Episode 79: THROWBACK- Newborn Photography with Sophie Crew

newborn

For this week’s throwback episode, we decided to re-release a fan favorite episode about newborn photography with Sophie Crew! Sophie is a top photographer here in San Diego and her work is BEAUTIFUL. She joined us to chat about how she became a newborn photographer and what she’s learned along the way, so we decided to re-share some of her tips on the blog! Download the episode to hear more about Sophie’s story & how she gets those stunningly perfect shots!

Sophie’s Tips:

  • Age- Ideal age for newborn photos is 7-8 days. However, she still has luck with older babies, even up to 4 weeks old! They just take a little longer to get to sleep, and they’re a little bigger so poses and props are different sometimes.
  • The 5 S’s- A soothing technique for babies! The 5 S’s are: Side/stomach position, shushing, swinging, swaddling, and sucking. It’s her go-to when babies are super fussy and having trouble falling asleep!
  • White Noise- When making white noise/shushing, make it REALLY loud. Like… way louder than you think you should. Babies love it because it reminds them of the womb!
  • Maternity Photos- Sophie also photographs maternity clients; she suggests scheduling between 34 & 36 weeks.
  • Feeding- Sophie always sends out a pre-shoot email to her parents before a newborn shoot. In this email she suggests they feed the baby RIGHT before leaving for the studio. She also suggests they arrive a little early to the studio to feed once more. A full baby is a sleepy, happy baby!!
  • Length- Sophie’s typical newborn session lasts approximately 3 hours.

Be sure to download this episode to hear more tips from Sophie! And get excited about Season Two of PhotoSpark… coming soon! Follow us on Facebook to be the first to hear our special announcement!

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Sophie Crew

 



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 78: THROWBACK- Our Embarrassing Stories!

embarrassing stories

We LOVED recording this embarrassing stories episode last year… it’s my absolute favorite personally. So we wanted to share it again while we prep for Season Two! This is definitely an episode you need to listen to to get the full impact, so this blog post won’t really do it any justice!

Ok… now that I’m listening to this, it’s definitely mostly MY embarrassing stories (spoiler alert, Kate does the blog posts). So if you want to hear about the time I swallowed a fly and barfed during a shoot, ran into a client at a concert while reeeeally drunk, and/or the time I got pooped on by a pelican, tune in! Julie, Ashley, and guesthouse Terran DO contribute some funny stories too, don’t get me wrong! But I’m starting to think this is maybe my issue…. hm…..

embarrassing storiesLet us know what you think!! And PLEASE share some of your own embarrassing stories on our Facebook page to make me feel better!

 



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 77: THROWBACK- Taxes for Photographers

taxes
This week, as we prep for Season Two of PhotoSpark, we decided to share another favorite episode with you guys. We know one of the biggest mistakes business owners make regarding taxes is waiting until the last minute to get everything together. At least, I know that’s MY issue! So we are hoping that releasing this Throwback Episode again NOW in the middle of summer, you’ll find inspiration to organize everything you have for 2017 so far… thus making your life easier come April of next year!

 

Key Takeaways:

  • DO #1: Have a business checking account. One of our most important tax tips for photographers is to have separate accounts for your business and personal transactions. Melissa admits that she commingled the two for awhile (I’m not going to lie; I totally did too!) and it made things a bit of a mess when she got audited. She ended up having to claim income for deposits that weren’t actually business related, which cost her money in the end, because she couldn’t prove they were personal deposits (things like gifts for birthdays, payments from friends, etc). So definitely make sure you have two accounts and keep them separate!
  • DO #2: Have a reputable CPA you can trust! The guy who was doing Melissa’s taxes at the time she was audited, kind of left her high & dry when it came down to it! He also wasn’t giving her advice that was 100% accurate, which ended up meaning she owed money to the IRS that she didn’t even know she owed. It’s very important to know whoever is helping you with your taxes (and yes, you SHOULD definitely have someone helping you with your taxes, unless maybe you were an accountant in your former life) is trustworthy & knows their stuff!
  • DO #3: Keep a record of EVERYTHING. This is probably the number one tip in our tax tips episode, and it means keeping receipts, keeping contracts, keeping track of people who have worked for you under a 1099 form, gas logs, mileage logs, parking fees… EVERYTHING. And keep it organized as you go. Melissa learned the hard way that her auditor didn’t really care to see a shoebox full of random receipts!
  • DON’T #1: Don’t be afraid to talk to the IRS. Kate can attest to this as well as Melissa, because she had a situation a few years ago that caused her to set up an installment plan with the IRS. She was nervous to call & get scolded, but in the end, the tax guy on the other end of the line was super nice, super helpful, and set up an installment plan for her pretty easily!
  • DON’T #2: Don’t wait too long to find a tax person! Melissa’s tax person is pretty famous among San Diego photographers because she’s excellent at photography-related tax issues. She books up pretty instantly each year, so make sure you don’t procrastinate when looking for a CPA… chances are the good ones in your area will book up quickly too!

