For Photographers

twitter tips

Last year I wrote a blog post about harnessing the power of Twitter for your business. It is a great introductory tutorial for Twitter and if you're still not on the Twitter bandwagon, you may want to check it out to see what the fuss is all about.

If you ARE on Twitter and are doing your best to rock it and utilize it for your business, this post is for you. Don't read further if you're not currently using Twitter - you'll only be confused. Click here to go to my original post, get your butt on Twitter, use it for a couple weeks then come back and read this post. Sorry to boss you around. But that's really what you should do :).

Like anyone, I go through phases where I have relatively little to say and then other times when I have loads to share. One day I think I tweeted 16 times. That got me to wondering if my followers might be thinking "ENOUGH already. We like you but not THAT MUCH." So the other day I tweeted asking people how many times a day they want to hear from the people they follow. I was curious if there was a consensus on a magic number of tweets per day. These are some of the replies I got:

-Totally depends on if the content is interesting; not interesting = self promotion
-More than one/hour is too much
-It's annoying when someone tweets 5 times in a row
-The magic number = 2.134 tweets/day

So there you have it. Just post 2.134 time a day and you're golden :).

I thought it would be fun to continue this conversation thread here on the blog. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. In addition, I wanted to share some Twitter tips that go beyond what I shared in my original post.

#1 - If you want everyone who follows you to see your tweet, don't start it with an @reply. Only the people following you AND the person you mention will see that tweet in their feed. This is a feature Twitter changed since last year and many people don't realize it yet. I think it's a great change. It makes me feel more free to @reply away because I know I won't be filling up everyone's home page feed. But on the occasion where you DO want all of your followers to see a tweet, make sure to start it with something other than "@".

#2 - For goodness sakes, if you're going to link to something, use a link shortening service. Here's a good one: With only 140 characters to use, link shortening is a must.

#3 - Don't brag. It just isn't attractive. And RTing your compliments or your #FFs counts as bragging.

#4 - I would tend to agree that right around one tweet/hour is a good amount. If you are suddenly inspired with multiple brilliant tweets that you MUST share, use to schedule your tweets out into the future. It's a free service and you can space your tweets out so your followers are able to read your brilliance at digestable intervals.

#5 - If someone tweets something and you're curious what everyone might be saying in reply to that person, you need not ask. Just put their twitter profile (i.e. @melissajill) into the twitter search field. Wa-la! You will instantly see all the replies!

#6 - I mentioned this in my first post on Twitter, but it bears repeating. One of the quickest ways to lose followers is to use Twitter exclusively for self-promotion. Don't think of Twitter as a giant megaphone. Think of it as a telephone. It's for conversations. Be helpful, generous, responsive and make it about relationships.

#7 - By way of being helpful and generous, use the tweet and share buttons below to pass this post on to your friends and followers! And share any additional tips/thoughts in the comments below!

If you found this post helpful, click here to learn about other resources I offer photographers!

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Anthony & Chrissy's album design

Another album design is done!

Anthony and Chrissy were married on Saturday at Brophy Chapel with reception at the Arizona Biltmore. Their album design really tells the story of their unique day and shows off their quirky personalities. Click here to see the full design! And keep in mind that the finished album is much larger -- 10 x 14 inches in size.

Note to photographers: If you need help getting YOUR album designs done fast, click here to find out how you can purchase my templates!

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Weddings by MJ

Anthony & Chrissy

They met back in 2005 through a mutual friend at Arizona State University.

Chrissy's first impression of Anthony: He was so fun and shared her same unique sense of humor.

Anthony's first impression of Chrissy: She was hot.

While first impressions are important, what Chrissy and Anthony discovered as their relationship grew was true partnership. In situations that would otherwise make her cringe with embarrassment, Chrissy could feel comfortable knowing that Anthony accepts every ounce of who she is. And Anthony has always been moved by Chrissy's love and acceptance of his family and culture. Every day, her support for not only Anthony but his family as well, is a reminder of why she is The One.

I believe we all desire to be fully loved, appreciated and respected - to have all of the nooks and crannies of who we are be celebrated by another. As their friends and family celebrated the marriage of Chrissy and Anthony, the day was goofy, fun, touching and emotional - a perfect reflection of this unique couple. And in the quiet moments, in embraces and exchanged glances, Chrissy and Anthony celebrated having found each other - their perfect partner.

On Saturday, when Anthony saw his bride for the first time, he cried.
Not just because she was hot (which she was),
but because she was the woman who knew him better than any other, and because he would love and be loved by her...forever.

