022: Why you need more than a headshot, Brianne Dosier from Brightly & Co.

We are so excited for today's episode!! Paul and I loved chatting with Brianne from Brightly & Co all about personality branding photography and how that plays a role in running your small creative business! Maybe you've made that first step in actually showing your face on your website/social media but does your business need more than just that headshot? We really dig into why or why not!! 

Brianne's Professional Bio: Brianne has been a photographer and branding strategist for over 10 years. She just didn’t always know it. These were the projects she did on the side, just for fun, and sometimes she even got paid. After years of pursuing her career in music, doing photography on the side and working as an administrator for a “real” job Brianne took a leap of faith and started her own company, Brightly & Co. (a heart-centered Branding Development company, via Design, Photography, Education & Encouragement). 

After experiencing the heart wrenching transition of a dream dying, Brianne knows what it takes to turn a new leaf and pursue that deep passion you may not have known was there. That’s why her heart is in supporting and helping other creatives learn, grow and pursue their passions. When she’s not cultivating brands for driven entrepreneurs, she’s usually teaching via video, having tea chats with friends and watching hilarious comedies (or Disney movies) with her fluffball Kitty and hunky boyfriend. 

Based in Portland Oregon, she loves exploring new cities and supporting other amazing creatives.

Why you need more than a headshot, Brianne Dosier, Brightly & Co. | Focused Podcast

Show Notes

What is personality branding photography? About being who you are and being OK with it and not trying to hide it in any way shape or form.

Advice for someone looking into branding photography 

  • Do some research
  • Find someone you are really comfortable with
  • Be aware of photos and things that you are really drawn too, not stuff that is trendy or hip

Is there a certain stage in someone's business for when branding photography makes more sense for them?

Things will change in your business as you progress, so be prepared for the fact that if you invest in this early on you will probably be re-investing in a few years. 

Cinnamons personal advice: Get your face on your website!!! 

Tips for getting people to be more comfortable in front of the camera:

  • Act like an idiot
  • Meet them before the session
  • Compliment throughout the session
  • Educate while taking the photos, talk the entire time
  • Explain why you are taking certain photos, compositions, uses etc...helps take the photo off themselves

When investing in branding photography, you NEED more than just a headshot. Stock photography or shots showcasing how you do your business are essential. 

Three things who is now convinced they need branding photography:

  • Do the research and take your time on getting the right photographer
  • Interview and don't price shop
  • Do some self-reflection on what you want to portray, determine your core values

Three favorite tools, system or tech

  • Dubsado
  • Asana
  • Quickbooks Online
  • Squarespace
  • Meet Edgar
  • ConvertKit

Brightly & Co : Website | Instagram | Podcast 

021: Are you a business or a hobby? Paul & Cinnamon

In today's episode Paul and I are discussing if you are a business or a hobby. The distinction is not always clear and we break down the differences between the two as well as go into what the IRS says which, let's face it, is the most important thing to consider. There are 9 questions to ask yourself to make the determination and we go through each one! It's not as nerdy as it sounds I promise! 

Are you a business or a hobby? 

Show Notes

  • There is NOTHING wrong with having a hobby! ;-)
  • Side hustle doesn't automatically indicate a hobby

Tax implications: If you aren't a business, you can't take business deductions. 

Cinnamons personal opinion: If you CHARGE people money for your products or services, you have a business

IRS distinction between business or hobby

9 Questions: 

  • Does the time and effort put into the activity indicate an intention to make a profit?
  • Do you depend on income from the activity?
  • If there are losses, are they due to circumstances beyond your control or did they occur in the start-up phase of the business?
  • Have you changed methods of operation to improve profitability?
  • Do you have the knowledge needed to carry on the activity as a successful business?
  • Have you made a profit in similar activities in the past?
  • Does the activity make a profit in some years?
  • Do you expect to make a profit in the future from the appreciation of assets used in the activity?

If you answered “yes” a lot, then your activity is more likely a business than a hobby. If you’re still unsure, there’s always the profitability test.

  • If you generated a profit in at least three of the last five tax years, including the current tax year, then the IRS considers it a for-profit activity.

020: How to finally get published, Randy & Ashley

Today Paul and I are chatting with Randy and Ashley Durham of Randy and Ashley Studios and we are spilling ALLLLL the good info on how to get your work published as a photographer!

