couples  |  BRANDS  |  education  |  PERSONAL

GET RIGHT TO IT:

SEARCH THE BLOG

WHERE PHOTOGRAPHERS GET THEIR LEARN On,

and clients strut their stuff.

tips-for-traveling-as-a-photographer-jessicavickers.com

read post

K

Tips For Traveling As A Photographer

I’ve got a serious case of fernweh.⁣⁣ It’s defined as, “the longing to be in a place you’ve never been.” So basically you’re homesick for a place you haven’t even visited yet. (Yes, it’s totally a real thing. I guess it only makes sense I established myself as a traveling photographer, LOL!)

I’m forever dying to be in places I’ve never been to. My first one was New Zealand, (the south island to be exact.) And once I was finally there – all felt right. (It’s also on my top 3 places I’d live if I could!) ⁣

With all this “fernweh” I got goin’ on, it means I like to stay travelin’. I’m NOT happy staying in one place for too long… I’ve gotta get out and see new places and meet new people on a regular basis. Which is funny, comin’ from a small town southern girl who literally stayed in the town she grew up in until she was 22. 🤷🏻‍♀️I was pretty sheltered. I remember when driving 9 hours from Texas to Florida to see Clayton was a HUGE deal to my parents. 😂 (Now, I can’t even count the countries I’ve been to off the top of my head!) 

Seeing the world is SUPER high on my priority list – in fact, it’s built into Clay and I’s life goals and marriage vision, and we budget for it! BUt, aside from just traveling for personal reasons, I prioritize travel in my business. Traveling to new places, meeting new people, and creating insane imagery while we adventure around is hands DOWN my fav cocktail of activities.

But – all this traveling requires some serious preparational/organizational skills – and some gear that can handle the elements. So, let’s hop right into my top recommendations for traveling as a photographer!

 


 

 


MY TOP TIPS FOR TRAVELING AS A PHOTOGRAPHER:

 

There are SO many different categories when it comes to tips for a traveling photographer, but here are the categories I’m gonna cover today:

–  Health & Personal

–  Photography & Equipment

 


 

HEALTH/PERSONAL:

  • One Above Travel Tablets These little puppies keep me goin’. Up until moving to Japan, I didn’t know “jet lag” was actually a thing. Seriously. It’s totally a thing, and can keep me down for up to 5-6 days if I’m not preventing it prior to travel.

 

  • Collapsable refillable water bottle – When you’re flying, it’s SO important to stay hydrated. They say you should drink 8oz of water for every hour you’re in the air. I end up flying collectively about 18-19 hours when going from Japan back to Texas, so I stay drinkin’ H20. This bottle is great because it collapses easily once you’ve finished drinking, so it takes up only a tiny amount of space in your carry-on!

 

  • Vitamin C – it’s SO important to take for your immune system, especially the week leading up to flying. These are my fav, (I used to take the packets with me and put them in my water, but this is so much easier!)

 

  • Bring healthy snacks. It’s SO dang important to eat healthy while traveling. Your immune system is already compromised and at risk, so do your body a favor and nourish it well! These are my favorite protein bars to bring along everywhere I go!

 

  • Create a travel kit that has all the necessary items you may need on the plane. Mine includes this deodorant, roll-on oil, lip butter, peppermint oil (for headaches while in flight,) digize oil (for upset tummy/digestive issues while abroad,) some advil/ibuprofen as a last resort, (though I try hard not to take it,) CBD oil from Hempworks, and these makeup wipes (because your face/skin gets to feelin’ kind of icky after being in that dry cabin air for so long!)

 

  • As much as I’m always planning to get TONS of work done on the plane… I usually don’t. So I’m sure to bring some things to keep me occupied. I was always a bookworm growing up, so reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Though there’s only so much room in my carryon for books (and I’m always so tempted to bring like 3 – even though realistically I may only finish one.) So, I invested in a Kindle and I’ve been loving it so much! I’m def a member of the “real books are better” club – BUT – the Kindle saves me so much space while traveling! (I hate reading on ipads because of the blue light that makes my eyes hurt, and because they’re reflective and so pointless to use out in the sun or on the beach. Kindle’s aren’t, so in my opinion, they’re way better!

 

  • Don’t use airline blankets/pillows. It’s CRAZY how many germs they carry. (And yes, the airlines re-use them.) Grab your own travel pillow and blanket, your immune system will thank you.

 

  • Google flights this is where I’ve found the cheapest flights for travel, always! Yes, even compared to skyscanner, hopper, cheapoair, expedia – you name it. I search on google flights, and then book directly through the airline – that always gives you the best rate! Pro tip: always search in incognito/private browsing mode so they can’t collect data on you and then jack up the prices!

 

  • Don’t constantly remind yourself what time it is where you live vs where you are. This only prolongs the jet-lag feeling and makes you want to sleep your trip away!

 

  • Use tripadvisor. If you’re anything like me, you’re a foodie at heart and always looking for the best restaurants. Clay and I LOVE Tripadvisor, it’s never led us astray! We use it, and then save places to a list for that area. You can even make reservations straight from the app, so def utilize it while you’re out and about! (It’s not just for food – but that’s what we primarily use it for!)

 


 

PHOTOGRAPHY/EQUIPMENT:

 

  • Pelican case – I’m SO glad I bought this to travel with. This case is crazy durable, and I never have to worry about my gear getting damaged in it. Plus, it fits in all the overhead bins on the plane! I always bring this as a carry-on, I never check it — because airlines are crazy rough with stuff – (though, I know everything would be safe in here!)

 

  • Pelican SD card holder I love this little guy! It’s weather/water-proof and keeps my SD cards safe. One time I was shooting in the ocean here in Japan, and it came out of my pocket and went floating away… but I ran over and grabbed it and let it dry, then opened it – and all was well inside! 😉 This one is also good, I have both!

 

  • When you’re a traveling photographer, you want to pack as light as possible. I’m always tempted to bring a ton of lenses, but in reality – I only need a few! My top picks for when I’m traveling are the Canon 50mm/1.2, the Sigma 35mm/1.4, and the Canon 85mm/1.2! I can just about capture anything I’d need on these babies!

 

  • When scouting for locations, do some research ahead of time! Don’t just wait until you get there to look at location tags on Instagram.

 

      • Open up google maps and create a new list, drop pins and save them on there. Then, write down how long it takes to get to and from each location and craft out a timeline for shooting. This ensures you’re maximizing your time!

 

      • Also, use Tumblr to scout. There’s usually more original content/locations on there as it’s nowhere near as saturated of a platform as insta!

 

  • If you’re an adventurous photographer like me, download Alltrails! It gives you a list of a ton of trails in the area, and you can pull up images and see if there are any good shooting spots along the way! 😉

 


 

Traveling is seriously my favorite thing to do, ever. But it can be super draining if not done well. These are my top tips for traveling as a photographer, but got any yourself? I’d love to add them to the list! Just drop a comment below, I’m all about broadening my travel knowledge! 😍

 

Wanna stick around and stay learning? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

 

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com 

Personal

read post

K

Things To Know Before Creating A Website For Your Photography Business

So you’ve decided it’s time to take the plunge and start building your photography website – (whoop whoop!) 

I couldn’t be more excited for you to take this next step, and I know it’s going to next-level your brand for real – especially if you’ll do it right!

Having a website to showcase your work is so important as a photographer, because it establishes your authority and expertise, and gives potential clients a seamless experience when viewing your portfolio. (You know, instead of just scrolling through endless facebook albums and your insta feed.)

Having a solid website can uplevel the value of your brand, (which in turn allows you to charge higher prices and not feel weird about it, cough cough.)

 


 

 


 

Three years ago, I decided to finally quit the never-ending cycle of purchasing a website template, customizing it, and then never launching it. I was like a serial website template hoarder. (Seriously, I did it FOUR times.) 

I wanted nothing more than to hire a graphic designer to help me build my brand, but I just couldn’t swing it financially at the time – so I stayed on the hamster wheel.

After a year of mulling over the fact that I’d never be proud to launch a site until I had someone help me, and one breakdown over having been in business for 3 years and never having a site to show off – my husband helped me hire a designer to uncover and build my custom brand. (Which I was actually able to pay him back for before it even launched – cause God had a plan.) And to be honest, it was the greatest thing we ever did for my business.

I remember listening to one of Jenna Kutcher’s “The Goal Digger” podcasts about 4 years ago on my way home from a Florida vacay, and she was talking about how when she went to design her site, she was looking at everyone else’s websites for inspiration. (As in – all the other photographers around her.)

And then it dawned on her – only dead fish go with the flow. She realized that in order to be HER, (truly her) – she had to build a brand around her, and it wouldn’t look like anyone else’s. (Thanks Jenna for that one!)

And that’s what the team at Refinery Original helped me do. We dug deep into who I am, what I love, and why I feel I was placed here – and through it, we developed my brand. We embraced my southern roots and fierce faith and built this little photography/ministry love-child you’re now interacting with today.

But before all that – there was some major research that had to take place on my part. So without further ado, here are the top five things I WISH I knew before building my photography website – (or attempting to.)

 


 

THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE CREATING A WEBSITE FOR YOUR PHOTOGRAPHY BUSINESS:

1. Find your why before building your site.

A huge part of building a brand, (especially a personal one,) – involves knowing why you do what you do. And honestly, prior to working with Erica & James, I didn’t really know my true “why.” I’m sure you’ve heard about the importance of “finding your why” at this point, it’s preached everywhere – and for good reason.

Knowing this helps you out in SO many aspects of your business. It helps you:

  • develop and share your brand story, (which in turn naturally attracts your ideal/dream clients.)
  • get clear in your marketing and sales copy, (so you’re putting out the vibe that attracts your own tribe.)
  • narrow down your services to the ones that fire you up, (so you’re actually filled with purpose and passion when you work, (can I get an amen!?)

