once and separate them for later consumption. I won’t lie though…I didn’t do this all that much because my AMAZING husband cooked for me most nights. We were also really not ashamed of going out to Subway or Chickfila for dinner once (or twice) a week to save time.

3. Set aside a little bit of time each day to clean. I’m one of those people that can’t STAND clutter. It just makes me stress and freak out. And freak outs are never good, so we try our best to stay on top of cleaning. It doesn’t always happen, but we are TRYING so at least that counts, right? The best way we have found to keep our apartment from turning into a pig sty is taking 15-20 minutes a day to maintenance clean. That means for 15-20 minutes an evening (when it happens we do it between when I stop working and chill time) you go around and put things back where they belong, wipe down surfaces, etc. It’s really just surface cleaning to keep things orderly until we can get to the real cleaning on the weekends.

4. Blog in advance! I actually create a schedule in google calendar with all of my post ideas for the month as tasks. I then write out as many of them as I can in advance. This post was actually written last week! If you have your blog posts done ahead of time it makes it SO MUCH EASIER to stay on track with blogging. I have some more tips on this, but I’ll share them in another post.

5. Schedule your editing/working time and stick to it! I typically edit in the evenings from six til about eight. Sometimes I eat in between there and sometimes I don’t (meaning I eat a late dinner…I never pass up food!). I try my best to wrap up all of my work by 9 so I can hang out with John until 11 (our bedtime). Sometimes it doesn’t happen, but scheduling things really does mean that more often than not I’m going to get to actually spend time with my husband.

6. Don’t be too hard on yourself! For those of us who love what we do, it’s easy to become a workaholic without even realizing it. I find that I feel the best when I take some time off every once in a while and do something stupid and frivolous like watch Keeping up with the Kardashians all night and nothing else. You need time for yourself because overworked people do not make great artists. I know it’s a struggle to say no to things and I’m constantly working on that myself, but maintaining your mental health is extremely critical to the success of your business and most importantly your quality of life! If your quality of life goes down because you are so overworked and stressed, you have to think, why am I even doing this at all? For me, I never want to get to that point where I’m so overwhelmed I’m just tired and burned out and sick of photography. I love what I do so it’s important to me to take some time off to be a regular human so I don’t wake up one day all burned out and emo.

I hope some of these tips are at least a little bit beneficial to you guys. I’m no expert on time management and my life has definitely been a whirlwind since I started my business, but hopefully if you apply some of these small tips you can balance things a little bit better and enjoy life a little more fully 🙂


TOPCONTACT MESHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THISEMAIL

Thank you so much for posting this Katie…I know exactly how you feel. Working full-time and running a business along with a husband and two kids really takes a toll on me sometimes. Its really hard work to try and balance everything and I have to admit; I don’t always succeed. Thank goodness I don’t require a lot of sleep. 🙂

Great post! I live and die by my lists! It helps me stay on track. I could definitely work on sticking to a descent work schedule. I work too many hours in a day but like you said, the goal is to achieve a comfortable balalnce. It’s hard for me but I’m sure once you find it, you’ll be golden! Good luck hon.

Very informative! It’s nice to have help figuring out how to get organized!!! 😀

this is a great post – i need to check out that Clear app!! i love to do lists!

The worst case scenario

I feel like I’m at a point in my life where not only are lots of things changing, but there are also lots of difficult choices to be made. Decisions that may or may not affect where I end up 20-30 years from now! Being a constant worrier and the queen of freaking out has made me so overwhelmed by some of the decisions we will have to make. Change sometimes makes me anxious so deliberately choosing to change can be very scary.

It’s not that I’m scared out of my mind about whether or not leaving my job to pursue a career in wedding photography was the right thing to do(it definitely was!), I’m also freaking out over at least a dozen other decisions that probably won’t mean anything to me in five years, like whether or not we should move to a new apartment or if we should try to trade in our car for something different.  Should we spend our extra money on redecorating or buying a new mattress set? My mind weighs about a hundred different outcomes from each random scenario I dream up. I imagine myself, John, and Lucy all as hobos with fabric sacks of our belongings sleeping in railroad boxcars (okay I mostly pictures Lucy as a hobo because she would be so cute as a bum). Will the wheels of my car will need to be prematurely replaced because of all the travel I do for photography. Should we move to a new apartment? Should we buy a washer and dryer or rent them? Should I save for a computer or a new camera body?

Recently I have learned to calm some of my fears by asking myself “What’s the worst case scenario”. It gives me peace of mind to realize that if the worst happens and my business fails, the worst case scenario will be closing up shop and getting a new corporate gig. Yeah, the thought is pretty devastating…but it’s also kind of reassuring. The worst case scenario that could come from deciding to quit my job and pursue my business full time isn’t anyone dying or being harmed. It isn’t starving to death or having to beg for money or become a hooker. Though my heart would be broken if my business ever had to close its doors at the very least if I had to fall, I would be bruised and scraped, not completely shattered.

I don’t mean to say any of this as though I won’t be doing my best and making my business the best that it can be. My heart and soul are so tied to this thing…I’m not giving myself excuses. What I am trying to say, is that above all I want to be the kind of person who isn’t afraid of what might happen because even the worst that could happen still isn’t the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Life will go on. This new perspective has given me such a great sense of peace.

No matter what, life goes on.

TOPCONTACT MESHARE ON FACEBOOKTWEET THISEMAIL

so good to remember this! thanks for the perspective 😉

Love it! One, you won’t “fail”, two life does go on. You’ll see that some decisions are worth worrying about and some you just have to take the plunge and make a decision. If you regret it later, well it’s better than waffling and never making ANY decisions 🙂

such a great post, katie!!!! you won’t fail – you are going to be AMAZING. xoxo