couples  |  BRANDS  |  education  |  PERSONAL




and clients strut their stuff.

a photograher

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How to Call Yourself a Photographer Before You’re Ready

We’re more than halfway through this unpredictable year, and if you’re anything like me then you could use a lil’ pep talk right about now. Because, as photographers and aspiring photographers (all levels are welcome here), one of our greatest hurdles is our mindset.

In order to get better at what we do, we have to get behind our cameras and prove to ourselves we know what we’re doing. And, with the way this year has been set up (LOL), that’s been a little more difficult than usual.

Maybe you started your photography business at the beginning of 2020, all bright-eyed and excited to hone your craft but weren’t able to book any shoots because ‘Rona went on a world tour.

Or maybe you decided to pick up that camera that’s been sitting on your nightstand because #pandemichobbies, but you’re tired of taking pictures of your dog, husband, or roommate (and they’re tired of it, too).

I get it, but just because this year didn’t go as expected and you didn’t book as many shoots as you planned, doesn’t mean you have to wait to call yourself a photographer. So, from my photographer’s heart to yours, here comes a little pep talk on how to call yourself a photographer before you’re ready in the form of *you guessed it* action steps.

a photographer


Let’s start with an unpopular opinion

Some people talk on and on about how every single day another person gets a DSLR camera and then calls themself a photographer. And yes, I understand where they’re coming from. Yes, it is hard for those of us who have eaten, slept, and breathed photography and growing our business as a livelihood for near (or over) a decade – pouring thousands and thousands of dollars into it.⠀


Here’s the thing: we all started somewhere. We all got a camera and didn’t know how to shoot in manual with it. We all struggled with charging in the beginning and didn’t know how to set our prices.

If there’s anything we’ve spent too much time doing this year, it’s scrolling Insta. We’re all subject to fall into a comparison trap now and then.

But remember, the very ones that may be criticizing you for starting your business now, or trying to discourage you from it – were once right where you are.  And because they chose to pursue it, and call themselves a photographer – they have a business now. We ALL started somewhere.


Now, add faith and obedience

Listen, girl, if God has been calling you to start your photography business, you’re being disobedient by staying scared and playing it small. Yes, even in a pandemic.⠀

David approached Goliath before he was ready. Over and over again in the Bible, people did things scared, before they were ready, and when the timing didn’t make a bit of sense. But it was by DOING that they encountered the blessings of the Father.

God is with you, He has every tool and resource to allow you to succeed at this. He has all the finances you’ll need. He has all the clients to send your way. But first, you have to do the work and begin building… and that all starts with stepping into the calling. You’ve gotta have faith – paired with action. ⠀

So GO and DO friends. I’m here for you, and I’ll stand behind your biz – even if no one else will.



Last but not least, educate yourself

If you’ve escaped the comparison trap and decided to cling to faith and do this thing but still struggle with your confidence, you might just need to invest in your education. Knowledge is power, friend. An investment in your education is an investment in yourself.

Before you start, ask yourself these questions:

What area of my photography biz am I struggling to feel confident about?
Is it the actual “business” part of it?
Is it getting behind the lens and taking pics?
Is it editing?
How to market myself and book clients?

I’m by no means trying to overwhelm you, but actually getting to the root of what you’re really afraid of is incredibly helpful because from there you can google, learn, and grow!

Shameless plug: this blog that you’re reading right now is actually FULL of helpful resources that were created to help you become a photographer and run a dang good and successful business at that. Best part? It’s all FREE education.

So, pour yourself some coffee and binge away, friend. That’s what they’re here for.


If you’re really struggling in your business, book a free clarity call with me, (no strings attached,) for me to help you pinpoint your biggest roadblocks. 

Then, if you decide it’s a fit and you NEED us to work together stat, we can totally proceed with mentorship and get this education party started! 🥂

I wholeheartedly believe that if you’re here and reading this page, it’s not by accident, girl. I’ve been praying for this years mentoring clients, and for God to truly equip me with the knowledge and resources, tailored just for you, to project you into your next season and help you to be more confident – because THIS is your year.