 

There are so, so many benefits to knowing this, so please take some time and dive into uncovering yours before building your photography website.

Figuring out my why eradicated the competition; because nobody was doing what I was doing. Nobody has the purpose I have. (Just like nobody has the purpose YOU have!) And when you’re wrapped up in your purpose, you don’t have eyes for anybody else’s. You’re too captivated living out your own calling.

 


 

2. Get introspective.

When I dug in and investigated who I was, I actually found my unique style. I literally found a home in myself and potential brand, and then I created a Pinterest board based on what I truly LOVED – and it didn’t look like ANYONE else’s. (Not even in the slightest.)

It was seriously so different, and it lit. me. up. ya’ll. It was SO freeing to have a vision of “the perfect JVP brand” that didn’t look like anything anyone else was doing. I so deeply want YOU to experience the freedom in that process.

SO – go ahead, create a secret Pinterest board and pin literally EVERYTHING that makes you happy to it – but only one rule: NO website templates or branding mood boards – not yet. 😉

Here’s an idea of some things you can pin:

–  Outfits that inspire you and that you’d actually wear, (or would love to photograph other people wearing)

–  Landscapes with colors that inspire you and that you’d love to travel to

–  Home decor that you drool over, and would actually decorate your house with

–  Unique experiences you want to have one day (for me, that’s living out of a campervan temporarily & buying an overlanding setup) 

–  The things that make you the absolute happiest (for me – it’s spending quality time with my husband, pups and family; and living a simple life in the country.)

Wanna see an example of the JVP Mood Board on Pinterest that served as the foundation for the site you see today?

Thinking about creating a website for your photography business? Click here for the five things I wish I knew before creating my first photography website!

VIEW THE WHOLE MOOD BOARD HERE: https://pin.it/tict3aro4ovkrt

That mood board above resulted in this vision board that my designer whipped up:

 

And although my brand has evolved a tad since then (this was in 2017) – this still serves as a pretty dang accurate depiction of my brand aesthetic, and I’m all about it!

 


 

3. Define your ideal/dream client.

A pretty site won’t do you any good if it isn’t attracting your dream clients, and repelling those that aren’t a good fit for you. 

In business, there’s a term called “ideal client” and it refers to the dream client you’d like to work with over and over. Someone you wish you could clone and only work with for the rest of your biz life. (You may already be familiar with this term, but if not – I want to educate you for a sec.)

Have you ever shot a session for someone that you just did NOT vibe well with? Either they constantly asked for a discount or extra things that weren’t included in the scope of their project, or they didn’t value your time or expertise during the session, or they had a bad attitude. (Really just anything that rubbed you wrong.) From that moment forward, you realized you did NOT want to work with them, or anyone else like them, again.

This is good, really! It helps you to see who you’d like to work with, so you can get clearer on how to speak to them, (and how to create a site that speaks to them too!)

Create another Pinterest board for your dream client/ideal client, and pin things to it that they’d love and would connect with. Then, look at your own brand board and this board side by side, and find the overlap. It’s there, and it’s gonna be GOLD for you when it comes time to design a site that converts.

 


 

4. Do your research.

There are SO many different options when it comes to choosing a platform for your photography website. (As I’m sure you’re well aware of if you’re reading this post.)

I first chose WordPress and used a Bluchic theme, then I purchased another WordPress theme, and then I purchased a Flothemes theme, and then a Showit theme. Out of all of them, I’d hands down recommend going with Showit over any of the others. My pick for a website builder was Showit before even hiring James & Erica at Refinery Original – (so I’m thankful that was the builder they designed on as well!) 

Why did I choose Showit? Showit is a drag and drop website builder, (which means there’s no confusing coding knowledge needed in order to use it!)

This was a GAME CHANGER for me because trying to teach myself code just to make changes on my site resulted in a ton of headaches and sleepless nights. Ugh. Don’t remind me.

It was important to me to have a website that I actually knew how to use and change things on when I needed to. I didn’t want to have to find a designer or developer every single time I wanted something changed, that would’ve been an absolute nightmare, (both mentally and financially!)

I can preach about Showit till my lips fall off, but lemme just show you. Here’s a screenshot of the back-end of Showit, so you can see why I love it so much!

 

In Showit, I can literally click or adjust ANYTHING that you see on the screen. Anything on my site, I can change with just a few clicks and have the new version published immediately (or whenever I’m ready to!)

My site’s also responsive, which means it works on mobile too; which is VITAL nowadays, because of how many people are using phones to browse the web!

I just checked my Google Analytics, and 70 PERCENT of my website traffic comes from mobile devices on a monthly basis, so – ya gotta have one that plays well with mobile! 😉 

 


 

5. Be Strategic.

Be strategic with choosing a customizable website template, if that’s the route you go. (Which is usually much easier on the pocketbook than hiring a designer to build you a custom site, which isn’t necessary at the beginning of your biz if you follow these tips.) 

Showit has KILLER templates for sale now – (seriously, some of ‘em even tempt me!) Oh, and to clear things up, I’m not an affiliate for Showit. They don’t even have an affiliate program, I checked LOL. I legit just can’t rave about them and their customer service enough! (And when you’re having trouble… they respond with crazy helpful advice… and GIF’s. #sold.)

Had I known these things before trying to build a photography website, I could’ve saved myself from going down a THREE-year rabbit trail – that sucked up a lot of my time, energy, and finances.

Because let’s face it, you can’t drive traffic to a site that doesn’t exist; which means there’s a lot of potential clients and inquiries slippin’ through your fingers!

 


 

To sum it up, here’s what I wished I knew before investing in a photography website:

  •  Find your “why” before you build your site.
  •  Get introspective.
  •  Define your ideal client.
  •  Do your research.
  •  Be strategic.

 

Have questions about building your own photography website the right way? Drop ‘em below in the comments, or book a free strategy call with me so we can chat! 

Disclaimer: I’m no designer by any means, but I’ve learned a heapin’ of helpful tips to make sure I’m putting my best foot forward on the web!

Thinking about creating a website for your photography business? Click here for the five things I wish I knew before creating my first photography website!

 


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

 

 

Education

the-top-5-tools-i-used-to-grow-my-photography-business-in-2018-jessicavickers.com

read post

K

The Top 5 Tools I Used To Grow My Photography Business In 2018

Last year was the year I chose to really grow my photography business. And honestly, it was the biggest year of growth to date! I launched a new website, built an email list, launched mentoring services for photographers, and expanded my offerings, just to name a few.

But if it wasn’t for the tools I’m about to share with you, I wouldn’t have been able to do any of it. These five tools are the very backbone of my business, and I’m so stoked to be able to give you a peek inside what I use to run my business on a daily basis. Ya ready?

 


 

 

 

The Top 5 Tools I Used To Grow My Photography Business In 2018:


 

1. Honeybook (My CRM)

One of the biggest tools I used to grow my photography business in 2018 was Honeybook, no doubt. Honeybook is a client relationship manager, (so it’s basically your personal assistant and the organizational tool of your dreams as a small business owner.)

Honeybook handles literally all of my client workflows, (both for photo shoots and mentoring,) and makes running my biz SO much easier.

Whether I need a bird’s eye view on where all of my different shoots/paying clients are in my workflow, or whether I need to send a contract or collect a payment from someone; I can do it all in HB. (And there’s an app for it, so I can literally manage my business from anywhere, at any time.)

Prior to using a CRM in my business, my stuff was all over the place. I didn’t have a “workflow,” and when I heard people talk about their workflows… I low-key felt shame about the lack of organization in my own business. If someone were to see behind the scenes, it would’ve been messy. I wasn’t responding as quickly to inquiries as I should’ve, I was taking too long to respond when I did finally sit down to respond… and my turnaround time for photos was embarrassing. Just sayin’. Oh, and process for collecting testimonials? Non-existent. 🙈

I first made the switch from 17 Hats to Dubsado, and then Dubsado to Honeybook – and Honeybook is definitely where I’ll stay. If you want to read all about why I made the switch (as well as get a BTS look into my workflows and systems,)  you can find that right here! If you already know you need Honeybook, and want a free trial + 50% off your first year of it… I gotchu friend. It’s right over here!

 


 

2. My Website (On Showit)

Fun fact: It took me four years in business before I ever officially launched a website, (well… one that I was proud of.)

I’d bought website template after website template, trying to piecemeal a site together – DIY style. And none of it ever really “fit” or felt right. I wanted a website that would totally win over the hearts of my ideal clients, and make them NEED to book me asap. I was SO over trying to do it all by myself, so I finally took the leap and outsourced my website design to a professional. (Best decision EVER, btw.) Now, I have a website that I can’t wait to show off, and that I feel confident about my client’s stalking. Because it’s not just a template, it’s custom built to me and my style, and perfect for my ideal clients! 😉

But the best thing about my website is that my designer built it on a platform called Showit!

Showit is a drag and drop website builder. Meaning yes… no code needed. Therefore, I don’t have any frustrations with trying to make something look a certain way on my site and not knowing how! It’s seriously the best!

I remember I used to get so mad trying to work with templates inside of WordPress. They were just clunky and never looked “legit.” Now, I have a site that isn’t only beautiful but is SO easy to customize AND converts browsers into paying clients. That’s what matters most.

 


 

3. Convertkit (Email Marketing)

In 2018, I started an email list. I’d been telling myself I needed one for three years and had even bought multiple courses on how to create an email list. But honestly, the thought terrified me.

