030: Balancing your business with your kids, Jill Gum

We are so excited for today's episode as its a subject that gets talked a lot about in facebook groups and forums but I don't really hear it being talked about all that often on podcasts or blogs. What is it actually like to run a full time creative small business while also running a family with small children involved? I don't have any personal experience with small kids....teenagers yes, but little ones...no, so today we are bringing Jill from Jill Gum Photography on to the show to talk about how she has been able to start, run and grow a thriving wedding business while also having two kids under 5. 

She shares tons of great strategies with us today on the show! So if this is you and you are thinking to yourself, "how in the world am I going to manage all of this?!?!?"....listen to the episode and know that you can do it and we are rooting for you!!! 

Jill's professional bio: Jill Gum started her professional photography career as a first time mother and music teacher on an extended maternity leave. After earning her Bachelors Degree in Music Education, Jill taught high school choir for 8 years, after which she resigned to focus on her photography business. She photographs a few portrait sessions each year, but specializes in high-end weddings in Illinois and beyond. Jill is also a blogger, educator, and speaker, offering coaching sessions, newsletters, and workshops for every level of photographer and small business owner. Jill and her husband, Michael, photograph around 20 weddings a year together while raising two toddlers in their country home. She has been featured by a number of wedding blogs and is the Rising Tide Society leader in Springfield, Illinois. Through her educational offerings, Jill seeks to encourage and equip photographers to build profitable and life-changing businesses that afford them the lifestyle they dream.

Balancing your business with also having small children

Show Notes

Biggest challenge? 


Biggest benefit?


Strategies to help balancing

  • You have to find a way to carve time out (that is not nap time) to work. Schedule in dedicated work time that isn't just "fit in" where it could be. 
  • Have a separate work space for work. 
  • Before you are able to have dedicated work time, you need to utilize nap time very very well. 
  • Try not to work at night after the kids go to bed. Utilize that time for your marriage. Might not work all the time, but making it a priority is important!
  • Be willing to ask for help
  • Outsource

Three things for people feeling like they can't do it!

  • You CAN do it!!
  • Ask for help
  • Take baby steps - don't compare to others who are not in a similar life stage as you. Decide what is right for your family

Favorite software or apps?

Get in touch with Jill!

Website | Instagram 

029: Staying productive while working from home (Part 2), Paul & Cinnamon

We are continuing last weeks episode with the remaining 5 ways to stay productive while working from home! 

Staying productive while working from home

Show Notes

5 additional ways to stay productive

  • Take naps
  • Work when no one else is around
  • Don't leave internet browser tabs open
  • Schedule social media posts (I recommend SmarterQueue & Planoly)
  • Eat Lunch! 

028: Do I need brand Photography? Mallika Malhotra of Mikifoto + Co.

Brand photography. What do you think of when you hear that phrase? It's not super clear so we are talking with Mallika from @mikifotoco today all about what it is, why you need it, what it can do for your business, where you can find brand photographers, what they should be asking you and how to balance creative control if you are also a photographer. It is a power packed episode! So excited for all of the knowledge Mallika drops in the show!

Mallika's professional bio: Mallika Malhotra of Mikifoto + Co is a professional photographer and brand story strategist who works with women entrepreneurs and small business owners. She is on a mission to empower thousands of women to own their story with confidence and be the face of their business. She combines her strategic business sense, her creativity and her photography skills to help women in business stand out and emerge as leaders in their industry. She specializes in brand photography, messaging and strategy.

Based in northern NJ, Mallika also teaches live workshops on photo styling, vision boarding and social media. She is known for being a connector and creating supportive communities of passionate and purpose driven women. 

Prior to launching her photography business, Mallika worked at big advertising agencies like McCann-Erickson, Saatchi & Saatchi, and DDB, on global brands like L'Oreal, Oil of Olay and Clorox. She has a Masters in Marketing from Emerson College and a Bachelors of Business Administration from the University of Michigan. 

When she is not taking photos or building brands, she is at home with her three sons and husband, drinking coffee or red wine and dreaming about their next global adventure.

Do I need brand photography? 

Show Notes:

Brand Photography....what is it? What is the definition? 

Customized photographs that share the essence or story of your brand. Not only a headshot, they are visuals that show who you are, what you do and what it FEELS like to work with you. A deeper journey of what your business is and what you stand for. 

