Blog : Inspiration

Knowing When to Plan… and When to Break All the Rules

Knowing When to Plan… and When to Break All the Rules

Knowing when to plan, and when to break all the rules. It is actually a choice YOU get to make for yourself and your blog!

I always thought I was not a planner.

Wait. That isn’t true. Back when I was a teenager, I was a planner. I would plan things to do with my friends, what we would do over the summer, that sort of thing.

I learned quickly that if I let myself plan, I would overplan. I am rather creative, so I would build up entire scenarios of how things would work out. Then I would be absolutely miserable when my plans did not work out the way I expected.

In my 20s, that trend of misery continued, but with greater frequency. It felt like any plans I made just fell apart. So instead of fighting it, I became someone who is not a planner.

For the past 15 years or so, I’ve absolutely refused to plan.

My road trips? I generally know when I need to be at my destination; everything about going from point A to point B is left up to whatever my mood is that day. “How can you drive across the country without a plan?” Easy. Give yourself a bit of a buffer so you can stop for longer stays when you fall in love with the charm of a place. Beyond that? Just go.

Life will all sort itself out.

The past two months have taught me that I am a planner after all. It is a reality that has hit me square in the chest and forced me to face it, as much as I hate to make plans.

I retired as a pro photographer, which was the equivalent it turns out as untying the anchor I had been tethered to for 8 years. A week or two before the Dad 2.0 Summit, I found myself in a state of panic. When Mike asked me what we wrong, I couldn’t verbalize it at first. Finally I asked him, “What am I?”

He looked confused. “You’re a writer. A coach. The Avenger of Sexiness.” To him, it was obvious.

My profound response? “Oh, good. Ok.”

It was at that moment I realized I need a plan. More than I ever wanted to admit. If someone asked me what I did, I needed an answer to give them. If someone asked me how I did it, I needed something to point them to. I needed a plan. I needed answers.

Because when I really look at what the issue is here? It is that I don’t like to feel like I’m not prepared. Which was exactly how I was feeling. Even though all of this is actually a natural progression of the work I’ve been doing for several years now, it all feels completely new at times, and I find myself feeling very lost.

So I’ve been making plan after plan. Finding my answers.

Every time I think, “Ok, I have a plan now, I’m all set!” I find something else comes up.

Yesterday it was the issue of using images with my blog posts. I honestly have no idea how many photographs I have from the past two years of road trips, but it could be 50,000 images. Lakes, mountains, forests, fields, oceans, deserts, beaches – I have photographs of them all. Beautiful, amazing photographs.

They might not literally fit what I’m talking about in my blog post, but they are incredible, and I want to share them. So I will. After hours of debate, I decided I simply must use them as the graphics for my blog posts here. My posts that I am planning to write (oh goodness, there is that planning thing again!) might all be about body image, self-confidence and taking care of yourself, but they are also about me and my story. My message. Travel? It is part of my story too.

Now that I’m planning things out, I realized I needed to reframe how I think about my blog post content too. Social Media and SEO have killed my blog. I spend a lot of time worrying about what I could write that would be interesting to my readers. That would come up high in the search engines. That would have all the right keywords, be optimized for social media, all those things that are so important.

Or maybe they are not that important at all? Maybe the really important thing is to actually just write?

It was then that I realized that I also need to break some rules. Rules that are arbitrary and that I had set up for myself. No one else was holding me to them.

So that is where we are at. I have a plan. A plan for what I want to share here over the months ahead, and a plan for letting go of the rules holding me down – the need to have exactly the perfect image for a post, and just the right keywords, and everything just so.

You have to choose what is important for you. For me, right now? It is the writing. I can worry about all those other technical things later if they end up really mattering to me. It is time to tear down the barriers of rules I had been setting up for myself about how things had to be done because “they” said it is the right way to do it. No. Not in this case.

None of it matters if I’m not writing. I believe in what I plan to share so much, I can’t let anything stop me.

Turns out I’m not just a planner, but a rule-breaker as well. When it comes to life? It will all work out. It always does. Now I just need to pay attention to what other arbitrary rules I’ve put in place that really, in the end, don’t matter if they are stopping me from doing what I’m passionate about!

Using Custom Products & Packaging to WOW Your Clients!

Using Custom Products & Packaging to WOW Your Clients!

Custom Gift Box and USB drive for photographer's giftsWant to go a step above & beyond for your clients? Consider creating personalized custom products just for them!

My friend and Atlanta wedding photographer Julie Anne shared these photos today on Facebook of this keepsake photobox full of beautiful prints & a custom USB, and after I finished swooning over them I asked her if she would let me share them with all of you, and she graciously said yes!

As a true Southern girl at heart, Julie Anne is all about going above and beyond for everyone, as I got to experience first-hand when I visited her in Atlanta earlier this year. She is the master at finding the perfect gifts for people, so it is no surprise at all to me that she created such a perfect gift for her clients, Veronica & Joe.

Olde Pink House Wedding Photography by Julie Anne Photographer

Julie Anne started with this photograph that she captured from their wedding day, and overlaid the photograph with the design of their wedding invitation in Photoshop. She printed this on a custom Wood Box from WHCC. Next, she created a custom-designed Wooden USB Drive also from WHCC with the monogram that the couple used on a number of their other wedding day decor items. She then filled the box with prints from the wedding day to present to her clients.

