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welcome…

Welcome to my blog! This is the place where all my worlds collide! Here you’ll see the latest in what’s new with Kelly Moore Bag, photography tips and tutorials, and glimpses into what's happening in my personal life (hint: we are starting a farm!!) If you'd like to stay up-to-date or be in-the-know, hop on my email list by clicking the button.

Meet Shannon Sewell

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meet shannon sewell

I met Shannon years ago at a creative retreat for women photographers.  Her free-spirited vibe is awesome.  I love the way she’s followed what she really loves to do and totally made it work for her.  She stays passionate about what she does and just decided it didn’t matter what the industry was saying about how to be a photographer.  

Her story and work are inspiring!

A giveaway: A mentoring session with one of the photographers at EastCoastWestCoast workshop, a workshop Shannon is part of, AND a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice!  Just share your questions and thoughts with Shannon in the comments (she will answer the first 10 questions that are asked).

bio_shannonsewell_01how long have you been in business and how did you get your start?

I started in 2004/2005. I have the typical mom with a camera story… it all began with taking lots of pictures of my kids. I spent a ton of time styling them and trying to make them look like professional shots. I printed photos and hung them in my house. I met a mom that was a photographer through a playdate and she saw something in my work that inspired her to take me under her wing. I started by photographing friends and families kids and it just kind of took off from there!

*quick tip: if you’re just starting out, find another photographer who is in the same place you are and become friends

 

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what has inspired your style? What are three steps you suggest for other photographers to find their style?

I have always been very inspired by editorial shoots. I love the whole stylized, themed execution. When I first started my business, I didn’t really think of my hired work in that way. I shot portraits as portraits and had no influence on how the families arrived. My personal work always had that influence though and the passion behind that starting winning out when I began getting bored with treating photography only as a “job”.

I think the first step in finding my style was recognizing the difference in how I felt approaching shoots for me versus for work.

The second step was deciding that I wanted my job to encompass the shoots that I loved doing.

The third step was putting that out there as me and my brand. It’s a scary thing to go against what you see working for other people or what people are asking you to do. Having a sit down with yourself though and really figuring out what it is that ignites you is a game changer.

*quick tip: do Shannon’s three steps, get started on step one today!

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you work with several children’s look books. how did that come about?

did you start out getting those booked right out of the gate? how did you break into that industry?

It actually all came from my personal work. Since I had been shooting for myself and doing the whole editorial/styled/theme feel, I had a good portfolio of that type imagery. I also had been sharing it on my blog. A local children’s clothing line saw my work and felt it was a good fit for their company. From there I was referred to another line and another.. it was a gradual process that actually took a couple of years to fully transition from portrait to commercial work.

*quick tip: ask yourself: “what personal work would you really love to be doing?’  start on it today.

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what were you doing before you began photographing look books/magazines?

how did you realize that this was what your really wanted to be doing in photography?

I was shooting typical portraiture- families, newborns, seniors.. I even did a couple of weddings! I just didn’t wake up on shoot days with the same excitement for those shoots as I did with my other work. As my commercial work picked up, I just knew I had to let go of the other work for the most part so I could give all my attention to what I loved.

*quick tip: notice how you feel on the mornings of your paid photo shoots and your personal work, are they the same?  why or why not?

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i read that when you were first starting out, you were very unsure of your style and that you tried to do what everyone else was doing?

What did you learn from that experience? What three tips do you have for others who may be in the same boat at the moment?

I think my uncertainty came from not knowing how to make it all a profitable and good business. I saw other people being successful and I just assumed it had to be done the same way to be successful as well.

I spent most of my time in the same forums and groups and so it didn’t lend itself to seeing other avenues to create what I wanted. It really took me just getting completely frustrated and not caring as much as about the “success” and deciding I was going to focus on the fun for me to finally get it.

So, my first tip would be to find like minded mentors and peers.

My second tip would be to share what you love so that you gain a following of potential clients that fit within that.

And my final tip is hustle… it takes so much work behind the scenes to create what looks so easy online. If you find something you are passionate about, go all in.

*quick tip: decide which of these tips you need most TODAY, spend 30 minutes working on that tip

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you spent a bit of time, when breaking into the editorial kids look book and magazine industry, shooting for free. how long did that last?

how did you approach people about having them let you photograph their look books? How did that evolve into becoming a paid gig eventually?

I’ve always done personal work (aka: free work). I still do. For me, I need the outlet to create just to create and it allows me to continue to be excited about what I do. I don’t shoot look books for free.. but it is the creativity of my personal shoots that sells me to the brands that hire me to shoot their look books.