How do you find brand photographers? And why is it important to work with one?

  • Instagram, google etc...
  • They will ask different questions and think through the session differently
  • Pre-process is much more in depth

How do you prepare for brand photography (especially as a photographer, balancing creative control) 

  • Finding the right person is key. Focus on your brand story and let them take over the execution. 
  • Remaining focused on the bigger picture of what your brand story is communicating is imperative. 

The brand photographer should be asking an extensive amount of questions to really dig in and understand how to communicate the brand story. It is a very strategic and thoughtful process. 

Three apps or software

  • Dropbox
  • Instagram
  • PicTapGo

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Contact Mallika at mallika@mikifoto.com or 352.682.2533 for more information.

027: Staying productive while working from home (Part 1), Paul & Cinnamon

Working from home and staying productive can be a CHALLENGE. #canigetanamen? 

Today, Paul and I are chatting about different ways that I (Cinnamon) has increased my productivity while working in an home environment where there are lots of distractions (and Netflix)! This is part 1 of a 2 part series...we talk about 5 ways in this episode and we round out the last five in next weeks episodes! 

Staying productive while working from home 

Show Notes

5 ways to stay productive:

  • Get rid of notifications
  • Time block
  • Take breaks
  • No go days
  • Batch process

026: Photography Business: How to get started, Daniel Grove

Today Paul and I are chatting with Daniel from Daniel Grove Photography about the bare bones basics (say that three times fast!) of starting a photography business! We cover lots of great information around your mindset at the very beginning, four basic spreadsheets to get you started (they are linked below) and the exact equipment needed in order to get started (its not as extensive as you think!) Its a great conversation and a must listen for anyone on the very front end of their photography business journey!!

Daniels professional bio: I discovered photography early in high school as an extension of my creativity and artistic talent. From there it evolved from a hobby of still life and simple portraits to a full business of varying services. I capture families, weddings, babies, cosplay and everything in between. I love pushing the limits of what can be done in a single photo and making art that will be enjoyed for generations to come. All while making genuine relationships with people and giving them a great experience.

getting started in the business of photography

Show Notes

Where does someone start when they think they might want to start a business?

  1. Find out what you are passionate in capturing and then also what you are good at (if you aren't good you can learn, but its helpful to be good as well) 

  2. Professional mindset
    1. Have good conversation
    2. Keep good records
    3. Quick response time
  3. Equipment
    1. Know your gear well 


You should have these four spreadsheets when you start out. You can use Excel, Numbers or Google Sheets (<---- Free!!)

Daniel has graciously shared examples of all four of these for you to check out so you can use/tweak them for your own use! Just click the links below ;-)  

  1. Financial Records
  2. Lead Tracking
  3. Price Calculator
  4. Photo Locations

What gear does someone need to get started?

You don't need to buy the latest and greatest!! Don't believe the hype! Look up reviews and forums to do research. 

SnapSort.com - for comparing camera bodies 

  • Start with a Rebel, T4i or even a T3i, 80D and a 50mm 1.8 lens STM
  • You don't need a flash to start, but if you want to get one, start out with the Yongnuo brand...Yongnuo 560iv and eneloop batteries. 
  • Get a good memory card. 90mbs
  • External hard drive
  • Pearstone lens case

Three things you'd tell someone thinking about starting a photography business: 

  1. Find a community online, facebook group and a local one to your city
  2. Get a mentor and offer to assist them
  3. Listen to podcasts!! Other good ones - Improve Photography & Photo Taco

Where can people find you online?

Website | Instagram | Facebook | YouTube

025: On being an introverted business owner, Paul & Cinnamon

So pumped for today's episode!! Paul and I are talking all about what it's like to be an introverted business owner. This is a subject that I (Cinnamon) is super passionate about and there are a lot of misconceptions about introverts out there and I'm on a mission to tackle those misconceptions and change the way the world thinks about the word introvert. 

Lots of good stuff in the show notes below and even more good stuff in the actual episode so take a lesson!! 

Being an introverted business owner | Focused Podcast

Show Notes

What does it mean to be an introvert? 

Misconception: Introverts are shy and don't want to be around people. They are in a shell and need to "come out of their shell". 

Being an introvert is a temperament. You are born one way or the other, but we CAN flex between the two fairly easily especially those who are close to the middle of the scale. 

