photography

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!

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 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!

A summer Kernwood Country Club wedding

It all started in English class, freshman year of high school... Natalie & Alex are that special kind of couple that are destined to be together. After dating through high school, weathering long distance through college, graduating together at Salem State, and moving in together 10 years ago, these two have been at each other's sides practically forever. After proposing on a beach with his Great Aunt's ring (to Natalie's response of "Holy shit!"), they started planning their dream wedding in their beloved town of Salem. Through storms and sunny days, dozens of half priced burger nights, road trips to Maine, star gazing, and one very spoiled cat later... we have a 17 year love story: and finally presenting, the new Mr. & Mrs. Poverchuk! Congratulations you two, #itsaboutchukingtime!

Thank you to all the amazing vendors!

Hair: Katelyn Votto
Makeup: Jocelyn Witkus
Invitation: Watercolors painted by Lisa Harris, designed by bride Natalie,  printed at The Scarlet Letter Press & Gallery
Dress: Chantilly Place / Casablanca Bridal
Tuxes: Russo's Tux Shop
Catering: Kernwood Country Club
DJ/Uplighting/Photobooth: DMD3 Entertainment
Flowers: Salvy The Florist
Cake: The Rustic Baking Company
Videographer: Chris Thomas Creative

Bet You Can't Guess My Best Sales Strategy!

 
 

Clients want - and NEED - to trust their vendors. Nothing can turn a relationship sour like one party feeling like they've been taken advantage of.

This is why my personal sales strategy is honesty. When I meet with prospective clients, I aim to be totally transparent and treat them like PEOPLE, not dollar signs - because if you value dollar signs more than you adore your couples, then the wedding industry is probably not the best fit for you.

Listen to your clients' needs, and craft your services around them.

 

Couple A's timeline is teetering between cutting 30 min off dancing and upgrading their package to the tune of $500, I will always suggest trimming the time a bit. If I stay an extra few minutes, that's fine! But if I know in my heart my clients really don't NEED to purchase extra time, I'm not going to suggest it.

Couple B is paying for the wedding themselves, and really liked that I include a print release and album company recommendations in all my packages, because they didn't budget for a professional album. Am I missing out on an album sale? Sure, but I'd much rather my clients be secure with their decision then stressing out because they blew their budget on something I pushed.

Couple C is having a small wedding and getting ready in the same hotel - they definitely do NOT need a second shooter, and I'll be the first one to tell them that!

Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon when someone orders an a la carte album or an additional hour. Still, you never want a client to doubt your integrity or advice for any reason. Just go back to the golden rule - treat others as you want to be treated!

 
 

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Are You Making These Website Mistakes? Especially #3...

Are you guilty of any of these website mistakes? Here's how to fix those problems TODAY!

1) Have your contact info instantly accessible

Everyone has a contact page. BUT, you need to have your email address, phone number, and social links on your HOMEPAGE or even better, the FOOTER of your entire website so that someone can connect with you and your social channels in less than 5 seconds.

If your contact form has mandatory wedding questions on it, be sure to separately list your email address. Nothing is more irritating then trying to send an album of wedding photos to a florist, and I can't contact them without inputting my "wedding date" and "venue". Don't ignore the other people trying to contact you - press, fans, photographers, and people trying to do you favors or give you MONEY!

2) Write an about page that makes you proud

If you could substitute your name on your about page and the copy could apply to someone else, you're missing something HUGE. Speak in the first person, not third, and make sure to include minimum THREE unique facts about yourself. This could be your story, favorite things, family, etc. Make sure that a client could tell someone three unique things about you and your personality before ever meeting you.

3) Give your clients a clue about pricing

Imagine you're shopping for a new couch. You're looking online and found an AMAZING, adorable sofa. But the price isn't listed ANYWHERE... on any of the products! Not even a ballpark. However, there's another great sofa online that DOES... buying that couch is much easier than sending the company an email and waiting for an answer, just to find out it may be out of your budget in the first place. Frustrating, right!? Lesson: ALWAYS INCLUDE A PRICE POINT. I'm not a fan of listing your complete collections, but you should want to make your prospective clients' lives easier by including a section on what to expect when it comes to pricing. This can be phrased as "Most couples invest $X for their wedding day" or "Portrait collections start at $X" In turn, you're saving time answering emails to people who's budgets are way off from your prices in the first place. Win win!

