Southern Maryland Photographer- Mentoring sessions: Beth!

Mentoring Sessions- Beth S.

I started offering mentoring sessions when I was asked to be a mentor through an auction with Thirst Relief International.  A few dozen photographers all around the country were asked to take part to raise money to provide clean drinking water to third relief countries and that’s when it started.  Through that auction, over the last 3 years, I have met some amazing photographers and have been so grateful for a chance to educate them, even if just a little.

This year, I decided to put it out there that I would offer one on one mentoring sessions for beginning or starting out photographers, or those who feel they just need a little boost in certain areas.  I will be honest, I was a little nervous to offer these because while I do believe I have been successful in what I do, I also don’t know that being a “teacher/educator” with this is my strong suite.  Having done several now in different formats, I can tell you that I love it. I get nervous before every one, just like my weddings and sessions, but it’s because I want to give my absolute best and truly give you everything you need and more from me.  It’s a lot of pressure, of course, but I wouldn’t offer them if I felt like I didn’t love them and all those I get to meet in the process. It’s been pretty amazing and I am so lucky to have this opportunity.

I met Beth when she emailed me about helping me with my personal project and also asked about mentoring sessions. What an exciting email to get! She is so positive and upbeat and a natural smiler, which I love. She will tell you that when she smiles really big, her eyes nearly close and I giggled when she said that because if you know me, I say the same thing about myself.  I consider that an awesome thing and was excited to photograph her and her beautiful smile.  We started chatting at my home, going over things like SEO, the basics of Lightroom (which overwhelms nearly everyone for the first couple tries), how to move your business (she will be moving next year!), and how to go from portfolio building to making money and getting the clients you want.  We had a good 3-4 hour chat and then she and I went to lunch at a local cafe here. Once lunch was done, we headed over to a favorite spot of mine and photographed her headshots and then following that, I invited her to photograph a couples’ session with me with Shannon and Ricky.  I may have made her step a bit outside her comfort zone during this session with shooting, but I am so glad I did.  She excitedly emailed me and told me how much she loved the images she had taken at that shoot and how crisp and sharp they were.  That made me smile the whole night!  I can’t wait to see what she continues to do- I know it will be amazing!

 These are some of my favorites from her headshot session:

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This is the laugh and the smile! So awesome!

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I must have been funny! :)

Here is what I asked Beth about the session and her goals in general coming into it:

What were your main goals going into the mentor session?

My main goals were to master manual-to get those gorgeous sharp photos (Which I did!!)
See where I need to improve, speed up my workflow, and learn what is needed to make my business successful.
What do you think you learned the most from the mentor session?
Oh my goodness! I learned so much!! I was able to achieve my goal of mastering manual to the point of getting those tack sharp photos and gained a ton of confidence while shooting! No more relying on AV mode!! Yea! I feel like I can walk into a shoot and take control and feel confident while shooting! I learned great tips on speeding up my workflow. I learned what I need to do to finalize making my business fully legitimate (tax, proper paperwork, business accounts)
How do you think you’ll take what you learned and implement it into your business?
I have already started (slowly, but at least started) improving my business practices. I have two accounts set up for the business, got my business license and the big one= all manual shooting!! I am re-working my packages to help improve profit and cover overhead.
What can you tell others about the importance of education within a business?
Education is the key to success! I know cheesy right?! But so true! Your business won’t grow if you don’t grow as a person. It is always well worth the money to further your education. It is priceless! Plus it fosters great friendships and networking within an industry that is sometimes overwhelming and scary when you are first starting!

So beautiful, Beth! Thank you so so much!

Southern Maryland Photographer- A little announcement

I’ve been holding onto this for weeks now and I cannot hold it in any longer.  We wanted to make a little announcement-


maryland photographer pregnancy announcement


We are so very excited to be welcoming a new little Mcnugget into our family next year and we can’t wait to share more throughout this pregnancy with you!  So far, it’s been the complete opposite from my pregnancy with Luke.  I have morning sickness, many more little aches and pains, hip and tailbone pain, heavy fatigue (especially around 3-4pm-right when Luke wakes up, haha) etc.  We had a sonogram done a week ago and all looked great and little one had a strong heartbeat.

I am only a little over 8 weeks, which generally is pretty early to announce, however, I really couldn’t hold it in anymore! For those of you who don’t know, we did have a miscarriage before our son Luke and it was heartbreaking to have to announce, but it was important for me to have the support of others through a terrible time.  Of course, this is absolutely not the stance everyone else takes, but I am aware that this is an early announcement and there is always the unfortunate chance of bad news.  We are choosing to go with it, stay positive and be happy instead of worried, as hard as it may be to push aside.  We hope you take this ride with us!

This will not affect my shooting schedule that is already planned either, I will still be shooting until about 36 weeks or as far as I can.  With my son, I photographed until 37 weeks and only took 3.5 weeks off after, but with this one I plan to shoot as long as I can and take 4 weeks off after at least!  Until then, things go on as scheduled!

So, if you see me somewhere and I am sleepwalking- this is why ;) Just come over and give me a little nudge!

Annapolis Maryland Photographer- Motherhood Monday-balance

How did it get to be Monday again?  I feel like my weekend was mostly spent working, so when that’s the case, it feels like my weekend really only last a few hours. These types of weekends can be hard which is why I have been REALLY trying to limit taking additional sessions on those weekends when a wedding is scheduled.  It’s not always possible since I really try to accommodate my clients’ needs the best I can, but when it is possible, I usually take Sundays off from shooting!  Having a good family and work balance can be very difficult, but this is one of the ways that helps me as well as my husband and son to have play time with them and down time as well.


Here are some other things I try to do on a daily basis to keep a good work life and family balance. Now, these don’t ALWAYS happen, but I am making a bigger effort to make sure I stick to these the best I can.

-at about 430pm my work day pretty much ends. I start making dinner and get the little man ready for bed and spend time with my husband once he gets home from work

-I typically won’t answer emails until my son goes to bed, and in that case, it’s usually only for a couple minutes if I see something important. Otherwise, they wait until the morning.

-I dont answer phone calls from unknown numbers (that arent family) after 430 either. Its hard talking to a potential client when your toddler thinks they want should talk to them too.  I will wait until he goes to bed and call them back quickly or call them on his nap time the following day

-*this is the hardest one*- i don’t schedule sessions on sundays following shooting a wedding on a Saturday.  If a wedding is on a Saturday, I really try hard to have a complete family day the following day. Sometimes, this isn’t as easy as it sounds, but it’s a big goal of mine here on out.

-When we go out of town or on vacation, I keep my phone in a backpack or somewhere I cant really hear it. I will look at any messages at night but I will always send a quick message saying its been received and I will get back to them as soon as I can.  This is the only time I dont answer within 12 hours.

-I don’t talk about work much when we are out with friends and I TRY not to talk about it on date nights. Thank heavens I have a super supportive husband who is helpful in suggesting things I can do when I do start to talk about it. He always listens and never voices discontentment either!

– I try to remember that this is my business and my schedule. You have to stick to yours if you want to find a balance and live life the way you want. Of course, I am flexible at times, but it’s changed a lot from the 24/7 that it used to be!

and to leave you with a little something……balance