Criticism: Don’t Take it Personally


criticism

Photo Cred: Your Face is Rad

Today we are chatting about everyone’s FAVORITE topic…. criticism!! If you guys are anything like me, the thought of having someone criticize you (in any way!) makes you get a little nauseous! It’s a huge weakness of mine, and something I’ve had to really work on over the years, because it’s a normal part of life! And it’s actually a GOOD part of life! Criticism helps us grow, both in our business & in our personal lives. It’s what you do with the criticism that makes all the difference. So here are a few tips from us here at PhotoSpark about handling criticism!

Key Takeaways:

  1. Accepting it is a muscle. That’s a confusing sentence, but what we mean by this is it takes time to build up your brain to accept criticism in a healthy way. It’s a cognitive process that you have to really work on over and over again to improve. It’s very easy to take things personally, and it’s a trained exercise to take it without getting your feelings hurt or challenging your self worth.
  2. Learn to GIVE criticism properly. This is just as important as learning to receive criticism. In our industry, there are many areas where we can give others constructive (key word… constructive!) criticism, especially when dealing with assistants, editors, or second shooters. Everyone knows the old adage of giving a criticism sandwich (a compliment, followed by constructive criticism, followed up with another compliment). The more you are to be able to GIVE constructive criticism, the more likely you are to be able to take it as well.
  3. If it seems over the top, give yourself a break. Oftentimes, when people are criticizing you about something, there are external factors at play as well. ESPECIALLY with photography. When you go above & beyond to try to fix the problem but nothing is working, let yourself off the hook a little. If you’re pleased with the images, and they’re technically on par with the rest of your work, chances are there’s something the client is feeling self-conscious about that is affecting their opinion of their shoot. Maybe the client put on a few pounds this year, or they were in a fight with their spouse & can see it in the images, or their kids didn’t have a good enough nap so they can tell they aren’t as smiley as usual. There are so many things that go on behind the scenes… sometimes it isn’t our fault!

We hope this episode came at a good time for you guys! We know with the year wrapping up, tensions can be a little high, so criticism can be extra painful. If you liked this episode, please subscribe to us on iTunes and leave us a positive review!!!

Relevant Links:



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Jingle Bells, Family Photos, & Holiday Burnout

holiday burnout

HELLO PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHERS!!! (I had to put that in all caps to “yell” above the CHAOS that is the holiday portrait season so you guys could hear me). 🙂

In all seriousness, who else is feeling totally drained right now?! Holiday portraits SHOULD be dwindling down (unless you have superhero-esque turnaround times), but even so, you should be coming to the end of your shoots for 2017. How are you guys feeling?! Over here, we’re feeling pretty good this year, but still pretty stressed! Julie’s off galavanting in Iowa (although, traveling for the holidays has its own set of stressors!), but Kate & Ashley were still rockin the family portraits up until last week, and I (Kate), still have a makeup day coming up this weekend!

We decided now was a great time to chit chat about holiday burnout.. more specifically, how to avoid holiday burnout! Enjoy this PhotoSpark episode all about the holidays!

Key Takeaways

  1. There’s more to life than being busy. It’s so easy to get caught up with being “busy.” It’s how we all respond to people when they ask us how we’re doing this time of year. “Oh, I’m good, but I’m SO BUSY.” Take a look at your daily life, and see if there’s anything you can cut out to make it LESS busy. Can you imagine if we all felt relaxed & refreshed instead of feeling busy all the time? It’s not an easy thing to do, but eliminating some unnecessary tasks during the holiday season can help us avoid holiday burnout. Maybe you do New Years cards instead of rushing to get your family Christmas cards out. Or maybe you skip making the cookies this year, or you hire someone to help keep your house clean for the rotating company that’s streaming in. If there’s something you can do to make yourself less busy, now’s the time to do it!
  2. Pick an end date & stick with it. We’re telling you this for next year, and we’re also telling OURSELVES this for this year, because I’m pretty sure none of us succeeded in this this year. To be fair, I was SUPER close… but the crazy wildfires here in North County San Diego caused a few clients to need to reschedule their shoots, so I am ending up shooting past my “end” date. But usually, it’s a good idea to pick a date at least a few weeks before the end of the year, as your final day for photos. It gives you something to look forward to, and also ensures that you won’t be accidentally screwing over any clients with turnaround times.
  3. Shop online. If you’re not on Amazon yet, come out of your cave, and sign up. Kate’s a huge fan of Subscribe & Save as well; it can save you SO much money & time! We pretty much don’t even go to the store anymore. Think of all the time you’ll save this season buy buying online.