I had so much fun working with this special couple and their amazing team of vendors:

Planner: Victoria Canada
Ceremony Venue: Brophy Chapel
Reception Venue: Arizona Biltmore
Florist: Le Fleur Boutique
DJ: MT Sounds
Hair: Inhairetance Salon
Videographer: Blueshore Productions

The day started as usual with girly stuff. I love the anemones in Chrissy's bouquet and her Rina di Montella gown:

Anthony sent over a card for Chrissy to read. So sweet:

Off to meet her groom!

Chrissy looked AMAZING:

Some fun portraits around the Biltmore:

Anthony's niece is so cute I had to include her on the blog:

Anthony and most of his guys attended Brophy - an all boys Catholic high school - and Chrissy and most of her girls attended the neighboring Xavier. The bridal party was so much fun - we spent a bunch of time getting some fun creative shots around the school:

We worked in the old-school lockers for a groomsmen shot:

Some fun in the classroom:

What a fun group:

The ceremony took place in the chapel at Brophy. Love this shot of Chrissy and her dad walking down the aisle:

What a gorgeous venue for a wedding:

Chrissy and Anthony's parents all took turns blessing them:

Husband and wife!!

Back at the Biltmore the ballroom was alight with twinkle lights and gorgeous details:

The bridal party did a Beastie Boys Video-inspired grand entrance complete with costumes. I love the mustaches.

The toasts were so touching.

A couple images from the first dance:

And you KNOW with this group that the party was fun!

If you want to see even more images from Anthony and Chrissy's amazing day, click here to watch the slideshow!

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Dix and I just wanted to wish you guys a good weekend!

Weekends for me have little meaning - they're pretty much the same as weekdays except that sometimes I get to work even harder. Tomorrow for instance I get to shoot a wedding! Since I love my job, that's a good thing though.

Dixie, on the other hand, has something not so fun in store for her tomorrow. She gets a haircut. Here she is today - completely oblivious to what is right around the corner - basking in all her shagginess.

Cutest shaggy thing ever.

We'll see you on the flip-side!

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MJ's Camera Bag


Decisions & prioritizing the important

Sometimes I feel like all I do all day long is make decisions.

I try to minimize the number of decisions I have to make as part of my daily routine - I have the same thing for breakfast everyday (my green smoothie), and the same thing for lunch. I've realized that over the years, whenever I buy new clothes, I inevitably stop wearing some of the old ones. It's like I can only deal with a fixed-sized wardrobe. Any larger and there are just too many options - making the decision of what to wear each day paralyzing. It's not that I'm indecisive. I'm actually a pretty decisive person. It's just that there are SO many decisions to be made, I like to make life easier on myself by having a few less to make each day.

Owning a business must at least quadruple the number of decisions you make daily. Emails are nothing but a series of decisions. What makes it on the to-do list for the day is a decision. How much time to allocate to each task, who to say yes or no to, which appointments and opportunities to prioritize - all decisions. And you are responsible for ALL of them. It's overwhelming.

How do you decide what goes on your to-do list each day? As business owners, we're bombarded by demands. Clients need things now, our email inboxes are full of requests, and interacting on social media is increasingly filling our days. It's easy to take a reactionary stance and simply occupy each day with reacting to whatever demands scream the loudest. But are we sacrificing what's really important to making our businesses and LIVES successful when we take a purely reactionary stance? I would say most definitely, yes.

What is important? That's the crucial question that should guide our decisions. Now if only I could tell you what the most important thing you need to do for your business IS, that would wrap up this post quite nice and tidy. Unfortunately, that's another decision you need to make. Some people write business plans. I myself have never had a business plan. And no, I don't know what my business is going to look like in 5 or 10 years. I understand how tools like these can be helpful, but part of me thinks they are just illusions of control. The process of discovering what is important has always been for me a combination of writing down my goals and just taking the next step God reveals to me as I seek Him. I never know what the 10th step is, but I do know the next step and that's enough to occupy today.

What is important for my business and to me personally will likely be different than what is important for you. But by way of example, here's where I'm at in life:

- Spend time resting in and seeking God
- Exercise
- Reaching out to friends

Foundational to business:
- Blogging
- Networking

- Develop a better system for submitting to wedding publications
- Get a Duo sample album done through Queensberry & start offering them to clients
- Develop sponsorship packet for MJ 2 Day and recruit sponsors

I want my daily to-do list to be a reflection of these things that are important to me.

If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to write down your goals. Prioritize them. Decide what is important. Spend part of each day reacting to opportunities and requests. But don't be purely reactionary. Make sure to schedule part of your day in an intentional manner around what is important.

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