I work with some amazing photographers. Laura Davis of Charming Studios has built 3 companies under the umbrella of her main brand. (You can read all about how she manages all 3 studios here!)
With each studio addition, a new editing style was in order. We wanted to keep her branding consistent, but each brand needed to look different - something to set it apart from the others. Laura communicated to me what she wanted each brand to feel like, giving me key words like "light & airy" or "classic & moody." We were able to come up with three editing styles that looked very much like they belonged to Charming Studios, but had their own flair. Something else we accomplished was keeping them in a quick, efficient workflow. I cannot stress the importance of this enough! In order to keep up with the fast turnaround times of the wedding & portrait photography world, you gotta have a way to edit photos quickly - without sacrificing quality.
I wanted to give you a peek into the 3 different studios and their editing styles.
Laura began her business (11 years ago! She's a photography veteran!) with Everyday Charming. This branch specializes in high end Senior & Family portraits. Everyday Charming is focused on capturing the perfect image. They plan, collaborate, shop and style each element of a portrait.
For Everyday Charming, we came up with a classic, warm editing style that focuses on making those colors pop. (Watch for the before and after)
Laura's next venture was Charming Child. Charming Child specializes in children's lifestyle photography and focuses on kids 0-12 being their crazy cool selves. When Laura began talking with me about her vision for Charming Child, she knew she wanted the photos to feel bright & airy - exemplifying the playful, unscripted life of kids being themselves. We came up with a bright editing style to compliment the candid nature of the moments captured.
Laura's most recent venture is Charming in Love. CIL shows off the Charming Studios romantic side, and specializes in photographing sophisticated nuptials for the couple who adores classic glamour. Developing this style with Laura was so fun! She wanted a moody, romantic style with a nod towards the glamour of yesteryear.
Charming in Love specializes in elopements, so a lot of their shooting is done in courthouses. Most courthouses are old and filled with such beautiful architectural elements. Instead of being intimidated by darker lighting conditions and the old marble textures found in these buildings, Laura and her team use these elements to create spectacular images. I'm amazed at her ability to analyze the space and use it to her advantage while shooting! Some of my favorite images from Charming Studios have been their Charming in Love photos.
I love working with photographers in nailing down their editing style - whether it's a tried and true style they've used for years, or if they're looking to develop a new look. Drop me a line to get started developing a style that's consistent with your unique brand!
DIVING INTO PIXELS 40 HOURS A WEEK
You guys. I did it. I made the jump from pursuing this editing dream on just nights and weekends, to diving into pixels everyday. A month ago I quit my day job and went full time with my business. It was a scary, exciting, exhausting & exhilarating process. I've had about 43 days to process all of this and get into a "groove" and I wanted to celebrate this milestone with YOU.
One of the greatest challenges in this process was the transition period. Most days I worked 8 hours at a Real Estate office, came home, and worked until midnight-2am. Most weekends I was working as well. It was long hours, not a lot of sleep, and my husband cleaned the house and did the grocery shopping (thank you Babe!) I kept pushing forward, and the day came when I was able to wake up, and walk upstairs to my office for the first time. It.was.amazing!
There were a lot of uncertainties when Aaron & I made the decision for me to go full time with my business, but I don't regret it one bit.
I invited a few of my photographer clients & friends to help me celebrate! I asked them what their greatest challenge and their greatest joy was about being a business owner. Bonus - they are all #girlbosses! I am inspired by their work, amazed at their knowledge, and challenged by their excellence in what they do.
Naomi Wilcox is Superwoman. Not only is she currently making a little human being, she runs a successful Portrait Photography business - specializing in Newborns, Seniors & Families. Keep reading to find out how she incorporates life&love into every session!
Find her online at:
1. Why did you begin your photography business?
I started (with the help of my wonderful husband, Eric) Nomi Photography for two reasons. I believe people need to have their life & their love captured & remembered. I’ve heard it said recently, “The days are long & the years are short.” I totally agree. I want to help people to remember their life & how it was during those days & years. They’re special & cannot be given back
We also started Nomi Photography because it’s important to us that as we grow as a family (we’re expecting our first child December 31!) that I’m able to stay home with our children & bring in a little income. My mom has always been a piano teacher & I always wanted to do something like that to help our growing family.
