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Wedding Photographer & Educator

Tioga, nd
Manhattan, KS

chelsy weisz

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I am so excited for this episode you guys! I am speaking with Shay Cochrane, owner of the SC StockShop and Social Square site! I have followed Shay for years, and when I was thinking about who I wanted to have as a guest on this show, she was at the very top of my […]

Wedding Photographer + Educator

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Work Life Balance| Shay Cochrane Interview| The Wise Photographer Podcast

The Wise Photographer Podcast

I am so excited for this episode you guys! I am speaking with Shay Cochrane, owner of the SC StockShop and Social Square site! I have followed Shay for years, and when I was thinking about who I wanted to have as a guest on this show, she was at the very top of my list and totally did a little happy dance when she emailed me back agreeing to be a guest. I have been following Shay since November 27th, 2014 and I am definitely fan-girling right now! 

I have so much respect for Shay as an entrepreneur, as a photographer and as a mom and wife. She has been so honest about what her journey has looked like to grow her business, and finding this balance between being a wife and a mom to two beautiful daughters. Today, we are talking about her journey to find this balance, what it’s has looked like and she is also sharing some of her best tips for other photographers to do the same. 

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Who is Shay Cochrane and what does she do? 

“Most small businesses really struggle to create content that best represents their brand online, so I run a stock photo membership called Social Squares, that provides female entrepreneurs with real high-quality on-brand imagery that is going to save them time, help them look professional, help them sell more and help them attract more ideal customers. I have been doing this for eight years in the style stock industries and the second year for Social Square membership.” 

What does your journey look like with balancing being a mom and a business owner?

“ I have run a business as long as I have been a mom. I basically had to learn how to do both in tandem or I was learning how to do both in tandem. I was really just learning as I went. I was also the first out of my friends to have kids. I think at the time in the creative industry, there were not a lot of female entrepreneur business owners that were also mom’s. A lot of the leader’s now in our industry did not have kids. I had kids pretty young, and I was looking around at these women doing amazing big things and I was trying to do the same, but I was also a mom. That for me was a very messy time frame, relating business and motherhood.

When I had my first daughter, I just really tried to do both. I had the mindset that I could do both and run a business with a child on my lap and keep running a business at the same level that it had been at pre-children. I very quickly learned that that wasn’t going to work. As much as I love my daughter and loved being a mom and wanted to be a mom, I found myself in the day to day resenting her instead of my clients. My clients and the work I do make me feel special, valuable and important and that I was contributing to something really impressive to society verse changing diapers, feeding and just keeping up with the home. I saw pretty early on that as much as I loved being a mom and I loved my daughter, that my heart leaned towards resentment of that roll, and I really didn’t want it to. My heart would learn towards a preference for that work that made me feel really good and really impressive. When I noticed this starting to really happen, this was kind of like the light bulb moment, this isn’t good and I really want to prioritize being a mom, I love being a mom and want to flourish being a mom. 

Something was going to have to change in order for me to align my heart and my head. I needed to decide what I wanted to be my priorities, where I wanted my heart to be and the reality of what my propensity was towards. That propelled me into learning about myself and that I needed to keep those two things separate and compartmentalized. 

It has never worked for me to be at home working and the kids playing because when I am in work mode, I am 110% ALL in. I do not answer my phone, I am very very focused, and I want to be the exact same way when I am Mom.  I don’t think about work when I am with my kids, and I can walk away from work and be all in at home, children and in marriage. I function best when those two things are separate.”

Talking about those boundaries, and non-negotiable things with your family that really allow you guys to thrive, can you dig into what those boundaries look like for you guys? 

“My husband and I are both business owners and both entrepreneurs who both work from home, literally in the early days having desks side by side! After I would interrupt him for the hundredth time a day, my husband finally said we need separate offices – she chuckles. We are both in a weird and unique situation. We both have businesses, we are both business owners and both have work that can lead to all-consuming both mentally and time-wise. So we had to decide from very early to put boundaries in place to protect our marriage, to protect our family time and to protect our own emotional health and our joy and our joy of work. 

All of our work takes place between normal business hours 9:00 – 5:00 pm, and neither of us works past 5’oclock, weekends, vacations and neither of us takes work with us any on any of those things. Another boundary that we have, is we don’t have any push notifications to our phones, other than text notifications so that nothing inserts itself into our non-work days.”

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Can you share a little about your post on Instagram in regards to the saying  “mom has to work” you shared this morning? I loved that! 

“I was talking about the words “I can’t, mommy has to work” and how they are the six most guilt related words that moms and mompreneurs probably have to say. No matter how great your boundaries are, no matter how tightly you run the business, there is going to be a day when you have to say that. How do we go from feeling guilty as a result of that to feeling some freedom? I think the extent to that, is how much we bring our kids into the work that we are doing as opposed to hiding it or just choosing not to enter them into what we are doing. That is as simple as when your kids are old enough to have a conversation when something comes up and mom has to sit out of something or can’t play or can’t go on that field trip. In those moments instead of leaving it at that and just walking away with all the guilt, it’s been helpful”. 

Shay has built a business just her in her dark guest bedroom to be in a skyrise office with a team of half a dozen members, still functioning in essentially two days a week of work, 16 hours of work. She believes you can work and your business can flourish within boundaries even seemingly intense, very limiting boundaries. She’s seen it and she’s lived it.

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Need beautiful imagery for your brand? Check out Social Squares  and see why it’s the right choice for your business.

Check out Shay’s work life balance blog!

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What is a Model Release + Why You Need One!