Introverts are easily stimulated by activity, novelty or new situations. Once you get comfortable with people or situations you are still the same person you are just not as overly stimulated by the situation. 

Introverts are normal. There is nothing wrong with being an introverts. Introverts out number extroverts in America. 

Quiet: The power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking by Susan Cain

Photo sessions as an introvert 

First photo session where I got paid: got panicky, stomach upset, overly planned, didn't know the family all that well. After the session, felt like got hit by a truck. Totally overly stimulating and was "on" the entire hour so I was SPENT afterward. 

Don't think nervousness before a shoot is specific to introverts, but brand new situations tend to be super hard for introverts and pretty much every photo shoot is a situation that is brand new and has the potential for something to go wrong or happen that you weren't prepared for. 

Sessions and weddings have gotten easier with time and practice but I am still really spent after them due to the amount of energy that has to be expensed. Which leads to the next point.....

Down Time

Introverts get energy from solitude or quiet or self-reflection. Energy tank needs to be refilled after highly stimulating situations. So introverts can tend to tire more easily or need more breaks in order to stay "on" in long stimulating activities. 

Schedule time on the calendar to recharge or not overbook yourself. You will maintain maximum energy levels if you schedule in breaks. 

Phone Calls

Phone calls can be tough for introverts....maybe not necessarily personal phone calls, but business or client calls may be extremely tough for introverts because you may not be able to be as prepared as you'd like to be. 

You can work around this and do what works for you....you can still book clients without jumping on the phone right away. 


Networking can be terrifying for introverts. Walking into a room full of strangers where you know no one can be intimidating for introverts. 

Introverts can network differently. They don't have to network the stereotypical or traditional way of networking. 

I have learned how to make networking work for me as an introvert. E-Book on Networking for Introverts. 

024: Changing your business name, KC England

We even get a little bit into birth photography and how to make it work when you also photograph other types of sessions! 

KC England's professional Bio: KC England is a natural light photographer based in Eastern Washington. KC photographs families, seniors, births, and weddings and strives to capture light and connection in a beautiful and meaningful way with every session. She lives with her husband, 3 girls (twins, age 15 and a 5 year old) and 2 crazy cats. She loves holidays, traditions, movie nights, home decorating, and Target. She also loves to travel, but being at home is her most favorite place on earth.

How do I change my business name, KC England | Focused Podcast

Show Notes

16:00: The story of how KC and I met and why a name change for her business even started

17:05: Why KC chose the Leaving a Mark Photography name originally. 

What goes into changing your business name? 

  • Checked the domain right away and bought it right away even before she decided to change her name. She bought just her name domain and didn't add "photography" to the end. 
  • Get the instagram handle ASAP 
  • Did the entire rebranding process. She used Leesa Dykstra Designs.
  • After the rebranding is all done, update all of the places where branding is present 

How did you announce the change or let people know? 

Mostly social media and a few emails to let people know about the change

Official business changes?

  • Not the clearest process, but she did change the name officially with the state for tax changes. 
  • Process was relatively painless and she did it all online. 
  • It will feel overwhelming at first but then everything starts falling into place. 

What has the response been since changing her name? 

Overall there is a greater connection. Before the change people wouldn't make the connection between HER and her business name. 

Things for someone thinking about changing their business name? 

  • Go for it! If you are thinking about it, you are probably sensing a disconnect so start the process! Its never too late as well. Our work is always and growing and changing. 
  • If URL is not available, come up with an alternative and the have your logo as your "official" business name. You can redirect your old URL as well to the new one to handle people who still search for your old business name

Favorite apps/software?  

  • Lightroom
  • Photomechanic
  • Instagram
  • Ink - send actual cards from your phone. GO CHECK THIS OUT!! It's AWESOME!!! 

Where to find KC: Website | Instagram 

023: Top 5 tools for new photographers, Paul & Cinnamon

I looove talking about tools. Especially tools that make your job as a photography business owner easier! Today Paul and I are chatting about which five tools are the most important for you to invest in as early as possible in your photography career. They will all save you time, headaches and money the earlier you invest! 

top 5 tools for new photographers

Show Notes

Top 5 tools for new photographers

  • Lightroom
  • Blogstomp
  • Photomechanic
  • 17hats
  • Squarespace

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