2. What do you enjoy the most about being a Photographer?
Working with people! I really do! I enjoy getting to meet people who are technically strangers & then being basically friends by the end of their session. I love having repeat clients & watching their family grow & dynamics change & be there to capture that. I don’t take it lightly that they’ve chosen me to photograph their family & open their life up to me. It’s an incredible honor to be a part of any family’s/senior/child’s/couple’s session.
3. You're expecting a baby! How has this changed the way you view photography?
How long can this interview be? Haha! I am expecting!!! Our Little Wilcox is an answer to prayer & we’re excitedly looking forward to his or her arrival!
Knowing I will be holding our own child in just 4ish months, I want to remember ALLL the moments. And the moments beforehand of just Eric & I & then of course the moments after ☺ There are so many emotions that I have now & I am seeing that I never saw before-because I didn’t know about them! But as I’ve started this journey as a mother, I’m seeing those same emotions within my clients as I photograph them. Having this “inside knowledge” is going to greatly help me capture families for who they are.
4. Your favorite snack?
Currently it’s fresh peaches (I’m actually eating one now!) & dark chocolate covered pomegrenates from Aldi ;-) I AM usually a salty snacker, like cheese & crackers or tortilla chips. Maybe this baby is changing my snack habits ;-)
5. How has outsourcing your editing helped in your business?
I was in a tight jam one time, deadlines were coming at me, equipment was breaking down & I was SOOO glad I had made the decision to outsource to Joy Danielle. Yes, I had other pressures to deal with, but taking care of my editing was not one of them & it was SUCH relief to me! Because Joy was taking care of me, I was able to focus on other things. It meant so much to know that my editing was in good hands & that I would be taken care of. And not just by a “business” but a person. That’s what I love about Joy- she totally understands the pressures & timetable that photographers deal with & she’s there to encourage & help out!
6. Your best tip for getting little kids to smile during a shoot?
I talk to the kids I get to photograph. I talk to them & ask what their favorite things are etc. I also like to tease them ;-) I enjoy watching old TV shows & LOVE the Carol Burnett Show. One of my favorite questions to ask kids (with a straight face) is, “Are you married?” (Carol often asked that question to kids on her show.) I tell you, it gets an authentic giggle/laugh from the child & the parents as well!
I heard it in a late- night conversation with one of my photographers recently.."This wedding season has been hard.." It's only August and I can only imagine the fatigue that is setting in. Photographers have a very time consuming, pressure filled job, and I just wanted to take a moment to say.. thank you.
You capture the first smile of a newborn. The First kiss of a husband and wife. You capture tears. Laughter. Even pain. You capture the first moments of a person's life, and in some cases - the last moments too. You freeze moments in time that will never be lived again and deliver those precious memories to your clients with great care and precision. You deal with unexpected rain. Schedules running behind. Sore feet. A sun that is TOO bright. High expectations. Sometimes, very little thanks.
You hold the precious moments and memories of people literally in your hands, and you do it carefully, skillfully, and with great pride and excellence. You watch over those memories until they are safely on hard drives and displayed on a print. You're an artist & a guardian.
This past week I culled through some photos of a wedding where a family member had received a grim cancer diagnosis. My eyes welled up with tears as I saw the moment unfold - this family member posing with the bride and the bride's eyes filled with tears. Mine filled with tears as well as I realized these photos held memories that this family would truly treasure for the rest of their lives. You cannot put a value on that.
Thank you.. Thank you for making sure we never have to only try to re-imagine those timeless memories in our fuzzy brain.. thank you for giving us a clear, true picture of what each moment means and the emotions they hold. Thank you for handling our moments with care.
Joy Danielle, your privileged Photo Editor.
How I Stay Motivated While Editing
Staying motivated while editing thousands of photos takes some work.. I've been through several busy photo seasons and I learn new motivational tricks each year.. want to hear my secrets?
I pop in those earbuds, put on some music and zone in! The kind of music depends on what mood I'm in. My current favorites are Leon Bridges (you gotta check him out!) Some classic Amy Grant, and Coldplay is always closeby in my music que.
I. love. snacks. Popcorn, frozen fruit blended with chocolate chips, ice cream (I try very hard not to make ice cream a habit.. ha!) Trail mix & string cheese are my favorites.
