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To Cheer Up Your Friday

The week is almost, and the weekend is almost here…and if you are wedding photographers then you still have to work this weekend. At least we get the best job ever if we don’t get weekends. Often when I am browsing Pinterest I read these hilarious little quotes and I show them to Jeremy and he never thinks they are funny. Hopefully you will think that some of these are at least a little funny. Here is my attempt at making you smile on a Friday.

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This is SO awesome :)

Karolyne Elizabeth Sloma

lol Well, *I* think they’re funny. ;)

Bethany McDonnell

beautiful!

Bethany McDonnell

oops meant to comment on Corina’s session…

Caitie Sheppard

Hilarious! I always laugh at these too and Charles never thinks they are funny. We’ll have to start sending them to each other! ;)

Stella and Her Rocking Chair

Last week we got the 200mm 2.8L and we are already loving it. When it came in we had to go out and test it on our most beautiful model. Stella never minds a photo shoot. We took her rocking chair outside for a few images. The rocking chair was my moms, as well as mine when I was a little girl…and now Stella loves it. We love our new lens…but we LOVE little miss Stella even more!

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LOVE these! She is ADORABLE!!=)

Bethany McDonnell

adorable! love these!

Erin Broskie Brown

These are great :)

Lauren Wilson

What a cutie! My girls have that dress too :)

Caitie Sheppard

Soooooo stinkin’ cute! Love this post!!!! :)

Rachel Kelso Myers

I love the second one from the bottom! Such an adorable little girl!

A Few of My Favorite Things | April 2013

I know I always love learning about new things from other people. I don’t think any of these things are new, but I thought I would share with you a few things that I am loving right now. I would love to hear what you are loving, leave a note in the comments!

Beth Moore – I did my first Beth Moore Study when I was a Senior in college, and I just fell in love. I love her teaching and studies and I love how much she loves God’s Word. I love her books and studies, and I also love listening to her online. I have been a bit under the weather this week, so I got to spend a good chunk of the day yesterday listening to her talks online…it was so refreshing. Though her Bible Studies are written for women, I have to admit that even Jeremy has done one of her studies and enjoyed it.

iPad Mini – We decided to purchase an iPad mini for business reasons, but I admit that I have claimed it as my own. I love reading blogs, using my You Version app, and using it for social media. Stella loves playing games on it, and I have had a bit of a hard time prying it out of her hands. The only downside is that it makes my iphone screen look so tiny.

You Version – I have had this free Bible app for awhile, and I am really enjoying it on the iPad. Recently I have used it more as I have gone through a few She Reads Truth devotionals. Though I still prefer holding my Bible in my hands, the app is great when you are out and about or when Stella falls asleep on me.

Biscoff Cookies – You may have had these without realizing it. They are the cookies that they give you on an airplane. I have always loved them on the plane, but because they are European cookies, they were not available for purchase in the United States. I found them while grocery shopping a few weeks ago, and was so excited to find out they are available in the US now. They are basically cinnamon cookies…and they are delicious…you should go get some.

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Rosie Parent

Right now I’m loving Teavana teas. I’m still a coffee drinker, but the amazing selection of teas – from light (watermelon mint)and sweet (strawberry chocolate, anyone?) to spicy (Samurai Chai)and bold (Maharaja Chai, oooh).

We bought an infuser that pours directly into your cup (without the tea leaves!). It started innocently enough with me purchasing an infuser for hubby since he started drinking tea this winter. Then we had to get a bigger one to make more tea. Then my mom saw it and bought one for herself. Then she bought one for her sister. Then she bought one for camp. Then I showed it to my friend, she bought one. Then I bought one for my other friend’s birthday. I tell you, the Sudbury, Ontario store must love me – I’ve been “promoting” this tea contraction to everyone… haha!

The other cool part is that you can mix and match some teas (kind of like mixing spices when you cook). My favourite strong tea match is the JavaVana Mate (has caffeine) and the Maharaja Chai Oolong. Spicy chocolaty tea. YUM

Oh, and it is an art to make tea – it’s like a cool, fun Science experiment – put the water at this temperature and steep for this amount of time.

