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Blogging tips for new bloggers

Blahhhh. Blogggg. Ha! I was going to write out a post about how I prewrite and schedule ALL of my posts in advance because it’s such a time saver and it’s the ONLY way to get 4-5 posts up every week….but then I procrastinated, didn’t do it ahead of time, and now I’m struggling to write this today. I say that I’m struggling because I’m not the world’s best writer (can you tell??) so usually blogging ahead of time is really helpful for me because I get a chance to really think about what I want to say and how I’m going to say it. Unlike today when I actually woke up late (in my defense I was up late last night scratching my entire mosquito bite covered body) and am rushing to get something decent together for you peeps. Without TOO much more useless blabbing, here are a few of my tips for photography bloggers.

Decide how often you want to post. For some people, posting three times a week is A LOT. Not everyone has the time or energy (or even CARES) to post every weekday. That’s totally cool! Whatever you choose to do, though, make sure you are consistent. If you post Monday, Wednesday, Friday…do your best to always post Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Consistency is the key to building a readership that will return. Two of my favorite home blogs, Design Sponge and Young House Love post EVERY DAY! So I know there will always be something great to look at and I just check it without them even having to post a link! Some of my photographer friends don’t post every single weekday, but they post several blog posts a week. I still check their blogs very regularly because I KNOW there will more than likely be some new, great content to read/drool over.

Make a calendar. I have a google calendar for the month with all of my sessions, appointments, etc already keyed into it. At the beginning of each month I go through and use the tasks feature to schedule what and when I want to post. I automatically write in “Review in Instagrams” and “Stuff I Love” at the beginning and end of the month since I will be doing those. Then I look at what sessions and weddings I have coming up and schedule a blog post for each one of those within the next week or so after the event. If I have two weddings or sessions to share, I share on Tuesday and Thursday of the following week. If I have one wedding to share from the previous weekend and no engagement or portraits, I share on Wednesday. Once all of my events are keyed in, I go back and fill and holes with other things I want to post about…in a slower season you might see more things like the Confessions of a Former Bride series, or more DIY tutorials. These empty holes are also great spots to put things like the ideas I’ve been saving up to post for a while. This leads me to my next point….

Keep a list/journal/notepad/etc of post ideas. For me, my list is on my iPhone. It’s just a little sheet of the iPhone “notepad” that I  use to keep track of random ideas I have for my blog. I had started a notepad, but I almost never had it with me when I was out so that kind of defeated the purpose. I’m almost always tethered to my phone (I’m obsessed) so it’s just easier for me to do it that way. I jot down any kind of post idea that I think would be neat and the things I get inspired by are really random sometimes! It could even be a snippet of conversation I overheard standing in line somewhere! If you start keeping track of ideas you have, it will become easier and easier to find content for your blog and you will always have a list of backups to post about in the event that you get bloggers block.

Write your posts in advance. HAHA. Like I mentioned above, I try to blog in advance, but sometimes it doesn’t happen. I blame it on my cat and the marathon of Bridezillas that was on yesterday afternoon…it’s really hard for me to resist reality TV. Blogging in advance (when you actually do it) is GREAT because you don’t have to scramble at the last minute and then possibly hit bloggers blog and n0t even have anything to write about. It’s definitely more possible for me to wait to write something til the morning of these days because I don’t have to be at my full time job, but it’s still not something I want to practice all of the time if I want to maintain a consistent schedule.

Be YOURSELF!! This one is so, SO important. When I first started blogging (this was a personal blog that’s too embarrassing to share), I tried to sound very formal and serious and what I thought in my mind to be “professional”. My blog posts didn’t really sound like me at all. Obviously it’s important to maintain some sense of professionalism when you’re blogging, but the photography industry (and the blogosphere for that matter) are so inundated, and the main thing that sets you apart is your awesome personality. This is such a cliche, but if all blogs sounded the same, the world would be a boring place. At least, the blog world would. Your blog is the first place where potential clients will get to know you and get to know what type of person you are. Jasmine Star said somewhere that your goal should be to attract or repel people. I know I butchered that quote, but IT’S SO TRUE. And that’s what you want! If there are people who come to my blog and are offended by my casual tone and my somewhat weird/lame joke attempts, then they are not the clients for me. In the same vein (but opposite) there will be people who stop by my blog and LOVE my bad jokes and decide that I’m at the top of their list just because they like me. When someone tells me they loved reading my blog and can’t wait to have me shoot their wedding because they feel like they already know me, that’s the best feeling in the world and makes all the work that goes into blogging TOTALLY WORTH IT.