The Wise Photographer Podcast

I want to start this off with this disclaimer; I am not a lawyer; this is not a substitute for professional legal advice. I will be sharing where I get my contracts and some great resources for where you can purchase your own!

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So let’s start with the basics, what is a model release? 

A model release is a document that is signed by the subject (your clients) of a photograph, giving you the photographer permission to use the images taken of him or her. It is a legal document between the subject and the owner of the photograph (which is you, the photographer) in which the subject gives their permission for you to use the images for your marketing, website, blog, etc.

So why do we need a model release? 

By having a model release in place, you are protecting yourself from legal action being taken against you for the use of the images you take of another person. A model release will protect the photographer as well as the person being photographed by stating where and how the images may be used. Without a model release, we could be infringing on your clients’ privacy rights by showcasing their photos- even if it’s just on Instagram or Facebook. 

So how do you ensure you are covered? 

The easiest way to ensure you are covered is to have the model release built into the contract that your client signs when booking their session. If you are in need of a full contract, I highly suggest checking out the Paige Hules Creative Law Shop and shopcreativelaw.com. I love how Paige breaks things down to be understood!  

I use Honeybook to house all my contracts and client communications. I love that I can create contact templates that will auto-populate names, addresses, phone numbers, and packages into the contracts, which I can easily send over to clients to sign electronically. 

When and Where?

There are certain times when you may need to have someone sign a model release after the photograph is taken this, for instance. Paige gives an example if you decide to publish a photo of the bridal party, but you haven’t had those bridesmaids sign anything saying they consent.

Model releases are essential in the case of a stylized shoot where the primary purpose of the session is to create marketing and branding images. The Creative Law Shop offers a complete stylized shoot contract that has the model release built-in!  

Another critical thing to note is that you need to obtain a model release every time you photograph a client. So even if it is a repeat client, you legally need to have a new model release. 

There you have it the short and sweet of model releases! If you haven’t already joined our Facebook group, I would love for you to join us search Wise Photographer Podcast Insiders on Facebook or head to the link in the show notes! That’s it for now. I’ll see you next week! 

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5 Things you need on your website as a photographer

The Wise Photographer Podcast

If social media is the introduction or the invitation, your website is the party!  You have complete control of your user’s experience, and there are so many fancy things you can do!  With all the fancy bells and whistles you can have on a website, there are five must-have aspects that NEED to be on your website as a photographer, and today we are chatting all about them! 

The most important page on your website

The most important page on your website is often overlooked by photographers. It is the about me page.  This is one of the most viewed pages on my website.  This is where clients get to know me; my family learns about Justin’s heart valve surgeries and how it changed me as a person. It sums up all the work you just did in episode 11, where we dug into creating a personal brand. 

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This is where you get to be creative with your words- which is something photographers can struggle with at times but is so important.  Another option is to create a video!  The Hollis Co has a great video that showcases their company values! 

Jenna Kutcher uses a Madlib style about me page, and Marie Forleo’s about me page showcases where she is now, but also know where she started! 

Whatever you do, please, for the love of all things holy, do not write- I’ve had a camera in my hand since I can remember, and I love coffee. 

Portfolio

The next thing that should be up on your site as a photographer is your portfolio.  My portfolio gets updated about once a year. However, in my early years, I was updating it almost after every shoot! Here is the thing about your portfolio.  You don’t have to show every photo you have ever taken.  You don’t even have to showcase every session or wedding you have photographed.  Get picky when it comes to choosing images for your portfolio showcase what you want to shoot, and nothing else.  If you want only to photograph weddings, then do not have family reunions sweet 16s and newborn photos in your portfolio.  

One of the best things I did last year added an extra step to my client workflows before I closed their project.  I got this idea from Katelyn James. I would go through their gallery in cloudspot and download any images that I thought I might want to add to my portfolio when I updated it in the fall.  Then I created a collection inside cloudspot called 2019 portfolio.  Then I uploaded the images I had just picked and saved them there.  This does a few things.

  • 1- it makes it wayyy easier to update my portfolio in the fall, and
  • 2. I have all of my best work in one spot that I can pull for images on social media, or for blog posts!! 

Client Testimonials

The next thing you need to have on your website iclient testimonials.  I call these love notes on my site, but this is where you are going to show social proof.  Think about it, would you pay $3000 for something without reading the reviews? I know I wouldn’t! 

Automate when possible!

So how do you get these reviews?  Ask your clients!  If you did your job right and provided an amazing experience and beautiful images, your clients will be more then likely to leave you a review!  I now have this automated to go out in an email a little over a month after the wedding!  

This way, I have testimonials coming in, and I don’t even have to think about it! 

I also suggest that you include your client’s photo next to their testimonial.  This helps to establish a little more trust! 

The next thing you need on your website is a link to your blog!  We talked all about blogging in episode 10.  You want to make sure clients can find it! You could even have a section where you highlighted some of your help content. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about when I say help content check out episode 10, where I broke down the three types of content and how to choose your blogging categories! 

Contact form!

The final thing you want to include on your website is a contact form!

I have my contact form linked to my client management software Honeybook.  This form collects all the information I need from couples right away, like their names, email address, wedding date, and location, how they heard about me and asks them a fundamental question. 

Ask the right questions!

Tell me about your wedding, what are you looking for in your photographer?

This will let me see where they are in the planning process and helps me see if they are a good fit.  A bride who replies with a one-liner might not be the best fit.  

I love that honeybook automatically pulls this information and alerts me when someone has inquired. This also means I can start the booking process right away, even on my phone! 

