Wednesday, February 27, 2013

likeable business::authenticity (part 4)

Uggghhhhh...the ONE post I've been dreading...

But before I drag my feet too far in...take a moment to catch up with the series if you're just checking in for the first time.

likeable business (part 1)
likeable business::listening (part 2)
likeable business::storytelling (part 3)

The subtitle of this charger is 'Be Yourself.'  Not that I have a problem being disorder here...but when you use the word 'authenticity' with 'business' and a book about social media...there's gonna be some squirming goin' on in this household...

Before I discuss the hand wringin' and squirmies, let me get through the important chapter info.  So essentially the chapter (in more words than I'll type) tells us to be ourselves, be who you say you are, be human, and if you do these things, your authenticity  breeds trust with your customers.  Makes sense right? Right.  Got it.  I am who I say I am (if you follow me on facebook, in person, etc).  I don't go pinning all the cutesie stuff on pinterest because everyone else does and it will make me look like the super DIY mom...for real, I don't.  My pinboards are probably b-o-r-i-n-g. 

As for being human...I've messed up and had to profusely apologize to customers during their sessions.  I usually blog about it because it was a lesson learned...and me being at fault.  I wouldn't jeopardize my client base and bad talk clients...really, Golden Rule here!  If you ask me how I stand on certain issue, I'll share....but I'm NOT debating.  But you won't find me asking you about controversial issues.  It isn't me.  As for being myself and being who I say I am, the one best piece of advice I learned while growing up (and I honestly cannot remember who, where, what I got it from) is: If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.  If you live a life of lies you ALWAYS have to remember what you said to who and when.  Yuck. I already have mommy brain, so I don't need to attempt to remember anything else. 

One more thing on being 'human'....we're human.  You make mistakes.  I make mistakes.  We all make mistakes.  It makes us vulnerable.  And that's just part of being authentic.  Pardon me and I'll pardon you if the occasional shall arise. 

So what about the squirms?  Oh, did I forget to add 'social media' in that recipe of 'be yourself, be who you say you are...'  Dave Kerpen, the author of this book discourages business leaders from having personal AND business social media accounts.  He reasons, "There is no need for separate profiles because 'business you' and 'personal you' are the same exact person.  Or they can be.  Otherwise, you're dealing with split personalities and double lives, which are tiring, unnecessary, and ineffective."  Well, totally agree with the split personality and double lives...hence, if you tell the truth you have nothing to remember...

But where this gets really squirmy for me is even mentioning social media to my husband.  My husband and I view social media like right and left wing politicians.  Obviously since I'm blogging and posting this to facebook, I'm the liberal one when it comes to social media.  Hubs on the other hand, deleted his facebook account within 24 hours of activating it AND got off Linkedin. At least he lasted longer on Linkedin than facebook *snicker* *cheap shot*.

He's kindly asked that I don't post personal stuff on facebook...about the kids or him.  He wants nothing to do with it.  I can respect that...and sometimes I'm still finding my boundaries through trial and error.  There are people out there (they already coming to your mind as I type this) who post e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g they do e-v-e-r-y-d-a-y (see, told have 2 names in your head right now).  At a vendor event, I mentioned to a potential customer if she was on facebook she could connect with me that way...big mistake.  She rolled her eyes, gasped and said, "I don't want to know when you're going to the grocery store and everything you do."  Ok, potential customer lost because of the stereotypical facebook account holder. 

Ok, so where do I fall into this spectrum with authenticity and social media...I do it for the business.  Free advertising.  Networking.  And some of the out of state fam can keep up with the kiddos (THANK YOU privacy settings for pictures!)  I don't believe you'll find out a ton of stuff about our day-to-day to lives, but enough for you to realize I am a real person.  I am a mom.  I have a 1 and 3 year old.  I stay at home with them.  Things get crazy.  Especially when the 3 year old doesn't want/need a nap or when he doesn't think he needs to nap.  Some of you can relate to status updates.  ;)

So all in all.  Yes, I'm on facebook.  I don't initiate a friend request with clients, you send out the request and I'll honor it.  Don't want me in your social media life?  No prob, that's why I have a business facebook page...personally, I would rather you 'like' my page than friend me.  Like I said before, I have nothing to hide.  I'm just one more person to junk up your newsfeed. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The O Twins::5 years old

Mrs. O is the type of client I truly enjoy working with.  She understands that kids are...well, KIDS!  They are best photographed in an environment in which they can be themselves AND have room to wiggle around.  :)  With sessions like these, we break away from the traditional 'freeze and pose' images.  Her kids move.  Laugh.  Hug.  Even kiss!  My camera is continually clicking never know what you're going to miss with Miss K and Mr. B!! 