It’s time. No more excuses. Let’s do this, and rise up to who God has called us to be in both our lives and businesses. 🙌🏼



a photograher



Looking for more helpful photography tips? 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!? 😎🥂

  imposter syndromea photographerimposter syndrome


current marketplace

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3 Ways Your Photography Business Can Serve the Current Marketplace

It’s no secret that there’s been a bit of chaos and panic in the business space here lately. Given the current state of the world (ahem, COVID-19) and the marketplace, to worry about the future state of your business is human. However, we can’t stay there.

When all of this is over, and in Jesus’ name it will be, our businesses need to be positioned for maximum impact and revenue gain. Wouldn’t you agree?

Guess what doesn’t get us there, though? Panic. Panic is the enemy of peace and productivity and it holds us back from doing the purposeful work we were created to do.

So, how can we show up well and serve the current marketplace while all this chaos is swirling around us? Answer: keep serving and showing up. It’s as simple as that and we’re about to unpack exactly how to do so in 3 simple steps!






3 Ways Your Photography Business Can Serve the Current Marketplace


1. Be empathetic, not tone-deaf.

You’d think this goes without saying, but it’s a necessary first step. No matter what role you play as you exist in this world, everyone has experienced some sort of emotional, mental or physical anxiety in the past few weeks. Taking a moment to pause and be conscious of that as we show up and market ourselves online is one of the most thoughtful things you can do.

If your business has decided to address COVID-19, consider this ONE thing before you show up: Is the way I’m adding to this [already noisy] conversation adding value or stirring up anxiety in my audience’s lives?

Then go ahead and do your thing.

And if you’re wondering what exactly I mean by “tone-deaf”, let me explain via example.

A couple of days ago, I received (what I hope to be) an automated email campaign from a popular hair salon. Their email stated that they were proud to announce that they are the official sponsor of the NCAA and March Madness…which has been completely canceled due to a worldwide pandemic…yikes.

What likely happened is that their marketing team didn’t flip through their automated messaging to make sure it reflected current events. Which, in turn, results in tone-deaf marketing.

So, if you’re an adventure photographer, I’d steer clear from marketing a spring elopement session at the moment. Catch my drift?


2. Practice Oprah-style generosity.

Now, I know you’re like, “But, Jess, I already give away so much FREE content and resources…”, and I get that, I really do. But, now is the time for us to practice generosity like never before. With potential clients clinging to their wallets and unsure of the marketplace, nurturing them is the way to go.

Do you have a digital resource you could give away for free?
Can you restructure your offerings to be flexible and meet your client’s new budget once they’re ready to book?

A really great example of genius generous marketing done right is the Daily Burn. They an at-home workout brand that is offering a 60-day free membership in a time of social distancing because they know people still want to be active at home while their gyms are closed. Their brand awareness is spreading like wildfire due to extreme generosity that will likely result in continued membership even after this is over.


3. Position your products & services to be the “new” solution.

We’ve all likely been trained, whether on this platform or elsewhere to find out what our client’s problems are and solve them. But, our clients have new problems now.

Here’s an example:

A popular coconut-lotion company that was looking forward to gearing all of its marketing material and sales strategies towards spring break had to quickly pivot during the very obvious travel ban. Vacations all across the world are canceled, so their marketing would have been considered tone-deaf and ineffective. They took into consideration how their product could serve their customer’s new problems, which is…drumroll please…dry hands from all the sanitizer we’re using!

They would have never considered that style of marketing before, but since they paused to consider their product in the new marketplace, they’re winning!

I’ve very aware that as photographers, we offer a service, which is a little harder to reposition, but maybe this is a good time to sit down and consider how you can turn a portion of your business into digital content by considering some of the [other] problems your clients have.

Do they have a DSLR sitting around that they don’t know how to use? Can you create a course around teaching the everyday person how to shoot professionally?



