Personal Safety Gear for Wedding Photographers

I wanted to share a few items that I recently purchased for my own personal and business safety. Being a female wedding photographer can feel a bit ominous at times, especially when I have to walk back to my car at night or when I’m taking the gear out of the trunk to head back to my apartment alone. I don’t like thinking about the “what if’s” but I always like to be prepared. Here are some of my new tools to help me feel a bit safer and track my gear while I’m working on a wedding day!

Again, I love GMA DEALS and highly recommend you guys follow them to score some great deals on items whenever they are posted! xo

Safety Gear for Women Wedding Photographers

The Glammer : Emergency Escape Hammer by Bling Sting - This super cute and very function personal emergency escape hammer is one of those items that the fire department always recommends you have in your car but you never actually purchase it until now. Why? Well, because it’s so darn cute (hello ROSE GOLD!) and it can save your life if you ever need it. You can cut your seat belt and break the windshield to get out of your car as well. I will carry this in the front seat with me just incase I ever need to use it when traveling.

Ahh!-larm! Personal Alarm by Bling Sting - This super cute confetti glitter keychain heart is not only cute to carry but it’s an ear piercing 115 decibel alarm - YIKES!!! It includes an LED safety light that will blink so people know where you are and you can replace the batteries too! This keychain also comes in a bow shape and gem stone so you have a few choices and colors to choose from. I like that it looks cute and can make a bit impact to scare off someone who might be following you. Hey, we all know that walking back to your car late at night (alone!) can be scary so be prepared!

Tile Mate - I mentioned this previously but I forgot to put it in my IGTV video which you can watch here. I love these little Tile Mates because they are small, discreet, and I can put one in each of my gear cases and track their whereabouts while I’m busy photographing a wedding. Also, the new Tile Mates allow you to replace the battery once a year which is great and very environmentally friendly! You can use the Tile App to track your devices and play the tune to find your cases (or keys!) quickly.

Is personal safety something you think about on a wedding day? I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments below! xo


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How to Handle a Client Who Wants Their Photos Off Social Media

I was recently asked by a member of our Tea with Jainé Facebook Group how to respond to a potential couples request to keep their wedding images offline and off social media. This is such a great question that I wanted to answer because this question comes up rather frequently.

So, how to do you handle a clients request to keeping their wedding photos offline and off social media prior to hiring you to photograph their wedding? Well, I have a few helpful tips to help you navigate their request.

No. 1 - Ask Why? I find it’s best to be direct and ask them exactly why they want to keep their photos offline. Do they not want their names mentioned? Do they work in a field that requires them to be completely off social media (therapists for example)? Are they a super celebrity couple that intends on selling the images to a magazine? Are they worried about their privacy? Are children involved? Asking them exactly WHY they want their photos offline will help you come up with a solution that makes you both happy.

No. 2 - Explain Why You Need to Show Your Work Online and on Social Media. So this might come off a bit dumb but they probably saw your work on Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, maybe an advertisement, or vendor listing, and of course mostly from your website, riggghhtttt? Well, you need to be able to showcase your photography work across all your social media outlets to book THE NEXT CLIENT. It’s how it works! If you aren’t able to show your work online, how are you going to show that 1 - you are a working photographer 2 - have shot in a specific venue 3 - have the style that your clients are looking for? You have to explain to your potential couple that in order for you to maintain your business and continue to be in business year after year, you need to be able to share and publish your work appropriately.

No. 3 - Compromise - Once you’ve found out their why, and explained why you need to share your work, now you can come up with a compromise that makes you both side happy. Here are a few scenarios that I have worked out in the past with some of my own clients.

1 - I can share their wedding on my website, blog, and social media but I cannot use their names only initials (I NEVER use last names, only first names only - just FYI) so that they aren’t searchable on google.

2 - I can only share images that have been pre-approved by my couple. I will send my favorite images for review via PDF and the client has up to 5 business days to get back to me with any objections or omissions. I then, can submit a substitution for any image they want to remove. If I do NOT hear back from the client within the 5 business days, I will assume that there are no objections and I can share as I like.

3 - If any images were to be using in advertisements or sold for stock photography, I am to get written permission from the clients. (I do this out of courtesy even thought I own the copyrights to my images because I want my couples to trust me and know that respect their privacy.)

No. 4 - Charge For It - If the couple is adamant about NOT having any images what so ever online and does not want to compromise, and still wants to use your services and you want to work them, you have to charge them to keep the photos offline. Why? For the potential loss of income because you cannot use the images online to showcase your work, get new clients, share with vendors or the venue to get referrals, etc…. This is definitely a drastic measure but some couples are willing to pay a big price to keeping their photos offline.