4) Go mobile, ditch the Flash player

If your website is Flash based or not mobile optimized, remedy that immediately. The numbers don't lie - when I look at my analytics, 50% or more visits to my website are on mobile. If your website is looking less-than-perfect on tablets and phones, you're missing out on impressing clients! Switch to a website platform with integrated optimization, like Squarespace or Showit.

5) Fix slow load time

Let's admit it, we really do have short attention spans. Artists have very image-heavy sites, which slow down load time. Remember to always downsize images before uploading them. Check your site's load time on free websites like GT Metrix or Pingdom - and they'll even give you suggestions on how to improve!

Let's banish the bad website - and set yourself up for success!

 
 

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7 Ways To Energize Your Creative Business In the Off-Season

Winter blues got you down? Are you BORED out of your skull, cursing the snow under your breath every morning? Sounds like off-season syndrome! Turn off Netflix and get excited for your upcoming season! It's gonna be a great one! Here are SEVEN ways to energize your business in the winter... leading to a SMOOTHER season and a HAPPIER you!

 
Wedding season is over... WHAT NOW!?

Wedding season is over... WHAT NOW!?

 

1) House Cleaning Checklist

Physical

  • Order new album samples

  • Update your business cards

  • Stock up on stickers, ribbon, boxes, mailers, tape, batteries, misc supplies so you’re not making runs to Target during busy season

  • Send camera gear in for yearly cleaning and maintenance

  • Buy new memory cards and chuck the oldest ones

  • Make sure your bag and straps are working well, if not purchase better ones

Facebook

  • Update cover photo + profile photo

  • Update about and contact info

  • Schedule posts every other day, if not daily

Instagram

  • Update bio + profile photo

  • Save time and plan out your grid - I plan using Later.com

Website

  • Update all portfolios and DELETE anything that isn’t vital to your brand

  • Update the copy on your bio, contact info, links, etc

  • Add new testimonials

  • Blog at least once a week to keep traffic steady

  • Revisit SEO keywords

  • Hyperlink all phone numbers + email addresses on footers, contact page, etc

Email

  • Create a new email signature

  • Get than inbox to ZERO and vow to reply to all client emails within 24 hours

Misc

  • Make sure your copy and branding is up to date on any sites like WeddingWire, The Knot, Google+, etc.

  • Send thank you notes and gifts to vendors if you didn't over the holidays

  • Schedule some coffee dates with photographers and vendors in your area

2) Submit to wedding blogs 

I use TwoBrightLights to submit to wedding publications in the winter. If you’re not familiar with TwoBrightLights, it’s magical - you upload ~100 photos to a wedding album, choose colors / themes / keywords, tag the vendors, then hit SEND to submit to a publication. Not a fit? No worries! Just press “resubmit” on that album to send it to a different publication. No more time wasted submitting all the information over and over again, resizing images, etc!

I take ~45 minutes to gather 100 photos from the day, input the vendor data on the TBL album, and research publications that would be a good fit for that wedding. By doing this, I’m marketing my work across 2-15 magazines and blogs AND building a reputation and a stronger press section on my website. 

3) Review years expenses & make changes

It’s tax season anyway, so reviewing my profit and loss statements is key. I update spreadsheets with my final cost tallies for the year and analyze the data. Wow, I spent $594 on postage? How can I cut that cost by at last 10% by using different shipping materials? Looks like I was a little short on my projected portrait session income, why was that the case and how do I market my portraits as much as my weddings? Where did I overspend, and how can I cut costs? This is a great year to re-calculate your expenses, as running a business gets more expensive every year. From here, work to lower your operating expenses and raise your prices as needed.

4) Plan your goals

Tell me what you want, what you really really want... SORRY, that song seemed very appropriate to sing while making a goals list. Take a few minutes to write down your goal list for the year. Look at last year’s list, and see how many you accomplished. Why didn’t some happen? Were they based more off luck / the actions of others, or did you fall short in some area? If you’re achieving more than 80% of your goals, you need bigger ones!

