The Power of Personal Projects

© Jane Ammon Photography

Every year since I launched my photography business, I’ve carved out time to pursue a personal project. It’s a part of my art that has helped me flourish as an artist, a person and as a business owner. Ranging from a large project that took over 2 years to complete and culminated with a gallery show to a small project I completed in 15 days with iPhone only pictures, each personal project has existed solely to help me create work that speaks to my heart and show the world the space I was in at the time.

Personal projects are exactly what they say: personal. They exist to give you a channel to explore parts of WHO you are and WHAT interests you with only parameters you set for yourself. With no money or time pressures and no voices of others in your head, they give you permission to make something …

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3 Easy Techniques to Turn Portrait Leads into Bookings


We’ve all received leads from potential clients that we feel REALLY excited about, right? We start to paint the picture in our head of just how amazing their shoot would be! We’ve also all felt super bummed when they don’t respond or end up booking with us. We make up a scenario in our heads as to why they didn’t book, blame it on price, blame it on the email wording, etc. The fact that everything lies in one email is crazy sauce.

Have you ever felt this way? What if I told you there are more things you can do to get this lead to book aside from that ONE EMAIL?

I own a woman’s portrait studio (we specialize in boudoir) in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, called Molly Marie Photography. At my studio, we have three techniques we use in order to get these leads booked.

First, did you know that 80 percent …

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Your Personality is More Important than Your Camera


Do you wonder sometimes how other photographers’ clients look happy and beautiful at the same time? Are you sick of deciphering technical photography jargon? In the next five minutes, I’ll teach you how to make your personality your strongest tool. Don’t think you have what it takes? Trust me, you do.

I. Surprise your clients by redefining the process

Many people would argue that having their picture taken sucks. It’s awkward and you have to get all dolled up for no reason. Well, this is a challenge I love taking on every time I pick up my camera. Use the following tips to redefine what it means for your clients to have their pictures taken.

1. Make sure your gear is more compact and less intrusive. 2. Your personality rocks, so use it. 3. Keep things lighthearted and moving quickly. 4. Have an assistant help direct people.

II. Comfortable means profitable

Photographing people is inherently intimate. Whether you’re …

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Creativity Under Pressure: How to Shoot More (Creative) Wedding Details


As a wedding photographer, your job is to create amazing images of all the wedding details. However, it seems like there’s a conspiracy again shooting these images – the cake is delivered late, the centerpieces and bouquets haven’t arrived! Delays drastically shrink your time to capture the amazing details. Suddenly, sixty minutes of scheduled shooting time turns into six minutes. How do you overcome this challenge and still deliver creative images?

My unique solution is to have a formula that allows me (and my team) to systematically shoot all the details quickly and efficiently, while still keeping our creativity high. These formulas keep our detail images consistent and creative. I believe creativity is not only about WHAT you’re shooting, it’s also about changing your perspective and composition while you’re shooting. Our goal as creative wedding photographers is to show the unique way that we viewed the event.

Here are my “Foskett Formulas:”

(Above …

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11 Tips to Bridging the Gap between Photographers and Wedding Coordinators

Debra Gulbas Photography

As a wedding photographer, some of the most important relationships you can build are with wedding coordinators. If you are just getting started in the wedding world, these tips are a fantastic way to make a great impression on wedding coordinators. If you have been in the wedding industry for awhile, these tips will help you strengthen your relationship with wedding coordinators. This will also help your shoots go much more smoothly!

I recently sat down with two successful wedding coordinators in Austin, Texas, to discuss the relationships between coordinators and photographers. Thank you to Rosa Gibson, of Austin Wedding Planners by Rosa, and Amy Mader, of Amy’s Platinum Weddings Coordinating and Consulting Firm for their help and advice.