I can’t blog without a picture…I feel like it breaks the photographers code or something (yeah, there’s a code). Here’s a preview of April and John’s wedding from this past weekend!

 

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SUCH great tips, katie!! you know i lurve your blog!! 🙂 🙂 and that picture is beautiful 🙂

What wonderful tips friend!! It’s all SO true!! Consistency is definitely key, I have noticed an increase in my followers since I started consistently blogging, and making a calendar is definitely my saving grace!! I lost my July calendar the other day (yes, I’m still archaic and write it out on paper) and I about had a panic attack!! And having a calendar definitely helps the whole write it out beforehand thing too!! If I get inspired, I’ll pump out two or three posts in one day! And yes, being yourself is probably the most important! I love that when I read your blog I can hear your voice, it is wonderful! And so are you 🙂 🙂

Very helpful blog… i have trouble being consistent, and its not because I don’t care but, its because of my time. Great tips though! I should try everything in advance rather than wait the day of. Love the pic! 🙂

Two weeks in | a self employment update

Today marks two weeks since I left my full time job and so far I think it’s everything I thought it would be…but on steroids. Some days I feel like being self employed is not the best idea for someone who is a self described chronic worrier, like the other night when I stayed up til two AM pacing around and scribbling out all kinds of numbers trying to figure out EXACTLY what I need to book next year to live and run the business. Worrying is what I do. It’s that simple. My mind is always going through a hundred different scenarios of how any one situation could turn out. It’s exhausting and it’s been made worse by having a career that is so unpredictable. I can’t say whether or not I will book the weddings I need to book next year. If anyone will ever book me again, for that matter. I just can’t say.

So far I’ve discovered that the only thing that keeps me from letting the fear completely cripple me is trying to add balance back into my life. Before I quit my job, I was working every night from the time I got home til the time I went to bed. On Saturdays I would shoot a wedding or an engagement session or SOMETHING and then Sunday I’d be editing all day to try and be caught up for the week ahead. There was really very little time for me to enjoy my husband and our cat, much less any FRIENDS. What are those?? I haven’t seen ANY of the girls who were my bridesmaids since ST Patrick’s Day. Well having 7:30-5:30 to run my business has been the best thing ever. I don’t feel rushed with my work, I can take my time and not make stupid mistakes on things. I can get things done more quickly and I can wrap up by the end of the day and BE A REGULAR PERSON. And the BEST part of being full time so far is being able to rearrange my day to accommodate things I also just WANT to do, like meeting a friend to see a movie in the middle of the day or going to the gym in the morning instead of in the evening when it’s crowded. I’m learning that these little things I’m doing for myself are also good for my business. When I’m happy and relaxed instead of frazzled and overworked, I’m more creative, more productive, and my attitude is way more positive.

And that’s not to say the balancing thing hasn’t had it’s moments… I’ve noticed that my craziest worrying happens after 10PM, so I’ve made a pact with myself to stop ALL WORK at or before 8pm. And I’m thinking about taking my email off of my iPhone. I take my phone everywhere and I’m always looking at it, trying to check my email, see what’s going on. It’s not healthy. I also sitting at my desk now every day and playing Pandora to help me get into that productive “work” mindset every morning. I’m starting to get into a routine and it feels REALLY good. Now, if I could only figure out a way to block myself from Facebook and Twitter during the day while I need to be getting things done:)

Overall the last two weeks have been pretty amazing. Yeah, I’ve had my weak moments…but I wouldn’t trade my new life for a thing. Yesterday as I was out running some errands I suddenly realized that I have two of the things I have wanted most for pretty much all of my life…I have a devoted husband who loves me more than I deserve and a career that I LOVE and am proud of. No, we don’t own our own home, we are nowhere near as close as we would have liked to have been to having kids, and in a perfect world there would be many more $$$ in my account, but let’s be real for a second….I have it pretty darn good.