*quick tip: share your personal work online and on your blog, etc.

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when you were first starting out, did you do all of the styling and designing yourself?

Did you have all of that come out of your own pocket during that time? How did you make ends meet, financially, while you were in this stage of growth in your business?

I did! I still do quite a bit (mostly for personal work). Luckily I have had an income from photography since the very beginning. I started charging with my first portrait session so there was always “photography money” that I could use within my business. That said, most of my sessions don’t cost a ton to do. There is a lot more time investment than monetary.

*quick tip: start a small account to begin funding your personal work and set aside some time each week for it

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what did you do to build and cultivate relationships with these companies?

how did you choose who you’re going to be growing a relationship with when you’re working with a company?

I think that being genuinely excited and invested in what I do for them is a huge part of building our relationship. If I am as excited about what they are doing as they are, it makes it a really fun project to work on and lends itself to wanting future collaborations.

There is a lot of dialogue that happens before a session and it gives us a chance to know if we are on the same creative page. Being diligent on the front end makes sure that I am working with companies that I will be with for the long run.

*quick tip: identify 5 companies or people you would really love to work with because you love their product or service so much that you know it would be so fun to collaborate, start talking with at least one of them today

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you’ve said that your marketing is pretty simple,

you share on FB and Instagram and you tag all of the people involved in the creative process. What else do you do to have people feel like you are so irresistible, that they MUST work with you?

I don’t know how irresistible I am- haha :) but what I put out there is genuinely “me”. Because I allot myself so much “me” shooting time, I think it is a good depiction of what I can do creatively. When people are looking for someone on the outside to help brand their line or collaborate with to create something unique to them, I think it gives them confidence in me.

*quick tip: finish reading this article and spend 20 minutes on your personal project, make a plan and/or make a phone call to get it rolling

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do you have a portfolio that you send to potential clients? if so, how do you send it and what do you include? is it digital?

I primarily use my website (http://shannonsewell.com) and Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/shannonlsewell/). When I have an in person meeting, I do have a book that I bring that shows a variety of my commercial work. I do prefer having it hard copy… print just looks so much nicer.

*quick tip: print one book that highlights your work

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what are your three tips for working with kids?

1) expect the unexpected. I always have a plan but if things aren’t going as planned, I am quick to switch things up.

2) keep it fun. Like I said, I go into my sessions with an exact idea of what I want but if things aren’t going my way, I never show frustration or let things get tense. We take breaks, we play… we let the kids be kids.

3) keep it quick. Kids have short attention spans so expecting hours of happy compliance isn’t always realistic. I have everything prepared, I work efficiently and I make sure to keep shoots on kid friendly schedules.

*quick tip: choose one of these tips to focus on for your next photoshoot with kids, if you try to remember all of them you may remember nothing so try practicing just one of these tips at a time

shannonsewell_07how do you come up with your concepts? what is an example of the way you go through your creative process from beginning to your realized vision?

I am literally inspired by everything. I can come up with a concept because of the season, the landscape, a color, lighting in a movie, words in a song… I am a very visual person so anything that evokes emotion in me usually gives me a visual interpretation to work off of.

My process usually begins with one idea or piece then I start a storyboard- I add location, hair & mu ideas, wardrobe, colors, the feel I want…

*quick tip: look around you, where you’re at now, what inspires you the most?  is it a color?  a texture, an object?  how can that one thing become a photo shoot? begin practicing this game everywhere you go and see how your imagination expands

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your work is both on location and in a studio. do you have your own studio? is it a natural light studio, if not, what do you use?

I have a couple of studios that I rent per use. They are natural light studios as that is what I primarily shoot. I do use lighting for conceptual shoots and the lighting varies depending on the concept (ie: typical strobes with softboxes, off camera flash, ringlights, etc)

*quick tip: if you’re thinking this type of shoot sounds fun, google “rent natural light studio” and try it out!

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how do you get children to pose so naturally? what types of things do you say to them?

I usually pose them and just start talking.. ask them questions, sing a song, tell a story. It takes their attention off being “posed” and gives more natural reactions and expressions I think.

*quick tip: talk to your subjects and ask them things you really want to know, tell them silly jokes, ask them to tell a funny joke, get them doing things kids normally do, challenge them to see how high they can jump, how far they can run, etc.

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you’ve said that your muses are your children. how have you kept them interested in having you photograph them as they’ve gotten older?

