Blog : For Photographers

The Photographer’s Planner from Colorvale – a Review

The Photographer’s Planner from Colorvale – a Review

The Photographer's Planner by Colorvale Review - this is the planner that completely changed her business!

I will be the first to admit it – I am a total paper junkie. I love planners. Back in December, I found myself in a store holding no less than 4 planners at once, wanting to buy them all. This is completely unrealistic, because you should only use ONE planner at a time.

The reality is, just a general life planner? It isn’t going to change your business. If you’re a professional photographer? THIS is the planner for you.

Meet the Photographer’s Planner

The Photographer's Planner from Colorvale - my review -

Why is this the planner for you, you ask?

Because the Photographer’s Planner goes beyond just being a standard planner. This doesn’t just have places for you to note what you need to do from day to day. This is a business guide book! It has all that you need to run your business, the heart & soul of everything that you need to be an effective CEO of your business and your life!

Isn’t it gorgeous? Inside and out, this baby was designed to SHINE. You can start it whenever you want – there are no dates in it, so you can fill those in yourself. Designed to be tossed in your camera bag or laying out on your desk, you will never want to be far from it.

I have the predecessor, the “sister” product, the original Briefcase planner. Honestly, it is always right beside me. It is an extension of my arm practically. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this baby to arrive because it has a new & improved size – the cover is 8.5″x11″ and the inside pages are now 7.75″x10.5″. Colorvale can say what they want, I’m pretty sure that that gold spiral binding, the black & white striped cover, and the gold corner accents were made just for me!

Colorvale never skimps on the paper quality on the inside either. Thick and luxurious, so you can’t see your pen on the other side. No wimpy pages here!

From room for you to organize your photo sessions, schedule time for editing & placing orders, to developing unstoppable marketing strategies, seamlessly managing client workflow, and surpassing revenue goals, this baby has got you got you covered.

This video shows the planner off so well!

The Details in the Photographer’s Planner that Changed the Life of my Business

My favorite pages in mine are my Social Media marketing schedule each month – so I can plan out what I post and make connecting & networking a breeze, and the Social Media Growth Tracking chart – it has been so great to look back at how all of my social media accounts have grown in the past 6 months, all thanks to having everything in one place in an organized system!

The Photographer's Planner - Social Media Tracking Review -

Nearly 300 pages to help you organize your business! All printed, prepped and ready for you to go. You don’t have to print your own planner and put it together yourself. Everything you could ever want, right at your fingertips!

I’ve used many planners over the years. I can honestly say that NO OTHER planner has changed my business in such a way like this one has. Each month I kick it off with setting goals, and throughout the month I watch to make sure I’m achieving them. By the end of the month, I have proof of my success! (Part of why I love those social media sections so much! Measurable growth!)

What is Included in the Photographer’s Planner

Photographer's Planner by Colorvale - my Review -

You can visit Photographer’s Planner site and see what all is included, but here are a few of my favorite highlights of the magic found in these pages – some of them are things I can’t wait for, because they weren’t in the Briefcase planner:

  • Year at a Glance Special Dates: Easy to use the 12 (monthly) boxes to track things of the utmost importance. Birthday, anniversaries, workshops, and anything else you can’t miss. Plenty of space to write your major goals as well.
  • 12 Month Session Rolodex:: an at-a-glance sessions list for the entire year! (This will be new for me!)
  • Personal Info Page: Track your business links, favorite sites & resources, and forums & magazines all while jotting down personal growth ideas, possible income streams, and blog post ideas–all setting you up for monumental successes.
  • Monthly Measurables Page: Because what is measured GROWS, this part is my favorite section! Measure your monthly goals & objectives. You can now track things like your number of clients (and how many of those were referrals), average session turnaround times, and increases in social media followers. Keep an eye on monthly marketing behavior, and ensure monthly office tasks (like bookkeeping, email, ordering, etc.) stay in line, and you’re set for the smoothest running business!
  • Task Organizer: This was a big life changer for me. I’ve heard all the benefits of assigning certain tasks to certain days, but until I started doing it? I had no idea how powerful it really was! You decide which days get slotted with a particular task. (Editing, family time, meal planning, all the things you have to do – and the things you WANT to do too!)
  • 12 Monthly Calendars: The 12 blank calendar months make tracking progress completely manageable.
  • Client Workflow Pages: Another one that is completely new for me! I can’t wait! I used to have a big version of this on my wall, but how lovely to have one that I can keep handy with my planner? This flexible element lets you keep track of where your clients are in the processes, from contracts and photographing to culling, editing, and order placements. (Don’t want to track photography sessions? You can also use the pages to track bill due dates or home chores.)
  • Social Media Schedule Pages: By scheduling out your posts ahead of time, you’ll be on top of your Facebook posts. (Not to mention Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.) This is the page I mentioned above that has helped my social media following – and my client list – grow so much!
  • Customized To-Do’s Page: This delivers the freedom you crave with the ability to scrawl out your own headers and decide exactly how to make the magic happen. Lists make my heart sing!
  • Weekly Planning Pages: The heart & soul of your planner: daily obligations, ideas, marketing, daily sessions, culling/editing, orders, sales… the list goes on and on… while your photography biz grows.
  • Session Income Pages: Another section that is new for me! Cash money reporting lets you track client payments, retainers, and product orders without screwing the pooch or backing up the books.
  • Blogging shouldn’t be blah. This is the perfect place for you to jot down the long list of blog post ideas that are chomping at the bit to be brought into the world, (and then make note of which ones are drafted, published, and shared).
  • Brainstorming Zone: No planner would be complete without some good ol’ brainstorming. Whatever your wild & creative heart desires, there’s a delegated place for it.