If they are unwilling to negotiate, unwilling to pay your privacy fee (my friend calls it her Black Label Option) then it might be time to part ways and wish everyone the best. Hey, you can’t be everybody’s cup of tea so don’t try to be (a little Kacey Musgrave’s lyric in there for ya!!) Do what is right for you and your business!

No. 5 - The Final Step - Once you have explained how the images may or may not be used (I personally do not share images from every event I photograph) and worked out any image usage issues, or added a fee to their wedding collection, next you have to add this in writing into your contract and have everyone sign to move forward. Transparency is BEST and keeping your client top of mind is very important to gaining and keeping their trust and hopefully, a lot of referrals.

So what about you? What are your thoughts on this topic? I would LOVE for you to leave a comment below and let me know if you were ever in this type of situation and how did you handle it! xo


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Top 3 Business and Personal Growth Books for 2018

This year was truly a transformative year for me because my entire mindset shifted and I’m so happy the way the past year has forever changed myself and my business. I wouldn’t even be here with Tea with Jainé without the help of these books (first two recommendations) but I also wouldn’t be more myself with how I communicate without the other (the last one).

I started the year off with the goal of reading one book a month because I realized that had all but STOPPED reading books (according to my library card) for almost two years!! I began with a book about organizing your home and then I went directly into marketing and business books, and after a few searches, I found my first recommendation. After that book, a fire was LIT from within that I found the next book and after listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Weddings For Real, I found my last recommendation. It’s so funny how life works and things can drastically change because someone else opens your eyes to the endless possibilities you didn’t know existed. Right??

I’m happy to share my top three business and personal growth books of 2018 with you and I hope they help inspire your own journey to finding and creating a life you always wanted! xo

Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk - Vayner Media

No 1 - Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk - This is by far the biggest and best influence in my life. I had previously read “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” in 2014 but I couldn’t even tell you what it was about. I found it confusing and just never read it again but Crushing It, I’ve read it twice, bought the paperback and downloaded the audio book to quickly go back to chapters for inspiration. This book is the one thing I needed to read about giving myself PERMISSION to do what I’ve felt that I wanted to do for a while now - which was to TEACH. I wanted to help other wedding photographers, either those just starting out or who were within their first few years of their business, and share my knowledge and tangible advice that I have learned over the last 8+ years of being a successful wedding photographer in New York City. But why wasn’t I? I was holding back because in my mind I wasn’t a “superstar photographer” that everyone knows, I hadn’t won any WPPI print awards, and I wasn’t hosting classes on Creative Live so I thought, who would listen to me?

Well, I got over that real fast and as it turns out that A LOT OF YOU want to hear what I have to say and it’s truly been an incredible transformation on my part.

I was holding myself back from opening up to you but once I realized ( more like decided!!) that I didn’t NEED (or want!) anyone else’s permission to do what I wanted to do, the flood gates opened up for me and Tea with Jaine was born. I started with my Instagram Stories, than IGTV, then I created a Facebook Group, Blog and now a Podcast. It’s incredible what I can do on my own and you all are LOVING it - YAY!! I am SO happy to help you and answer your questions, give tangible advice, and make useful recommendations to each and every one of you. I was (and still am!) so SICK of other wedding photographers just SELLING you guys stuff (and myself included!!) and making you feel that you aren’t good enough, that I wanted to be the voice that you could trust and respect because I have absolutely NO hidden agenda. I have nothing to sell you - I just want to help you!!

This is what Crushing It made me realize that you can help people, be successful, and potentially earn money from doing what you love and sharing it freely with the world for anyone who wants to listen and learn. This year I found myself online. I found my VOICE on Instagram, my website, and I am still learning and growing everyday. I am sharing more of who I am and it’s all due to this book. Seriously, you NEED to read it!!

Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - The Hollis Company

No 2 - Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis - I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this book (I think it was from Gary V?) but I found Rachel Hollis and boy, it changed my life! I borrowed the book from the Brooklyn Public Library and I devoured it within a few day. I also bought the audio book to refer back to it because very so often, I need to hear Rachel give it to me straight!! I literally rocked my world!!

So many epiphany’s, myths broken, and the LIES we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough is exactly what I needed to hear to start believing in myself and start doing what I wanted to do.

Again, it comes back to PERMISSION (can you sense a theme here?) and giving yourself the space to be yourself and not look at anybody else to make yourself happy. The biggest quote and “A-HA!” moment for me was when Rachel shares the #truthbomb that “Someone Else’s Opinion of You, Is NONE of your Business” OMG - I think I was reborn after I read that. It was as if I instantly stopped caring about the haters (that weren’t there) or what my other photographer friends would say about me in that instant. Why did I care so much what others would say about me when they weren’t saying ANYTHING about me since I wasn’t doing anything anyways. It was in that moment that I gave myself the PERMISSION to stop the lies and be who I truly am.