Hmm.. I don’t know that I have? haha I definitely pick my times carefully… I am not always in their face or asking for photos. Trips and special times of year are the only times I ask them and I keep the shoots quick- usually no more than ten minutes or so.

*quick tip: be selective when photographing your own kids so they don’t get sick of having a camera in their face

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how do you stay inspired and keep creating so many great concepts?

I think the fact that I am very organized helps me a lot. If something inspires me, I catalog it. So, I have this huge arsenal of things that I can go to when I need inspiration or am in my creative process. I actually talk on inspiration a lot when I teach because I think it is something people struggle with putting into action. I don’t think I have more inspiration or ideas than anyone else, I just think I’ve come up with ways to self ignite and act on them continually.

*quick tip: start a catalog of inspiration on Pinterest or Evernote and store them in a way that excites you

shannonsewell_27what types of strategies or systems do you have in place to keep up with being both a mom and a business woman?

Be strict with your calendar! Seriously, that is the only thing that keeps me sane. I sit down a good month or two in advance of each month and designate certain days for certain things. I also leave a few extra days that can fit reschedules, last minute shoots and personal shoots. Don’t deviate and your life will be so much easier- I promise!

*quick tip: create a schedule today that you can live by each day, plan ahead so that you get to use your time the way you want to use it

see more of shannon here:

website:  http://shannonsewell.com

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/shannonlsewell/

facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/ShannonSewellPhotographer

workshop: http://eastcoastwestcoast.us

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what is your favorite Kelly Moore Bag and why?

I love the Mimi (see the Ruston-pictured here). I am a minimalistic traveler… I like to carry the smallest amount I can get away with and the Mimi (see the Ruston–pictured here) is perfect for that. It is a nice, compact bag that still fits A LOT. I can fit a couple of camera bodies and a couple of lenses in the main compartment and then all my shoot necessities (everything from hand warmers to sync cords to suckers) fit in the outside zipper pockets (I also love that the pockets don’t add any “bulk” to the bag). It is barely bigger than a larger handbag but it fits everything I need!

Behind the Scenes: GMM

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how gmm workshops came to be

giveaway closed—winner: commenter #27 Kiera Reese!

Brandi and I have been friends for years and years.  She’s been my best friend and, kind of unintentionally, we both realized she was good at styling.  So over the couple of years that I offered Give Me Moore workshop, we really fell into a groove that worked for both of us. She’s been amazing! I love working with her and seeing what comes out of her brain.  It’s always fantastic!

For the first time ever, Brandi and I are sharing Behind The Scenes details about our Give Me More sessions.  

Below, we each share our thoughts on how we created this awesome Give Me Moore (GMM) session that was one of our very first sessions!  

This particular GMM has been featured in multiple publications across the country and has had people swooning over it for years.  We really love that so many people fell in love with it as much as we did.

Over the next several months we are going to be sharing the behind the scenes of other GMM sessions also! So keep your eyes open for those, too.

Giveaway! Share your questions, comments, or the GMM session you’d most like to see the Behind-the-Scenes for in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice!

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how do you come up with concepts for Give Me Moore sessions?

Brandi:

From my Brain!:) Very often I will get these downloads almost like a movie reel- I see them so clearly and it’s that picture or scene that I use as my “blue print” for inspiration.

Other times it could be an article of clothing, a color, a place- I think inspiration can come from anywhere! And then sometimes I literally wake up in the middle of the night with these visions or premonitions – I know that might sound a little hokey but it’s the truth.

I just keep a running list of ideas and notes for different shoots going at all times- when I get those downloads in the middle of the night I KNOW I have to figure out a way to bring them to life & such was the case for this particular shoot.

I woke up one morning with this vision of this young woman who favored Corrine Bailey Rae in a vintage lacy dress in a Secret Garden type setting.

Kelly:
I would say more than a brainstorm, Brandi and I just use telepathy :-) I honestly can never remember sitting down and discussing these things. I usually just tell her to make it happen and give her a budget, and she just makes it happen! She will usually tell me along the way what she is thinking, but for the most part, I give her creative freedom to do what she wants.

tip for you: start noticing things that make your heart skip a beat and begin practicing letting your imagination go wild about how you could use that one thing as inspiration for a shoot

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do you create vision boards for each session and each concept?

If so, what are some tips you can give or your thought process for how you created the vision board for this shoot?

