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Episode 83: Our Favorite Things!!!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…


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!)
  • 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!
  • 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



Episode 81: Creativity & Vision Wake Up Call!

Anyone who has been in business awhile will struggle from time to time with creativity. Shoots can start to feel very monotonous and routine, and it’s easy to catch yourself capturing the same shots over & over again.

This week, we are joined by the absolutely amazing Alexis Cuarezma! If you don’t know who this is yet, you totally should! He has been commissioned by big names like Nike, Sports Illustrated, and the New York Times (among others!) and is known for his vibrant aesthetic for editorial and commercial shoots. Alexis often shoots celebrity athletes on a VERY strict time crunch, so he is very familiar with tapping into his creativity quickly! He chatted with us this week about awakening your creativity.. and he tells some awesome stories too!

Key Takeaways

  1. Connect with your subjects: Alexis stresses the importance of developing a connection with your subjects before, during, and after your shoots. Since he only has a few minutes with most of his clients, Alexis does a lot of research beforehand. He learns personal facts, stories, and the history of each subject so he has things to chat with them about during their shoot. He finds this is a great way to connect quickly with his subjects & get those awesome shots!
  2. Know who you’re shooting for: As wedding & portrait photographers, a lot of us are shooting for the client. Our style, posing, location, etc all have to please the client in the end. So we need to make sure we keep that in mind while shooting. Commercial photographers oftentimes are shooting for magazine editors. They have to have a style and set up that pleases the company they’re representing. Alexis is so established in his field that he usually gets to shoot for HIMSELF! How rad is that? He gets to incorporate his own vision & creativity in his shoots, which is a luxury not everyone has. However, there’s nothing wrong with shooting for yourself from time to time, whether that’s by incorporating something new & creative in your family shoots, or doing your own side projects. Keeping your creativity alive is easier when you get to use it!
  3. Leave your comfort zone behind! A great way to ignite your creativity is to jump outside your comfort zone. You want to find something that makes you excited and tests your creativity a bit! Kate mentions a shoot she did recently with some pirates that challenged her but ended up totally amazing. Sprinkling shoots like that among your regular shoots (I mean… we have to pay the bills, right?) is a surefire way to help spark some creativity in your schedule!

We really hope you tune in to this full episode; Alexis has some awesome stories & is such an inspirational person!

Relavent Links

Episode 77: THROWBACK- Taxes for Photographers

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 55: Connecting and Networking with Moms

networking with moms 2

It’s no secret that when it comes to the planning of family photos (or let’s be honest… most everything), moms are typically the ones contacting photographers & organizing everything. So it’s SUPER important that we don’t forget the importance of networking with moms. To chat about this, we invited Jillian Darlington to join us in the studio. Jillian is a mom herself, and the CEO of MomCo App. In addition to running her own company, she is also a SheKnows Expert, a member of the Today Show Parenting Team, brand ambassador, and regular parenting expert on Fox5 and CW6 News in San Diego.

MomCo is a FREE app that allows moms to locate and connect with potential mom friends that live close to them with similarly-aged children and common interests. It’s a fantastic resource for moms, and also a great place for networking with moms, as Jillian discusses in our episode!

We have picked our three favorite tips for networking with moms from Jillian… check out the blog below! For more awesome tips, be sure to tune in to our full episode!

networking with moms

Key Takeaways:

  1. Find the Queen Bee. When you’re interested in getting the word out about your business (or a special offer like mini sessions), don’t just look for individual moms, aim to reach out to someone who is in a place of authority. For Facebook, this would be the admin of whatever mom group you’re in. This person likely has a lot of influence over the members in the group, and the members are more likely to trust her opinion. She can also spread the news quickly to other moms.
  2. Consider offering a referral incentive. This isn’t a bad idea for pretty much any client you have, but since moms love to chat with each other about their experiences (good and bad!), offering a referral incentive is a great way to make sure moms are spreading the news about you and your business! This means other people are kind of doing free advertising for you & is a win/win for you & your client… you get more business & they get discounts or free prints!
  3. Build mutually beneficial relationships to spread your brand. The more people you can have working for you and spreading your name around the better. A great way to do this in your area is to do a themed shoot representing a local business. For example, if there’s a cute donut shop in your city, consider doing a mini session featuring their donuts. Be sure to tag them in Instagram posts, and aim to get them reposting and tagging you. By doing this with local businesses, you’re also attracting the attention of moms & other potential clients without actually networking with them directly.

Jillian gives tons of advice for networking with moms, and she’s fantastic with all things business-related, having started her own very successful company herself. Be sure to tune in to hear her entire episode!

Relavent Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Shop great Cards for great Photos at! BorrowLenses Photo & Video Rentals

Episode 54: Lessons Learned in 2016

lessons learned 3

WOW! 2016 is almost over. We can’t believe that we’ve been doing this podcast for almost a full year!! The three of us have definitely learned a ton of valuable things this year, both from the podcast & the amazing guest hosts we have, and from our individual businesses also! We figured this would be a great time to poll some of our listeners and ask them what they’ve learned in 2016. So tune in as we chat about some lessons learned this past year!lessons learned

Our Three Favorite Lessons Learned in 2016:

  1. Do not make exceptions for mini sessions. No more rescheduling! Kate has had a ton of experience with this in 2016 and she JUST had a client do this to her. This defeats the purpose of the mini sessions. Mini Sessions are supposed to be a win/win situation. It’s a win for the client because they get great photos at a special rate, and it’s a win for the photographe
    r because we get to make more money than we normally would per hour (if you’re doing it right!) and we basically get to hang out in one spot all day, so they tend to be a bit easier. However, when people start canceling last minute or attempting to reschedule for a non-mini session day at the mini session rate, the convenience of these mini sessions completely goes away. STAY FIRM. Solidarity, people.
  2. Only accept payment from the contract-signing party. This is so important to make sure that the CLIENT is the one who is in control of the photos. This definitely applies more to weddings than family shoots, but is KEY to happy couples. You don’t want the parents of your couple being in charge of shots, timelines, shot lists, etc. If the money comes from the parents, you’re kind of responsible for keeping them happy. If it comes from the clients, they don’t have as much say in the day of. It’s totally okay if mom and dad are paying…  just make sure they write a check to the wedding couple, and then have the wedding couple pay you.
  3. Sometimes you just have to call it. Bad weather, wardrobe malfunctions, and cranky kids are all things that can lead to a shoot being less than perfect. While our job is to make magic happen even in difficult conditions, our ultimate goal is always to achieve beautiful images that the clients love. One of our lessons learned this year is to know when to call it. Sometimes there are just factors coming into play that we can’t fix. In that case, we should just reschedule or re-do the shoot. In the end, we’re spending more time than we maybe wanted to, but it’s 100% worth it to get images we (and the client!) are happy with.
    lessons learned 2

Relevent Links:

Download from iTunes Here

Download from iTunes Here

Shop great Cards for great Photos at! BorrowLenses Photo & Video Rentals

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