What I do on the days I am not shooting sessions

Believe it or not, I actually do more than just take photographs in my business. Honestly, most photographers, including myself, only take photos 20% or less of the time in our business. I wanted to explain to you what the other 80% of my business looks like.

Accounting & bookkeeping

Never have I ever claimed that I am a bookkeeper or have an accounting background. Honestly, if it wasn’t for my dad having a background in business finances and giving me tips and tricks I would be VERY lost. I mean, I understand basic personal finance, but having to do it for a business is a completely different story. This includes balancing my books, keeping and documenting every single expense, prepping for taxes, keeping all invoices, and understand profit and loss statements.


I answer phone calls, I reply to emails, I correspond with vendors, and even hand write thank you notes to my clients. Anything an administrative assistant does, I do.


Taking time out of my schedule to research trends, different client portals, labs, and to see what works best for my clients is important. I want to make sure everything I do makes the clients life easier. I also use this time to research for any of the blog posts that I write.


I have to learn about everything that I am talking about throughout this blog post because I had NO idea what to do (and still sometimes have to Google some things). I have to make time to not only learn these things, but get better at my own craft. I go to conferences, take online courses, and read personal development and business books constantly.

Email Marketing

My business has it’s own newsletter that goes out monthly called Snapshots. So I have to prepare this and make it visually appealing. I also use this for any flash sales as well as any freebies that I offer!

Social Media Marketing

This one takes up a LOT of time. Learning trends in the social media world, and what to post and making up content for it to go along with my website, sessions, and blog posts is some of the things that go into it.


This is what I do after every single session, plus my own “for fun” photos. This takes up a big chunk of time as I have to go through every image and alter it just right.

Setting up programs

This includes prepping for programs that my clients will be using. I try to make each and every step easy for the client, so I am constantly looking for new programs and tweaking them to make the experience better.


This is when I am either doing an on the phone or in person consultations. Since I offer this to anyone that I get a request from, this can add up with my time. Plus, I do research and take the time to get these set up.


I blog every single week. I have a blog up every Tuesday at 10 am. This takes a LOT of time. I want to make sure the content is valuable, as well as interesting, well thought out and researched. Creating something that can actually be of benefit to anyone is a lot. I also try to come up with some freebie that can go along with it and make Pinterest graphics.


I have to study my analytics for my email, social media, and website to see what performs the best. That way, I can make more things like that for my audience and for my clients. When you add up all of those platforms, it can be intense.


This includes ordering supplies, ordering gifts for clients and their products. This could also include me getting an order ready (coming up with albums, wall art, etc.) for the client.

Are you surprised? I am not sure most people see what this side looks like, so how could you know? I am going to start tracking my time by “clocking in & out” when I am on certain tasks, just to see what my actual time is. I would be curious to see this. Would you?

Some of my favorite free learning programs

For those of you that don’t know me, I LOVE learning. I am constantly using different websites, apps, reading books, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries. I don’t think we can ever really get enough knowledge. So I came up with a list of my favorite FREE learning programs that I think you will enjoy as well.



A free language learning app (also has a Spanish Podcast and is available on the web).


I use this app a lot on my iPad when I am cooking or even cleaning. I will watch anything that I can use to better my business or learn something new.


I have a few that I will go into a little later, but I love listening to these on the road


This is an app that allows you to pick a few subjects that you are interested in and read up on the latest from them

NYTimes Crossword

There is a free portion of this app and it’s just for the daily Mini puzzle. Sometimes they have extra free ones, but it really helps my brain in the morning to wake up and get moving


If I am all caught up on podcasts or know that I will be in the car a lot, I listen to audio-books on Audible. I don’t always prefer it, but to listen to a book on the go is much more enjoyable for me than to read them in hand.

Apple Books

I love this app. I can store any digital book (or even PDFs) in this app and come read it as much as I want. I can even mark it up to highlight, make notes, and anything else in this app.



This can also be used in the app form, but I absolutely love this website. There are so many quick videos on anything and everything you could possibly want to know. It’s not a sit-down lecture, but it gives you something to think about.


I discovered this in recent years because of someone I was training at my job. I told him that I loved to learn, and wanted to further my education but that it was too expensive for me. He asked what I wanted to learn about and I wasn’t 100 percent at the time as I had a lot of different paths I could have said. He suggested this site to me because it was a free resource. You can take classes from all around the world and 100s of universities and take the same classes. You won’t get any “credit” for it for free, but if you get a high enough score to pass, you can pay for your certificate in it. I have used it to help me better understand food and the science behind it and why we need to eat certain foods, to medical terminology (for my job), to communication and so much more.