The main point is, the businesses that are not only going to survive but thrive are those who are using this unfortunate crisis as an opportunity for growth and productivity instead of being paralyzed by panic. I know it’s easier said than done, but you’re a resilient, resourceful business owner that is going to embrace challenge and change like the faith-filled CEO you are.

With that being said, I wanted to wrap up by speaking and professing truth over you in this season of life by giving you a verse to cling to when anxiety feels all too familiar:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7

I know it’s hard to feel so out of control of your business, but rest assured that you’re safe in the hands of a God that cares about every single detail of your life and is working behind the scenes to restore all that feels lost. There is hope, and it comes in the form of Jesus. His name holds power and truth.

So, take these tips and apply them to your business, and when anxiety creeps in, recite this verse and utter His name to usher in peace that surpasses all understanding, friend. Your business’s future isn’t dependent on the state of the current marketplace, but on the One who holds the plans for our prosperous future in His hands.



Looking at your business from a fresh perspective with all the free time you have on your hands? Looking to improve your skills or uplevel your strategy in general?

I feel you. Did you know you can chat with me for FREE, (no strings attached,) and have me walk you through the process? Then, if you decide you want to have me come alongside you and put in place what we chatted about– we can get you on my books for 1-1 mentoring ASAP!

Click the link below, and I’ll start making the coffee now for our chat! Can’t WAIT!


current marketplace



Looking for more helpful photography tips? 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!? 😎🥂


current marketplace current marketplace current marketplace



Okinawa Japan Boho Beach Wedding - Anna & Joshua -

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Intimate Beach Wedding in Okinawa Japan

Anna & Josh exchanged vows during a secluded, intimate beach wedding on Hamahiga Island in Okinawa, Japan on January 11, 2020. Their wedding was unlike any other — it was truly SO laid back, with a nod to the free and easy style of island living. No-one was rushed, and everyone just let it flow. #islandvibes

It was a DIY/boho style wedding — with a few pieces crafted by local vendors. Anna’s Mom made her veil, and one of her bridesmaids made the macrame in the photo booth, (that her dress is hanging from!) 

The weather turned out BEAUTIFUL, even though there were some rainclouds that appeared on the day of. At the first sight of a raincloud, Anna’s bridesmaids gathered together and prayed that the Lord would hold the rain, (at least until after the ceremony.) #girlprayergang

The way Anna & Josh lit up on their wedding day when talking about each other was the literal SWEETEST thing. You truly could just feel the love in the air, (as cheesy as it sounds.) I mean, just look at Josh’s face when he first sees Anna walking down the aisle. Oh yeah — it’s golden. 

To truly represent their faith and honor God during their ceremony, they even both led worship on the beach (yes, they’re worship leaders,) and had their close family and friends come up and pray for them during the middle of their ceremony. It was unreal. There are so many things I could say about them…



But first, let’s get a little backstory… shall we?

Josh and Anna have known each other since middle school. They met in their church youth group in about 6th grade, became friends shortly after and had a really tightly-knit friends group for years. Josh actually told Anna that he liked her via text in about 7th grade. 😂 (Fun fact: he was the first person that ever told her that they liked her!)

She says she was really awkward about it because.. well, middle school. (Can’t we all relate!?) They never acted on it, but he continued to like her through both middle and high school. They continued to be best friends, and in high school, he tried to ask her out — but she didn’t want to date anyone until after high school. Josh thought Anna didn’t like him, but then she told him that she technically never said she didn’t! 😉  That was in about 11th grade, and from that point on they knew they liked each other.

Fast forward to 2017, and Josh asks her dad for permission to date her, with the intention of marriage — so they started dating in November of 2018. After a while, they had been talking about engagement/getting married quite a bit. They basically just prayed, “Okay Lord, if it’s your will for us to get engaged this week, let us find a ring that we like!” (Turns out, they did!)

Now for the proposal, (my fav part!)

