9 Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Photographer

9 Ways to Practice Self-Care as a Photographer

Busy season is still going STRONG, so I'm sharing nine ways to practice self-care as a photographer!

The scheduling hack that will change your life

The scheduling hack that will change your life

Today I’m going over how to optimize your calendar and your time with ONE easy trick. It will save you the most time with zero effort, and once you start this, you’ll never go back!

What no one tells you about being an entrepreneur

What no one tells you about being an entrepreneur

There are so many glamorous things about entrepreneurship. No boss! Flexible schedule! Work in pajamas! FREEDOM! But there’s a part of entrepreneurship that no one tells you…

How a thank you note can change your life

How a thank you note can change your life

Click to read how something as simple as a hand-written thank you note can literally change your life in the most unexpected ways - and find out the crazy story of how I became Johnny Cupcakes’ photographer.

What to do about Facebook's 2018 newsfeed announcement

What to do about Facebook's 2018 newsfeed announcement

So, fellow entrepreneur, you've heard about the newsfeed algorithm change that's rolling out soon - and you're FREAKING OUT that this is the end of organic Facebook reach for your small business. Here's how to take action and keep reaching customers!

Surprising tips for the perfect magazine submission

Surprising tips for the perfect magazine submission


Now that you know how to get publishedit's time to learn how to craft the PERFECT submission! The process might surprise you!


Shoot the hell out of every detail at a wedding, vertical and horizontal. You’re doing your clients a favor by capturing the details they worked hard on, and you’re preparing for a magazine feature before the wedding day is even over. 

Submit lots of: Details, flowers, bridal party style, bride style, groom style, location

Submit less: Couple portraits, cocktail hour, ceremony

Submit none: Dancing, family portraits 



Publications won’t accept weddings without a full vendor list. So, a month before the wedding, ask for a list of all vendors involved. That way, you can credit them in your own blog and social channels, plus you’re ready to rock and roll when you submit to a magazine.



Editors want weddings that are unique and diverse, with photos that are clean, stylish, consistent, and look like they belong in a magazine. Think of the three most unique things about the wedding day and use those to pitch the story.



Don’t submit to a DIY magazine if the wedding was styled to perfection by a planner. Don’t submit to a Canadian blog when the wedding took place in North Carolina. Spend time researching these magazines and blogs and their social channels to really get a sense of the weddings they publish and who their reader is.


There are two types of publications - exclusive and non-exclusive. Exclusive means the wedding can not be pending or already published before (usually excludes your personal blog). Sometimes it’s exclusive forever, sometimes they ask you to wait 60 or 90 days before submitting to anyone else.

Non-exclusive means you can submit a wedding to 10 different publications and that’s ok! Don’t underestimate the power of going the non-exclusive route - it’s better for ONE of your weddings to be published 6 times, that’s 6x the reach of just submitting to one. Your work gets more life!


Don’t get discouraged if your wedding isn’t accepted. They may have a full editorial calendar, have just accepted a wedding with a similar style to yours, there aren’t enough detail shots. I’ve been rejected as many if not more times than I’ve been published - it happens! There will usually be a better fit elsewhere.

Don’t give up - keep submitting!

If you do get published, remember to share the good news with all the vendors, say thank you to the editors, and re-post the hell out of it on your blog, website, and social media!


I hope you enjoyed this two part series!
Email me if you get published, I can't wait to see!!!

(Link to part one if you need it)

How to get published

How to get published

If you’re ever dreamed of being published, this blog is here to tell YOU that YOU CAN DO IT!!! I'm diving into a photographer's review and overview of TwoBrightLights, the best platform to get you published in a wedding magazine or blog.

I'm on a PODCAST!

I'm on a PODCAST!

I’m on a podcast! Listen to the latest CINEMANIA episode “Entrepreneurship - Becoming Your Own Boss” for insight into running a full time creative business, deciding whether or not to go to college, going from zero to dozens of clients, my #1 secret to stellar customer service, and of course, BUBBLE TEA!

Grab My Instagram Success Guide

Grab My Instagram Success Guide

Creatives, this one's for you. Introducing: Lena's 5 Steps to Instagram Success Guide! Surprisingly simple yet powerful strategies to increase your engagement and build a rock solid foundation for your social media strategy.

The FREE Instagram Life Hack You’re Missing

The FREE Instagram Life Hack You’re Missing

What if I told you that you could spend FIFTEEEN minutes a week scheduling all your posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest... for FREE? That's right! Check out the best social media hack you're missing RIGHT HERE!

Lena's Wedding Day Survival Kit // What's In My Bag



It took me seven years to write a
“What’s In My Bag” post…

But as I sat down to write it, I realized there’s a whole lot more that powers me through a wedding day than camera gear.
I crafted this list to showcase all my favorite things to help me rock a wedding day, from shoes, to hand cream, to my go-to lens.


Canon 5D Mark IV

My main body is the 5D Mark IV - with wifi, a touch screen, and unparalleled low-light noise handling, this camera purchase was way overdue. I can send a photo to my phone during dinner, edit it on my phone in VSCO and Lightroom Mobile, and post it before the wedding is over! Hello extreme sneak peek!