After chatting with my friend Samantha (you’ll learn about her in a minute,) I knew it was time. I had to do the dang thing. She helped me to learn Convertkit and know what I needed to be doing in there, (as well as put together the launch plan for my entire website and the Mina Marlena Presets!)

Through Convertkit, I was able to build my email list up through a “Coming Soon” page on my new website, which not only allowed me to actually have an audience (other than just on social media,) to launch my website to, but also allowed me to have a five-figure launch for the Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass… in 3 days.

Ya’ll… that’s a biiig deal for a lil’ girl like me that knew nothing about e-commerce. Moral of the story? Get yo self an email list yesterday!!! 😘

 


 

4. Instagram (An IG Strategy)

In 2018, I decided to get serious about creating an Instagram strategy to grow my photography business. I went from posting maybe once or twice a month to posting consistently 5 days a week. I started hitting it hard on Instagram because I knew that’s how I’d book more clients and make more sales.

It wasn’t until I spent time really nailing down a strategy for how to use my Instagram that I saw my bookings and profits grow.

Prior to developing an Instagram strategy, I was just posting things here and there that were laid on my heart or that I thought were pretty. Which is fine and all, but I wasn’t really seeing any return on investment for the time I was spending there. I finally spent the time setting goals for what I wanted to accomplish on Instagram. Then, I crafted captions and images that would reflect those goals. (If you’re not already doing this, girl – totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me to see where I can help you!)

 


 

5. Samantha Royer (Marketing Strategist)

Okay, so Sam isn’t exactly a tool… but she is an INSANE whiz-of-a-brain when it comes to marketing. Like I said earlier, Sam has been SUCH a huge resource in my journey to grow my photography business. Samantha isn’t currently taking on any new 1-1 clients for marketing strategy, because she recently pivoted her brand to follow what God’s laid on her heart. (Can I get an amen!?)

Recently, Sam launched her own platform for marketing education for Christian entrepreneurs. So if faith-based biz coaching (and all the marketing stuff you’d need to grow your bottom line,) is something you seriously nerd out over like me… get your butt on over to She Is Bold and sign up for the free membership.

Yes, you read that right. It’s free, and it’s legit. Remember that part I mentioned about having a five-figure launch? Yup. That was a lot of her doings. The girl knows her stuff. 😉

I hope you explore these tools and that they help you as much as they’ve helped me with growing my photography business! Got any q’s about using them? Totally drop a comment below!

 


 

*Disclaimer: This post includes some affiliate links, and I’d so appreciate it if you used ’em! Affiliate links help me continue to show up and serve you guys for free each week; so you win too! 😉

 

If you need help building, growing, and/or systemizing your photography business, totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping you flourish is what I do best. 😉 

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


 

If ya liked this little gem, you’ll LOVE this guide on how to create a photography business with zero competition. (Cause that’s what we all want, right!?)

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

Education

Searching for the best photoshoot locations in Okinawa, Japan? Click here for pin drops to my favorite locations for sessions on the island!

read post

K

The Best Couples Photoshoot Locations in Okinawa

I’ve been receiving a ton of requests on what the best photoshoot locations in Okinawa are. Since we live on an island, it’s obvious people want photos on the beach, near a jungle, or maybe even near the castle ruins, (which is honestly my personal least favorite.) 🙈

When I was doing my own research on the best photoshoot locations in Okinawa, I decided to go to a few places others had recommended. But honestly? I honestly wasn’t a fan of them at all! Castle ruins are a little too dark/cold for me, some of the beaches were SUPER crowded, (like multiple photographers always shooting there,) and some just were “meh,” or super overused.

Maybe I just have a different style, but seriously… I wasn’t feelin’ it. So, I spent the last two years exploring the island, and have managed to put together a list of my all-time favorite locations to shoot at! (I have a few more to head to soon, and I’ll update this post if I end up loving the locations!)

 


 

Searching for the best photoshoot locations in Okinawa, Japan? Click here for pin drops to my favorite locations for sessions on the island!

 


 

Best Couples Photoshoot Locations In Okinawa:

For the record, I literally can’t choose a fav out of these five… so these are in NO particular order!

 

#1 Location in Okinawa:

Hotel Moon Beach – (Main Island)

Wait… A hotel? Seriously!? YUP.

This hotel has SO many hidden gems around it for those tropical vibes. From a beautiful beach to rows of tall palm trees, grass to move around on (without worrying about getting eaten by a Habu,) and easy access to bathrooms and food, it’s pretty much paradise for sessions.

It’s an easy 30-45 min drive on the expressway from Kadena Air Base, and it’s beautiful year-round! (However, I wouldn’t attempt the first shot below on the Infiniti pool… I got in trouble on that one. Buuuut it was worth it. 🙈😂)

I’ve included two different sessions below that I’ve done at Hotel Moon Beach, and you can either scroll down the page or click on the pictures and click through them full size! Hopefully, this helps you get an idea of the variety of locations there! It’s seriously one of my all time favs. 😍

 

PIN DROP: https://goo.gl/maps/EpTsSTEYygQ2

 

 

Here’s another couples session at Hotel Moon Beach in Okinawa, just so you can see how versatile it really is!

 

 


 

#2 Location in Okinawa:

Hamasaki Beach (Miyagi Island)

Another favorite couples shoot location of mine, Hamasaki Beach! From Kadena gate 3, it’s probably a 45-minute drive! The precious couple below actually showed me this location!

In order to get to it, you actually have to hike through a little bit of jungle, (but it’s super easy!) You just follow the steps and rain gutter that leads through the jungle section, then bam! You’ll pop out on the beach. 😎

I love this location because of the variety of areas to shoot in! You could shoot in the jungle trek on the way to the beach, on the rocks, in front of the rocks, along the beach, etc.! It just simply has a different layout than most beaches!

 

PIN DROP: https://goo.gl/maps/3PU7YmS19sN2

 

 


 

#3 Location in Okinawa:

Hotel Nikko Alivila – (Main Island)

Another hotel? Yep. But this one’s epic. It definitely has that “Spanish/Italian vibe” going on. From Kadena Gate 1, it’s around a 25-minute drive! It’s also super close to the Cape Zanpa lighthouse, so you could totally take some here and some at the lighthouse and call it a day!

My favorite spots at this hotel to shoot at are the steps in front of the pool (obviously,) the courtyard to the side, and the beach in front!

I can’t really explain it… just see for yourself. 😍 There are so many different spots around the hotel that photograph beautifully. I’ve actually used this location for both couples and fashion shoots!

 

PIN DROP: https://goo.gl/maps/Uj63U6Dsjok

 

 


#4 Location in Okinawa:

Random Unnamed Beach – (Hamahiga Island)

So this beach literally doesn’t have a name. Some people call it “hidden beach”, but it’s not the hidden beach most people know of! It’s a super random one, but it’s quickly becoming my FAVORITE. It’s about a 45-minute drive from Kadena Gate 3!

(The couple below actually showed this spot to me too! Yes, I tend to have bomb couples who adventure and know all the cool spots around.) 😎

In order to get there, just walk the pathway alongside it and then you’ll find an opening you can trek through just a little way, and bam! You’ll pop out to some super cool shooting spots!

 

PIN DROP: https://goo.gl/maps/EJx9vhBChqB2

 

 


 

#5 Location in Okinawa:

Cape Hedo – (Main Island)

Cape Hedo is insanely beautiful. There’s really not another spot on the island like it. The only downside? It can take up to three hours to get there with traffic from Kadena Gate 1, so it’s definitely one you’d need to plan an entire day around!

When we did this session, I started on her hair and makeup in the morning, then we all left to go shoot and got there about 2.5 hours later, then shot for two hours or so, then left to go eat together at the restaurant by Okuma, then drove back (and I’m pretty sure the drive back was 3 hours. 😅) So in total, I was working for probably 10 hours straight. What can I say… I love my couples!

 

PIN DROP: https://goo.gl/maps/n4THVpjYviJ2

 

 


 

I hope these locations are helpful, (that you find them to be some of the best photoshoot locations in Okinawa too,) and that they inspire you to get out there and shoot! Got any of your favorite locations you wanna share? Totally drop ’em in the comments and let’s build each other’s businesses up!

😎 #communityovercompetition

 

Loving the images ya see? You’ve got choices…

#1. Book a couples shoot with me

#2. Book a mentorship (learn how to shoot like me!)

Whatcha feelin’ friend…?

 


 

Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

 

Education

read post

K

How To Edit Pictures Like A Pro Using Lightroom Presets

One of the hottest topics in the photography industry today is Lightroom presets. What are they? Are they worth it? Will they really help you to create images you love? Today I want to debunk common myths surrounding Lightroom presets, and help you see how they could help you in your photography business!

When you’re first diving into the world of photography and editing, let’s be honest – it’s pretty overwhelming. There are SO many new terms to learn and things to do (and not to do.) And though that may be true, please trust me when I say you CAN figure this out, and it’s actually FUN. I promise. 😉

If you’re in this place right now (stressed out + overwhelm city when it comes to editing,) I want you to take a second and breathe. Editing is so, so fun, (especially when you know what you’re doing and why!)

That’s my goal today, to show you why and how I edit my pictures using Lightroom presets, and teach you how to do it too!

Before we dive in, I’m going to walk you through a little bit of my photography background, and how I got started with editing.

 


Lightroom presets: they're a hot topic! However, tons of photographer's don't know how to use them. Click here for tips on editing like a pro with presets!