5) Dig for inspiration

Stop digging snow and start digging for inspiration. I use this time to become better at shooting indoors with natural and studio lighting. I let the artistic side of my mind wander a bit more, and plan out either indoor winter shoots or outdoor spring shoots as the weather improves. Take a look at your portfolio and try to see what’s missing, and fill the gap.

6) Get schooled

I’m reading educational blogs all year round, but winter is a great time to make some cocoa and start taking notes on educational blog posts (like this one!). Sign up for webinars (there are many free ones!) and look at workshops for the upcoming year. Some of my current favorite educational blogs and email lists are Ashlyn Writes, Shanna Skidmore, Cat Coquilette, Psychology for Photographers, and Ben Sasso.

7) Make some passive $$!

Have great shots from your last road trip? Flowers in the garden? Outtakes from your last ocean session? Might as well capitalize! Set up a print shop on your own website, or if you want life to be even EASIER, just create a Society6 site! It's FREE! Take 1 hour to gather images, create an account, post your products (you simply upload the photo, tag it, then click all the products you want to sell from that image!) and make some passive income. If you’re into making your own presets, put them up for sale!

Do you have more ideas to bring some life into your business in the dark winter months? Comment below!

 
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How I broke into the commercial world

Happy February friends!

This post has been on the tip of my tongue for months now - and I'm so happy to share it with you! One of my most frequently asked questions is,

"How did you get into shooting commercial work?"

One of my first favorite stock images - and the face of SheStock for a while!

One of my first favorite stock images - and the face of SheStock for a while!

When I first started taking pictures, I was always photographing my friends and the crazy things 15 year olds could get themselves into. Even after I started my wedding & portrait business, I continued to shoot people, especially teenage girls and young women, for the sake of fun and fashion. Before interning with the incredible Barb Peacock, she sat me down in her perfectly Pinterest office, with vanilla candles glowing, Bon Iver humming softly in the background, and a hot cup of tea, she said, “Lena - you should be shooting stock.”

Behind the scenes on a car wash stock shoot (in Barb's driveway!) - Props to anyone that recognizes my second shooter on top of the car, Jenny!

Behind the scenes on a car wash stock shoot (in Barb's driveway!) - Props to anyone that recognizes my second shooter on top of the car, Jenny!

What is stock photography?

Everyone recognizes those cheesy photos of businessmen shaking hands across a desk and pretty women laughing while eating salad. Yup, that’s stock! Stock photos are images ready to be licensed by companies for commercial or editorial use. Example: Bank of America needs a photo of an Asian couple with two kids hanging out in their modern living room, they log onto Getty.com, search and find an image, and it’s printed on their brochures next month.

In the commercial world, the models and even the home or location needs permission to be sold (they signed a model or property release saying it’s A-OK). Old school stock photos have a pretty bad reputation, but there’s an amazing new wave of stock that’s high quality, lifestyle-driven imagery that kicks ass! You wouldn’t know that 80% of my portfolio on my website is all available to license for stock, would you? Go check out the work of the photographers at ImageSource and SheStock, the work is inspiring!

Behind the scenes of one of my biggest stock shoots! What a production!

Behind the scenes of one of my biggest stock shoots! What a production!

And, stock relates how?

I signed with SheStock shortly after I turned 18, followed by Getty Images that summer, and ImageSource the following winter. I shot my ASS off from the end of high school onwards, submitting hundreds of images to these agencies for license. I was getting monthly statements telling me fragmented information about who was buying my photos - The New York Times, Hearst, Conde Nast, Microsoft, AOL - I was floored! Granted, most of those were selling for online use for $0.49 an image. And then my cut was 20% of that. But what a pretty penny it was (literally)!

Once my images began circulating around the internet in a more widespread way, luck took over, as it usually does. The snowball effect is VERY real. An editor at The Boston Globe saw an image of mine through Getty, then reached out to me to shoot the COVER of the April 2015 edition of Boston Globe Magazine. I screen all my calls, so I remember ignoring the unknown number at 10am on a Sunday, immediately listening to the voicemail, then FREAKING out!

My best friend and her boyfriend in a very embarrassingly titled Cosmo article (my first Cosmo feature though!)

My best friend and her boyfriend in a very embarrassingly titled Cosmo article (my first Cosmo feature though!)

Save! All! Your! Tear! Sheets!

Save! All! Your! Tear! Sheets!