It was a really busy weekend with Anna’s graduation and Easter (they’re both on staff at the church), so the only day they had time was on Monday. She knew that he’d propose, so they just called it proposal day! (Love that!)

Josh took Anna to Aien coffee shop in the morning and they had lattes (they’re BIG coffee people,) and then he took her to transit cafe on the seawall for lunch. They were both pretty nervous so they couldn’t eat a lot. Then, he said for the next location he didn’t want to sound like a kidnapper, but he’d have to blindfold her. (LOL.)

So, they got in the car and took off to the next location and he pulled over and blindfolded Anna. Once they got there, Josh guided her out of the car. She remembers hearing music, cars, and the gravel under our feet. They were at BB Coffee which is their favorite coffee shop. (They’ve been going for years, and have a relationship with the owners). In fact, it’s where their first date was! Josh walked Anna up onto a deck and then told her to take her blindfold off.

She took it off to find her family, his family, and a few church families that have been a HUGE part of their lives and relationship for many many years. Anna immediately cried. Then, he took her hand and told her that he loved her, and that he couldn’t imagine his life without her. Then, he asked! (She said YES, of course!)

Anna and Josh both serve as the worship leaders at their church, Calvary Chapel Okinawa, and are also self-proclaimed coffee connoisseurs. In fact, they plan to open their own coffee shop together one day! (I’m totally going once they do!) 


I present to you — Mr. & Mrs. Josh Hagan! 🥂



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floral design: P style wedding in yomitan, okinawa japan

ceremony venue: shirumichu park, hamahiga island – okinawa japan • reception venue: koza baptist church • bride’s dress: the “florence ivory” from grace loves lace • wedding bands: olive avenue jewelry • cake:  manatu cafe &  jess sartore • catering: bama’s on camp shields, & the lumpia lady • calligraphy: Sartore Designs & Lettering • first dance singers: janoah benauro & bekah barnett • groom & groomsmen suits: Giorgio’s on Gate 2 Street, Okinawa • hair & makeup: salon718  • officiant: kevin johnson •  photographer: Jessica Vickers Photography in Texarkana, TX • videographer: maiko media 


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Fall Family Session in Texarkana – Cerrato Family

I don’t usually photograph families anymore, but when my own family members Becca & Joseph contacted me about shooting their very first fall family session with their 4-month-old to do it on the land we get together at for the holidays– I just couldn’t turn them down. 🙈

There’s just something about family. It’s the wildest thing, I used to always be one of the “kids” at the family get together’s (along with Joseph, pictured below.) Now that I’m 25, and we’re both older, we’re now the adults having kids. It’s the wildest thing. Here’s to the fourth generation being born in our family; and getting to capture their fall family session at the perfect place. 💕



Click here for all the fall family session inspiration you'll need! Featuring a precious couple, a 4-month old baby boy, and some beautiful land down south.





Interested in booking your own session with me? Reach out by clicking the button below, and we’ll get you on my books asap! 😍📸


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Fall Engagement Session in Texarkana- Autumn & Stevy

Autumn & Stevy reached out while I was home for the holidays, to see if I had space in my schedule to shoot their fall engagement session. I already have their wedding on the books for next September at Tree Haven Venue in Simm’s Texas, (which I’m SUPER pumped about,) but I thought we were going to have to wait until I officially moved back from Okinawa, Japan in May in order to be able to do their engagements. Thankfully, I had the space and I was able to get them in before Christmas, and I’m SO dang grateful I did. 