Order Your Photographer’s Planner Today!

Photographer's Planner from Colorvale - a review by Christine Tremoulet

See what I mean? If you’re a photographer? The Photographer’s Planner is THE planner made just for you! Not a photographer? That is ok! Most of the photographer specific language has been removed from the planner, so you can use it as well — or if you prefer, you can pick up The Briefcase from Paper & Prosper, designed for entrepreneurs & bloggers.

The Photographer’s Planner is in route right now to Colorvale, and the minute they arrive? They will head out to mailboxes everywhere. Make sure YOU get yours before they run out! No planner has ever changed my business like this one, and I’m confident that if you use it every month, it will change yours as well!

Please note: The links in this blog post are affiliate links; I will receive a small commission for your use of them. I was not paid for this review, I purchased all products on my own, and my testimonial is entirely my own opinion. I’m not just a fan of this planner, I’m also a client!

Black Friday Deals for Photographers & Creative Entrepreneurs – 2015

Black Friday Deals for Photographers & Creative Entrepreneurs – 2015

It is that time of year again! Black Friday – my favorite! Especially because we can shop ONLINE and avoid the crowds in the stores, all while getting great deals on things we need for our business!

How it all works: Be sure to pay attention to the dates that sales are available. I’ll be updating this post as I add more sales, and it will go on through Cyber Monday. One place. ALL THE SALES! I’ll update the time below with the latest time of the post update, so you know to look to see if anything has been added.

Updated Regularly Through Tuesday, December 1st.
Last Updated: 12:12pm CST, Monday November 30, 2015

Business Brilliantly - Black Friday Sale! Christine Tremoulet's new course to help you with Online Marketing Magic!

Deal: 50% Off
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

You have asked — and it is here! It is time to start doing Business Brilliantly – and this program will help you come up with a solid plan for your blog & social media, a clear picture of the client that you want to work with – and how to reach them – and a push to get you rolling.

No more intimidation by those blogging & social marketing tasks – you will no longer resent, avoid, or just plain not understand them when we’re done! Visit the Business Brilliantly page for all of the details!

The LawTog - Black Friday Sale THE LAWTOG
Deal: 30% Off
Code: BF30
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

Photography Contracts, Blog Contracts & More – 30% off all products! Protect your business with lawyer-drafted contracts. Broken down by type to help you find what you need easily. All can be customized to fit your brand, go into digital contract programs and be amended for your own policies (if you want!) Discount also available on other shop items! Use code: BF30.

Deal: 25% off entire order, standard shipping applies
Code: CYBER25
Saturday 12/6/15 until 11:59pm EST

25% off your entire order! Cyber Week deal, good through Saturday 12/6/15! They carry beautiful USB drives (my favorite! I’ve used them for years), along with custom boxes and containers, gift boxes, album boxes, and more! The best part? NO minimum order! To Purchase: CLICK HERE. Code: CYBER25.

Deal: 50% Off
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

You love the look of film, but the convenience of digital? Now you can pair the ahhhhhmazing Mastin Labs packs with Lightroom or ACR and have digital files that are as close as possible to the real thing. Authentic film emulations – at an incredible price. To Purchase: CLICK HERE.

Salesographer Black Friday deal - Save $100 on any membership level or payment option! Nov 27-30 only! SALESOGRAPHER
Deal: $100 Off
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

Salesographer is the definitive course on In-Person Sales for photographers, teaching you everything you need to know about pricing, presenting and selling your work, without feeling like a salesperson. Regularly $497, on sale for $397. No code needed.

Deal: 40% off WordPress themes and plugins for photographers
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

Imagely, the WordPress photography company, is offering 40% off it’s powerful NextGEN Pro WordPress gallery plugin and the epic Photocrati WordPress theme for photographers. To celebrate the upcoming launch of their turnkey WordPress websites for photographers, they’re also offering 3 months free website hosting to anyone who signs up pre-launch.

Deal: $65 off + 2 months free
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

Sticky Albums are a super cool way to help get your photographs on to your client’s phones so that they can show them off to all their friends. Who doesn’t have their phone with them all the time? Clients love them! This is their best price this year, so sign up fast! To Purchase: CLICK HERE.