Mrs. O also rolls with the punches.  The weather card we were dealt on this particular sunny day wasn't quite what we expected.  Forecast showed temps in upper 40's...for this time of year that's a big YAY!  At lunch time it was questionable if the temps were barely above freezing.  Then the sun popped out and it did us a favor!  Then the winds kicked up!  Seriously, we felt like we couldn't get a break!  It felt like one step forward and steps back!  We decided to press on and improvise with what we had...blankets.  Take a peek, I'm pretty sure any parent would regret rescheduling this session...

 Who cares if you can't see their adorable outfits?!  This birthday session is wrapped in memories!

Just lettin' kids be kids!

A quick pic of baby sis...she sure isn't happy with cold wind!  Trooper!


Monday, February 25, 2013

likeable business::story telling (part3)

Just catching up?  Feel free to browse through the posts made previously in this series.

likeable business (part 1)
likeable business::listening (part 2)

'likeable business,' by Dave Kerpen

We all love a good story, right?  Some people, like myself, might include too many details and reeealy draw out a story...yeah, I got it from my mom.  ;)  My husband gives me a gentle reminder to hit the main points and not get carried with the! 

But really, don't you love a good story?  Emotions, feelings, understanding, empathizing, happy endings, tearful endings...they are all worth the while!  Stories help us bond.  They connect us...bringing two complete strangers together...or a customer and a business together.  It is a type of communication. 

Storytelling...heck, composition for the matter, has never been a strong point for me.  I DESPISE persuasive writing.  Beyond fact sharing, I really don't feel comfortable telling why someone should do this or that or feel a certain way about something.  I've always been a very black/white person.  It is either 'x' or 'y' and I can show you how to get there.  Hence math and science being my strong point.  So the thought of starting a blog practically scared me outta my pants...but pretty much all photographers have one, so I felt I should!  Literarily (not literally...and I'm pretty sure I just made that word up since spell check caught it) speaking, there hasn't been a lot of 'meat' on my bones of composition or 'fluff' which I refer to it as, but I do believe teaching writing when I taught elementary school has helped me grow as a writer.  Seriously, I re-learned what it meant to be a good writer.  Silly sounding, I know, but the writing program was awesome at the school I used to teach at...or at least it struck a cord with me! 

As I branch out of my comfort zone, I try to do a bit of story telling when I post pictures from a recent session.  Weddings seem to get the best stories, just because I've been with the bride and groom allll day.  Sometimes in conversation during a shoot I can pick up a good story or two.  Stories can come from the actual customers or from something that happened during the shoot...good or bad.  Sometimes you don't need a story when you see the toddler flailing around on the ground...haha...that was just our God-son, I would NEVER post pictures of other customers' children!  ;)  Or there might be a story from a session where something went horribly wrong and it was a lesson learned for me!  By the way, you click on links, they'll take you to those posts on my blog.  :)

So in a not-so-sneaky way, I guess I'm saying I hope my story telling draws in the customers!  ;)  Sssshhhh this book is for business owners, not the consumers!  ;) 

So as I continue on with my business, I will attempt to story tell as much as possible.  Also, please know I have the best intentions to blog about every customer, but with two kids at home (and one of them starting to drop is afternoon nap) and keeping up with housework, I do have to prioritize my time and not every customer has a blog post about them. 

I do appreciate you coming back and stopping by to hear about bit about storytelling!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baby M::6 months

She wanted pictures of him sitting up, his chubby little cheeks and playing with his feet.  Just like her other two kiddos, she wanted to document these favorite things.