I won’t write a novel for you guys, (though I absolutely could.) I’ll just leave you with the very Hallmark-y story that is Autumn & Stevy’s relationship. I.e. – they’re the couple that dated in high school, then drifted apart, and then years later they slowly and successfully found their way back to each other. (They jokingly say that both of their parents and families were more upset about their breakup than they were!) Yes, it all really happened – and as you can tell, they’re meant to be. Well, here… I’ll just let you see for yourself! 😉 

fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session
fall engagement session



Looking for more helpful photography tips? 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!? 😎🥂


ideal clients

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How To Use Your Style To Attract Your Ideal Photography Clients

When I first started my business, I didn’t know who my ideal client was. I operated from the mindset of, “the more clients the better, right? ‘Cause that’s more money…?” ⁣

NOPE. 🙅🏻‍♀️⁣


Your ideal clients are so very important, in fact: they’re the lifeblood of your business, and it’s vital that you not only know who they are – but know what to do to attract them.⁣


And I don’t just mean by what you say. Yes, speaking to them through your copy is important – but there are tons of ways you can “speak” to them, without even having to write or talk. 

By simply doing my job well, I make some bomb friends in real life. 😎⁣





Let’s take a look at exactly how important it is to market to your ideal clients. Welcome to the stage, Morgan. 😉⁣

Morgan reached out because she wanted a non-maternity, maternity session. Meaning, she didn’t want a cheesy one… she wanted an adventurous couples session, where she just happened to be pregnant. 😂

In her contact form, she mentioned she’d been following me for months and loved everything that I put out, that my work stood out like crazy to her, and that she felt like we’d really connect well.⁣

Both her and her man, Andrew, were travelers at heart too. So much so, they planned to road trip the U.S. in a renovated school bus once they got back to the states. They, (like Clay and I,) also rented a campervan and road-tripped New Zealand.

Seeing a theme here…? ⁣


I spend my time intentionally on social media and my website, sharing what my passions are, & all the things I love and enjoy spending my time doing.

All of which doesn’t “directly” relate to my work. BUT IT DOES – because it brings me people who really love and value the same things I do.⁣

After us establishing we were bff’s, (like for real, we got lunch last week 😂,) she even messaged me a few months after her session about being interested in becoming a photographer, (and to be more specific, a traveling one – just like I am!) ⁣

These kinds of things don’t just happen. It’s the fruit of years of intentional, hard work that I’ve put into my brand: such as establishing my brand voice and tone, my overall messaging, my website, my marketing strategy, the list goes on and on. ⁣

Now, isn’t that so much better than just working with a bunch of random people that you never see again after you work together? Don’t you want to work with the clients you have THAT level of connection with? Ones you can build a true relationship with? ⁣

Then let’s getcha on the path to a calendar full of your dream clients, shall we? 






1. Be mindful that you get what you put out.

Also known as, “your vibe attracts your tribe.” It’s so true when it comes to marketing, and I’ve seen it play out time and time again in my own marketing strategy. 

I choose to make it known across all my platforms (instagram, pinterest, my website, my blog, etc.) that I’m all about a bold, adventurous, glamorous, travelin’ lifestyle. 

In return, those are the type of clients I end up working with, and the same things they value. Coincidence? Nope, that’s intentional marketing, friend. 😉

Start incorporating your personal style and things you love into your own marketing strategy. For example, here are some things I’m intentional about sharing that help build my brand:


  • My faith in Jesus
  • My husband, Clay (& other marriage things)
  • My love for traveling
  • My intense taco & queso addiction
  • My love for all things South-western 
  • My husky pups, koda & keira
  • Why I’m a photographer & my purpose behind it


Ask yourself what type of topics would help you further target your ideal/dream clients, and spend a few minutes jotting them down. Then, when you’re creating content for your blog or instagram, create content centered around those topics, and watch your peeps start to join in on the conversation! 

Pro tip: Create a collection on IG called “Ideal Clients,” and save some posts of the people who responded to or commented on your content. This will help you get a bigger picture of the type of clients you should be targeting!


2. Use your personal style/aesthetic to draw in potential clients.


Notice how I’m dressed in the image below? What words come to mind when you look at it?


ideal clients


Bold? Western? Casual? Fabulous? Edgy? Glamorous? Colorful? 