Randy & Ashley have been published an obscene amount of times (listen to find out how many!) and have some really REALLY awesome tips and strategies so that you can think through a process before you even start shooting that will set you up for success when it comes to getting your work published. This is one you don't want to miss! Links and show notes below! 

How to finally get published as a photographer

Show Notes

  • International Academy of Wedding Photographers
  • They average 65-75 publications/year and their goal for this year is 100
  • They submit every shoot they do, engagements and weddings and they focus on non-exclusive so they might get one shoot published multiple times. 
  • The more publications you get the more organic SEO backlinks you get. 
  • Use hashtag #huffpostido to potentially get published on Huffington Post. 

How has getting published affected your business?

  • Increased the circle of trust

How do you find the right blogs?

Two Bright Lights

Knowing where to submit

  • Don't change your style to fit a publication
  • Shoot with the publication in mind
  • Know who you are and what the blogs want

Two Bright Lights does have other blogs to submit too for families, seniors and housing sites. Only thing they are lacking is boudoir. 

Matchology through Aisle Perfect 

Green Wedding Shoes, Junebug Weddings, Style me Pretty don't use submission sites

System for getting published:

  • Pick favorites from weddings- pick 100-150 and put them on TBL
  • Send out questionnaires to couples during the process and use the info from the questionnaires to create the blog story - FOUR different questionnaires
  • Copy and paste their own blog story and put it into the Album story in TBL
  • Tag the submission
  • TBL will filter to the blogs that are accepting submissions for those tags

Three most important steps for someone looking to get published:

  • Make sure you have vendor information, vendors appreciate when you go out of your way to include them
  • Stay consistent
  • Research where you are going to submit to make sure its a good fit

They do have specific and consistent relationships with certain publications but they are always looking out for additional places that are good fits. 

They do also focus on local blogs depending on where they are shooting (shooting outside of their hometown). 

How do you deal with rejection when it comes to getting published?

  • Like water off a duck's back. Just resubmit!!
  • Rejection usually comes with not doing proper research

Randy & Ashley's Info: 

Website | Instagram | Join their newsletter! 

019: CONNECT Retreat recap, Paul & Cinnamon

In today's episode Paul and I recap our time at CONNECT Retreat! 

CONNECT Retreat is a marriage and business conference held at the Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA! This is the fifth year of CONNECT and our second year going. We love this time to reconnect as a couple, meet lots of other amazing couples and spend time really digging into ourselves and our marriages. 

God has done a lot of powerful things for people during this time and marriages have been restored in amazing and mighty ways. We love learning the lessons that God has for us as a married couple as well as being witness to what He is doing for others. Its kind of mind blowing, and amazing and just crazy awesome to be a part of it all. 

We talk a bit about what CONNECT is and our drive down to GA and then how we spent our time during the retreat. This episode is totally not photography or business related, but we really feel passionate about pouring into our marriage and into the lives of others and we feel that CONNECT retreat is such an amazing way to do this. We hope you enjoy it! 

Paul & Cinnamon at Connect Retreat in Rome, GA at the Winshape Retreat Center
Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA

Our awesome small group: Paul & I, Andrew & Janelle, Brian & Katrina, Leigh & Marten, Luke & Ashley

We had SUCH an awesome time connecting, laughing and praying with all of these amazing people. WE love you!!! 

Connect Retreat at Winshape Retreat Center in Rome, GA

018: 3 networking tips you can implement today in your business, Elizabeth Henson

Networking. It's one of those things you either love or hate. Or hate to love? Either way, figuring out how to network, and how to feel good about networking can be tough as a business owner. Today on the podcast, Elizabeth Henson is breaking down three super actionable and easy steps we can implement TODAY in our businesses!! 

Owner of Elizabeth Henson Photos and Creative dreamer of a world where more women choose to do what they love every day. After career hopping and finally leaving the 9-5 grind Elizabeth settled into entrepreneurship and running a full time business photographing weddings. Elizabeth has work published in magazines, books, and online but is truly known for her passion for business and helping other women succeed. 90s music and yoga keep her grounded and spending time with husband Mark and two daughters Gracie and Maddison. Elizabeth's current mission is to grow her creative community known as Creatives Live Happy and provide support to emerging creativepreneurs all over the nation. 

