Welp. We did it again. Issue #2! Numero due. And boy it's a good one!
I originally wanted to publish this magazine twice a year, but let me be honest: my 2018 was a doozy! So many amazing projects and love stories and travel! It was a blessing, but I learned the old tale of managing my time. Which is hard for someone who loves to do it all!
I'm not saying I am a type A personality (because those that know me definitely know I'm not!) I'm saying I am an SEO geek, and design nerd, and love editing each and every photo as well as capturing all the life I can. BUT I also love puzzles and to read and traveling from one end of the earth to the next. So managing my time? Delegating projects? I hate it. I just want to do it all.
As I sit here in my off-season, at one of the coolest local coffee shops in my town, I'm excited to push publish on this mag! SO much amazing content, thanks to my amazing clients and YOU! Get excited! Here we gooo! ROUND 2!
It was super hard choosing a wedding from last year to highlight. And that isn't me being cocky, it's me being honest about the fact that I have been soo very blessed with every aspect of this job: especially in the clientele department!
So how did Blair & AJ's wedding make the feature? It's because the entire day was a well-rounded bulldog of awesome-sauce. From every vendor to each guest - the amount of beauty and love and thought that went into each detail astounded me. Plus I had an absolute girl crush on Blair's dress the entire day. :)
We had tons of hiccups, as per usual with any wedding. But the beauty of this day was that it proved to me how every wedding should hire a wedding planner - so everything can run smoothly without you having to worry.
These two though, have enjoyed every second seamlessly. Their love was almost magical to witness, because they fit together. Like PB&J or tacos and margaritas. They are the kindest, most humble, absolutely beautiful souls to cross paths with.
So go on - click to see more of this beautiful Cleveland summer wedding! I know you want to!
-Wine. Wine. Wine, it’s your and your fiancés day, not mom, dads and in laws. Do what YOU want and don’t ask for opinion unless you want
to go crazy. :) - Jessica & Macauley
-Don't give your seating chart to anyone and to relax & enjoy it. It all goes so fast that the little stuff shouldn't take over the enjoyment of the whole event! - Leah & Patrick
- Don't sweat the small stuff. Things are going to go awry, just roll with it. It will work out. - Sarah & Anders
- When they tell you you'll forget to eat, they mean it! Even if you think, "Pshht I love to eat! How could I forget?" Girl it'll happen! Get you a group (bridal party and/or vendors) who make sure you eat throughout the day, even when you don't think you're hungry. Plan snacks ahead of time if you're getting your hair done early. It goes by in such a fast whirlwind and you'll be having SO much fun you won't even realize it, but it's imperative. - Molly & Jed
- Don’t be afraid to cut a big piece of your cake or practice cutting a cake...especially if your cake is funfetti.- Brittany & Matt
"WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU HAD WHILE PLANNING YOUR WEDDING?"
- Make sure you go try all the wonderful dessert you spent time picking out (if food/dessert is your thing)! - Alyssa & Kevin
- Spend the money getting a wedding planner if you can. It was such a delight knowing that everything was accounted for and done without me stressing about it. - Blair & AJ
- It so easy to get into the weeds about the small details that people including you, won’t remember. Don’t lose sight of the big picture, and let some things slide if they’re not your first choice but also not your deal breakers for the event. - Chelsea & Zach
- Start early, especially with buying/DIYing decor! That stuff adds up in both time and money! - Corey & Brian
- Don't take the small stuff too seriously. No one cares what color your napkins are or if your bridesmaids dresses are wrinkled. - Darcy & Nick
- Make a decision and move on, it will all be okay. - Hilary & Joe
"WHAT IS THE ONE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU WISH YOU HAD WHILE PLANNING YOUR WEDDING?"
- The first dance, father/daughter and mother/son dances. I was kind of dreading everyone standing in a circle watching my dance moves, but
I tuned a lot of that out and they were moments I will never forget. - Emily & David
- My grandpa had been taken out of the church before we started pictures, but Marissa assured us she would get pictures of us with him at the reception hall. She made sure to pull us aside when we arrived at the reception hall, and had my aunt bring him to a beautiful, quiet spot where we were able to have some photos taken. He passed away later that year, and those photos, along with the candid photos of him during the reception, meant even more to have because they truly captured his joy in being a part of the day. - Katie & Ryan
- The in between moments talking and reflecting with close family and friends. - Sera & Kerrigan
- There is nothing more attractive than seeing your soontobe wife slam a double cheeseburger in a white dress (IMO) - Kyle & Taylor
"WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT FROM YOUR WEDDING?"