I would love to see your websites! Leave a comment below with a link to your site!

If you haven’t joined The Wise Photographers Facebook Group you can click here!

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Personal Branding and Marketing

The Wise Photographer Podcast

It seems like someone is opening a photography business around every corner. With the affordability of digital cameras, and allure of a fun, creative outlet you can make money from, its easy to say the market feels oversaturated.

How to create a personal brand to stand out from the sea of photographers! The Wise Photographer Podcast

On the surface level, each photographer isn’t all that different, we all have access to the same equipment, with the right amount of funds we have access to the same training, and resources. But there is one thing that can’t be duplicated, and that is the YOU factor.

You’re personality; your likes dislike, experiences are what set you apart as a photographer. Everything you have done, seen, and experienced in life are what makeup you! Those are the reasons people love you or hate you!

Today we are going to take a look at how you can harness the power of personal branding to help you stand out in the sea of other photographers.

So when you think of a typical brand, you might think it includes a logo, some colors, and a font. When I say McDonald’s, Nike, or Apple, I bet you see their logos flash across your mind! These brands have millions and millions of dollars to plaster their logo all over everything from cups, billboards, commercials, Facebook ads, and more!

I don’t know about you but I don’t have millions of dollars to plaster my logo everywhere. Also, if I had millions of dollars, I would have a second home somewhere warm for the winter! So what other option do we have to build client awareness and loyalty? I want to introduce you to personal branding. Personal branding is taking who you are as a person and infusing it into every part of your business.

Today on the Wise photographer Podcast, we are chatting all about creating and building a personal brand!

What is a personal brand?

So what is a personal brand? I want to give you some examples of personal brands, both inside and outside the photography industry. First off, one of my favorites -Chip and Joanna Gaines. These two have created a freaking empire based on their personal brand. Chip and Joanna first entered the national scene when they stared as the hosts of the hit HGTV show Fixer Upper. Now they are not the first people to have a show where they fixed up a house. Yeah, every house is a little different, but the process is the same gut, design, install, reveal, repeat. Why did Fixer-upper take off like wildfire?

Why Fixer-Upper took off!

We got to know Chip, and Jojo thought the process. We got to meet their kids, see their chickens. We got to see Chip’s goofy side when he ate a cockroach while showing a gross house. We saw how in love they are with each other, learned their family values, and fell in love with shiplap along the way. They have now quit the show, launched a magazine, wrote multiple books, have rug lines, a product like at target, their own online store, and completely transformed the city of Waco, Texas with the market at the silos, Silos baking co. Magnolia Table, and The Little Shop on Bosque.

People are flocking to Waco; I’m trying to convince my husband to take a drive there while we are in San Antonio next month!

But here is the deal this Magnolia empire had a little bit of a rough start. Head back to the first couple of episodes of Fixer upper. You will see Joanna with this dark makeup on and clothes that feel too formal for her. You will see Chip in a collard shirt trying not to crack jokes while he’s talking to the cameras.

Jenna Kutcher also has a super amazing personal brand! She is known for her laid back beachy style, her relationship with her husband, and love for mac and cheese.

A personal brand is a connection to an individual. —

It’s when our clients can put a face to a business and build a connection and relationship with the person behind the camera.

How to create a personal brand to stand out from the sea of photographers! The Wise Photographer Podcast
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So how do we start?

I want to give you a little exercise. Grab a paper and number it 1-30 I want you to hit pause and come up with a list of 30 things about you- this list could include things you are passionate about, stories from your past, surprising things about you, funny quirks that make you the person you are, things you like, things you don’t like, your thoughts about travel, jobs you’ve had, hobbies you have, or roles you have in life.

Here are some things on my list

I’m married; I’m a mom, my family farms and ranches, former rodeo queen, I only wear black socks, the flavor of bubble gum makes me sick, I love black and white, I have 4 fiddle leaf fig trees, I love yoga, I moved around a lot as a kid, I love modern farmhouse look, my husband has had 3 heart valve replacement surgeries, we have a greenhouse in our back yard, I’m more of an old dog person. My faith is really important to me, I’ve had a miscarriage,

Grab a notebook and make your list!

Ok, so all of these things make up you; these are things that other people will either have in common with you or find interesting if they don’t. Each one of these items is a little touchpoint with people.

Start sharing your touchpoints!

Start seeing how you can weave these things into your branding and marketing. This could look like sharing a funny story about how I was a kid I was starting to get car sick but just told my parents that my head was really hurting while we were driving along the winding highway through the rocky mountains. My mom gave me some bubble gum Tylenol, which I later threw up all over the car two miles down the road, and now I can not stand the smell of bubble gum!

The spot where I stopped loving the taste of bubble gum!

Or sharing photos of my fiddle leaf fig trees as they grow, and giving tips for caring for these picky plants!

You now have an entire month of things to talk about on social media! On your list, you are going to have some things that are worthy of a blog post while other things might just be something that makes an appearance on Instagram stories every once in a while, and some things might fall in the middle and be great content for an Instagram post or Facebook post.

If your feeling super fancy take some markers and color code the topics you want to share on stories, posts and on your blog.

Once you do this for a month, repeat this same list again next month with the same 30 topics. After two months, take a look at which of the touchpoints have had the most interaction. So what does interaction look like, it could be likes, it could be comments, DMs, people talking to you about in person!

Analyze the Results

A few things will sort themself to the top of the list. Hopefully, you will have about 3-5 items that got more traction than the rest. This list of 3-5 are things you want to strengthen and start to highlight across your website, your social media, and your visual branding.