3 networking tips you can implement today in your business

Show Notes

3 Networking tips:

  • Step outside of the box
  • Don't be afraid to shout out other people 
  • Step outside your industry

Elizabeth's Video

The Girl Tyler

Things Elizabeth can't live without: 17Hats and Lightroom, Evernote, Trello, Sugar Paper planners

Color Theory blog post

25 Networking Tips

Elizabeth Henson Photos Website | Instagram | Education

Creatives Live Happy Website | Instagram

017: Gear transitions and when to make them, Paul & Cinnamon

Bodies and lenses, lenses and bodies. So much gear to think about and consider when you start a photography business!! I've had my fair share of gear throughout the past four years of being in business and have learned a lot about what you need, what you don't need, my favorites and when you should be actually buying new gear and when its really just frivolous. 

When to make gear transitions in a photography business | What gear do I buy first as a photographer?

The entire list of ALL of my gear with links on where to purchase can be found in the Tool Box! Check it out HERE and get the comprehensive list of everything mentioned in this episode plus waaaaay more! 

016: Building a brand that grows with you, Samantha Mabe from Lemon & the Sea

BRAND. Its such a buzzword right now. Everyone's talking about branding and re-branding and having an authentic brand and on and on and on....What does it all mean? How do we as small business owners think about our own brands and how to create them? When is the right time to think about branding your business and how can we build brands that are authentic but also flexible to grow with us as our businesses grow? 

Today Paul and I are chatting with Samantha Mabe from Lemon & the Sea and we are tackling all the hard questions! 

Building a brand that grows with you Samantha Mabe, Lemon & the Sea

Show Notes

11:00 What does it mean to have a brand? 

How to help figure out what your brand is:

  • Look for threads in your life
  • Ask other people

Relating your brand with your ideal client

More of the heart behind their business. Sometimes it's what you enjoy about your business that translates into what your ideal client is also interested in. 

Steps people can take to make their brand more flexible: 

  • Keep things simple and classic, stay away from things that are super trendy
  • Don't choose a platform that will limit you from growth - start with something that is flexible (Squarespace is a good option ;-) ) 

33:00 Tips for making a Pinterest board for your designer

Three steps for someone just starting to think about creating a brand?

  • Do a "soft launch", reach out to and work with people who you think might be your ideal clients
  • Don't worry about following trends...follow your own style...if what you like is trendy that's OK! Stick with it because you will probably always like it 
  • Figure out what it is that you love about your dream clients

Two tech/software system you can't live without:

Samantha's Website | Instagram

015: Paul & Cinnamon, History Part 2

A continuation of our history! We left you last time with us living in the middle of the California desert! We pick up there and talk about what led Cinnamon to starting her photography business and how she built Cinnamon Wolfe Photography. We also discuss our move to NJ and how we grew despite moving all the way across the country! 

The history of Paul and Cinnamon, part 2 | Focused Podcast

Thanks for listening! We sooo appreciate you. More episodes below if you want to catch up on anything. 

This episode is brought to you by The Supply Closet which is a one stop shop for photographers and small business owners looking for resources to help them grow their business! Find out more info HERE

014: Infusing your personality into your business, Eric & Jamie

Today on Focus(ed) Podcast, Paul and I are chatting with Eric & Jamie Gay from Eric & Jamie Photography! 

Eric & Jamie are masters at infusing their personality into their business and online presence. They have built a solid wedding photography business in Birmingham, Alabama by connecting with couples on a personal level and going the extra mile. We talk a lot about their awesome "cue the confetti" videos as well as how you can go about infusing your personality into your business even if you think you don't have much of a personality to share or if you are nervous about sharing so much online. 

We also chat about their conversation with Dave Ramsey that led them to go full time, and all four of us came up with an awesome new business idea that I am convinced will make millions. Enjoy the episode!!

Eric & Jamie Photography: We are a full-time husband and wife wedding photography team serving Birmingham, Alabama and beyond. Together, we create timeless, joyful images that last generations. We've been married for three years, together for ten, and we think marriage is the biggest blessing in the world. We live in the suburbs with our two cats, and most of our free time is spent finding new shows to binge watch, or enjoying a big bowl of queso with friends!

Show Notes

06:00 - unexpected snowball of their business

09:00 - Dave Ramsey story! 

They are going to be with their couples for 8-10 hours a day, it's important for them to like each other. They want to showcase their personality on their social presence as much as possible to help encourage those relationships. Couples can vet them beforehand, what you see is what you get. 