When my dog Marlie comes up to my desk and sits right next to me I take a minute to scratch her ears.. It's amazing what a little puppy snuggle will do to keep me motivated!
My office has a window right by my desk. When it's nice outside I like to open up the chalkboard shutters and let some fresh air in. I enjoy listening to the neighborhood sounds. When my husband Aaron is out mowing I love smelling the fresh grass too. (I give him a wave from my office too :)
MY CHEER TEAM
I have an amazing family behind me who I affectionately call my "Cheer Team." My husband is my #1 fan, right behind him are my parents, Aaron's parents, my brothers & sisters-in-law, and grandparents. They are always encouraging me to keep moving forward to accomplish my goals - and this shows in my motivation to edit. I am SO thankful for my Cheer Team!
I take breaks.. I try to keep them to around 15 minutes or so, but there are times when I'll stop and walk the dog with Aaron, or chat with him a while. It helps clear the brain and get refocused.
SO - those are my motivational tricks. What do you do keep motivated?
Puppy Snuggles! Sometimes she isn't too cooperative..
One question I see asked a lot by Photographers is - should I use Adobe Photoshop or Adobe Lightroom? I'm pretty convinced you'll need both programs in your tool belt, but I asked the same question up front, too. After using Lightroom for a while I won't go back to just using Photoshop!
I resisted Adobe Lightroom for a long time.. I loved Photoshop and thought that great results could only come from that program. My friend Naomi at Nomi Photography encouraged me to give Lightroom a try. Boy I'm glad I did!
Editing photos in Lightroom is SO easy- and it's fast. I open all the photos from one session, and I can cull quickly by using the "reject" flag on the photos I don't want. (Want to see a video of how I do this? Click here to receive it in your inbox!)
Once I have my photos narrowed down, I can do color adjustments, run presets (equivalent of filters in Photoshop) straighten & crop, and sharpen. Once I get the look I want, I can select several photos from the same sequence - and copy that look to all of the photos in that sequence. This is called "syncing." Once I found out about syncing, I thought this was the best thing that had happened to my editing world! I can edit 10 (or more - however many I want!) photos at one time!
After editing it's easy to select all the photos I've just worked on, and export them to a folder on my computer or external hard drive. I can export them as JPEGs or RAWs - whatever I need! I can even select an option to add a photographer's logo to each photo in the sequence. No more adding a logo image to each and every file!
Now, please don't think I've broken up with Photoshop - I certainly haven't. There are several features that make it an essential part of a Photographer & Editor's workflow. However, for color correcting and basic straightening/sharpening, you really can't beat Lightroom.
Meet Laura Davis! She is the owner of Everyday Charming Image Boutique, and recently launched two more branches of her business - Charming Child and Charming in Love. Keep reading to find out her secrets to staying sane and running a successful business venture simultaneously!
Find her online at:
1. What do you enjoy the most about being a photographer?
I adore the lifestyle that photography has afforded me the last ten years. Granted there have been times to step back and allow it to float and times to lean in and push to the next level. Over all my business has afforded me the luxury to grow with it. I was only just a kid when I took the first step (with my dad's prompting) to sign a lease and open my doors as a portrait studio.
Now my business runs virtually as well as on location in Chicago, but for a few years I had the opportunity to physically be apart of a brick and mortar business community which was yet another enjoyable experience. Working in a seasonal industry you learn quickly to think outside the box. The 'outside the box' thinking I wish I'd done in my twenties is take some accounting classes!
2. How many photo shoots do you average a year?
This is a multi level question so stick with me a minute. My portrait company, Everyday Charming, averages 25 high school and established family sessions per year. By 'established family' I'm referring to families with children mostly over twelve years. I find at this stage families are wanting to capture life as it is before becoming empty nesters - or having quieter nests! We spend weeks planning for these sessions; perfecting clothing choices, measuring for future canvas in their homes and choosing the shoot location to compliment their homes' decor. Literally each element is planned before these sessions ever happen.
My younger sibling site, Charming Child, is the polar opposite. Specializing in children's lifestyle photography, Charming Child focuses on kids 0-12 years being their crazy cool selves. As you might image nothing is planned or contrived as we document their lives. This side of the Charming brand has only begun last August and so our sessions per year is undermined. My associate photographers shot at a break neck pace the last season, nearly 50 sessions. Since these are far less involved then Everyday Charming's sessions we can pop in and out of client's homes in less then 2 hours and offer a rate young parents can afford multiple times a year.
