Anytime Light

2015 Wedding Photography Workshops | California | Education

I am a huge proponent of continued education, no matter what your field of work is.  The most amazing part of my job is that the only person I’m in competition with is myself.  I know that I can always be better and one of my goals this year was to attend at least two photography workshops, one that was wedding focused and one that was not.  I’m excited that I’m certainly going to go above and beyond this goal by attending numerous 2015 wedding photography workshops.

Learning in Action at the Anytime Light Workshop in January. Photo by Josh Baker, AzulOx

This past January, I traveled to Austin, TX to attend the Anytime Light Workshop from Azul Ox Visuals.  Azul Ox’s team creates dramatically different images than I normally do: bold cinematic photography with exceptional use of OCF.  It’s extremely important to be able to modify light to your needs: I would never want to turn down a portrait session simply because their only available time slot was noon.  At this small, intensive, hands on workshop we learned how to photograph at high noon in the Texas Sun while mitigating strong overhead light with all the tools available at our disposal.  From there, we worked on interior head shot lighting, sunset lighting with speedlights for dramatic evening portraits and finally, portraits in the dark after nightfall.

Austin Portrait Photographer

Turning day into night with strobes: anytime light! Photo by Lauren Lindley.

I was so impressed by the entire experience, I’m bringing Anytime Light to Tahoe for an extended three day workshop.  This workshop will give hands on experience, provide portfolio building images, and extensive learning for the small batch of students in one of the most gorgeous locations California has to offer.

Anytime Light Lake Tahoe still has spots available.  I honestly cannot impress upon you how amazing this workshop was in reiterating, reinforcing, and reminding me of all the tools I have at my disposal during a wedding or portrait session.  If you attend Anytime Light Lake Tahoe, you’ll learn everything you need to know about OCF (off camera flash) including how your flash power and distance and camera decisions work together.  You’ll learn about all the light modifiers you have to choose from and why and when to use them.  You’ll learn what type of OCF to use.  Speedlight? Strobe?  During all of this, you’ll be able to build your portfolio using real models at styled shoots in one of the most gorgeous locations on the planet!  I can’t imaging a better way to experience an OCF Workshop this year.  In addition, model Jennifer Lynn Larson is going to do a session on communicating with models per my request because I actually found that communicating with professional models and my lack of knowledge on this topic hindered my ability to get the types of images I wanted at the workshop in January.

Whether you are new to wedding photography or an established professional, this 2015 OCF workshop will help reinforce the knowledge you need to have to create the best images possible for your clients, despite the light conditions you experience.

Sunset and Speedlights. Photo by Josh Baker, AzulOx

In February, I attended Imaging USA 2015 put on by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) in Nashville, TN.  I specifically needed to source out new vendors for my business at the massive photography expo offered at the event.  I was searching for a new high end fine art album maker and found exactly what I was looking for in Finao.  I struggled, however, with the rest of the conference, which I took very little away from.  Many teachers or speakers tried to cram the same amount of information that I learned in a hands on all day session at Anytime Light in Austin into a one hour presentation.  The massive lecture halls filled with hundreds walked away more confused than they entered.  I think huge conferences are great for certain things: networking and vendor sourcing specifically.  While I met some amazing photographers whom I still keep in touch with (shout out to Michael Faga and Jennifer Oates), I can’t say that I walked away with any specific educational knowledge at all, despite sitting in three days worth of one hour lectures.

This June, I’m looking forward to attending FOSTER 2015 led by Ben Sasso and Katch Silva.  FOSTER is a hands on workshop of education and discussion.  They will lead us in live shoots using natural light, posing, directing and then finally, leading discussions about the most important aspects of the wedding photography business including editing, workflow, social media, style and branding, client interaction and more.  It takes place in Joshua Tree and I’m ashamed to admit: I’ve never been there!

LGBT San Diego Wedding

Utilizing OCF for wedding photographers. Photo by Lauren Lindley, Lauren Lindley Photography.

What I’m most excited about this year, other than hosting my own wedding photography workshop here in Lake Tahoe, is that I was recently notified of my early acceptance into the prestigious and highly competitive Missouri Photo Workshop.  This year will be the 67th anniversary of the workshop, which moves to a different small town in Missouri every year documenting small town life.  For over six decades now, photographers from around the world have worked to visually tell the stories of the people and institutions that come together to make the community chosen for the year.  They are directed by David Rees and Jim Curley with the help of dozen talented faculty members and a team of University of Missouri students.  It will teach me the fundamentals of researching, shooting and editing while emphasizing ethical practices.  I am overwhelmed, honored and unbelievably ecstatic to be offered this experience!

