Let me tell you about my computer.
And my phone.
And Geoff’s phone.
These are the places that home the thousands upon thousands of photographs since we were married in 2007. And y’all…that just feels wrong. The longer I am in this business…not to mention the more life that I live with my own family collecting memories and moments through photography…the more my heart breaks that we have device upon device upon device FULL of digital images and nothing to really show for it besides a few random prints we might have made here and there.
Y’all. We need to do better. It’s our responsibility to preserve the history of our family by actually doing something with our photographs besides letting them take up space digitally. I love to picture my grandchildren (and my great-grandchildren!) looking through photographs of our family, including that very first day that our family began…the day that Geoff and I were married. And let me tell you…when I picture this in my head, I don’t see them crowded around an iPad swiping left.
It’s becoming more and more important and a priority for me to print our photographs. For my family pictures, I have started making the investment in a yearly coffee table book. I max out the number of pages for each book, which doesn’t make it cheap by any means. But, for me, as the years fly by, it’s an investment worth making.
This past fall after we launched our new brand and website, we decided it was high past time to update our sample wedding albums. Through nearly 10 years in business, I’m no longer concerned with keeping current with the latest trends. I’m really only interested in offering products that are made well and that will stand the test of time both aesthetically and from a quality perspective. Y’all…these albums are so darn pretty. Handcrafted, 100% pure linen and the option for a foiled cover debossing for a fine art finish. I absolutely love these albums and am so proud to offer them to our couples to serve as the home for their wedding photographs and as their first family heirloom. They are classic, timeless and just beautiful.
Last month I released my free eBook – 5 Ways to Grow Your Business in the Off-Season. As the off-season comes to a close, I knew I wanted to highlight and expand on one of the tips shared in the book and hope this post will serve your business well. Without further ado…
Can I ask you a question? When was the last time you updated your website portfolio?
Up until our new website and brand was launched this past October, our portfolio hadn’t been updated in over 2.5 years. 2.5 years, y’all. Not good. What was meant to be a place for potential clients to view the very best of our photography was outdated, inconsistent and in some cases, subpar. We certainly weren’t maximizing our opportunities to attract and book new clients. Not good.
As fast as the world is moving and with as many options as there are for everything as a consumer, research shows that we have mere seconds to make an impression to keep a visitor on our website that will hopefully lead them to click the “inquire” button. Seconds. It is highly important that we are putting our very best foot forward in our professional online identities. Our website portfolios need to be current, polished and intentionally curated to attract and book new clients that want what we have to offer.
So, why is it that we don’t make regular updates to our portfolio? Most of the time, it’s simply due to the fact that it’s tedious and taxing. It can be difficult to pare down our images and the process seems to take forever.
Today, I’ve got three steps for you to take to do the work now before you let another shooting season pass you by.
1. Evaluate Current Portfolio
Go to the portfolio section of your website. Are there any images that make you get that pit in your stomach/cringe feeling? Remove those ones right off the bat.
From there, go through each image in your current portfolio and ask yourself the following questions:
+ Is this image consistent and representative of my current shooting and editing style?
If your editing style has changed since your last portfolio update, you will need to locate the original image to do a re-edit.
+ Will this image attract my ideal client?
If your ideal client likes bright and airy imagery in outdoor ceremony venues, you probably won’t want to include that shot of a past wedding photographed at a dark and dramatic church…even if it’s a really great photograph.
+ Do I love this image and believe that it has “the wow factor”?
You probably have at least a handful of photographs in your portfolio that you feel good about and that you are proud of. Even so, those images don’t belong in a portfolio, friend. You need to absolutely love each and every photograph you include on your website and you yourself be “wowed” when you look at it. Be ruthless as you make your selections!
2. Curate Recent Work
After you have decided on the images to both keep and remove in your current portfolio, it’s time to move on to including your most recent work.
Rather than going back through full folders and galleries of past sessions and weddings, a good place to start pulling favorite images might be on your blog or in your Facebook albums if you keep either of those current. After making your initial selections, you’ll want to answer the same three questions above to further curate your portfolio.