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

 

Modern School Portraiture: Changing the face of school portraits


Download from iTunes Here

Oh man; do you guys remember school photo day?! I have very vivid memories of being like, 10 years old and sitting on that little stool, while some dude told me to put my feet on the “x” and tilt my head to the left, lean my shoulder down, chin up just a bit, and SMILE! School portraits have come a long way since then (for the lucky ones!), and this episode will explore the world of school portrait photography! There’s nobody better to have on to discuss this than Natalie Chiles, who is ROCKING the school portrait niche in San Diego! She discusses how she built her business around school photography, as well as some tips & tricks for our listeners who might be interested in diving into school photography!

Key Takeaways

  1. Modern School Portraiture: In a lot of areas, San Diego included, there’s a bit of a monopoly on school photography. We still do have the big company that goes from school to school with their little stool & their 1-2 photos of each kid. However, preschools and private schools don’t have to buy into this company! Natalie aims for private meetings with school administrators, where she discusses modern school portraiture, and how it differs from typical school portraits. She brings sample photos and talks about her process, and once they see her work, it’s easy for the administrators to see how she’s different and why they should go with her instead of the other guys!
  2. Be personal & take your time!! This is the difference between modern school portraiture and regular school portraits. Natalie aims to spend 2-3 minutes with each kid. She focuses completely on them, and chit chats with them to relate to them, get them to open up, and make them comfortable. Her goal is to get 5 different expressions to present to the parents, which differs greatly from a lot of the other companies who usually just pick the “best shot” and send it to the parents.
  3. Bring an assistant. School portrait day is a LOT of work. Sometimes there are hundreds of kids, so staying organized is KEY. Otherwise, there’s a huge risk of mislabeling photos which makes for a huge mess when you’re trying to deliver the right galleries to the right parents! Assistants can help with all that, as well as help get kids to smile, relax, and be comfortable in front of the camera.

There are SO many more awesome points to hear on the episode. This is such a cool niche of photography that hasn’t really been oversaturated yet! Please be sure to download off iTunes, or you can listen below!!

Relevant Links:

Overwhelmed by busy season?! ShootQ to the rescue!

Have you guys heard about the BIG changes coming to ShootQ? We have, and we have been SO excited to see them roll out! If you aren’t using ShootQ, you are missing out on a CRAZY valuable tool for your photography business. Chances are, if you’re doing something manually in your business, ShootQ can take it over, and provide you with precious extra time! Emailing the same thing over and over? ShootQ can handle that. Still having clients sign their contracts in person? Let ShootQ email them a digital contract. Tired of collecting payments or sending invoices manually? Look no further. At this point, we’re wondering if there’s anything ShootQ CAN’T handle for us!

We are SO excited about the changes, we invited Adam Fried back on the show to chat with us a bit about what’s new, what’s the same, and what to expect from the revamped ShootQ. Tune in to hear how you can take advantage of ShootQ to help you with your photography business!

Key Takeaways

  • Take FULL advantage of the free trial. Oftentimes, we’ll sign up for a free trial for something, dip our toe in, and get so overwhelmed with the whole process that we don’t really end up using whatever it is to it’s full extent, which means we’re just confused the whole 30 or 60 days or whatever, and end up not subscribing to the service at the end. So here’s the awesome thing. ShootQ is designed to really help you with setting everything up. They help make the on boarding process fun, so you get incentives to complete your set up. There’s always someone to help you,
  • Don’t be scared of change! If you already use ShootQ, don’t be scared they’re going to mix everything up on you! You have the option to keep things the same for as long as you like, and ShootQ is rolling out new features slowly, so you can very easily make the switch without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Utilize questionnaires. Questionnaires are a GREAT way to know all sorts of things about your clients. From the very first inquiry, you can use a ShootQ questionnaire to find out more info about your client & what kind of shoot they’re looking for. After the shoot, you can use a questionnaire to find out what worked, what didn’t, and get honest feedback about your shoot. ShootQ has unlimited questionnaires you can send your clients, which makes the whole process very easy and streamlined!
  • Keep track of all of your clients. ShootQ makes it SO easy to keep track of your clients. First off, obviously all their information is saved in your ShootQ, so you know their contact info. Also, you can look back on ALL your past shoots, and you can see notes you’ve made throughout the years. This is great for something like locations. You can make a note of what locations you’ve already used, so you know new locations to offer them. You can also note important things like birthdays and anniversaries, so you can send little notes or gifts on those big days!
  • GO MOBILE. These guys are rolling out an AWESOME mobile app to go along with their service. It’s going to be revamped, and easier to use than ever. You’ll have all your client info at your fingertips, all the time. So if you forget something before the shoot (like dad’s name… raise your hand if you’ve done that!), you can quickly look it up & save yourself!