I’m forever grateful to Rachel Hollis for opening my eyes even wider and cannot wait to read her next book Girl, Stop Apologizing which isn’t even out yet but you know I’ve got it pre-ordered and ready to go! Girl, Wash Your Face a must-read and I recommend it to everyone I know.

Why Don't They Call Me by Alan Berg - Wedding Wire

No 3 - Why Don’t They Call Me by Alan Berg - I found out about this book through one of my favorite podcasts “Weddings For Real” which I was also a guest (if you didn’t already know) and it was as if the book was sent to me at the EXACT moment I needed to read it (errr, I bought the audio, so listen to it ;) Alan’s book dissects how we (as vendors) respond to our clients and how if we aren’t responding correctly, we are LOSING the sale before its even happened. WHAT?? Alan talks about how to mirror your clients inquiry level of excitement, tone, and demeanor all via email, text, messenger, etc… How NOT to sound like robot and who to get funny with your follow up replies.

After listening to Alan’s book I IMMEDIATELY changed how I was responding to potential couples to sound like myself (again, finding my OWN voice and giving myself the PERMISSION to be who I am in my emails right from the very beginning!!!) and I swear, after I changed my responses to sound like me, I have booked consecutive weddings, family session, maternity, and newborn sessions in a few months time. I KID YOU NOT!! Just from being myself in email, responding super fast, and following up more than two times (which was my normal rate) it’s seriously improved my booking rate drastically.

Honestly, for you guys reading this, I would download it immediately and listen to it as you edit your next wedding or when you are traveling to your next shoot because it’s really smart advice from someone who has worked in the wedding industry for very long time. I will note that this book is sponsored by Wedding Wire so Alan references their site often, which could be a bit annoying but hey, he’s got to pay his bills to, ya know?

Oh, and don’t forget to listen to his podcast interview on Weddings For Real because that’s well, free advice and then pick up his book !!


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Tea with Jainé Podcast is LIVE - Subscribe NOW!!

I'm so excited (and a bit nervous) to let you know that the "Tea with Jainé" Podcast is now LIVE!! That's right, we've started a podcast! I wanted a place where I could chat and interview my friends, industry peers and amazing wedding vendors and share their advice directly with you. Everyone has so much to share and this podcast will be another place where you can grow, expand and develop your knowledge. I'm so EXCITED!!!

So, how can you hear the latest episode? You can listen on just about any podcast platform including Anchor, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Breaker, Castbox, Pocket Casts, Radio Public, Spotify, and Stitcher. I am using Anchor to create and distribute my podcast and it's so easy and free. 

I'd love for you to stop by, listen and hit that subscribe button and if you like what you hear, please leave us a review. It's the best and fastest way for new people to hear our show and discover us online. We'd really appreciate your amazing support and kind feedback!!
 

Tea with Jaine Podcast Cover Art

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Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Your Photo Editing

I recently received a question from Instagram about outsourcing their wedding photos with an outside digital editor. What did I think about it and would I recommend it? Well, there are definitely pros and cons to outsourcing your digital editing but I think overall, it's a smart investment for any wedding photographer who wants to maximize their time working in the field, meeting new clients and networking with vendors.

For myself, I put off finding a outside digital editor for a long, long time. Originally, I thought I would be giving up control of my photography and it would some how make me less of a professional photographer if I didn't edit my own photos. But then I found out I was having a baby and that perspective changed real quick!! I could no longer sit at my computer for hours anymore because I physically couldn't do it! I realized that I needed help and a digital editor was going to be the best option for me to continue to run my business with the same level of customer service post baby. Honestly, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made about my wedding photography business and I wish I would have done it much sooner.

As I began my search, I tried a full service editing house that was recommended by a friend. This type of editing service employs lots of digital editors who rotate through jobs and edit your work. After receiving my completed galleries, I soon realized that I wasn't happy with my end results. Unfortunately, I wasn't getting consistent results and had to re-edit my wedding catalog, which defeats the entire purpose of hiring someone else to do it for you. Next, I contacted a boutique wedding editor who works with a small number of clients each year and could give me one-on-one attention. After many consultations about my style, I decided to part ways with my new editor because things just weren't working out. I constantly had to re-edit my weddings which became very frustrating.  So, I began my search once again and this time I looked for someone who specialized in matching digital to film photography. Since I am a hybrid shooter, this is what really matters most to me. Someone who is OBSESSED with color matching as much as I am and I'm happy to say that I finally found the right match - HOORAY!! It took roughly 2-3 weddings for us to figure out our groove, but now my final lightroom catalogues come back perfect and I barely have to touch them. Of course I still do a final review of the gallery, make my black and white selects prior to exporting and delivering my images to my couple. I always cull and put my catalogues together before sending them out for editing. As the photographer, I know the order of events always recommend that the photographers cull their own images. I would never outsource that out to anyone. However, 0utsourcing my digital editing has been a HUGE benefit and overall time saver for myself and my business.

