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The Importance of Saying No

Confidence with Compromising

  The words yes and no are very powerful. Couples and vendors alike can get hung up on the negativity of the word no, which can make both sides feel insignificant during wedding planning. I've had plenty of situations where I know that I shouldn't be saying yes. Yet, since I didn't want to step on anyone's toes, I bit my tongue. Occasionally, my inability to voice my opinions caused a hiccup in my business. The biggest problem with this is never feeling in control of my success. I would do things for my business because it's what everyone else was doing, or because it's what was being demanded of me. It wasn't until this year that I took the reins and began exercising my right to say no. Shawn's and my main priority with couples is to have a friendship that is fun and enthusiastic. If there are certain goals or relationships that aren't being positively fostered, reflect on the situation and weigh the pros and cons. We don't want to tell people we aren't going to do something without reason. We have a thoughtful process that we follow in order to make sure our couples (current and potential) are aware that we are looking out for them. Saying no to things that add stress One of the biggest things that I think couples and vendors need to ask themselves is if certain requests will add too much stress. Weddings already carry a lot of pressure with...

BritneyClause.com Website Update

from Shawn

Photography is more to us than just capturing gorgeous photos. A big part of Britney Clause Photography is the people we interact with. We love meeting with clients, talking about engagement sessions over email, and bonding over common interests. Getting feedback is an important part of growing as a company and individuals. Our big goal was making an update that would provide these opportunities to hear and converse more with everyone. We are always looking for ways of expanding our reach and ability to communicate. We've made a few huge changes, so check them out below. Talk to us on the Blog First, and perhaps the biggest update, is that the blog now has commenting! We used to have this feature years ago, but had to lose it with the new and cleaner site design. We've missed this feature, since we love having more opportunities for feedback on our posts. At the bottom of each blog post is a new comment section, similar to what you'll find elsewhere on the Internet. Being able to communicate directly to blog posts means being able to share your opinion and voice more readily. Whether it's a sneak peek of your wedding or a personal post from one of us, you can now join in a conversation directly with others. There are still some features that we'll be adding over time to boost our relationship and connection. Commenting is just the first update to a long list of what we want to accomplish...

My 3 Favorite Questions to Ask Couples

Tips & Tricks

The questions that Shawn and I ask during meetings with our couples aren't overly technical. We try to keep meetings with us as natural as possible. Occasionally, the meetings can feel like a blind double date, just because we really want to get to know who both of you are. When Shawn and I have a sense of what your relationship is based on, then we are able to give you a better idea of who we are. I know I have stressed this a million times, but we enjoy being friends with our couples. Last week, we sent our September and October couples their wedding day questionnaires. I've covered that topic in the past, but to recap: it's our online document that covers everything. It's extensive, and I would say it takes more than a few hours to complete. But much like our first meeting, it allows us to get to know the couple that we will be photographing. Yesterday, I got the sweetest email from one of the brides, Sara, saying how they had finished the questionnaire (like champs) and how excited her and Charlie were to see us again. From the initial meeting we had with them, Shawn and I really wanted to connect on a level that wasn't just "you're my wedding vendor". We wanted Sara and Charlie to feel happy that they chose us. The questions covered in their consultation were extremely important, and go hand-in-hand with the topics we cover in the...

Finding Our Niche

Micro Changes, Macro Results

In this blog post, I want to explain our unique focus as wedding photographers, and how it positively affects our business. Before diving in, let me explain some background. I've been searching for my place in the photography world since 2011 when I created my business. At first, it was incredibly easy to pick the path I wanted to follow: couples, engagements, and weddings. I've always felt more comfortable in smaller groups, even when I was a kid. The connection that I was able to build with a couple was always much more natural. The journey of finding my place became a little more difficult when it came to perfecting my editing style. But after some consideration and basing it on my personality, I decided to focus on more bright and colorful images. In November, I attended the Creative at Heart conference. One of the speakers, Shay Cochrane, figuratively slapped a bunch of us in the face with "finding your niche." The entire conference was abuzz with ideas of what made their work different and what set them apart from the masses. I felt the tiniest amount of imposture syndrome, because I had no clue what made my business awesome. It wasn't until I read Shawn's blog post a few weeks ago that I realized our niche was staring us in the face the entire time. Our Niche The benefit of our husband and wife team is getting to show balance during the wedding day. It's not...

The Beginning Steps to Organizing a Styled Shoot

For the Creative

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a little bit about the styled shoot that my friend, Marlayna, and I put together. The time leading up to the shoot was exciting, frustrating, and - at times - overwhelming. But we kept pushing forward, because we knew at the end something great was waiting for us. We truly weren't expecting all of the hard-work and beauty that everyone contributed to this day. Even though our final images have to stay under-wraps for now, I wanted to start a conversation about the behind the scenes of the shoot. As I said earlier, there was a lot that Marlayna and I put into this, and I feel like there is so much that we can share regarding the process of planning and executing. I am totally aware that there is just too much information for one blog, so I'll be organizing my posts into the different parts of a styled shoot. Organization is the key to staying sane. If you are planning a styled shoot either on your own or with a fellow creative, please utilize a service like Google Drive. I cannot tell you enough how huge this was in keeping us on track and professional. The ability to have a cloud system that can share spreadsheets and documents is a total lifesaver. For our shoot, we started by creating a shared folder. Anything that we needed from that point was readily available in the form of a spreadsheet...