Of course, Adam talks about a LOT more ShootQ features, as well as shares a hilarious story about #vanlife. (You just have to listen, I can’t explain that here!) So be sure to download this episode now! THANKS FOR LISTENING!! Have a great week everybody!

 



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 83: Our Favorite Things!!!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…

… YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! EVERYBODY GETS A CAR!!!!!

OK… maybe our Favorite Things episode isn’t going to be AS exciting as the amazing musical, Sound of Music OR Oprah giving her whole audience cars. But we are pretty excited about it nonetheless!

One of the things we tend to miss about having an office job is the interpersonal relationships you build in a setting like that. You’re constantly chatting with co-workers (if you’re lucky) about a myriad of topics, including things you’re obsessed with at the moment! We decided to bring a bit of that atmosphere to the show this week, and we’re talking about our Favorite Things!! Most of them are “semi” photography related, but we weren’t too worried about that. We just wanted to dish about some stuff we’ve been loving lately!! Here’s a highlight of our favorite things… tune in to hear more!

  • Rothy’s: Julie is OBSESSED with her new shoes. These shoes are made from recycled water bottles (yay!) and are SUPER cute and comfortable! The best part is, they’re great for weddings & shoots because they’re machine washable!! You don’t want to be worried that your shoes are stinking up the hotel room when you’re taking “getting ready” photos, so this is a huge plus! Go check them out, and if you buy with this link, you’ll get a discount! (And Julie will get a hookup, so it’s a win/win situation!) https://go.referralcandy.com/share/D8ZDD28
  • Podcasts: This is a GIVEN, but of course we are all obsessed with Podcasts! Podcasts help time pass faster, especially while driving or working, and they are educational AND entertaining! We plan on doing a whole episode on our favorite podcasts in the future, so definitely stay tuned for that!
  • Playstation Vue: Cable is SO 2014. Kate & her husband have been cable free for quite awhile now, but have always hated not having live TV. Playstation Vue is a new app (you don’t need a Playstation for it!) that you can stream to your TV via your phone, or Roku (or similar) device and you actually get live TV along with DVR, on demand, and more! It’s great for mindlessly listening & “watching” Fixer Upper while editing shoots!
  • Bandolier: This thing is rad. It’s like a purse, meets a phone case, meets a wallet. It’s a luxury product (not super cheap) but it replaces your phone case & purse! It’s SO hard to describe so you have to go check it out yourself, but it’s great for photoshoots because you can keep your essentials on your body, it hides your phone (so it doesn’t look unprofessional), and it stays around your neck so it’s nice & safe. Again, Julie’s hooking it up with a referral code, so go check it out for yourself! https://go.referralcandy.com/share/C4X68PH
  • Etsy: A lot of people think Etsy is just for handmade items, but there are a lot of awesome digital templates & business-related things on Etsy! It’s a go-to place to find a designer, templates, contracts, client gifts, etc!
  • Greetabl: Speaking of client gifts, Greetabl is an AMAZING gifting service! It’s not just a packaged gift, it’s totally personalized with pictures, text, etc. They have such cute stuff on their site, everything from cute office supplies to champagne gummy bears, and more. It’s SO easy to order & send straight to your clients. We’re obsessed with this company right now!
  • Instagram Live: Ashley has been using Instagram Live for awhile now, and she’s loving it! She can interact with fans & friends, and people get to see what she’s up to at her shoots! IG Live will send out a notification to your followers, so it’s a bit more celebrated than just doing a story or regular Instagram post.
  • Lipsense: If you haven’t heard of Lipsense yet, you must not be on social media. This is an awesome product that’s basically long lasting lip color. It’s a lip stain plus a gloss, and they have a bajillion options for both. The color does not transfer at all, even immediately upon application. It’s perfect for wedding photographers because all you have to do is reapply the gloss throughout the day, and it will stay on forever!

We hope you don’t mind us gabbing about our favorite things!! Let us know if YOU have a favorite thing that we should know about and try!



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

 

 

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