Tag Archives: free

Summer Snappy Hour!

28 Jun

We’re very excited to announce that our next Snappy Hour is going to be Monday, July 30th at El Vez from 6:30-8:30 pm! It’s been a good, long while, we’ve received a lot of emails in anticipation, AND we’ve missed everyone and want to catch up and connect with newbies… so come grab a drink, some chips and salsa and catch up with the Betties!

El Vez is located in “Midtown Village”, at 121 South 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107. There’s on-street parking, a lot around the corner on Sansom, and if you’re not driving it’s a few blocks from Market Street East and Broad Street/Market Street SEPTA stations.

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The 2nd Annual Photo Betties Post-Holiday Extravaganza

6 Dec

It’s that time of year again! Lights and decorations, shopping, sending out cards and getting all those last-minute portraits sessions and weddings out the door (plus all the orders!).

Once the holidays have passed and you’ve had time to enjoy a nice quiet month with friends and family, it’ll be time again for the 2nd Annual Photo Betties Post-Holiday Extravaganza! This year it will be held at a fellow Photo Bettie’s home in West Philly on Saturday, February 4th, 2012!

Come one, come all to celebrate, catch up, eat and hit the photobooth! Feel free to bring along your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend/good friend/assistant… it’s the one Betties event that’s made for everyone!

If you received an invitation for last year’s party you’re on the list. If you didn’t or aren’t sure and are interested in attending, contact us at info@phillyphotobetties.com.

Happy Holidays!

Marketing Mojo with Two Bright Lights

4 Nov

Images courtesy of Jessica Claire Photography

A few months ago a good friend and fellow Betty Susannah Gill, told me about Two Bright Lights, an online service which offers image sharing, networking and analytics to help wedding business’ improve their marketing. They offer a free 30-day trial, so I thought I’d give it a try – and I have to say, I was very happy with the results!

In just three weeks of submitting to a half dozen blogs, four were approved! You can submit weddings, engagement sessions, portraits and styled shoots – when you login you check out what their Editorial Partners are looking for and submit in a few quick and simple steps. There are blogs you’ll know well, others that are pleasant surprises; certainly something for everyone. Here’s a sampling:

FREE Bootcamp

For those of you in the Philadelphia area next Wednesday night, Two Bright Lights is offering a FREE Bootcamp hosted by one of their recent Philly transplants, Shalyn Hockey. Some details from their email invite:

What: A fantastic chance to learn about Two Bright Lights as well as mix and mingle with your fellow industry colleagues from the area.

When: November 9, 2011 | 7-9 pm

Where: Locust on the Park at 201 S. 25th St, Philadelphia, PA (In Center City a few blocks from Rittenhouse Square)

RSVP: The event is FREE, but space is limited so you must RSVP to attend.

Questions? Call Shalyn Hockey at 805-975-2932 or email shalyn@twobrightlights.com

Thursday Morning Pancake Sessions

7 Sep

Source: Pancake Sessions: Video Light and Getting Ready Details Post

Tomorrow after you roll out of bed and grab a warm beverage, head over to Justin & Mary’s website to check out their next Pancake Session post. There’s a fresh one every Thursday, which promises to be interesting and informative, plus they break everything down into bite-size, easy to understand pieces. Best of all, they’re up there on the interweb for posterity, so you can visit right now and learn about everything from Black and White Post Production Tips, Branding, Off Camera Lighting, Destination Wedding Tips and much, much more.

Thank you fellow Photo Betty Susannah Gill for sharing another helpful tip with us!

FREE Online Business Workshop

6 Sep

This Friday and Saturday, September 9-10, Tamara Lackey will be holding an in-depth workshop that you can register for right here, at no cost! It’s a follow-up to her last course, The Business Whiteboard, and will cover a lot of ground. Here’s the schedule:

Day 1 – September 9th

Where We Left Off: The White Board
Why Doing it ALL Will Take You Down
Creating An Online Presence
Who Are You: Brand Culture
Marketing (That Works)
Strategy to Action: Doing the Work

Day 2 – September 10th

REAL Client Service
Money!!! Finance, Cash Flow and Profit
Get Legit: Legal Considerations
Small Shifts, Big Changes … Examine Your Attitude
Sales, Sales, Sales
Go Forth & Conquer!

Learn how to determine how potential clients currently view your business, how to subtly change these perceptions online and through word-of-mouth, marketing strategies that can help you go after the right goals, sage financial management tips – and so much more – in an easily digestible, step-by-step process. As Tamara puts it: “Turn ideas into plans, take action, and see results. This workshop is more than an overview about business. It’s how you can practically apply these principals to build a more effective and profitable company for yourself.”

Thank you fellow Photo Betty Susannah Gill for informing this post!

Photos for Good: Part 1

2 Sep

The first time I watched Born Into Brothels, I had the immediate urge to pack my bags, jump on a plane, and help out in some faraway place. (I’m pretty sure many other photographers out there did too.) The reality, though, is you don’t have to fly around the world to make a difference.

