How To Plan A Styled Shoot

Styled shoots are becoming more and more popular in a range of different industries and for good reason; a styled shoot can be a great tool for any business, from photographers to makeup artists and product suppliers.

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If you can get the shoot featured it will be some fab free advertising, or just some great images for all involved to use on their social media and websites.

For a shoot to be successful, planning ahead is so important. To make your ideas a reality you will need to be as organised as possible and bring a whole team of individuals together. It’s usually best to have one main organiser, but to make sure everyone is involved right from the start of the planning process. The shoot should end up being a collaboration, you want to make the most of the skills and talents of all involved.
I have put the following tips together from my own experience.

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3 Steps To Planning A Successful Shoot:

  1. First you need to plan the look, venue style, and the feel of the shoot. Where you would like it to be featured, on a specific blog or magazine? Its a good idea to put together a mood board of your ideas, Pinterest is great for this.
  2. Then you need to get all the suppliers on board and make sure to choose the right ones for the look you are going for. You will most likely have some no’s, some suppliers may be too busy or it might not be the right sort of project for them, but don’t worry, it will all come together.
  3. Make sure you have a rough timetable prepared for on the day, like who is doing what and when. Plan the order of the shoot (what looks you will shoot first etc). Delegate the right tasks to the right people and remember to let everyone get creative on the day!

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What To Avoid

  • Doing everything yourself, and maybe accidentally becoming a control freak! Learn to trust others opinions.
  • Unreliable suppliers or models- you need everyone 100% on board for it all to come together. You don’t want to be let down last minute.
  • Only one location option- make sure you have a good back up plan if its raining etc, and make sure everyone involved can be available on an alternative day if needs be.

 

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The more shoots you do, the more experience you will gain, bringing a team of talented and creative suppliers together can be a lot of fun and the end result will be something you can all be proud of!

 

 

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Working with your other half

An honest account of what its like, working with my husband.

Nearly three years ago, my illustrator husband Ben was desperate to leave his 9 to 5 job in retail. My photography business was growing and I was in need of a second photographer, it just made sense for Ben to jump in and help out. He initially changed his hours to part time, before eventually taking the jump I had taken myself one year previously, and went completely self-employed, helping me with my business as well as focusing on his freelance illustration.

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We get asked on a regular basis what its like working together and we politely reply ‘oh, its great, we’re very lucky, we get to spend so much time together’ but the reality isn’t quite the same. There are many positives AND negatives to our situation and plenty of challenges we have faced along the way…

The Positives:

  • We genuinely do enjoy each others company most of the time and have found our relationship suffers with time apart
  • Both being self employed, we get to choose when we work and when we take time off, so we can schedule in quality time when needed
  • It’s great to have another person to bounce ideas off of (it can get quite lonely working from home alone)
  • We both 100% appreciate each others jobs and how hard we work as we are working towards the same goals
  • Both being creatives, we have a lot in common and can really appreciate each others interests
  • Cuddles in the office 🙂

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The Negatives:

  • Spending 24/7 with your other half can sometimes be a little suffocating, its important we have hobbies and spend time apart
  • There are times the personal/professional boundaries can be hard to keep clear (heading to a customer meeting after a row over the washing up isn’t always fun!)
  • We affect each others moods and productivity, which if one of us is in a slump can result in a unproductive few days for the both of us!
  • Both our incomes are changeable and reliant on the business, so we don’t have the reliability of one steady wage
  • All decisions are made together, big and small, and all financial decisions or purchases have to be agreed by both (making surprise gift buying a little tricky)

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While we consider ourselves very lucky to be able to work for ourselves, doing something we love, it is a constant struggle to get the right work/life balance. There is no denying that working with your spouse can quickly end the romance factor, spending many romantic evenings chatting about our accounts or brainstorming for our next styled shoot.

Our main advice would be, to have strict ‘no work chat’ nights, and time away from the office, as well as your phones.