Not everything is free, but you can learn so many skills. You can gain creative, business, technology skills and more from over 23,000 online courses taught by successful professionals in such areas as business, design, and writing.


This is great when you are trying to learn something about a technology or different computer programs.

Books (Library)

To make this a free resource, you have to use your local library. I actually use this technique when deciding if I should purchase the book (especially business related books because anyone can write and publish a book). So I am adding a few of my favorites.

The Storyteller’s Secret - Carmine Gallo

Girl Wash Your Face - Rachel Hollis

High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard

Daring Greatly - Brene Brown


Goal Digger Podcast - with Jenna Kutcher

Optimal Living Daily (and their partner podcasts Optimal Business Daily, Optimal Finance Daily, Optimal Health Daily, and Optimal Relationships Daily)

BossBabe Podcast - Natalie Ellis & Dr. Danielle Canty

Skimm This

NPR UpFirst



Granted this one isn’t free, but if you are already paying for it, you might as well use it to your learning advantage. I wanted to list to you some of my favorite documentary style shows/movies on this platform.

Chef’s Table

This is a documentary style show about the different chef’s throughout the world. I love food and cooking so I am so inspired by all of these people and it makes me want to visit each of their restaurants.

Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes

I’ve always been fascinated with crime shows (SVU: Law & Order is my all time favorite), so this one I was drawn to especially with the popularity of the Netflix Original “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile.”

Honestly, there is a large number of subjects you can look up including history, crime, even ones on social media. I highly recommend watching at least one and see what Netflix ends up suggesting.

If you even use ONE of these resources I will be ecstatic. Maybe you will find out something you love to do in your free time because of this. Maybe you will become an expert in a field just because you gave one of these a go. So what is stopping you from starting?

What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 3

If you have not ready What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 1, click here.
If you have not ready What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 2, click here.

Test your knowledge

Example 1

Sally Sue and her family just got done taking photographs with a local photographer. She was sent the sneak peeks of her photographs through the photographer’s blog and could not be more excited and overjoyed on how well they turned out. She screenshots them all and posts them on social media. What has just happened?

  1. Everything is perfectly fine. She did nothing wrong.

  2. She did not give credit to the photographer. Since this is a reproduction of the work, this would be considered copyright infringement.

  3. Since she didn’t actually print these, she is fair game.

Example 2:

John Deer just got some branding photos done for his tractor supply company. His photographer knows that these photos are going to be used in promotions and will be all over John’s websites. They had discussed and put in the contract that the photographer will give John the printing rights, as long as any digital works have credited the photographer with links back to the photographer’s social media and website. John uses these on billboards, print ads, as well as website advertising. He even uses them as social media marketing pieces. Every time, there is no name written, but tags and link are embedded in the photographs. What has John done?

  1. John did everything that was specified in the contract. He has not done anything wrong.

  2. He forgot to have everything link back to the photographer. He broke the contract which can be held up in court.

  3. He used his own labs to print the billboards. This would be copyright infringement.

Example 3:

Olivia Benson’s son Noah, just had a birthday. She hired a photographer so no one would be left out of the photographs. It was very last minute and Olivia didn’t have time to read over the contract (her job has her work LONG hours), and signed it without looking it over. A week later, she received the digitals in an online gallery and she picks her favorite one to post on social media. Since it was a vertical photo, Instagram cut off part of the photo, so it made her crop the photo. What has just happened?

  1. Since she didn’t have time to read through the contract, how would she have known if she ever did do anything wrong? As far as she knows, she is doing everything right.

  2. Because Olivia signed the contract, she is legally bound to it. She didn’t notice there was a printing rights clause as well as a digital media clause. In the digital media clause, it says she must tag the photographer as well as not alter the image in any way, including cropping. Since she signed it, she has violated copyright law.

  3. Olivia violated copyright law. With or without a contract, she altered the photographer’s work. Sure it was unintentional, but it still happened.

Copyright law infringement is a serious offense.

Photographers try their very best to make sure that you are educated and know what to do and what not to do (like talking them through their contract, writing blog posts like this one, and reinforcing it through out the experience). This is also why there are contracts in place, to make the unaware, aware. It’s not to be difficult or to add more steps to your life, but to protect you and the photographer both.

In my business, before I even first meet with you, I send you a copy of the contract that will be just like you would sign. I want you to have a chance to look it over and feel confident in what you are signing. I want to be completely transparent and be able to give you the chance to question anything that is written.

So take my advice and ask all photographers for their contract ahead of time so that way you can be confident in your purchase with them.