There’s been a lot of buzz and recent Photo Betties posts about photography-marrying-philanthrophy, so we decided to dedicate this one to getting involved with current charity organizations. We’ll be following up with Part 2 which will cover locating existing opportunities, as well as tips on finding and creating your own projects.

Volunteer Photography Organizations

Started by Kristin Weaver, an internationally published fashion and wedding photographer, Images for a Cure is an annual event held each fall (usually October, in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month) promoting The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, their beneficiary charity. Photographer registration is from August to September – and each participating photographer is encouraged to set their own session dates, plans and pricing – and donate 100% of their session fees to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, via their FirstGiving page.


Wish Upon a Wedding, which we posted about in April, is the world’s first non-profit wish granting organization that provides weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. They work with all types of wedding vendors in addition to photographers, including planners, venues, caterers, rental companies, videographers, bakers, officiants, florists, stationary designers, DJs/bands/musicians, salons, transportation companies, and more. With 18 chapters around the country (and 10 more coming soon), you can help out in many ways – volunteering your skills, financial donations, hosting a fundraiser and more!

Operation Love Reunited, or as many call them “OpLove”, is a non-profit organization that assigns photographers to families with loved ones getting ready to deploy, are currently deployed, or are coming home. The participating family chooses a photographer and up to two sessions per year. The photographer volunteers their services for the session(s), a 4×6 album for the service member, and a CD of images from the homecoming. If you’d like to volunteer check out the blog which is filled with information and inspiring photography from OpLove sessions.


Flashes of Hope is a national, nonprofit organization that “changes the way children with cancer see themselves through the gift of photography.” They transform hospital playrooms, waiting areas and even hallways into studios, and photograph children solo, then with their family and loved ones. Photos are delivered as enlargements, prints and on disc, all free of charge. “It’s an indescribable treasure that forever preserves the grace, dignity and beauty of each child.” To maintain the highest ethical and professional standards in the industry, they work primarily with published and commercial photographers, as well as members of The American Society of Media Photographers. If you fit the bill, you can apply as a photographer or, if you want to help in other ways, you can still be part of this amazing organization as a general volunteer, or with a donation.

PhotoPhilanthropy helps to connect, shed light on and reward connections between photographers and non-profit organizations around the world to tell stories that drive action for social change.” Great photography helps inform, educate and inspire volunteers to act, donors and grant-makers to give, people to push for new policies, and to give those who are not heard, or seen, a voice. In addition to helping facilitate Volunteer Connections, they also give annual Activist Awards for winning photo essays, Student Production Grants (which include financial, promotional and supportive assistance), promote Artist Residencies and Workshops, and have a great blog which they update often with inspiring imagery and stories from around the world. It’s no wonder their goal is to “Change the world, one photo at a time!”

Credit: PhotoPhilanthropy 2010 Grand Prize Winner - Josh Meltzer

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) volunteers offer “gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner” to families who have suffered the loss of an infant. “The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives.” They are always looking to recruit volunteers for their database to be on call to offer Remembrance Photography Services to be on call when needed, as these sessions are sudden and require quick response. If you’re interested you can sign up to volunteer as a photographer, assistant photographer or digital retouch artist – as well as read volunteer articles for background and advice.

Founded by Celebrity Photographer, Jeremy Cowart, Help Portrait is a grassroots movement of photographers giving their time, gear and expertise to offer portraits to those in need. The idea is simple, powerful and global.

Each December, this year on 12/10/11, photographers will sign-up online, create or join teams, and offer portraits to those who wouldn’t normally have access to, or be able to afford, professional photography. People like the homeless, orphans, single-parent families, people of ill health, the elderly, veterans and more. It’s the chance to not just take a photo, but give a photo.

Tiny Sparrow is a non-profit organization who helps provide photography to families with children who are facing life threatening illnesses. Their volunteer photographers provide a session as well as a beautiful album to “carry the love, joy and everlasting memory of each individual family.” Currently located in Texas, but with a goal of expanding in 2011, Tiny Sparrow also accepts donations through PayPal.

Images of Hope is a non-profit organization that brings awareness to childhood cancers and illnesses by offering free portrait sessions to children and families dealing with cancer. Their purpose it two fold. First, to capture timeless moments that will last a lifetime for the families, and second, to spread awareness. Founder, Jessica Oatman, whose son, Montana, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age two, looks at photography as “a great outlet and a wonderful way to document his journey.” Looking back through the photographs has helped them “realize what we have really been through.”

With an artist list of that spans continents, Heart Speaks photographers worldwide are committed to stopping the unnecessary euthanization of adoptable animals. Their goal is to increase the numbers of adopted animals in shelters by just 3%, and give rescue animals safe, loving homes. The power of a image can speak volumes, so Heart Speaks connects artists with shelters and animal relief organizations to effect social change and better the lives of humans and people alike.

