Archive for the 'photographer faq' Category

“Excitement about goals is often diminished by our fear of failure or the drudgery of work. If you’re short on passion, it might be because your goals are too small or the fear is too big. Do a job for a long time and achieve what you set out to achieve, and suddenly, the dream job becomes a trudge instead. The job hasn’t changed – your dreams have. Mostly, though, it’s about our fear. Fear is the dream killer, the silent voice that pushes us to lose our passion in a vain attempt to seek safety. While you can work hard to dream smaller dreams, I think it’s better to embrace the fear and find bigger goals instead.” – Rightsizing Your Passion by Seth Godin

Weekly goal setting is a concept that Eric wanted to implement into our routine several years ago, but the old multiple job thingy didn’t let it happen. Lame excuse, we know! So finally when we went full time he/we made it a TOP priority. I have to admit at first I wasn’t fully on board (thinking this was just another assignment added to the overly long list of to-do’s) until I started seeing the progress & growth it created. We now do our very best to schedule two a week:

THE TASKS AT HAND + THE BIG PLAN (rhyming unintentional)

For both meetings we get out of the production office, grab some fresh air and visit a place that inspires us. Local spots within walking distance like Sparkroot, The B Line and even our favorite little outdoor corner (when it’s NOT 90+ out) are perfect. The point is to get out of our normal work environment. This way we are less distracted by emails, paperwork on the desktop and client deadlines. We can focus on only what’s in front of us… a NOTEBOOK, the company of each other and of course yummy food. Funny enough we tend to always go around breakfast time (cause we love a bfest… who doesn’t?). Our minds are crisp, we’re hyped and don’t have the stresses of the day weighing us down. Plus we tend to be more motivated to tackle the week ahead. Having a clear goal (and path to get there) puts us on the same page. Of course the goals aren’t always the same, but these meetings allow each of us to voice an idea, argue… I mean process them and devise implementation. One week we may focus on Eric’s topic and the next mine. Even if you’re running solo it’s still very important to set aside time for this. Heck bring a friend or fellow colleague to bounce ideas off of. They always bring a new prospective. WE should and plan to do this also because it’s easy to get trapped inside your little bubble.

Typical discussion items for a TASKS AT HAND meeting:
• returning emails
• scheduling consultations, photography sessions and design appointments
• design project deadlines (culling, editing, uploading and gallery wall concepts)
• placing client product orders
• packaging orders
• marketing & mailings
Pretty much the day to day tasks that occur within every client project.

Typical discussion items for a BIG PLAN meeting (our favorite of course):
• business/personal LIFE goals
• branding/website/blog
• marketing strategies
• studio layout/design
• perfecting 12 step experience with clients
• pricing guide
• products
• equipment
• traveling
• setting and sticking to our work day schedule
The list goes on and on…

Last week we discussed a BIG PLAN topic… hours of operation. Since going full time we’ve struggled with sticking to a set schedule. I’m sure many small business owners can relate. We discussed this topic awhile back and ‘had’ set our dream work schedule: four days on, three days off. Building a business is hard as hell and sadly our dream schedule just wasn’t going to fly. Don’t fret (as if you would… come on we’re photographers), our goal is the dream schedule especially when we start the fam! But for now we’ve adjusted the schedule. Something that works, allows us to stay on track and still have time for ourselves.

Finding balance between our professional and personal life is very important and equally as challenging. It’s easy to let all your love and attention go to the business. This is why setting aside 1-2 hours a week for owner meetings is so meaningful. We can write stuff down, define a time to do it and move on!!! Personally, I am the type that NEEDS to write tasks down. It frees my mind from idea clutter…

With that said, we highly recommend creating/purchasing a ‘capture tool’. Capture tools are simply that, a devise that allows you to quickly get down ideas. We love the Action Method line created by Behance. It’s modern clean graphical products fit perfectly within our aesthetic. We each have our own Action Cahier mini journal to jot down our day to day tasks. It’s especially nice when you’re on the run (yay for pocket size). We then use our Action Journal to capture the BIG PLANS. For the computer/iphone junkies, there’s also an intuitive task management application, Action Method Online… it rocks!!! They have a free intro plan (which we use) or the premium (paid) plan. Maybe someday!