I kept screenshots and tear sheets when I found my work floating around. I don’t see the end product of 99% of my sales, because that's just the way stock works. But stumbling upon a published photo feels like a surprise party and Christmas and rolled up in one! (See surprised CitiBank face below)

One night, I got a frantic text from my friend Cam (one of Barb Peacock's sons) - “Lena! I’m in a Citibank ad!?!” I had no idea what he was talking about. About a year before receiving this text, I traveled to Chicago for my first spring break and did some stock shooting out there as well (making it a business trip, hello write-offs, but that’s another blog post). We stayed with Cam's brother and his roommates. One of the roommates happened to bank with Citibank, and saw Cam larger than life on the wall one winter day. I flew to Chicago a few months later and took tons of selfies with it!

From Cosmopolitan articles to AT&T ads, I built up a commercial portfolio and used the experience and tear sheets to pitch to companies I wanted to shoot for (Successful examples of me reaching out to shoot: Urban Outfitters, Blaze Pizza, Free People).

Shooting at Fenway Park for the opening of Blaze Pizza

Shooting at Fenway Park for the opening of Blaze Pizza

I now regularly shoot commercial, editorial, and fashion work!

Shooting with Urban Outfitters Boston - we collaborate at least once a month!

Shooting with Urban Outfitters Boston - we collaborate at least once a month!

Pool party stock shoot! Sometimes you gotta just jump in.

Pool party stock shoot! Sometimes you gotta just jump in.

So that's the interesting trajectory of how I went from shooting weddings and babies to commercial and editorial fashion work!

More questions? Always down to chat!

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An autumn historic Casino at Roger Williams Park wedding in Rhode Island

Six years ago, Kate & Tyrone had their first date in Davis Square going candlepin bowling. They bonded over their love for music and animals (among other things), and who couldn't resist a girl as pretty, funny, and loving as Kate? The two hit it off, and before they knew it, they had traveled together to Puerto Rico, France, the Bahamas, South Africa, Turkey and Dubai. Tyrone popped the question in a vineyard in South Africa this January. Fast forward 10 very quick months, and their big day was finally here!

Kate expressed her passion for architecture in both of the historic getting ready homes, the ornate church, and the grand Roger Williams Casino reception venue. The autumn breeze was crisp as the two tied the knot in front of their family & friends, the furthest traveling from Cape Town, South Africa to be in attendance! Kate and Tyrone danced to Home by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, and Kate and her father broke it down to the famous Pulp Fiction dance. From Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle socks, to pumpkin cake, to personalized wine bottles, and of course a ride on a vintage CAROUSEL, Kate & Tyrone threw one heck of a party.

Thank you to all the amazing vendors!

Venue: Casino at Roger Williams Park
Catering + Cake + Flowers: Pranzi Catering
Ceremony musicians: Golden Scroll Soloists
Band + Photo Booth: Entertainment Specialists
Hair + Makeup: New Leaf Hair Studio
Transportation: Rockstar Limo

Thank you SO much for my incredible second shooter Anthony Fusco!!!

Why It’s OK To Raise Your Prices

 
 

One of the biggest, confusing, scary things about being an entrepreneur is figuring out what to charge for your services as an artist. Once you’ve decided on your pricing, and hit that sweet spot, it feels comfortable. You’re booking, and you’re happy. Well, it’s time to get out of your comfort zone, because we all know comfortable is not a productive state of mind. As a basic business principal explains, the more something is in demand, the higher the price is. The more people who want you, the more your time and talent is worth.

It’s time to raise your prices.

It’s normal to increase your prices yearly as the cost of living (and everything else) also increases. 

But then, your mind starts running. What if people don’t book? I’d rather have lower prices and lots of bookings versus higher prices and lots of no’s! But I promise you - there will always be a market for $100 portrait sessions, and $500 portrait sessions, for $1,000 portrait sessions, and $5,000 portrait sessions. It’s all about what type of client to which you choose to market.

If you raise your prices by $X, that means you can book 8 less shoots per year, which means tens of hours spent with family and friends when you would normally be traveling, shooting, and editing. If you raise your wedding packages across the board by $X, you can now give your clients a welcome package with champagne and send Starbucks cards before the big day. You have more room to improve the client experience, which is what we all want to do! 

