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Here's the deal. I literally have the most beautiful couples. I don't know how I get so lucky, so don't ask for a tutorial on that. But all of my couples have just been the most amazing and fun and friendly and beautiful. So of course this wedding surpassed every expectation I had.

Samy and Jessy booked me to come to Des Moines for their wedding, and after our first conversation, I knew I was going to be obsessed with these two. I loved their love. I loved their joy. I loved their love story. Long story short: Jessy had every intention of staying in on a night her friends wanted her to come out. Right before bailing, she had a thought pop into her head. "What if tonight changes your life?" So she went out. And she met Samy.

My husband and I happen to love Des Moines as a weekend getaway, so we planned a Taylor Trio getaway and timed it up with Jessy and Samy's engagement session. We had done a few video calls, but that was my first time meeting them in person. And everything I thought about how much I would love them was more than confirmed. Sure, we had of common interests. Sure, we could all quote The Office. Sure, they were both beautiful and not camera-shy at all. But above all, the way they looked at each other, spoke to each other, interacted with each other - it was SO apparent in the photos how in love they are. Honestly, editing that engagement session, I kept catching myself cheesy smiling like an idiot because their gallery was so full of images that just felt like love. Honestly, I can't even stand how in love these two are. Can you freakin' handle these two?? Every photo feels like: JOY. LOVE. HAPPINESS. COMFORT. LAUGHTER. RESPECT. ADORATION. PLAYFULNESS.

I mean. Can you even?? I can't. If you're not smiling after looking at those photos, I don't know if we can be friends.

Fast forward to November when I got to go back to Iowa, with my husband as my second photographer, and we got to document their wedding day. And SURPRISE! Their wedding day was filled with love. joy. happiness. laughter. comfort. adoration. respect. playfulness.

Part of Samy and Jessy's wedding package was a video of their day. They had sent me an example of what they wanted - they wanted it to be more lighthearted than serious, more funny than sentimental, more The Office than The Notebook. And I was totally on board with that. I took lots of video clips throughout their day, including interviews with their wedding party, funny conversations, silly interactions. I also took video of them getting ready, their vow exchange and first look, their ceremony, their reception entrance, the toasts, their first dance. And as I was editing the video, I went through no fewer than 12 versions of the edits because I knew they wanted something silly, but looking at the footage, the day wasn't silly. The day was beautiful. It was sentimental. It was full of love. It was romantic. It was perfect as it was. So the resulting video looked a little like this: *sentimental, romantic clip and music...romantic clip...sentimental clip...RANDOM SILLY CLIP...romance, love...sappiness, joy...emotional, special...RANDOM SILLY CLIP. I will not claim this was my best wedding video. But I will claim that this was my most authentic wedding video.

Now onto their wedding photos. Would you be surprised to hear that their wedding photos were full of love, joy, silliness, emotion, romance? At this point, if you're still reading, I would hope not.

If I shared ALL of my favorite photos from Samy and Jessy's wedding day, I'm pretty sure my website would crash, or at least deny me the ability to add all those images. So here is a VERY SELECT few of my favorites from this wonderful wedding day.

Look at those and tell me they don't exude love. Exude joy. Exude happiness, comfort, admiration, adoration. If you don't know what love looks like, look through these engagement photos and then their wedding photos, and you will know. This. Is. Love.

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As a photo educator, I've heard it all:

  • I got a nice camera awhile back, but it was really overwhelming, so it's still sitting in the box/bag and it has been collecting dust for awhile.

  • I just recently got my first 'big kid' camera, and I was super excited to use it, but it was really intimidating, so I haven't really done much with it yet.

  • I have a good camera that I use fairly often, but I only use it in auto mode, and I know there is so much more I can do with it.

  • I think I have a camera and some lenses that are decent, but I don't know what they do or how to use them, so they're just sitting there right now.

If one of the above, or something akin to it, sounds familiar to your situation, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! This is such a common thing that I hear, and it's nothing to be embarrassed by, and it's certainly nothing to feel guilty about. It IS something we can do something about, though. You got that camera for a reason, and it's time to put it to use.

But that's stressful to even know where to begin with putting your camera to use, right? That's where I come in! I help you start from zero - how do you turn your camera, how do you change your manual settings, how do you decide what settings to use, etc. When you're finished with the course, you will know how to use your camera to the best of its ability.

You will be taking photos that are properly exposed.

You will be taking photos that keep the principles of photography in mind.

You will be comfortable with changing your settings.

You will feel like you are actually using your camera.

And then after you finish the course, I will still be there to help with whatever you need, because you will have access to a private Facebook group just for this course. There, I will continue to answer questions, whether it's clarifying something from the course, answering a new questions, helping you with an editing question, or anything else you run into as you start to use your camera more often and to the best of its ability. And I can't wait to help you get to know your camera better!

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When we, as photographers, are in our busiest seasons, it's hard to keep up on posting everything we're doing. We're so busy answering inquiries, scheduling sessions, shooting sessions, editing photos, sending off galleries, only to do it again and again, that posting about all of that work takes a back burner. And then, if you're primarily an outdoor photographer like I am, winter hits, and sessions slow down quite a bit.

But of course, we want to grow our businesses year-round, and whether we like it or not, being present on social media is imperative to growing our business. So it's not like we can take the cold months off entirely. But sometimes it's hard to come up with ideas for what to post when we don't necessarily have new sessions to feature.

So here is a list of ideas that you can take and adapt to your niche and your audience in order to still be posting on social media. Use any/all of these ideas, but remember that the most important thing about presenting your brand on social media is to be authentically you in whatever you post.

  • any personal photos and posts you feel comfortable sharing - we all know that as the faces of our brands, it's important that we show up on our social media feeds. Do this to your comfort level, whether it's self-portraits (or just selfies), photos of your kids and/or you with your kids, a fun outing or vacation you did with your family, the family pets, a cool sunset you caught, etc.

  • throwbacks to highlight some especially beautiful/unique sessions

  • highlight a cool location in your area (could use photos from multiple sessions there)

  • show before and after of edits (not all photographers like doing this, but I do)

  • have people vote on whether they prefer a photo in color vs. B&W

  • post a photo and have people (who are local to you) guess where it was taken (make sure to include some hint)

  • look up random holidays (national ice cream day, etc.) and find a photo you've taken that fits that random holiday (List of Fun Holidays Here)

  • create a gif/animation of a series of photos

  • share a 'perfect' photo and then one that happened right before or right after (to be silly, not to make anyone look bad)

  • good locations for winter photos

  • tips for parents trying to take better photos of their kids with cell phones

  • curate (repost) content from other accounts that is relatable to your audience

  • highlight products you think your audience would appreciate - bonus if it's related to your niche (cute kids clothes at Target that would work for photos, a sale on print products at your favorite printing service, etc.)

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