Brandi:

I actually don’t use a vision board- not sure if that’s normal or not- but for me and how I’m wired it works. You have to remember all of the GMM’s were pre Pinterest and Instagram- we were kinda before our time I think-

I did everything just out of my brain and made it happen. I think for me, having complete freedom to do whatever, creatively, is the game changer – I feel very stifled if you come at me with a bunch of rules and guidelines. So for me I just trust my creative instincts & it helps tremendously if I’m working with someone who gets that and just lets me do my thing.

I think part of the reason the GMM’s were so successful and some of my proudest work is because of the creative chemistry Kelly and I share. We both know each other’s lane and we trust each other implicitly- I mean it definitely helps that we have been best friends for so long-I know what she’s thinking at all times and vice versa- we literally finish each other’s sentences- it’s like some kind of Jedi super power-ha!

There’s no one I’d rather work with because it doesn’t feel like work- and I think that’s a really rare & beautiful thing- a very special gift- one I don’t take for granted!

tip for you: pay attention to the talents and strengths of people in your life, see if you may notice someone that you could create something amazing with

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how did you find the models and great clothes for this session?

Brandi:

I’m a STALKER!! Lol:) Raise your hand if I’ve stalked you??! This is how we have found our best models! At the Mall, walking down the street, parties, etc I’ve actually pondered opening a model agency because I LOVE scouting so much! For this one, I went straight to good ole Facebook;)

I also network like crazy- I tell people who and what I’m looking for- & I just go on a hunt until I find it! But Blythe came from a Facebook search and Eric I knew through mutual friends. The dress I ordered online & it didn’t come in until the day of the shoot! Talk about nerve racking!! I just prayed it would fit her and it did-like a glove! Thank you Jesus! Whew!

tip for you: give your business card to several people this week that you would like to photograph, share why you think they would be perfect, your vision for a session with them, and ask them to call you

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what things didn’t go as planned for this session? how did you handle them?

Brandi:

You know- this may sound cheesy but I pray for and before every shoot. I pray that the elements that I have in my head come to fruition and that the details would be handled and after that I trust the creative process & this particular shoot I remember being such a special day-it just felt right -I call it “my zone” :) I remember there being a high percentage of rain but I prayed against it and the Lord was sweet to honor that request:) the day honestly could not have been more perfect!

Well I’m also a big believer in rolling with the punches and creative problem solving:) the imperfection is the perfection. And at the end of the day “you do what you can do & that’s all you can do” so I try not to freak out if things don’t go as I planned them -I just adjust and go with it & it usually turns out better than I could have envisioned!

tip for you: if you’re someone who frets and worries over a shoot, remind yourself to do what you can and then trust that everything else will work out

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As for scheduling and details etc- after I find my model- I usually tell them a little bit about what I want to do -tell them who I am and who I work with and give them my number -so they don’t feel too weirded out-ha! That way the ball is in their court and every single time they call me! I’ve never had anyone not call me -I’m not sure I could handle that kind of rejection-dating is hard enough:) but I totally get why they would not -it’s a weird and crazy world out there, but always feel so relieved when they do call back!

After they call me I then ask them their sizes, height, questions about skin & hair- make sure they are not going to do anything different or alter their appearance in the near future- whew learned that lesson the hard way!:) back in these days I had a very tight budget like between a 100-150$ for each shoot- so I had to get creative:)

Back then I WAS the hair and makeup, stylist, creative director -all of it! Looking back I’m grateful for these experiences because it challenged me to be more creative and to use and work with what i already had-this is where I really earned my stylist stripes! I truly believe that a lot of Creativity is birthed out of poverty!

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how do you decide on/find your locations?

Brandi:

Well a lot of times I might go scout a few places beforehand but back in the GMM days we would just all load up in Kelly’s car, me, model, GMM student, equipment, props and drive around until we found a cool or interesting place! I mean thinking back on it I’m sure we looked like the Beverly Hillbillies-but those were some of the best times and we found some killer locations! I mean for goodness sake this ain’t NYC, this is North Louisiana-you gotta get creative! I mean could you really imagine Annie Leibovitz & Grace Coddington doing this?! 😂 I get tickled thinking about it!

Yeah we’re kinda the ghetto/southern version of them;) it’s all smoke and mirrors baby! BUT with this particular location we have known it for years!

In fact, it’s probably one of my favorite places on Earth! It’s our dear sweet friend Mrs Carolyn’s house. It’s seriously the Secret Garden house- it’s completely and utterly magical-other worldly! It’s a tiny little 2 bedroom cottage that is nestled in this enchanted Garden- as soon as you step foot on her property you feel like you have stepped back in time-actually I think time stands still there! It’s such a peaceful, happy place- ahhh I get the feels just talking about it!!