These are the pillars that you are building your personal brand around.

Use Your Stories!

Some of my pillars are my husband’s heart surgeries, my love for plants, and especially my fiddle leaf fig trees, being a farm wife, and my kids.

“But chelsy, what does your husband’s heart surgeries have to do with your wedding photography business?” Our journey has made me appreciate and value what I do so much more. I care about photographing couples who are committing to standing by each other’s side through all life will throw at them. I’m charged with documenting the day they make that promise, the day the step into the unknown hand in hand. It’s something I hold sacrad and sharing that story and how it’s changed me is going to attract couples who have the same values.

That one seems to fit well right but what do plants have to do with wedding photography?

minimal-home-office-black-white-modern-farmhouse-plants_0244

Here is the thing I get it that not everyone who keeps up with the growth of my fiddle leaf fig trees is going to be getting married any time soon. Maybe they are already married. But I bet the odds are pretty high that they know someone who is getting married, and guess who is going to be top of mind when someone asks them if they know any wedding photographers. They are going to tell their friend you need to check out Chelsy, she has these cute kids, her husband just went through these major surgeries, and she has this giant fiddle leaf fig tree that I’m obsessed with!!

One in a Million!

The best thing about a personal brand is you can’t be copied. Sure some other photographer could copy your logo, your brand colors, but they haveing had the experiences, the struggles, the likes, and dislikes that make up your personal brand. Your personal brand is what is going to let you stand out in the sea of photographers to attract the right clients.

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Alright, guys what did you think? You have a list of 30 things to share on social media and on your blog right now! So if your in the middle of your slow season like I am, you have no excuse to show up! I would love to hear what you included on your list of 30! Do you hate bubble gum too? Hope over the Wise Photographers Facebook group and share your list or get some ideas on what to include on your own!

See you next week!

How to create a personal brand to stand out from the sea of photographers! The Wise Photographer Podcast
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Creating an Editoral Calendar for Photographers

The Wise Photographer Podcast

You might already have a blog alongside your website, or you are considering getting one. We have all heard that we should have a blog. But here is the thing about a blog, if it’s not updated frequently it can send our potential clients the message that we are no longer in business!

So besides that, why is blogging so important as a photographer? Photography is a service and a personal one at that. Your clients are letting you into their lives, and trusting you with some pretty big moments. The more you can give them a reason to feel comfortable with hiring you, the better.

Blogging is a great tool to build that trust with prospective clients. It also lets those prospective clients see your most recent work, and can help to educate them about your photography style, and process!

Consistently blogging will also boost your SEO- that’s a fancy term for search engine optimization – basically blogging is going to help filter you to the top of the list when someone is looking for a photographer in their area!

blogging basics for photographers

So today, we will be going over how to create a system for creating great content that is going to get you in front of the right clients!

One of my favorite quotes from my girl Rachel Hollis is

“Hope is not a strategy”

Rachel Hollis

We can’t really just hope to blog more in the new year. We need to build a strategy that’s going to actually get it done, so I want to teach you this strategy that was actually created by Google and YouTube. I’ve reworked it just a little bit for photographers. YouTube calls it the three H’s hygiene hub and hero. You can certainly look that up if you want. See a quick little diagram of a pyramid, but I’m going to rework them a little bit and rename them to make it a little bit better and a little bit more creative for us photographers.

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Start from the bottom- Help Content

So I’m calling this first one the help category, and this is the content that your clients are looking for on Google or on Pinterest. These are the things that they’re searching for.

So for a bride, it could be things along the lines of wedding planning. If it’s a mom, it could be what to wear for a family photo sessions. This is how potential clients might find you online. Whenever they’re searching for something along the lines of what you’re offering, it’s going to start to plant that little seed to get to know you as a photographer, which leads us into the next section.

Growth Content

And that’s what I’m calling the grow category. This is where you’re going to water that relationship and really that like know trust factor. This is where they’re going to fall in love with who you are as a person and who you are as a photographer. So you’ll be doing this by sharing, recent work that you’ve shot and also sharing some of your behind the scenes lifestyle and your creative process. Now we’re onto the big one and this is what I call your book content.

Booking

This is a big announcement kind of asking them to book. And you can do this one of two ways. You can ask them directly if you are launching your or opening up your dates for your family sessions or for your senior sessions for the year. Or you can do this indirectly by maybe sharing that your new, wedding magazine is out or your new family brochure is out. And those two things would be things that you’re kind of showing where your pricing is at and, kind of letting them know a little bit more about how to start booking with you.

So we’ve got these three pieces of content, right? We’ve got that, that helps stage, that growth stage and that booking stage. Now your help, one is going to be the most content that you put out. That growth stage is going to be sprinkled in there so they can start to get to know you. And then that booking one or that big big announcement, you’re only going to do a couple of times a year. So that could be when you’re announcing your mini sessions for a fall or maybe you are updating your pricing for your 2020 weddings and you’ve finished up your pricing guide and you can announce that you are ready to showcase this look book or bridal magazine to your 2020 brides. So you can kind of see how you’re going to constantly be putting out those little helps, those little seed contents. You’re going to be watering them with that grow and relationship building content. And then once they’ve really kind of been hooked on you, then you’re going to ask them to book with you.

Organizing blog posts!

How do we create these different types of content for our blog?

All right, so the first thing that I want to teach you guys is what I call the 60. In 60. I actually got this idea from Ashlyn, writes over at Ashlyn writes, she’s a copywriter for creatives, and I flip this a little bit from what she’s shared before, but I want to share the tool with you.

