Wildflower Photography | Jessica Brees Featured Photographer

“It’s so easy to get caught up in what you see online, but steer clear and stick to what you love! Your ideal client is most likely very similar to you, so choose things you would love receiving and they will love it too!”

Wildflower Photography
Jessica Brees Featured Photographer

Aurora, Colorado

What type of photography do you shoot? How long have you been in business?: Lifestyle Photography for Weddings, Families, & Children. Slowly growing since 2010. Continue reading “Wildflower Photography | Jessica Brees Featured Photographer”


You Learn From Everywhere

I know what my answer would of been years ago in my late teens…yeah right! If it wasn’t something that appeared to be directly related to what it was I was involved in at that exact moment, then it was a waste of time.

Fast forward a few years (not going to tell you how many, but enough!) and WHAM-O! I learn from all over the place, most of the time in the least expected place.  And I love it!

Continue reading “You Learn From Everywhere”

What’s in Your Photographer Bag?: How to Prepare for a Wedding Day “Emergency”

By Jess & Stephen Robertson [http://togtools.com]

TogToolsBy now, it’s safe to assume that you’ve read at least one blog post that shares what is in a photographer’s camera bag. And while it’s great to learn about all of the awesome gear other photogs own & use, and lust and drool over the items you hope to one day have, I think they are leaving one of the most important things out.

Now, let me back up here a second. I (Jess) went off to Newport Beach to shoot my very first wedding in 2010. I learned so much about things like what lenses I should bring and how to network with the other vendors. But the most valuable lesson I learned that day: Create an emergency kit!

Our poor bride had a little mishap with her dress, where the piece of fabric that they added in the back didn’t quite cover up her backside when the dress was laced up. And we were stuck on a yacht, with no Target or drugstore in site. Luckily, someone on the boat had a safety pin.

So, for all of you wedding photographers out there, listen up. If you don’t have anything like this on you when you show up at a wedding, add it to your to do list to put one together this week. Your brides will thank you!

Here are some examples of what your Wedding Day Emergency Kit should include, based on issues I’ve run into while shooting weddings. This includes necessities not only for the bride, but for you as well:

  1. Safety pins – an essential!
  2. Bobby pins/hair ties – I always wear a few in my hair so that I have easy access to them. This may not work so well for our male wedding photogs 🙂
  3. Double-sided tape
  4. Mints
  5. Advil – long days, irregular meals, surprise visitor…enough said
  6. Tums
  7. Dental floss
  8. Tissue – the parents will love you for this one!
  9. Feminine hygiene products
  10. Deodorant
  11. Hairspray
  12. Tide pen – for those stubborn, missed stains (Note: white chalk is great for covering stains on wedding dresses.)
  13. Band-aids – great for blisters from those not-so-comfy shoes
  14. Clear nail polish – not just for chipped nail polish! You can fix nylon runs, repair shoe bling, even mend a small tear in a veil.
  15. Sunscreen – if it’s an outside wedding
  16. Snacks/water – you must eat and stay hydrated!
  17. Travel sewing kit w/scissors – great for emergency repairs

Now, the hardest part is finding something convenient that all of this will fit into. You can use anything from a travel bathroom bag to a tackle box to some nice, sturdy gift boxes that you can place in the bathroom. (Kraft & Jute has a kraft box or a burlap bag that could easily fit the bill!)

Of course, every bride & every wedding is different, so you may need to add or subtract items. But I hope this helps you get a good start!

About the TogTools team:
We are a husband & wife photography team based out of Southern CA. We believe that business skills & tools are vital to the success of a professional photographer, so we created TogTools to help new photographers become business rock stars! We connect new photographers to why their art matters, while helping them build a solid business foundation so that they can share their art for years to come.

We both enjoy embracing our inner nerd. In our down time, you might find us at a local coffee shop or bookstore, shooting just for fun, playing with new toys at the Apple store, or having impromptu dance parties with our son.

Care Packages Aid Grieving Families | Emma’s Footprints

Post and photo courtesy of Emma’s Footprints

Care PackageEmma’s Footprints was founded to support families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. The organization’s goal is to provide compassionate guidance and resources as families embark on this difficult journey.

Emma’s Footprints was created in 2011 as a family team fundraising for the March of Dimes. The team walked in honor of Emma Kathryn Dailey, born into heaven on May 30, 2007.

Tracy Dailey was eight months pregnant when she had an unsettling feeling that something wasn’t quite right. She called her doctor who advised her to come in for a checkup. During the sonogram the doctor informed Tracy that there was no heartbeat and the baby had passed away.

Stories like this are all too common as many families must cope with pregnancy loss on a daily basis. For some families like the Dailey’s, the loss of a child is medically inexplicable and heartbreaking. For others, the reasons for the loss of an unborn child are clear but no less painful.

Since its inception, Emma’s Footprints has evolved into a non-profit organization and all money raised by the group assists families who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. Usually that means helping cover the cost of burial or cremation, or helping to pay for counseling so families can start the healing process.