Baby M was such a happy baby - this time around (we re-did his 3 month pics because he wasn't so sure of what was goin' on  ;) )  Giggling, drooling, grabbing his feet and kicking every which way!  We had to 'stage' a few of the feet pictures because his little legs were all over the place!  All in all, we snagged lots of facial expressions, those chubby cheeks, hands and feet! 

A quick little story before I let you see all this adorable cuteness...Baby M and my lil girl (heck, our whole family) have a bit in common.  You remember last spring and summer my posts about all the mooooving we were doing?  Ya know, even the move into my parents house for nearly 2 months???  Well Baby M's parents sold their previous home super quick like we did!  Baby M was still in the cozy womb during their move...but his parents and big sibs called Mama's in-laws' basement 'home' for awhile.  Baby M made his arrival while basement was 'home.' 

Not to be doggin' on the generosity of the in-laws (remember, I lived with my parents), but there is something unsettling not knowing where your next home is...let alone WHEN it will come on the market...or just unsettling not being in your own home.  I remember the internal stress of trying to keep everything 'neater' and 'tidier' than I did when living in my our own home.  There's something about being a guest in someone else's home that makes you want to be not as obviously there are as you are...make sense???  You wash the dinner dishes immediately after bellies are full.  Laundry is moved from the wash to dryer and then folded ASAP so nobody else has to fold your 'unmentionables.'  The toys are picked up at nap time, before the grandparents get home from work, and at bedtime....when they used to be strewn about and put in their proper place every other day in your own home.  But anyway...just proof that TWO families can survive while living with in laws and infants.  :)  And some little reassurance that it was OK for me to feel slightly crazy.  :)

 Ok, now for all the cuteness...and btw...interested in memories of your lil ones?  Check out my Baby's 1st Year Package!  Great idea for an expectant mom!

likeable business::listening (part 2)

If you want to get caught up in my 'likeable business' series, you can catch up with my previous post.

likeable business (part 1)
Dave Kerpen, 2013

I find myself these days repeating myself over and over to our almost 3 year old toddler.  "What did I say?"  "Are you listening?"  I even go in for 'contact' (touching his hand or shoulder) to get his attention before making my request again.  It could be as simple as getting his shoes on to head to his favorite place, the public library. 

We hear and listen to things constantly through out the day.  Merriam Webster defines listening as 'hearing something with thoughtful attention: giving consideration."  So listening is obviously more than hearing...

So what does listening have to do with business?  Listening to customers, of course!  There are many way businesses and corporations listen.  With the growing popularity of social media, businesses use resources to tap into the 'online chatter' to find out what everyone is saying about them.  Sales also indicate what and how the customers feel about a company.  Items on back order = amp up the supply...customers LOVE this product!  Items falling in clearance since they've been on the shelves too long = store bought too much or customers don't like it (or the price isn't right!)  Polls indicate a lot (though I have found out I get like 2 responses on my online facebook polls...usually my mother in law and a good either peeps ain't getting my notifications or they don't think it matters).  But let's revisit the 'online chatter' of social media.

One business saved its derriere because they listened to their customers. Back in 2011 Netflix proposed and advertised a change coming to its business: they would separate their on-line streaming services from their DVD rentals.  Separate accounts.  Separate payments.  SEPARATE PASSWORDS...*gasp*  Customers took the social media outlet; twitter, facebook, forums, message boards, etc and openly expressed their distaste.  Many even cancelled their accounts!  The CEO took notice of the angry, outraged and dissatisfied customers, made a public notice and did not move forward with the streaming and DVD rental split.  They earned back nearly the amount of customers that they lost.  Listening paid off.

Well, who didn't listen?  You remember the movie rental store Blockbuster?  When did you see the last store open?  Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy in September 2010.  Findings show there was MUCH social chatter about customer's opinion on Blockbuster's operations.  The two words the popped up most in social media were 'late fees.'  You see, Netflix made it waaay to easy...receive your DVD through the mail, send it back in the mail.  You don't even have to leave your home to 'return' your rental.  Keep the DVD as long as you want...but the quicker you returned it, the more DVDs you could rent in one month.  What about Red Box?  Just add 'movie' to grocery list...seriously, isn't there a Red Box in front of every Kroger in town?  Not only that, rental fees were affordable (I use the past tense...fees have gone up, but are still reasonable) AND you could return it to ANY red box.  Even a Red Box out of state!  So what if you rented from Blockbuster?  You had to lace up your shoes, get in your car (strap a few kids in carseats if you're like me...that takes an extra 5 minutes), drive your rear end to the exact Blockbuster to return your movie.  Soooo inconvenient, right?  Oh, then pay your late fee...tee hee!  Blockbuster's mistake was not listening to the complaints of their customers and not making changes to the way the business operated. So the doors were closed.