 

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You go girl. I think no matter what there will always be worrying and stressing and wondering because life is unpredictable!! But the fact that you are enjoying it along the way and keeping your head on semi straight seems perfect to me!! So proud of you!!!

I envy you girl! I can relate to everything you just said. Way to go 🙂

YES! i am so proud of you, girl! SO SO SO proud of you! i LOVE watching this journey of yours 🙂

Yaaaaay! I feel like you and I share a lot of the same things- Jeremy and I have talked about the whole house and being grown-up thing and we realized that we don’t HAVE to do anything. Neither of us are sure where we want to live forever, so why we felt pressure to buy a home when we don’t even know if we want to live here in 3 years was silly. We’re devoted to each other, devoted to our careers and very happy. Money sucks, a lot, but we’ll get through it. 🙂

Katie – thanks for sharing your journey to the full time wedding photography world! I feel your fears and struggles, but keep taking advantage of creating those moments that make you happy and fuel your creative side, it is so important! Love you work : )

Kris Kothe

Soo very happy for you!! Choosing a stop work time is a great idea!!
I think this is a choice that you will never regret!!

Amber + Robert | Yorktown elopement

When Amber and Robert contacted me a couple weeks ago about their May 2013 wedding, they also mentioned that they would be having a small official ceremony this June to be followed by a more formal party next year. I jumped at the chance to shoot both because I LOVE Yorktown and I LOVE intimate ceremonies! Even though it was one of the hottest afternoons of the summer (temperatures were in the triple digits), and a park ranger threatened to chase us all away, Amber and Robert were married in one of the sweetest ceremonies I’ve shot to date beneath the tree where Robert proposed:)

As photographers sometimes it’s easy to forget how important our role is in a wedding, but Amber and Robert’s intimate wedding reminded me that not only do I have an important role in the day, I have the HONOR of being part of some of the most special moments in people’s lives. I was able to witness this sweet ceremony along with just a small handful of the people they love. Can’t wait to witness their second big day in the presence of even more of their friends and family:)

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gorgeous! how sweet and romantic! and i love the way you captured it, katie! 🙂

This is so sweet and romantic : )

So simple and sweet!! 😀

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July!

A lot of you might not know that I wasn’t born in America. I was adopted from my birthplace (Korea) by my parents when I was an infant. I have always been very excited and proud to not only be an American citizen, but to also get to participate in all of the rights and freedoms that title entails. My parents always taught me that being an American was about hope and possibility. About the idea that anyone can come to this land and make something great out of themselves if they choose to. America’s rich history is full of scrappy people who worked hard to not only prosper, but to also innovate and discover new things. I’m really proud to be able to say that though I’m only a blip in the grand scheme of things, I too am a part of America and am living my American dream.

The following image is a peek at what will be on the blog tomorrow! Can’t WAIT to share these!

PSSST…if you were just checking here for the giveaway winner, it’s STEPHANIE!! Stephanie said she and her boyfriend keep cool by eating lots of HOMEMADE ice cream! How cool? Stephanie, I’ll be emailing you to deliver your prize to you:)

Thanks to everyone who entered and don’t forget to check back in August for another installment in Stuff I Love!

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Hayley + Graham | Yorktown Engagement session

Though we had to reschedule Hayley and Graham’s engagement session (and a crazy thunderstorm threatened to ruin our new date!) we were finally able to meet up in Yorktown for their session! The storm that afternoon actually worked out in our favor…the beach was deserted and we had this beautiful, glowy, overcast light to work with! I love when things work out like that!

Hayley and Graham…can’t wait for your wedding this October!

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i. love. your. black and whites.

also: the one where she’s leaning on his back and they’re seated on the beach – too cute!! great pose 🙂

I agree with Caitlin. I love the black and white shots in this sesh. Gorgeous!

These photos are gorgeous Katie! I love the ones on the beach!!

They look so young & carefree! Love it!