And listen it’s nothing fancy but it perfect in every way- and we both (Kelly & I) had been itching to shoot there for a very long time- so when I shared my idea with Kel -we both agreed that the timing was right for this shoot!

tip for you: don’t take yourself too seriously, laugh, see what’s awesome about the way you do your creativity, work, etc.

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what three tips do you have for people who are trying to create a styled session like this one?

Brandi:

three tips? Just three?? Hmmmm so much I could say… Let’s see….

  1. I would say trust your creative gut or voice…and fight for it (in a tactful way of course) recently I was on a shoot and I really felt the model’s hair should have been fixed differently -to go with the outfit and vibe of the locale & there was this little voice that kept saying “say something” & I spoke up & the hairstylist re did it and it totally made the image! So trust your instincts!
  2. Anticipate Anticipate Anticpate!!  You have to be 3 steps ahead of the game at all times- you need to come prepared! I had my GMM bag that I playfully referred to as my “bag of tricks” because in that bag I had things like a hammer, nails, confetti, rope, pliers, hairspray, safety pins etc- you get the idea! Anything I may need day of-was in my “bag of tricks
  3. Lastly, STOP comparing & competing! Nothing kills creativity like comparing yourself & your work! It’s debilitating & sucks the life and drive out of you! You just be you and do you! And the rest will come! Celebrate others’ work instead of feeling threatened. Think of ways you could learn from them! God only made one YOU so be YOU & not a poor plagiarized version of someone else!

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what gear did you bring on this shoot?

Kelly:

See this post for the gear I brought on this shoot.

I was also using a handheld constant light (video light–you can get it here) for some of the interior shots. I usually keep one of these in my bag with the rest of my gear.

In the images in the bedroom and bathroom (except for the one of Eric alone by the window–obviously lit by the window light) they are all lit by my video light.  

Notice that the light in these images is localized.  The light doesn’t light up the whole room, you can see the light start to fall off and get darker a few feet from the subject.  The light is also much warmer.  (Quick tips for spotting a video light in an image).

tip for you: rent a video light and experiment

What lighting set up did you use for the different images?

Kelly:

During this session, I tried to give a wide variety of lighting and mood.

First and foremost, I’m always going to try to find a great ambient light to use. When we were inside the house, it was very dim, so I just used available window light to light the subjects. I may pull out my flashes, as well, inside to do a little experimenting.

Once I move outside I have a mental checklist that I like to go through so that I have a variety of lighting techniques. Full sun, backlit with the sun, outside using off-camera flash, outside in soft non-direct light.

tip for you: when you’re on a shoot, push yourself to photograph in a variety of light, use off camera flash to the side, back light, open light, full sun, etc. and remind yourself to go down the checklist in your mind when you feel stuck.

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did you have all of these shots planned out in your head before you got to the shoot?

Kelly:

I may have a vision for one or two shots, but for the most part, my shoots are spontaneous.

The great part about having Brandi style and plan shoots, is she always has ideas as well, we like to bounce ideas off of each other as we go to make the most of what we have.

When you go into a shoot already having a great location planned as well as a few props & outfits that you know are going to look great, that is half the battle! The easy part for me, is posing and working with the subject.

tip for you: if you have a photo assistant or stylist use them as a resource for shoot ideas

what kinds of things do you say to yourself to make sure you’re getting a great variety of images so that they don’t all look the same?

Or don’t end up shooting the same poses just with different backgrounds?

Kelly:

In the same way that I have a mental checklist for lighting, I also have a mental check list for shooting.

I know I have three or four lenses that I want to utilize, because they all give a different perspective. And within those lenses, I am going to make sure to get up close and intimate, up close and wide, low and wide, low and far away to get a landscape… I could go on forever.

But knowing that I tried to switch things up and get different perspectives, I think this helps my shoots to have variety.

tip for you: pay attention to using more than one lens during a shoot and using your feet to get closer or farther away…practice by shooting one scene with four different lenses and pushing your lenses to do things you don’t normally have them do.

how do you come up with so many different poses?

Kelly:

Maybe this is just how my brain works? I work in shapes, so when I’m working with a person, I see a combination of shapes coming together to create a flattering image.

It gets a little more difficult when you combine two people because it’s just a lot more shapes to have to work together in your mind :-) but with the poses, in the same way I have mental checklist for lighting and perspective, I know I have a list of poses that I will at least try… Even if they are all successful.

tip for you: practice seeing the shapes of people/what you’re shooting, see if it inspires you.

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what was your favorite part about creating this session?