- New Zealand and then to Moorea (an island off Tahiti). We chose these spots because we want a mixture of adventure and
relaxation. So in NZ we did all things outdoorsy, then when we got to Moorea we were sloths and barely moved. It was amazing! - Sarah & Anders
- Greece (Athens, Mykonos and Santorini) two days after our wedding and it was amazing. We chose it partly because David is Greek and we've never been, partly because of the weather at that time of year and for the combination of beauty, great food, history, activities, beaches and relaxation it has to offer. We'd go back tomorrow! - Emily & David
- All inclusive resort in Riviera Maya Mexico. We spent our honeymoon eating and drinking the days away and loved every second of it. We also swam with sea turtles, kissed a dolphin, and dove through ancient majestic ceonotes. - Blair & AJ
- Mediterranean cruise! Cause Pat is almost 50% Italian and had never been to Europe! Like WHAT?! - Leah & Patrick
- Thailand and we are so glad that we did. We picked it for its tropical setting, very picturesque, exotic and relaxing,
we were able to escape everything and just be a couple. Also we picked it because we knew it would be a long time before we traveled that
far away again - Kellie & Joe
- Hawaii (Oahu)!! We were supposed to go to St. Thomas and St. Croix, but sadly the hurricanes of 2017 devastated the islands. We booked everything last minute to Hawaii and had the best time.. - Rachael & Paul
- Barbados! It was amazing! We decided on a Sandals resort and narrowed down our choices to Barbados based on cost and distance. We stayed at the Royal Barbados, which was a new resort, so we were able to lock down introductory pricing.- Shannon & Jeff
- Sanctuary Cap Cana in the Dominican Republic. We wanted to be further from the touristy area and adults only. We LOVED it. Advice: Ask for an upgrade and negotiate. We never would have booked the amazing honeymoon villa we ended up with. And it was worth the small daily upcharge a million times over. - Jessica & Macauley
Remember pre-school? Remember the chat your teacher inevitably had with you about sharing? How we need to share our time and our toys and our best friends because sometimes other people need it too? Remember how it felt once you shared? How happy it made the other person? Well business wise: Sharing IS LITERALLY caring.
I wish I learned this earlier in my career! So, I felt like it was absolutely needed to be said now. I'm going on year six of my full time passion, and am JUST NOW understanding the importance of sharing aka vendor networking. And heck, I'm not talking about passing out business cards to every young professional adult meeting, (although that isn't a bad idea). I'm talking about inclusion! INCLUSION INCLUSION INCLUSION! I know as photographers there is a negative divide about sharing work. Because it is YOUR work. And I get it, one thousand percent. But you have to remember, especially as a wedding photographer - we are capturing other vendors work too. We are bringing to life the floral details & reception decor. We are capturing how the dress twirls against that gorgeous sunset. and even how the groom belts out that backstreet boys song during his reception.
And yes those are alll your gorgeous visions, but remember: sharing is caring. That florist worked extra hard to make sure the colors matched perfectly against the bride's finger nail polish. The wedding coordinator spent hours going over fabric samples for the reception chairs. That DJ works his butt off for 5 hours trying to amp up the crowd and give the bride and groom the best party of their lives! You are important, SO important in fact, because you - as the photographer - are capturing it all. YOU are the sole reason these memories are kept alive. So my advice? Share them. Give them to the florist, with your social media handles attached. Send them to the DJ company, and the bridal boutique. INCLUDE THE VENDORS, and you now are networking. You have created a portal for FREE WORD OF MOUTH ADVERTISING (cough cough the best kind!).