Psychology for PhotographersPSYCHOLOGY FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS
Deal: $50-109 Off
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

Jenika from Psychology for Photographers is brilliant, and the wisdom that she shares in these guides is worth every penny! A rare sale! Irresistible Website: Regularly $159, sale price $109 – save $50; Irresistible Words– Regularly $249, sale price $199 – save $50; Business Library Pack (bundle): Retail for both would be $408, sale price $299 – save $109. No code needed.

Deal: $300 Off
Friday 11/27/15 – Monday 11/30/15

The fastest, easiest and most intuitive album design software available. We’ve made it easy so you can get back to the things you love. Get Smart Albums 2, the leading album design software + 1-year Cloud Proofing subscription for only $199 ($498 value). No code needed.

Stomp Software Black Friday Sale
STOMP SOFTWARE – They knew there must be a better, simpler, and more enjoyable way to prepare images for web use, design photo albums, and proof them online, but they couldn’t find anything that fit the criteria. So they created that better way. It rocks. StompSoftware’s range of apps will help you get out from behind your computer faster and enjoy the things you really want to do in life. Try them out for yourself today! 50% off on TWO or more items in their store – code: blackfriday50 -or- 30% off on any SINGLE item in their store – code: blackfriday30.

The Dynamic Range by Susan Stripling – 35% off the entire store! Susan has a number of products full of details on how she makes the magical photographs she creates. The ThinkBooks, Business & Marketing Workbook, Case Studies are not just beautiful, they are full of information as well! On sale through Tuesday, December 1st. To Purchase: CLICK HERE.

Deal: 25% off all themes
Code: FridayFlo
Friday 11/27/15 – Sunday 11/29/15

I met the team behind FloThemes years ago, and I have to say that they offer seriously gorgeous, mobile-friendly websites. Their themes are great for photographers for showing off their work, and come with amazing features, including Lightroom integration!


Earn more money and provide your clients with a way to get the products that they want! Offer unique, branded, and easy-to-use Gift Registries with Gively!

Boudie Shorts Model Call and More! Black Friday SaleBoudie Shorts Model Call – $50 Off! Normally $129, it is $79 for Black Friday until 12/3/14. No code needed. To Purchase: CLICK HERE.
Boudoir Business Camp – 40% off! Normally $498, it is $298 until 12/3/14. No code needed. To Purchase: CLICK HERE.
“Get More Photo Clients” Video Series – FREE! This is designed for all photographers, not just boudoir!
Boudoir Marketing Holiday Template – FREE! A holiday gift for you!

Photography Spark Black Friday SaleRecipes to Rank Higher – $39 (regularly $99 – SAVE $60) The Photography SEO Cookbook has over 100 pages of knowledge and advice, helping you achieve business success through search engines. Learn 31 ingredients Google considers important, 6 tools to power your optimization efforts, and 23 recipes to rank higher. To Purchase: CLICK HERE.

Business Planning Cookbook – $39 (regularly $99 – SAVE $60) The Business Planning Cookbook is a guide for envisioning and planning for a successful, sustainable photography business. With over 75 pages including 10 worksheets and samples from different photography businesses, this guide is a must-have for a photographer serious about running a successful photography business.

Simply Boudoir Templates Black Friday Sale
Simply Boudoir – 25% Off All Products! Looking for a Welcome, Prep, or Price guide to send your clients? Boudoir and Glamour PDF templates are completely customizable from the font size & color, the wording, to where images appear. Simply add your own images and edit the font (except for the guide which includes it all!) and send to your clients. Perfect to upload to or send as is via email. Editable in any program that can edit PDF’s (Photoshop, Adobe Acrobat, and more). On Sale until 11:59pm EST on December 1st. Use code “cyber25” at checkout.

Amazon Black Friday Sales

Amazon Black Friday DealsDeals on Canon, Nikon, Fuji, and Sony gear, changing daily! Be sure to also check out the Memory Cards, or maybe you’d like a Kelly Moore Bag or some Think Tank Bags & Accessories?

Transformations: 1 Year Later

Transformations: 1 Year Later

Vivid & Brave and Transformations

Tomorrow, Vivid & Brave turns 1.

Back in July of 2013, Stephanie and I traveled to  Denver, Colorado to act as mentors at a workshop there. For awhile, we’d been talking about so many things – the future, how our transition from photography to coaching would go, what the best path to take would be. And it was on that trip that the seeds for Vivid & Brave were planted. We discussed endlessly, and wrote the outline of the 12 week program in the car, Stephanie at the wheel, me writing, as we drove up to Breckenridge after the workshop for a quick moment in the mountains – for some fresh air.

When you launch a company with someone who lives almost as far away from you as someone can get without leaving the continent, this is how it looks, the story taking place on multiple pins on the map. Our program was sketched out in Colorado, and written on Stephanie’s kitchen table in Calgary a month later. We got tattoos the day after launch day, in Okotoks, a town just south of Calgary, and came together in January in Houston to create a three hour workshop. Since we launched, we’ve been together in 9 cities, two countries. We’ve had the privilege of speaking to dozens of amazing people. We’ve written workshop slides over dinner in Galveston and hung out in the ER in South Carolina. It’s been an adventure.