I’m doubting any of these came to mind: dainty, ethereal, airy, soft, bespoke, etc…

And that’s totally intentional. Because nothing about my brand should be those things! I want to really drive the point home that I’m about the former rather than the latter. So, I make sure to dress in a way that resembles my brand style. 

Your personal style + your brand style = the perfect concoction to draw in your ideal client.

For a big-picture idea of my brand and how I use my personal style in it, check out this pinterest board that encompasses all things JVP!


3. Use your editing style to your advantage. 


Just like my personal style can attract my ideal client, my editing style helps to do so too! 

My editing style technically straddles the fence between the two popular terms “dark & moody” and “light & airy.” In fact, I’d be safe to call it, bright & vibrant. 

I don’t want it to be so light & airy that it loses all of its depth and contrast; washing out the color in the image, and I don’t want it so dark that my subjects get lost in the image and their skin tones are muddy and unflattering. So, I straddle the fence and found my perfect spot in the midst of it.

If you’re struggling to establish your editing style with consistency, I highly recommend utilizing Lightroom presets. They really help you to find a style you love and then be able to easily replicate it on all of your images! That’s actually how I found my style, through purchasing a billion different presets and then tweaking them to a place where I loved how they looked.

I have a masterclass that includes 6 mobile & desktop presets called the “Mina Marlena Preset Masterclass”, though it’s more-so geared towards fashion photographers & bloggers, but super verstatile for other things as well. If you’re interested in that, hop on over here and check it out! 

I also have a blog post on how to edit with lightroom presets like a pro, so definitely check that out if you want more info on using them, and how they can optimize your editing workflow! 

How to use your style to attract your ideal photography clients:


  • 1. Be mindful that you get what you put out.
  • 2. Use your personal style/aesthetic to draw in potential clients.
  • 3. Use your editing style to your advantage.


Have questions about developing your own style to attract your ideal clients?
Book a free call with me and I’ll help you figure it out!


ideal clients


Want more helpful tips? 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!? 😎🥂 


senior session | okinawa

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Kira | Okinawa Senior Session

For those of you that don’t know, I actually started my photography business shooting a senior session. 🎓 ⁣

But I didn’t want to take those typical, cheesy, posed senior photos. I wanted to bring a powerful, bold, lioness-approach to ’em. (It’s safe to say that’s kinda my thing.)

When Kira reached out about wanting senior photos done while she was on vacation here in Oki, I just couldn’t resist. Talk about an epic place to go out with a bang in! 😎🏝⁣

We had the best time hoppin’ around and creating magic on the east side of Okinawa at Hamahiga island – (it’s one of my favorite beaches here on the island!)

Kira really was such a joy to work with, especially ‘cause she tried to act shy while I was doing her hair and makeup… then BAM. This lioness with some serious sass popped out when she stepped in front of my lens, and I was like OKUUUURRRTTT! 😂

For real, check her out. 😏🔥


Wanna book your own senior session? Just hit that button below and we’ll getcha on the books!


Wanna book your own senior session? Just hit that button below and we’ll getcha on the books!


My Work

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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!






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




  • 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!)





  • 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!? 😎🥂 


Keith contacted me just two days before he needed a couples session in Okinawa, but we made it happen - (despite the weather!) Click here to check it out!

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Morgan & Keith | Okinawa Japan Adventurous Couples Session

Morgan & Keith contacted me just two days before they needed a couples session in Okinawa, but only because Keith flew in from England to propose to Morgan over a super short weekend, and THREE different couples (some that were past clients of mine, cough cough Kristina & Eric) – recommended me to them! How could I say no to that!?
It actually ended up raining literally the ENTIRE day we were going to shoot, but after some serious prayer while driving to the location (Hotel Nikko Alivila), I kid you not – the rain stopped as I was getting out of my car, and held out for their entire hour-long session. God is GOOD, and I’m so, so grateful I got to capture this special time for them before Keith left to fly back to England! 🥂⁣⠀
I’m SO ready for this sweet couple to get to kiss goodbye to the long-distance lifestyle here real soon. Oh, and their marriage is also now “officially” official… so… IT’S PARTY TIME! 😍🎉


Wanna book an Okinawa couples session of your own?