How I Got Started With Editing:

I’ll be honest. My editing journey started in middle school with Picnik. Anybody remember that fun software!? 😂

I used to edit ALL of my Myspace photos with it. Seriously. My hobbies included: adding random quotes I found on the internet to my pics, bumping that contrast up – you name it, I did it. The results? Less than stellar. BUT, it did teach me a little when it came to editing. Maybe. (Along with the built-in filters for Facebook, I’m sure I used those from time to time too.) #baller

In high school, I took a class that taught a little bit about Photoshop. So, for my senior pictures, I actually set up a camera and had my mom take them. Then I went home and edited them. (They’re pretty funny. Maybe I’ll share them one day. 😂) But, I was able to learn a few things about what caused what to happen when I was editing photos and playing around with different filters and things.

Around 2014, I’d been debating starting a photography business. I decided to start looking for photoshop actions (which are basically filters,) that would fit the type of images I wanted to create. A Photoshop action is a pre-recorded set of tweaks/adjustments that are applied to a photo once you “play” it. So with one click, you’re able to apply a set of edits to a photo, and then go in and tweak them individually from there. Photoshop actions were what taught me the majority of my editing techniques.

Then, I had been doing some reading up on Lightroom from a photography forum, and decided since I was already paying for all of the Adobe programs, I’d give Lightroom a shot too. I played around a bit in there; but didn’t truly understand why it was better than Photoshop – until I realized how much faster I could edit in Lightroom. That was the game-changer for me. But, I really loved the actions I was currently using in Photoshop, so how could I get that same look in Lightroom?

 


 

Introducing: The Lightroom Preset

Lightroom has its own version of an “action,” and it’s referred to as a preset. Lightroom presets are basically a “pre-set” set of edits that are applied to an image once you click on it.

You can then go in and tweak that image in the develop module, (the area that gives you full access to all of the tools you’d need in order to edit.)

I found out that other photographers also sold their own presets (their way/style of editing,) just like some photographers sold their Photoshop actions – so I decided I’d experiment around with presets to see if I found some that I loved and could work off of.

Now, there’s totally an argument out there from those who say you shouldn’t buy other people’s presets, and that they’d never buy a preset; blah blah blah.

I’m just telling you, I learned by using other people’s presets; determining what I liked and didn’t like about them, and tweaking them to fit my style. Over time, I learned what every tool in Lightroom did, and then was able to efficiently create my own presets. But had I not invested in presets first, it probably would’ve taken me a lot longer to learn how to do it.

 


 

Benefits of Using A Preset:

 

#1: Efficiency.

  • You waste SO much time editing photos one-by-one, adjusting every tiny slider to finally achieve the look you’re wanting for your photo; only to have to start over again on the next one. Presets allow you to apply a set of edits with one click, and then only make tiny adjustments from there if needed. Then, you can copy and paste the finished edit onto the next image, or sync that specific edit across all of your images. It’s a GAME-CHANGER. Work smarter, not harder – right!?

 

 

#2: Consistency.

  • One of the biggest benefits of using a preset is it allows you to have consistency in your editing style and aesthetic. Since you’re applying the same style of edit to every shoot, you’ll naturally start to build a portfolio that you’re proud of, (and that looks super professional!)

 

 

#3: Confidence.

  • This one’s huge. Do you love your current work? Do you love your editing style? Chances are you’re not a huge fan, and presets can seriously change the GAME when it comes to being confident in your work and the final product you’re putting out into the world.

 

 


 

Important things to note:

Presets are meant to be the icing on the cake, not the cake batter.

What I mean is, it’s not okay to just consistently take bad photos with hopes that a preset will mask all of your technical and foundational issues with your images. That’s not cool, and that won’t help you grow as a photographer in the long run.

It is VITAL to learn to take good images straight out of the camera – and then enhance them through editing. I can’t stress this enough. If I didn’t know how to take images that were near perfect in camera, then they wouldn’t be half of what they are with an edit. (And I wouldn’t be producing my best quality of work.)

I firmly believe that the majority of your images should be able to stand alone without an edit- before an edit is ever applied.

Now, that doesn’t mean that here and there you won’t mess up and accidentally get the exposure wrong or notice that something was off after the shoot that you should’ve fixed. Sometimes that happens, and if you’re shooting in raw it’s an easy fix, (most of the time.)

I’m just saying I don’t want you to forever use presets as a crutch or a mask to cover up bad images.

SO many times I’ll see photographers posting photos that are totally out of focus (meaning they didn’t get the focus right in the camera.) Then they just slap a preset on it and edit it, then share it – and meanwhile they’re charging people for that work. That totally rubs me wrong, and I’m so not for that!

All of the images you’re delivering to clients should be in focus (unless it was a specific stylist choice not to.) If you’re struggling with that, I STRONGLY URGE YOU to focus on your foundational techniques as a photographer before you start charging people to work with you! But that’s another convo for another day!

 


Presets will work better on RAW photos than JPG photos.)

Why? Because RAW images contain all of the data from the image, and keeps it all separate; so you can hop into it and edit individual things.

Want to only change the hue and saturation of the green grass in your image? No problem, with a RAW image you can! Need to do it in a JPEG? Good luck!

JPEGS are much more difficult to edit creatively. Why? Because all of the settings from when the image was shot are compressed. Therefore, you can’t get in and edit individual things or push the limits too far without the image starting to look weird. (I’m using really basic terms so this makes the most sense!)

You can totally google “raw vs jpeg” and there are tons of articles about why raw is a better choice. If you’re not sure how to shoot in raw, or if your camera can even do it; just google “how to shoot in raw on a (insert camera model here,) and you’ll find a plethora of info on how to make the switch!

Only shooting with an iPhone? The Lightroom mobile app will actually allow you to take photos in raw! If you’ll take your photos from inside the Lightroom app (not the native camera on your iPhone,) and make sure the button at the top of the camera is on DNG, you’re good to go to shoot raw photos with it! Make the switch. You’ll be glad ya did, I promise! 😉

Okay, so by now you’re familiar with what presets are, why they’re useful, and how you can benefit from using them. Ready to dive deep into actually working with them to create better work?

 


 

Using Lightroom presets – An Introduction:

There are hundreds of thousands of options when it comes to preset combinations. Just one small tweak of one of the many sliders in the develop module in Lightroom can completely change an images look. And that’s a good thing! Because that means presets are also super customizable. (And they should be – because every single image is different.)

So many factors go into an image: the lighting, the location, the time of day, the colors in the background, the outfit on the model, the direction the sun is coming in the frame, (you get the point.)

Because of that, presets aren’t supposed to be one click. (Very few times they may be, because the preset may have been built on an image that had very similar settings to the image you’re applying it to, but it’s usually a rare case!) So don’t be surprised if you invest in presets and they’re not one click. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t purchase good presets. It just means you need to learn how to tweak them to fit your style!

However, most photographers that sell Lightroom presets only sell the presets themselves; they don’t show you how to use them and tweak them to make them work for you. The education that (should) come with presets is severely lacking.

That’s why I created the Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass; which includes 6 desktop Lightroom presets, 6 mobile presets, 2 in-depth guides on how to take and edit better photos, and 4 video tutorials showing you how I edit with them and what to tweak!

I’m SUPER determined to truly teach people how to improve in their craft, whether it’s shooting or editing; because I want you to actually grow all around! (I could chat on and on about my heart for photographers and helping people create work they’re proud of, but we’d be here all day!)

 


 

 

Using Lightroom Presets: Pt. I

Let’s look at a breakdown of the process of using a preset. Say you just purchased my (or someone else’s) presets! Now what? After you’ve downloaded them, be sure to read the installation guide that (should) come with your presets. It will contain important info about how to install them! (If you purchase mine, there’s a .jpg file that states the installation info in the download, and the installation process is also included in Guide #1!)

After you’ve installed your Lightroom presets, you’re well on your way to editing like a pro. (Well, kinda.) There are a few things we want to be mindful of, and some things you need to decide for yourself!

Here are some things I’m ALWAYS keeping in mind while I’m editing:

 

  • Skin tones

    • Skin tones are single-handedly the most important part of editing for me. Everyone has their own creative preference when it comes to their photography. But, skin tones are always the priority in my images! In short, I shoot and edit for skin. That just means I’m always being conscious while I’m shooting and setting up my settings in camera on a shoot to make sure I’m helping, not hurting, the skin tones in my photos.

 

    • Have you ever looked at a photo and noticed something just looked majorly off with how the subject appeared; primarily with their skin coloring? Maybe they looked really green-tinted, or maybe they were super orange. Or maybe their skin looked dark, muddy, and desaturated (i.e. they looked sick.) These are things I make sure to NEVER do in my photos, and you shouldn’t either! You’ll honestly be way ahead of the game if this is the only thing you learn today.  🙌🏼

 

  • Contrast

    • Now, another thing we want to be mindful of is contrast. Oftentimes, I see people adding contrast to their images using the contrast tool, which actually isn’t always the best way to add that “pop” to your images, in my opinion! Reason being, contrast is harsh on the skin, and usually brings in some funky colors you don’t want in your image.

 

    • A better way to add that “pop” you’re looking for to your images, is to try using the lights and darks below the tone curve, or the shadows and blacks in the develop module! Move these tools up and down to see the effect they have on your image!

 

Honestly, there are SO many things I could teach about editing, but this blog post would literally be a novel. 🙈

So, here’s a quick rundown of the things I’m usually always tweaking whenever I’m working with a preset!

(This is a sneak peek of one of the guides that come with the Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass!)

Lightroom presets: they're a hot topic! However, tons of photographer's don't know how to use them. Click here for tips on editing like a pro with presets!

 


 

Troubleshooting Tips for Lightroom Presets:

What to do if…

  • Skin tones are too orange once you apply a preset

 

      • Go to the HSL sliders in Lightroom (under mix in Lightroom mobile) and reduce the saturation of the orange color slider

 

        • You can also try reducing the overall warmth of the photo in the temperature section if it’s super warm! (For LR Mobile: Temperature is the first slider under “color” that changes from blue to yellow as it moves from left to right! For Desktop, it’s the first slider in the develop module, and looks the same as the slider in Lightroom mobile!)