Why I Have a Wedding Day Questionnaire

Getting to Know You

One the emails that I look forward to sending to our couples is their wedding day questionnaire. The main reason we send this out is because it allows Shawn and I to get to know the couple on a deeper level, and I love seeing what they type out. The form itself is split into different categories that, when completed, paints us a perfect picture of the wedding day. Of course, there are basic logistical questions that cover locations, honeymoon length, the main contact's phone number, etc. But then there are sections that are dedicated to the bridal party, family, and vendors. It's extremely in-depth (and a lot to fill-in), but when Shawn and I originally planned out the sections, we tried hard to include some fun questions so that it isn't overwhelming for anyone. I also have a whole section dedicated to items "For the Blog" that asks the couple questions about their relationship and wedding. This part has to be my favorite, because the answers vary so much, but are always incredibly sweet. Usually the first question I check when I get a finished questionnaire is: "When did you know he/she was the one for you". That one question makes me tear up pretty much 100% of the time, because I feel like I'm getting a glimpse into the relationship that isn't commonly heard from. The biggest thing that I encourage with my questionnaire is to have fun with it. Shawn and I want to get...

Our First Styled Shoot

Teaser

Next to my wedding day and Pony's arrival, yesterday was literally the best day of my life. About a month and a half ago, me and photo-friend, Marlayna, decided to do a styled shoot together. The goal of a styled shoot is to provide a central spotlight on a lot of fantastic businesses by creating a mock event, which gives everyone excellent product photos and some good exposure after submission to some fantastic blogs. It was our first time planning our own shoot of this caliber, and we had little idea of where to start. So we Googled the heck out of previous styled shoots conducted by other photographers, and came up with an awesome game plan.  First, we needed a theme that is unique and interesting so our photo blog submissions would stand out. I think that was probably the easiest part of the whole process, because we pretty much just looked at our collective Pinterest dream boards and discovered we both love geometric shapes, geodes, and watercolors. Boom, theme was done. We set up our checklist and magical spreadsheet of what we needed and started reaching out to people. The hard work came in finding our venue, not spending our life savings in Home Goods, and figuring out the logistics for moving super heavy (and gorgeous!) furniture. The end result, though? Fan-freaking-tastic! It was better than any of our Pinterest boards, and the saying "go big or go home" has never been truer than our...

Meeting with Your Photographer

Conversations Beyond Email

This past weekend, Shawn and I had two client meetings. These chat sessions are always really exciting to me because it's the chance to get to know someone and have comfortable conversations with them. After the meetings, I started to think of how important it is to me that Shawn and I get to have this time with our potential couples. I know I'm not the only one that is at least a little different in face-to-face conversations versus email. I am well aware that while my emails are thought out with conservative exclamation point placement and carefully typed words, real life me is just a ball of excitement that makes a lot of high pitched sounds when proposal stories are shared. It's a high priority to make time to get to know who you will be capturing your love on your wedding day. I know when meeting your photographer, there are time commitments to be considered and other places to be. But the best part about living in today's world is that we have the capability to meet over the Internet with services like Skype and Google Hangouts. For one of the meetings this weekend, Shawn and I got to virtually meet with the bride who was out of the country for school. Sure, we had to worry about the occasional lag, but the meaning and excitement behind the call was still there. Shawn and I still got to see the personality of this particular bride and she...

Instagram Analytics

Rising Tide Society Feature

Today has been such a productive and fantastic day! For one, my fellow photo-friend, Marlayna, and I have been working tirelessly on a really amazing styled shoot. Also, an article I wrote for the Rising Tide Society went live this morning! A few weeks ago I wrote my first technical blog post about finding the best time to post on Instagram, which included a short paragraph on three different analytic providers. After I wrote  the blog, I realized that I wanted to expand on the idea and reach a broader audience, since the information I gathered could be used by pretty much anyone. So I started digging deeper into my numbers investigation and honed in on what it was I wanted to provide people with: affordable resources that could be use to gain insight into your Instagram. I submitted a brief (although brief for me is 3 paragraphs, haha) synopsis of my goal and then I crossed my fingers that they would agree my ideas would be beneficial to the community. When I got word that my topic was something that RTS wanted to read more about, I did a short little happy dance and promptly started pacing back and forth thinking of the right words to include in the article. I was ecstatic, and it showed in my 2000+ word write up. Poor Shawn had to go through and edit my ridiculous word count down about four times (thanks, Shawny :P). I have never felt as confident as...