5 Tips for Staying Put Together on a Wedding Day

St Louis Rehearsal Dinner by Jordan Brittley

Lookout guys! Because this post is for the ladies. I spend the majority of the wedding day running around and making sure that I am serving my clients to the best of my ability. I have realized that it is so important to still look put together… no matter how hard you are working. Does anyone else hate *glistening* (aka sweating) on a wedding day? Or ever? Well, there are certain aspects that you can’t control but taking action in a few ways may help you to be a little more thrilled when the bride wants a photo with you at the end of the day!

1) WEAR PERFUME – Girl, you know what I’m talking about. Who doesn’t love to smell good? I always freshen up before the reception! Just one spray… don’t go crazy (insert smiley face).

2) BRUSH YOUR HAIR – Keep a brush in your camera bag if you are wearing your hair down. You would be surprised what kind of difference this can make… even in the way that you feel!

3) WEAR LIPSTICK – Even when my hair and makeup seem to be in disarray, wearing lipstick helps to keep you looking (somewhat) together. Does anyone know a good lipstick that won’t fade throughout the day?

4) GOOD POWDER FOUNDATION – I love using BeautiControl’s Wet/Dry. I have tried SO many different powders and this is by far my favorite! When I get in the car, I just use the makeup sponge that comes with the compact to touch up and I’m good to go!

5) CHEW GUM – What girl doesn’t love gum?! Since you are going to be getting really close to people and giving them instructions, it’s always good to have gum in your bag!!

The Lady in Purple

Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley

The light seemed to linger just a little bit longer as the tide came in and the waves diffused against the black rock. The lady in purple breathed in the misty ocean air and danced through the water to the rhythm of the waves. He leads her on, joy is her strength and freedom is her song. The Lady in Purple.

Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley
Virginia Beach Portrait Session by Jordan Brittley

// Virginia Beach, VA

4 Tips for Photographing the Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake - Photography by Jordan Brittley

Photographing the wedding cake is one of my favorite things! Well, pretty much everything I do on a wedding day is my favorite. I guess I chose a career that fits me well!! I have noticed that editors LOVE a good cake shot… well, who doesn’t?! So if you want to improve your client experience, wedding gallery, vendor interest and publication portfolio, then this post is for you!

1) STYLE, STYLE – Like with every photograph that I take on the wedding day, I like to style the cake shot. This never looks like adding or removing something from the cake! However, if the cake has a pear sitting on it, I might grab two more pears to sit by the cake stand on the cake table. This helps to draw attention to the detail of the cake. I will also remove plates and napkins sitting on the cake table unless the detail tell a better story.

Wedding Cake - Photography by Jordan Brittley

2) LIGHTING AND COLORING – Consistent lighting and coloring is key to a great photo gallery. When a bride looks at a gallery and sees that everything is consistent, she will be confident that similar lighting and coloring will appear in her wedding gallery. So don’t slack off on the cake shot! If there is time and the cake shot would be better by the window instead of the dark room in the back, then I will talk with the coordinator about moving the cake for the photograph. I did this in the photo below and we are ALL happy with the results (me, the bride, coordinator and bakery)!!

Wedding Cake - Photography by Jordan Brittley

3) BACKGROUND – I always walk all the way around the cake (if it’s in the center of the room) to see which angle is the most flattering and fits with the scheme of the day the best. Always look for consistency in backgrounds!

4) DETAIL – When you are shooting digital, be careful not to blow the highlights and lose the detail on the cake. Both your bride and your cake designer will thank you for great details in the cake!!

Wedding Cake - Photography by Jordan Brittley

5 Businesses I would love to run

Lavender - Photography by Jordan Brittley_001

When I first started a photography business, I did not like the business side of anything. But all of that has changed and I have a passion for running a thriving business and encouraging others to do the same! If I could figure out a plan to run five businesses at the same time and still have balance in my life, I would do it in a heartbeat. Sadly, I haven’t figured out how to do both of those things, so I am just left with a lot of ideas.

Below is a list of the five businesses I would run in heart beat if I didn’t already have a full-time business!

1) Ice Cream Shop – I LOVE ice cream and I love business, so this is the perfect combination for me. Isaac and I went to Ohio last year and we stopped by Jeni’s. If you are in Ohio, Jeni’s is a MUST. I had lavender ice cream and need to learn to make it!! I can definitely picture myself at 50 years old running a little ice cream shop downtown.

2) Art Print Shop – This art print shop is already happening. I was really sick earlier this year and decided to take up watercoloring and calligraphy as a hobby. Well, during that week a little shop formed! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this business, but I am just trying to figure out what to do with the art print shop since I am easily putting in 40 hours a week at Jordan Brittley.

3) Magazine – This may be happening sooner than retirement. It’s also part of the reason that I am thinking about closing shop at Dans L’eau. I might be able to run two businesses (with employees), but probably not three different businesses. What should I do when I am so passionate about so many different things?!

