You got QUESTIONS, I’ve got some kind of version of ANSWERS!

Lately I’ve been getting a ton of emails asking questions. While I love answering them personally some of the questions come up more frequent so I thought I would go ahead and answer a few of them here.

How do you get it all done? This is my favorite and most commonly asked question by far!! The truth: I have no flip’n idea. 🙂 With a 4, 3 and 18 month old, it is no easy trick to claim any other title but MOMMY. I have found that getting to have the title photographer is vital for my sanity and identity so somehow I make it happen! OK – If I’m trying to really think about it… I don’t sleep. No, seriously thats how. I try not to schedule more than two sessions a weak. The problem is that I love to please so I never say no, I really need to work on that! But for me the crucial thing (in keeping the so-called balance) is not falling behind. I work (that means computer) during 2 time slots. The first is when my 18 month old naps, my girls know that this is quite time. They get to watch a movie, Paysen sleeps and I work. This is when I order prints, answer emails, make calls, get contracts out (more the business end of stuff). I fall into my next work zone at 8:05. The kids go down by 8pm sharp and I’m immediately on the computer to edit. I continue to work and edit and all that stuff till somewhere between 2 and 6am. I know it’s insane – but like I said it’s my “so-called” balance – or in other words, I have not found the magical balancing act yet. The good thing for me is that my husband is in grad school so he spends most nights at the library until 10:30 or so – so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on our time. I have started trying to limit myself to how many time I do this a week. I’m trying to keep it at max of 3 nights a week and on the other two days I wake up around 5:30 to get stuff done before the kids are up. I schedule shoots during my girls preschool and Saturday mornings.
What’s your workflow? I’m going to focus on the computer organization with this one. I create a folder with the clients last name. Next I create the sub folders. If the client was Smith, then I would create 5 sub folders; Smi-All Imgs (thats the whole memory card), Smi-Edits (those are the images I love and will consider for the gallery), Smi-Finals (these will be {obviously} the final images that clients will get, Smi-Proofs (these are all sized to 500 px x 750px for the proofing gallery hosted on my Blu Site. They are the same as the final images, just sized different), Smi-Web (these will be the sneak peaks, framed and watermarked). Once I get my edits picked out I start editing in CS4 (color corect, sharpen, actions, some textures, B&W conversion). I begin with my favorites that I want to use for the sneak peak (usually around 5), I try to get the sneak peak on the blog with in 3 days of the session. I will try to continue to edit abut 5 a night from each session until I’m done but I give myself 2 weeks to have them finished because I don’t allow myself to work every night!

To help me keep track I have a grease board that has 5 columns. Client, Session Date, Sneak Peak, Proofs, Disk. I have the due by date and a slot to put the finished date in so I can try to stay on top of everything.
Who do you print through? I print with WHCC. And I love them. I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again. There customer service is awesome. They have great turn around (my prints arrive with in 3-4 days!). And the pricing is great too! Totally recommend them! When you get your account set up you get 5 FREE 8×10 to test print and check for color correctness. So if you haven’t, give them a try!
How do you advertise? My best form of advertisement is my website & blog! When I get a client inquiry they are ready to schedule because they have already seen my work. My site is hosted and designed by the fabulous BLU (Love those guys!) My blog (I hate) but as soon as I get enough time that will be changing! Next is word of mouth. I offer a free 8×10 for both the referrer and the referred. Last Craigslist. Honestly when my sweet hubby suggested it, I thought it was kind of ghetto. But I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and appreciated that he’d thought about it, so I gave it a try. Every time I post, I get at least one new client from it – so that’s been really worth it!
I would LOVE to advertise on a bigger level but I’m just not sure what path I want to try. I don’t have an advertising budget so any money I spend needs to be well worth the investment. I just haven’t found that perfect investment yet. If you have, I’m all ears!!
If you have a question (smart or stupid) send me an email and I’ll try to help!
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