Brandi:

I think my favorite part was the entire day and experience! From the models, to the location & natural aesthetic-it was just perfection! It’s so creatively gratifying to see your abstract ideas & concepts come to life! That for me is the BEST part; also the most fun!

Kelly:

This was one of our very first shoots where Brandi planned out the whole thing before hand. I think the realization that we could replicate this and see the same success in the future was very exciting. Plus, for me having worked with paid clients that I had no say so in the matter of what they were wearing, or how their hair looks, this was very liberating to be able to have the freedom to just experiment!

giveaway!

Share your questions, comments, or the GMM session you’d most like to see the behind the scenes for in the comments and you’ll be automatically entered to win a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice!

brownlee-bw-front_grandewhat is your favorite Kelly Moore Bag?

Brandi:

My favorite KM Bag?? Hmmm… That’s like asking me to choose a favorite child….

Let’s see unofficially, if I’m honest my favorite bag is a bag I’ve been carrying for years- it was a prototype that was a mistake (remember I said I love the imperfect:) the factory made it with the “wrong” material- but I was over at Kelly’s house one day and I was needing something a little smaller so I just went into her prototype closet (yes that’s a thing!) and grabbed it up-changed out the strap and have been carrying it for 3 years now-

Kelly gets kinda of annoyed about it but I LOVE it! It’s a one of a kind -kinda looks me me;) so I’m gonna name it the BB-ha!

BUT I think I’m supposed to officially say the bags that are named after me;)) the B-Hobo & Brownlee bags;) yes that’s my final answer!

 

brandi_01brandi: 

Globe trotting.  Creative type.  Bon Vivant.  Design Enthusiast. Salsa Fanatic. Unicorn Chaser. Somewhere Between Beyoncé & Dolly Parton. Glitter is my favorite color.

hiiiiiiii!!! I’m Brandi, some folks call me B or Gypsy Rose…. I hail from “magic town” ( Ruston, LA) but currently reside in West Monroe, LA- where I have dreams of owning a Tiny House Farmhouse Treehouse:) you can usually find me frequenting one of the area’s many junk stores/thrift stores. In my everyday life I’m a creative director/stylist & Director of Operations at Laminin Jewelry by Missy Robertson. I love to work hard and play harder:) please make a point to stop by so I can hug your (virtual) neck and hear all about your mama and ’em:)

 

 

IG: @brandibrownlee
Facebook: Brandi Brownlee Howard
Email: [email protected]

Meet Katelyn James

Bio Katelyn James-4777

katelyn james

Giveaway closed:  The winner is commenter #140-Jillian (we will be in touch with you)

Meet Katelyn!  She is super gracious and kind hearted!  Her images and business reputation are impeccable from her new website to each of her joyful images.  She has created her business with a lightness that makes people feel comfortable and relaxed with her.  Every client becomes a dear friend to her and her business partner and husband, Michael.  

Don’t let the light feel of her work and approach trick you into thinking that everything has been easy for Katelyn, though.  She’s worked hard, consistently, to build her business and attract her favorite kinds of clients.  Today, she’s sharing how she got started, as well as little tips she’s learned along the way.  

GIVEAWAY: Katelyn is giving away her super popular Mini Guide Bundle (usually $99) and we are giving away a Kelly Moore Bag.  To enter the giveaway, just ask Katelyn a question or tell her what inspired you about her work and/or business in the comments. She will be answering your questions, chosen at random in the comments, through out the next couple of days. 

Rebrand Headshots 2015-9422how long have you been in business and how did you get your start?

I’ve been in business almost 8 years! I started my business in college after being asked to photograph a family friend’s wedding, with absolutely no experience! I ended up falling in love with it and decided to start my own business from that while I still had a few years of college left!

 

To see more, visit www.HerrintonWeddings.com

you seem to have risen to popularity super easily and quickly. We all know, that is never really true.

What has your journey been like? What is your motto or words you live by?

I’m very thankful for the success I have experienced in my business but it hasn’t always been an easy journey! There were countless 80+ hour work weeks, nights being stuck behind my computer instead of spending time with my husband, Michael, and honestly, figuring out a healthy life/work balance is still something I’m working on but we’re getting so much better at it! The hustle was intense my first few years and while it was worth it, I do regret missing out on some of LIFE just to grow my business FAST. My business could have still reached this point even if I had slowed down some!

I don’t really have a motto or specific words I live by… but a good friend of mine, Emily Ley came up with “Grace not Perfection” and that’s been a phrase I’ve been using a lot lately with myself, Michael and our business!

