The ultimate guide to the lightroom catalog

First, can I just say I love that you are here!!

However you landed on this blog post, I'm happy that you are interested in knowing MORE about the mechanics behind the scenes of editing your photos. 

I can tell you from personal experience, that understanding more about HOW things are working behind the scenes will help save you SO MUCH TIME when something crazy happens and you don't know how to fix it!! 

YAY For empowering yourself to save time in the long run!! 

OK, now that I got all that gushy stuff out of the way, let's get down to business. This post is going to go into a crazy amount of information on how to do LOTS of things when it comes to your Lightroom catalog. 

If talking about the LR Catalog is still kind of new for you and you want to start more at the beginning...go check out this post about LR Catalogs 101!

 How to use a Lightroom Catalog working with a private editor

This post will address a lot of the issues or confusion that I see people talking about in groups and/or have dealt with with my private editing clients. 

Once you start working with someone else, knowing how your Lightroom catalog works becomes so much more important, but it's not something that a lot of photographers who don't outsource really have to deal with. 

We are going to address all of the following below:

  • Knowing where to find your catalog on your hard drive
  • Figuring out which system is best for you (one catalog per year, one total or one per session) 
  • How to export a session into a new catalog
  • How to import one catalog into another 
  • How to utilize dropbox and smart previews to make sharing a catalog a breeze
  • My top tips for workflow/organization and catalog maintenance 

#1 - How to find your Lightroom Catalog on your hard drive

This video walks you through exactly where to find your current Lightroom catalog and also where I recommend to keep your catalog going forward. It's important to know where to find your catalog in case you need to access backups or move the catalog to another location. 

#2 - How to create new Lightroom Catalogs for sessions, or per year

A lot of photographers like to use more than one Lightroom catalog. They either use one for every wedding or they make new catalogs per month or per year. This video walks you through that process. 

#3 - How to export a folder out of Lightroom into its own catalog

Want to take a session or wedding out of your current catalog and put it into it's own catalog on it's own? Maybe to share with an assistant or private editor? This video walks you through exactly how to do that! 

#4 - How to import one catalog into another

Have a catalog that you want to put BACK into another? Easy peasy, just check out this video! 

#5 - Using Dropbox and Smart Previews

My favorite combination! I love using dropbox and smart previews to make my catalogs super flexible and easy to access from two different computers! 

#6 - Best workflow and maintenance tips for your catalog

My top tips for catalog maintenance and workflow! 

Whew!! Well, there you have it. Everything you ever wanted to know about the Lightroom catalog! I really hope you found all of this information helpful and also that you feel more confident when dealing with your Lightroom catalog!

Looking for some one on one help to get your business moving in the right direction? Check out my strategy sessions! 90 minutes of dedicated time to get the answers you need to start moving forward and growing your business! 

How to organize your photos as a photographer step by step guide

Photo organization. 

Do those two words make you cringe a little bit? 

I know that organizing your photos can be one of those things that makes your head hurt but I promise you once you have the system down, you don't really have to think about it anymore.

And getting some sort of system down sooner than later is going to save you OODLES of time and lots of headaches down the road!! 


 How to organize your photos as a photographer step by step guide

Start with a brain dump


The best place to start when it comes to organizing your photos is to take 15 minutes, grab a sheet of paper and a pen or pencil (or a bunch of colored pens/pencils if that's your thing) and jot down all the types of pictures you need to organize. 

For example: 

  • RAW images
  • Client images that are full resolution
  • Client images that are web sized
  • Blog images 
  • Album images
  • Social Media Images 
  • Images for your portfolio or website 
  • Images that you take on your phone
  • Images that might come from other people that you might use for something (social media etc...) 
  • Personal images
  • Phone images
  • etc.....


Then you need to determine where you will need to access those photos from. In other words, where will you be when you need to access a certain photo from one of the categories above? (This can be one of the most frustrating things EVA...not having access to certain photos when you need them). 

For example: 

  • Your main computer or desktop hard drive
  • External hard drive
  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • iPad
  • Another computer (like you are logging in from a hotel etc...) 

Knowing WHERE you need to access the photos FROM is the crux of the entire system. If all of your social media images are sitting on your external hard drive at home and you are wanting to post on Instagram and have no access to those photos it can be very frustrating. 

Having access when needed is where you will save yourself the majority of headaches! 

Watermarks and sizing etc...

The last thing you need to think about during this brain dump is whether or not you need to add categories based on how you will be displaying the images. For example, if you want images that include watermarks for social media but not for your website, you'll have to further delineate your categories to make sure everything has a specific place based on size/display etc...

>>> Wanna know my stance on watermarking? <<< 

Organizing into a system

Ok, once you have brain dumped everything into categories'll need to create the overall system that everything will fall into.

***It's important to remember that depending on the system that you create for yourself, you might potentially have the same photo in two different places. Sometimes, since photos serve different purposes this is totally fine but its a good thing to really think about ahead of time so you don't overwhelm yourself (or your hard drive!) 

It's also important to note that when you are creating your system, the combination of the TYPE of photos you are dealing with and WHERE you'll need to access them from will help simplify the process. 

For example...

  • Photos that I take for clients (family sessions, engagements, weddings etc...) that need to go through an editing process etc...will need a slightly different system than other types of photos (stock images I purchase or phone photos). AND I typically won't need to access those photos (that the clients will be receiving) from my phone so I can keep them on an external hard drive. 
  • Photos I need to access from a laptop or on my phone (mostly images I'll be using on social media or on my website etc...) will need to be more readily accessible so putting them in dropbox or google drive is a better idea. 

By type or by date?

The two most common methods I have seen for photo organization usually center around type of photos or by date photos were taken. 

Personally I am a huge fan and proponent of organizing by date. Dates are objective and they are what they are. Sometimes when organizing by type there is some subjectivity about what type of photos they actually are and also you have the potential of having a LOT of different types of photos and not remembering where you put them. 

Dates however are easy to understand and organize. You can start with the year and then delineate by month and by day and then by a description of what it was that you took photos of. I can still easily find photos taken years ago by simply clicking through the various months from the year they were taken until I come across what I'm looking for. 

photo organization system by year month and day | How to organize your photos as a photographer

Once you have an idea of HOW you'll be organizing the majority of your photos, you can start creating folders and/or a system to keep everything in. 

  • I like to create the yearly and monthly folders at the start of every year so they are all ready for me and I don't have to create them on the fly. 
  • You'll also notice from the photo above, that I include 1_ 2_ front of the months. This helps keep everything nice and tidy when you organize by name. 
  • I try to keep EVERYTHING together under each session so I know where to find things. So all of the RAW images, client images and blog images will be in the same folder for each client. 
photographer file organization by year on a mac computer by year month and day | How to organize your photos

And again, I add the 1- and 2- in front of the Client and Blog folders so that they will show up on top of the folder when I organize by name. It just saves time from scrolling down to find what you are looking for. 

Organizing social media and website images

This has probably been one of your biggest challenges (I know, because it has been one of mine!) 

Choosing which images you want to share on social media, sizing them (potentially watermarking them) and knowing where to put them so you can access them when you need them (without searching for hours and hours) is exhausting. 

I'm kind of exhausted just thinking about it. 

I've tried LOTS of different things over the years and have finally found a solution that works relatively well as long as you stick with the system and don't get lazy. <---that will get you EVERY time and ends up costing you MORE time in the long run. 

The absolute best and easiest way I have found for organizing social media images is through Dropbox. 

If you aren't totally familiar with Dropbox, you should be. Its an awesome cloud-storage solution that will help you stay connected to what you need whenever you need it. Dropbox allows me to edit the same photos from both my laptop and my desktop and have access to images and files from my phone, or any computer or web browser I might be using. 

I simply created a folder in my Dropbox and titled it "Social Media" and then after every session or wedding that I am done with I do the following:

  • I choose images that I might want to share on my social media or put on my website
  • I resize them (you could use blogstomp or export them from LR as a smaller file size) 
  • I add them to the Social Media folder in whatever category fits best
File organization for keeping social media images in dropbox and then organized by category

Organizing and backing up your phone photos. 

This is actually one thing that I was doing even before I started my business that has worked seamlessly for me for years. 

If you currently use Dropbox and have it added as an app on your phone, you can update the settings to automatically sync your photos taken from your phone right to your Dropbox. 

This way you know that all of your phone photos are already backed up into your Dropbox account and you don't have to back them up else ware. 

The photos from your phone will also be easily accessible from anywhere you can access Dropbox (like your computers or the web). Its the BEST and I literally recommend it to everyone. 

Every few months, I also go into the folder in Dropbox and create monthly folders and then add the photos into those folders to further organize and keep track of all of my phone photos. This makes it SO easy to find things when I need too!! 

syncing your phone photos into dropbox | How to keep your photos organized

Hopefully this post has given you some ideas about a good way to structure and organize your photos from not only your business but also your personal. 

Staying organized does take a little bit of work on the front end but it will end up saving you HOURS and hours of time on the back end when you are looking for that ONE photo that you just can't seem to find. Pinky swear. ;-) 

Now go get organized!! 

Interested in talking with me one on one about getting organized? Or just want to get #alltheanswers to your business questions in one sitting? A Strategy Session might be right for you!
Get more info here!! 

Getting started with SEO - The basics of all basics

SEO is SUCH a hot topic right now. It seems like everywhere you look online or in forums people are talking about SEO. 

  • Where to get started
  • What does it all mean
  • HOW to I get on page 1 of google and stay there
  • Do I even need good SEO? I mean it seems like I do, but do I really? 

If you have asked these questions you are not alone. Even though most people in your life who don't run small businesses have no idea about SEO, they encounter the results of SEO every single day. 

So if you run a small business and have any sort of web presense at all, you should have a basic understanding of what SEO is, how you can get started making sure you are utilizing good SEO practices for your business and WHY any of this even matters. 

 The basics of SEO 2018

Like most things that have to do with running a business, you need to have a clear purpose and goal behind focusing your efforts on SEO.

Even saying "my goal is to get to page one of google" isn't clear or directed enough. 

Page one? There technically is no page one. There is only page one for every single search term someone types into Google.

So there are literally HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of page ones.

Which page ones are you trying to be on? 

If you don't break it down a little and understand the purpose of SEO for your business or how you want to show in search results, you will be frustrated. It will all feel impossible to you and you will end up avoiding the situation all together or potentially paying LOTS of money to people who either may or may not really help you achieve your goals. 


The technical definition: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization

In not-quite-as-techy-speak, having "good SEO" means your website is optimized to return quality and trusted information for searches that are being done on the internet. 

Back in the olden days (you know, like 5 years ago) SEO was more focused on TERMS on your website matching terms people were searching for.

However, Google has learned how people were gaming the system and has become MUCH, much smarter about getting people QUALITY and TRUSTED information rather than just returning websites that have "how do I start a blog" inserted 5,000 times in all sorts of places that don't make sense. 


I'm gonna be brutally honest here. (And keep in mind that of course, this is my blog and full of my may agree or disagree with them and that is quite alright with me.)

You don't need to care about SEO. 

Like at all. 

If you are running a business and making enough money to meet your goals and getting lots of good word of mouth referrals etc...then maybe SEO doesn't need to be where you place your efforts. 

There are LOTS of small businesses running out there that hardly even have a website much less any care about optimizing it. 


If you have any sort of online presence...if being found in search results is even a little bit important to you, then SEO should be pretty important to you given how crowded the internet is these days.  

You don't have to be an expert at it and you don't always have to hire someone to do it for you (although many many people do.) 

But knowing some of the basic strategies and then keeping up with it (SEO is NEVER a one and done kind of thing!!!) will only help you stay ahead of the game when it comes to being found on the internet. 

The basics of all basics

Ok, let's break down the basics now that we understand a little bit more about SEO and why we should care about it. 

Googles Mission

In order to start and maintain good SEO practices on your website, you have to understand the mission of Google: (paraphrased) To connect people with the information they want and need. 

Google does NOT want to return a website for a photographer who specializes in modern NYC weddings when someone types in : Barn wedding in upstate New York. 

The way Google goes about figuring out what information out there floating around is the best for the search at hand is what SEO is all about. Its constantly changing and fluxing and we have to keep up with all of it! 

What do you want?

Essentially, you have to figure out what sorts of search results you want to show up for.

Which page one do you want to be on? 

You can't really focus any of your SEO efforts until you have that question answered. 

