For Photographers

New Crazy-amazing sponsor!

Have you guys seen and touched a Destination I Do Magazine? This magazine is to die for. It's gorgeous and makes you want to get married somewhere exotic just so you can be in it. Destination I Do has an international circulation of 100,000 copies a year and is sold in places like Barnes & Noble, Safeway, Kroger, Fry's Food & Drug, Giant and many more. If you haven't touched one for yourself, you'll want to get on that right now.

I'm still trying to recover from the shock of it, but Destination I Do just came on as the newest sponsor of the MJ2DAY and for each workshop, they are GIVING AWAY to one very lucky attendee, a full-page ad in an upcoming issue. Do you know how much you would have to pay for that ad if you didn't win it? You probably do since I wrote it above. But it bears repeating. $8,000. Eight thousand dollars. 8KDollars.

I only have 13 attendees at every workshop. One of them will win a free full-page ad in an international destination wedding publication valued at $8,000. Those odds may just be worth the price of attendance ($1,100) even if you AREN'T interested in the workshop :).

We now have 10 generous sponsors for the MJ2DAY who are giving away a grand total of $16,565 worth of amazing stuff to 13 attendees. That's an average of $1,274 per attendee. And the workshop costs $1,100. My favorite subject in high school was math but this has to be my favorite math EVER.

The June MJ2DAY in Annapolis is filled up, but we still have spots available in the August workshop in Orange County, CA. For all the details check out the official MJ2DAY workshop website!

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For Photographers

Photographer Survey

Thank you SO much to all of you who filled out my professional photographer survey this last week! So far, 212 of you have shared your goals, dreams and frustrations with me and I am SO grateful for your transparency, time and willingness to share. I'm seriously blown away. Reading through your answers makes me want to sit down and have coffee with so many of you. In many cases, I can relate to your goals and dreams as well as your frustrations.

I wanted to share with you some of the results of the survey in a very general fashion.

Most of you are women:

In your 20s & 30s:

Some have a clear specialty and some are still trying to figure that out:

There is a wide range for how long you've been in business, with most being somewhere between 1-5 years:

The remaining 8 survey questions were open-ended. Meaning ESSAY :). I knew this would mean loads of reading for me, but I couldn't bear to do multiple choice because I didn't want to put answers in your heads. I wanted to get the most accurate, nuanced answers I could. And you gave me just that!

Even though I've been reading through your answers nearly every day for 10 days, I'm still no where near being done with them. I think I may have bit off more than I could chew -- ha! But I'm still loving it! So far, I've read through 120 of the 212 responses and am working on tallying them as I go, to get a general feel for where you're all at. I can't possibly summarize all of your responses here, but I will give you some general impressions and the most popular responses to each question:

What is your biggest goal for your business this year?
54 of the 120 responses I've read so far have goals in the area of marketing and booking more clients. This is by far the most common goal. Other goals were largely in the areas of website & branding, raising pricing & profits and workflow & organization.

What is your biggest dream for your business over the course of your career?
Oh, how I loved reading these. You guys are AMAZING! Fifty-six of you mentioned dreams that fell in the area of having a full-time, profitable business that also gave you flexibility in your lifestyle and time to spend with your families. Other dreams included being respected/in-demand, and enjoying what you do/creating something beautiful. You also dream of making an impact on others, building relationships with your clients and making them happy. It seems like most people want to pay the bills doing something they love that matters to others.

What frustrates you the most about your business right now?
The most popular responses fell into these categories:
40 - Not enough business or money for equipment, and frustration with marketing
29 - Not enough time, difficult to balance all there is to do
22 - Pricing, confidence in sales, dealing with price-shoppers, clients not seeing value
12 - Economy, saturated market, the competition, and trying to differentiate

In what area of your business do you feel the most insecurity and lack of knowledge?
Popular responses were:
26 - Flash & Off-camera lighting
25 - Marketing & Branding
22 - Bookkeeping & Finances

What is your least favorite task of all the things you have to do for your business?
Far and away, bookkeeping/taxes and culling/editing took the cake on this one.

If there was one thing someone could teach you that you would pay big money to learn, what would it be?
Many of your answers fell in the areas of marketing/branding, and building a solid and successful business.