When we first started, we knew one thing was for sure: we wanted to work with women in transition. Women who were experiencing changes in their lives, and who were searching for who they were, what their purpose was. We ourselves were there, in post transition worlds, on journeys to becoming more fully ourselves. We knew the women we wanted to work with were just like us: creative, deeply introspective, driven, passionate. They wanted to live the life we would find ourselves living – making our dreams come true, shifting and changing to find the best fit for the lives we wanted, denting the universe.

Our first year in business has been so many things: exhilarating, frustrating, inspiring. There were days we were ready to throw in the towel, where we weren’t sure where we were going, and days we were certain we just needed to keep moving forward, keep hustling. We built a vocabulary around our community, a manifesto, we sharpened our focus. Some times we fought. More than a few times we cried. We laughed really, really hard. We logged a whole lot of miles, on the ground, and in the air. We sent more than 22,000 Facebook messages to each other.

And we’ve gotten the honor of watching our clients unfold. Step into themselves. Refind what they thought they had lost. We’ve hugged a lot of people and given out a lot of buttons. We shared as much inspiration and advice and love as we could muster. We got to be part of people’s breakdowns and breakthroughs. We’ve done a lot of happy dances for our clients, who have become our friends. We’ve written more 100 journal prompts to help others open their hearts to their own personal clarity.

I’ve been putting off sharing this blog post. Because I know how it ends. It is with both a heavy heart and an eager one that I have to tell you all what’s next for Vivid & Brave, and for Stephanie and me.

I have made the decision to pursue other projects, and so I will be moving on from Vivid & Brave. You’ll be able to find me here, at, from now on, sharing content on the business of photography, blogging, and coaching people to build awesome businesses.

Stephanie will be continuing on with Vivid & Brave, with a brand new, 8 week, one on one version of the coaching program, more half day and full day workshops, and a deeper focus on the heart work of running a creative passion business.

It’s this change that demonstrates what we’ve known about Vivid & Brave since the day we realized it was something we both needed to do, in my Mini Cooper, winding through the Rocky Mountains. That you have to bring your passion and your purpose together into your work. That the best work – the most fulfilling work – is work that fills you with joy. And that it’s okay to give yourself the grace to realize there’s a better fit out there for you. We journeyed together, and now we’re ready to part ways, though we’re guaranteed to continue to log miles, and add pins to the map. We can’t really resist a Mini Cooper road trip. I hope you’ll stick around to see where both of us end up next.

(This post originally written by Stephanie, and of course shared with permission.)

Have Your Online Galleries Been Hacked?

Have Your Online Galleries Been Hacked?

Are Your Boudoir Clients Photographs Safe and Secure Online?

Today in one of the boudoir forums that I frequent, a member posted about her discovery that there was a forum for voyeurs who were hacking their way in to boudoir galleries online. They weren’t stopping at boudoir galleries though — they were logging in to family galleries, and I’m sure other session galleries.

These people weren’t using the usual hacking methods though, at least not at first. They were actually just finding the path to the gallery and from there guessing the password.

Oh, and they started the thread in 2012. [Corrected. This post originally said November, 2013.]

It just took us until 2014 to find out about it.

More recent posts on the thread talked about using extortion to get money from the women in the galleries that they had found. Yes, threatening to post photos to Facebook unless they were paid off.

Then there were the threads about how they had figured out that they could potentially “scrape” all of the galleries from Red Cart, gaining EVERY PHOTO POSTED there. Boudoir or not. Boudoir was what they were after though.

Voyeur Forum RedCart Scraping of Boudoir Photographs

They weren’t just going after online proofing sites (SmugMug, ZenFolio, and RedCart were all mentioned in their thread), but they were also going after online album proofing sites.

Voyeur Forum Suggests Hacking Album Company Site

Voyeur Forum RedCart Scraping of Boudoir Photographs

Now you might think that your online gallery software or your album proofing company should be doing something to protect you from this hacking. The thing is, if you read their Terms of Service? Every single one of them has an “out” written in to their contract. It is your responsibility to make sure your passwords are secure. Beyond that, if someone gets in to them? Not their fault. (*I could argue that RedCart has a bigger issue on their hands if they were figuring out how to pull down every image on their site. Right now isn’t the time for arguing. Right now is the time to FIX THIS situation.*)

Here is SmugMug’s Terms of Service and here is ZenFolio’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

SmugMug's Very Standard Security Information
SmugMug’s Terms are pretty much the industry standard for ANY hosting service. Their responsibility is limited. It is your responsibility to keep your client’s photos safe.

UPDATE: If you are a Zenfolio user, a photographer started a feature suggestion that people can only guess a password 3 times before being locked out of a gallery. If any of you would vote for it, please go here.

The forum has now moved the post to their “Member’s Only” section, so we can’t see what they have added to it at this point. At the time that the post was moved, the thread was 121 pages long.

Thing is, this may be the one forum that we know about, but I promise you – it is NOT the only forum out there with information like this.