Once you know that, you can fiddle with the various ways to optimize your site. You can learn how to use words and images on your website to get better and better results. 

Where do I start?

Again, the subject of SEO is a big one and I am barely scratching the surface here, but here are some good places to get started and then you can expand from there! 

Make sure you are indexed

You need to ensure that Google actually knows you exist. Make sure google is crawling your site and pages are indexed. You can get started HERE. 

Make sure you have SEO descriptors where they are necessary

You need to make sure that your website has a general description that is not just your business name. What do you do and where do you do it? That's a good place to start. 

Ensure all of your pages are named something a little more descriptive other than "Home" etc...and make sure all meta data is update for your page descriptions (if your website platforms allows you to update it.) 

Alt-tag your images

If your website is image heavy (important for photographers) then this is a MUST. Google loves words because it can make sense of them. Google doesn't know how to make sense of an image unless it has words attached to it. This is what alt-text or alt-tagging is. You are giving an image a description that would essentially allow a blind person to understand what that image is. DON'T skimp on this part!! It's imperative!! 


Again, Google loves words because it understands words. And on most websites there are only so many words you can add before it becomes super unnatural and spammy. But blog posts are a natural and informative way to add TONS of words to your website while also providing great information that actually helps people. Google looooves that. 

When it comes to SEO, it's important to remember that it is kind of a game, but your end goal is the most important.

You don't always have to be on page one for the most competitive search term out there. You could potentially kill it (be on page one) for LOTS of other not as competitive terms out there and still get a lot of inquiries or traffic to your site. 

And remember, even though the subject of SEO feels big and overwhelming at times, just remember that starting from the beginning and taking things one step at a time will 9 times out of 10 get you exactly where you want to go. It's not a race. Take your time and do it right! 

How to run a successful family photography session

When I first started my photography business, I was SO EXCITED to actually start booking clients. BUT because I was so busy learning a ton about my camera, how to shoot to achieve the look I wanted, how light works and how that affects the overall look of my photos...when it actually came time for the sessions themselves...

I would get so nervous that sometimes I felt like I was going to throw up.

Running (or being in charge of and directing) during a family session is probably one of the HARDER things I have done in my time as a photographer. You are likely dealing with:

  • Kids of various ages...maybe they just started walking (or RUNNING) and can't sit still for even 1 minute
  • Mom's who might be stressed because this whole thing was her idea
  • Dad's who are uninterested in this whole process or even slightly mad about being there
  • Hunger, tears, dirty shirts and overall overwhelm 

That can be A LOT to deal with all while you are trying to find the best light, backdrop and camera settings. 


Throughout the years however, I have found that doing a few simple things can really help your sessions to go much more smoothly and will help clients have a great session and want to book you over and over again.

AND THEY WILL RAVE ABOUT YOU to all their friends. And who wouldn't want that? (ummmm...if you are raising your hand right now you need to reread the question) ;-) 

 How to run a good family photography session

Alrighty so let's get to it already. How in the world do you run such amazing family photo sessions and keep your clients coming back for more???

It all starts before the session

I can't really talk about this enough. Prepping your clients BEFORE the session is absolutely where you start in ensuring your session goes off without a hitch. 

  • Being super timely with email response and making sure you are professional (but friendly) in your communication as well as being thorough is a must.
  • Anticipate questions and answer them before they are asked.
  • Have blog posts already written that you can point clients too for more information. 
  • If talking on the phone and doing a consultation of sorts is part of your workflow, then absolutely make sure that you are answering their questions during this time in a confident yet friendly way. 
  • Education is key. Your clients may not have done this in a LONG time, if ever. They might be feeling a little unsure of the process and/or don't know what to expect. You need to make it all crystal clear for them before they even show up to the park for the session. 
Family of four dressed in blue and maroon walking into the sunset | Running a family photo session

Plan Ahead

Planning ahead comes natural for me as an introvert. We tend to not like brand new situations that we've never encountered before. Novelty is a little unnerving for us. This means that I naturally attempt to make new experiences and situations a little less nerve-wracking by planning ahead. 

  • Scope out the location you'll be going (if it's somewhere you have never shot before and its feasible for you to do so.) 
  • Send detailed questionnaires to your clients so you can get to know them better before you show up at the session. Ask them questions about each of their child so you know a little bit about each one before hand. If little Timmy is feeling shy or uncooperative and then you ask him about his love for trains, you might find he warms up to you a lot sooner! 
  • Have a general idea of the shots you want to take during the session and how you might want to execute them. Even though things can go off the rails sometimes (especially with smaller, younger kids) having a plan before hand will help you stay on track and make sure you get all the shots you wanted.  
Family of four with dog laying in green grass with trees behind | How to run a great family photo session

Be Personable and make them feel comfortable

The session itself is where you can really shine. If you have somewhat of a plan ahead of time you can simply start to execute. 

Introduce yourself, make some small talk, acknowledge that having your photo taken is awkward and your goal is to have fun and make this as relaxed and quick as possible.

***PRO TIP: Don't try to make family sessions unnecessarily long. I have never really understood why so many photographers do this. Families (especially with numerous or smaller kids) don't want to spend 2 hours taking photos. It's stressful enough to wrangle your family for a session, prolonging it is not usually fun for them. Be quick and efficient and confident about what you are capturing and I promise you families (especially Dads) will be super impressed and happy! 

Feeling confident about what you are doing makes ALL the difference in the world. I'm not always a huge proponent of "fake it till you make it" but in this instance I would say it applies. Practice, practice, practice so that even if the wind starts to blow, the light shifts or someone breaks down into uncontrollable sobbing (hopefully one of the children, not the adults) you can handle it. 

Your clients are looking for you to take charge and run the session. For a lot of us (me included) who are people pleasers our instinct is to ask questions like "do you want to go here or over there?" or "do you want this pose or that pose". 


They don't know...they have likely never done this before. They are looking for you to be the expert. So be the expert. Even if you feel like you are floundering. 

True story: I have cried a few times after sessions are over. Being in charge and dealing with some of the unexpected things that happen during sessions drains me and during a few sessions in particular, I needed the time after to let it all out. My clients never knew how frazzled I was. I ran the session, kept it moving despite the difficulty and waited until it was over to decompress. 

Family of four in green grass with sun shining through | How to run a great family photo session

Follow up

Following up is one of my favorite things about businesses that serve their clients well. And its also one of my biggest pet peeves when someone says they should follow up with you and they don't. 

After the session, follow up with a brief email letting them know how much fun you had and what to expect next. Even though you might have talked about it at the session, getting that additional confirmation in email of what to expect just adds to the experience and increases confidence and trust that your client has in you. 

It doesn't have to be extensive, but even a short email goes a long way. 

three young boys throwing leaves in the air | How to run a family photo session

Service, Service, Service

This last item in a way encompasses all of the items before it. Service is what matters here. Good, thoughtful, friendly service is rare these days. So many people decide to compete on price alone that often times service gets thrown out the window. 

Differentiating yourself on service (no matter what price you charge) will never come back to bite you in the you know what. Treating your clients well, anticipating their needs, making them feel cared for and valued all of that goes hand in hand with providing them beautiful images that they will cherish forever. 

I can also tell you from personal experience that providing a lackluster service or (GASP) terrible service will ultimately affect how your clients actually view their photos. They could be the best photos in the world, but if the experience of getting them was horrible, they probably won't like them anyway. <-----I know this is hard to get your head around, but it is SO TRUE!!! 

Stylish family of five holding hands under a pergola | Running a successful family photo session

Want more information about starting a successful photography business? Have you downloaded my 30 steps? 

5 Lightroom tools you aren't using (but probably should be)

If you are a photographer, Lightroom is likely one of your best friends. This one program is simply the best for accomplishing what most wedding and portrait photographers need in order to efficiently and beautifully do their work. 

I've been using this program for a little over three years and while I am in NO WAY an expert, I have found a few tools and tricks that I simply LOVE and can't live without every time I use LR to organize or edit my photos. 

Today, I'm sharing my favorite things in Lightroom with you! If you are already using them, rock on...but if they are new for you then I hope you end up loving them as much as I do!

 best lightroom tools&nbsp;


  • Gradient Tool
  • Straighten tool (angle)
  • Sync
  • Smart Collections
  • Paint Can

First up...


This just might be my favorite editing tool. I'm not a huge fan of dated vignettes, but I love darkening (or brightening) the edges of images to really make the subject pop. 

Using a gradient tool you can control the direction of the effect, only apply it to one side, it doesn't have to be uniform (so it looks more natural) and you can "erase" some of the effect if it ends up on your subject. 

Below, the first image is a SOOC (straight out of camera) image and the second is the finished edit with a slight darkening gradient applied to both the upper right and left sides of the image. 


You can see in the screenshot below what it looks like when you have pressed O when using the gradient tool. It shows you where the effect is taking place. 



I can not shoot straight to save my life. I know that for some a little artistic "crookedness" is something photographers like, but in all honesty the type A in me comes out when I see a crooked horizon and I can't help but fix it. 

Luckily LR has the most awesome tool ever for people like me who love them some straight lines. Its called the straighten tool, and you access it by clicking on the crop icon and then clicking on the little thing that looks like a level and says Angle next to it. 

Then all you do is draw a line against the horizon in your photo and LR will auto straighten out your photo. It is seriously like magic. I used it also in the above photo and I drew it on the ground behind them where the tree is on the left hand side. Viola! 



Sync is certainly one of the more popular features in LR but it's one that I don't think I had discovered until I had been working in LR for almost a year!!! Oh the time I could have saved if I knew about it sooner!!

Its very straightforward. You apply edits to one photo and then you can select other photos, click sync and then all of those edits will be synced across all of the photos you selected. Its an amazingly fast way to apply the exact same edits to multiple (even hundreds) of photos in literally one click. More in the video below! 


Smart collections are one more awesome way to organize photos in Lightroom in order to quickly find or group together photos that you want to have all in the same place. 

In each session you can rate or color code your photos or add keywords and you can group things that way, but if you want to create a whole collection of photos based on one of those labels you can do that in smart collections as well! 

For example, let's say you color code purple all of your behind the scenes shots from weddings. You can create a smart collection that will include all photos labeled with the color purple for super quick and easy access. Then you can export from there for a blog post or whatever else you might need them for! 



OK, last but not least, the paint can. You can find this in Library module in between your film strip and the photos. This is a way for you to quickly rate photos however you want to rate them. 

For example, I like to rate all of my "keepers" a 1 star. So I can activate the paint can, "load it up" with a 1 star rating, and then all I have to do as I am going through the photos is click on the photo I want to have that rating. No right clicking and just changes the rating or label to whatever you have selected in the paint can. 

Then let's say I want to go through and label all of the ring shots with "red", I can load up the paint can with red and then click on every ring shot and it will change it to red. Brilliant! 


And if you are looking for a step by step tutorial of everything I included above, just check out the video below! I go over all 5 of these tools in LR and show you exactly how they are all done! 

  • Paint Can: 1:02
  • Straighten tool: 3:20
  • Smart Collections: 7:20
  • Gradient tool: 10:40
  • Sync: 18:05

Todoist 101: Rock out your to do list in the easiest way possible

I won't lie. It took me a hot second to figure out what sort of list tracker or project management/workflow tool would work for me. 

I tried regular ol pen and paper, notes app, google calendar, Trello...nothing was really working for me the way I needed it too. 

Until Todoist came into my life and everything changed. (so dramatic right?) 

So yes over a year ago a friend introduced me to Todoist and I have been using it religiously ever since. It is so minimal and does exactly what I need it to do which is why I love it. Its not hard to figure out to use although there is a slight learning curve that comes along with it. There aren't a lot of bells and whistles (which is why I think it doesn't get a ton of love out there in the creative business world) but it WORKS and it works well. 

So today I'm going to show you a bit about how I use it so you can determine if it may be right for you and if so, some tips and tricks to get you started!

And just as a sidenote....I am NOT an affiliate for them and am getting nothing at all for writing this blog post. I simply believe in sharing about amazing tools that work for my business. ;-) 

 How do I use todoist? | Workflow and to do list software | Organization for my small business

Setting up your projects in Todoist

Todoist is basically one giant to do list that you can categorize, label and filter in lots of different ways. You can assign "tasks" to projects and then make them due on a certain date, add their priority level or label the tasks as well.

