I’m so excited to start this educational blog - something I’ve been dreaming up for a while. Now that I’ve shot my last wedding of the year (!!!), I’m so excited to focus on getting to know this community and pump out all the free education I can! Helping other creative entrepreneurs craft their dream job and build their business is something that excites me beyond words! In fact, I’m scaling back on weddings next year to focus more on education, and it feels so right.
To be honest, I kind of put off starting an educational blog because I really didn’t know where to start. And then I realized, the best place to start is by asking you guys what you want to hear! I polled instagram and compiled a list of your most asked questions. So here they are…all about taxes, posing, and editing!
Q. How do you do taxes?
Taxes used to overwhelm me like crazy! I would dread April, and didn’t know if I was doing anything correctly. I quickly learned that in order to avoid the stress come Spring, I had to set myself up properly throughout the year. Here are some steps I took to make sure I was staying organized as I went!
1. Separate your business and personal accounts
This made all my expenses so much more clear. I now have a business checking and savings, and a personal checking and savings. I have all of my business income go into my business checking account, and use a business credit card (that is then paid off with my business checking account) for any and all business related expenses.
2. Get QuickBooks!
QuickBooks Self Employed has SAVED MY LIFE. It is linked to my business accounts and I just categorize my expenses (gas, meals, subscriptions, photo equipment, etc.). It tracks everything for you so that you can just look at a report at the end of the year for a break down of everything. Click HERE for 50% off your first year! (It’s only $5/month and I would pay 10x that for all the time it saves me!)
3. Hire a CPA
My accountant basically just logs into my QuickBooks and prints reports from there. It makes it so easy that she’s even able to do all my taxes over the phone. She just asks for clarification on anything that’s unclear, and then tells me how much I owe! So easy! CPA’s are also great at finding more write offs and ways to save you money that you might never catch yourself.
4. Pay quarterly
I’ve opted to pay quarterly so I avoid a huge payment in April. My CPA calculates my projected income and prints off quarterly estimates that I just stick in an envelope with a check and send it off when QuickBooks reminds me that quarterly payments are due! (Helpful hint: write all the checks for the year upfront and put them in stamped, sealed envelopes. They sit in my drawer with their due date on the back, so when it comes time to pay, it’s as easy and running to the mailbox! ...and it makes sending the IRS tons of money less painful when you don’t have to look at the checkbook every couple months)
Q. How do you pose couples?
Practice practice practice. I can throw all the posing cues at you, and you can buy all the resources or cue cards, but nothing will help you more than just doing it over and over again. It gets more and more natural as you get more comfortable directing, which definitely takes time. And once you’re more comfortable, your couples will pick up on that and feel way more comfortable themselves. I could talk about this for hours, but to start out, here are a few tips that have helped me!
1. Ask to shoot your friends!
Getting practice directing couples is so much easier when you know them and don’t have the pressure of it being a paid gig!
2. Play music
Seriously, this has been a game changer for me! Music gets rid of any awkward silence, helps everyone loosen up, and gives your subject something to move to! Here’s the playlist I play on all my shoots!
3. Give actions instead of poses
If you’re hoping for authentic emotion and candid imagery, it’s key to give action prompts rather than static poses. I tell my couples to focus on the action and each other and not worry about looking pretty or the camera. I’m constantly telling them to do things like run towards me, drunk walk, give bouncy piggy back rides, tickle each other, etc.
4. Let them be themselves
You’re ultimately documenting THEIR story, so you want to depict them how they really are. Take a few steps back and let them just interact without micromanaging every limb and capture them how they are naturally!
There are tons of resources out there on posing. Click HERE for my friend Emily Magers’ Posing Course or click HERE to join us virtually for how we teach posing at our workshops!
Q. How did you find your editing style?
Let me start by saying it has taken me YEARS. And I feel like it is an on-going process. I started learning how to edit in my first photography class in 2008 (so I’ve been working on finding my style for a decade!). I then went on to get my degree in photography, so needless to say, I spent hours in and out of the classroom in Lightroom. Back then, there weren’t a ton of photographers selling presets, so I was forced to figure it out on my own. As much as I would have LOVED to use my favorite photographers’ presets, I think it taught me a lot to have to really learn the ins and outs of post-processing on my own. It used to look a lot like pulling up my favorite images, or photographers’ portfolio and trying to emulate certain colors in their work. I was swayed by trends and my work was constantly changing. When I feel like I finally “found my style” was when I stopped comparing and trying to match others’ work, and really honed in to create a solid base preset that I could use for every shoot. I wanted to create more consistency in my work and focus on always starting with something that was timeless, natural, and easy to tweak. The base presets I use have evolved with my brand, but I’m no longer jumping around from one look to another. I feel consistency is so key in developing a solid portfolio, establishing a brand, and gaining trust and reputability.