The types of tea and their health benefits are pretty crazy too :)
(http://www.teavana.com/tea-info/types-of-tea)

Let us know if you visit a tea place and try out the different teas :)

Abegail Domond

Kristin, I love biscoff cookies as well. That’s one of the reason why I love flying Delta! What supermarket did you find them in?

Kristin Schmucker

I actually found them at Walmart!

Christy Stier

I love YouVersion! Free and works amazing! I have it on my phone for Church when I accidentally forget my Bible at home and doing my devotions!

One Year of “Full-Time” Photography

Well, it has officially been a little over 12 months since I (Jeremy) quit my old job and went “full-time” with photography. Incase you missed it, last year I wrote a blog post about Why and How I Quit My Job! This is a great blog post to read if you feel you are on the brink of changing careers and want a few practical steps on how to make it happen. Today, however, I wanted to really focus on what this past year has taught me. Being that I’m in grad school (for the second time! haha) I link to “list” things out, so bear with me…

1 – Trust. The past 12 months would not have been possible without trusting in God that He would provide. As a business owner the emotions run high and low from day to day. We eagerly check the mailbox to see if anyone mailed in an old contract with a check enclosed, and we frantically refreshed our email praying for the next inquiring bride. But, when it all comes down to it, God taught me to trust Him. However, I am big advocate that God rewards hard work.

2 – Work Hard. I hear a lot of photographers out there on FB saying “just trust God, just trust God” yet they sit at home and don’t do anything. It is a delicate balance. Without God, I know I am nothing, but how can I expect God’s blessing without showing Him diligence? If you aren’t getting any inquiries, it doesn’t mean you lack trust, it means you aren’t marketing your services! Go out there are and spread your name and then trust the results to God!

3 – If it ain’t workin, don’t do it! We learned this the hard way. The 6-9 months before I quit my job we relied heavily upon online advertisements to bring in the inquiries. We paid a STEEP price-tag for this. Well, as we raised the price for our services, the inquiries from online advertising slowed, and eventually stopped. We wasted so much money just thinking they would pick up again. It was scary to stop advertising considering over 50% of our inquiries came from there, but it was not a smart decision to throw hundreds of dollars down the drain every month for nothing. So we quit advertising online.

4 – Find new ways to market. In my opinion, there is no “right or wrong way” to market. A lot of newbie photographers are afraid of “traditional” marketing because it is often labeled as bad in our industry. I honestly believe that any form of marketing that brings in the right kind of bride at the right ROI (return on investment) is a perfectly healthy form of marketing. For us, there are 3 forms of marketing that we utilize and get our brides from. First is google. We pour a lot of time and energy into SEO and blogging. These two things have sent a TON of traffic to our websites and probably 1/3 of our bookings come from google. Second is bridal shows. Again, this is usually considered a traditional form of marketing, but with 1000 brides walking past your booth (and make sure it’s a killer booth design!) you are bound to book somebody! Click Here to view our booth ;) At our last show we booked 5 brides at our highest price point ever. And all 5 are our ideal clients. Sure, there were scores of brides that were not ideal for us, but they didn’t book us, we were only looking for those 3-8 girls who we knew would be excited about us, our images, and our service. Third is referrals. Of course, this is the ideal form of marking as referrals usually have a higher booking percentage. Again, we pour a lot of time, money, and energy into providing our clients with the BEST wedding photography EXPERIENCE they could image. Their experience has little to do with the images. We want people to love us, love what we stand for, and then talk about us. Our referrals come from brides, friends, fellow vendors, and wedding venues.

These 3 forms of marketing have enabled us book more weddings for 2013 , at a price point nearly 300% higher than 2012!

5 – Plan Financially. In the blog post I wrote last year I talked about having a savings account when you quit your job, and that is very important. Unfortunately, we weren’t the best last year about planning for the slow months. Last year there were months where we earned 3 months income in only 3 weeks, and there were other months where we made zilcho! Plan accordingly. Write out a budget and stick to it. We started a cash budget in January and the last 4 months have been SO much easier and less stressful because of this. Dave Ramsey says that children know how to spend money, adults know how to save money (paraphrase, but you get the point!).