Protecting Your Clients

Ok, now that we are all sufficiently panicked about this, let’s talk about what we can DO about it.

1. Never post your client’s images online, ANYWHERE. Realistically, that is the only safe & secure method to use. I went that route a few years ago when we caught someone trying to hack (truly hack, not just guess at passwords) their way in to my online gallery software that I hosted on my own server. I don’t post my boudoir client’s images online. We meet in person to view the images. (I’ve talked before about my whole In Person Viewing process in these posts: overcoming your fear of in person sales sessions, boudoir photography workflow – preparing for in person sales and the magic of in person sales sessions.)

I do however use an online album proofing company and an online slideshow option. I am considering discontinuing both of those services after today.

But I HAVE to do Online Proofing! (Insert reason here.)

Ok, so option #1 isn’t an option for you, for whatever reason. You simply must post your photos online for them to see them.

2. Use a SECURE password. Using your client’s name? Not a secure password. Using “boudoir”? Not a secure password. Using “sexy”? Not a secure password. These and many more obviously easy to guess passwords were being passed around in this forum. An entire boudoir photographer’s gallery was linked, and every single session used the first name as the password. Yes, they worked. No, that is NOT secure. WORDS, no matter how unique they are to your client, are not secure.

(Want to learn more than you ever wanted to know about password security? Wired Magazine – Secure Passwords Keep You Safer and the scary story of how Mat Honan’s entire world was hacked, Wired Magazine – Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore.)

3. Have a clause in your contract limiting your liability if your galleries are accessed. Do you want your clients coming after you if someone got in to your galleries and took their photos and posted them all over Facebook? No? Then you need to talk with your lawyer to make sure you are protected in case this happens to you. (Yes, just like SmugMug, ZenFolio, and RedCart have in their Terms of Use.) Make sure that your clients understand that no password is EVER completely safe.

Make sure you understand that too. No password is ever completely safe. It is not a matter of if you will be hacked, it is a matter of when. You need to put photos online with that understanding.

From now on, if I ever have to put a gallery online for any reason, I will require my clients to sign a special release for the gallery going online. This is something you should consider not just for boudoir sessions, but for any client. Make sure your client is aware that the photographs could be compromised. For example, some parents do not want their children’s photos viewed by anyone.

4. Be obscure about where your galleries are located at. “One of the best security measures in the online world is “obscurity” otherwise known as “security through obscurity”.

Basically if you have online galleries that you want protected, don’t add them to your main gallery list or your site’s navigation. At Fotomerchant we call them “ghost” pages and only people you give the unique URL to will even know the page exists.

Also, make sure the pages are NOT listed in your sitmap.xml and that your robots.txt does not allow full site crawling and then Google will never know they exist either… Unless you post a link to the gallery somewhere public!

Obscurity is one of the only measures that requires human knowledge in order to crack it” — Derek Clapham, co-founder of FotoMerchant, in response to a private forum post I made about this situation this afternoon.

However, private, hidden, unsearchable galleries were on that list that we discovered. Just making it obscure wasn’t enough for them when they were determined. In some cases, “they were able to find these hidden pages due to the nature of their URL design. It was predictable and based on a number sequence”, said Derek.

5. Pull expired galleries offline. When possible, use FTP to make sure the images are completely removed. If you let the gallery expire and it is still online, the photographs are still stored on a server somewhere. Servers can be hacked, your files can be accessed. Remove them from the server completely when you are done with the gallery or album proof.

Once something goes online, it is never completely safe

Even if you do all of the things listed above, are your client’s photos still secure?


No, they are not.

Hidden, not listed, not linked, unsearchable galleries? ALL were in that post discovered today.

Once these people found the easy to target galleries, they pushed on to find the harder to discover ones. They figured out how to move up and down the gallery structure of the software. How to change the string text to get to a gallery. They kept looking. For almost two years they have been looking. Some in the thread mentioned “let me check my documents of the ones I’ve gotten in to” — so even if this thread disappears, there are others out there, and private files that people keep.

Photo Credit: ~Brenda-Starr~ via cc

On Giving Your Photography Clients Copyright

Photographers! Stop the madness!

Over and over, I see pricelists where people say that their clients get the copyright with their DVD of photographs / digital negatives / high-resolution negatives.

No, no, no, no!

You are NOT giving your clients the copyright! You are giving them a License for Personal Use! (Actually, you are selling it to them, as part of the price tag on selling your digital files.)

While this may seem like semantics, it isn’t. These are actual, LEGAL terms. They have a meaning behind them. It is pretty important. If you give your clients the Copyright on their images, it means that they have the rights to do everything with them and you have NO more rights to use them.

You can’t sell them a print. No more canvases either. You can’t make them an album from their photographs. You can’t display the work in your portfolio. Or on your blog. THEY have all the rights with the copyright. YOU have none left if you give it to them.

This has a monetary impact on you & your business!

If you include a License for Personal Use, they can use the photographs to make their own prints. YOU can still use the photographs for everything else. YOU can still make money off of your photographs by selling them other products.

