The elusive WORK LIFE BALANCE!

The elusive WORK LIFE BALANCE!

Photographers: do you find yourself scared to take a vacation? Answering emails when you should be sleeping? Skipping out on social events to edit? Learn my fool-proof method to a killer WORK LIFE BALANCE. I get asked about this all the time. I've found a system that really works, allowing me to work when I want to while dedicating enough time for rest and fun. If you're working hard but not playing hard enough, it's time to tune into the Boss Lady Diaries newsletter and read all about it tomorrow!

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.

The controversial phrase to retire this year

The controversial phrase to retire this year

This may be controversial... but you should take the pledge to STOP saying this phrase this year, and I'll tell you why!

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

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

DETAILS, DETAILS, DETAILS.


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 

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CREDIT

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.

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UNIQUE ELEMENTS

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.

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DO YOUR RESEARCH

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.

THE POWER OF NON-EXCLUSIVE

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!

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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!

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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.

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!

The Best $11 You'll Spend This Year

 
 

Today I wanted to share how I get dreamy macro ring shots… WITHOUT a macro lens.

In 2010, I learned a very valuable lesson.

I purchased a 50mm and 85mm on the same day.
MISTAKE.

I clung to the 50mm, and used the 85mm maybe twice before selling it off six months later.

When you're a wedding photographer, you NEED to be able to photograph the sparkly rings and all the gorgeous details. But, most lenses have a minimum focusing distance of ~2-3 feet.

The Canon 100mm macro is a gorgeous lens - with an $899 price tag.

I knew the lens would just collect dust, so paying $900 to use for 5 minutes at each wedding didn’t seem like a smart investment.

But of course, I needed SOMETHING to capture my clients’ beautiful rings, earrings, and details. The solution? AMAZON (aka the solution to EVERYTHING)

 
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For $11, you get four filters - +1, +2, +4, and +10. You can choose your filter size for any lens (I use on my 50mm) and even stack them. Crank the f stop to 4.0-8.0 - the background will still be creamy, but the diamond will be sharp as a tack. I love these! So if you’re in a pickle and need to get closer… $11 could save your life <3

If you don't know what size filter to get, Google your lens and add "thread size" - ex. Canon 50mm 1.4 thread size and it should pop right up! Then you can purchase the right size.

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ALL My Mistakes of 2016!

First off, I want to say WELCOME to all my new Newsletter followers! The Newsletter will be going out monthly - and for those that are wondering WHY there hasn't been once in six months, see lesson #1 on the list ;)

And just like that, 2016 was gone in a flash. This year was full of belly laughs, ugly cries, happy screams, stressful situations, intense phone calls, bubbly coffee dates, and thousands of beautiful moments captured. A few trusted photographers helped me through sticky situations this season, and at the end of every conversation, we would reiterate that no matter what the outcome, we learned a lesson. I'm here sharing some lessons I learned!

Be audacious, but set reasonable goals.

Last year, I shot out of the gate creating brand new Newsletter content twice a week. Twice a week! Blogging is a marathon... not a sprint. I burnt out and ran out of content so quickly! Needless to say, I cut back to once a week over the spring, then fizzled out entirely when summer hit. A monthly or bi-weekly Newsletter is plenty for people, including myself. Push yourself, but know your limits.

You don’t want everyone to like you.

Not everyone can or should be your client, so if there are people who don’t like your style, that’s ok! It means you’re doing something right. As Seth Godin says in his fantastic book Purple Cow, “If you’re so remarkable, it’s likely that some people won’t like you. That’s part of the definition of remarkable. Nobody gets unanimous praise - ever. The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.” #preach

Thoroughly screen ALL your clients, not just wedding clients.

I know that I can be quick to book a family session after the parents OK the pricing and book a date. However, making sure those clients know exactly how I shoot - unposed, lifestyle, no backdrops, candid - is crucial. It’s essential to make sure that expectations are in line with your method of working, or problems will inevitably arise. If a client threatens or bullies you into working with them, or you sense ANY red flags - trust your instincts. Kindly and professionally let them know you cannot work with them and you're not the right fit. All money isn't good money.

Have contracts with every human you shoot with.

Never shoot without a contract. Working with a family you’ve shot with for 6 years? Sending and signing a contract takes less than 60 seconds. I got comfortable and loosened up on contracts with repeat clients - until the session turned into a triple family session, and one of the new families was personally unhappy with the photos because of the weather. Guess what? I didn’t have a contract! And I lost time and money - because I had no legal standing. Don’t do that to yourself. You never know when problems will rear their ugly head until it’s too late. Combine thorough client screening with solid legal protection and you've got a winning combination!

Push your style, but don’t ignore the basics.

I learned to make sure whether I’m asked of or not, to get portraits of both sets of parents alone and plenty of traditional photos of the couple smiling for the camera. Will I ever showcase those photos, or market them on my website? No, because my style is mainly unposed, candid images, so that’s what I market and how I educate my couples. However, no matter how progressive the couple, it’s best to nail the traditional shots as a safety net so you can have more time to be creative.

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Only show what you love to do, regardless of how good a photo it is.

I personally don’t love shooting church ceremonies, but I wouldn’t let go of a few favorite church photos on my website. It was tough to take them down, but I know I need to tailor my audience so I can stop shooting things I don’t love.

Utilize social media shortcuts.

I started using Later.com to schedule all my Instagram posts - you can preview your grid, drag and drop, pre-type the captions, then it pushes a notification to your phone reminding you it's time to post. One click, done! No more forgetting or being inconsistent with social media. I take 20-30 minutes once a week to schedule the next 7+ days of Instagram and Facebook posts. It saves me time and headspace!

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Buy more cards and back up always.

I had quite a few double header weekends, and it’s extremely important to be extra diligent about file handling. Instead of needing to back up then format cards and re-use them, I just bought 4 more 64GB CF and SD cards. When I get home, I back up the full cards to two hard drives, then use fresh cards for the next few days of shoots. The extra $200 of cards was worth not having to stress about needing more space or accidentally deleting someone's wedding photos.

Take time for yourself.

If I wanted to go to dinner and spend time with my boyfriend on a Thursday night when I had work to do, I chose spending time with my loved ones. The work will get done, always. I delivered every single wedding and portrait session in 2016 at least a WEEK EARLY. The work will get done, but only if you’re not frustrated and isolated in your work cave! If you don't like working the day after a wedding, and a family calls to ask for dates, instead of giving them five dates (including a post-wedding one) and anxiously hoping they don't choose that one... don't give them the option! It sounds silly, but for years I would give clients dates I didn't prefer, and when they chose that one, I'd resent the shoot immediately. What?! It sounds so silly! Carve out time for yourself and STICK WITH IT!

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Here's to a successful + joyful 2017! XOXO, Lena

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