Savannah Wedding Photography by Julie Anne Custom USB drive by Julie Anne Photographer in Atlanta, Georgia

Such a gorgeous way to incorporate design elements from your client’s special day in to a presentation that is truly breathtaking! Thank you again Julie Anne for allowing me to share!

You Need to Run Away from Your Business

You Need to Run Away from Your Business

You need to run away from your business

Did you realize you need to run away from your business? That it could be one of the best things you ever did for it?

My blog post today for Inspire Photo Retreats is all about the things I learned when I did this myself last year.

Last year, I left home for what ended up being a 4 month, 19,000+ mile road trip. It wasn’t planned to be that long when I left, but as work found me along the way, I kept going. We left home originally so I could attend the World Domination Summit in Portland, visit family there, and then head to Seattle to see Mike’s brother and his family. After that, Mike was going to fly home, I’d drive back to Denver, park my car to fly to speak at BlogHer in Chicago, fly back to Denver to coach at the Team-X Fight Club, and then drive home.

When Fight Club ended was when it all began. I needed … something. I needed to get away. To unplug. To quiet the noise.

It is incredibly hard to admit that I completely neglected my business for those two weeks. As I reflect back on it, I realize it was one of the smartest moves I’ve made recently.

Go read the post there to learn more about the lessons I learned.

The biggest thing that came out of getting back to work? I went on to Calgary and met up with Stephanie and we created our Life + Business Coaching Program, Vivid & Brave.

It may be hard to admit, but I have no regrets.

When was the last time you took a vacation from your business? Have you ever completely cut yourself off and allowed yourself to recharge?

Boudoir Posing Guides by Honeybourne Intimates

Boudoir Posing Guides by Honeybourne Intimates

Boudoir Posing GuidesI just discovered the best boudoir posing guide I’ve EVER seen. I’m visiting a photographer friend of mine, Tracy Somerville, while in Canada on my Avenger of Sexiness World Tour. As we were setting up my guest bed spot in the basement of her house, I looked over and saw on a chair the Boudoir Posing Guide by Honeybourne Intimates that Tracy had printed out.

Delivered as a digital download, which is perfect for loading up on an iPad, this thing is beautiful! I was mesmerized as I was looking through it. Not just photos of poses, but tips for positioning and making the shot work as well. Easy to follow instructions, there were a few poses in there that I’ve tried to do a few times and never quite got the shot I wanted; as I read the tips on the page, I knew exactly how to do it next time!

I’ve seen a lot of posing guides for boudoir photographers over the years. I’m so surprised that I’ve never heard of it before. It would be great for those moments when you’re stuck thinking of a pose to try, feeling like you’re out of ideas. Or when you just need a photo to show a client so that they understand what you want them to do, which I’ve found really helpful at times to get the right position for the photograph.

Can you tell I’m just a little bit excited?!? Matter of fact, I stopped flipping through it long enough to write this blog post. I am definitely ordering a copy of Volume I and Volume II for myself!

Have you tried these posing guides? Or is there another posing guide out there that you LOVE that you think everyone should know about? Share your feedback in the comments – I would love to hear about them!

Disclaimer: The links above are affiliate links. If you buy a copy, I’ll add to my fund to keep the Avenger of Sexiness Tour on the road longer. Yay!

Preveal Sale & Giveaway!

Preveal App for Photographers

Now that we have talked about how I handle In-Person Sales Sessions, the timing could not be better to share with you that the Preveal app is on sale! Purchase it between now & May 24, 2013 and receive $25 off of the normal price.

Preveal brings the power of showing your clients their images on their walls to your iPad. With easy step-by-step instructions, your clients gather photographs of the places in their home that they would like wall art (or you go to their home and take the photos for them), and you can then show your clients exactly how the photographs will look in their home. You can show them a variety of wall gallery collections as well as showing them how single large outwork pieces will look. Ever had that client that wondered if an 8×10 print would look great over their fireplace? Now you can show them that it is too small, and what size will be more appropriate.

To go along with Preveal, make sure you get a copy of DesignAglow’s free guide for clients to photograph their home for the wall displays. The educational guide “teaches your clients how to take a well composed, properly scaled image of their home’s future wall gallery location.”

Not only is the app on sale, but Preveal is hosting a giveaway as well! You can enter to win a chance at over $1000 in prizes, including a chance to win a mentoring session with me! To enter, visit the Preveal blog and follow the instructions for the contest.

The goodies that are up in the contest that you could win?

Visit the Preveal blog to enter and win! But hurry, before the contest ends on May 24th! And don’t forget to pick up your copy of the Preveal App while it is on sale!

To Do Great Work

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t Settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

Do you love what you do? What could you be doing to love your work more? What is missing? Not just from your work, but from your life? Are you still looking? Does the looking ever stop?

Own Your Awesome!

Hey there – you! Yes, you.

You are awesome.

Today. Right now. Just like you are. Awesome, embodied within you.

I know you don’t always feel it, and I know that some days are a struggle. But right now, you’re still awesome.

Question is, are you aware of it? Do you know what is that makes you awesome? How do you incorporate it into your life, the everyday moments?

Are you spending a lot of time trying to stuff it in a box? Or do embrace it?

Is it a part of your everyday life?

Is today the day to start embracing what makes you awesome and celebrating you? I’m cheering you on!