What three things have you had to overcome to push through to get to the point you’re at?

tip for you: if you’re feeling a lot of pressure to grow your business quickly, ask yourself, “Why?” See if you can grant yourself a little more grace as you grow

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what three things have you had to overcome to push through to get to the point you’re at?

three things I’ve had to overcome or push through over the years would be…

  1. The fear of being too young to have my own business and actually be successful in it! I’ve worked hard to fight this fear by striving to be professional from the very beginning, when I first started my business.
  2. Another area I’ve had to push through and grow in was in my lack of experience with advertising. When I first started my business I had no idea how to advertise and market well, but I’ve been diligent about learning how to market myself and my business PERSONALLY and that’s primarily through my blog!
  3. A third area would be the struggle of comparison to others in the industry. To overcome this I’ve had to make the choice to not check my facebook news feed or other blogs very frequently. I used to check them multiple times a day and honestly that just wasn’t healthy. 

tip for you: write down three of your own fears, identify ways you could push through those fears to get to the other side of them

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you have forged some genuinely wonderful relationships and friendships in the photography industry.

How did you do that?

I’ve been very blessed by those friendships! I think a transformation started to take place in the photography industry and creative industry when we began establishing a community. A popular phrase in the industry that Michael and I are so passionate about is “Community Over Competition!” Michael and I enjoy building relationships and investing in the lives of other photographers in our industry just as much as we enjoy building relationships with our couples! We have done this by serving others and not just being all about ourselves!

I think some of the things that have helped me to form deep industry friendships are:

  1. Not always just thinking of myself but caring for others
  2. Cheering others on even when they are pursuing something I wish I could in my business
  3. Being intentional with others when we’re together

tip for you: reach out to someone you’d really like to get to know, without asking to pick their brain, cheer on their success and become genuine supportive friends

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you’ve just recently launched a fantastic editing course.

What are the three biggest mistakes you see people making in their post processing work? What three fixes do you suggest?

Yes, we launched the KJ Consistency Course for the first time in November and then again in March! We have been blown away by the response we’ve received from our students. We polled photographers as we were creating the course to find out what areas they were really struggling with and then we built the course customized off of the responses we received. I think editing consistently, no matter the lighting, location, weather etc. and having images that match your defined style is a BIG struggle for a lot of photographers. So the purpose of this course is to equip photographers to create consistency in their editing and to educate them on how to curate their images in a way that creates a defined style that will attract their ideal clients.

tip for you: if you’re struggling with editing, go grab Katelyn’s new course

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you seem very organized and like you’ve worked a very specific plan to get where you’re now. Is that how it’s worked out for you?

Did you know what you wanted, made a plan, and made it happen or was it more of a guessing games along the way, wondering if you were doing the right thing the whole time?

There have definitely been seasons of my business where I’ve questioned just about everything! But then there are seasons of confidence and really feeling that Michael and I are right where we are supposed to be. :) It’s taken nearly 8 years of business, lots of trial and error, and seeking advice from mentors to really establish a workflow and systems that really work well for our business! And our systems aren’t perfect, there are always areas to continue growing in. When a business owner stops thinking through ways to grow and improve… their business will begin to crumble. I’m definitely still learning as I go!

tip for you: identify one area in your business, that you do more than once, that you could create a system for

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how do you turn around a day that feels like you’re not making progress or that feels like you need to just go back to bed and start over?

Michael and I have “Stay at Home Days”, these are days for us to accomplish tasks that get pushed to the back burner while we are travelings, shooting weddings, etc. and often times they aren’t fun tasks. These days can sometimes be overwhelming and ultimately unproductive. I’ve recently discovered that I’m most productive on days like these when I categorize my tasks as “Maintaining Tasks” (these often slow me down, they are tasks that can be very time consuming, monotonous and not life-giving) and “Growing Tasks” (Tasks that I’m excited about because they are fun, dream projects or things that automatically show me how they’re impacting my business in an awesome way!). Once I figure out what type of tasks I have to accomplish, I’m more productive at actually getting them done instead of being overwhelmed by them.

tip of you: plan out your days, with specific tasks, so that you know what you’re doing each day and not getting overwhelmed

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you’ve created an amazingly successful business and a pricing guide.

What tips do you have for photographers who struggling to make their business profitable?