Value your time and your skill. If you've had the same prices for over a year, it's time to re-evaluate, take the leap, and raise your prices. Raised prices = more value = less work = more funds for client spoiling = more time with family = happier you = a better business all around.

Next week, I'll be sending out PART II - how to market to your new ideal client and take the work you've always wanted to. Stay tuned!

 
 

How to craft the perfect blog that people WANT to read

Do you dread blogging? Do you sit down at your laptop and draw a blank when trying to craft the perfect story about your client's day? Never fear! Here is a handy starting guide to writing the perfect blog post.

 
 

Post the right amount of images

Think 40-75 images for weddings, 10-25 for portrait sessions. If you're unsure about an image, ask yourself, "Does this image help my business?" If you're unsure, you don't need it.

Do your diptychs right

Vertical images don’t always read as well as horizontals in a blog post. Diptychs can be a great solution to balance your images. Don’t pair up similar images with different expressions - opposites attract. Pair detail shots with portraits (bouquet + bridal portrait, first kiss + candle detail, etc). If you’re going to pair two portraits, pair a pullback with a close up (one that fills the frame + one with lots of environment/negative space). However, always remember to ask yourself, "Is this image stronger alone, or stronger together?"

It’s about your client, not you

Look back at your blog posts and see how many times you said the word “I”. I loved the flowers, I was so excited for the dessert bar, I had so much fun. Direct your writing to be about your clients - Jen & Mike have a love that gives her butterflies every morning. They danced to their favorite special song for their first dance. Mike shed a tear when he saw his stunning bride walk down the aisle. Talk about how much fun your clients had, not you.

Stuck on what to write?

I learned this piece of advice from Jasmine Star’s 3 and 3 Blogging Rule - to get un-stuck while wondering how you’re going to write a good paragraph, write about 3 things that were unique to the day, then 3 things unique to your clients. Craft a sentence around each idea - now you’ve crafted a personalized entry for clients. You can also pull info from the questionnaires you send to clients - I ask them about their favorite things to do together, how they met, how he proposed, quirky fun facts, etc.

Credit + tag your vendors

On wedding blogs, always list the vendors to help clients and vendors connect services. Tag the post to drive more traffic to your blog if that vendor is searched online. Use SEO keywords in your writing - for example, instead of saying "It was a sunny, warm day when J&J tied the knot", you can say "It was a gorgeous day for a wedding at the historic Crane Estate - the ocean sparkled, and you could smell the New England charm in the air."

 
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So you want to find your signature style?

We’ve all had that moment when we’re scrolling on Instagram and BAM! We see a “Sam Hurd” or a “Justin & Mary” photograph before we even read the username. How do some people have such iconic styles? And how can I have one, too!?

Unfortunately, like all great things from wine to cheese to dating,

it gets better with age. 

 
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However, you can start the process of discovering your style now. With thousands of photographs being passed through our overwhelmed brains every day, it’s hard to know where to start. The key is - start with yourself. Someone else’s style is not yours, no matter how much you wish it could be. Comparison is the thief of joy, folks… so focus on YOU and how YOUR pictures are unique, and push that!

Shoot all the time.

 

Pick up the camera and shoot, shoot, shoot! As you review your images weekly, monthly, and yearly, trends will begin to emerge. Maybe you highlight architecture more than nature on portrait shoots. Maybe you incorporate props. Maybe you like shooting at golden hour in the sun versus darker, moody images indoors. Shoot what you like, and shoot it often.

 
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The other side of the key is consistency, in shooting and editing. No, this doesn’t mean you have to operate like a factory. Go out and explore! Fail! Push the envelope! Experiment! Fall flat on your face!

Consistency does not equal monotony.

However, if you’re consistent in using a specific type of lighting, and editing with a similar set of presets, your images, regardless of the subject will have your “signature style” on them.

Styles develop slowly over time, and constantly evolve and improve. If you shoot what you love often, and edit your photos in a consistent way, you’re on the fast track to developing your own style! 

 
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Can you take the challenge?

 
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Sometimes we get wrapped up in editing photos, mailing prints out to clients, slaving over our inboxes, and keeping a rigid “To Do” list organized, and we forget why we are doing all these things in the first place.