The Pinterest Scroll

So the first thing that you’re going to do is you’re going to open up Pinterest and you’re just going to start scrolling. This is what I call the Pinterest scroll. So you can search for things that your potential clients might be searching for. So if you’re a wedding photographer, what would bride’s be searching for on Pinterest? If you are a newborn photographer, what is new and expected mothers searching for on Pinterest? If you’re a family photographer, what are moms and dads searching for in relation to their photography? Also just like everyday life with their kids. All right, so what you want to do is you just want to look at the pins that come up.

The big key here is don’t even open up the pin to read the article. Just take a look at the name of the article, the name of the pin, and see if that kind of gives you any ideas. You’ll know that it’s something that you could write on when you look at a pin and you think I’ve got something to say about that. You can also use what I call Madlibs. So if you see a pin that says mistakes to avoid when wedding planning you could mad live that. So mistakes to avoid when packing your hospital bag. mistakes to avoid when picking out outfits for family sessions. So that can give you a lot of great ideas. What you’re going to want to do with all that is just to kind of create topics or even blog posts names based off of those ideas.

So remember you don’t want to open up the article and copy them. You don’t want to copy them word for word. You want to come up with it your own way cause I know that you would never plagiarize. Right.

How to create an editorial calendar for photographers

Personal Reflection

Okay. So the next section here is called personal reflection. So this is kind of like your personal category. Photography is such a personal aspect, you are a part of some really big moments in people’s lives. So you really have to let your potential clients into your life a little bit to just kind of let them get to know you and also to build that trust with you. So some things that you could be creating a post on are things that are important to you. So maybe it is traveling, maybe you and your husband travel and you could do, say you went to Savannah, Georgia, you could write, you know, five things to see in Savannah, Georgia, and habit in a category under like travels or something along those lines.

It could be crafts that you did with your kids or you could even feature, artwork that your kids have done over the years. It could be family vacations where you talk about what you did, share some pictures. anything that you would do differently. Maybe it was a great restaurant that you guys went to. You could also do like a seasonal update of where you are with your life and your families or what goals you have for the year. You could share maybe a pet, maybe you have a dog or a cat that is always by your side. I’ve got my trusty dog Cooper right underneath my toes right now. So he makes appearances every once in a while on Instagram. And you could also share about maybe a hobby that you are super interested in or that you’re starting or maybe even your fitness journey.

A really neat personal one that I have seen is the pink slip files by Amy and Jordan. So Amy and Jordan decided that they to write down all these little memories that they wanted to not forget later on in life. so they have started these little blog series called the pink slip files. And on there you’ll find their first memory of when Amy shot her very first wedding. they’ve got a post that is talking about how they had to clip coupons for those first few years of marriage. And then there’s a recent one where Jordan was started coaching soccer and the kind of talks about, you know, how that’s going and how that went.

Round-ups!

So now that we’ve gotten some personal ideas down, let’s go ahead and think of some roundups. So roundups could be, they’re really simple posts to write. It could be gift ideas for your fiance or, the five things to pack in your hospital bag or ideas for mother’s day, that type of thing. You could do five wedding vendors, give their best advice on planning a boho wedding. So you could actually interview other vendors and have them write up a little blurb. So they’re kind of actually writing your blog posts for you in that matter. The idea is just kind of around up. So it’s like a list sort of thing.

Listen to the People

All right, the next thing is to listen to the people. And this is where you’re going to write out blog posts on maybe frequently asked questions. So maybe you get questions in your client process, you know, it’s bread, you’re trying to decide. should we do a first look? Should we not do a first look? What time should I set my ceremony for?

Another idea here is to check out some Facebook groups. If you have your own Facebook groups for your own photography clients, you can ask in there if anyone has any questions for you. if not, you can go ahead and go look at some local bride groups or local mommy groups on Facebook or even comments on Instagram of other photographers and see what questions are people asking. This type of blog post takes a little bit more work. This is kind of the grunt work. It’s not quite as easy as some of the other things, but it’s going to answer those questions that people have that aren’t quite as relevant as you would think they would be.

Time to organize these topic ideas into categories

So for a wedding photographer, there are a few different categories that I would suggest and you kinda want to think of like what stages that your clients are going through. So for weddings, you have like the engagement stage, you have the wedding day stage and you have your post-wedding stage. So those three things could be stages, but I could also add on the categories of vendors. And I also am going to for sure add on a category of the personal right I want to infuse my personality into my blog and really let them get to know who I am as a person. Right? So the categories that I use as a wedding photographer are engagement vendors, wedding day, post wedding and personal. So in my engagement stage that is where they are either planning their engagement session or in like the wedding planning stages. So blog posts that are right on that are you know, what to wear to your engagement session, how to address wedding envelopes, the types of dresses and like the cuts of the tops of them.

So for vendors, I like to actually highlight different vendors that I either have worked with in the past or that I want to work with. I’ve actually reached out to vendors that I want to work with in the future and ask them to do interviews with me and just kind of get to know a little bit more about their business so that I can highlight them as a vendor to move potential brides or to my current brides who are in the planning stages of their wedding. So for wedding day, this is where I talk about all the little things that are going to actually happen on the wedding day. So I shared posts on family formals and the first look how to do a sparkler exit, that type of thing. All right. And then for post wedding category, I don’t do this one quite as much because it’s not really attracting, my clients, but it does keep others engaged.