Well that’s a hard and very big question because there could be lots of reasons why their business isn’t profitable. This is a question I often spend a lot of time working through in Coaching Sessions with other photographers! Some basic things I’d encourage them to think about… Are you really charging what you’re worth? Are you attracting your ideal clients? If not, why not? Are there micro changes to areas of your business you could make that would have a macro impact on your business?

tip for you: ask yourself the questions that Katelyn asks her coaching clients; what big and little changes could you start implementing to have a big impact?

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you seem incredibly busy with business and traveling but also make time for your husband and family. How do you do that?

Balancing running a business and family life is such a struggle some times! I by no means am an expert in this area but I have found over the years that I really have to check my priorities and remind myself that my family is more important than my business or my success. I also am SO thankful that Michael and I are in this business together, that’s been a huge blessing for us! Because he’s joined me full-time in running this business, we get to travel together, work alongside each other shooting weddings and have our “stay at home days” together! I honestly could not run this business without him!

tip for you: create a little note next to your computer that reminds you of what’s most important to you and plan your days off for resting and playing

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find katelyn james

See Katelyn online in these locations:

www.katelynjamesblog.com
https://www.facebook.com/katelynjamesphotography/
https://www.instagram.com/katelynjames/
https://twitter.com/katelynjames

 

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Giveaway!

Katelyn is giving away her very popular Mini-Guide Bundle! It’s a bundle of 12 mini-guides, each 5-10 pages of content covering posing, portraits, shooting details, and so much more!  You’ll definitely want to check these out if you’re  wedding photographer!

When you win the giveaway, you’ll also receive a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice! 

 

 

 

 

Kelly-Boy---Black---Front_grandeyou shoot a lot along with traveling a lot.

What’s your favorite Kelly Moore Bag to use on a wedding day? 

I LOVE using the Kelly “Boy” Bag, which I know is meant for men but it’s my favorite! I love that it has two strap options, a sleeve that unzips to slide on a roller carry on handle, the material is incredible durable, it’s classy, stands up on its own, easy to access my lenses, and has plenty of space for all of my gear and personal items! I highly recommend it!! :)

Three tips for full sun photos

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for years, I ran from the direct sun!

giveaway closed: share your thoughts/ask questions about shooting in full sun or experiment with shooting in full sun, post your photos to your fb page or blog and put your link in the comments to be entered to win a $50 LensProToGo gift card AND a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice! We will announce the winner here on the blog on Wednesday, April 13th.

winner: Heidi Seedorf, commenter #69!

I was always running to open shade, and praying for overcast days. I thought the only way to have a great shoot was to schedule sessions in the morning and during ‘the golden hour,’ those couple of hours just before the sun sets.

I got sick of having such a limited schedule for booking and I wanted to push myself to use the light that’s available all day long…the sun, in all of it’s different locations in the sky.  I have learned to embrace the sunshine. In fact, I’m sad when I have a shoot and the sun doesn’t come out to play.

I think the trick is not thinking of it as sunlight, but as another light that I have in my bag of tricks.

I use the sun just as if I were using a strobe.

I love it when it’s really harsh at about 3:00 in the afternoon, but I also like the sun right before sunset, as it’s just on the horizon.

It’s important to me to try not to get harsh raccoon eyes (where the eye sockets mostly look like they are in shadows) that sometimes happen when you are in the direct sun. The way to avoid these is to have your subject “bask”…you know….face to the sky…..oh, what a glorious day:)

It’s also fun to see what magic happens when the sun is setting. Don’t forget to look for neat shadows that happen as the sun shines through random objects throughout the day.

here are a few images when I was using the sun as my light source:

 

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three tips for using midday sun:

*have your subject put their face toward the sun as though they are trying to get a great tan

*look for shadows and place your subject inbetween the shadows so that the light is only falling on your subject

*ask your subject to do dramatic things or find dramatic locations to complement or juxtapose well with the drama of the sun’s light

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to do today:

*grab your camera and a friend and go out and shoot between noon-3pm

*push yourself to see the sun as a dramatic light source and shoot with it in ways that are not your usual way to shoot (don’t try to find open shade)

now you try!

Two ways to enter the giveaway for a $50 LensProToGo gift card (so you can have fun experimenting) and a Kelly Moore Bag of your choice:

  1. Go shoot using the midday sun. Post your photo on your blog or Facebook page, and leave the link to your post in the comments area below so we can see what you’ve done
  2. Share your thoughts or questions below about shooting in full sun and Kelly will answer your questions

 

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best kelly moore bag for your day in the sun?

The Luna takes messenger bags to new heights. This versatile cross body bag with multiple pockets keeps you organized and makes it so you can walk from one sunny location to the next without wondering where you left your bag.