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Downton Abbey

Happy Friday! Today I am going to tell you about something that I am slightly obsessed with. I first heard of Downton Abbey last year when Facebook and Twitter were buzzing about this show. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but when I saw the first season was on Netflix, I thought I would give it a try. After a few episodes I was hooked, then I watched the 2nd season and now I am anxiously awaiting each new episode. I am not sure what it is about this show that is so addicting, but it is just so good. The cinematography is gorgeous, the plot is dramatic and the costumes and set designs are out of this world.

I will warn you though, if you start watching this show you will start to feel like these characters are your new friends. You might be thinking that a period drama is not your style, but I promise that Downton Abbey has as much drama as Grey’s Anatomy with better fashion. Are you watching Downton? I would love to hear who your favorite character is?

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I totally agree!! I am in love with Lady Cybil and Branson. Their story line is my favorite hands down, not to mention he is just so darn cute!! ;) Thanks for sharing my obsession!

Rachel McCloud

This is the best show ever. I totally understand that they become your best friends :) I like Mary and Sybil and Mr. Carson :)

Getting Organized with ShootQ

Kristin has been doing almost all the blogging recently, but there are some aspects of our business that I (Jeremy) handle, so I wanted to share with you yet another way we are getting organized in 2013. If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that organization has permeated our posts over the last few weeks. We blogged about Doing What Works, Kristin’s Simplified Planner, Our Ideal Day, and now I want to share with you how we use ShootQ to manage our inquiries.

We were first introduced to ShootQ by our fabulous friends Luke & Cat (wedding photographers in Houston). They raved and raved about how great it is and how their booking rate increased since they starting using ShootQ. So, we decided to give it a try and utilize the 30 day free trial. Well, 30 days were here and gone and I was so confused. It was kind of overwhelming with where to start and it seemed like more of a hassle than it was worth. Wow, was I wrong. A few months later we revisited the idea of ShootQ and decided it was time for us to move away from paper contracts with our clients and do everything online. After all, one of the main reasons I have car insurance through Progressive is because they make it SUPER easy for me to get a quote and sign a policy ALL online…so we wanted to enable our clients to have the same experience if they wanted.

Although we do LOVE our new online contracts, that is not the thrust of this blog post (more on that coming later). Last week I attended a meeting with a few other local photographers, and one girl in particular is a ShootQ wizard! It was so inspiring to see how one little program runs every aspect of her business for her! ShootQ can do so much automatically, it’s like hiring an assistant!!!

The most exciting aspect for me to learn, was how to track our leads. There are months of the year where we only get one or two inquiries and there are other months where we get five to ten in one day! How in the world do we keep track of all these potential brides? In ShootQ we have created several (about 10) different “status” levels for each inquiry. For example: (1) New, (2) Pricing Sent, (3) Talked on phone, (4) follow-up email sent, (5) scheduled consultation, etc. Each status level is assigned a color and then we can view ALL of our inquiries by their status level. We can send template emails from within ShootQ, view previous correspondence, and even see how long it has been since we last contacted each and every bride. WOW! No more trying to keep it all organized within our email inbox.

Again, this is just one small aspect of how we have been using ShootQ, but it has been a HUGE help in the last few weeks. If you use ShootQ, what’s your favorite aspect or feature…and if you don’t, what are your remaining questions?

ShootQ lead tracking by status jeremy and kristin photography

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FUSION Highlight Video | Abilene, TX Photography

If you tuned in last week to our blog you saw Beth and Brody’s gorgeous winter wedding! As many of you know, we started offering FUSION videos. A FUSION video is basically a hybrid of video clips and pictures “fused” together, set to music, and put on a DVD (and youtube, of course!). Beth and Brody’s video turned out perfectly! Their wedding was very intimate in Beth’s hometown of Abilene and filled with tons of family and fun. We were so honored and blessed to have been a part of their big day and give them this cool video! Beth and Brody, thank you for trusting us to capture the most important day of your life. We love you both, J&K.