SF Engagement Portrait

Making the Most out of your Engagement Session

More often that not, couples become engaged and start cycling through their catalog of photos and discover that they have primarily nothing but phone photos and selfies at their disposal.  As such, engagement portrait sessions are extremely popular and one of those photos will certainly end up on your save the date card, wedding invitation, or wedding website.  Paperless Post recently approached me and asked if I’d be willing to share my tips and tricks on making the most out of your engagement session.

1.  Relax and pay no attention to the person following you with the camera.  Every photo that I fall in love with from an engagement session comes from a moment where the couple is so wrapped up in each other, they’ve forgotten I’m there.  In fact, the best sessions happen when couples act like they are on a date and just talk and chat the entire time as if I’m not even there.  I’ve even had couples spend the entire session trying to one up each other with jokes.   It doesn’t matter how you interact, as long as you do.

Los Angeles Engagement Session

2.  More points of contact create more intimacy in photos.  Hold hands, make out, wrap up in each other.  No matter what you do, the more that your bodies are connected, the stronger the image will come across.

SF Engagement Portrait

3.  Be fun and active.  Dance while you tell those jokes.  Hold hands, move around, walk and talk, get playful.   I try to do as little posing as possible, but I will intervene and get posey if the couple seems stiff or isn’t interacting with each other.  The best moments happen, again, when you forget your photographer is there and focus on each other.

Culver City Portrait Session

4.  Kick your session off in one of your favorite places.  I like to start my evening sessions out with happy hour and my morning sessions with brunch.  Starting off your session at a place of significance for the two of you is a great way to begin your session in a relaxed way at a place that feels comfortable.  It will put you at ease (so will that adult beverage) and allow you to get comfortable behind the camera.

Happy Hour portrait session

5.  Utilize negative space.  Negative space appears in beautifully composed images as the blank areas in and around objects.  In a photo with negative space, you’ll have plenty of room to include all the pertinent information you need to give your guests without detracting from the image.

Tahoe Engagement Photographer, Incline Village, Hidden Beach, Tahoe Portrait photographer

Featured Vendor: Paperless Post is passionate about the resources that they provide their community.  If you are seeking a unique invitation experience, head over to their website to see how you can create both online and paper stationary, invitations and save the dates that reflect your individual style.  To date, Paperless Post users have sent over 85 million cards.  You can also check out Paperless Post on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Murphys CA engagement session

Angel’s Camp Engagement Session | Published at Ever Ours

o. m. gee.

I have been (figuratively, not literally) dying to be published on Ever Ours for ever and ever and ever.  All my cool photographer friends are published on Ever Ours all the time and now I’m as cool as they are.

I can think of no better session than Britt and John’s Angel’s Camp engagement session to be published over on Lydia’s amazing site, which celebrates the wedding photography industry and all the amazing images and talent within it.

I’m so excited to be part of the Ever Ours community.  You can also follow Ever Ours on Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.

You can see the entire feature over at Ever Ours via this link.

 Northern CA Engagement Photographer

Vote for me for Best of Tahoe 2015!

Best of Tahoe 2014

Remember that time I won Best of Tahoe last year?  That was awesomesauce.

It was especially humbling because I didn’t even ask you to vote for me.  Frankly, I didn’t even realize voting was open.

This year, I am asking because I think it would be rad to win two years in a row.

So, I humbly ask you to follow this link and vote for me for Best Photographer!

Rancharrah wedding photographer

Being Successful with Thumbtack for Photographers

This post could also be titled: how I launched my business using Thumbtack.

There is a lot of negative attention on internet forums and Facebook threads dedicated to people angry with Thumbtack.

To this I say: if you aren’t successful on Thumbtack it’s not Thumbtack’s fault.  It’s yours.

Failure is never someone else’s fault.  Failure is an opportunity to figure out what you can do better.  Does your portfolio need to be better?  Does your approach need to be more personal or inviting?  Whatever the reason, if you aren’t finding the customers you want using Thumbtack, you need to examine your process.

Winters CA Wedding Photographer

I was successfully connected to 29 new clients in the past three years via Thumbtack and it has amounted to 33% of my revenue in the last year alone.  One of the biggest complains about Thumbtack is that it’s “expensive.”  If you are successful on there, it’s one of the least expensive advertising campaigns I use and one of the most certifiable.  I have spent less than 6% of my combined revenue in the last three years to be connected with qualified leads.  As long as this number stays under 15%, I am a happy camper.

After a few years of experience, here are my personal tips on being successful with Thumbtack for photographers.