How you set up your projects will essentially be the backbone of your Todoist. Everyones projects might look a little different based on how they work and the type of work that they do, so use my examples to learn how the system works and then tweak to work for you! 

When setting up your projects, think about the areas of your business that require keeping track of and separate them out - color code and organize them in order of importance or alphabetical or however you prefer to see them in the list. 

 How do I use todoist? Todoist for creative small business owners

For my projects I have things separated out based on the different areas of work that I currently do. I also have a Family project where I can keep things that don't really have to do with work but I still need a to do list for them. 

You can also have main and sub projects to make things easier to organize. So for example, I have a project for Wedding Clients and then underneath that are all of my current wedding clients as individual projects. 

 How do I use todoist? | Todoist for creative business owners

How to add tasks in todoist

Once you have a project set up, you can then go through the process of adding tasks to that particular project. 

For the most part this is intuitive but there are a few hidden things that can make it easier to organize the tasks within your project. 

1 / You can move tasks underneath each other so you can have main and sub tasks in each project

This is helpful if you want to separate tasks out in groups throughout the cycle. For example if you had a wedding client you could have the MAIN tasks be something like: After booked, After wedding day, Album creation etc... and then each of those main tasks can have sub tasks underneath them. 

2 / You can move, label, set priority, add a date, or duplicate tasks by clicking the three dots next to the task (you can do more but these are the main things I find myself doing) 

3 / You can add a * in front of any task and it will remove the O in front of the task.

In Todoist, once you mark a task complete it marks all subtasks also complete and then removes it from the screen. If you want to continue to see that task on the screen then add the * in front of any task an it will remove the O so you can no longer mark that complete. 

4 / You can create a task list or work flow and then save it as a template. 

This is probably one of my favorite features in todoist! You can create an entire task list or workflow for a particular project (for example a wedding client) and then save that as a template so you don't have to recreate it for the next client. You simply export the project as a .csv and then import it into the new project when you are ready. This save SO much time and effort and allows you to generate new projects in less than 30 seconds. 

I also save a project folder of just my templates so I know right where they are and can use them at any point I need them. 

 Setting up a template in todoist | using templates in todoist

Setting reoccurring tasks in todoist

Another one of my absolute favorite things about todoist is setting reoccurring tasks. You have the ability to set a task that you do daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly (etc...) to come back up on your todolist at the right time.


In the inbox section of my todoist, I have a task called "reoccurring tasks" and then I just add all of my reoccurring tasks underneath that, set the structure on how they are to reoccur and then that's it. I can deal with them when they come up. 

How you set a task to be reoccurring is to simply type the parameters in the task date. For can type in "every Monday at 10am" or "the first of the month" or "every three months" etc...and viola! It just takes it from there! 

 using reoccurring tasks in todoist

Sync with google calendar and then move to project

The last thing I want to mention about Todoist is the google calendar integration. This is another awesome feature that I looooove about Todoist. Although the calendar integration is only available if you upgrade, the upgrade is around $25 a year so it is well worth it. 

Integrating your google calendar means that tasks on your Todoist show on the calendar and vise versa. So if you add a calendar reminder it will show in your Todoist inbox and then you can assign it to a project from there. This just makes everything easier and you can see things all in one place. 

I absolutely love Todoist and am so glad I discovered it when I did. I actually wish I would have known about it sooner because this year has been absolutely one of my most productive. 

I hope you have found this post helpful in some way!! Even though Todoist looks and really is very minimal, you can do SO much with it to keep your tasks organized and on point so you don't drop the ball, forget parts of your process or leave clients hanging. I have really only scratched the surface in all that it can do! Visit the Todoist blog for more great tips and tricks on how to use it to best suit your needs!

How to promote your blog posts without feeling like a salesman

You've done it. 

You've taken the time to sit down and get the thing written. 

You've figured out how to make a good looking, informative blog post and you got all the way through the writing and re-sizing of your images and your are ready to hit publish. 

But now that you are LIVE on the internet....what do you do next? How do you get this amazing content in front of peoples eyes in a way that isn't consistently screaming...look at me, look at me!!! 

how do I promote my blog posts?

Everything that goes along with sharing content that you have created starts with mindset. If you are in the wrong or misguided headspace around WHY you are sharing what you are sharing, it all becomes much more difficult. 

We are typically our on worst enemies. 

If you don't already have a blog strategy...I would suggest hitting up The Blog Better Bundle and grabbing my worksheet on how to create one. Having a strategy to begin with will not only help you create more and better content but it will take the ick factor out of sharing your content with the world. 

The intention behind your posts should be to serve, celebrate, inspire or encourage...when this is the intention, it feels less salesy to share the post

Once we have our mindset straight, let's think through sharing our newly crafted and published content from a timing perspective.

You have a few options when it comes to sharing.

  • Sharing the same day you publish
  • Sharing the content after you publish (days, weeks or even months after). 

Sharing on the same day you publish

Depending on the type of content you are sharing, a same day share can either be vital or not entirely necessary.

If you are sharing a photography session (wedding, engagement, family etc...) then part of your marketing efforts might be to get that post out as soon as possible to capitalize on the momentum and excitement of the session. So in that instant, sharing it out heavily on the day you publish might be of utmost importance. 

And I do still think that its always a good idea to share that fresh and newly published content out to all of your social channels, even if you are sharing evergreen content that will be relevant for days, weeks and months in the future. 

Depending on what social channels you have decided to focus on, there are various ways to share on each platform.  Within the blogging function on Squarespace, you can auto share to Twitter, Facebook, Google + and Pinterest right as the blog publishes, so you don't have to in and manually share to each one. 

 Sharing your posts to social media through auto publish function on Squarespace&nbsp;

Make sure you have a link to your blog somewhere in Instagram as well either through a specific landing page that you link through your profile or by using something like

 Instagram landing page on Squarespace&nbsp;

Taking the time to actually caption your published posts on your social media also makes a huge difference. Give people a reason to go and look at the content, don't just share a "naked" link and hope for the best. Adding additional context and content around the published content shows your passion for what you are sharing and how it can be helpful for others. 


Another great way to get eyes on your newly published content is through your email list (if you have one). People miss a LOT on social media with all of the current algorithms etc...that are now in place. If people have signed up to hear from you, make sure you are sharing any new or fresh content that you are putting out.

Don't assume everyone knows what is going on in your business because trust me...they don't!! 

Sharing after you hit publish

Getting our heads around sharing our content well after it's been published can be a little more tricky. Blogging has changed IMMENSELY in the past few years and for a lot of small creative business owners, its really no longer about the daily post and "diary" style of blogging that was so popular even 5 years ago. 

If your business is NOT your blog, but your business HAS a blog to support your brand and marketing efforts, evergreen content will be of utmost importance to you.
The essence of evergreen content means that the date you publish it is irrelevant. 

So how can you make the most of your content? I'm glad you asked, I've got a few suggestions for you! 

Directly to your client

If you have taken the time to write up helpful content that will serve your clients, share those posts DIRECTLY with your clients. Either in the pre-booking or even in the after booking stage. 

Likely your clients have lots of questions that you can help them answer. Instead of repeating yourself over and over again in emails, send them links to your blog posts. Don't make them do the hard work of digging through your website to find the info, send it directly to them. 

On and throughout your website

One of my biggest pet peeves when visiting a creatives website who has great content is when they have made it super difficult to find or access. So often we as creatives choose pretty design over functionality and its hurting our businesses in the long run. 

Make things easy to find.

  • Incorporate summary blocks throughout your website in strategic places.
  • Link to popular or helpful posts in your sidebar.
  • Create an easy to navigate archive page.
  • Add a search bar to your website. 

Throughout your blog

Promote your blog throughout your blog. In every single blog post you should have at least ONE (if not waaay more) links to other blog posts. This is just one more additional thing you can to make things easier for your readers to find or access and will ultimately keep readers on your site longer and help them to know, like and trust you even more than they hopefully already do! 

Mindset and attitude is everything. Crafting and creating your content in a way that you know will be beneficial to your readers or clients will take away some of the hesitation around posting it. You aren't posting the content in a way that is saying "Look at me" you are posting it with an attitude of "look at them" or "here, this can help". That changes everything and allows you to push that publish button a little easier. 

Same location, three looks | Wide, medium and tight

Posing subjects is probably one of the most difficult parts of photography (well at least for me anyway!) Knowing what makes the body look good (read Roberto Valenzuela's Picture Perfect posing for that...) and then directing someone into those positions is something that just takes time and practice. 

Same Location 3 Looks.jpg

What I tend to do when I'm at a session and my mind goes completely blank as for what to do next, my instinct is to move locations. However, you are already in a great location, with (hopefully) great light!! Moving to another location (not to sound dramatic) puts that at risk. Varying up what you shoot in the location you are already in is a much easier way to achieve different "looks" for the client without moving much at all from the location they are in. 

Simple changes in pose, plus incorporating different perspectives in your focal length and composition can dramatically change the look of the photos and the client literally doesn't have to move their feet one inch!

In this first set of three images, I used an 85mm 1.8 (my fave for portraits) and scooted way back so I could get a full body shot of Chelsea. I had her stand a bit off of the wall to create some depth and directed her to have some separation in her legs, had her at an angle to the camera and also a bend in the elbow. 

Then I got in closer, incorporated her awesomely fun hat and had her simply switch the way her body was positioned and look down to her shoulder. This was my medium shot incorporating almost all of her body, but not a full length like I had just taken.

Then I got even closer and directed her again to move slightly and give me that amazingly beautiful smile of hers and got a nice tight shot of just her face with a strong rule of thirds composition. 

In this next set of images, we just happened to walk by this gorgeous white door and concrete stairs and I knew we had to stop. The natural reflection of the concrete paired with the simple, elegant background of the white doors plus her delicious oxblood sweater was a match made in photography heaven! 

These were also shot with my 85mm and for the first shot I had her right in the middle of those rails for a nice, wide center composition.

I moved closer again and had her pose slightly different and went in for my medium range shots from about the knee up. 

And then we got that hat again and got in nice and close for a tighter shot with a lot of expression. 

These last set of shots, we incorporated her beautiful jacket that she got as a recent gift for her birthday. Again, I knew that jacket against that clean background would just POP. 

I got a full body, mid length and closer shot again of her in her jacket for additional variety. 

There were many more photos as well from this set of images, but I just wanted to highlight how easy it can be to get tons of choices and lots of variety without moving locations or drastically changing the pose. Simply moving your feet (if you use primes) or zooming in or out can create very different looks all from one simple pose! 

I hope you found this helpful and that if you are struggling with creating variety during your client sessions, you can use this technique to get different looks without changing things up and moving locations! 

Any questions? Let me know in the comments! I love hearing from you. ;-) 

Backlight Basics | How to get those dreamy backlit shots

As a photographer, its important to learn about all different types of light. Everything in photography revolves around light. What kind of light do you have available? How will the camera read and record the light in the scene? Where are the highlights and where are the shadows? Do you need to add or subtract light? 

Essentially everything starts with light and goes from there. One of my absolute favorite ways to shoot is into the backlight, so today...we are going to go deep into backlight and how to master those shots every time. 

  • What makes it so dreamy?
  • How to achieve the "glow"
  • Important considerations when attempting to shoot into the backlight
  • Pitfalls to avoid
Backlight Basics.jpg


The technical definition of backlight is:

verb (used with object), backlighted or backlit, backlighting
2. to illuminate (something from behind.)

Pretty self explanatory right? The LIGHT is in the BACK (or behind) your subject. 

A common misconception from many people who don't understand the technicality of photography or lighting (as was mine when I first started) is that the more light the better. In reality, the direction of the light is much more important than the amount of light you have available.

Shooting into the backlight often results in photographs that tend to be warm and "glowy" because the light is literally wrapping itself around the subject. 


Shooting into the backlight or shooting in backlight situations can tend to get a little tricky. Although it does take quite a bit of practice, once you figure out a rhythm of how to set up your shot, how to expose correctly and what situations to look for, you will be shooting successfully backlit photographs consistently. Shooting backlit scenes quickly became one of my favorite things to do and I find myself constantly looking for areas and locations that would work well for backlit shots. 

Some things you need to take into consideration when attempting to shoot backlit photos:

Time of Day

The time of day is essential for backlit photos. In order for the light to be coming from behind the subject, the sun has to be lower in the sky. When the sun is high in the sky, its almost impossible to put the sun behind your subject because...well, no one is that tall! Shooting in the early morning or in the few hours before sun sets is the absolute best time to achieve backlit photos. 