And that is, where I’d share things like what to pack on your honeymoon or the three books that have really benefited my own marriage. And then of course, my personal lens. And this is where that I have shared, struggles about my husband’s heart surgeries, updates on my kids, the pictures from my daughter’s Christmas concert. All of that kind of go gone into my personal category. So if you’re a newborn photographer, you could have different categories that are along the lines of, you know, first, second or third trimester, the actual birthday, your postpartum and your personal category as well. I just want to really emphasize that you want to make sure that personal is its own category! So now that we’ve got all those categories, we’re going to take all of those topic ideas, those blog post ideas, and we’re going to filter them into those categories, right?

So for a wedding photographer, we might have your engagement, your vendors, your wedding day, your posts, wedding, and your personal, right? We’re going to take all of the lists of those blog posts we have and categorize them under what category they fall under. Okay?

Start Scheduling

So the next thing now is to start filling our calendars to go ahead and get a calendar out. You can do this on a Google calendar. You could do this on Trello, you could do this on pen and paper, whatever, whatever you want to do, right? And the first thing that we’re going to do is we’re going to fill in any of our book blog posts, right? So if we have any big announcements, right? And that could look like when you were going to put out your, pricing guide for weddings or when, if you’re planning to relaunch your website or if you are opening up dates for mini sessions or for family sessions for the season, right?

What to schedule first

  • Big Booking posts first- not too many
  • Posts for any sessions you have booked (growth content)
  • A mix of help and growth content (what are they searching for, and personal posts) – the most amount of content!

Or even if you’re opening up, this month’s or this season’s senior session dates. Okay? So you’re going to fill those in first. We have the big important ones in first, and then you’re going to go ahead and fill in blog posts after your sessions. So whatever you have sessions already scheduled, go ahead and put in either a week after, a couple of days after that session when you’re going to blog, that session that you shot or that wedding that you shot. Okay? So we’ve got those big things in right now, all those empty spaces. We’re going to start rotating through those categories that we picked out and just pulling the topics, one topic from each of the categories that we chose. Okay. So let’s say I’m looking at my calendar and I have a wedding on. I’m going to blog once every five days. You need to decide how often you want to blog.

We’ve already filled in those dates, which are when you’re going to bring those big announcements and when you have session dates, those ones are kind of set already based on when you’re shooting when those big things are coming up right now, we need to decide how often we want to show up on our blog. I think it would be a great goal to show up once a week. Okay. Because that gives you things to talk about on social media every week and really isn’t a little, isn’t too overwhelming when it really comes to blogging. So I’m looking at my calendar and I’m going to start filling this in and I want to blog one day a week and I’ve got a wedding on the first and a session on the 14th. Okay. So I’ve got those filled in. So on the third I’m going to blog that wedding and on the 16th, I am going to blog that session, right?

So I’ve got those written in and now I need to come up with three more blog posts. So I’m going to go over to my categories and I will just pick the first category, which for me is engagement. So I need to pick one of the topics that are in that engagement category and let’s put in three dresses to wear to your engagement session. And we’ll put that one just on Wednesday of the following week after that wedding. So that’s going to be on the eighth, right? So I’ll put it in there just right into your calendar engagement dresses. And then the next week we have that session. So we don’t need to blog. Then the following week, let’s say we’re going to blog on Wednesday, the next week we can go to our vendors category and maybe we want to highlight a florist that we worked with, put that in their name of the floral.

And then the next Wednesday we’ll go down to wedding day. And for this one let’s talk about first looks. So we’re talking about in this month of January, we’ve got five blog posts and we’ve got one on the wedding. We’ve got one talking about the engagement session, we’ve got the session itself, and then we’ve got the vendor highlight and the wedding day. So we’ve got the florist and we’ve got the first look. So then you just kind of go through and you rotate all those categories out. So you’re going to rotate engagement vendors, weddings, posts, weddings and personal. You can sprinkle in a few more personals if you need to. If you have some things that are coming up that are kind of time-sensitive, if you’re doing like a monthly Roundup of what your family did, you can go ahead and put those in right away. I hope that you guys are kind of understanding this.

I’m going to have a few visuals up on the show notes here to kind of show you guys what it is that I am talking about. So if you’re having a hard time understanding what I’m saying and you’re wanting to see what I’m doing, go ahead and check out the show notes below to see exactly how I am organizing all of this. All right, so now that we have filled in the name of the blog posts that we’re going to blog each week, we need to start actually writing them. Now there are two ways to write your blog posts. One, you can just write them every week. So you’re going to start on Monday and you’re going to write that blog post, schedule it and promote it throughout the week, right? Or you can do what I do and what I think a ton of successful bloggers do and that is called batch writing.

So for me, I set aside one day a month and I write out all the posts that I have chosen to share that month. And I read them all out. I start, I schedule them into WordPress, and then I go to the next month and I pick out all of the topics for the following month. I don’t write them out, I just pick up the topics so that way when the first rolls around next month I can dive into the topics that I’ve already chosen to write on and kind of get going. I don’t have to reinvent the wheel at all. One of my favorite tools for writing out blog posts is the tool called Grammarly. And this is a web browser extension that checks your spelling. Make sure that you’re using a wide variety of words and vocabulary that you’re not using like a million times. it’s a really, really awesome tool. It is free. There is a premium option as well. but I definitely suggest that you check out Grammarly, for all of your writing needs. For sure.