Pros vs. Cons

Pro - Time is Money - We've all heard the saying but it's true. Before I had a baby, I had a lot of time to edit my wedding photos on my own but after my daughter was born, that all changed. I was now paying for childcare and sitting at my desk for hours so I could edit my weddings was clearly the wrong investment for me. Outsourcing was the best solution for me and even thought it was another financial investment, I gained more time to focus on my clients, booking new weddings, marketing, meeting potential and current couples, taking more photography jobs and networking with vendors. This is a biggest pro because the time I would have spent editing, I can now grow and expand my business.

Con - It's Expensive - The biggest con is that it's expensive. It can cost you anywhere from .29 to .39 an image and if you have a large gallery, it adds up very quickly. Of course you can find someone who will charge you less but they might be as good, so be sure to do your research and ask for recommendations. 

Con - Finding the Right Person Takes Time - Just like finding your mate, it can take a lot of time to find the right digital editor for you. You might have to do a few trials with several different editing houses or boutique editors till you find the right match. 

Con - Fixing Your Work - Of course it's a bummer but it happens. If you send out your wedding gallery and it comes back less than stellar, you are going to have to still sit down to re-edit and fix your photos. If your editor doesn't offer re-edits, this is a waste of time and money for you. 

Outsourcing Resource Guide:

Editing House:
Shoot Dot Edit - http://shootdotedit.com/
Raw Digital Film Lab - http://rawdigitallab.com/

Boutique Editors:
Edit Source - https://edit-source.com/
Edited By Artists - https://editedbyartists.com/


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How to Plan Your Wedding Photography Timeline

As a wedding photographer, one of the best things you can do to ensure your couples get the most photos out of their wedding day is help plan their wedding photography timeline. Your experience and thoughtful insight are invaluable assets to your couples. Mostly likely, this isn't your first wedding and for your couple, it probably is, so they are looking to you for guidance and advice. I wanted to share with you how I help each and every one of my couples plan their wedding photography timeline with or without a planner. 

HowToPlanWeddingPhotographyTimeline.jpg

No. 1 - Educate Your Couples - Approximately 90 days before each wedding, I send all of my couples my "Tips for Your Wedding Day" email and a link to fill out my Wedding Prep Questionnaire online via 17 Hats. I include a list of my recommended timing for their wedding day and request detailed information about their wedding inside my questionnaire. Giving them this information 90 days in advance gives us enough time to plan accordingly and make any timeline modifications and overall photography coverage. Below is what I usually suggest for each part of the wedding day. 

// 1.5 hour for details & getting ready photos *not always possible, but I request it
// 30 mins for final prep & getting into the dress
// 1 hour for First Look (15 mins), Bride & Groom (45 mins)
// 30 minutes for Bridal Party photos *depending on size
// 30 minutes for Family photos *depending on size

No 2 - Create the Photography Timeline -  Once my couple completes their wedding prep questionnaire, I create their wedding photography timeline first draft. This is a complete breakdown of their wedding day from start to finish including their locations and photography requests for the day. With a well organized document, my couple can visually see how the day is scheduled and make timeline adjustments if necessary. For instance, if they have a lot of family photos requests, some couples might opt to move some pairings to cocktail hour or their even their reception to save some time during the beginning of the day.

Quick Tip: Be sure to include the travel time to each location. From the hotel, to the First Look, to Ceremony to Reception Venue. It all adds up and can eat up a lot of their wedding photography coverage which sometimes get lost when wedding planning.

No 3 - Work with the Planner (*if they have one) - If your couple has hired a wedding planner, I highly recommend introducing yourself and saying how excited you are to work with them. Next, I would send them your wedding photography timeline draft and coordinate with their master timeline. Wedding planners are scheduling the wedding day from start to finish and know all the little details that maybe your couple hasn't shared with you just yet. Having great communication with the wedding planner is so helpful for you, the photographer, and the couple to ensure get they get the best photos on their wedding day.

No. 4 - Plan for the Season and Sunsets - Another great tip is to plan for the season and sunset on your couples wedding day. With a quick google search you can find out when the sun is scheduled to set on their wedding day. Winter weddings usually means less light and Summer weddings have longer days with lots of sunlight. Letting your couple know when the sunset will occur is helpful in planning their ceremony start time and taking photos outside before it gets dark, especially if you prefer to photograph your couple in as much natural light as possible.

Everyone wants great wedding photos on their special day and being organized is the first step in ensuring a happy outcome for each and every one of your couples!


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