You can see in this photo below of my stepson and his (then) girlfriend that the sun is lower in the sky although its not completely at the horizon. The sun is behind and to the right of them (you can tell from the direction of the shadows on the ground.) 


One of the things that making shooting into backlight tricky is that when you put the sun behind your subjects, you are then directly facing the sun. Anyone who has pointed a camera in the direction of the sun knows that sun flares and haze are often the immediate result. However, if you have the ability to diffuse the light by using objects in the environment, you can get the shot without a distracting flare or haziness on the images. Trees work really well for diffusion as well as taller buildings or other natural elements. A scrim or reflector can also work to diffuse light if you are positioned in a way where the sun is hitting your lens directly. 

Sometimes flares end up in photos anyway and often times they can add a really beautiful element to a photo! Other times they can look out of place or distracting. In the photo below I caught a slight flare that ended up right on Mary's leg. Its not horribly distracting in this image, but sometimes lens flares look incredibly out of place and awkward. While the sun was lower in the sky I placed Trevor and Mary here for a couple of reasons. I wanted the sun to filter through those trees because I knew it would give me some beautiful bokeh. I also knew I could position myself in a way where the sun would be directly behind one of the tree trunks so as to cut down on any potential flare. The neutral colored sand also added a great natural reflector. 

Natural Reflectors

Speaking of natural reflectors...when shooting into the backlight, they are imperative. When a very bright light source is coming from behind your subject, depending on how you expose the photo, your subject can end up looking really flat, under exposed and muddy. If you don't have light bouncing back up on to them, your dynamic range will be too great and you will have difficulty achieving a well exposed and pleasant looking photograph. 

Its for this reason that I attempt to find lots of natural reflectors when shooting outside and especially in the backlight. For the below photo, the sun was low in the sky and to the right creating some beautiful filtered light behind them. The concrete path bounced light back up on to their bodies and faces thus creating a beautifully lit photo of both the subjects and the background. 


Despite the fact that light always trumps background, taking the background into consideration for your backlit photos is never a bad idea. When scoping out your session location, look for dense areas of foliage or leaves next to more sparse areas. Pay attention to how the light falls across whatever elements you are considering for your background. 

Isn't Mary just stunning? This photo works so well, not only because Mary is beautiful and radiant, but the glow and warmth of of everything surrounding her just lends itself to the expression on her face. The bokeh mixed with the neutral green and gold tones along with the way the light is filtering through her hair ads complexity, depth and texture. She was standing on a concrete pavement so there is nice light bouncing back on to her face and she has a gorgeous little catchlight in her eye. The exposure on her face is not competing with the exposure on the background. 

Camera Placement/Lens Flare 

Although I mentioned this briefly above, when shooting into the backlight you have to pay special attention to exactly how you place yourself in relation to your subject. In the below photo of Ashley, I distinctly remember struggling to avoid flare. I ended up placing myself right on the edge of the shadow that the building was casting in order to get her right in between the sun and my lens. I did not use a reflector to bounce light up into her face in this photo and she was standing on some grass, so the difference in exposure between her face and the highlight on her hair is on the verge of being to far apart. If I would have brightened her up some, I would loose detail in her hair (much of which is already lost). I still love this photo because I love her expression and the happiness and warmth, its just an example of how not having even a little bit of light bouncing on to your subject can affect the overall end result of the photograph. 

And a few things to keep in mind when attempting to shoot into the backlight....

  • Try to avoid pointing your camera directly at the sun. This may seem like common sense, but when you are positioning your subject with the sun behind them and then pointing your camera at them, it happens more than you know. I don't think small amounts of time pointing at the sun will completely damage your lens, but better to be safe than sorry. 
  • Make sure you have something available to bounce light onto your subject. If a natural reflector is not available, use a regular reflector to bounce some light back onto your subjects face. It can be difficult if you are shooting alone but you'd be surprised how often you can get others to help you. And kids LOVE the reflector, they think its just the coolest thing ever. Sometimes I break it out and have one of the older kids just hold it even though we might never end up using it at the shoot. 

I hope these tips and tricks encourage you to go out and practice shooting into the backlight. It is honestly one of my favorite types of shots to capture and I can't wait to see what you come up with! 

Does blogging on Squarespace Suck? 6 reasons why it doesn't

Ok, ok, I know my title might be a little intense...but it got your attention right? Sometimes there is freedom in just saying what everyone is collectively thinking instead of dancing around the subject. Is Squarespace a bloggers nightmare? The answer may surprise you! 

Wordpress may be king of the blog-o-sphere and I have nothing against it, I think it's a fabulous platform for any website or blog, HOWEVER, if you prefer the Squarespace look and feel AND you still want to have an active, successful and GROWING CAN! 

I'll admit, when I first started on Squarespace I was kind of off-put by the alleged limitations of the blog functionality. I was used to Wordpress and felt slightly handcuffed by Squarespace. But the more I learned about the platform and all it had to offer, I realized that blogging on Squarespace is actually pretty awesome. Let's chat about why! 



The thing about Squarespace is that it's a website platform that is really all inclusive. No separate hosting, no buying your domain somewhere else, no linking a blog from a different platform. All of that just complicates things. Its kind of like the Apple of the website platform world. Sure you may not be able to add crazy customizations, but you know what? It WORKS.


You can build your website and then choose to include the blog or not. If you want to include it, you pretty much just put it in your nav bar and start blogging. Its all in one and the look and feel of your website stays the same and because its all tied together, your SEO increases. #Winning. 


If you have followed this blog for any amount of time, you KNOW I am a fan of the blog sidebar. This ONE tool gives you so much more opportunity to help your readers find information they want and keep them around your site longer. You can showcase yourself, your social media, a search function, popular posts, you name can pretty much add in whatever you want and it simply enriches the experience of your reader. 

My number one pet peeve of blogs is when they don't have helpful sidebars. Not being able to find info on a blog or in the archive of that blog is an instant reason to click out and go on to something else. 

Although not all of Squarespace's templates include a sidebar functionality, a lot of them do. A list is included in this post! 


Again, another favorite feature. In Wordpress there are some plugins that you can add that will pop in related posts at the end of your blog posts and until I discovered the summary block, I thought that this was a serious limitation of Squarespace blogs. But once I discovered the ease of putting a summary block in at the end of your post and specifying what types of posts you want to show in that block, my world was ROCKED. 

Now I could show readers similar content that they might want to read right at the end of the post they got through. I could organize my archive page to look GOOD. Even though some may say that a huge limitation of the summary block is that it doesn't show random selections (it will pull in by most recently posted) that doesn't bother me so much. I'd rather have some control over what exactly is shown by using a robust category and tag system. 

Related Post: 4 Uses for the Squarespace Summary Block


The same reason I find Squarespace so user friendly overall, is one of the same reasons blogging on Squarespace is a breeze. Its a WYSIWYG system that you can "see" as you build. No complicated coding that you have to decipher. No windows that you write in and when you preview the screen it looks totally different from where you just were. 

You simply build the post and it looks just like it will live. 

You can see how your headers will look, how your images will show, any special elements that you add in like lines or graphs or videos or....? They all show right on the screen in the same way they will show once the post is live. 

Real life example: I have a friend who I worked with recently to switch her photography site over to Squarespace. She felt intimidated by the change and was really worried she wouldn't be able to seamlessly pick up how to use it. I built the site and then showed her the basics of how to build a blog post and within one week, she had written about 20+ blog posts!!! She never really even blogged before and now she is a blogging machine! The Squarespace system is simple and intuitive and even if you feel you are "technically challenged" you can still blog like the wind! 


Blogging in general will consistently help your site to be better optimized for search terms, but to go back to my last point, when blogging becomes more simple and less of a headache, you want to do it more!  

You can easily add descriptions to your images and galleries, you can add keyword rich URL's that are different from your actual title, you can utilize a header structure with your content to make sure your info is robust and organized and the list goes on and on...


Ok so if you have never used Wordpress, you will have no idea what I am talking about, but let me tell you when I used to blog on Wordpress I always felt like something was on the brink of breaking or completely wigging out on me. 

Since plugins are open source and created by all sorts of different people, they don't always play perfectly with the wordpress system. But the plugins are essentially what makes your site customized and lookin' good. You really can't operate without them. 

However, since most of the plug-ins are third party there are constant issues with them. They are being updated, or they have a bug, or something just doesn't work and you constantly get messages and error messages and they honestly are not that easy to understand unless you are a tech guru or Wordpress expert. Its stressful and time consuming if something actually breaks. 

With Squarespace that pretty much all disappears. Squarespace keeps an eye on the plugin market and makes updates based on the most popular. The updates are all in house so if something improves, it just benefits you instead of terrifying you that your website will be wonked out and you have no idea how to go about fixing it. 

Some people are so used to plugins and hate the idea of not being able to utilize them, but I am not one of those people. I love how robust the offerings of Squarespace are already and if you DO absolutely want something changed or altered, custom CSS is always an option!

So there you have it! Blogging on Squarespace does not have to limit you. Even though Squarespace wasn't created specifically for blogging, they have really done a lot of work to improve the blogging functionality within the system. I love it and I think you will too!!

The ins and outs of the squarespace blog sidebar

Its no surprise that I'm a fan of blogging on Squarespace despite its perceived shortcomings out there in internet land. Wordpress may be the giant Wal-Mart of blogging, but I'm pretty sure that Squarespace its on it's way to being the next Target. Clean, easy to navigate, great customer service and Starbucks! (wait, that's just Target...) ;-) 

I blogged with Wordpress for a few years before starting my photography business and switching everything over to Squarespace. While I felt limited with the Squarespace blogging platform initially, now I feel like the possibilities that have a really great blog through Squarespace are endless. And the BEST thing about all of it, is that it is just so easy to use. The platform is so intuitive and simple which takes a lot of the pressure out of blogging in the first place. 

The blog sidebar is something I have always been huge fan of since I first started out on my blogging endeavors. I loved the idea of having a space somewhere on the page to make it easier for readers to search for other content, learn a little more about me, find social media links, sign up to subscribe and to add some contrast and interest to the page in general. Typically I have been a fan of a left and right sidebar design, but the more I am learning about blogging and long content form etc...the more I like to have as much info as possible down the one side of the page to continue giving my readers something else to click on despite where they are on the blog article. 

Lets take a look at the blog sidebar options within in Squarespace as well as how to create one, how to add items to it, and what you want to make sure to include if you are interested in growing and maintaining a loyal readership!  

Squarespace blog sidebar


Its important to note that not ALL Squarespace templates offer a sidebar option on their blog. The following templates are ones that DO include a blog sidebar option. 

***This list is as of June 2017. Squarespace does change things on occasion and may add templates in the future that offer a sidebar. If you do run across a template that offers a sidebar option and I do not have it listed above, please let me know in the comments so I can update the list!


If you are using one of the above templates and do not currently see a sidebar on your blog, you need to go into your Style Editor to enable the sidebar to show. 

Once you have enabled the sidebar to show on either the Left or Right side of your blog page, you will see an option to edit the Sidebar once you are back in your pages view. 


Once you start editing your blog sidebar, you will notice that it works similarly to a page. You will see insert points appear on hover and then when you click on an insert point you will be able to add content. 

This is where you can really let your creativity shine. You have the ability to showcase older content, provide a search functionality, link to other pages on your website or external content, you can direct readers to sign up for a newsletter or let them know of upcoming events. You can direct them to links to your categories or tags, show them your Instagram or Twitter feeds...the options are endless! 

Well, maybe not ENDLESS, but you get what I mean right? 


One of my favorite ways to add some interest and color to my sidebar is to link to different blog post categories through images instead of just the standard word links that you see so often on blogs. They might look a little something like this: 

Or linking to the dreaded TagCloud (which I personally can't stand, if you couldn't tell) ;-) 

HOLY MOLY that hurts my eyes!!! 

Instead including some branded images that will link through to your categories can be a more pleasing way to highlight more posts in that particular category 


I created these little images in Illustrator to fit in with my branding and logo and then added them to the sidebar through an image block with a link to my "blogging" tag. I didn't add them for ALL of my categories or tags, just for the few that I want to highlight. 