We’d love to hear your thoughts for weekly meetings.

• Do you make an effort to do them?

• Do you make it a priority?

• What do you discuss?

• Maybe you want to have them, but there’s a hold up? PLEASE SHARE!

*All images were captured during a TASK AT HAND or BIG PLAN meeting and created using Instagram. We’re obsessed. Follow us dagnamit!

Today we bring you the first of many ‘FAQ’ posts we have planned for the blog. We’ve decided to start with questions received from fellow husband and wife/solo photographers regarding ‘How we work (or how to work) together?’. Working along side your spouse is extremely rewarding, but like anything in life there is a flipside… The true test (THE DEAL BREAKER), is how we negotiate the ebbs and flows of running a very personal, at times extremely passionate, photography business.

Below is a little insight on how we do it!

Who takes on what roles/tasks and why within your business?
There are certain tasks we both were drawn to from the very beginning and others that we’ve assigned along the way. This process isn’t very scientific.  Whoever is the strongest at a task gets that task (unless they really really dislike it, but then they probably end up doing it anyways). Luckily for us, we have contrasting strengths so this dynamic works out well. For instance; Casia’s personal strengths are connecting deeply with others, planning, goal setting and making things happen (the do-er). What we like to call the little things. On the other hand, Eric’s personal strengths are designing, form-making, branding and dreaming BIG (the futurist). He’s concerned with the overall picture and you guessed it, dislikes the little things. There’s a reason they say opposites attract! If you are the kind of person who is interested in identifying your own personal strengths, we highly recommend picking up ‘Now Discover Your Strengths‘ and ‘Strengths Finder 2.0‘. Both are great reads and include a strength finder assessment tool to help you determine your top 5 themes. Phewww… Enough about that! We know you also want specifics, so here goes:

Casia’s main roles include:
Lead photographer. New client inquiries from the first welcome call/email. Scheduling the consult, shoot and design ordering appointment. Backing up client files. LR culling/editing. Retouching/processing the final purchased images. Packaging orders. Creating/updating most blog posts, updating website and studio FB fan page/Twitter.

Eric’s main roles include:
Lead designer. Photographer. Handles most business related details. Designs all client info packets, MOD books, cards, wall groupings, rep cards, packaging and studio information/newsletters. Controls (most) studio expenses and accounting. Develops new marketing ideas. Leads company branding. Organizes the overall backend setup.

Do each of you bring different shooting styles to your photography or are your shooting styles identical?
Great question and a tough one! The answer has two parts. When it comes to the overall look and feel of the photography (the actual image) we are identical. We always joke that we share the same eye. This bodes well when we cull/edit our final images because the transition between each others shots is seamless. HUGE PLUS!!! As far as our personal shooting styles, they couldn’t be more different. Casia focuses on candids (in-the-moment), close ups and is usually the one who develops the ideas for the animated GIFS. She is the lead for most of the session. Eric’s style is more contrived, larger scaled, planned and typically involves more set-up. He is the one that creates many of the ‘mirrored’ images you see on the blog. We know how lucky we are for these differences. It allows for great variety and has been a contributing factor to our success.

How do you not step on each other or get in the way during your photoshoots?
Ummmm we do… A LOT! Now we’ve gotten better at not doing this but it still happens. Communication is key!!! Over time we’ve learned to be way more vocal during a shoot and explain what each other is looking for. We’ve developed a few code words to help eliminate confusion. For example, one of us will say ‘mirrored’ and we instantly know there’s gonna be some setup. Another code word is ‘get faced’. That’s our cue for silly head shots and usually means one of us has found a location for it. We highly suggest developing your own nomenclature for your photoshoots. Another factor in maintaining flow at a photoshoot is respecting each others setups/ideas. If Casia is photographing the client, Eric is either shooting details, behind-the-scenes or is scouting the next location. This helps eliminate over shooting and stepping all over each other. Sometimes, this back fires because one of us ends up disappearing (mostly Eric). After every shoot we joke about purchasing walkie-talkies. They’ve already been incorporated into the equipment budget…