 

  • The image is too dark

 

      • Increase exposure! You can also increase the shadows or blacks if it needs a little fine-tuning.

 

  • Skin tones look green-tinted

 

      • Move the tint from the green hue to the magenta hue. (Vice versa if your skin tones are too magenta/pink!)

 

  • The image has too much contrast, or looks too “heavily edited”

 

      • Reduce the contrast. If that’s not enough, try lifting the shadows and the blacks.

 

  • You want the grass to be less neon green/vibrant

 

      • Go to the HSL sliders and reduce the saturation of the green. If that doesn’t make a big difference, go to the yellow in the HSL sliders and reduce the saturation of the yellows! Grass registers as yellow SUPER often!

 

  • Your image is super hazy because of the sun flare/sun shooting directly into your lens

 

      • Use the “dehaze” tool in Lightroom, and also try lowering the blacks! Both of those tools work wonders!

 

  • Your image has a weird lens distortion (fish-eye effect,) on your image

 

      • Enable “profile corrections” in the Lens Corrections section of the Develop module

 


 

How To Create Your Own Preset (Desktop):

 

So you’ve nailed down a look you love, and you want to save it as a preset so you can easily apply it to your photos. No problem, here’s how you do that!

Once you’ve got the settings where you want them for your preset, navigate to the left side of the screen in Lightroom where you see the word “Presets.” Click the ( + ) sign and then click “create new preset.” Give your preset a name and create a new group (basically a folder for it.)

There are a few things I recommend not syncing to your preset (in the window with the checkboxes.) I would uncheck the box that says “white balance” and the box that says “exposure.” If you’re going to be editing iPhone photos with this preset as well, then I’d make sure the box that says “lens corrections” is unchecked too!

Now you’re all set. Have fun with your new preset! 🥂

 


How To Create Your Own Preset (Mobile):

 

To create a preset in Lightroom mobile, (once you have your settings the way you want them) – you’ll click the button at the top right. (It has three dots on it!) Then, scroll down until you see the words “create preset”. Give your preset a name, uncheck what you need to, and then you’re good to go!

 


 

I hope these tips are SO helpful for you! Have any other preset q’s? Totally leave them in the comments and I’ll serve ya up with my best editing tips! 😍

 

Want to next-level your photos with the Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass? All of the info is waiting and ready for ya to put to work on your images! 😎📸

Lightroom presets: they're a hot topic! However, tons of photographer's don't know how to use them. Click here for tips on editing like a pro with presets!


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

 

Education

office-vision-mood-board-workspace-jessicavickers.com-1

read post

K

5 Productivity Tips For Photographers

Let’s be honest – productivity while working from home can be difficult. There are at least 83 different distracting scenarios that play out each day. Whether it’s your dogs coming at you screaming for attention while you’re trying to edit a session (no…? just me?) Or that random IG story that’s linked to that product that you totally need; and somehow you ended up on Amazon shopping for something to organize your house, (thanks Marie Kondo.) Wait, you need groceries for dinner tonight too? (See how it works!?)

It’s definitely a struggle to stay productive when working from home. Over the last year, I’ve made it a point to truly dial down on finding ways to maximize my productivity when I’m working, and I’ve got a few hacks that I think both you and your to-do list will appreciate. 😏

 


 

Do you struggle with being productive while working from home as a photographer? Click here for my top tips on productivity, and some fun resources to try!

 


 

1.  Eat The Frog

 

Wait, what!? Let me explain. 😂 “Eating the frog” is essentially tackling the hardest thing on your to-do list FIRST.

So every day before you sit down to work, jot down a list of the top three things you need to get done that day. Just those three. Then, start tackling the hardest thing on that list before any of the others. You know, the thing you want to do the least. (Which usually ends up being the thing you’d be most likely to procrastinate.)

“If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And if it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the BIGGEST one first.”

— Mark Twain”

So, if you have two “frogs” – tackle the hardest one first. (Or if they’re both hard, tackle the one that’s the ugliest – the one you want to do the least.)

 


 

2.  Set work hours.

 

I used to be SO bad at working from the time I woke up until the time I went to sleep. I didn’t have limits set for myself, so all I knew to do was work. (Granted I seriously love what I do, but still. There’s got to be some boundaries!) 

By setting work hours for yourself, you’ll actually be more productive than if you were to work longer, differing hours (or ones that aren’t set in stone) each day. Why? Because you’ll know you need to get done “x” amount of things done by “x” time. There’s a deadline that keeps you motivated! My work hours start at 9:00am and last until 2:00pm. These are the hours that I’m most productive, so I’m maximizing my time during them.

To get started using work hours at home, decide on what hours of the day you’re usually the most productive. (Or if you have another job as a 9-5, then it would be hours outside of that!) Set your work hours for the times you’re usually the most productive/motivated. Then, at the beginning of your day (prior to when your work hours officially start,) make some coffee and sit down with your planner to evaluate what you need to get done for the day; (i.e. determine your frogs.) Once you officially start your work hours, start tackling your list one by one.

At the end of your workday, (the last 30 minutes or so,) flip to tomorrow’s date in your planner and write down the overflow of tasks, (if any,) that you didn’t get done today. (The ones that you now need to do tomorrow.) By doing this, you’re setting yourself up for success for the next day! 🙂

Need a planner you love? My FAV planner EVER is this one by Lucy Celebrates. It’s changed my life, not even kidding. (And I’ve used the Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, the Day Designer, the Design Aglow one for Photographers, and all of Erin Condren’s planners, as well as random target ones I bought because they were pretty. LOL. I’m a planner nut, and this one hands down takes the cake.) I’m not paid to say this, I just love it that much! 

It’s different from the rest, because not only does it help you to make more white space in your life, (a concept I’m so down for,) but it helps you keep Jesus at the center of your heart and day, vs. only spending time with Him in the morning and/or at night. I’ve never seen a planner like it!)

 


 

3. Get a system for your business.

 

If you’re a photographer, (or any type of creative small business owner for that matter,) you totally need a system to house all of your workflows. My right-hand man, (errr woman…?) Totally Honeybook.

Prior to Honeybook, I had all of my communication and files for my clients every freakin-where: facebook messages, emails, insta DM’s, etc. Ya’ll it was a hot mess and so disorganized. (I was honestly super embarrassed about how “not-together” I had it.) 🙈

Enter Honeybook, (and cue the angels singin’ hallelujah.) Honeybook not only manages all of my emails and communication with clients in individual projects, but it also holds all of my invoice templates, email templates, brochures, proposals, automated workflows, calendars, accounting, etc. You name it, it’s in there and probably saving my life on the daily. 😂🙌🏼 It’s available both for your desktop and your iphone (there’s an app,) and it also syncs to your apple watch. Seriously the best. It’s increased my productivity on the client-side of my business tenfold.

If you want to try it out for FREE for 7 days, you can right here! If you wanna read an in-depth blog post on exactly how I use it in my business, along with a behind-the-scenes peek into my workflows, you can stalk that right here!

 


 

4. Batch work.

 

Batch working is basically categorizing your days into buckets. Each day, you only do that day’s category of work. If something comes up that’s out of that category of work (I.e. maybe it’s a marketing task and today you’re just focusing on client work,) then you just dump it onto the to-do list for your “marketing batch day.”

I first learned about this concept from Ashlyn of Ashlyn Writes, and I can say it’s definitely been one of the greatest tools I’ve implemented to increase my productivity. Here’s a blog post from her all about how to organize your work schedule into batch days!

I use Asana as my productivity tool, as well as to house all of my batch days and my content calendar, and it’s been so great! I worked with Hannah Murphy to set up my batch days and productivity schedule, and I seriously had such a great experience. She’s incredible! If you need someone to create you a batch schedule from the ground up and then hold you accountable for 30 days to complete an action plan, (based off of all of the things you need to get done,) TOTALLY reach out to her! (I believe she’s fully booked right now, but don’t shy away from sending her an email to get on her waitlist!) 

 


 

5. Try the Pomodoro Technique.

 

The Pomodoro technique is basically working in intervals of 25 minutes on and 5 minutes off, for as many sessions as you need, for each task. Then, after about four Pomodoro sessions, you’ll take a longer break (usually around 20-30 minutes.) So instead of dragging along working on the same task non-stop, (which usually always leads to distraction,) you work in shorter, more focused bursts! This works SO well for my productivity levels, especially for culling + editing!

 


BONUS: Resources

 

  • Brain.fm is one of the greatest tools for productivity. I’d always heard about how listening to a certain kind of music helped you focus, but this app is legit. I listen to the focus channel in Brain.fm every time I need to write a blog post, and I always stay super focused and pump out the best content when I do. It’s also awesome for editing photos! 

 

 


Need help with your photography business?

Struggling with roadblocks you just can’t get over, no matter how hard you try to DIY?

Reach out and book a free call with me, no strings attached, and let’s see how I can help you build the photography business of your dreams! 👊🏼

 

Do you struggle with being productive while working from home as a photographer? Click here for my top tips on productivity, and some fun resources to try!

 


 

Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

Education

jessicavickers.com

read post

K

How To Create A Client Communication Workflow

One of the most requested blog posts from photographers over in my free FB group has been on all things photography workflows! Client communication, systems, editing workflows, my booking process, you name it- it’s been requested.

But because every single workflow in my business is WAY too much for one blog post, I figured I’d break them up into a series! For Workflow Series #1, we’re covering all things client communication!


 

Are you struggling with workflows in your photography business? Click here for a free guide + template on how to set up your client communication workflow!