Squarespace sidebar

I hope this post has given you some ideas about how to incorporate a blog sidebar into your current blog or if you already have one, I hope it gave you some ideas to pump it up and make it something that fits in with your branding and strategy for blogging. 

And if you aren't into reading through instructions, here is a little video about how to do all of this step by step! 

how to blog in squarespace | Creating a Client Post

Having extensive experience blogging in both Wordpress and Squarespace, I've got to tell ya, blogging in Squarespace just wins for me. On Wordpress I lived in a constant state of worrying that I was going to break something (mostly because I completely clueless on how the system worked, despite my best attempts at learning.)

With Squarespace it's the exact opposite. I find the blogging platform to be streamlined, easy and intuitive and today we are going to be talking about how to easily build a client blog post to show off your work! 

 How to create a blog post in squarespace

If you aren't keen on reading and following the step by step, there is a handy little video down at the bottom which takes you through my process of building a client blog post from start to finish! 


Once you are in the back end of your website click on pages > Blog. This should bring you to your blog on Squarespace. 

 How to create a blog post in squarespace

(If you don't have a Blog set up, just click on the + next to Top Navigation and you will be able to add your blog there) 

From your blog page, click the plus at the top and this will open the blog post window. 

 How do i create a blog post in Squarespace?

One the blog post window is open, I start by doing some "housekeeping". I enter my title, I tag and categorize the post at the bottom and then I will update the Options and Location links at the top. 

I always insert a "header" or "featured" image into my posts which is not something that is normally done. I do it for branding and to differentiate my blogging, so don't think that is something you necessarily have to do. I create these square images in Adobe Illustrator and insert them as the first image in every blog post and also as the thumbnail image under "Options". Under "Location" I will enter my business name and state as well to assist with SEO. 


When inserting images into your post you have a few options. You can insert one image at a time using the Image block option or also upload multiple images into a stacked gallery. 

 How to create a blog post in squarespace


My basic format for a client session blog post is the following:

  • Header image
  • Text
  • Stacked gallery block (with blogstomped images)
  • Call to action (sometimes)
  • Carousel summary block
  • Header Image

I mentioned this above, but for every post, I insert a header or featured image as the first image on the page. Sometimes I have text above that image (like in this post) and sometimes I don't. 


This is where I like to talk about my clients, share a little of their story or a story from the session. I hear from a lot of bloggers that this is the stuff that they have the hardest time with. They don't know what to write or they feel like no one cares.

Even though writing this text can sometimes be a challenge, I'll tell you who does care: your client. Even if everyone else who sees your blog skimms over that content and doesn't bother to read it, I guarantee your client will read it and will love it. I've had so many clients tell me that what I wrote meant a lot to them. It shows you care and that their session was more than just a transaction to you. For me, it's the best part of the whole post! 

You can also utilize questionnaires to help with the text portion of the blog post. Have your client fill out a questionnaire prior to the session and then use some of their own answers to help craft the post! Brilliant!!

--->>> Want some questionnaires that are ready to go? Check out the ones available in The Collection! 

Stacked Gallery

After I am done editing images from a session, I will go through and blogstomp all of the images I want to include in the post. I will include horizontal (landscape) images a few full size vertical images and then also 2 vertical images side by side. I will upload all of those images into the gallery block and then drag and drop to reorder if I feel it's necessary. 

I don't choose to write text between my images in my post because I feel like it can be confusing. When I read text in between images sometimes it's not totally clear which image the text is referring too and/or it just gets missed in the scroll. I find it easier to simply write my text at the beginning or end of the post rather than fitting it in between images. 

Call to Action

At the end of some posts, I may include some text and a link to my contact page asking if someone would like to book a session with me to click here. This gives a reader a quicker opportunity to reach me directly while it's fresh in their mind rather than clicking somewhere else on my website. 

Summary Block

Like I mention in my Squarespace summary block post, I include summary blocks at the end of all of my blog posts. For more info about how I set them up click HERE

And there you have it! Blogging with Squarespace does not have to be intimidating and with a few different tricks you can really make your blog posts stand out from the crowd! 

Interested in WATCHING me build a blog post? Check out the video here! 

Why Inbox by gmail rocks my world

I think we can all agree that our email boxes can stress us out to no end when it comes to being a small business owner. 

  • Do I keep this? 
  • Do I delete this?
  • Do I respond to this?
  • What if I don't need this email until a month from now?
  • Why is my inbox so FULL all the time?


I try not to talk about systems or processes that I haven't really dug into and decided whether or not they are truly and consistently useful, but I've been using Inbox by Gmail for over a year now and despite a few attempts to actually stop using it, I kept coming back to it over and over again. 

It has kept me more organized, efficient, wayyyy less stressed and I consistently achieve inbox zero multiple times per week. I love it so I wanted to share with you a few of the top reasons why! 

 How to use Google Inbox for your email&nbsp;

Snooze emails to return to your inbox at a later date

My absolute #1 reason why I love Inbox so much is the snooze factor for your emails. This one feature alone is totally worth some of the drawbacks from using Inbox to view your email. 

The snooze feature works similarly to another program called boomerang, but I have used both and let me tell you Inbox wins hands down and then some. It is so incredibly simple to "snooze" your email to return to your inbox at some point in the future. 

snooze in Inbox by Gmail

This is SO INCREDIBLY handy when you have an email that you don't want to delete, but you also don't want to file it because you DO need respond to it, you just need to respond to it later. Instead of leaving it in your inbox until you are ready to respond, or filing it away in a folder where you may forget about it, you just click the snooze button, tell it when you want it to return to your inbox and then blammo! You can forget all about it and it will appear again when you need it. 

This one feature is probably the number one reason I can keep my email under control at all times. 
  • Need to follow up with an inquiry in five days in case they haven't replied? No problem, just snooze it for 5 days from now and respond when it comes back to your inbox. 
  • Working on a project but waiting for someone to reply first so you can get started? Snooze the email to come back in a few days so you can follow up with them easily and remind them that you are waiting on a reply. 
  • Promo emails hitting your email that you want to read later but you don't have time to read now? Snooze them to return when you have blocked off some time to go through all the emails you want to read. 

And on and on and on. Seriously ya'll this one feature is such a game changer and it is the main reason I will absolutely cringe if Google ever decides to do away with Inbox. 

Interface is clean and organized

I'm also a sucker for things that are clean and minimal when it comes to software or tech programs. I don't like a million bells and whistles added and the system needs to be intuitive for me to use and figure out. 

Inbox uses a threaded approach to email (which you can also set up in gmail) but this keeps all my related emails nice and tidy and together to keep everything organized. 

There just isn't a lot on the page to distract you. Emails. Folders. That's about it. I love it. 

Canned Responses + Signatures

One thing that USED to be an issue with Inbox was the lack of ability to add signatures to your emails or to use canned responses. 

The lack of canned responses was honestly one of the reasons I considered moving away from Inbox a while back. The snooze feature brought me back and I just kept template emails in my drafts. 

HOWEVER! The recently added the ability to use canned emails (templates) into Inbox and I could not be more happy about this. Just one other reason that this interface helps me stay on track, stay efficient and stay organized. 

email templates in Inbox by Gmail

Easy to get back to regular Gmail

There are some things that you still need to do in regular Gmail. The two most common reasons I hop back over to gmail from time to time is to set my auto responder to on for when I'm going to be out of the office, or to create new labels. 

I utilize labels a LOT to file emails away but there isn't a way to nest labels under other labels straight from Inbox. It's easy to do in Gmail and the formatting will carry over to Inbox but you can't do it directly from the interface. 

Luckily, getting back over to regular Gmail is super simple. There is a link on the left side of the panel that says GMAIL. Click on that and it will take you right back over to regular Gmail. 

getting to Gmail from Inbox

And in case you want to see how all of this works in real life, here is a video for you where I take you through what Inbox looks like, how it functions, how to snooze emails and more! Enjoy! 

How to create an Anti-Boring blog post in Squarespace

I'm quite sure it's no one's actual intention to create a boring blog post (on Squarespace or any other platform for that matter) but the unfortunate truth is that more times than not, bloggers have great ideas but their execution is poor. 

The popularity of blogs in the past 10 years and the crazy insane number of blogs out there (150 million plus!!!!) has led to some very interesting data and strategies. Gone are the days when you just type some of your thoughts down onto a webpage and click submit. 

There are many different strategies you can implement TODAY to make your blog posts more interesting and more readable which in turns will hopefully turn into more readers and more loyal readers. That should ultimately positively affect your bottom line. Who doesn't want that? 

Anti Boring Blog Post.jpg


The first and easiest ways to add interest to your blog post is by adding images. We are a very visual society and even though the main focus of any blog post is typically conveying some sort of message through written words, using images to add context, texture and interest to that story keeps your readers eyes moving and breaks up the monotony of reading rows and rows of text that seem to never end. 

Images also can convey very quickly what your blog post is about, a point you are trying to make or they can show your reader what you are talking about. Anyone else out there prefer cookbooks that include pictures instead of just recipes?

I'm raising my hand!!!

And I even go one step further and prefer watching videos or cooking shows so I can watch the entire process from start to finish. That is so much easier for me than reading a recipe and trying to figure it out. 

This is one of the reasons I started implementing videos into my blog posts. Sometimes it helps 100% to see the process being done rather than reading about it. Luckily technology is at a point that this is really simple to do! 

In Squarespace....

Use Image blocks or gallery blocks to add images throughout your post.

  • click on the insert point in your blog post where you want to insert the image
  • upload the image
  • add the description (don't forget this!! very important for SEO)
  • decide if you want to caption or not
  • add a link if necessary


Utilize formatting. ALL DAY. No one likes to admit it, but we all SKIMM. The first thing I do when I open up an informative blog post is skim for the headers to get a general gist of the info that is being covered. THEN I can determine if its worth my time to actually go through and read ALL the words on the page. If I open up a blog post and it's one big blob of text without any breaks, headers, bullets desire to dig into the meat of the post crashes and burns almost instantly. 

When I worked in Human Resources, this was a key element we would talk to employees about when they submitted resumes for promotions. Don't list all of your skills and abilities or job duties in one giant paragraph. Bullet point everything so it makes it easier for the hiring manager to quickly see what you are all about. 

The same theory applies here. Make it easier for your readers to invest in your post. Most people who read blogs look at 10+ blog posts a day...don't let yours be one of the first to get clicked out of because of a hard to read format!

In Squarespace...

Utilize the formating functions in your text block. I typically use Heading 2 and Heading 3 for my posts. 



Up until about two years ago, the concept of white space never really occurred to me before. Kind of makes sense being that I am not nor have I ever studied design, but white space and proper usage of that white space can be a huge draw to blog readers. 

  • Have you ever clicked on a site that had an all black background and white text?
  • Have you ever clicked on a site that had a patterned or textured background with text on top of it that was almost impossible to read?
  • Have you ever clicked on a site where everything seemed jumbled and out of sorts and on top of each other and too small or too large and on and on and on....? 

Proper utilization of white space in your blog posts can help your reader navigate the page, engage with the post and it's easy on the eyes. Squarespace has the added bonus of being ALL ABOUT great use of white space and you can take it even further by adding line blocks in your post or spacer blocks as well! 

In Squarespace....

Insert line blocks to create more white space and break up your post visually or add spacer blocks to create space in between elements of your post. 


If you have followed my blog for any bit of time you are probably pretty familiar with my love affair with the Squarespace summary blocks. Despite the fact that it still doesn't allow things to pull in randomly, I think summary blocks are always a great addition to add at the end of EVERY blog post to let your readers have quick visibility to relevant and older content on your site. 

If someone clicks your post and skims the headings and doesn't see any info new or helpful to them BUT then gets to the end of your post and sees an older post that DOES have info that they are interested in then BOOM. You've kept a reader on your site longer than you would have if they hadn't had that quick visibility into your past content. 

Squarespace summary blocks FOR THE WIN. 

Just go check out this blog me. 


I have a feeling that video is kind of sort of maybe possibly the wave of the future. Have you seen a facebook newsfeed these days? Video after video after video. YouTube is HUGE. I wouldn't have been able to fix the washing machine without the beauty of five different 2 minute videos on youtube.

Don't get me wrong there are tons of people who still like to read and get their information that way, but there are just as many people who like to watch and learn and see someone else doing something. It's a powerful medium and one I'm glad I've tapped into. I hope to continue and take it even further in the future! 

In Squarespace....