17:10 Cue the confetti - just happened. They would have pandora on, couples would dance and they were looking for a unique way to celebrate how awesome marriage is. They were so nervous the first time they posted, but it totally paid off. 

25:00 - our new brilliant business idea

Three things you might tell someone who doesn't think they have a "good enough" personality to put into their business: 

1) It's expected in this market to share something...clients and couples want to connect with you 

2) It is a way to separate yourself from the crowd. Who you are and what you bring to the table is the top way to differentiate yourself from everyone else. 

3) Don't overthink it! 

They can't run their business without:

Jamie: can't run it without Eric and vice versa <-----all the heart eyes!!!

Website | Jamie's IG | Eric's IG | Joint IG

013:Paul & Cinnamon history, Part 1

In case you've missed our previous announcements, Paul and I are moving up to two episodes a week and we could not be more excited! We are going to be releasing one episode a week where Paul and I discuss general photography or business related subjects and then one interview episode a week! 

We are starting off with a little a history of us! This is a 2 part episode and in this first one Paul and I talk a bit about our own respective histories before we met and got married and then also into how we met and the first part of our married life! Next week we move on to discussing some of our moves and the creation of the photography business and growth as we moved to New Jersey! We hope you enjoy the episode! 

012: Transitions in business, Courtney Slazinik of Click it up a Notch

Today on Focus(ed) Podcast I'm talking with Courtney Slazinik of Click it up a Notch, where she teaches moms how to take better pictures of their kids. Courtney has faced some pretty big transitions in not only her life but also her business, so today we are going through what some of those transitions were, how she handled them and what advice she has for others who also might be facing big transitions in their own life or business. 

Courtney has been running her blog for over 7 years and has tons of amazing and actionable advice not only for moms looking to take better pictures of their kids but also for business owners looking to next level their own business. 

Paul missed out on our conversation for this episode, but its still a great episode and I think you will really enjoy it! 

Also, The Supply Closet is launching soon! We talk a little bit about this as well! Eeekk!! 

How to make transitions in your business | Courtney Slazinik | Click it up a Notch

Show Notes

The first few years will be a lot of work with potentially not a lot of reward. 

Every year in her business she has wanted to quit, you are not alone if you have ever wanted to throw in the towel in your business. 

Sometimes you just have to start, you won't know everything when you do, so some transitions will be necessary. You learn as you go. 

She never thought she would have other people write for her, but she had to outsource that at some point. Huge transition that was so positive. 

She initially thought ads would be how she would monetize, but transitioned into digital product sales, workshops and partnering with other people in the photography worlds. 

ASK people what they want! Book referenced in the show: Ask: The counterintuitive online method to discover exactly what your customers want to buy by Ryan Levesque

Transitions in life: prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Her family is absolute priority so when the big transitions take place, the focus goes to what is most important. 

MeetEdgar - social media scheduling tool

Three things to someone facing a transition:

  • Give yourself grace- you don't always have to be go, go, going! Its OK to not want to rule the world. 
  • Look at what you can outsource and look at what you can let go of. Tell yourself you will try it for a few months and then if it doesn't work you can take it back. 
  • Understand that no one is paying as much to your business as you are

Tech/System suggestions:


Assigning certain tasks to certain days - 90day year

Storybrand by Donald Miller

Website | Instagram | Facebook 


011: Is blogging essential for photographers? Alex Peterson from Idalia Photography

Today on the podcast Paul and I are chatting with Alex Peterson from Idalia Photography which is a wedding and newborn photography studio located in New Jersey. Alex is a blogging master and has seen amazing success by focusing on a strong blogging strategy which has ultimately led her to be able to refer out 60+ wedding inquiries a year because she is already booked up. 

We cover what blogging has done for her business (she goes into her google analytics) and some of the important blogging tools that can help photographers to make blogging easier. 

Enjoy the episode! Some of the links mentioned in the show are listed below! 

Is blogging essential for photographers? | Focused Podcast

Show Notes

Google Analytics

Blogging for Photographers Facebook Group | Instagram


Alex's website: Idalia Photography
Instagram | Facebook 

Alex's viral blog post on engagement locations: NJ Engagement Photo Locations

Advice for photographers regarding blogging:

  • It does get easier!! Shortcuts are key. Incorporate questionnaires into workflows. 
  • Include blogging into your workflow
  • Get an editorial calendar/blog strategy

Tools to make blogging easier