Today’s challenge is to formulate your “Why?”


Why do you love photography?

What made you choose to specialize in weddings, or newborns, or seniors? Physically make a list of the first ten things that come to your mind when you think about what makes you fall in love over and over again every day with your craft.

Think beyond preserving people’s memories, and capturing the moments -  steer clear of the common cliches and brainstorm why your personality clicked with your chosen niche, and branch into what makes you unique as an artist. 

Your why is your anchor. It should be part of your branding - your “Why” should be mentioned in your about page, and sprinkled throughout your entire online presence, from your Instagram captions to your Facebook posts. Let your future clients into your world and your passion, and you will attract clients who share your vision.

 
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Five 5-Minute Hacks to Conquer Your Inbox

Tackling your inbox can be a huge headache.

The more emails that pile in, the more you want to procrastinate replying to them. Sometimes, one will slip between the cracks, and all of a sudden it’s been three days… and now you’re profusely apologizing to your client in the first sentence. #meltdown

Prompt communication is key for being professional and booking clients, especially wedding clients. Here are some top tips to keeping your inbox manageable and never miss anther email.

 
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1) Use templates

For years, I found myself writing the exact same email over and over when a bride introduced herself and asked for pricing info, as well as for my gallery delivery emails. So, I saved those responses as “Welcome wedding,” “Delivery families,” “Wedding meeting locations,” and so on. You can do this in Notes or Word, or save them as Gmail templates (how do to that here!) It’s a serious time saver. Of course, add in personal details that fit with each client (talking about their venue, specific questions, etc), but your base reply is already there. Wedding inquiry emails take thirty seconds to personalize and send!

2) Create a FAQ section on your website

What does this have to do with your email? It's another time saver! In addition to your pricing guide, make sure to have some kind of basic Q&A on your website. Take the most asked questions from brides + clients in their emails, and answer them online. That way, most of their standard questions are already answered before they contact you, and you save time typing out responses over and over.

3) Stick to the 24-hour rule

No matter what, make it your #1 goal to reply within 24 hours. Timeliness is important - I love when I email someone and get a super quick response back. It puts me in such a good mood! Brides and new clients are eager for your reply, so when you reply to them within a few hours, it puts you in a great position (and above all the other photographers/vendors they’re emailing).

4) Flag

I flag my client messages to easily identify them from other emails. When they reply, the conversation remains flagged. Keep different folders for brides, portraits, and all your different categories. It helps bring your eye to the important stuff, instead of a sea of subject lines!

5) Set boundaries

Reply to emails during acceptable business hours. If you don’t want a client to expect you to reply to their messages at 11:30pm, then don’t answer your emails at that time. I answer my emails anytime between 7am and 9pm, but never later than that. If you happen to be awake and on a roll at 2am, use an app that automatically sends your emails at certain times, such as Boomerang.

 
 

P.S. -

It is okay to use smiley faces and exclamation marks in your emails. Be professional, but if you're a bubbly super excited wedding photographer like me... you would sound angry and weird if you didn't throw in a smiley face here and there. Let your personality shine!

What should I wear? // The wardrobe guide

Contract signed, shoot booked - that was easy! But wait - oh no... like a salty ocean wave, uncertainty hits you:

"What should we wear?!"

Never fear! Here is a handy guide to help you through the process!


THINK COORDINATING, NOT MATCHY-MATCHY

White shirts and khakis? Not anymore. Find a palette and coordinate using that - if you love light, bright fabrics in photos, then creams, whites, light pinks, and beiges will look great. Mix and match tops and bottoms in that color, but have some of the family in jeans, one in a cream lace dress, another in khaki pants and a patterned pink button up. I'm not as much of a dress girl - I buy them and never end up wearing them. BUT, when I'm being photographed, I'm usually in a dress. I LOVE the way dresses photograph whether it's in a field or in a city.

 
 

SOLIDS VS PATTERNS

Solids are great, and so are patterns! The trick is to coordinate them well. Majority solids, minority patterns. Coming with your partner? Mix a patterned dress with a pair of jeans and a solid button down. Or, if she's wearing a solid colored dress, he can wear a plaid shirt with grey pants. When in doubt, especially for guys - plaid is always a yes. Thin stripes are great, too!