 

Client communication is one of the easiest areas of your business to overlook – because you’re just so dang excited to get to the SHOOTING part. But guys, your client communication workflow is actually THE most important part of your business. Because without a solid one, you can’t really have a thriving business.

 

Your client communication workflow is the backbone of your business – and the heartbeat of your marketing strategy.

 

Ever wondered how to get more word-of-mouth referrals? You know, the ones that aren’t affected by that pesky algorithm?

Make client communication your priority, and your clients will do the talkin’ for ya. 👏🏼

“Okay Jess, but where do I start?”

Hang tight… I’ve gotcha covered.

My top tips for elevating your client experience through communication:

 


PHASE 1: EVALUATION


 

1. Evaluate what your CURRENT client communication process looks like.

We need to see if we can find any gaps in your current system, (or see if you need to create one from scratch!)

  • Think about all of the steps a client has to take to get in touch with you. (Are they reaching out to you through Facebook messenger? Instagram DM’s? The contact form on your website?)

 

  • Think about how you send a potential client your pricing/service information: (Are you sending over your pricing info in a few sentences? Are you emailing them a well designed, on-brand pricing .PDF? How do you go about communicating your worth through your services?)

 

  • Think about any other steps in your current workflow: (Are you sending out questionnaires to get to know your clients? Are you sending out contracts?)

 

Have you noticed any potential gaps? Are there any areas where clients are always having questions; that a follow-up or email could answer ahead of time?

 


2. Write down your ideal client communication workflow, and what it would look like in a perfect world.

Maybe something like:

– client fills out the contact form on my website

– receives an auto-responder letting them know when I’ll get back to them, along with my office hours

– recieves initial inquiry email with my pricing/services within 24-48 hours

* Etc, etc.

 

(It’s okay if you have NO idea where to start with this! Lucky for you, I’ve got a freebie at the end of this post with your name on it! Its got my entire client communication workflow listed out, along with what each email should include, and even a page for you to hash out all this thinkin’ ya been doin’!) 🙌🏼

 


 

3. Simplify your client communication process on the back-end.

  • If you’re not doing so already, route all of your inquiries to the same place.

 

If you’re accepting inquiries from everywhere- don’t. For example: If you have a photography business Facebook page, set up an auto-responder that lets people know you only accept inquiries through either:

a.) your contact form on your website (bonus points if it’s linked to your CRM (client relationship manager) – mine’s Honeybook!)

or

b.) through your business email account!

If you get a text, just shoot them a short and sweet response that links them to your contact form page, or tell them to email you at your business email! That way, if someone reaches out, they’re immediately popped into your workflow. No more inquiries everywhere to sort through! (This was a gamechanger for me in the beginning!)

If you’ve never heard of a CRM, (a client relationship manager,) it’s essentially the assistant you NEED in your business.

If you struggle with workflows, systems, organization and just managing your clients in general, I’ve got the elixir to your ailments.

My CRM of choice is Honeybook, and I’ve got a 50% off discount code for it in the freebie at the end, as well as some other bomb goodies.

But stay with me here, we’re buildin’ a foundation first! 😎

 


4. Develop a plan to try and answer all of your potential client’s questions BEFORE they can ask them.

It’s so important to always be five steps ahead of your client, so that you’re over-delivering before you’ve even officially started working together.

(This trick right here is one of the ways you’ll get raving fans… which leads to word of mouth referrals… which leads to not having to stress so much about marketing and social media – because you’re constantly getting clients without them. 😉

Now, the only way we can actually do this and rinse and repeat it, is with a system.

 


 

PHASE 2: COMMUNICATION


1. Develop a workflow system using email templates.

I can’t stress the importance of email templates enough. Email templates will save you SO much time, and you won’t be constantly having to hunt back through your inbox to find messages you’ve sent to past clients, so you can copy & paste and customize for the next. Or worse  – come up with responses from scratch every. single. time. you get a new inquiry. 🙈

Now, just because I recommend having email templates in your business DOES NOT MEAN that I don’t add in personalized copy for each client. I totally do, and I leave space for it at the top of every email! I’m not a robot. 😉

TIP: I use Google Docs to type out each one of my email templates for the different offerings I have in my business. I have one long doc per workflow, and it lists the subject line of the email and the contents of it in the order they’re sent out. Then, once I’m done creating the workflow, I copy and paste it over into the email template section in Honeybook, my CRM (client relationship manager!)

I’ve gotta be honest, if it wasn’t for Honeybook – my client communication process would be all over the place, (like it was… for a long time.)

Prior to finding Honeybook, I was purchasing pricing template after pricing template on Etsy, redesigning each one over and over thinking it would do the trick (and I’d actually book someone with this one.)

Then, I’d procrastinate responding to inquiries because I was self-conscious over the way I was presenting myself.

I felt as if I couldn’t charge my worth because my client experience and workflow wasn’t streamlined or nailed down.

And honestly, I kinda felt like a poser running a “business,” because my business side of things was messy, to say the least.

If you’re stuck in this place right now in your business, IT’S OKAY.

Do you hear me!?

There is always room for growth. It’s the ones who buckle down and do the work that grow the fastest and go the farthest. (I got a feelin’ that’s you, friend!) 😉

If you want to learn all about Honeybook, and get a behind-the-scenes look at my entire workflow for booking clients through it, you can right over here!

Are you ready to do a little heavy lifting in order to go a long way?

(Spoiler alert, I may have already done the heavy liftin’ for ya by listing out my entire communication workflow in the guide below!) 👇🏼

download-the-free-guide-jessicavickers.com

 

Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

Education

Ever wonder what apps are best for photographers? Click here to find out the 7 apps every photographer should be using!

read post

K

7 Apps Every Photographer Should Be Using

I’m a tech nerd. There. I admitted it. Reading about what apps for photographers are best has always been a habit of mine. So here’s to hoping you’re like me — and if not, feel free to stop reading now. 😂 Here are, (in my opinion,) the 7 apps every photographer should be using.

Oh, real quick– this pretty much goes without saying, considering literally everyone and their mother has an Instagram. BUT, if you’ve been living under a rock and don’t have an Instagram yet, get one. Because it’s free advertising and a social media portfolio all in one; and I’ve had a ton of inquiries from using this app the right way! (Using the right way = being consistent and actually posting at least 5-7x a week and utilizing the Instagram stories feature.)

I just couldn’t bring myself to add Instagram into the actual list of 7 apps, but I couldn’t not mention it – so there ya go. 😂

 


 

Ever wonder what apps are best for photographers? Click here to find out the 7 apps that (in my opinion,) every photographer should be using!

 

 


 

1. Lightroom CC

The Lightroom CC app allows you to actually edit photos from your phone; while maintaining the same consistency of your professional edits! It’s seriously so legit. I don’t know what we were doing without it. If you already have your own presets you use, you can just export one of your photos from your desktop with the preset on it, save it as a .DNG, then Airdrop it to your iPhone, and import it into the Lightroom app, and BAM! You’re able to copy the edits from that image and paste onto any image you upload into the app!

Wondering what presets I use? Hands down my Mina Marlena Presets, (they come with both desktop and Lightroom mobile presets, as well as several tutorials and guides on how to use them and how to take even better photos in the first place!)

 


 

2. Unfold

Unfold allows you to create awesome IG stories of your recent sessions, new blog posts, or literally any info or photos you want to share!

Just drop your photos in, add some text (which you can totally customize,) and then save the entire thing as a story and upload it to IG! Done and done! It’s been such a fun way for me to share sneak peeks of sessions, (and I actually end up sharing more of my work on social because it’s so easy to make the stories!)

 


 

3. Planoly

Planoly has been a lifesaver when it comes to planning out my Instagram feed and prepping things before I post! (How we had cohesive, pretty Instagram feeds before apps like Planoly, I don’t know.)

You can write your captions inside the app along with your photos, and save them and set a reminder for when you want the posts to go live, and Planoly will remind you to post (or you can even allow it to post for you!)

Planoly has both an app and a desktop version, and I use both religiously! You can either use the free version (which I think caps you at 30 uploads per month, which is around one photo a day,) or you can pay for unlimited uploads. However, if you’re only planning on posting once a day, the free version is perfect!

 


 

4. Honeybook

Honeybook is the (client relationship manager,) CRM I use to manage my clients, photoshoots, and projects. It allows me to send contracts, invoices, proposals, pricing info, client questionnaires and all of my emails in beautifully organized workspaces. I seriously don’t know where I’d be without it.

In short, I LOVE it. It’s available on both desktop and in an app. The mobile app allows me to manage my business from the road when I’m traveling without skipping a beat!

If you want more info on Honeybook and a sneak peek into the entire back-end of my biz and exactly how I use it, hop over here! There’s a 50% off discount code for Honeybook and a special gift waitin’ inside that post, so don’t miss it! 😉

 


 

5. Sunseeker

Sunseeker is an app that allows you to see EXACTLY where the sun is going to be at any location, and at any given time.

You can even use the 3D view (which is like augmented reality,) and if you’re already at the location you’ll be shooting at, you can just place the camera on where you plan to shoot to see where the light will be; giving you the greatest chance of capturing the best light! I use this for every shoot when I’m planning the sunset/golden hour details out, and it never fails me!

 


 

6. Brain.fm

Sometimes I get distracted when I’m trying to work. Okay, a lot of times. 🙈 Brain.fm is a radio app that plays music catered to specifically the task you’re trying to accomplish at the moment. (I’m using it right now to write this blog post!) 😉✍🏼

It’s not just a concept, and it’s way different than just tuning into a youtube “focus” playlist. There are literally tons of case studies on why Brain.fm actually works and is 100% proven, and superior to other methods (like just playing classical music.)