It could NOT be easier to add a video to your post. Simply create your video and upload it to your host of choice (I use Vimeo) and then add a video block!  

How+to+create+an+anti-boring+blog+post+in+Squarespace+-+Cinnamon+Wolfe+Photography+-+NJ+Wedding+Photographer (1).jpeg


This is not something I've utilized in my posts simply because my subject matter doesn't typically necessitate a chart or a graph, but the data geek inside me loves that there is an option for this in SS and its so easy to do! I might have to make up a blog post just about some statistics just so I can utilize this feature. 


Don't let this be you!

In Squarespace....

Utilize the chart blocks feature and play around with all of the fun options! Its really easy to customize! 


Also something I haven't used personally in my posts, mostly because I'm not a graphic designer and it would take me about a hundred years to actually put one together, but if you have the ability to create an infographic or can hire someone out to make some for you, I say go for it. Infographics are a great way to convey a lot of information in a concise way and they are HIGHLY pinnable. 

In Squarespace...

Just add an image block and upload your infographic! 


I've seen a lot of bloggers do this if there are more than one contributor to their blog or if they simply want to get their face and info on front of people who might be landing on the blog post without having seen the rest of the website. Its an easy and simple way to introduce the writer of the post to the audience in an aesthetically pleasing way. 

In Squarespace...

Simply add an image block with your headshot and then add a text block with the info and drag them next to each other. Viola! 

Cinnamon Wolfe is a wife, stepmom and pet mom who blogs like the wind and likes to take pictures in her backyard. 


Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest 

8 Reasons you should blog if you have a creative business

It's no secret that I am a big fan of blogging. I blogged for years prior to starting my photography business so it was a no brainer for me to continue blogging once I began booking clients and working to help other photographers grow and succeed. 

As natural as blogging might be for me, for other creative entrepreneurs and small business owners, the decision to blog might be a more difficult one. While I think the majority of small business owners, photographers and wedding industry professionals understand that a blog can be a benefit, it does take time, patience, strategy and again, TIME to keep a blog going and reap the rewards.

Today I want to share eight reasons why it is important to have and maintain a blog for your small creative business and hopefully give you some insights that you might not have had before in order to help you either take the plunge and start a blog or strategize a way to prioritize your blogging in order to get you the biggest potential return! 


One of the absolute best benefits to blogging is the affect it has on your SEO (search engine optimization). A blog gives you a huge opportunity to increase your visibility in potential client internet searches for whatever you might be selling. SEO can be a confusing and mind boggling subject for many to tackle, but in a nutshell the easiest ways to really beef up your optimization is through content, activity and quality inbound links. All of these things are much easier to achieve when you have a consistent blogging presence.  


Raise your hand if you struggle when writing your "About Me" page on your website. Ok, you can put your hand down now and pick up your coffee again. The reason "about me" pages can be so difficult is because it's just plain awkward to write about yourself. You know what you are like, but describing it in a way that doesn't come off as braggy or typical or let's face it...boring...can be a legit challenge. 

A blog gives you a way to really show your personality and WHO YOU ARE in a very roundabout way. Since the main content or focus of the blog is not necessarily YOU, but what you sell or offer, the pressure is off and your personality can shine in the content. I can very easily pick up a huge number of clues about a person through reading posts than I ever could in an about me page.

I find there is ONE major hindrance that frustrates people from allowing their personality to shine through their blog posts: 

Writing on the internet on your own personal business blog is NOT the same as turning in a college essay. 

You are not being graded on perfect grammar and proper tone and punctuation. No one is waiting in the wings with a giant red marker, ready to tear your stuff to shreds and give you a big fat F. It IS important to match your writing to your brand or ideal client, but don't be so nervous about "messing up"...that it prevents you from writing anything at all. 

One of the biggest compliments I receive quite often is that when people I know in life read my blog they tell me it sounds like me. They literally say "It's SO you. I can hear you saying that". That is 100% my goal with my blog, and it helps readers connect with who I am a person and it builds trust. All of those are incredibly valuable things when running a personal small business. 


Maintaining a consistent blog allows you to easily expand the visibility of your portfolio or product selection. Its an easy way to announce new products or offerings, and it allows potential clients or customers to see what you've been up to lately. 


Social media (FB, IG, Twitter...)can be a great way to advertise your products or material but it is anything but permanent. Studies show that the lifespan of a tweet is 18 minutes and with the changes on FB, hardly anyone is seeing what you are posting there. Instagram hashtags can work really well, but again, it's not an easy way for people to find you and it may be going the way of sponsored content in the not so far off future. Relying on social media can be exhausting and frustrating. 

A blog however, is in essence a "one stop shop". This is your homebase, where a client can come to find out EVERYTHING they want to know about you. You can communicate SO MUCH more info through your website and blog than you ever could on any social media outlet. 


A blog is a fantastic way to actually converse and hear from your readers and potential clients. Blog comments are an easy way for readers to contact you and provide feedback or ask questions. And you can respond back to them without a ton of back and forth emails. Having the ability to easily talk to your readers and clients is a powerful brand and trust builder. 


The best cure for "I don't know what to blog about", is to blog. The more you blog, the more ideas come to you. It may sounds ridiculous, but I promise it's SO true. Taking the time to think about what your ideal client might want to learn more about, or what information or resources you (as the expert) could provide on the subject does wonders for coming up with quality blog content. 

Remember, readers are selfish. They want information that is helpful to them. Stop trying to create interesting content about YOU and put the focus on THEM. What might your ideal client want to know more about? What will help make their life easier? What sorts of questions do you get from readers or clients on a consistent basis? Craft your posts about those things and the ideas will start to flow. 


The permanence of your blog goes hand in hand with it being your homebase. And when I say permanent, I really just mean that it has a place on the internet that can be easily found, not that you can't change it. I'm a big proponent of going back and freshening up previous content that might need a tweak or update. 

Scrolling through a fb feed can take forever and you never can find what you are looking for. Twitter? Forget about it. You blog however, can be a place where readers or clients can find exactly what they are looking for in just a few clicks. Especially if you have awesome resources like a blog sidebar or archive page. 


Knowing and understanding who your audience is, where they are coming from, what they click on, how long they stay, where they drop off...all of these analytics can be powerful! Taking a look "behind the scenes" and working to understand the analytics of your website and blog can be insightful and informative. People or readers may be drawn to a blog article and then drop off immediately or they might click around for a while. Analyzing your bounce rate and conversions based on the information that you are providing can have a huge impact on your investment in time and design. 

Its nearly impossible to get quality information off of poor indicators like facebook likes, retweets or IG "hearts" to determine if readers or potential clients are picking up what you are putting down. But consistent blog content that provides value to your audience can be studied and analyzed and you can make tweaks and changes based on that info that will help you actually grow and achieve your goals. 

If you are on the fence about creating a blog or getting more consistent at blogging, I hope these benefits of blogging have helped you in your decision process. 

20 super duper awesome Squarespace hacks

For those of you using Squarespace who love the ease and functionality of it but are also looking for a few more "tweaks" you can do to make your site really feel like "you" and also stand out somewhat from the crowd....but you are not really all that interested in crazy customizations or entering lots of code...

This post is for you! 

(geeze that was a mouthful of a run on sentence!) 

These are all little tips and tricks and tweaks that I've learned in my past four years of using the platform. They aren't super obvious and you can easily find how to do most of them through a simple google search, but if you are looking for a one stop place to find some great ideas of ways to update and customize your SS have come to the right place! 

20 Squarespace Hacks.jpg

1 | esc key log in

If you have previously signed into Squarespace on your computer and clicked "keep me logged in", when you access your website and then press the ESC key, it will automatically log you in to the back end of your website. Soooooo easy! 

2 | Hide tags in blog posts

If you want to tag the heck out of your blog posts, but don't want them all showing super annoyingly in a big blob of blog post tags at the end of your is some CSS for ya!

To not show tags: 

.collection-type-blog article footer .tags { display: none; }

To not show tags or categories:

.collection-type-blog article footer { .tags, .categories { display: none; } }

Add this into your Custom CSS and you should be golden! (Home/Design/Custom CSS) 

3 | Disable right click

If you would like to disable right click/save as on your website, here is some code for that! Enter this into your Code Injection (Settings/Advanced/Code Injection/Header)

<script src="

/1.3.2/jquery.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

<script type="text/javascript" language="javascript">

$(function () {

$(this).bind("contextmenu", function (e) {





4 | Summary Block

It's no secret that I am a huge fan of the summary block and its many uses. My favorites are at the bottom of blog posts, category pages, archive pages, and in your blog sidebar. If you strategize a killer category and tag system for your blog posts, you can utilize summary blocks to no end! Check out my posts about how to make them and how to use them for your archive and sidebar for more info! 

5 | Buttons & Forms 

I feel like buttons and forms don't get near as much love on SS as they should. These are fantastic ways to incorporate CTA's (Call to actions) throughout your site. You can customize them through your design panel and you can add click through URL's or use them as a way to collect email addresses for your email list or newsletter. 


You can use a button as a visual way to link to another page on your website, link to external content or allow visitors to download files or content that you upload. 

super awesome squarespace hacks


Forms can be used for many things like your client contact form, a way to collect email addresses or even a way to do a questionnaire or survey. 

super awesome squarespace hacks

6 | Cover page client guide 

Ok so this is kind an out of the box idea, but have you ever considered using Squarespace cover pages as a client guide of sorts? There are some great options that allow you to put text on one side and an image on the other, which is a great way to creatively create a client or pricing guide for potential clients. All you have to do is send them the URL. 

Caveat....this is a little complicated to set up (lots of linking to pages in order to guide them through as they should) and you are limited on your formatting options in the text portion, but depending on what you want to could be a good option for you. gets people actively engaged in your site and keeps them there longer (since they are looking through all the info) which is a benefit for your SEO! 

Here is a super secret link to my wedding client lounge. Shhhhh! <---This is all done with cover pages!

7 | Change placement of things on page by dragging.

This one is so HUGE you guys!! This is one of the main things that I see people having trouble with on their sites. 

When you go in to edit a page, the insert points go across the entire page which makes it seem like you have to design top to bottom and everything has to be on top of each other and not side by side. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!! You can totally drag things around the page and put them next to each other and make things smaller and make things bigger. 

Here is a video to show you how to do this! Please watch if you feel like you struggle with this on WILL help, I promise!! 

8 | Change the size of headers by placing text in description box

Want to make your headers thicker or thinner? Put text in your description box for your page or just put returns if you are not wanting to put text. This is probably best explained in a video! 

9 | Home page doesn't have to be in Nav menu 

That's right! You don't have to have a page in your navigation menu that says HOME. I know some like to have it there because it gives visitors an obvious place to click if they want to go back to the "main" page, but if you are looking to reduce the size of your navigation menu, by all means, drag the Home page down to the unlinked section and get it out of your nav bar. When a visitor clicks on your logo they will be taken back to your home page so visitor will still be able to access it. 

awesome squarespace hacks

10 | Add a video in a header

Yep! In most templates where you can add images into the header sections of your site, you can also embed a video to auto play. Such a fun an interesting way to create a unique site! 

Here is a great example so you can see it in action! 

11 | Footer can be customized, (get rid of "powered by Squarespace") 

I'm not sure why so many people miss this, but you absolutely CAN customize your footer and take out the "powered by Squarespace" text that is in most templates from the start. 

I am a HUGE advocate (especially if you are a photographer or business owner in which location matters) of including your basic info and location in your footer so that it shows on every page of your website. There is nothing more frustrating for a website visitor to have to search and search and search for your location. 

12 | Customize the contact form

For the love of Pete, people!!! Customize your contact form!!! 

This is another thing I see over and over and over on websites I visit on the daily...the same 'ol boring standard contact form on the contact page that says, "name, email, subject, message". SNOOZEFEST!

You have the ability to customize that form to sound like you, to ask questions that you WANT to know the answer to RIGHT away when someone is contacting you. Don't make your visitor guess at what to say...lead them to answer questions that they KNOW how to answer and their answers will help you best serve them immediately when you respond to them. 

Here is an example from my wedding contact form: 

awesome squarespace hacks

13 | Blog post title and URL can be different

Did you know that your blog post URL and the title of the post can be different??!

If you want your URL to show something SEO friendly like, "Romantic Barn New Jersey wedding at Sterlingbrook Farm" but you want the title to show "David + Jennifer" can totally do that!! 