3. Develop a System to Streamline the Process
To make things easier on yourself going forward, create a folder on your computer for “Portfolio Selections” that you can drop a handful of your favorites from each session or wedding that you photograph from here on out. Making future portfolio updates won’t be so tedious the next time around!
Bonus Tips For Your Portfolio Update
- To avoid making selections based on emotional attachment to any given image, you might consider asking a few good friends to take a look through your updated portfolio to give you some unbiased feedback.
- The images you choose for your homepage and/or the very first ones that appear in your portfolio should be THE best of the best.
- If you were like me and hadn’t made a portfolio update in nearly three years, this will likely feel like an extra daunting process. Instead of looking back through all of your work since you last updated, just focus on the past 3-6 months. Get some fresh work up immediately and then you can decide if you have more time and energy to include additional past work.
- Less is more. I like to keep my portfolio lean, showcasing around 40-60 images per sub-gallery (i.e. weddings, engagements, bridals).
If you would like to receive the remaining four tips in my free eBook 5 Ways to Grow Your Business in the Off-Season, just click right here to do that. :)
Also, if you have a photography or business related question you would like for Cheyenne to answer for a future blog post, you can submit that here.
“Only love feeds us. And love happens over years, repetitive motions, staying, staying, staying. Showing up again. Coming clean again, being seen again. That’s how love is built.” – Shauna Niequest
I think Geoff and I have been scheming about our 10 year anniversary trip since our 5 year trip to Mexico. It’s hard to believe that this June marks ten years of marriage. It’s been ten wonderful, joy-filled, fruitful, blessed years. And it’s also been ten years that have seen it’s share of really hard times. The hardest of times that sometimes it felt altogether hopeless that we would make it out. 10 years is certainly worth celebrating.
In this season of life with three little kids, our priorities for our trip were sleep, good food, reading, spa time, REST…and maybe a little exploring if we felt up for it. If you know us, we are HUGE fans of the spa at Grove Park Inn in Asheville, so we wanted something comparable to that but somewhere different. We were this close to booking a trip to Canada to visit Vancouver, but after we started weighing cost and the travel time to get there and back, we decided that going somewhere closer to Charlotte would probably be wiser. So we landed on Austin, Texas. After many, many evenings of researching, we booked a stay at the beautiful Travaasa Resort, which is about 25 minutes outside of downtown.
Our trip to Austin was everything we wanted and needed it to be. Temperature in the low 80’s. Watching the bats take flight from under the South Congress bridge (yes, it’s totally a thing) with mocha frappuccinos. Blended drinks and good books by the infinity pool overlooking Lake Travis. Massages and cold peppermint face towels at the spa. A cozy bed to sleep late in the morning. Chip and JoJo Starbucks cups. Buttermilk pancakes and breakfast tacos on the patio. Sharing laughs by the pool with new friends. Best burgers and amazing truffle fries in downtown Austin. Dog watching, huge donut eating, a trip to Waco to visit the Magnolia Silos. While all of the “things” we got to do and enjoy were quite wonderful, probably the best part of the trip was just the chance to set it all down and walk away for four days. To stop entirely. No business conversations. No email. No text messages. No social media.
Rest. Play. Laugh.
We had really great and long conversations about living this life well. And about death, marriage, kids, what success looks like, what matters most to us, dreams. We reminisced about the first 10 years and we talked about our plan for how to make it another 10 and still come out smiling with and at each other. The chance to disconnect from the world and reconnect with each other was so needed and so enjoyed.
I love you, Geoff Schultz. Can’t wait to start planning our 15th trip! ☺
Today’s post is unique and special, in that it was created specifically with Cheyenne Schultz couples in mind who are planning their outfits for their upcoming engagement sessions. We’ve come up with six tips to consider when choosing what to wear.
1. Comfort is Key
When you are comfortable in what you are wearing, you can be confident! You don’t want to be worrying about your dress being too short, painful shoes, or anything that will inhibit natural movement. Avoid anything too tight or too loose, and instead, choose something that flatters your shape. Once you have chosen an outfit, wear it for a day or on a date to make sure it is 100% comfortable.