When someone said this to me the first time I literally banged my head against my hand and said OH OF COURSE! Because that is what sets us a part from other creatives. Actually it's what sets us a part as humans, our personality. In a service based profession, or a severely saturated market, it's hard to connect to your customers if you are pushing out a robotic-like experience. Instead of diving into how important personality is on social media (because I could go on forever) - I'm going to define only one part: your website!
Website personality is EVERYTHING. And the more the better. As a photographer, I know that sharing about myself was not what I signed up for. I like to capture other people, I don't want to talk about myself. BUT the clients that come to my website want to learn more about me! Me and the service I offer. And if you are a photographer like me - then you are your service. Right? Your ideal client needs to love you as much as you love them, so why not start off on the right foot?
Share more pictures of yourself, have an about YOU page. Explain what you get to drink at a bar, chat how your sister, even though neurotic, can be the smartest human you know. Admit that you watched an entire season of the Office last weekend, or went for a run around the block at 2 in the afternoon. SHARE YOU. You will resonate, click with, and automatically sell those humans who maybe were just flipping through websites for fun!
The burnout is real during busy season. I can already feel the pain in my stomach from last year. It was a crazy year (a good crazy!) but a crazy that I did not handle correctly, from a self-care perspective.
Finding time for yourself is hard. I do enjoy being busy, and finding things to do in my spare time. Even if I'm having an insane day, a walk in the park or a good piece of music can definitely lift my spirits.
Last year I allowed the to-do lists, and inbox inquiries, and website maintenance get away from me. I'm not going into the rant that I have many jobs (because yes I am not only the CEO, but the Social Media Manager, and Timekeeper, scheduler, bill-payer etc etc), But I realized at the end of last year that I don't need to be everything all the time.
Sometimes, it's okay to delegate your time. This coming year I scheduled my wedding season with my family in mind. I made sure to give myself time to decompress after a wedding, and have it in my schedule to actually BE a normal human being.
I realized that if I don't have any of myself to give, my clients can't receive the best version of my service. In serving myself, I can better serve my clients. Even if that means taking an hour to go to yoga, or scheduling a specific time to map out all my instagram posts for a month. Keeping schedules on track and keeping your worker-bee whole is the whole goal for my 2019. Wanna know what programs help me make sure I attain it?
- Honeybook (CRM)
Immediate Workflow at your freaking fingertips. This links directly with my inquiry form and calendar, making sure to notify me when contracts are signed and deposits are paid. It is a god-send and a lifesaver and click here if you need something like this in your life!
- Airtable (Scheduling)
Even though Honeybook Schedules for you, I have tons of sessions that I don't use it for, and need another organization tool. Airtable is basically an Excel spreadsheet for design nerds. It's online and can be accessed anywhere and has a great user-friendly design space.
- Adobe Bridge (Organizing)
For photos and folders and documents and all everything in between.
- Showit (Design) + Wordpress (Blog)
I LOVED designing my own website without any having to write any code. These guys are the absolute best!
- BlogStomp (Photo Resizing)
I don't just use this for blogs, but also to make sure my website and Instagram are not loading HUUUGE files for me to post. (That way too it doesn't take long to load when you creep on our stuff!)
- Screen Time (Time Management on Devices)
Yes that little button in your settings that shuts off your computer and your apps when you tell it to. USE IT. It brings you back to humanity.
- UnUm (Instagram Scheduler)
- Unfold (Instagram Story Designs)
- Hootsuite (Pinterest Scheduler)
*All three above have made my social media game less chaotic! Any app that can get me off an app for hours at a day deserves to be highlighted!
It's no secret - I love to travel! It may be a secret though that traveling causes the majority of my own anxiety :) But we can table that for another time.
One of my favorite trips last year was to Maui! It was actually one of my brides (turned second shooter, turned owner of her own amazing photog company) who invited me down for a session. I went in thinking professionally, and came home with a new mindset, personally. We adventured, and ate, worked out, and took an absurd amount of pictures, allll while talking incessantly about how hard it is to stay present in the moment.
Hawaii was magical. And I really haven't said that about any place since I traveled through Europe watching the sunset in different countries. But yes, magical and calm and happy. Island time definitely suited me.
And BONUS: it also helped give me more confidence in front of the camera (perks of traveling with another photographer!) Want to hear more about what we did? Click below for my blog post!