How to create an editorial calendar for photographers
How to create an editorial calendar for photographers

There’s basically three parts to any great speech and I think it also works for blog posts pretty well, and it is to tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them whatever it is you’re telling them, and then tell them what you told them. So basically there’s the introduction, the middle and the end, but you’re kind of doing the same thing. So you’re introducing what it is you’re going to talk to them about, tell them what it is, and then finish it up. Blog posts don’t need to be super long. They can be just bullet points with pictures. Just make sure that you are using some good SEO practices. So that brings us to the next little section of this and that is SEO or search engine optimization. So there’s a few key things that I want to make sure that I am pointing out to you guys and that you guys are doing an each and every blog post.

I’m also going to have a download link with a checklist of all of these things to make sure that you are harnessing the full potential of each and every one of your blog posts. So the first thing that I like to do is make sure that I’m renaming all of my images to include some type of key word or whatever it is that I’m talking about in the blog post. So for photographers, we will oftentimes name our photos, Johnson’s September 8th, 2012. Well that’s great for like keeping them organized for your clients, but I don’t know anyone that’s searching for a Johnson session in 2012 right? That doesn’t make sense. But if you renamed it to family session Fargo, North Dakota winter Oak park. Okay, so you’re kind of saying where it is. We’ve got the state and the park that it’s in, you’re a family session and when it is, so it’s in wintertime, right?

So that is renaming all of your images. The next thing is to try and link to other posts within your block. So if you are, have been talking about other wedding planning, we’ll have posts you can link to those, kind of weave that into your content so that you can link back to it. So the idea is to kind of keep people clicking from one post to the next post, around all centers around the, the topics that you’re kind of talking about, right? The next thing that you want to do when you’re working on your SEO is to customize your slug. So the slug is part of the, website address that your blog post has. So for me it would be Chelsea wise.com forward slash and then you want to make sure that the, whatever that is behind that forward slash makes sense for what it is you’re writing about.

So I’m writing about, what to where for engagement sessions. It could be, what to wear. Engagement sessions. Wilson, North Dakota. Okay. So I’m including a little bit more SEO in that besides just in catchment sessions because maybe it’s specific to my area, right? That’s pulling in a few more keywords. All right. Another thing that you want to make sure that you are checking off before you hit publish is customizing your SEO title. So this is the title that Google is going to show of whatever your page is or when someone shares it to Facebook. So you could have the name of your post could be, Megan Jessie’s wedding, that’s great. But if you have your SEO title as Badlands wedding, boho, Chelsea wise photography, Watford city, North Dakota, those are things that people are going to be searching for. a boho wedding or a photographer in Watford city, that type of thing, right?

The next thing underneath that you want to do is what’s called your meta data. And that is like the description that shows alongside the page on Google. So whatever that little description is, and that is about 150 to 200 characters. And that you can just go ahead and put in a few keywords in there and kinda tell your reader what they can expect about this page. All right. Finally, you also want to make sure that you are utilizing your blogging categories and some blog. So for categories on my website, you will find weddings, wedding planning, engagements, family, and the wise photographer podcast. So if you click on wise photographer podcast over on my page, it’s going to show you just all of the episodes of the podcast, right? Blog tags are really handy if someone is searching for something in particular. So this could be you that you’re tagging them with the florists that are in the wedding or the colors that were highlighted or maybe the hospital that you did the birth photography in.

You also want to make sure that you are creating a featured image for your blog post and this in WordPress’s over on the right hand side. And that is the image that’s going to show whenever someone is sharing this link on Facebook. So this is that first image that kind of shows what it is. this blog post is about if you don’t set a future image, it just pulls the very first image that loads on your site and that could just be a background image on your website, in your header or maybe it’s your profile picture or something along those lines. Whatever the first thing, the way, however your website is formatted, whatever the very first picture is, that’s the one that’s going to pull. If you don’t go back and set the featured image to begin with. Now, if this list sounds a little bit crazy, a little over your head, and how would you ever keep it all straight?

I have two tools for you. First is a download with a checklist of all of these SEO things that you can download over at the show notes. And number two is the tool called Yoast, and this is my favorite tool. It’s a plugin for WordPress and it kind of makes sure that you’re checking all those boxes. It has a little progress bar on the top that goes from red to yellow to green based on the number of things that you are completing for each blog post before you hit publish. All right, so now that we have come up with all the ideas, we’ve put them into categories, we’ve scheduled them into our calendar and then we’ve started writing them out and we’ve hit publish. Then what? It’s time to share these blog posts. Now if you just post them and never share them anywhere else, I mean people might find them on Google here and there or if they’re kind of browsing your website, but that’s not really putting, these blog posts that you’ve worked so hard to create using them to their fullest potential.

So where can you share if these blog posts, first off, you can share them to the obvious? You can share them on Facebook, you can talk about them in an Instagram post and link them in your bio. You could talk about them on Instagram stories or Facebook stories. So you want to do all that kind of like the day that you posted them or maybe the day after you post them, right? If you are sharing a blog post of a client session or wedding, you can tag them in the post that you’re tenant sharing about this blog posts for, right? You also can share these in your email newsletter. So say you’re sending out a weekly newsletter, you could do a round up or a monthly newsletter. You could do a Roundup of all these posts that you’ve shared, right? That’s going to kind of let your current clients and past clients see what you’ve been up to, what you’ve got going on, and kind of keep them engaged, right?

You can also share these things later on. So your blog posts that your clients are consistently searching for. So things like wedding planning or what to wear to a session or what to pack in your hospital bag. These are what the marketing world calls evergreen content. So these are, blog posts that are going to be relevant to like this year’s brides and next year’s brides share some, things might change here and there as far as style goes. But the, the core of the blog post is going to stay relevant for a long time. And these are the kinds of posts that you want to share over and over again on social media because you’re constantly going to be getting new people following you on Instagram and on Facebook. So being able to share those posts again and again are going to help serve that new audience over and over again.