  1. Pay VERY close attention to what they want as a product.  If you only offer digital files and they want an album, do not bid.  If they literally choose EVERY SINGLE THING that you could possibly check as final product, they have no idea what they are looking for, don’t value photography, and aren’t worth bidding on.  This is one in particular is an non-negotiable rule to follow.
  1. I’ve found that Thumbtack is best used to fill in dates you wouldn’t normally fill with small, relaxed weddings and clients that turn into great referrals. Most of the weddings I’ve booked on there are elopements and intimate, informal events. I’ve booked about 3 backyard DIY “rustic” weddings as well with about 100 guests in attendance. I booked a not-wedding on there that turned into one of the best weekends of my life. The point of this is that if you find the right clients, awesome things can happen on there. Read through the lines to seek people out who seem to have interesting stories or plans and they are the ones to bid on.

Wedding Prayer

  1. I take my regular hourly rate for photography and I bid on those events with it.  If there’s a super tiny wedding on a Friday morning with 10 people and they only want a photographer for two hours, I am personally okay with offering a discounted hourly rate if their budget meets my minimum hourly specifications. I will take on elopements and small DIY events on weekdays at a lower hourly rate than normal:  it’s not a giant wedding, there are not details to capture, there’s no decor, there’s no DJ, there’s no cake cutting.  It’s you and 25 people and an hour or two.  The post processing is faster than other weddings, and you generate sales and income on a Tuesday morning.
  1. If it’s more than a year out, I never bid.  I bid on things that are a month to 6 to months out only unless I have a really good feeling about the client.  I bid on things that are on days I wouldn’t normally get hired.  I bit on things that fall within what would be considered “slow” or “off” season.

Berkeley Botanical Gardens Wedding Photographer

  1. Build up your SEO in destinations.  Thumbtack is most useful to me for building SEO for new destinations that I want to market to.  By creating Thumbtack profiles in destinations that I want to focus on, I’m not only reaching my target audience with qualified leads, but also creating targeted block posts after each wedding is completed.
  1. Keep very good track of what you spend and what you net from it.  You should be doing this will every cent you spend anyways, but it’s especially important to do so on here or it can get out of hand.  Devise a specific plan of what types of work you will bid on, bid only on those and keep yourself to it.

Tahoe Wedding Photographer

  1. Make sure you have a full website before you start bidding.  A facebook business page won’t hack it.  No one is going to hire you over the internet without it because you haven’t established trust.  If you are a new or beginning photographer, there are tons of amazing and inexpensive templates from a variety of places that can accommodate your website needs.
  1. Make sure your portfolio reflects the work you are looking to get hired for.  You may still be in the portfolio building stage and Thumbtack is a GREAT place to build your portfolio.  That being said, you need at least ONE wedding under your belt so that you have examples of relevant work to show if you are trying to book a wedding. If you haven’t shot a wedding yet, DO NOT bid on weddings.   Stage a wedding, offer to shoot a friends wedding, create a styled shoot: how you get the work in the portfolio is up to you, but it needs to be there before you try to win weddings. This goes with photography of all kinds – do not bid on portraits if you do not have relevant examples in your portfolio. Do not bid on head shots if you have none to show. After you have the work to show, your hourly rate may be a significantly lower amount than what I charge. That’s okay, we all start somewhere. Bump up those rates after every five successful shoots of that type if you fall into this category.

Tahoe Engagement Photographer

  1. The bid MUST include all the relevant information and in particular, a total number of hours if it’s for a wedding.  If this information is not included, do not bid!
  1. Make sure you have reviews.  Your reviews can come from past clients that aren’t associated with Thumbtack. Having 5 reviews improves your chances of hearing back by 400%.  Every time I create a new Thumbtack profile for another city, I have previous clients review me before bidding on any jobs.

 

If your market is glitzy and glamorous giant hotel weddings, Thumbtack is not the avenue for you to pursue clients. If your client is rustic, backyard, vintage, DIY, and relaxed, then Thumbtack is a great place for you to be.

I’m so in love with every client I met on Thumbtack.  They are the coolest people around.  I have so much to thank them for.  Frankly, if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am.

THANK YOU TO:

Vince + CourtneyAmanda + JasonAmanda + BruceHeather + GerradBrittany + ChrisSummer + PeterJeana + Tom Paige + DanielRyan + RebecaSarah + SumanJeff + Eva | Heather + RaymondSawyer + JoshAshley + MatthewLisetta + SamAdam + TraceySunny + ChrisEddie + Lori | Stephanie + Garrett

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USB Memory Direct Flash Drives

Featured Vendor | USB Memory Direct

Thanks to the digital age, my job delivering files to my clients has never been easier.  While all of my portrait clients receive their files in a digital download, some of my wedding clients still opt to receive their files on a USB drive.  Since so many laptops and computers these drives come only with USB drives and not DVDs, I’ve switched entirely to USB Flash Drives only and for those I rely on USB Memory Direct.  I love them thanks to their exceptional customer service and quick turn-around.