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Tammy Damore

WOW, where do I start!!! Amazing couple, beautiful bride, precious picture, love love love that there was more video, the fur coat was Soooooooo classy, I teared up several times!!!!! Great job, I loved it!!!

Krista Morgan

ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!

Chantal Felina

Are you located in Canad? that was beautiful!!

Caitie Sheppard

Beautiful video as always…. I want to get married again just to have y’all there to take more pictures! ;) <3 all three of you!

Kristin Schmucker

We are located in Dallas/Fort Worth TX, but we love to travel Chantal!

Love your work Guys, the video is awesome really slick.

Ken in Ireland

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Our trip to the Dallas Children’s Aquarium

This past weekend we spent the day at the Aquarium. It was so much fun to watch Stella as she discovered all the fish. She liked all of the colorful small fish, though she wasn’t too big of a fan of the sharks, or anything bigger than she was. It was just so much fun to watch her discover new things, and the perfect way to spend a family afternoon in Dallas. The last picture was taken by a sweet lady who saw us struggling trying to get a picture of the three of us. I am not sure why I look a little crazy, but I love it regardless since it shows the three of us just having fun together.

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Tammy Damore

Precious!!!!!

Marilyn Schmucker

So fun. Feel like I went with you.

Caitie Sheppard

So cute…and looks like so much fun!

Janice Keefer

what was Stella’s fav thing at the zoo? besides Mommy and Daddy.

Simplified

At the end of the year we took some time to reflect on 2012, what worked, what didn’t, and what did we need to improve on. We came up with so many things and took the entire day to refocus and get ready for an amazing 2013. We talked about so much, but at the end of that day I knew that I wanted to be more organized this year, so that I could be more productive in my work and spend more time on what matters.

I set out on a search for what was going to be a game changer for me and help me start the year off right. I had been following deisgner Emily Ley for awhile, and I knew that she had a planner so I decided to check it out. I fell in love. She sold things a la carte which I loved. I could buy the pages that I wanted, and that would help me organize the areas I was needing help in. I also bought lots of goodies from Martha Stewarts collection at Staples which is amazing!

I added dividers and spent time thinking through the areas in my life that would need their own tab. Before my simplified planner I was using a mixture of my memory, ical, and a spiral notebook. Let me tell you, having it all together is way better!

I thought through what my sections would be and I came up with these:

1. Calendar
2. Home (Grocery lists, meal plans, projects, etc.)
3. Work (To do lists, projects, goals, etc.)
4. The Big List (Thank you to the fab Katelyn James for this one that I discovered in this guest blog post for Justin & Mary.)
5. Blog (Blog topics, upcoming posts, etc.)

Once I had my sections decided I inserted journal pages, to do lists, calendar pages, grocery lists, etc. and started dumping everything into my planner. Now I can’t imagine a day without it. It takes a weight off of me, because I don’t have to remember everything. When I need to remember an appointment, deadline or idea, I write it down and then my mind is clear to work without feeling like I need to remember something.

I think the most important thing is finding what works for you. This works for me, and helps me get things done. What helps you stay organized and get things done? Always looking for new ideas.

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Tammy Damore

I didn’t think I needed this, and now that I see it explained…………I will be watching for her new inventory to come in. Thanks doll face, u love you bunches!

I have this in pink (of course!) and love it!!!!!!

Stephen Booth

Nice! getting organized is going to be huge for me this year. I just developed my first CMS to manage sessions from lead to image delivery this weekend. I’m sure others do it better, but at least I’m making progress. And progress feels so good!

Jeremy Schmucker

That is awesome. Keep an eye on the blog later this week for a post on how we organize from inquiry to wedding. :)

Kristin Layne Peddicord

Love this! Thanks for sharing :D

Alli McWhinney Photography

OH that is a great idea, that so much for sharing!

Kristin Schmucker

So glad it was helpful!

Kate Monroe

I am absolutely swooning over her planner. I’m definitely going to invest in it when she launches the new stuff! What are using the washi tape for? I’m pretty sure washi tape is one of my favorite things ever.