Emma’s Footprints also offers care packages for those who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. Care packages can be sponsored for $50 and include a journal, a copy of the New Testament, an Alex and Ani bracelet with the baby’s initial, and a burlap pouch made by Kraft & Jute.

Here is a testimony from a mom who recently received an Emma care package:

“Thank you so much for the Emma’s Footprints care package and pamphlet.  That was so thoughtful of you!  Even though my loss was over a year ago and I’m now holding a healthy baby in my arms, it still brought me to tears.  Anything and everything that we’ve received in memory of Issac is so very special because those things are all we have to remember him.  What you guys are doing for those families is so awesome!  I’m so glad there’s people who recognize how much of an impact those little gifts mean to families facing loss.  Also, I LOVE how you have it all packaged!  So, so cute!  Thanks again for reaching out to me.  It really does mean a lot.”    -Esther – mom of Issac

Eco-friendly photo packaging to celebrate this Earth Day

How to be a green photographerWhat started in America over 40 years ago is now a worldwide civic observance in celebration of the environment and our connection to it.  April 22 marks Earth Day, and here at Kraft & Jute, we’re proud to be ambassadors for a more sustainable, greener planet.  After all, everything we create is naturally inspired, and most of our products can be recycled at the end of their useful lifetime. Our entire corrugated line of packaging is made from recycled materials, and any waste from product development is either reused, shredded for packing material, or donated to a local school for art class.  One of our favorite product lines uses reclaimed barn wood to create packaging and photo props that offer new life to old trees. It makes us all warm and fuzzy inside when we choose to do the right thing.

As a photographer, you too can strive to be greener in your business.  Here are some tips:

  1. Unplug camera chargers after batteries reach a full charge.
  2. Turn off and unplug studio lighting and other gear when not in use.
  3. Refrain from printing every client email communication.
  4. Encourage clients to only print the images they definitely want to have on display.
  5. Recycle your ink cartridges.
  6. Schedule client meetings back to back to minimize time spent in your office space using electricity.
  7. Bundle errands to minimize fuel consumption driving to and from your studio.
  8. Recycle your e-waste (digital cameras, iPads, computers, printers, GPS units, and other consumer electronics).
  9. Leave nature’s gifts in nature (don’t take wood, shells, plants, flowers from your nature shots home with you).
  10. Choose products and vendors that also support the environment.

Don’t forget to let your clients know how they can recycle or reuse the packaging in which you deliver their images. Check back with us soon for another blog posting that shares ideas of additional uses of your Kraft & Jute packaging.

How are you honoring our planet this Earth Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Spring Cleaning Tips for Photographers

The tulips are blooming, the sparrows are chirping, and the sunshine breathes new life into everything around us! This spring, dust off the cobwebs and get yourself organized and prepared for a successful photography season. Your packaging solutions can help reinforce your brand – and efficiency – before the sale, during the photo shoot, and post sale. Here are some tips for spring cleaning your photography business.

business card boxBEFORE THE SALE
Being organized is important for any business, and it will help save you time and energy in the long run if you find order and balance before the chaos of the busy photography season sets in. For example, take the time this spring to restock your inventory of stationery and envelopes, shipping labels and note cards, contracts and print releases, and your most-used photo packaging products. Devise a system for keeping track of your important paperwork, whether that’s storing in folders and filing cabinets or inside a scrapbooker’s tote.  A burlap pouch is perfect for receipt keeping, and did you know a box that holds wallet-sized pictures can also store your business cards neatly and conveniently? Take the time to focus on making your home or studio office as tidy as possible, which will help you stay ahead of the game as your booking calendar fills up.

We also recommend having a few “grab & go” consultation kits prepared for those last minute client meetings. Fill a burlap photos tote with a sample album and prints, along with a two-pocket folder pre-stuffed with your pricing sheet, contract, and print release forms. Toss in a small USB pouch filled with candies or other treats, so you always have a small token of appreciation on hand to thank new or potential clients. Your clients will be impressed that your pre-sale packaging has a look consistent with the stylish packaging in which you will be delivering their images. Go you!

In addition to having your gear ready to go, you probably have a photo shoot survival bag packed full of items designed to address any snafu that arises: tape, sewing kit, rain wear, blankets, screwdrivers, 3-to-2 prong electrical adapters, clear nail polish, straight pins, water bottles, and power bars. You should never leave home without a dozen or so business cards, and we have a great 9″ burlap pouch that will protect your iPad or tablet when you’re out and about.  Showing up on site organized and prepared will make you more confident, and your clients will take note of how you thought of everything!

Your photo packaging helps define who you are as a photographer, as a brand.  Whether you present your clients’ photos in the form of a flash drive, photo book, or loose prints, your packaging should have a consistent look across all media. Experiment with your packaging this spring so you know how your photography packages will be presented all season long. You will also want to add some coordinating note cards, so you can include branded thank yous in your post-sale routine. Take the time to devise a way to track your clients and send follow-up gifts to stay top-of-mind when they (or their network of friends) need a photographer in the future. Having your post-sale strategy in place now will make it easy for you to follow through with every client you book this season.