Their customer service makes my life super easy: I don’t even have to pick up a phone!  One email out and my personal customer service agent places a re-order for me.  Their products are amazing and they have a variety of options to fulfill every client’s needs.  My drives are sweet and simple and bright and feature my logo created by Julie Pizzo Design.

You can also find USB Memory Direct on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.  

LL.USBMemoryDirect-3

award2015banner

Two Bright Lights Editors Choice Award 2015

I’m so thrilled and honored to be recognized as a Two Bright Lights Editors Choice Award for 2015!  Two Bright Lights has been absolutely instrumental for me in my quest to increase my online presence, SEO strategies and get my name out on the top wedding and photography blogs in the internet world.   This award places me in the top 5% of all Two Bright Lights members in terms of being published.  Big thanks to all my amazing portrait and wedding clients this past year who were so adorably blog-worthy!

Editors Choice Award

The 2015 Two Bright Lights Editors’ Choice Awards is a signature program that recognizes those whose number of published features in 2012 placed them among the top 5% of all Two Bright Lights members. Winners were published across many of the most respected lifestyle, wedding and other print and digital publications in the United States and worldwide. Among thousands of photographers and vendors competing for publication, the Editors’ Choice winners represent the best-of-the-best.

HHR 2015 | Photographers’ Retreat

My friend Megan Saul is a super cool chick.  So cool, in fact, that she organized an informal photographers’ retreat in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, just outside of Gatlinburg, and I’m apparently so special that I was invited to attend.  Myself and 34 other unbelievably talented photographers are here for the next four days to refresh our creativity, stir up our spirits, and teach each other everything we know.  Oh, and drink.  Oh, and dance party.

If you are interested in following along on our adventures in realtime, head on over to Instagram to follow @heavyheartedphotographers.

If you want to check out the work from some of the unbelievably talented folks I’m here with, these are my travel companions:

Megan Saul | Cassandra Niehaus | Jay Loafman | Chris Henderson | Danny and Katherine Sprague | Sabrina Hounshell | Cheyenne Gil | Lena Peterson | Laura Babb | Rachel Schirano | Jaime Smialek | Mysi Anne Falafel | Jillian Powers | Catalina Jean Dow | Ryan Deasley | Tuan Bui | Rachel Brandt Fisher | Chris Wojdak | Tommy Van Huynh | Meagan Lindsay Shuptar | Amanda Carso | Chris Ramos | Ashley Hamm |  Sidney Morgan | Paige Gabert | Rachel “The Sherpa” Kaye | Mike Rousseau

HHR

Fire truck wedding photography, fire fighter wedding,

Tahoe Wedding Photographer | Published at Borrowed & Blue

Borrowed and Blue is one of my favorite wedding blogs to contribute to.   They manage to keep things fresh with individual blogs for various locations.  This year, they’ve been extra kind to me, publishing me at their Napa wedding blog, their Bay Area wedding blog, and now, for the fourth time, their Lake Tahoe wedding blog.  They always write really fun, kind, complimentary things which gives you extra warm fuzzies inside and their post on Kelly and Mike yesterday was no exception.  “Let me warn you: Kelly & Mike know how to have a good time and their personalities were all over this festive summer day,” they opened with.  No truer words could be said about Kelly and Mike’s Tahoe beach wedding this summer.

I’m so honored to have been chosen as Kelly and Mike’s Tahoe wedding photographer.  Their day was exceptionally amazing from start to finish.  Not to mention that thing with the firetruck of course.  I had such a blast with the two of them, I still wish we could do it all again.

Follow this link to relive Kelly and Mike’s wedding, featured on Borrowed & Blue Lake Tahoe.

You can also follow Borrowed and Blue on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Napa Girls Weekend

Sonoma Vacation Photographer | Published at Gent & Beauty

I was so happy to wake up Wednesday morning to see that the Evalyn Ivy, ran a travel inspiration post featuring my photos as a Sonoma Vacation Photographer.  Evalyn Ivy was formerly known as Gent & Beauty and is a prestigious online Skandinavian Style Magazine run by a very fashionable man and wife duo.  They provide readers with an “eclectic range of inspiration with all the things [they] love housed under one roof.”   I am feeling pretty honored with my inclusion among the beautiful work and photos you’ll find on their website.

Someone recently asked me what my favorite job this year was and this day was it!  I had such a wonderful time following these smart fun Texas women around Sonoma as their vacation photographer that I want to do it all over again.  I still have a few bottles of wine hanging out in my wine fridge from William Selyem that are just waiting for the right occasion to be consumed!

Big thanks to Evalyn Ivy for sharing my work.  You can check out Gent and Beauty’s Travel Inspiration Post featuring my photos via this link.  You can also follow them on Instagram.