4) Farm-to-Table Restaurant – Isaac and I would BOTH love to run this restaurant. Of course I would handle the recipes, marketing, branding and finances and he would handle the farm. It warms my heart to think about running a restaurant together!

5) Home Living Blog – I think that a Home Living Blog would be so fun! I could easily enjoy full time blogging about DIY projects, home decor and all of that fun stuff! And honestly, I might do it in the future!! I think I need to start combining these businesses, eh?

6) Photography & Videography Business – You had to know this was going to make the list!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE running THIS business!

Lavender - Photography by Jordan Brittley_002

Putting a Price on Business

St Louis Wedding Photographer

I used to be so uncertain about pricing for business because it seemed like it was a lot more complicated than simply slapping a number on a package. And then there were taxes to consider… and I’m not even talking sales tax. If you run a business, then you know that your business pays taxes on your income and you pay taxes on your income. So your tax percentage is double that of the person who is not self-employed. That can be a huge mental hurdle to jump when you first open shop.

Business finances have become one of my favorite parts of running a business. I think it’s because I am managing the finances instead of the finances managing me. I want to share how I have created my wedding and portrait packages so that hopefully it will bring some financial freedom for you

1) YOUR BASIC EXPENSES – Make a list of every expense that you will have for the year. This includes business insurance, website & blog fees, equipment maintenance, equipment upgrades, new memory cards, camera bags, mileage for your accountant meetings – any and every expense that you will naturally incur as a business goes on this list. Make sure to note the exact cost of each expense as well.

2) YOUR CLIENT EXPENSES – Next, make a list of every client expense that you will naturally incur: gifts, albums, film/hour of coverage, prints, coffee for meetings, mileage to and from the wedding location. Make sure to note the exact cost of each expense.

3) WHAT WILL YOUR MARKET HANDLE – This might take some work to figure out. If you are getting inquiries but not booking any weddings because you are too expensive, then you need to change your market or change your pricing. Markets can change, but that kind of change takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work. In the same way, if you are getting inquiries but not booking any weddings because you are too cheap, then you need to change your market or change your pricing (hint hint, change your pricing). Figure out your market minimum and maximum and evaluate what your think your market will handle.

4) MARKET VALUE FOR EVERY EXPENSE – Once you have figured out what your market will handle, start writing down the MARKET value for every client expense. This will help to make sure that you are still earning a profit regardless of customizations made to the wedding package.

5) DECIDE ON THE NUMBER OF PACKAGES YOU WILL PROVIDE – I prefer to offer four different packages because I want my clients to have options. I also allow my clients to make customizations so that we can create the perfect package for them.

6) GROUP PACKAGES TOGETHER – This is the fun part! Start pulling together items from your client expenses to create different packages. I organize my packages based on hours of coverage and add extras from there. I like to include the high resolution images in all of the packages and include an engagement session in the top three packages. If you notice a trend in what clients are asking of you, then adjust your packages to include what they want! For instance, I used to include an engagement session in every package but I have a lot of brides who would prefer to have an extra hour of wedding coverage instead. So now, my packages include an engagement session OR an extra hour of wedding coverage.

When you notice a trend in what is being requested of you, make changes!

7) PRICE YOUR PACKAGES – Using what you have learned about what the market will handle (step 3), price your packages.

8) SET ASIDE 20-30% FOR TAXES – Talk with your accountant to see what you should withhold from yourself for taxes. I prefer to withhold 30% because, given my expenses, I should receive a return at the end of the year.

9) SET A PERCENTAGE FOR EACH PACKAGE THAT WILL COVER YOUR EXPENSES - I like to keep things consistent throughout my business model, so I use a 30-40-30 model. I set aside 30% for taxes, 40% for business expenses and savings, and 30% for personal income. Once you decide on a percentage for expenses just make sure that that percentage will cover your actual expenses from steps 1 & 2.

10) SET A PERCENTAGE FOR EACH PACKAGE THAT WILL COVER YOUR BUSINESS SAVINGS – I group this percentage in with my business expenses for that client.

11) THE REMAINING PERCENTAGE IS YOUR INCOME – Hopefully you will see this number grow overtime. Because unless you make a major business structure change (like switching to film), your business expenses will level out quickly. You will have the equipment that you need and you will know exactly how much each type of album costs. And even though there will be a slower curve on personal income when you make the switch to film, it will grow quickly once film is incorporated (and valued) in your brand.

12) ADJUST –  If you can tell that you aren’t going to be able to cover your client & business expenses with step 9, then you need to adjust your expenses or your percentage. The same goes with your personal income. If you aren’t going to take as much personal income as you initially thought, then you might need to get more bookings

St Louis Wedding Photographer_005