Relevent Links:



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 76: THROWBACK Episode- Improving SEO

improving SEO

We have some BIG news! We are launching SEASON TWO of PhotoSpark this summer! EEK! Season One was awesome… we have learned SO much about Podcasting & have enjoyed chatting with tons of special, amazing guests! We’ve applied so many of the lessons we’ve learned to our own businesses and are reaping the benefits. Now that we know exactly where we’re headed, we decided to take a few weeks to get our content together for Season Two! In the meantime, please enjoy this throwback episode from last year! In this episode, we chat with Melissa Mitchell about improving SEO and Google results!

improving SEO

Key Takeaways

  1. Image names MATTER. When you’re blogging or adding images to a gallery on your website, you want to make sure they have keywords that represent exactly what you’d want them to pop up for in Google. Naming them after the client might be an easy way to keep your images organized, so you can go ahead and keep doing that for yourself, but when uploading online, you want to rename them. For example, if you did a wedding at the Hotel Del in San Diego, you’d name a handful of files “hotel-del-wedding-photography.” This helps anyone who is googling that phrase to see your images pop up. The rest of the images in the set can be descriptive (like “bridal-portraits” or “beach-wedding-photography.”
  2. Don’t worry TOO much about consistency in old posts, but keep consistent with current ones. Melissa stresses consistency as key to improving SEO. You want to be blogging consistently, posting on social media consistently, and have a consistent style that pops up in Google. When it comes to style consistency, don’t worry about going back into your archives and retouching old images to match your current style, but you should make sure all new blog posts are representative of this style. That way when your images pop up under a Google search, they’re appealing to your current, target demographic.
  3. Link it up! The more often you link outward to other people, and the more often they link to you, the better! The bigger the website that is linking you the better (for example, a link on Style Me Pretty is going to get you tons of traffic and helps with improving SEO). Linking back to people additionally helps SEO but it’s a great way to build community & relationships within your field.

We hope you enjoyed this week’s Throwback episode! We can’t wait to bring you even more awesome guests like Melissa in Season Two of PhotoSpark!

 



Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Episode 75: Hiring an Assistant for your Photography Business



Download from iTunes Here
hiring an assistant

This is a perfect time for photographers to start considering ways to improve their workflow. Wedding busy season is in full swing, so wedding photographers are realizing just how much work they’re doing on a daily basis, and holiday season is right around the corner so family portrait photographers are trying to put strategies in place to make that as easy as possible. One of the best ways to streamline your photography business is by hiring an assistant! Hiring an assistant can be scary, so we’re here to help! We invited Jennifer Dery on the show this week & she’s worked with many assistants, second shooters, retouchers, etc… so she’s the perfect person to chat with about this topic! Enjoy!

hiring an assistant

Key Takeaways:

  1. Watch for good composition right off the bat. This tip applies to second shooters. Jennifer mentions that you can totally teach technical things like exposure, posing, etc… but you typically can’t teach good composition. People tend to either have an eye for photography or not. You want to make sure you find someone who you don’t have to sink a TON of time into training. There will of course be a learning curve for them, and plan on spending some time teaching & helping them help you, especially in the beginning, but the less time you have to spend on that the better!
  2. Find an assistant who shares your communication style with clients. One of the biggest concerns when hiring an assistant for client communication is that they will have a completely different “voice” than you do when speaking to clients. If you find someone who writes emails in a similar style AND chats with clients over the phone in a similar style, you’re golden! You want to make sure you’re not missing out on your ideal clients because your assistant isn’t properly representing YOU. You also want to empower employees to make decisions, while also making sure they defer to you for client questions. They shouldn’t take over the client relationship, they should add to it. This will help clients still feel connected to YOU and not just your assistant.
  3. Be honest and upfront with your job description. Not only do you want to make sure you find someone who is open to constructive criticism, you also have to make sure you find someone who is willing to do all the jobs you want to ask of them! Take some time before hiring an assistant to figure out exactly what you want them to do for you. Are they coming to your home? Working remotely? Are they expected to pick up your kids from time to time or are they ONLY doing photography related tasks? Will they be shooting during photoshoots or just holding equipment? All of these things are things to consider and should be included on paper in your assistant’s job description. It’s better to think of everything you need help with ahead of time, so you know they’re up for the task!

hiring an assistant

We hope you enjoyed this episode about hiring an assistant! Ashley’s new assistant starts soon, so she’s definitely going to be sharing about the process in future episodes and keeping us posted on how everything’s going! Have you hired an assistant? Do you have any tips to add? Drop us a line on our Facebook page!

hiring an assistant

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