1. Send a Welcome Email

Ask your client if they have a wedding coordinator at the initial consultation. Once the client books with you, email the coordinator to tell them you’re excited to work …

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Case Study: Why ShootQ Makes Sense for Anne Almasy


Photo: Anne Almasy

Anne’s search for a solution that would streamline her growing photography business led her to ShootQ. Because of ShootQ, Anne has been able to set up a faster booking process, better contract management, and streamlined business operations.

In this case study we’ll explore:

• Why early investments in your business do make a difference. • How keeping track of your business in one place, with access from anywhere, streamlines operations. • Why it’s important to find the best solution to manage a thriving photography business. • How to quantify the savings ShootQ provides.

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The Value Professional Photographers Offer Boudoir Clients


I believe every woman is beautiful and should have images that showcase her beauty. It’s all about finding an artist who can pose them and photograph them in the most flattering ways. Most women have dreamed of being a glamorous movie star, or even a magazine centerfold. But what are we all waiting for? Maybe until that moment when we feel like we’ll look in the mirror and say, “I am beautiful!” Stop waiting. We are beautiful NOW.

Today, we’re inundated with images of beautiful women – in magazines, on TV, and in print campaigns. Everywhere we turn, we see “sexy” photos. And these images often lead to negative body image issues, and make us believe that we cannot be as beautiful as the ads we’re seeing. This is simply false.

I’m pretty sure that all women have aspects of their body that they’re not 100% comfortable with, and maybe even wish …

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How to Make Everyday Shoots Extraordinary


There I was with Beth and her family at Balboa Park in San Diego, their faces bursting with joy as they ran around being kids, playing games and laughing. But it wasn’t always this way; my early photos often showed people looking nervous, waiting for guidance on what pose to do next, with fake smiles.

Then, I decided to make a change. By encouraging people to make every day a celebration, the “UPA” (Unique Photo Adventure) was born! By taking the time to connect with my clients as they connect with each other, I can create images as if I wasn’t even there.

This is no traditional “portrait studio” appointment. Equipped with a variety of ideas, clients are inspired to make the experience all their own. Unique Photo Adventures allow participants to free themselves from being behind the camera, disconnect from their cell phone or other distractions, and really be present in …

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Why Every Photographer Should Lose “Weight”


If you do wedding photography year after year, the physical labor takes a toll on your body. Photographers often carry multiple camera bodies, along with multiple lenses, flashes/studio lights, tripod/monopods and other accessories. Wedding after wedding, we’re carrying fifity to sixty pounds of equipment – plus we’re on our feet all day long!

I remember carrying all my gear and hiking half a mile to a mountain-top ceremony in Muir Beach. It was exhausting, and I knew I couldn’t carry on like this for years. So, for the past few years, I’ve focused on shedding equipment weight and improving efficiency, while delivering the same quality (or better) results.

Here’s what my toolbox looked like in 2010:

Bodies: Nikon D3, 2 Nikon D700, D300, D90

Lenses: 24-70, 70-200, 17-35, 35, 50, 85, 105 Macro, 18-55, 19-35

Flashes: 3 SB-900, SB-800 and SB-600

Accessories: Tripods, monopods and other accessories

As you can see, I had overlapping lenses and camera …

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A Simple Wedding Workflow Checklist

A Simple Wedding Workflow Checklist for Professional Photographers

You’ve just finished shooting an amazing ten hour wedding. Two cameras, perhaps even a second shooter. Total clicks are in the range of 3k-5k. Even though you’re on such a high, in the back of your mind you’re thinking, “ugh this is going to be such a long edit!”

Monday morning comes around and you start culling, but then your inbox starts filling up, Facebook is calling your name, and the dog is barking at you. What do you do?

As professional photographers, we’ve all been in this situation before. You need help. That’s exactly why I created this wedding workflow checklist. Feel free to use any or all of it to help you stay streamlined.

1. Download cards – 1 hour I personally don’t cull as I download, although I know a few photographers who do. Once downloaded, I point Aperture to the images on my computer, as this leads to the fastest workflow.

2. First-Round …

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