2. Coordinate, But Don’t Match
Consider choosing complementary colors, patterns and styles or a similar color palette. Steer clear of matching clothing!
3. Dress for the Environment
One of the most important things to keep in mind when choosing your engagement session clothing is the location that you will be photographed in. Be sure that what you wear fits the environment.
4. Layering and Accessories
Layering and accessorizing it can really dress up an outfit and give it depth. A plaid scarf is great for wrapping up in fall weather and a hat is cute to wear or hold. Feel free to send over your ideas for clothing and accessories if you need another set of eyes to help you decide!
5. Consider Having Your Hair and Makeup Done
Professional hair and makeup can be nice to help you feel your best. Not to mention, it’s a good excuse to pamper yourself a little! Please let us know if you need recommendations for hair and makeup artists…we have worked with the best in the business!
6. Be Yourself.
Because it’s never cliché. :) Let your personality be shown through what you choose to wear at your session and don’t feel like you need to make decisions based on what you are supposed to do. Most importantly, just be you!
For more ideas and information on deciding what to wear for your engagement session, go HERE.
“Welcome Spring. Make room for what matters. Breath Deeply. Tidy Up. Learn Something New. Choose Simplicity. Keep Growing.” – from the spring issue of Magnolia Journal (which, p.s. – just for fun, I’m giving away a free copy today over on my instagram page if you would like to enter to win!)
Yes and amen. All of it. I want more of all of that in my life this month.
Goals met from March:
- Finished Shauna Niequist’s Present Over Perfect.
- Cleaned out master bedroom closet and hallway shelving and had light fixtures fixed. We can see in our kitchen again…major win!
- Installed one baby gate…one to go.
- Began Boone/Mama afternoons on Tuesdays.
- Finished Grey’s baby book.
- Finalized one month out from wedding client gifts.
- Began second shooter training program with Erika.
- Set up my email list.
- Implemented blogging calendar.
- Launch new opt-in offer/freebie – 5 Ways to Grow Your Business In the Off-Season. You can still grab your copy HERE.
Things to look forward to in April:
- A birthday date with Geoff. I’m insisting on going to what has become my favorite restaurant, Soul Gastrolounge. Charlotte people – if you haven’t been, it’s a must.
- Visit to the strawberry patch…my favorite spring activity to do with the kids.
- Family movie night. We’ve decided to do this with the kids once/month, as it has become a really sweet hangout time for all of us.
- Hopefully photographing the birth of a dear friend’s baby. Just hoping the timing works out. :) Although, this could be a May thing. Time will tell.
- Engagement session in Asheville and wedding in Savannah!
- Scrabble night.
- Brunch with friends.
- Another visit to the Whitewater Center…we were there this past weekend and it was so enjoyed.
- A visit from my Californian brother, my sister-in-law and their three kids.
And my goals for the month:
Personal – April
- Instead of starting a new book this month, I want to go back through Present not Perfect, pull out my takeaways and actually do something to apply what I learned. It was so good. Highly recommended.
- House projects (remove shelving unit from hallway, clean garage, put up kid’s growth chart, spring clean/purge the kid’s rooms).
- Plan our summer beach trip.
- Create another yearly family album through Artifact Uprising. I’m still trying to get caught up!
- Get a haircut and a pedicure. Self care for the win.
- Have a long overdue dinner with girlfriends.
Business – April
- Have our Quarter 2 Planning and Strategy Meeting followed by Team Night! This time it’s going to be dinner at our house together and game night.
- This feels like a hefty goal, but I’m going to try to blog 3x each week for the month. The aim is for Monday to be a business related post, Wednesday to be wedding related and Friday to be a personal/family post.
- Send out my first monthly newsletter. Have you signed up? You can do that right here if you like. :)
- Launch my new coaching program!
- Create one new business resource/freebie.
If you blogged your goals from April, please share them in a comment below – I’d love to see! Hope y’all have a great month. :)