6 – Time. Don’t over work. It’s SO SO SO very easy to get consumed in your business. It’s your life, it’s your everything, it’s your “baby.” But in reality, it is not. Jesus is my everything and my family is my life. Everything I do should either be a blessing to God, Kristin, or Stella. Me staying up til midnight every night working on editing is not a blessing to my family. In January we wrote out our work schedule and I’m happy to say that most (90%+) days we stick to it. Our goal is to be “done” with work at 6:00 PM and have “us” time. Because, really, the whole point of us running our own business, is to have the lifestyle we want. And the lifestyle we want, is together.

7 – Raise Your Price – As photographers, we are always afraid to raise our prices. I remember thinking “nobody would EVER pay us that much to shoot their wedding!” So what was the problem? ME! I had convinced myself we weren’t worth it. It was humbling this year to do our taxes. Most people don’t realize how many expenses there are in owning your own business. Well this past year our AGI (adjusted gross income) from the business was only about 25% of our total gross receipts.  Eek! That’s not much. We have bills to pay and need to run a profitable business. Raise Your Price.

If y’all have ANY questions at all about what was written above or something I didn’t cover, please leave a comment I would love to help everyone out there achieve their dreams by running a successful, and profitable business.

Dallas Fort Worth Wedding Photographers Photo

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AWESOME!!! So happy for you 2! This is so where Heather and I want to be. Congrats and keep up the great work!!

Caitie Sheppard

Good job, Jer! I’m working now to quit at the end of the day and have set working hours… tough, but I’m doing better! :) Enjoyed your post and excited for what the Lord has done and will do for y’all… xoxo

Kwenje Beda Banda

Dude, this was an excellent blog. I’m thinking you need to be invited to PCC to speak at the business/ commercial arts forum. *Where’s Mr. Gregory’s number. Well done. Praise the LORD for all He has taught you.

Stefanie Sjostrom

This is so encouraging. Love everything!

Jeremy Schmucker

Get me an invite and I’m there!!! Haha ;)

Katie Hardee

I am SO happy that Michael and I will have the two of you documenting our most precious day. I feel so blessed to have crossed your path and love you both as people!

Marilyn Schmucker

So very proud of you both for so many reasons but most of all for the step of faith it takes to start your own business and rely on it to support you. So proud of the lessons you’ve learned from the Lord through this process. I believe it’s a gift back to Him when you use your gifts and talents in your work to honor Him and that’s exactly what you both do.

This is an amazing blog post!!! I love it!

Dawn May

Awesome post to read as a fellow photographer. :) Thanks for sharing!

Fab advice!! And this is definitely something every new or budding photographer should read. Congrats on reaching a year!

Psalms | God is Good

I began reading through the Psalms at the beginning of February, and just finished up this week. A few months ago when I began journalling, I wanted to read through books of the Bible in their entirety, instead of jumping from book to book. I completed several smaller books before I decided to tackle the Psalms. It seemed like such a large undertaking, but it turned out to be something that changed my heart. Especially with such a large book, I felt like reading the whole thing together gave me such an amazing “big picture” perspective about what the Psalms are all about.

Since I have been journalling as well as using the #lampandlight hashtag each day, I was especially aware of what my “take away” was each day, and throughout these two months I have noticed a theme as so many days I would be impressed with the same thing…God is Good. I hear a message while I was in college preached on Psalm 73. It was one of those “so good I still remember the Pastor’s outline years later” kind of messages. It was about God’s goodness and the fact that the goodness of God is an eternal fact, no matter how bad things look or how I am feeling at the moment, I can know that God is good, and because I know that, I can’t help but praise Him.

Your kindness leads me to repentance
Your goodness draws me to Your side
Your mercy calls me to be like You
Your favor is my delight
Every day, I’ll awaken my praise
And pour out a song from my heart

You are good, You are good
You are good, and Your mercy is forever
You are good, You are good
You are good, and Your mercy is forever
You are good, and Your mercy is forever

I created this as a reminder to me that God is Good. Feel free to use it as a background for your iPhone. Here is how you can make it your background. If you have any questions let me know!

1. From your computer drag the image to your desktop, or right click and save as.
2. Email the file to yourself.
3. Open the email from your iphone and save the image. Once it is saved in your pictures you will be able to make it your wallpaper.

 

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Jeremy Schmucker

One my favorite sermons to date! Eternal Fact = God is good!

Lora Grady

Love!