Here is the best way to go about it.

  • Create a new blog post and enter the title that you want the URL to be.
  • Click Save.
  • Go back and open that same blog post and then update the title.

The URL will stay the same but the title will change. Brilliant! 

14 | Anonymous Commenting

Commenting is one of those things that the Squarespace platform doesn't have FULLY figured out yet. While I tend to think that the comment works decently, people seem to have issues figuring out how to comment on a blog post in Squarespace and if the blogger doesn't have Anonymous Commenting turned on, it can be an even bigger problem. 

The default screen to pull up if you DO NOT have anonymous commenting enabled prompts the user to create a Squarespace account. People seem to miss that they can login through one of the other social media platforms and simply say "I couldn't figure out how to comment b/c it wanted me to create an account". 

If you enable anonymous commenting, the option will show up to enter name, email and website which makes it much easier for visitors to comment. 

If you are a blogger that cares about comments at all, you NEED to enable anonymous commenting NOW! 

--->Settings/Blogging/Comment Settings/Enable anonymous commenting

commenting on a squarespace blog post

15 | Use cover page as landing page for opt-in

Landing pages are super popular. For good reason. 

When you use a landing page for your opt-in or email sign up, you know exactly where your people are coming from. I was adding forms on various pages for people to sign up for the In Crowd, but I was running into the problem of not setting them up all exactly the same. Now, I instead set up a coverage page (which looks a little more stylish and professional) and then I can just directly link to that page wherever I want to! 

I can add a button or a photo or just link some text and send people to that page to sign up! I can also link that page directly on other places as well (facebook, other blogs etc...) to get people to exactly where they need to be to sign up! 

16 | Take the date out of your blog URl

It's good SEO practice to make sure that keywords are as far "up" in your blog URL as possible. Squarespace defaults your blog URL to include the year/month/day but you can absolutely change that. 

***NOTE...if you change this AFTER you have already been blogging you will need to do 301 redirects to the new URL b/c otherwise your old links will now be broken. Proceed with caution if you have already been blogging. If you are brand new and setting up your blog for the first time, you are good to go!

Here is where you change the setting: Settings/Blogging/Post URL format <----make sure there is only %t included in that box! 

17 | Social Media Icons (style changes)

Another awesome thing that I loooove about SS is the ability to add your social media icons pretty much anywhere you want throughout your site. You also have the ability to change the format of the icons per block (not globally). Below I have three different social links blocks added in with different justification (left, right, center) and different formatting based on the options provided....(and there are tons more options!) 

awesome squarespace hacks

18 | Enable Pin-it button in one step

Pinning has never been easier! Set up your pinterest as a connected account and then simply go to Settings/Marketing/Pin-it Buttons. You can adjust the way the button appears as well! 

19 | Send blog posts to facebook/twitter/google + / pinterest when you publish

Did you know that you can auto publish your posts to all of your social media accounts (except for Instagram of course) upon publish of your post? Just click Social on the top of your blog posts...turn "on" the accounts you want to share too...add some text that you want added to the post that is published...and viola! Once the post publishes it will push out to all of those accounts as well! 

 publish to social media when blog post publishes

20 | You can have two different blogs

Now you might ask...why in the world would you have two different blogs? Well most people probably won't, but if you were blogging about very different things and or wanted a further way to separate or organize posts, you can totally do that. 

For example on this website, I have my regular blog with all of my educational posts and then I have a separate blog for all of the Focus(ed) Podcast "blogs/episodes". That way those can all be grouped together and if I do summary blocks it won't pull from both blogs, only the one I choose. 

 can I have two different blogs in Squarespace?&nbsp;

I don't think it's all that intuitive for people to know they can actually create different blogs for different things, but you totally can. BONUS can also move posts from one blog to the other by selecting multiple posts and then clicking MOVE at the bottom. Groovy. 

 can i move blog posts in Squarespace

Alright! I hope you learned something new about what you can do on your Squarespace site so that you can go forth and customize your site in a new and exciting way that you didn't think was possible before! 

How to edit the same photos on two different computers | Dropbox + LR Smart Previews

 How do I edit the same photos on two different computer using Lightroom&nbsp;

Ohhhh if only I had this post to read to myself about three years ago when I was pulling my hair out trying to organize and manage the way I edit photos and run my business! 

The issue I was having was this: I had two computers that I worked on regularly for normal business operations and communication as well as editing photos. I had an iMac desktop computer that sat in my office as well as a MacBook Air laptop that I used while on the couch or in bed or traveling. I often times would start a project on one computer and need to finish it on the other. 

It's always interesting to me the problems we seem to create for ourselves in the name of technology and comfort. amiright?

What's the problem you say? Sounds like you've got it pretty good with two very nice computers available to you to do work on...what could be so bad about that?

Two words: File Management

I would have files of images or documents saved on one computer and then BOOM! I would be working on the other computer need to access those same files, but woe is me, they were on the other computer. 

Having to get off the couch to go sit at my uncomfortable desk in order to complete an email was just not working for me! #firstworldproblems #iknowright?

Dropbox to the rescue

The introduction of Dropbox and my understanding of how to really use it to my advantage rocket launched my productivity.

Dropbox was my "shared drive". EVERYTHING gets saved to my Dropbox folder.

And I mean everything.

That way I have access to all of those documents, photos...whatever really....from whatever computer I am on or my phone or tablet. Huge WIN!

However, I was still having issues with editing my photos. I had Lightroom (LR) installed on both computers, but my catalogue was sitting on my desktop because my desktop has more hard drive space and honestly, I prefer editing on the desktop because the screen is so much bigger. But every once in a while, I wanted to finish culling or doing light edits on a batch of photos and I would prefer to do that work on the couch or snuggled up in bed. Traveling was also an issue. If I wanted to do some edits while I traveled, I had to create a new catalogue which messed up my system of naming and storing LR catalogues. UGH. What was a girl to do? 

I googled around a bit but wasn't really finding any good answers. At least not any answers that I could understand or made a lot of sense to me.  

I dealt with this issue for a while until I heard about LR Smart Previews (SP) mentioned in a fb thread. I had casually heard about SP before, but had never taken the time to research how they could actually benefit me. Once I understood exactly how they worked, a lightbulb went off in my brain and the idea of using SP and Dropbox together dawned on me. 


To understand, we have to look at how LR actually works. Lightroom stores all of the data related to your photos and your edits in the catalog. It points to the images in the hard drive or external hard drive where the images are housed, but the program itself does not alter the images in any way. Think of it almost like trace paper. Your image is the original drawing and anything you perform in LR is happening on that layer of trace paper on top of the image. You can peel it away and the original image is still there. The catalog is the trace paper. 

If you have ever disconnected your external hard drive or accidentally deleted the images off of your hard drive, you will get an error message in LR telling you it can't find the images. In short, you needed to have the images available on the same computer (either through hard drive or external drive), in order for the catalog to trace over them. 


With the introduction of Smart Previews, everything changed. If you click "create smart previews" upon import, LR will automatically create a smaller more manageable file to work with. That means that the original (often large sized) files don't have to be "attached" to the same computer you are working on at the moment. All of that data is now stored in the catalog along with any changes you might make (tagging, flagging, sorting, keywords or edits.) Essentially the introduction of Smart Previews eliminated the need to have the original images "plugged" into wherever you were running Lightroom. Brilliant!

That frees up your laptop from having an external drive plugged in (or storing the RAW images directly on your laptop hard one got space for that!) but it doesn't necessarily solve the problem of importing the images on one computer and then accessing them from a different computer as well. Sad face. 


When you save your Lightroom catalog in Dropbox, it then becomes available basically from any computer that is linked to that same Dropbox. Here is what a general process might look like:

Open LR on your desktop and make sure you are using the catalog that is in your Dropbox. (If you are not sure, go to File>Open Catalog>navigate to the catalog you saved in Dropbox. 

Import your images and make sure create Smart Previews is selected

Cull, add keywords, rate or edit your photos as you wish. Close LR and ensure your Dropbox is synced. (<------this is SUPER IMPORTANT!!!)

On your laptop, make sure your Dropbox is synced, open LR and make sure you are using the catalog saved in your Dropbox. You will see the photos that you imported on your desktop and all of the changes already made to them. The only difference is that you will see question marks next to the folders that your images are stored in, but that is just b/c the images aren't connected to the catalog right at that moment. But because you created smart previews, you can still click on those photos and edit away. 

The image directly above is a screen grab from my desktop. You see how all of my images are listed under "My Passport for Mac" which is an external drive I keep my images on and how I imported the images originally. On my laptop, all of that would not show (unless I plugged the external drive to my laptop), but the ALL PHOTOGRAPHS under the Catalog dropdown would show the exact same number of images and you would be able to make changes, rate, add keywords, cull or edit those photographs from the laptop as well! BOOM! 

OK!! I hope this is helpful and even though it takes a little bit to get your head around, once you get the system down it makes life just a little bit easier, especially if you are on the go or traveling! Here is a video as well in case you need it!! ;-) 

Want my best tips on speeding up your workflow?

Grab the free download below! 

Why I don't Watermark my photos

Now that's a bit of controversy for a this early in morning isn't it? ;-)


Watermarking photos in the photography industry is kind of like Canon vs. Nikon. Digitals vs. Prints. Flash or Natural light. Formally educated or self-taught. The debates go on and on. In the end there REALLY is no right or wrong on the subject and people end up doing what they want based on what the believe about life in general. 

Sidenote…I'm reading All Marketers are Liars by Seth Godin…and so I've got all this "worldview influences all consumer behavior and no one buys a product, they really buy the story” on the brain and if you haven't read it, then I would highly suggest picking up a copy and indulging yourself in the same. 

Alright, back to watermarks. YAY or NAY?

I've landed on the NAY side of things for a few different reasons. I used to be on the YAY side and please understand I have nothing against all of the lovely people who are currently on the YAY side of things. I've just decided they aren't for me for a few key reasons. 

Sidenote #2...The more I am in business, the more I am figuring out that it's really important to understand WHY you do what it is that you do or don't do. (wow, did that sentence even make sense?) If you go around just doing things because everyone else does them, then you are most likely headed for some confusing times and upset clients. Strategy is crucial and honestly it's a more comfortable place to be. When you are easily able to explain why you do or don't do something you appear more professional likely because you ARE more professional! You have an understanding of the strategy behind your business and you can gauge when things are working and when they aren’t and make tweaks along the way. 

Doesn't that sound a whole lot better than just seeing what Johnnie Photographer and Jane Photographer are doing and just copying them without understanding the foundation of why they are doing it that way? 

Ok again, back to the watermarks (geeze I need more coffee!)

There are four main reasons why I feel like the practice of using watermarks doesn't align with my strategy or my branding. 


This one is pretty huge for me and it fits in with my branding and style. I like things to be simple. 

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace. Making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” 
— Charles Mingus

I like to make things screamingly simple for my clients. I like routine and simplicity in every day life. Simple and functional to me equals beauty. 

Back when I used to watermark anything and everything, life for me was anything BUT simple. Adding watermark files to Lightroom and Blogstomp, figuring out their placement on the various different photos, exporting for facebook or instagram became laborious, I would have a watermark on an image I wanted to share on IG but then it would be cut off because of where I chose to put it on the photo and so it looks stupid, and forget about choosing white or black! Half of my photos you couldn't even really see the watermark b/c it would blend in or I would have to put it in a really distracting place where you could actually see it and on and on and on....

Does any of that sounds simple to you? 

The day I decided to stop watermarking felt like a huge weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I was able to simply export my photos once, Blogstomp them if I chose and then they would just be ready for me. Ready to put in a blog post. Ready to put on FB. Ready to put on IG. No other worries around. Simple. Lovely. 


One of the main arguments FOR watermarking your photos is that if you don't, others will steal them from you and then try to pass them off as their own. 

Now don't get me wrong, I KNOW this happens. You can't be in a photography group on Facebook without seeing someone post about how they were completely caught off guard when they found out that someone had set up a whole false website using their stolen photos. There are whole websites that are built on calling out people who steal other photographers photos. 

However, with todays technology and minimal understanding of how a clone stamp works, adding a watermark to your photo in hopes that it will prevent someone from stealing it is kind of like locking the doors to your car but leaving all the windows down. Its really not going to do much to prevent someone who is intent on stealing someones work. Its just ads one small, annoying step to the process.