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One of our favourite parts about working together, is that on any day, we can decide on a whim to head to the beach for a stroll or pop to the cinema together. That’s the best part, we have complete control over our lives and how we spend our time!

My Top 5 Smoothies

Last year, in the run up to our wedding, I got myself into green smoothies, in the hope of losing a little weight. I didn’t lose a huge amount of weight but I did feel a lot better for it, they are a great, quick way of getting some much needed fruit and veg into your diet.

Since the wedding my smoothie consumption has gone up and down, (mostly down over the Christmas period) but since the new year I have kicked my butt into action and am aiming to have a smoothie at least 5 days a week.

I have to say, with all the rubbish I was consuming over Christmas, I was started to feel quite lethargic and un-motivated but after a few weeks of being back on the smoothies I have a lot more energy and am feeling great!

I have experimented quite a bit with different ingredients and recipes, so thought I would share with you my top 5 smoothies.

 

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This is my quick and easy go-to recipe and my favourite, with a good balance of fruit & veg, plus the banana and avocado both add extra creaminess, I really dislike a watery smoothie!

The ingredients are:

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The very berry is great if you are in the mood for something sweet, this is also the hubbies favourite, he’s so fussy when it comes to fruit as he doesn’t like a lot of the textures, but loves a cold fruity smoothie!

The ingredients are:

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The super green is great if you’re in the mood for something zingy and fresh, and the apple adds a little sweetness.

The ingredients are:

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Now, this is not at all the tastiest, but its actually a lot nicer than you would think, and its amazing for a super quick energy boost.

The ingredients are:

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Now I know this last one is definitely not a super healthy option, but I have included it in my top 5, as I think everyone deserves a little treat sometimes!

The ingredients are:

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Do you have any favourite smoothie recipes? I’d love some recommendations!

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Up The Motivation

Sometimes, working for yourself, it can be very hard to keep motivated. I will be honest, I’m not and never will be a morning person, so just getting out of bed can sometimes be a struggle! I have now resigned myself to the fact that this is ok, as long as I work in the evening instead and get the work done that I need to, I don’t have to be up at 7am (or even 8am) if I don’t want to. Thats the best part of being self employed, you make up the rules!

But how do I motivate myself to work and keep building my business?

  • Mondays are very important, its the start of the week and will set the tone for your week ahead and how productive you will be.
  • The first thing I do on a monday morning (around 10am) is complete my weekly planner, set out a day to day guide of what work I want to achieve, as well as add in any appointments, shoots or weddings I have booked in. Just doing this makes me feel productive and motivated, as I have already completed a task for the week!
  • As I complete each task I put a (very satisfying) big fat cross right through it, theres nothing better than completeing a list full of tasks and having a page full of scribbled out jobs to do.

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So keeping motivated day to day is not so tricky, but having long term goals and aspirations can be a far more daunting task, especially when you are making the rules up as you go and don’t have a boss giving you weekly, monthly or yearly reviews.

Again, I find the best way to get motivated and keep on track is to write it all down, every month or so I set myself monthly, 6 monthly, yearly, and 5 yearly goals. These sometimes change along the way (which is fine), for example, two years ago I wanted to set up a studio space, but as time went on I have developed my photography style and found that the studio thing just isn’t for me and the over heads of a studio space is unnecessary, considering 90% of the time I am shooting weddings. So I am now offering natural outdoor or at home shoots and plan to get together the equipment to photograph newborns here in our office.

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Its good to have future goals, but its okay if they change along the way.

Re- evaluating your goals and aspirations isn’t always a bad thing, sometimes plans change and may take you in a direction you didn’t plan on taking. But without having something to aim for in the first place, you will achieve nothing. As long as you are always looking and moving forward, opportunities will come your way. You may have to work hard and there will be times you fail or have setbacks but as long as you keep focused on moving forward and don’t let yourself get complacent, then you can achieve your goals.