Our newest addition, Charming in Love, shows off our romantic side. We've only just launched this Valentines Day and are currently booking 2016 brides, it's wild how far in advance we must plan here but it keeps us on our toes we've projected 10 weddings in 2015. We specialize in sophisticated nuptials for the couple who adores classic glamor. Stay tuned.
3. How has outsourcing your photo editing has improved your business model?
It's always been very important to me to keep my business clear and concise in the services we offer. For years I've turned down photographing weddings because I knew the infrastructure was not in its perfect place. I had two specialties with Everyday Charming and my clients knew what they could expect in all areas. I began outsourcing my editing during a huge boom in business five years ago. I was over worked and worried if I held on to too many of the key pieces they would eventually come crashing down around me. I also worried about the national statistic stating photographers on average continue their profession ten years. Ding, ding, ding… I have no intention at quitting at five, ten or thirty! Was this a massive noise in the back of my head?
Absolutely! I knew I needed editing systems in place and so with a micromanagers attitude I contacted Joy. It took months to feel like I could loosen my grip on post production. I would meticulously scour her culled and retouched images to find not one overlooked. I'm embarrassed to think of the hours I've wasted repeating this task. But like handing your children off to the sitter for the first few times I held on. Nearly 5 years later relying on professional post processing is what keeps my businesses rolling each season. Before launching each branch of my brand I've worked hard to create a look and feel for post production that reflects its own place within my brand. It's become my secret to sanity sending off EVERY image after a session. Out of mind, out of sight. Like magic they reappear to be shared with our pleased clients.
4. Describe your favorite shoes in your closet:
I just realized while dashing off this last weekend to a photo shoot what kind of a relationship I have with my shoes. In the 3rd year of my business I had an entire wash basket full of broken, yet loved shoes, 20 some pairs. This career is hard on my foot's wardrobe. The basket boasted many heels snapped in half, rips in unlikely places and rubber soles peeling their way to freedom. I was sad. I saved every last one in hopes of creating a shoe sculpture one day that would remind me of the pain involved in building a business. My favorite pair right now are probably the Valentino flats I wore to my wedding in March, very lady-like flats with some snarky gold studs.
5. What is the biggest challenge in running your own photography business?
Time management is my biggest struggle. I'm a born perfectionist who never knows when to say good enough.
6. Your favorite item in your makeup bag?
This is hard… I'm a product junky. The there are three items that have stayed with me for years now… my Nars lipstick in Damage, Nars Sheer Glow foundation in Punjab and Laura Mercier highlighting powder in Startdust. Stardust isn't produced any longer so if you see me in a lady fight its probably over this shimmery little dust.
7. What accomplishment as a photographer are you most proud of?
I'm most amazed by the fact that I can shape my own destiny through my career as a photographer. There's a world of opportunity for small business living here in the States. It took living and traveling abroad to realize just how great this opportunity is. You only have to reach out for it and then be willing to repeat daily to continue making it a reality. I can't really claim any of this accomplishment on my own. I'm blessed to have a loyal and supportive team behind me encouraging my next steps.
4 Ways to narrow down those photos that are pulling on your heartstrings while culling
Narrowing down those photos while culling can be difficult - and when you have an emotional attachment to them because of the family connection you witness while photographing them, it's even more challenging! It's hard to do, but I've found these 4 ways to do it successfully.
1 - Go With Your Gut.
I go through each photo shoot more than once as I'm culling, but the first time I am "going with my gut." I eliminate each and every photo that my gut is telling me I shouldn't keep. (If there is a photo that you just absolutely regret cutting, don't worry you can always go back and find it on your hard drive later!) More times than not, I realize I don't even miss the photos I initially eliminated. Your initial quick judgements are valuable (there are even studies on this! :)
2- Go With the Best of the Best
Once the initial photos are gone, I focus on those interactions between family members. Those smiles and laughs are valuable moments frozen in time for your clients! I know I am preaching to the choir there, though! :) However, they don't need EVERY single photo in a series that shows that wonderful interaction. I'm going to give it to you straight - you need to pick the BEST of the best and eliminate the rest. If you have 15 photos of a family smiling at one another on the same park bench, you've got to narrow it down to at least 3 photos, and if there are not noticeable differences between those 3 photos, you've got to narrow it down to 1. I know it's hard! But you can do it!