Canon BG-E20 Battery Grip

I have never owned a camera without a battery grip. It may make your camera a bit bigger, but it holds two batteries (which often gets me through an ENTIRE wedding day without ever even changing them). The biggest reason I use it? SIDE BUTTONS! I can shoot vertical (which I do for 7/10 photos I take) without straining my elbow to the sky. The shutter, along with focus point buttons are on the side of the grip, making your camera right-side-up regardless of vertical or horizontal shooting.

Canon 5D Mark III

My backup camera is the 5D Mark III. This was my main body for over 3 years and 230,000 shutter clicks - and still looks brand new. 

Canon 50mm f/1.2

My one true love. I could (and have) shot an entire wedding with just the 50. This incredible piece of L glass performs miles better than the 1.4 - it’s sharp, with unparalleled bokeh, great with low light, and minimal lens distortion (which you correct in Lightroom anyway). If I were to use one lens for the rest of my entire life, this would be it.

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8

Ok, sometimes we need to go wide. The 24-70mm is my favorite for the reception, because I can hold it above my head on the dance floor and shoot, shoot, shoot! Getting pullbacks of the bride getting ready, fun dance shots, and full venue shots are key with this lens.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB CF Card

The fastest out there. Tried and true, I have 7 of these and buy fresh ones every year.

Sandisk Extreme Pro 64GB SD Card

My camera has dual card slots for CF and SD. When you shoot with both, your camera will read and write at the slowest speed (always the SD), so make sure you get a fast SD card or your camera will have a hard time writing the files while you’re on burst during the first kiss.

Canon Speedlite 580EX II

Simple, effective, and can even flash on BURST - which is why this makes this my favorite flash. The built in diffuser is so handy, and the commands are simple. It's not a battery guzzler, I go through one set of batteries on 1/4 power for a full wedding day and use fresh ones for the next shoot.

Locho Satchel Camera Bag

I love this bag! I have purchased from the Cheeky Lime family before and had that bag for 3 years (before passing it down in the family to my second shooter). This bag doubles as a messenger bag, shoulder bag, AND backpack. I love wearing two straps, but needed to find a “backpack” formal enough for weddings. This bag is large, has a nice amount of zipped pockets, and the leather is gorgeous. 

Locho Camera Strap

Still keeping it in the family, I couldn’t pass up a $9.99 camera strap from Locho as well. It’s so comfy and more padded than the original Canon strap. 

AmazonBasics AA Batteries

48 batteries for $11… *adds to cart*

They’re packaged in sets of 4, so it’s super easy to throw in 2 sealed mini packs for my flash for a wedding. I will never buy batteries at the store again!

Macro Filters

Did you miss my love letter to the $9 macro filters? Instead of spending $800 on a macro lens for a handful of ring shots, get these - $7.99 for 4 macro filters, and you can stack them, too. These ones fit the 50mm 1.2, but you can search any mm lens thread!

Zazzle Business Cards

I've printed with Moo and Vistaprint, but my favorite is Zazzle. These extra thick, glossy business cards are sophisticated and simple. You can upload your own designs or customize pre-existing designs (and boy are they snazzy). Zazzle is constantly running sales - wait until you can get 40-50% off packs of 100, so you'll pay around $15 for them!

Kate Spade Business Card Holder

For so long, I didn't keep cards on me because of how dirty they would get in my purse. Then, I'd have an embarrassing exchange where I would write my info on the back of a receipt. I got this as a gift and I can't stop showing it off! Card problem solved!

Safety & Bobby Pins

Take a trip to the dollar store and grab some packs of safety pins and bobby pins to keep in your bag - you never know when they'll come in handy.

Command Hook

Just in case there isn't a convenient place to hang and photograph the dress, bring a command hook with you. They hold up to 5 pounds and you can stick them anywhere for perfect hanging.

Bride Hanger

I keep this wooden custom bride hanger from Etsy in my car in case the dress is on a plastic generic hanger - mine says "Bride" on dark wood with a white bow.

AmazonBasics iPhone 5/6/7 Cable

6 feet cables smoke the 3 footers. I’ve had two for over a year and they still work perfectly.

Lush Honey Trap Lip Balm

For the creamiest lip balm out there made with honey, a hint of mint, almond oil, shea butter, and white chocolate. 

Lush Charity Pot Hand Lotion

I keep a mini 1.7oz container of this in my purse at all times - it’s self preserving, which means there are a lot of cocoa butter, olive oil, jojoba oil, aloe, and more. Plus, 100% of the price goes to small grassroots organizations working in the areas of environmental conservation, animal welfare and human rights.

Lush Dirty Solid Perfume

Just in case it’s a really hot wedding day… I keep solid perfume, which is the exact same size as my lip balm tin, in my purse to rub on my wrists or neck in case I need to refresh.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade

For eyebrows that don’t melt on a wedding day or get smudged pushing your camera up against your face all day… this stuff changed my life. A container lasts me about 5-6 months! Smudge free, waterproof, LIFE. SAVER.

Tom's Natural Moroccan Crochet

For breathable, comfy shoes on a summer day, definitely wear Toms. I can’t wear heels while working a wedding, so I spend the past two years wearing these - they’re simple and cute, however they do not provide arch support.

  Photo by Mei Lin Barral

These are the tools that help me rock a wedding day!

Do you have any products or rituals you swear by to have the best wedding day?

Share in the comments!

XO, Lena