Share your spring cleaning successes with us by using hashtag #clutterfreepkg on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!


What other spring cleaning tips have you found beneficial for your photography business?


Overcoming the Overwhelm in Your Photography Business

By Sarah Petty

Sarah Petty Gives Tips on Marketing for Photographers

It happens to every single small business owner, no matter what business you’re in.

That icky feeling that before you know it has tackled you from behind.

The feeling of complete and total overwhelm that makes you want to run away screaming when you glance at your to do list.

For photographers like me, it starts with taxes to file, images to back up and retouch, orders to process, calls to return. Oh and that little task that never goes away – marketing to get my next client.

Everything on the list is important. So how do you know where to start? And more importantly, how do you avoid getting yourself in this position to begin with?

Today I’m going to share with you 3 tips to help you overcome the overwhelm in your photography business and avoid those run ins with it in the future.

1.    Make a plan and stick to it.

I find that what gets me in trouble is when I jump around from task to task with no real plan for where I’m going. For example, checking email then jumping over to writing a note to a client, then jumping back into email before paying bills. Before I know it, I have 15 projects started but nothing has been finished!

To help me avoid the too many irons in the fire problem, I first identify 3 top priorities I want to accomplish TODAY on my to do list. Then I physically block the time on my calendar to focus ONLY on those 3 things.

For example:  On today’s list I need to write a blog post, get my WPPI presentation 60% complete, and do a pre-session consultation at my studio. I assign the amount of time each should take me and don’t open email, answer the phone, check Facebook or allow myself other distractions in those chunks of time I have set aside for these three tasks.

Does it take discipline? Sure! But by committing the time to my calendar and getting realistic about what can really happen in the time I have available, I find that I’m more focused and productive and I actually COMPLETE things on my to do list instead of just starting them.

A quick note on how I choose the three things that need to be worked on each day.  I always make sure at least one of my tasks is something that is most likely to help me meet my revenue goals – from writing notes to making calls, setting up appointments, creating new products and more. Those things take priority on my to do list most days. I’ll be talking more about how I prioritize those marketing tasks on my free webinar next week. You can grab a set here if you’re interested:

2.Keep a clean database.

You have one whether you realize it or not, it just probably isn’t as organized as it should be. It’s your little black book of contacts. It includes everyone from your friends, family, people you do business with and paying clients.  But more than just that how to reach them, it includes valuable information about each contact that helps you create opportunities for business like:

·       ages & names of their kids

·       pet’s names

·       family hobbies (boating, swimming, skiing, basketball)

·       schools they attend or attended

·       purchase history (baby #1 got a painted canvas at 6 months so be sure to follow up at 6 months with baby #2 for the same thing)

·       home decorating style

The database I use is web-based, and I put time on my calendar every week (just 30 minutes) to update it with new information on my clients and prospects as well as scour it for opportunities. What this does is it ensures that when business slows down at my photography studio instead of panicking about how I can get the phone to ring, I have a pile of opportunities waiting for me to jump on in my database. For more on how I use my database, you can check out this free training here:  https://joyofmarketing.leadpages.net/ss-webinar-march-2014-organize-your-marketing/

3. Be proactive, not reactive.

I’m always working on this and you should be, too. As creatives we get wrapped up in the excitement of the newest thing that lands in our lap. I’m guilty, too. But if you find yourself reacting to opportunities as they arise more often than planning for them, you need a better plan. Here’s why. 

When you react to opportunities that fall in your lap, you’re behind the ball….scrambling to squeeze them in among the other things you’ve already indicated were a higher priority to building your business. Something has to give and you don’t want it to be time with your family.

The other downside to reacting is you’re not fully in control of the results of your efforts, unlike those activities you have planned for. You often don’t have time to truly assess the potential of the opportunity so you throw something together quickly and hope it fits. When you proactively plan your activities, you KNOW what your goals are and you are more likely to achieve them.

I’ve found the marketing opportunities that perform best for me are those that don’t just fall in my lap. They are things that I go out and orchestrate on my own. Activities like co-marketing, gifting my best clients at specific times of the year, speaking to small groups of my target audience and sampling my lobster a few times a year. I’ll be talking more about how I prioritize these opportunities next week on a free webinar. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check it out here:

What are your favorite tips for overcoming overwhelm?


About Sarah Petty

Sarah Petty was named one of the most profitable photography studio owners in the United States by Professional Photographers of America. She is a New York Times best-selling marketing author of Worth Every Penny:  Build a Business that Thrills Your Customers and Still Charge What You’re Worth, MBA and boutique marketing expert who has inspired thousands of boutique business owners to use beautiful marketing to take their business to the next level. Sarah teaches marketing at her company Joy of Marketing. www.joyofmarketing.com