They are two very different things. Educate your clients on the difference if needed (because someone has told them to ask for the copyright on the photos even though the use license is what they really need), but do NOT give away your copyright!

Think of it as a bundle of sticks – you want to keep some of them for yourself, and you want to share some of them with your clients. You do not want to give them the whole bundle! This great stick analogy is courtesy of Katie Sunstrom, who I did a presentation with on Photographers & Copyright at PhotoCamp Houston back in 2009.

If you’d like more information on copyright law, be sure to follow Plagiarism Today – Jonathan Bailey is an awesome guy and his site is full of great information.

DISCLAIMER: I am not an attorney. Please consult your attorney for legal guidance on copyright issues. Just so we’re clear.

Fast Track Group Anniversary PARTY and Fast Track Roadshow v2.0!

I had the MOST amazing year last year. Thanks to the Fast Track Photographer movement, I got to witness professional photographers coming together and being for each other time and time again. In Houston, Las Vegas, Austin, and online. I think it is so critical when you are self-employed to find like minded people who can support you and be there for you when you need it. Fast Track provided all of us with that opportunity.

Back in May 2009, I hosted the very first Fast Track Photographer Roadshow at my studio. At the end of the two days, as we were talking about commitments and things we were going to do, I said that I wanted to see a group of photographers come together once a month. A meetup where we talked about business tips and other photography related topics, new & old photographers alike. Dane asked me what that would look like. Then he asked me when I was having the first meeting, and being true to who he is he forced me to pick a date right then and there for the first one. (Really, that is how Dane rolls. I’m glad he is that way because it forces me to act.) I said that we were going to do them on the First Thursday of the month at 7pm. Every month. We met up in June, and then skipped July because of the 4th. The first BIG meetup, open to everyone, was August 2009.

Tomorrow night, we are throwing a BIG PARTY!!! 12 months later, we have met every month. People have met each other. We’ve openly shared what we know. The motto is that we are For Each Other, and the people exemplify it every month. I am SO proud of the people that have been participating over the past year, whether they came once or have been there monthly. I’ve witnessed, first hand, so many amazing things. I know that I would not be where I am without all of you.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of the photographers that have participated this past year!

If you’re a professional photographer in Houston and you want to join us, we would love to see you there! First Thursday, every month, doors open at 7pm and our presentation starts at 7:30pm. If I’m ever not there, someone else will be, so don’t worry about that. Just come out and join us! The only thing we ask is that you come prepared to be supportive of one another!

I’m also SO EXCITED to announce that Dane will be returning to Houston in March 2011 for Fast Track Roadshow 2.0. I can’t wait! The first Roadshow 2.0 just took place in Minneapolis, Minnesota a week ago, and there are several others coming up before it makes its way to Houston – so look to see if there is one near you! I could keep gushing about how awesome it is, but I’ll let you go read the site yourself.

I love this video that the Fast Track Calgary group created for the Fast Track Minneapolis workshop attendees. So very, very awesome!

Lean In from Brad Van Gyzen on Vimeo.

Not in Houston? Find your Fast Track Group here!

FastTrack Houston March 2010 Meetup and Surviving WPPI!

FastTrack Houston March 2010 Meetup and Surviving WPPI!

Are you a pro or aspiring to go pro photographer? Come on out and join us for our first Thursday of the month FastTrack Photographer & PUG meetup! You don’t have to be a member of anything – just have a willing to share attitude and be for each other! This months meeting is on Thursday night, March 4, at 1024 Studewood. Doors open at 6:45pm and the meeting will start at 7:15pm. Attorney Katherine Sunstrom will be presenting on copyright & other legal issues – it is going to be GREAT!

Saturday, I’ll be photographing Sarom & Minh’s wedding, with both a Cambodian and Chinese Ceremony! It is going to be gorgeous – I can’t wait! Here are two of my favorites from our engagement session on a very, very cold day in Hermann Park! It was about 42 degrees, but they were so willing to go for anything! More photos to come soon from the shoot!

Next week is WPPI! YAY! I look forward to going every year – it is a great chance to learn so much, see all the new products and upcoming trends in the photography industry, and more. Love it! I don’t normally like to double or triple post something, but I’ve had a lot of emails lately from friends that are going to WPPI for the first time this year — 12,000 photographers hit Vegas all at once! — and I figured if they are asking, others are wondering the same thing. Below – my tips for surviving WPPI, as originally posted this morning on PhotoLoveCat

First, repeat this to yourself over an over again: “You can not possibly do it ALL.”

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, here is the rest!