Let’s make magic. 😎👇🏼


Wanna book an Okinawa couples session of your own?

Let’s make magic. 😎👇🏼


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The Best Investments I’ve Made For My Photography Business

I’m boutta take ya’ll to biz CHURCH when it comes to photography business investments. You ready!?


$55,000.00 ⁣💸

That’s how much I’ve spent on just my photography education so far over the last five years, without a dime of debt. That was my money; the money I earned from sessions that I poured straight back into my business. I didn’t buy clothes, or makeup, or concert tickets or any other material stuff – I invested in straight into things that would grow my business and take me to where I wanted to be.

I was just a college student with a dream bigger than climbing up a corporate ladder. A girl who believed deep down that there was a calling for her outside of a cubicle.

I went to college, and have a degree. But while I was in college, I was hustlin’ to grow the photography business of my dreams.

Some people look at that number and CRINGE. They can’t imagine spending that much money on anything, let alone something that they don’t know for sure will get them a return on investment. ⁣

But you know what? I believe in myself SO much that I’m willing to put money into my education, never “knowing” whether or not I’m going to get it back, but BELIEVING that I will. And guess what? I do. 👏🏼⁣

You can only play small for so long.

You can only DIY and freebie it for so long before you realize you’re not really gaining any traction, and need an expert to pull the curtain back on YOUR business and fix what’s not working – saving you time… and MAKING YOU MONEY.⁣

The truth is, you’ll get more out of ONE paid hour with an expert than out of 1,000 freebies, (especially if they just stack up in your downloads folder – never to be worked through. Been there, got that t-shirt.) ⁣

I recently paid over $500 for just one hour of an experts time. 60 minutes. Just to pick her brain. Some people think I’m crazy, but I see what it takes to scale a business to 5-figure months and 6-7 figure years. And you know what it doesn’t take? Downloading 1 billion freebies and going down 4,738 rabbit holes of time-sucking, non-profitable tasks.

YUP. We’re goin’ there today friends.

If you really want to grow, it takes putting your money where your mouth is and investing in people who have DONE, or are DOING, what you WANT to do.

I’m not saying you have to drop thousands on private coaching or a biz manager, (though that’s probably not a bad idea if you can afford it,) I just mean you need to be willing to allow yourself to level up.

What’s stopping you from investing in yourself? You’ve heard it time and time again, “if you won’t invest in your business, how can you expect others to?” 🤔⁣

… Is it because you don’t actually believe in yourself enough to?

… Or because you’re scared of being successful, and what that would actually look like?

… Or you’re afraid to put yourself out there?

Friends, those are things that mentors and biz coaches will pull you THROUGH, and they’ll help you not only grow as a person and a business owner, but they’ll help you make the money you need to feel confident to strut your dang stuff!

I’ve done the investing (and I’ll continue to,) and that’s why I’m where I am and can do what I do.

I’m now at a place where I can show up whole-heartedly, and serve people to the best of my ability with my expertise – and KNOW that a) my photography clients will receive incredible, one-of-a-kind images that stand out from everyone else’s, and b) my mentoring clients businesses’ will change for the ab-so-lute better. 👏🏼

Now, you can either take these suggestions or leave ‘em – but I’m gonna fill you in on the best photography business investments I’ve made over the last five years. Let’s do this!





The Best Investments I’ve Made For My Photography Business:

1. Online education.

I can’t stress the value of prioritizing education investments enough. When I first started, I knew this was the way to truly next-level, and I’ve invested in so many courses throughout the last five years that have taught me so much about running a successful photography business. To name a few, (that are most applicable to photography,) I’ve taken Jenna Kutcher’s “The Photo Lab,” “The Pinterest Lab” and “The List to Launch Lab,” and Ashlyn Carter’s “Copywriting for Creatives,” as well as Sue Bryce’s monthly membership, and tons of classes on CreativeLive! That’s not to mention the billions of other small classes here and there from other photographers, but there’s way too many to name!