What can we learn from these two business?  Listen to your customers!  You cannot please everyone, but for goodness sakes, take their opinions and feelings into consideration for your sake! 

So, listening to my customers...I've put a few polls out there on I briefly mentioned before I get minimal feedback.  I feel kinda disappointed.  Why?  Well because I want to make business changes that customers and potential customer will like.  But I cannot make changes if I don't know how you feel.  What about the social media chatter?  Oh, that gets amped up around the time I makes posts of my latest work.  I haven't seen anything negative, so that's a good sign.  I see 'likes' and comments about how cute the customers' kids are or how their family is growing...occasionally I recognize a name when a new customer wants a book a there's some positive chatter! :)  But I want to know the more important things... how much you want to spend...or what products you look for when searching for a photographer.   What would happened if I all of a sudden wouldn't sell my digital images?  You would have to purchase ALL prints through me. 

So, please take a moment to share with me what you look for in a photographer or what matters most to you...

...anything else???

Feel free to comment below!  I'm listening....

Monday, February 18, 2013

likeable business (part 1)

So I'm undertaking some 'professional development,' if you will.  Back in my teaching days every year an educator was (and still is today) responsible for making a PGP (aka: professional growth plan) and attend so many hours of professional development.  The PGP was essentially goals you set yourself in the classroom.  The professional development seminars/activities/classes you attended where the means to acquire knowledge, skills, and tools to achieve the goals set forth in your PGP. 

So how does all this PGP and professional development translate to my photography business?  Well, if I want to better my business then I need to equip myself with the necessary tools.  Now, as much as I would love to jet set across the county and attend a photography workshop/seminar, that just isn't practical in my phase of life and business to this day. day!  ;) 

The book I picked up from the local library is 'likeable business,' by Dave Kerpen.  I actually came across it by accident...chasing my 1 year old from the children's are to the circulation desk at our local library.  It was sitting on one of the 'new arrival' display racks...just waiting for me.  I was at the right place and the right time, I guess.  I've only managed to read through the introduction and 18 pages...but those beginning pages were so inspirational!  I've decided to include you through my journey of reading, learning, brainstorming and applying these skills and tools to my business today.  I'd also like your feedback through out these series of posts!  :)

In the coming weeks I'll make a blog post for each chapter:

5-Team Playing
9-Surprise and Delight

April Mini Sessions Available

{April Mini Sessions}


 UK Arboretum (Lexington)

Tuesday, April 16th
weather make up date: Tuesday, April 23rd
*customers may book more than one session, if available*

 $50 session fee.
When you spend $15 on prints, purchase the entire disc of images $50

$50 deposit required to be paid by credit/debit/paypal or personal check no later than TUESDAY, APRIL 7th.  Payment for prints and disc required before submitting print order and mailing disc.  Images available online for viewing before payment is required.  More information available in contract.

Need pics of the kids and grandkids for Mother's Day?  Missed Easter?  How about those high school and college seniors?  Don't forget your kids (of all ages) with their sports!    Email me at to sign up.

March Mini Sessions Available

{March Mini Sessions}

 Waveland State Historic Site (Lexington)

Saturday, March 2nd
weather make up date: Saturday, March 9th

*customers may book more than one session, if available*

 $50 session fee.
When you spend $15 on prints, purchase the entire disc of images $50

$50 deposit required to be paid by credit/debit/paypal or personal check no later than WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27th.  Payment for prints and disc required before submitting print order and mailing disc.  Images available online for viewing before payment is required.  More information available in contract.

Easter is early this year, which means it is just a hop around the corner!  Capture these precious memories with you lil ones in their special Easter outfits!  Mini sessions are also perfect for your child's annual birthday picture, a Mother's Day gift, or just because!  Email me at to sign up.