3- Go For Variety
I strive for variety. If your family session has 10 landscape portraits in which everyone has their "model" pose going on, in 10 different locations around town, narrow that down to the best 3-5.
4 - Go for the Important Things
Does the family have a special tree on their property that is meaningful to them? Save those photos and eliminate the ones around the swimming pool if it's not as important to them.
Bottom line is: You can do this! If you want to take the emotional aspect out all together, you can always outsource your culling & editing. An outside set of eyes will not be as emotionally attached to the photos, but they will recognize meaningful interaction when they see it. As an Editor, I am always looking for the laughter and smiles that make your sessions meaningful!
My desk & office space is very important to me. I want to make sure it’s warm, inviting, and a place that I actually enjoy being. I am more inspired that way! I have several things that make my office space just the perfect place for creating.
When we first saw this home, I was thrilled with the dormer ceilings in this space! I could envision my office here - and it had a window which was a must-have. (Something about having the window open when it rains, you know!) Note on those dormer ceilings - they are COOL for sure.. but you do have to watch bumping your head!
My husband and I envisioned and crafted my desk. I LOVE it! Its so special having a custom piece, and it’s EXACTLY what I wanted! We made it out of pallet boards.
I love the farmhouse feel to it. It’s rustic, but practical as well! Baskets fit inside the cubby spaces for "drawers." Baskets from Hobby Lobby
This cute little lamp belonged to Aaron's grandmother - it now sits proudly on my desk. It's amazing how something several years old matches my style to a T!
My inspiration board is filled with favorite photos and quotes. I painted the stripes by taping it off. Those glasses are a lifesaver at times - they're my Gunnar anti-glare specs.
Another feature that I just love was a result of another brainstorm session with my husband. I needed some way to block out the light in my office area (if I’m editing during the day it can really get bright in there!) And I needed a place I could make notes and keep track of project workflow. Because of the dormer ceiling, there isn't much wall space, so no place to hang a chalkboard. We solved this problem by making CHALKBOARD SHUTTERS. (We thought we were pretty genius!)
A girl's gotta have her storage! I use this cube shelving that I bought ages ago.
Joy Danielle business cards. Thanks Moo.com! The "You Were Made to Smile" print was a gift from my friend Naomi Wilcox at Nomi Photography! (www.nomiphotography.com)
Thank you for taking a peek at my office space! (Marlie loves it here too!)
I wanted to take a minute to address some questions about outsourcing your photo editing to Joy Danielle.
1. Do you do your own editing style, or will you match mine? I will match your own. It will take a few times to get it just right, but I will communicate with you to make sure I am nailing your editing style. I believe your editing style is a vital part of your brand, so I am always striving to keep it consistent.
2. How do we send files to each other? I primarily use Dropbox to transfer files. It's super easy - upload your photos to a folder into Dropbox, and share the folder with me. I share a folder with you with the completed images when I'm done. However, I will work with you to receive files any way that works best for you. Lightroom catalogs with Smart Previews are a great way to share files as well - especially weddings with a lot of photos. I have had Photographers overnight USB drives to me as well!
3. Are there a minimum number of photos that I can send you? No
4. Can you cull (select photos) for me? Yes, if you would like me to - this is $20 extra per photo session.
5. What do you charge? 0.28 per photo for basic color correction, straightening & cropping. You can check out pricing for more extensive edits HERE
6. Do you offer test images? YES! I offer 10 free images up front. I will edit those 10 images until I have your style down. Feel free to give feedback and I will adjust until I have it just right!
7. Can you turn my beach shot into a winter wonderland (or any other similar requests)? No. With a lot of hard work I could, but it’s just not something I do, sorry! I believe in keeping the true integrity of the photos you work hard to take!
8. Will all my questions be answered in a timely manner? YES! Communication is key for me. If I am out of town or taking time off, I will let you know there will be a delay in communication.
Click Here for more before/after examples!
Joy Phillips has been providing a personalized, custom, post production experience for photographers for several years. She loves to give her clients beautiful photos.. and their lives back!