 
 

TEXTURE IT UP

Textured clothes look fantastic on camera. Instead of a plain button down, think about wearing one with a textured stitch and little speckles throughout. Lace is my favorite texture - it photographs SO beautifully! And sweaters? YES! Fuzzy knitted sweaters for the chillier months give outfits delicious texture.

 
 

LAYERS ON LAYERS

Especially in colder months, layers are great. They add great dimension to photographs. Wearing cardigans over a blouse, a jean jacket over a dress, textured socks coming out of boots... it gives you a second look without having to change clothes. Steer away from any kind of formal wear for adults. No dressy shoes or dress pants, NO ties... but for kids, suspenders on little boys and bow ties make me melt! Dresses and bows on little girls are way too cute, too. 

 
 

COLOR ME HAPPY

It's important to think about the environment you're being photographed in when it comes to colors. Across the board, I recommend lighter and more neutral colors. Creams, pinks, beiges, mustard/golds, and whites. These colors look especially fantastic for golden fields and forests. Natural settings = earth tones. If you're running around Boston with me, pops of color are fantastic! The city is more grey/blue/silver, so a bright pop of mint green with an orange statement necklace and some bright heels is great! Go with a color slightly off from the color wheel - mustard instead of bright yellow, maroon instead of bright red, navy instead of blue. Stick with lighter, not darker. No the time to wear all black! And above all - NO neon. It makes color casts onto your face, so steer clear!

 
 

IF THE SHOE FITS

The funny thing is, shoes aren't really seen much - unless they stick out like a sore thumb. This is not the time to wear Nike's! Classic sneakers like Converse or Vans are always in style, sandals for ladies but no flip flops unless we're kicking it at the beach! Cute boots are a must for the chillier months. 

 
 

STRAPPY UNHAPPY

Most frequent comment I get about wardrobe after a shoot - "Crap, my bra straps were showing!" I'll always let you know, but to fix this beforehand, if you're wearing an off the shoulder shirt and want them in the photos - great! If you don't want your straps peeking out - wear a shirt that from every angle in the mirror, doesn't pop out. This includes from the back, sides, and front. Wear a strapless bra if it's a problem shirt/dress or if it's the band by your underarms showing, wear a bandeau over your bra.

 
 

BE YOURSELF

You want your clothing to compliment YOU, not the other way around! Choose something you feel absolutely amazing and totally comfortable in. Your smile, your laugh and your face is the main event, not the clothing. The clothing compliments you and your personality! You're bright and bubbly and love polka dots? Show me polka dots! Preppy and love all things nautical? Hand over the J Crew catalog.

 
 

THE LITTLE THINGS

NAILS - Ladies, HAIR ELASTICS! Remember to take them off your wrists. Have your nails clean or painted, nothing in-between! Chipped polish will show when I take close-ups. Bring chapstick or lip gloss to reapply during your shoot, even non-tinted makes a wonderful difference :)

RECAP:

Coordinate, don't match perfectly.

Pick a color palette and run with it

Mix solids and patterns

Texture = great

You can never go wrong with a mix of creams, pinks, beiges, mustard/golds, and whites + LACE

Leave running shoes at home, wear cute + functional shoes

Low stress - wear what makes you feel amazing.

XO, LM

Claire // Young, Wild & Free

It's my pleasure to introduce: Claire. A blonde haired Kansas gal, photographer and fellow photo major, amazingly sassy girl with a great sense of humor and enough teenage attitude to supplement the both of us. 

I'm naming this shoot Young, Wild & Free. That's what I already call my commercial body of work and book, because that's the essence of what comes out of my heart when I shoot with people my own age. This shoot with Miss Claire earns that title as well, and I'm incredibly proud of all of these.

Our drawing teacher had a bouncing baby boy (congrats!) - but instead of canceling class, he got us a substitute. So, we decided not to go to the five hour class for "an extra day to be free and explore your mediums more." Claire and I attended a photography lecture by Jem Southam, here all the way from England (which was fantastic) then headed out the door into the sunshine and paraded around the North End waterfront. Best decision I've ever made. We had a blast, and I got some of the most kickass shots of my life! That's what I call being productive and artistic. Also - if you haven't heard the amazing news that happened yesterday as well, you can find out what it is here!

I love you all so so much.