If you have any other questions, feel free to reach out to me.

You can also download a one-page summary by going to this link!

What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 2

If you haven’t read “What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 1”, click here to do so.

How will I be punished if I break this law?

Breaking this law is called an “infringer.” The Copyright Society of the USA explains that, “Anyone who exploits any of the exclusive rights of copyright without the copyright owner's permission commits copyright infringement. If a lawsuit is brought in a court, the infringer will have to pay the copyright owner the amount of money the infringer made from using the work or that the owner would have made if the infringement had not happened. If the copyright is registered with the U.S. Copyright Office, the infringer may also have to pay copyright owner what's called statutory damages -- an amount set by the judge that will usually be higher. In addition, an infringer may be found guilty on criminal charges and have to pay criminal penalties. Moreover, the infringer will also be stopped from making any further use of the work.”

How do I make sure I don’t break this law?

Unless you are using the “Fair Use” right (using it for limited educational purposes), you MUST pay for these works. You must trade a monetary amount for this work, including for personal use.

What is the difference between copyright and printing rights?

No matter what, every photographer has the copyright to the photographs they took of you. Even though you paid them for a service, it does not mean that you have the copyright to the photographs.

Printing rights are when the photographer gives you high-resolution photos and permission to print their photographs of you. They are not giving you ownership, but they are letting you take the photographs to get them printed. It allows you to print for personal use at home with preserving the rights of the photographer.

This does mean that ONLY YOU have the printing rights (or the person listed on the contract). Giving the digital copies for grandma & grandpa to print is considered stealing.

How do I know if I have printing rights?

You look through your contract. It will specifically state if you have the printing rights. If you are still unsure, talk with your photographer. They can help you understand.

What do I do if I want to print photos but don’t have the printing rights?

You can buy prints from your photographer. Photographers that don’t give the printing rights typically are what is called In-Person Sales Photographers (or IPS Photographers). Meaning they sell the products themselves. Printing photos without the printing rights in copyright infringement and can have legal consequences.

To read “What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 3”, click here!

What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 1

Since the dawn of time, creators, writers, artists and anyone that makes something or produces work, have had to deal with people wanting to copy their work or pass it off as their own. Some even want to make a quick buck. So in 1790, the first Copyright Act was signed. This was to help encourage creation. The most recent and current law is the Copyright Act of 1976 and has had two amendments since then. As a photographer, this means so much and it means that I have to educate everyone on what that means to them.

So, I wanted to take the time to share with you my knowledge on the Copyright Law, how it affects you, and what steps you can use to make sure you don’t get caught in a sticky situation.

I want to set the preface that not all photographers treat copyright law the same. Some like to make sure that you know for sure what it means and can even take you to court on it, while others can just ignore it. Don’t let this deter you from working with a certain photographer. Just make sure you are on the same page as them when you do hire one. This post is to simply educate what it is and what can come from it.

What is copyright?

By definition “Copyright is the exclusive legal right, given to an originator or an assignee to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material, and to authorize others to do the same.” This means that someone who creates something, owns it.
According to the Copyright Society of the USA, “[…] that whenever you write a poem or story or even a paper for your class, or a drawing or other artwork, you automatically own the copyright to it. Copyright is a form of protection given to the authors or creators of "original works of authorship," including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic and other intellectual works. What that means is that, as the author of the work, you alone have the right to do any of the following or to let others do any of the following:

  • make copies of your work;

  • distribute copies of your work;

  • perform your work publicly (such as for plays, film, dances or music);

  • display your work publicly (such as for artwork, or stills from audiovisual works, or any material used on the Internet or television); and

  • make “derivative works” (including making modifications, adaptations or other new uses of a work, or translating the work to another media).”

In general, it is illegal for anyone to do any of the things listed above with a work created by you without your permission, but there are some exceptions and limitations to your rights as a copyright holder. One major limitation is the doctrine of “Fair Use,” which I later discuss.

What does the copyright law state?

The federal copyright law is called title 17 of the United States Code. It includes all amendments enacted by Congress through June 30, 2016, the Copyright Act of 1976 and all subsequent amendments to copyright law; the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984, as amended; and the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act, as amended. The Copyright Office is responsible for registering intellectual property claims under all three.
There is a lot that states it, and I am going to try to break it down for you. But if you want to read it in its entire 370 pages of work, you can read that here.

What does that mean?

Ultimately, it makes sure that people that make things (i.e. creators) don’t have their work used without compensation. An example would be to print a photo you didn’t pay for.

To read “What is copyright and how does it affect you (the client)? Part 2”, click here!