The only tried and true way to absolutely prevent someone stealing your photo is not to post anything online at all. Ever. And I don't know how many photographers in this day and age would be willing to go to that extreme. So take your precautions.

  • Disable right-click on your website (which wont stop screen grabs).
  • Upload photos at 72dpi instead of 300 (which would make the photo really difficult to print large or use commercially.)
  • Keep your metadata up to date as well which might come in handy someday if it comes to that.

Otherwise, acknowledge the fact that your photos "might" get stolen someday, but the chance is small and its pretty much unavoidable, so don't stress yourself out over trying to prevent something that you really can't stop. 


One other big argument on the YAY side for watermarking is promotion and marketing. If someone sees my photo somewhere on the internet and they don't see my watermark or branding on it, then how will they ever track me down and find me and give me buckets of money?!?! 

I will admit, I don't have a rock solid argument against this. Maybe I am forfeiting millions of dollars by not having watermarks on my photos, but I just don't think this is really behavior that many consumers engage in. I am also much more service oriented than "my photos are the most amazing photos you will ever see" oriented. There are many photographers out there whose aim is to provide the most unique images possible and I applaud them for that, but I was just not blessed with that level of creativity. Therefore I have to depend MORE on my amazing service skills and none of that is adequately communicated through a watermark. 

My goal is for all clients of mine to GUSH about me whenever a friend mentions needing a photographer. In all transparency that is how I would prefer to be "found". I want clients to WANT to talk about me and tag me online, instead of feeling jilted or bitter when they crop out my watermark or don't say anything about me at all. 

Some may still argue that leaving my photos out there floating around without any distinguishing watermark means that I am leaving money on the table. Maybe they are right, but I'm just not convinced. Word of mouth will always remain my focus. 


In that same vein of my photos having something to distinguish them amongst the masses, without a watermark it really challenges me to make my photos consistent and to have a style. There are many photographers out there who have mastered this and just by seeing their photo quickly in my feed I am instantly able to know who took it. Susan Stripling is one. Jasmine Star is another. Their style may not necessarily be one that I relate to or personally aspire to achieve, but they are certainly distinct. Both of these ladies have been at this for years and they have really honed in on the exact style they want to portray. I would love to get to this point someday, where my images have a consistent and obvious message and story that they are telling. If I keep plastering my name all over them, it kind of lets me off the hook. And nothing good happens when I am let off the hook (except for maybe some Netflix marathons.)  

So there you have it. All the reasons I gave up watermarking my photos. What do you do and why do you do it? I would love to hear your reasons in the comments! 

5 actionable ways to avoid the comparison trap

You've seen the quotes written in flowery or calligraphy-ied (is that a word) writing...splashed in watercolor in a beautiful IG feed...

At the heart of every single one of these encouraging and uplifting statements is a deep seeded truth : you have worth. You DO matter and what you have to say/create/provide is meaningful in some way. 

Comparison is ever present in all facets of life and obviously doesn't just exist in the photography or creative industry. I felt the same pull of unworthiness, never good enough-ness, someone is always doing it better than me-ness when I was in college, when I was in corporate america, heck just living everyday life with other's just always there. 

I've given up trying to force myself to not fall into the comparison trap. Its human nature, it's GOING to happen. No matter how many times you post an uplifting saying on Instagram or read an encouraging blog post, no matter how many times the tears well up because you realize someone out there (who you didn't really realize struggles with it too) "gets" it, get's you...those feelings of inadequacy creep in when you least expect them. Or sometimes exactly when you expect them....during hour three of scrolling through facebook feeds of uber successful and talented (whomever) who is doing all the things YOU want to be doing but aren't for (whatever reason.) Maybe they've got 5 years on you. Maybe they don't have three kids in the house. Maybe staying 120lbs comes naturally to them. Maybe their husband joined in business with them. 

Maybe, just maybe, they are called for a different purpose than you are. Maybe, just maybe, someone is looking at you from afar and thinking...."I wish I had the courage to start MY own business..."

Let that sink in for a minute. 

When the comparison darkness begins its slow and meticulous creep into the window of your soul, you have to take action. Just wanting it to stop is not enough. You have to confront it head on. You have to look it in the eye and say, "not is about doing at least one thing to move my business forward...and despite what everyone else is doing or accomplishing, I will move forward." 

Here are 5 actionable steps to get out of that slump and continue moving forward! 

How do I avoid comparing myself to others?


This is one of the first things I do when I feel the comparison or "I'm not worthy" monster creeping around in my environment. I don't often feel jealousy or envy or anger towards others in my industry's success, but I do often feel discouraged. Comparing my current chapter to their finished novel. When those feeling strike, I make it a point to somehow, in someway, encourage someone else.

Liking a post on fb takes a millisecond. Retweeting something takes about a second. Double tapping a photo or taking a second to comment on an IG photo takes slightly longer but we still are in the seconds category. Despite all of our best efforts to not let social media be the end all be all gage for our self worth, a little social media love never hurt ANYONE.  There is SO MUCH information floating around out there, every day we are bombarded with content, content, content and oftentimes creating content ourselves. We put a lot of hard work into creating content that is helpful and having that recognized in some way shape or form means a lot! Be social. Provide feedback and encouragement. People notice. And taking the focus off of you, is always good for the soul. 


I know this may seem counter-intuitive based on the above, but I am a firm believer in taking breaks or extended breaks from all thing social media. If you are feeling large amounts of discouragement about where you are in your journey and you are also spending inordinate amounts of time online or involved in social media, take a time out. Delete the apps off of your phone for a week. Take a weekend and don't check FB or IG at all for the whole weekend. Set social media guidelines for your workday (only allowed to look for one hour a day etc...). You will be surprised how much your spirits lift and your creativity flows when you are left to your OWN devices and imagination to complete your tasks or projects. 


Call a friend. Talk to your spouse. Ask a mentor or another creative out for lunch or coffee. As entrepreneurs, we often are isolated and lonely since the majority of us work on our own and not surrounded by people all day long (well, people who aren't begging you to go outside and play or make them a snack or tugging on your pant leg asking a million questions.) Often the isolated nature of jobs leads to increased frustration and discouragement, especially when we see others succeeding. Getting out of your head and back into the real world with real people who you know and see in person jolts you right out of that place. Make a habit of it.  


If you don't have a printed list of your goals (short term and long term) posted near your desk or it! Having a visual reminder of where you want to go and what you want to accomplish can instantly help you to refocus and leave that comparison monster in the dust. When we begin to let comparison and feelings of discouragement control our lives, we are more focused on what OTHERS are doing or achieving rather than what WE are trying to achieve. No one meets their own goals by spending all their time thinking about other people's goals. That's just silly. 

List out all of your short term goals by month, 6 months and a year and then also list out your longer term goals for 5 + years. Make them SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely). I also recommend writing down your WHY (more about that HERE) and having that somewhere where you can see it as well during the day. Even though our WHY is often something that we are able to spout off at any moment, seeing the words written down has a tendency to refocus our brain to the task at hand. It grounds you and gives you a sense of purpose. If you have ever felt like giving up your business or journey completely, it is your WHY that will often bring you back from the brink of quitting and help you stay on your path! 


This one is hard for me and often the last thing I resort to. It's easy when you have so many ideas about where you want to go, that you completely forget about where you've been. I've been in business for four years and the progress I've made is astounding! Small business owners and entrepreneurs are often times big dreamers and low on patience. They want to accomplish a LOT in a little bit of time. But in reality, life just doesn't work that way. It takes hard work, sweat equity and TIME to bring those dreams to life. 

When you look back to see where you've been and all of the lessons you've learned along the way, you can center yourself on the fact that you HAVE accomplished big things already, so if you keep doing what you are doing then you will likely continue to accomplish your goals. 

The comparison below is one that I consider often. This is Caitlin and she trusted me when I FIRST started taking pictures and continued to trust and encourage me along my journey. The photo on the left was about a month after I picked up a camera and the photo on the right was almost exactly two years later. Not only has my knowledge of the technical side of photography grown by leaps and bounds, but my business knowledge has as well. These photos represent all of that. I may have many, many BIG goals that I aim to achieve in the future and I do get frustrated that I'm not there yet, but these photos remind me that I have come so far and will continue to grow.  

 how to avoid comparing myself to others - look back at how far you have come!&nbsp;

Back Button Focus | How to be BFF with BBF

You hear about it in photography groups and forums all the time...back button focus. What the heck is it and why in the world do people talk about it like it is the greatest thing of all time? 

I had a hard time wrapping my head around it when I first encountered BBF speak. I kind of sort of maybe understood, but I didn't really "get it". Despite not fully understanding the benefits, I jumped in and started using it and haven't looked back. 

Now-a-days, I understand much more about WHY people (including myself) like it so much and am hoping I can de-mystify the subject a little bit for you as well!! 



In the absolute simplest of descriptions, you use a button on the back of your camera (instead of the shutter button) to focus on your subject. 

With most DSLR's right out of the box the shutter button will control two things: the focusing mechanism as well as firing the actual shutter in order to take the photo. 

When you depress the shutter button halfway, the camera will search to find focus based on what focus point you have activated, and then if you continue to depress the button the shutter will fire and the camera will take a photo. 

Setting up your camera to use back button focus means that you separate those two functions into two different buttons. The shutter button will only fire the shot and a button on the back of your camera will attempt to find focus when you press it. 



The easiest way to describe the benefits is through a couple of different examples. 

Example 1: no need to refocus

Let's say you are photographing a dark wedding reception and you are having trouble achieving focus in order to take your shots. You are pressing the shutter halfway, but the camera is hunting and hunting for focus and is having trouble locking due to the low ambient light available. The shutter WILL NOT fire unless focus is achieved meaning you could be missing key shots because your camera will not find focus. 

If you use back button focus however, you can go into a better lit area, stand a certain distance away from a subject you can focus on (lets say 4-5 feet), grab focus and then go back into that dimly lit reception, don't press the focus button and take all the shots you want (as long as you are standing about the same distance from the subject). You don't have to worry about the camera hunting for focus again. The shutter will continue to fire because the camera has already locked in a focus distance. As long as you are 4-5 feet from a subject, your depth of field will remain the same and whatever subjects are that far away from you will be in focus. 

Example 2: focus will stay locked

Have you ever been shooting something and then all of a sudden something else comes in front of the lens? When you press the shutter again to take the shot your camera will attempt to focus on whatever that is, instead of the intended subject and you could potentially lose a shot since you will have to attempt to focus again on what your original subject was. 

If you use back button focus, the focus will remain locked on your subject despite other things getting in the way. Since you won't have to attempt to get focus AGAIN once the photobombing object gets out of the way, you can simply depress the shutter to take the shot instead of having to find focus again. 

Example 3: shutter will fire

Since achieving focus is no longer a function of the shutter button, you will be able to fire the shutter and take a shot whether you have achieved focus or not. 

This can benefit you in a few different ways. You can get creative with some shots and artistically have nothing in perfect focus in the shot. You can grab certain emotions or moments that may not be perfectly focused but if you had waited to grab that perfect focus you might have missed them all together because the shutter wouldn't fire. 

Example 4: tracking your subject

If you are shooting a moving subject, say a bride and groom walking down the aisle towards you, back button focus is awesome. As long as your camera is in AI Servo (for Canon) you can just hold down the back button and the camera will continue to track your subject and maintain focus. You can keep pressing the shutter button and your shots will still be in focus as long as you hold down that button on the back at the same time. Brilliant!



Here are the instructions for Canon 5d Mark iii and Canon 6d. Nikon users, you'll need to do some googling (and maybe some purchasing of new Canon gear?) Just kidding!! ;-)

For a Canon Mark iii

Step 1: Go to your Custom Controls
Step 2: Select the shutter button and change it to "metering start" 
Step 3: Select either the AF-ON button OR the * button (your choice really) and change it to "metering and AF start" 

For a Canon 6d

If I remember correctly with the 6d, out of the box either the AF-ON or * button is already programmed to focus, but the shutter still will be set to do BOTH metering and focus, so you will still need to change that to metering start ONLY. 

Step 1: Go to your Custom Function III : Operation/Other- click set
Step 2: Scroll until you get to 5 which is Custom Controls
Step 2: Select the shutter button and change it to "metering start" 
Step 3: Select either the AF-ON button OR the * button (your choice really) and change it to "metering and AF start" (if it is not already set at that)