There are 3 different categories: Focus, Relax, and Sleep. I’m typically just using focus, but I’m sure the others are great too! I use it most when I’m writing blog posts or copy for social media, and when I’m editing photos! It’s really changed the game for me and helped me maximize my productivity. Wanna try it out? Click here!

 


 

7. Trello

Trello is my task management software for literally everything in my business, and I love it! It has both an app and a desktop version, and I switch between them both super often. I primarily use Trello for the education side of my business (the stuff I create for you guys,) but I also keep a ton of my biz info in there so I can easily access it!

You can create boards for literally any project or workflow you have, in business or in personal life! Trello is totally free, and you can sign up here! There are options for upgrades, but you can do everything you need to on the free version! 🙌🏼

I hope these apps supercharge your photography workflow like they do mine! Here’s to a fabulous, and super productive 2019! 🙌🏼

Got any q’s? Drop ‘em below and I’ll be over here ready to serve ya with the best I got! ✍🏼

 


 

*Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I’d so appreciate it if you used ’em! Affiliate links help me continue to show up and serve you guys for free each week; so you really win in the end! 😉

 

If you need help building, growing, and/or systemizing your photography business, totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping you flourish is what I do best. 😉 

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


 

If ya liked this little gem, you’ll LOVE this guide on how to create a photography business with zero competition. (Cause that’s what we all want, right!?)

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

 

Resources

Why I Switched From Dubsado to Honeybook-jessicavickers.com

read post

K

Why I Switched From Dubsado to Honeybook

I’m about to open up about something that was seriously LIFE-CHANGING for my photography business. If you’re in need of organization, clarity, and systems in your biz, (specifically through a client relationship manager (CRM) – you’re gonna wanna read this.

Storytime. ✍🏼

When I first started my business, I was honestly super disorganized. Cat’s outta the bag. 🙈

 

… I’d purchase pricing template after pricing template on Etsy, and would procrastinate responding to inquiries because I was self-conscious over the way I was presenting myself.

… I felt as if I couldn’t charge my worth because my client experience and workflow wasn’t streamlined or nailed down. 

… Kinda felt like a poser running a “business,” because my business side of things was messy, to say the least. 😅

 

Sound like you? It’s okay, friend! I’ve been there. Keep reading, it gets GOOD. 😎

 


On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

After about a year of spending hundreds on Etsy pricing guide templates, I decided I’d invest in a CRM (client relationship manager) software that would simplify things and get me organized. I’d heard a bit about them, but didn’t really know where to start.

I decided to try out a software called 17 hats, but long story short; I wasn’t crazy about it. It was super confusing and had a pretty messy interface, so I quit using it and was back at square one of not feeling “legit” for a while.

 


 

The turning point…

I had heard about two different softwares; one called Honeybook and one called Dubsado.

I tried a free trial for both, but because of how many people were raving about Dubsado and their customer service, I went with them. As time went on, I was frustrated with the interface and lack of user-friendliness in Dubsado – but felt like I was alone in that feeling because it seemed like EVERYONE was just loving it.

Then, I was on the client side of Honeybook with both my website designer and marketing strategist, and I realized I had made the wrong choice.

Honeybook was not only beautifully designed and simple to use, but it was just complex enough for what I needed.

Honestly, I wasn’t even using 3/4 of the features in Dubsado, just because there was so much that it became overwhelming, and I didn’t ever get everything set up because of it. So basically, I was wasting money on something I wasn’t even using to its fullest.

In short, because of how complex Dubsado was, I wasn’t using all of it. Kind of ironic for something that’s supposed to make your life simpler… right!? 

I gave Honeybook a chance using their free trial (again,) but this time I actually followed the steps and fully set my account up.

Within just one hour of exploring the system, I was SOLD. 🙌🏼

Honeybook was WAY simpler, and had just the right amount of things I needed, (nothing less ya’ll.) I could get rockin’ and rollin’ within a few hours of setup.

(Little did I know, they’d email me after I officially signed up saying they could do it all for me for free,) buuut I’d already done it all in just a day or two because it was so easy! 😂🙌🏼)

 


 

Honeybook keeps all my biz info in one place, which keeps not only my biz, but my LIFE organized. 😩🙌🏼 But that’s not the only good news…

I’ve got a 50% off discount for you if you decide you want to try it, too!

And not only do I have the bomb discount code… I’m also giving away something super special with it, so keep readin’ till the end if ya want all the deets! 😎

Let’s dive into some of my fav Honeybook features, shall we? 🥂

 


1. Contact form

I seriously love how the back-end of Honeybook is set up, and the entire process starts with my contact form on my website.

(You don’t have to have a contact form, or even a website in order to have Honeybook, this is just how I do it!)

So here are my contact form options on my website, the one on the left is for photography inquiries and the right is for education, (like one-on-one mentorships with photographers — that’s you guys!) 😉

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

Here’s a look at the inside of one of them (excuse the fact I had to zoom out a ton to make it all fit,) and then the next image shows that exact contact form on the back-end of Honeybook! 

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

Here’s the back end of that contact form above inside my Honeybook account! 👇🏼

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

Adjusting your contact forms and plugging them into your site is literally THAT easy! Your changes are immediate, so it’s like- heaven. 😍

So here’s the rundown on how the contact form starts the workflow process:

  • Once a client fills out my contact form, that inquiry is immediately added into what’s called a “project” in my Honeybook account.
  • I receive a notification from the Honeybook mobile app as well as an email that I received a new inquiry, and the project is created inside Honeybook; all in a matter of seconds.

 

I even have an auto-responder set up that lets my clients know I’m out of office, but that I received their inquiry. (Since they receive immediate communication, it increases my chances of booking! Workflow for the win!)

Pro tip: In order to keep my inbox super organized, I set up auto-responders on all of my social media accounts that direct all inquirers to my contact form; so I only have one direct stream of inquiries feeding my Honeybook.

Fun fact: I used to accept inquiries from 57,493 places… texts, email, facebook, Instagram dm’s, etc. – and I was dropping the ball on responses, like… all the time.

Setting up auto-responders that directed people to my contact form changed the game for me! 

 


2. Projects

Projects are your individual inquiries, and you can categorize them by shoot type (i.e. wedding, couples, engagement, family, boudoir, newborn, senior, etc.)

Honeybook’s dashboard lists your projects in one beautiful, simple, organized spot; so you can easily navigate to the project you’re needing to hop into and check the status of it, send files, chat to your clients through it, or whatever you need to do.

Projects are so helpful because they eliminate the “all over the place” communication you’re probably used to! That way when you’re gearing up and getting ready for a shoot and need the details, you can find exactly where it’s at, what time, what details you sent their way and what they’re wearing instantly because all of that jazz is in one organized place. (No more fishing through texts and emails and FB messages trying to find it all!)

Here’s a screenshot of my projects on a desktop, (you can also just as easily view your projects on the mobile app!)

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook! Basically, projects are all-encompassing folders with your client’s name on them. Once you click inside of a project, you’ve got a ton of options. Here’s just a short list of what you can do inside of a project:

 

  • Reply in the chat area (which is sent through as emails as well, so no worries about them not seeing)
  • Send a brochure
  • Send a proposal (these are the invoice & contract all in one, packaged up perfectly. LOVE these! They’re so nice because your clients can view their package, sign the contract, and pay the invoice all at the same time, so there’s no more back and forth emails or awkward pricing convo’s 😏 )
  • Send an invoice
  • Shoot over a timeline for the wedding day
  • Send a contract
  • Send any attachments
  • And many more!

 

At the top you’ll also see a pipeline, which is completely customizable; this is just how I have mine set up. You can move your client through your process manually, and some stages automatically adjust as you go along! That way, you can see exactly which clients are in which stage, and which need attention first! (Seriously LOVE the pipeline!! 🙌🏼)

In case you guys wanted an inside peek at my pipeline, here are the stages I have set up; so you can swipe my workflow & plug ’em in when you’re setting up your account! 👇🏼

 

1. Inquiry received (automatically adjusts)

2. Responded to inquiry (automatically adjusts)

3. Follow up (if I haven’t heard back from the lead)

4. Proposal sent (this one automatically adjusts when you send a proposal)

5. Proposal signed (this one automatically adjusts when they sign the proposal/contract)

6. Retainer paid (this one automatically adjusts when they pay the retainer)

7. Planning (this is when we’re planning all the shoot details)

8. Editing (this is after I’ve shot their session and I’m in the editing phase)

9. Upload gallery (this is after their gallery has been edited & needs to be uploaded to Pic-time)

10. Send gallery (this is after I’ve sent their gallery to them & am waiting to receive their picks)

11. Finalize edits (this is when I’m finalizing their favorite images from the session) 

12. Deliver finals (when the finals are ready to be sent off)

13. Blog session (when I need to blog their images)

14. Completed (when their workflow is complete)

15. Testimonial request (an email requesting a testimonial about 3 weeks after their session) 

16. Archived – after they’re through the complete workflow, they’re sent to the archives 

 


3. Honeybook App

One of the MAJOR pro’s to Honeybook vs. other CRM’s is that they have a mobile app.

And not only do they have an app; it’s beautiful and super easy to use. (I use it all the time to manage my biz when I’m traveling, which is like- all the time!) ✈️

Once you get your HB account setup, you’ll have all of your pricing info and packages saved as templates, so in order to send all of your info over, it’s literally just a few clicks, and then BAM- your info is headed straight to your potential clients without you having to skip a beat, (or stress over responding. 😉 Yeah, I know you’ve done it, too!)

Here’s a look into three different screenshots of inside the app & what it has to offer: 👇🏼

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

 


 

4. Templates

Honeybook’s templates are seriously life-savers. You can create a template for pretty much everything in HB.

