a couples session: rose & derrick

I just have no words for this session! Derrick won my Black Friday/Cyber Monday couples session giveaway. I have photographed these two once before for their anniversary session. Rose had a vision with the architecture of the city and a stark red dress. It’s safe to say she accomplished that look! We had a FREEZING day but you can’t tell! I’m so obsessed with these images so I’ll stop writing now so you can see why! 

the results are in!

I'm so excited to have another year under my belt in the annual Shoot and Share contest! Last year, I had four photos place in the top 30% and one photo be a finalist. Let me tell you what all this means:

There are 12 rounds in this contest. Each round, photos are eliminated that don't receive enough votes to advance to the next level. Photos are voted on by both photographers and their family and friends that they share it with. Each photographer is allowed a maximum of 50 photo entries. You are granted the top 10, 20 or 30% if your photo lands within that percentage within each category. For example, there are 25 categories total, such as "newborn", "just the groom", "guests and reception" etc. So the percentage placements you see are for that specific category, not necessary all entries as a whole. If your photo makes it to round 12, the final round of voting, you are deemed a finalist. From there, photos are then awarded top 100, and then broken down even further for the top 20 per category! There are ton of variable as you can see and it can be a bit confusing if your brand new to the rules. The below graphic is visual to what I just attempted to explain. This year, I believe they had something like 80 million votes submitted!

This all being said, my results for 2018 entries have been announced! I entered the maximum of 50 images. I separated these into 5 categories. Just the Groom, Bride and Groom, Guests and Reception, Just the Bride, and Emotion and Excitement.  Below shows you where I placed!

If you're still following me, you've made it to see which photos placed where! 

what makes a photography business run?

I don't often do blog posts for other photographers, mainly because I still feel like I'm learning and what can I have to share with others? But then I get messages from photographers every now and then and realize that yea, I have some info some people may want! I'm not one to be hush about my processes or what helps me run this business, so I thought I'd share with you the 10 programs and apps that help me keep this boat afloat. This are in no particular order in terms of being my favorites or anything. All are vital and super important in some aspect of the business!

1. Planoly (phone app)
This is my go-to social media planner. Planoly allows you to load, move and schedule your instagram posts. The reason I use this one over all others; it allows you to do this from the computer! Which, duh, that's where all my edited files are. A new feature is it now allows you to plan your stories and auto post for you!
2. Over (phone app)
Over is what I use to design my stories. It has graphics, text options and sizing options that allow you to make your images into a more graphic heavy file for those stories where you want information.

3. Dark Sky (phone app)
I know we all have a default weather app on our phone, but I can't trust Apple Weather when it tells me there is a chance of snow and it's already snowing. So, Dark Sky it is. This app tells me the exact hour and chance per hour of rain and how many miles it is away from me. It's pretty accurate!

4. Lightroom
This could be a given, but I started my business as a Photoshop girl actually! I then climbed onto the Lightroom train and my life and workflow was changed forever! My editing is cut in half, the organization is stellar and the culling is that much easier!

5. Stomp Softwares
Stomp Softwares are how I create blog ready images, design my albums and proof my albums to my clients. This is not expensive at all and WELL worth it! They have pre-made sizes that already know your templates based on the platform and/or lab you use, so its super duper easy to get those projects done!

6. Dubsado
 Dubsado is life guys. Every photog has their preferred CRM, but Dubsado takes the cake! I use Dubsado to automate my entire business through workflows; booking, emails, calendars, contracts, payments, forms and guides! I log into this site every single day and it seriously makes running a business a BREEZE. I could probably write an entire blog dedicated to this amazing invention, but I know there are tons out there. If you want to check it out, use my discount code photographybylauryn!

7. Google
 Again, this could be a given, but all of my email is through google. I love having access to my google drive no matter where I am for spreadsheets, documents and mail. I have my email set up to be super organized by type, such as Advertising, Clients, Branding, Business Logistics, etc. Google makes client communication that much easier for me!

8. Wix
 Wix is my website platform. I know alot of people say that Wix isn't the greatest for SEO, but if you know how to work SEO, its beautiful! Wix is very easy to customize and edit your website. There are tons of templates available to get a custom look and I swear, I've had mine for 8 years now and I've never had a problem!

9. Pixieset
This is how all of my clients get their galleries! Pixieset allows for proofing, downloading, purchasing and ordering! My clients get their e-session proof galleries through this site that can be both password protected and pin protected. From there, I upload the wedding images to their online gallery that they get full access to for one year. They can favorite images, download images, buy images or share to social media.

10. Dropbox
 I use Dropbox has my online cloud service. After weddings are delivered and uploaded to Pixieset, they get transferred to both an external hard drive and dropbox for safe keeping. You can never be too safe with digital storage!

There is a ton that goes into running a photography business, and these are just my top 10! Let me know if you use any of these or you decide to try one of these platforms! I'd love to hear who loves these processes too :)

shannon & sam: e-session

As much as I love summer and spring, I'm finding myself very excited for December already! These two high school sweethearts are making it official and I cannot be more excited to work with them! We met in person the first time at their engagement session and I instantly loved them! They are thee cutest together and you can tell they've been together forever because they just melt into each other's arms so easily. For one of the poses, I asked them to close their eyes and remember their first kiss. Shannon yelled, "well we were 15 so it wasn't the best!" LOL. We bonded over our love of doggos and now I'm seriously so excited to photograph their wedding in Naperville! 

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