Point is, investing in education online (if you can’t afford it in person or at a workshop,) is so dang helpful. However, there are some pro’s and con’s though, so let me list that out for you!

When considering an online course to help you grow/market/book up your business, (so not the technical side of photography, like shooting or editing,) keep in mind these can sometimes be generalized and may not offer information specific enough to YOUR business. Chances are the material has been made to be more general and “one size fits all,” so don’t be shocked if the results only get you so far. However, online courses are usually cheaper than working with someone 1-1, so I understand if that’s the route you want to take! But in my personal opinion, your BEST bet, that will lead to the fastest ROI (return on investment) is investing in a mentor/coach that will work with you in, and on, your business specifically – that’s what will yield results the fastest because it’s specifically tailored to you! 


2. Lenses.

You get the most bang for your buck when investing in GOOD glass. Seriously. I tell people to upgrade their lenses well before their camera bodies, because the lens truly makes the photo! My top recommendations for lens investments are:

  • Canon 85mm 1.2 – this is hands down my favorite lens I’ve ever owned. But, it’s definitely a little pricey. I will admit, the 1.2 is worth every penny, but if you can’t swing it just yet, go up a few stops in aperture and grab the 1.8 and it’ll still be a workhorse for you!


  • Canon 50mm 1.2 – I love this one too, as it’s super versatile. But, as always, you gotta pay for that killer aperture, so if you can’t swing it – the 50mm 1.8 (or the nifty fifty,) is still awesome!


  • Sigma 35mm 1.4 ART – this is my fav lens to use for landscapes/wide-angle shots of couples or brand work! You could do the Canon, but I use the Sigma and love it, (and it’s a bit cheaper but without sacrificing quality in my opinion!)


I have more than this, but these are the ones I recommend if you’re trying to start building a kit that can conquer anything!


3. 1-1 Coaching

Working with someone 1-1 was hands down the BEST thing I did for my business. I’ve worked with marketing strategists, branding strategists, accountants, and website designers all 1-1, and they’ve been detrimental to the growth of my business.

My top recommendation is to pick the ONE area you truly feel you’re struggling the most, and invest in a coach or mentor to get you over that hurdle. If you struggle with knowing how to use your camera in manual, find someone that teaches just that and start there. If you really need to learn how to market your photography business, find someone who teaches that and invest in them! Curious what I teach? It’s all over here!


4. A CRM

One of the best photography business investments I made 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 photoshoots and mentoring,) and makes running my biz SO much easier.


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!


5. Time with Jesus.

Wait, what!? Didn’t see that one comin’, did ya? This one’s totally a personal opinion, but it’s actually made a huge impact.

As my business has grown alongside me, I realize my need for Jesus grows greater and greater. I’m a work-a-holic at heart, and he’s constantly asking me to step away and spend time with him, and sadly enough – sometimes I don’t hit that point until I’m runnin’ on fumes.

When I’m running on empty, it’s hard for me to show up whole-heartedly in my business; whether it’s just to write an Instagram caption or to over-deliver for my clients. If I’m not spending time with Jesus, all of it becomes a burden and it’s hard for me to really show up. He is the well in which I draw from, and it’s SO important I stay plugged into Him. To be honest, out of all of the photography business investments I could make – this one gets me the furthest.


To sum it up, here are my top recommendations for the best photography business investments:

–  Online education

–  Lenses

–  1-1 Coaching

–  A CRM

–  Time with Jesus


At the point where you’re ready to take the leap and reach out to someone who can pull you outta your biz rut?

Book a free 30-minute strategy call with me so we can chat, stat!

Curious how I've built my photography business? Click here for my top recommendations on the best investments for your photography business.


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!? 😎🥂    3 Things I Wish I Knew When I Started My Photography Business




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