– Bring your most comfortable walking shoes. The MGM is *huge*.
– Bring another pair of shoes in case you you need to switch them up.
– You’ll be indoors most of the time, and they keep the temperature pretty even in most places, so if you’re cold natured, bring a sweater or something easy to carry around to put on when you need it.
– Bring a lot of business cards to swap with people you meet.
– Notebooks, pens, ready to take notes.
– If you can’t afford a full registration, there is a LOT to be learned on the tradeshow floor. Different booths have speakers presenting all the time.
– Go to the grocery store, or even hit up the Walgreens down the strip from the MGM, for snacks to keep in your room.
– MGM has more room specials in effect – keep an eye on Twitter for people posting room specials.
– Heavy iPhone user? Bring your charger with you during the day. Your phone won’t hold a charge long enough with you texting your friends about meeting up with them. (Mine never does, and I have all the battery saving features turned on.)
– Wondering what to wear? Dress ranges from business-like clothes to jeans to whatever. It is a conference with your peers, so wear what makes you comfortable in that situation.
– If you’re tired, go to your room and take a nap. It is ok. You’ll miss something, but you’ll be more receptive to learn more later.

Platforms / Business Institute / Plus Classes / Master Classes:
– Sometimes the descriptions are exactly what they are covering, and sometimes they aren’t as accurate. Ask other people if they have heard people speak, they might be able to give you tips on who to check out.
– If you have a hard time deciding between two panels/platforms, sit near the door and if you don’t like the one you chose, slip out and go to another one. You won’t be the only person to do it.
– My first year in business and first year at WPPI, the Business Institute was the best money I spent. I learned SO much, and met several great friends there too.
– If there is a speaker you just *have* to see, be sure to get there extra early to get a seat. Lots of platforms closed last year when the room was full.

– I always bring a tote bag to carry around the tradeshow and put all my goodies into. Some booths will also have totes to pass out in case you need another one.
– I always pick one thing I want to be intentional in researching at the tradeshow. My first year it was getting hands on albums. Last year I was on a mission to find the canvas prints I love the most. This is a great chance to see products in person without having to order samples later. I ask if I can take photos with my iPhone so I remember what I liked. (Include a company sign so you remember where to get things!)
– There will be a LOT of tradeshow specials. B&H normally has a gear sale. Album companies offer specials. There is something at almost every booth. Set a budget before you walk in and stick to it!
– I try to bring a sack lunch to the tradeshow, or snack food, so I don’t have to walk over to the food court area or stand in the long food lines (with limited options) in the convention center.

– You might want to bring a few “party” outfits if you want to dress up for the evening social events.
– There will be multiple parties every night. [b] school. Pictage. Finao. Airhorns & Lasers. David Jay. The list goes on and on. Lots more will be announced as the date gets closer.
– Meet new people. Step out of the usual.

My BIGGEST tip – again:
You can not possibly do it ALL. It is impossible. There will always be a conflict. Another speaker at the same time, another class, another dinner, another party. You just have to chose which one you want to do the most. It is ok. (This is really hard for me.)

Can’t wait to see you all in Vegas for WPPI 2010! It is going to be fabulous!

Thirst Relief Auction – Get Mentored in 2010, and Help Save Lives!

The bidding is over now — thanks to the Mentor auctions, 90 photographers + 90 winners raised $42,000 for Thirst Relief! Thank you to EVERYONE who participated! So incredible. A small drop can make a BIG wave!

Grow as a photographer while saving lives!

It was a HUGE honor to be asked to participate in the 2010 Thirst Relief Mentor Auction. Our mission is to save lives by tapping into the incredible talent and generosity of the photo industry. The auction is Tuesday, February 16, 2010 through Wednesday, February 17, 2010!

Did you know that every 15 seconds someone dies of a waterborne illness? That’s 5760 people every day! You can help. Bid on a mentoring session with your favorite photographer! (Hopefully with me! But there are a LOT of awesome people to choose from!)

*100%* of the proceeds directly benefit Thirst Relief International. Add to that the incredible wisdom and talent that is being shared in the one-on-one mentor sessions and you have better and more successful photographers! It’s truly a win win for everyone involved!

About me and my mentor auction

With a love of photography spanning over 20 years, and a booming wedding & boudoir photography business, I not only have a passion for the photography work that I do, but also a big love for all of the business side of things that go into having a successful business. From pricing to marketing and branding, I love it all! I’ve had a personal blog for almost 10 years, named WordPress back in 2004, and attribute my blog, SEO skills and social media as being a big part of what has made my business what it is today.

I am a contributing editor on and active in the Starting a Wedding Photography Business (Flickr) Group, Fast Track Photographer, and a ShootQ fanatic.

About the mentoring session: A private 90-minute session over lunch or dinner at WPPI or in Houston, or a mentoring call if you prefer. I’m an open book, and happy to answer any questions you might have about anything!

We’ll then have a follow-up call two to three weeks later, where we can discuss things further, answer any questions you might have thought of since our first session, and make sure you have everything you need! I’ll then be available throughout the remainder of 2010 whenever you need help – sometimes, we all just need someone to talk to to work through things, and I love to help where I can! I’m an open book!

UPDATE! Extra bonuses not listed on the Ebay Site! If you win the auction and you’re a ShootQ user – or plan to become one – I’ll also include a ShootQ set-up with your win! We’ll go through ShootQ and help you get it all set up so that ShootQ is working for YOU! This will be done after WPPI, so we can focus on your needs! (Valued at $599.)