Since you’re married and work together you must argue a lot? (THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION)
Us argue… never! Of course we argue. Casia thinks Eric is too slow and Eric thinks Casia is too slow (Both of us think we’re fast). See the conundrum… Look, all couples argue. It’s healthy and a large part of life. The one thing we’ve realized about our arguments is, it’s never about the other person. It’s always a personal issue that either of us is dealing with and arguing is simply the vehicle to get out our internal struggle. The faster we recognize what it’s REALLY about, the faster the argument is over. We realize it’s easier said than done, but please don’t beat each other up for arguing. It almost always leads to something productive, even if it’s not apparent at the moment.

You guys obviously see each other a lot so how do you separate business life from personal life?
Wow another tough one. Well during ‘business hours’, we take multiple breaks (walks downtown, shopping, drinks – did we just say that) throughout the day. One of the perks of owning your business. The goal is to discuss non-business related items as much as possible.  Of course, this can be really difficult and often find ourselves chatting about them anyways. There is a fine line between business and personal life. Especially within this profession. Our clients become friends and our friends become clients. We chat a lot with other professionals and photography is the main connection. It’s hard not to talk about!!!  But, first and foremost, we have to remember that we were a couple way before we created this business together. And we must nurture our relationship. So once we leave the studio we do our best to leave work behind.  One of the greatest decisions we made was moving our home office to the studio once we went full time.  We are no longer on the computer until 1am (at home anyways).  We can enjoy our personal time and because we aren’t surrounded by work distractions we don’t talk shop.  We also don’t respond to business emails/calls after a certain time of day. They can wait!  Now, if you have a home office/studio we suggest sectioning that part off from the rest of the house. This can be as simple as closing the door. Maybe even create a ‘closed’ sign to physically remind yourself not to go in. Another goal of ours is to develop a set work schedule. Admittedly a very difficult thing to do, but we MUST have some personal time. And this also includes time apart.  We don’t always share the same interests and during our personal time we like to do our own things.  Casia loves anything that involves being outside including sprucing up the landscape, creating home curb appeal and walking our dog Brandon.  Eric has a huge passion for music/movies and is constantly updating his collection.  He could literally listen to music and watch movies all day.  Please take the time to do things that bring you fulfillment and you will keep your sanity.

Some husband and wife teams do business meetings to discuss priorities, do you?
YES!!!! And you should too… We’d like to say ours is every Wednesday evening, but lately that hasn’t happened. SHAME ON US! Regardless, we suggest having these at least once a week. Our business meetings ALWAYS take place outside of the studio. We go somewhere we feel inspired. A clean modern space that allows us to dream big and set our creative brains in motion. It usually involves some good food and a little bit of boozing (we are beginning to sound like lushes). It’s a chance for us to discuss big picture stuff (Eric’s fav) and almost always our best ideas come from it. So if you are debating whether or not to do this, we highly suggest it doesn’t take place at home or in the studio. Getting away will leave you feeling refreshed, inspired and ready to move forward. Plus you won’t hear the infamous ping of the inbox and be tempted to run over and check it. Now that we are full time, we also want to schedule a Monday morning meeting before we start the week. It’s our time to go over the priorities for the week and assign specific tasks.  It’s a great way to stay on track!

How much client interaction do you have together?
We are ALWAYS together during our initial in-person client consultation. We always shoot together. And we always tag team the design ordering appointment at the studio. This is what makes us, well us… Creating a memorable client experience is huge and WE are that experience. Our clients enjoy seeing us together. It helps create a stronger, deeper connection with them. This really helps out when it comes time for the photoshoot. Nobody is nervous. It’s truly is a win win for everyone. Investing as much time as possible in your clients will take your business to a new level. And you must do this together…

YAY!!! We hope by answering these few questions it gave you a little insight on how we work together as a team. And maybe even picked up a few pointers. To help us stay even more organized we’ve set up a specific thread called ‘Frequently Asked Questions‘ in the discussions tab on our FB fan page so you can submit future questions!

And as if you haven’t seen our faces enough, here’s a snapshot from last month’s 2nd Saturday’s downtown Tucson.

purple nickel studio

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