Archive of ‘Personal’ category

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). ūüôā

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


Maybe Later: The Procrastination Episode!

We think one of the BIGGEST hurdles in owning your own business is pretty much being on your own timeline. Without a boss lurking around, it’s very easy to put tasks off until later & chill on the couch bingewatching Grey’s Anatomy instead of doing your work. The three of us definitely struggle with procrastination on a regular basis, so we decided to do an episode all about it! Tune in while we chitchat about ways we put off important tasks, haha, and hear how we deal with fixing it!


Key Takeaways

  1. UNPLUG.¬†We might be beating a dead horse on this one because we’ve totally talked about this in the past but it’s the EASIEST way to keep yourself from procrastinating. Unplugging from social media, Netflix, texting, heck even your family sometimes will really help you be more efficient with your workflow.
  2. Just do it.¬†This applies to that stuff that’s awkward or hard that you just kind of don’t want to deal with. The longer you put off that uncomfortable phone call, the harder it will be to make it. Ashley’s strategy is to pick up the phone immediately and tackle the awkwardness. She makes a great point that she doesn’t want her clients to linger on their feelings waiting for a response from her. The faster you just do whatever it is you aren’t looking forward to, the easier it will be in the long run.
  3. Reward yourself.¬†This is another thing that’s tough about not being in a typical office job, you don’t really get accolades for your hard work. I mean, at least not from other people. Clients loving their photos is amazing, but at the end of the day, a lot of us need little rewards along the way. This can be something as small as getting your nails done after finishing culling a long wedding, or as big as giving yourself a raise & increasing your prices! Set a goal, finish that goal, and reward yourself. Even tiny things like a cup of coffee or a 30 minute break to watch a TV show will go a long way in keeping you productive & preventing procrastination.

Relevant Links



Wwwwwwww…. long time no see!! We are SOOO excited to bring you the new, revamped PhotoSpark… season TWO! This season is going to be full of awesome guests, new topics, and maybe even a few special get-togethers to meet you guys!! This first episode is just a quick one to catch you guys up on what’s been going on in OUR lives since we last chatted, so tune in to hear some updates from the PhotoSpark ladies!

Julie Ferneau

For those of you who don’t already know Julie, she’s the wedding photographer of the group! She is a social butterfly who is amazing at keeping up with networking on TOP of her booming photography business! The past few months have been packed with second shooting gigs in addition to her own clients. Julie has had a few THREE wedding weekends over the summer, which to me is completely crazy!

There’s really no end to the “wedding season” in San Diego. The weather is amazing year round, and couples take advantage of the cooler fall and winter weather in addition to the spring & summer! So Julie has been knocking it out of the park all year!

Julie gives some tips in this episode about second shooting, as well as outsourcing editing, which she has done for the very first time! For the listeners who have been with us for (almost) two years, you’ll love to hear that Julie is outsourcing to Lauren Nygard, one of the original PhotoSpark hosts! She’s a new mom now, living in North Carolina, and is helping Julie with editing & matched her style perfectly! Julie is loving the smooth process & having a little less on her plate!

Ashley DuChene

Ashley is a family & child photographer, who also takes on some corporate clients throughout the year! She is keeping busy for sure!! It’s been a long road, but Ashley now officially has an assistant, who she trained to help with her photography business. The training process was lengthy; Ashley had to make training videos and teach her assistant all about photography, but she is SUCH a great fit for Ashley! Ashley is enjoying having someone write emails, make/answer phone calls, and help at shoots too! Her assistant has been taking behind the scenes video for Ashley’s Instagram feed, so make sure you follow her to watch her stories/live updates!

Ashley gives some tips about having an assistant in this episode. She talks about the benefits of an assistant, as well as the time it took to get everything in place. There were some financial commitments she had to make to get her started, and it’s still a little tough for Ashley to be spending more money. She’s DEFINITELY making more money though, so it has been worth it for her so far!

Having an assistant & being able to delegate tasks has helped Ashley plow through this busy season successfully! Be sure to tune in to hear about her process!