My Top Tips:

  • Putting a weekly timetable together on Monday morning will help keep you on track throughout the week.
  • Writing down your goals and seeing them on paper makes them more real and even more attainable.
  • There are times I get stuck in a rut, or start to feel self doubt about my abilities, but looking back at my goals and taking small steps to achieve the smaller ones, will then motivate me to achieve the bigger ones!

 

 

How I Found My Inner Confidence

I like to think I’m a pretty confident person, I’m not always the life of the party or the first to speak in a crowded room (thats usually Ben, my husband), but I have an inner confidence that almost never falters. This confidence has helped to bring me success in my career as well as happiness and contentment in my life.

One of my sisters once said she had always admired the way I take risks and try new things, like the way I left my 9 to 5 job managing a studio & teaching photography, to start my own wedding & portrait photography company. I had never seen myself in this way, but I guess she was right, and I think its all down to my inner confidence and that I always believe (with hard work) I can achieve the things I set out to do.

However, I haven’t aways been this way, due to a pretty disruptive childhood, as a child and teenager I was fairly unhappy and became increasingly depressed. I had no confidence in myself or those around me. There are times I remember, at a very young age, feeling a huge dark hole in the pit of my stomach and feeling frustrated that I couldn’t shake it, or make myself feel better. As a teenager I had little respect for myself (or my body) and seeked attention to feel a sense of worth. My thoughts were always negative and I would turn to alcohol to lift myself or self harm to ease the pain, I truly believed that I was a bad person and some days truly hated myself. I didn’t know how to ask for help, I shut down and pushed people away.

It came to a head when I was 17 and took an overdose of paracetamol and ibuprofen, I can honestly say it was a pure cry for help and I am very lucky I didn’t seriously harm myself! The hospital and my GP sent me to have a course of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), this was a real turning point for me, it has been the most important and life changing step I have ever taken, I don’t think I would be the person I am today without this therapy. I had 8 weeks of therapy, to learn how to change my negative thinking and turn my life around. It didn’t change me overnight, but the lessons I learnt have helped me every single day since, to take control of my own thinking, change my negative thinking and become the inner confident woman I am today.

After my therapy, I dropped out of college, now I know this is the opposite of getting my life together, but I did say I wasn’t changed overnight. I had been studying Law, Psychology and Photography. Photography had been my ‘fun’ choice, to go alongside the serious subjects, I had dreams of becoming the next Legally Blonde but it turned out my fun choice would end up being my life ambition. After leaving college the next stage was to get a job, and I was rather lucky to bag an apprenticeship for a photographers assistant.

I worked at the studio for the next seven years, growing in confidence and maturity as well as building a career in something I loved and was passionate about, until leaving to build my own photography business.

I recently read a book called ‘Fearless and Fabulous’ where Cara the author talks about feeling the fear, but doing it (the thing you’re scared of) anyway! I believe in this 100%, I feel fear most days and have negative thoughts all the time, we all do, its not something that will magically disappear. But how we deal with them can change, I have these thoughts, I hear them and then I push them to the back of my mind, I focus on the positives, of how far I’ve come already and the negative thoughts slowly fade… feel the fear, but do it anyway! Don’t let your own self doubt stop you from achieving what you are capable of.

One of the best pieces of advice I have been given, is to set your self small achievable goals, then each time you achieve one, your confidence will grow. Its good to have dreams but if you set your goals too high they will seem completely unachievable, you are setting yourself up for failure.

My main aims in life are to be happy, content and have a comfortable income, not to change the world or be a millionaire. I have achieved my goals because they were attainable and I took lots of small steps along the way. Once I achieve them I can set my goals a little higher and then a little more, building my inner confidence along the way.

I recently noticed that when I first started my business, I would find people around me (particularly older men) could be very patronising and talk down to me, but it doesn’t happen so often now. At the time I thought it was because I was young and now, maybe as I am a little older they take me more seriously. But I now believe that it is because I am so much more confident in myself, my abilities and the service I provide. I know exactly who I am, where I want to be and what I am capable of.

Let your inner confidence shine through and lead you to where you want to be!