AND… I’m giving away two of my favorite books! A First Edition copy of FastTrack Photographer by Dane Sanders (also a ThirstRelief Mentor!) and a copy of the just released Seth Godin book, Linchpin! Fantastic, wonderful books that will help your business go far! (Value: $70 – although the Dane Sanders book is no longer available for sale until the revised edition comes out in May!)

Additional goodies are in the works, and will be announced on the blog as soon as they are ready!

My mentor session can take place at WPPI 2010 (Las Vegas), in Houston, TX OR on the phone. To bid on my auction, visit!

You can bid on me HERE!

Justin & Mary Spread the Love to Houston!

Justin & Mary Spread the Love to Houston!

I was one of the luckiest people in America last week because I got to see Justin & Mary on their Spread the Love Tour TWICE in one week – once in Atlanta, and then I hosted them again in Houston! On top of that, I got the added bonus of spending two incredibly inspiring days at the LaCour Workshop: Branding & Marketing in between the two events! That was BEYOND awesome, and if you ever get the chance to do a LaCour Workshop, you should be all over it! They seriously know their stuff. Blown AWAY. I tell you, I was in workshop heaven!

However, knowing I would be workshops that were all about the business side of things, and not actually taking photographs, I also recognized that last week was the perfect time to send my beloved Canon 5d MarkII and my favorite 50mm f/1.4 lens, along with both off my flashes, off to the Canon Day Spa – also known as Canon Professional Services. Everything is back at home now in tip-top shape, but it meant I had no gear for taking photos at the workshop last week! Oh no! Fortunately, Justin & Mary’s assistant of awesome, Julia, took lots of great photos at the workshops, and I’m sharing them here. (Note: ALL photos here are copyright Justin & Mary Marantz and used with permission.)

Phoenix, San Diego, LA, San Francisco, Seattle, Salt Lake, Kansas City, Chicago & Maine – you’re still in luck! Spread the Love is heading your way, and you can use the code “houstonrocks” to get a ticket for $75! This workshop isn’t just for wedding photographers – no matter what you do, if you’re self-employed, just starting out or needing a kick of motivation for your career, you should attend this!

I kicked last week off at the Atlanta Wedding Loft with Justin & Mary:

Atlanta Wedding Loft

Justin & Mary Marantz in Atlanta

Writing our Goals

We were quite the emotional group in Atlanta! It was an amazing, incredible day. I’m so glad I was there and that I got to experience it with my dear, dear friend Regina Holder and the always incredible Tasra Mar.

Tuesday & Wednesday were spent getting down & dirty going over so much great information with Andrew, Rachel & Mark at the LaCour Workshop – it was just what I needed to kick off 2010! This is going to be such a huge year! I wish I had better photos then the blurry iPhone snaps I took at Zack’s OneLight Mixer the last night I was in town. I really need to get a purse-sized camera and keep it with me! I did get to watch Zack take this shot of Kevin Weinstein, so at least there is one photo of a LaCour Workshop attendee. In case you wondered, they are glass. They make the most delightful sound when they clink together. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, that is ok. Kevin will know. I think his work is fabulous and you should check it out. He inspires me!

I got to spend most of the day Thursday at the airport thinking about it all, thanks to the joys of checking bags and going through security. Oh well, I had my knitting with me, and my Kindle. It wasn’t that bad! Friday morning I zipped off to Austin to meet with Megan & Cruz for their engagement session at the Texas Capital and the UT Campus (with my 5D, which apparently has the battery life of an engagement session and not much more – time to buy new backup batteries!), and then back to Houston again to catch the rest of the Houston workshop! Huge props to Brittany for getting everything set up for me while I was on the road! (I had nightmares last week about Brittany quitting. I seriously don’t know how I survive without her!)

The Box of Magical Goodness

This box holds a lot of magic! But not everyone can have what is in the box – you have to deserve it!

Taking Notes

I had filled up over half of my Moleskin on Monday with notes – but fortunately I had left some blank pages and lines, so I was filling in things I wanted to remember!

Getting Your Finances Straight

It is really important to get your financial house in order!

Series of Sprints


On the left there is Deji, Clark, and Annarica! Bonus? Clark & Annarica brought cupcakes! Delicious, yummy cupcakes! We have the BEST people here in Houston!

Rica & Mary

Happy to Host!

I look a little rough after 5+ hours in the car, but there I am on the right with Justin & Mary! It was so great to host you guys here in Houston!

Someone commented that I was a workshop junkie, and really that isn’t the case at all – although I do love a good workshop. I’ve made it a mission of mine and of the upcoming Delight Wedding Collective to help educate wedding vendors of all types – whether photographers, planners, florists, or anything else – to be better business owners. And what better way to do that then to help bring workshops to Houston! Speaking of which, you should check out Jason Aten’s Starting Out Right Workshop, coming to Houston on February 8, 2010! I learned so much from Jason while just having lunch with him at Skip’s Summer School in Vegas last year. Sign up – and be sure to tell him I sent you!