It’s also gonna serve, your audience later on cause maybe someone started following you when they weren’t quite engaged or maybe they weren’t expecting just yet and they don’t need to find out if they should do a first look or not. when they first started following you when you first shared it, but maybe they get engaged six months down the road and they’re planning a wedding in two and a half months and you share it again. that information is going to benefit them later on, even though they’ve seen it beforehand. Maybe they weren’t ready to take in that content beforehand, but they are the second time you share it. So don’t be afraid to share your post over and over again because really you are serving your clients. All of these posts are not jabbing things down their throat. You are educating them on what it’s like to be a bride and plan a wedding or helping them to enrich their families with, different ideas on how to celebrate the holidays or different craft ideas or what to wear at a session, right?

For newborn photographers, maybe you’re talking about what to pack in your hospital bag or nursery, the top three gifts to give at a baby shower, right? those are things that are helping to enrich their lives. So don’t feel guilty about sharing those. Those are good things. Those are things people want to learn more about and to re read about and get to know you about. Right. So you can schedule these once you share or your post goes live, you can go into Facebook and you can schedule posts to go up later on. Another tool that I absolutely love is the tool called CoSchedule, which will actually automatically, once you write out a blog post we’ll say, okay we’re going to share this in a week and we’re going to share it in a month. But this content is also evergreen green so we can share this maybe once a month or once every season or kind of fill it in.

So CoSchedule is this amazing, amazing tool for scheduling out your posts for Facebook and on Instagram and blogs. I don’t use it as much for Instagram because I like D C a visual side. I will share a different tool later on that I use for Instagram. But I’ve love it for sharing my blogging content. And they have a company is based in North Dakota. So I have to give a little shout out there cause there’s not a lot of us out there right now that we have kind of talked about all this. kind of giving us a little bit of a conclusion on what this podcast was all about. Remember we have those three types of content. We have the help content, which is kind of planting that seed, getting people to kind of find you online. You have your grow content, which is really watering in that relationship and fostering it.

So it’s, you’re sharing stuff about your life and your personal stuff, but you’re also sharing your most recent work. I’m really growing and fostering that relationship, right? And then you have that book content, that big announcement where you’re either releasing your family dates for the season or your mini sessions or you just put together your pricing guide for your 2020 weddings or your 2022 weddings, whatever it is, right? So those are those three types of content. You’re helping your grow, you’re going to have the most of and your book content. That big announcement is just a few times a year. That’s when you’re asking them to spend money with you, invest with you. Right. All right. Then we have our idea generation, right? We have the Pinterest scroll where we’re just kind of scrolling through. I’m getting different ideas based on the titles. We’re not clicking through to copy any of the text. We are mad libbing, so you can use that mad living where it’s like, you know, 10 things to avoid when this or taking a title and kind of reworking it based on whatever it is that you do. Right. The mad libbing is great to do on Pinterest. You can also do it on magazines or on headlines of new stuff. You’ve got your personal categories for your idea generation.

You also have your Roundup ideas, your lists, and listening to your people. So checking out those Facebook groups or serving your current clients.

All right. After we have generated some ideas, it’s time to categorize those ideas into our categories. Members, some ideas for categories for wedding photographers could be your engagement, your vendors, your wedding day, your personal, and your post wedding. Right for a newborn photographers, you could maybe do get pregnant, your pregnancy, the birthday postpartum, and then your personal, remember with all of your categories, you want to make sure that personal is one of your categories. Finally, we’re going to fill out our calendar. So the first thing that we put on our calendar is going to be our book content. so those big things where we are either going to be opening up dates for sessions or when we plan on having our new pricing guides available for wedding photographers and that type of thing. And then you’re going to fill in when you have your sessions booked and you’re going to blog those sessions after you complete them, then you’re going to start rotating through those categories.

So your engagements, your vendors, your wedding day, your post wedding day, your personal, your engagements, your wedding day, your post wedding day, your personal right. So you’re just going to go through all those and pull one topic from each of those categories in fill in your calendar. Once you filled in your calendar, it is time to batch write your blog posts. So pick a day each month. Write out all your blog posts on that day, schedule them, use Grammarly and let those posts go up automatically. Remember, you can also use CoSchedule if you would like to make sure that you’re scheduling them later on. When it comes to the anatomy of a good blog post, you want to make sure that you are using your blogging categories and good SEO practices. Remember, you can head to the show notes in this episode and grab the download for the checklist of all of the SEO things that you need to make sure that you are doing for each and every blog post to really throw some fuel on the fire and let these blog posts really start to take off.

And don’t forget that you don’t want to just post it and forget it. Make sure you’re sharing these blog posts. People you have worked so hard on it, so share them on Facebook. Put them on Instagram, Pinterest, your newsletter. Remember checkouts, CoSchedule. If you want to make sure that you’re kind of automating this a little bit so it goes up automatically. You don’t have to think about it. CoSchedule is definitely something that I would suggest. Thank you guys so much for joining me on another episode of the wise photographer podcasts. I know this one was a big one. There’s so much content in it. I hope that you guys got a lot out of it. Remember at the show notes over at the wise photographer, podcast.com you can find the visuals that go along with this episode as well as links to all of the tools that I use and the download for the SEO checklist. Thank you guys so much for tuning in. I will see you next week. Goodbye. Thanks for listening to the wise photographer podcast.

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