Need some canned email responses? Done and done. You can easily create a template (I have one for each type of email I’m regularly sending,) and then just allot for a few paragraphs that you can customize for each specific client. Doing this saves me a TON of time. (No more chillin’ in inbox city half the day!)

(Yes. I’m embarrassed to say I used to write literally every single email from start to finish from scratch… so responding to inquiries took me literally forever. 🙈)

There’s the option for templates in more than just emails. Need a contract template you can easily plop into each project, plug a name and date into and send off? Done! Invoice templates? Got those, too! Questionnaires? Yep! You name it, it’s in there- and there’s a template for it. #winning 😎

Here’s a few different screenshots of some options for templates, and an inside look at how you customize them:

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

In this example, I’ll be showing you a proposal template and how easy it is to send one of those off!

So I hit the “New File” button in the top right, and select “Proposal,” and then this window pops up:

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

Here’s a look inside an actual proposal! You’ll see three buttons on the left: 1) the proposal 2) the invoice and 3) the contract! It’s all viewed in a three-part document, so after they view they can sign and pay at the same time! 🙌🏼

 

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 


 

5. Workflows & Tasks

Inside each project, you can designate a workflow; which is essentially a pre-set list of tasks that will automatically be completed if/when you say so.

Think of it like this: if A happens… then B.

You can completely customize this, as well as pause your workflow whenever you need to. Most people have them set up for specific shoot types, i.e. weddings, couples, seniors, etc.

Here’s a look inside the options for setting up a workflow:

On the market for a CRM in your photography business and torn on which to pick? Click here for the inside scoop on why I switched from Dubsado to Honeybook!

 

Think about it, how much time could you really be saving with an automated workflow, that actually worked? 😅

 


 

I could honestly go on and on about how incredible Honeybook is and how much it’s changed my business and life- but you can totally see for yourself!

If you use the link below, you can sign up for a free trial; and at the end, if you decide you’re as addicted as I am… you can sign up for 50% off! 😎🙌🏼

But not only will you get 50% off  you’ll also receive a FREE 30 minute mentoring session with me, where I can walk you through exactly how to set your Honeybook account up, and I’ll give you the exact templates I use in my business to get started as soon as possible, (a combined value of over $500!) HECK YEAH!

 

This is the exact system that simplified my life, organized my biz, and doubled my inquiries and bookings in ONE month! 💃🏽

Take some time and organize the back-end of your business. Your future clients will thank you.

This is what I do EVERY year in order to take on the busy season by storm, and it’s my top tip for being as productive as possible all year long. 😎

Got any q’s for me? Drop ’em below in the comments, and I’ll be sure to pop in and answer ’em best I can! 🥂

 


 

*Disclaimer: This post includes affiliate links, and I’d so appreciate it if you used ’em! Affiliate links help me continue to show up and serve you guys for free each week; so you really win in the end! 😉

 

If you need help building, growing, and/or systemizing your photography business, totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping you flourish is what I do best. 😉 

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


 

If ya liked this little gem, you’ll LOVE this guide on how to create a photography business with zero competition. (Cause that’s what we all want, right!?)

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

 

 

Resources

5 Tips For Sharper Photos

read post

K

5 Tips For Sharper Photos
Secret Sauce Settings For Tack Sharp Images

I remember being so frustrated with the lack of sharpness in my images when I started my photography journey. They were either blurry, out of focus, or just soft. I envied photographers with tack-sharp images, like… where you could see every eyelash distinctly. (Lol!) So, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 tips for sharper photos.

As photographers, it’s preeetty dang important that the photos we deliver to our clients are all sharp. (I mean, that’s what we’re being paid for, right!?) It truly baffles me when I see photographers charging people that aren’t delivering sharp photos. That’s like, step #1 to learning your craft- and if that’s the case, I honestly don’t believe you should be taking people’s money. (But… that’s another rant in itself!)

If you’re basically like this right now  🙈 and stuck in blurry photo-ville, don’t worry! We’re boutta getchu OUT so you can feel good about the work you’re creating and delivering. So… 5 tips for sharper photos? Comin’ right up! 😎

 


 

 


Getting tack-sharp photos isn’t just dependent on one or two factors, it takes a village (of camera settings, that is) to be able to nail ‘em. Here’s the sharp photo cocktail I use every single time to ensure I’m taking, and delivering, the best photos possible. 📸🥂

 

Top 5 Tips for Sharper Photos:

1.  Back-button focus

2.  Manually Selecting Focal Points

3.  Auto-focus > Manual focus

4.  Manual Settings that Matter

5.  Your Gear Matters

 


 

1.  Back-button focus

Some people get overwhelmed when they hear this term, but honestly- it’s super easy to set up and get used to! What back-button focus does, is it allows you to assign the focusing mechanism to a button on the back of your camera, instead of using the half-press shutter feature. Therefore, your index fingers’ only job is to press the shutter, and your thumb does the focusing. They each have ONE distinct job.

Why use it?

Well, it helps you to lock in your focus while being able to simultaneously shoot continuously. That means your focus will actually stay on what you intend it to, without it accidentally slipping off and causing a blurry shot because you pressed the shutter a bit too early, or late. (This is especially helpful when you’re shooting a moving subject!) There’s a ton of reasons I personally believe BBF is better… and you’ll find them out when you switch! 😉

Confused on how to set up BBF on your camera, or see if it’s even an option for you? Google “how to set up back button focus on a ‘insert camera model here’! 🙂 

 


2.  Manually selecting focal points

If you don’t tell your camera exactly where to focus, it’ll tell you. (And most of the time, it ain’t right, friend!) 😅

Each camera has a different number of optional focusing points to choose from, (for instance, mine has 61 different focusing points, but some don’t have as many!) Regardless of how many you have, use them. These lil’ babies are a huuuge contributor to getting sharp photos, BUT you’ve gotta make sure they’re placed on the right spot.

For instance, if I’m shooting a close-up portrait, I’m always going to make sure the focal point is set on the eye that’s CLOSEST to the camera. Always. (Focus should 99.9% of the time be on the eyes if you’re shooting portraits.) Focus has a tendency to fall back; which is fine, because as long as you’ve got the eye closest to the camera tack sharp – you’re good.

In order to manually select your focal points, you’ll want to set your camera to single point focus mode!

The easiest way to figure out how to set yours up is to Google “how to set up focus point selection on a (insert your camera model here)”. 

 


 

3. Auto focus > Manual focus

I’ve noticed some photographers get auto-focus and manual-focus confused with shooting in auto or shooting in manual. Those are all completely different things! I shoot in manual mode, but I shoot in auto-focus. Auto-focus means you’re allowing the camera to do the focusing, vs. manually turning the dial on your lens to focus. Manual mode means you’re setting all the settings up manually inside your camera (like ISO, aperture, shutter speed,) instead of letting the camera decide them for you like you would in auto mode.

My sharp photo cocktail? Manual mode on your camera + auto-focus on your lens! 😎🥂

 


 

4. Manual settings matter

Several factors in your settings will determine the sharpness of your photos! You’ve gotta make sure you have the correct ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed set.

I go into much more depth on these settings and how they truly work in my blog post on The 4 Settings I Set Up First In Camera, but here are a few quick tips:

ISO: Always keep this as low as possible. (Higher ISO leads to more grain!)

Shutter Speed: Keep this number faster to have a higher chance of getting sharp photos. Don’t let this number be lower than double the focal length of your lens. If you’re shooting on a 50mm lens, don’t let your shutter speed be slower than 1/125 (when shooting hand-held.)

Aperture: Shooting at wide open apertures while maintaining sharp focus is tough and takes practice. Err on the side of caution here (especially during paid shoots,) and get creative and experiment during your styled shoots. The higher the aperture, the more in the image that’s in focus.

 

5-tips-for-sharper-photos

 


 

4. Your Gear Matters

Some cameras are simply just gonna be better than others, and the same goes for lenses. The more you pay for a lens, the better it’ll be.

Simply put; you get whatcha pay for.

When you’re buying a lens you’re paying for the glass, and the higher the glass quality- the better shots it’ll take. For cameras, you’re paying for megapixels, capability, greater performance in low-light scenarios, etc. So, with more expensive cameras you’ll have better quality images.

So what I’m saying is, if you’re shooting with a rebel and a kit lens and are wondering why even though you’re shooting in manual and doing all the “things” right – your images still aren’t what you envision… don’t beat yourself up. It’s likely your gear holding you back. So… time to upgrade! 😬🙌🏼

 


 

If you need help building, growing, and/or systemizing your photography business, totally reach out and book a free strategy call with me. Helping you flourish is what I do best. 😉 

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


 

If ya liked this little gem, you’ll LOVE this guide on how to create a photography business with zero competition. (Cause that’s what we all want, right!?)

Do you struggle with writing instagram captions? Do you stare at the blinking cursor with intimidation? Click here for tips on writing better captions!

 


Wanna stick around and stay learnin’? I knew I liked ya. 😉

Feel free to binge on these blog posts, or pin ’em on Pinterest for later! 👇🏼

If you’re short on time, follow me on Pinterest – and you’ll get these kinda tips delivered straight to your feed! You know… when you’re scrollin’ through Pinterest with coffee in hand, ready to take on the day… or, procrastinate.

Whatevs. Pinterest biz sesh, anybody!? 😎🥂

how-to-stop-comparing-yourself-to-other-photographers-jessicavickers.com    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business

Education

LEt me ROLL OUT
THE RED CARPET...

The inside scoop on how I run my biz, plus tons of info to help you kill it in yours. You in?

SEE YOU ON
THE INSIDE.

Close