In a way, I wish you could all read one another's answers. I think there is so much value in knowing you are not alone. So many others out there share your struggles and frustrations. We're all on the journey and there is not one single person out there who has it all figured out. We're all in process and the important thing is that we're all moving in the direction of our goals and dreams. One step at a time.

Thank you all so much for entrusting me with this information. I promise you I will read through every response. And I will be using this information to help me reach some of my upcoming goals. If you're a professional photographer and you still haven't had time to fill out the survey, I will leave it up for a few more days. I would love to hear from you!

And as promised, I randomly picked one photographer who took the time to fill out the survey to win their choice of a free hour of coaching (Skype, phone or in person), a free bundle of my album design templates, or a free album design through Align. And the WINNER is....Jill Koch of Photography by Jill. Yay!

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Album Design Templates


Happy birthday Noah!

Just wanted to wish my sweet nephew Noah a Happy 12th Birthday today! This photo is from his party on Saturday. I love it because it shows his absolute love and enthusiasm for life. It reminds me of a few Christmases ago when he used to exclaim when opening every present, "IT'S A BOX!"

Noah -- You light up your little corner of the world and are such a joy. I'm so glad God made me your aunt.

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Hall family portaits

Happy memorial day everyone! I hope you're enjoying some time off today with family!

I recently got to spend some time with this cute family. (I just so happened to get my new Canon 5D Mark III in the mail 2 hours before this shoot so this was it's trial run!) If you've been following my blog for very long, you'll recognize them. I shot Michael & Kindra's wedding three years ago and have photographed them a gazillion times since. Arn just turned one and Kindra is expecting baby #2 -- a GIRL! -- so we thought it was time to document the cuteness again!

Kindra is so stunning:

Arn has the biggest smile that just lights up his face, but he also has a serious streak. Apparently he takes his book reading very seriously:

Zeek, one of the family cats, joined in on the photo fun:

I love how enthralled Arn was when Michael started playing his guitar:

Somebody wants to be just like daddy when he grows up!

Sweet mommy time:

Love you guys! Can't wait to meet baby #2!!


Equipment used for this shoot: Canon 5D Mark III // Canon 50mm 1.2 lens

Photographers -- I'm sure many of you will want to know my thoughts on the MarkIII. So far so good! I love the focus control I had with this shoot. We are still getting acquainted, but I'll try to share a more comprehensive review with you soon!

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Frivolous Friday vol. 19

Frivolous: playful, lighthearted, trivial; the little things in life that should be savored.

Favorite Outfit of the Week -- Dress: Anthropologie / Cardigan: LOFT / Heels: Steve Madden / Necklace: Etsy

Highlight of the week: Reading photographers' dreams and frustrations shared through this survey. Love that so many poured their hearts out to me, and felt myself remembering and relating to so much of what was shared. If you are a professional photographer and haven't filled it out yet, there's still time. I would love to hear from you!

Yes, I did this:
1 -- Had an anxiety attack when trying to use the new version of Camera RAW/Photoshop. I clearly don't deal well with change.
2 -- Stayed up until 1:30am playing Temple Run on my iPhone. But don't worry, it was time well spent. I unlocked Zack Wonder, football star.

Got this fun package from the UPS man. Took me a full 45 minutes to get my 5D Mark III set up with all the settings I wanted. What an amazing tool cameras have become. Will share more of my thoughts on it once we've gotten the chance to become better acquainted.

Celebrating: So You Think You Can Dance started! BEST SHOW EVER. Besides FRIENDS of course. Re-watched the "pivot" episode for the gazillionth time. "This couch is cut in half. I would like to exchange it for one that is NOT cut in half." I die laugh-crying every time.

Excited about the wide open weekend ahead. Hoping to keep everyone alive at my nephew's pool-side birthday party tomorrow. With each year the size and quantity of the boys running around and jumping into the pool from every angle increases exponentially. My paranoid aunt hat may make an appearance.

Feeling Blessed: Feeling so challenged and excited about different business possibilities for the future. It's all so overwhelming, but God is amazing and has always been faithful to lead one step at a time.

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