Kate Mills

Kate is also a family & child photographer who is laughing at the term “busy season” because really it feels like we go from one busy season (summer) to the next (fall/holiday shoots). There isn’t anything super new or exciting in her life at the moment, she’s just trying to find that work/life balance & chats about how she is starting to wonder if there really IS a balance or if that is just a myth! Currently, she’s doing her best to streamline her business better, which will really help get through this NEXT busy season and come out alive!

The best thing she did this year was automating her mini session scheduling! She used¬†BookedIN¬†and set it up so clients could pick their desired date & location from her calendar. They’d click on the time slot they wanted, fill out their contact info, and pay their session fee via PayPal right then & there. This has helped TREMENDOUSLY and has cut out the back and forth that mini sessions usually bring! It also ensures Kate isn’t chasing down any session payments. It took some time to set up, but saved a lot in the long run!

Kate also speaks about¬†mini sessions… a lot of photographers are moving away from them which is totally fine, but she finds that they do provide some financial security during the holidays. She talks¬†about why she does them, some regrets about them, and how to make them work for you!

THANK YOU so much you guys for your patience with the launch of Season Two! I promise we’ll be good with our weekly episodes from here on out! Please feel free to check us out on social media & drop us a line!



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 71: Work, Life, and Family Balance


Let’s start with an easy statement: Finding balance as a business owner is HARD. Seriously, SERIOUSLY hard. Whether you’re single & trying to find balance between work & time with friends, or you’re married with a bunch of kids & trying to find balance among that, balance is a struggle for most business owners. I know as a new mom, I often find it tough to feel good at the end of the day. Either I spent too much time on work stuff & missed spending time with my kiddo, or I played around with my kiddo all day and neglected some work stuff. It’s really hard to have a perfect day where you feel accomplished in all areas of your life. However, it’s very important that we figure out ways to do this, and to help us with this, we have Cathy Olson on the show this week! Cathy went through a pretty life-changing experience as a new mom and business owner a few years back, and it helped put everything in perspective for her. She’s nailed this work, life, family balance thing & in this episode she gives some tips to help you do the same!


Key Takeaways

  1. Get your priorities straight.¬†To start, pick three important things you have to accomplish today. Don’t try to do everything at once. It’s easy (especially as women!) to feel pressure to do it all. However, picking just three things will help you feel accomplished at the end of the day, which will help you feel good about your day! That way, if you get more done, you feel even BETTER, but if you don’t it’s not a big deal. Kate has a strategy where she picks one business thing, one family thing, and one personal thing each day that she has to accomplish.¬†This helps her feel like no area of her life is being neglected.
  2. Streamline your processes. We know we have covered this before but this is KEY to work, life, family balance as a business owner! There are many ways to streamline. Firstly, you can hire someone to take on some of your tasks. Whether this is an in-person office assistant, a virtual assistant to help with emails, or a retouching company, letting go of small tasks can add up to tons of extra time to spend with family or friends. Secondly, you can also make the most of organization apps and studio management software like Ashley & Julie do (whattup ShootQ!). By being efficient in your workflow, you free up time to spend in other areas of your life!
  3. Unplugging works both ways! Not only is it important to unplug from work stuff when you’re with your family or friends, but it’s also crucial to unplug from family & friend stuff when you’re working! Unplugging in either direction will help you be present and in the moment with whatever you’re doing at the moment, therefore helping you make the most of the time you have! Cathy mentions when she’s on a ¬†business trip, she is pretty much unplugged from her family. Not only does this make her a more effective networker, it keeps her in the right mindset because she isn’t worrying about problems going on at home. On the other hand, unplugging from work stuff when spending time with your family is equally as important. Your kids, husband, boyfriend, best friend, etc should have your undivided attention as much as possible when you’re getting quality personal time in.


We hope you guys download this episode to hear more tips from Cathy about work, life, and family balance. This is such an important conversation to have, because so many of us feel like we are failing in these areas! The key to happiness as a business owner is figuring this stuff out, so let’s do it together! Do you have some tips to share about balance? Share them on our Facebook page!

Relevant Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Bonus Videos:

Cathy is an AWESOME web developer & also has some rad videos on her YouTube channel! Here are two bonus videos from Cathy that you guys should watch. They’re great!

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