Pictures of Hope is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary, documentary-style, photography sessions to babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and their families.  Members are professional, established photographers (many of whom are “NICU mothers” themselves) who hail from across the United States and Canada and are dedicated to donating their time to a cause they believe in, and sharing the gift of photography with families in need.

It’s also important to note that bereavement photography is not their focus. While photographers may be asked to photograph a bereavement session, services are generally geared to babies in the NICU at any point during their stay (not just those terminally ill) which could mean a 27 week preemie or a NICU graduate about to go home. There are specific requirements for membership which are listed here.

Started in 2008 by Felicia Reinhard, Inspiration Through Art (formerly called The Littlest Heroes Project) is made up of professional photographers, artists, children and other volunteers across the world who provide a variety of programs and services to children who are fighting serious illnesses and/or life-altering disabilities. Sessions can be home-based, at benefits and fundraisers, or hospitals or clinic visits, and are specially catered to each little hero. Services include photography, but they also also offer special programs and fun art-related sessions as well. They also have a comprehensive list of partners, other organizations who need volunteers and worthwhile vendors.

The Tiny Light is a Canadian-based, female-run organization that connects member photographers with children and families that have been faced with a life altering diagnoses. Applicants must be professional photographers with a client base as well as a online portfolio, willing to donate their time and talent as well as a disk of ALL high resolution images from the session. Families who are accepted receive these portrait sessions free of charge. Their current list of photographers includes only Canadian-based photographers – but the application does not say whether or not that is a prerequisite for membership. If you’re passionate about joining the cause – get in touch!

Dog Meets World, at first mention, sounds like an animal-based charity, right? In fact, the “Dog” is a sweet stuffed puppy who helps their photographers to spread joy and smiles. Their mission is to give children and families in developing countries personal photographs, often for the first time. DMW seeks to change the way people travel by creating positive cross-cultural interactions and rather than simply taking pictures, to give them as well. Travelers bring along a digital camera, a portable printer and the stuffed Foto mascot dog to photograph children and practice Take & Give Photography! DMW believes with simply sharing a photo, photographers can practice ground-level diplomacy and voluntourism for all travelers.

Celebrating Adoption was officially started by Jenifer Samaha in 2007, and is a national organization of photographers who donate their time to document and celebrate the love and bond of adoption. Volunteers give these sessions at no cost, and families who participate must have gone through the adoption in the past twelve months. Their member list is quite extensive… although we did learn that unfortunately, due to personal issues, they are not able to accept any additional photographers at this time. We still chose to include Celebrating Adoption in our list, however, in case you may know of families who can benefit from their services, or if it inspires you to start a similar endeavor yourself!

We’d like to give a big shout out to Shutter Mission, who we found midway through our research for this post, and helped add a few additional resources to the list. Bookmark their site – it’s filled with photo-related charity organizations as well as stories and spotlights on photographers who serve them. You can also nominate a photographer who gives back that you’d like to see featured, and there’s an extensive list of complimentary resources for photographers who donate their time and services to charity. Simple, straight-forward, informative and inspiring!

If you’ve found this post useful, have something to add or want to share it with your friends, family or fellow photos – please post, tweet, comment, share – and help us motivate others to make a difference, one shutter click at a time!

Pinhole Pro Summer Tour

2 Aug

The Pinhole Pro Summer Tour, which started way up north in Maine, is finishing up this week in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I learned about it a few days ago and met up with Katherine and Eloise today to check out their beautiful products and learn more about sharing Pinhole Press’s calendars, albums, brag books, postcards, photo pads and much more, with my clients.

If you’re not familiar with Pinhole Pro check out their website. Jenna and I found them at WPPI this year and I was immediately drawn to their classic, modern designs and the simple but genius idea: Client-generated royalties.

How does it work, you ask?

Clients gain premium access on Pinhole Press through their photographer’s account-based link, and choose from a variety of gorgeous products they can create on their own. Everything is high-quality, environmentally-friendly and ships fast! I think of it as the alternative to places like Kodak Gallery and Shutterfly. It has the great style and quality that your clients want, makes you money, and saves the time and labor having to sell, design, order, pack and ship.

Pretty cool, right?


Pinhole Pro has an excellent Community section on their website to support photographers in getting the word out, including media downloads that let you drop in your own images to showcase their products, as well as videos, contests and more.

The Pinhole Pro ladies hit Philadelphia!

If you’re in the PA/NJ area and would like to meet with Katherine and Eloise, learn more, see the products first-hand and maybe even get a surprise… just email marketing@pinholepro.com and request a visit! You can also take a peak at the Summer Tour page to see where they’ve been and who they’ve met!

PS: Many of their products are already featured online, including marthastewart.com. How’s that for street cred?

Accounting for Photogs Recap

24 May

Accounting isn’t the sexiest part of running your own photography business; aside from equipment malfunction and extreme weather patterns, it’s more like the scariest. But last Thursday at our Quarterly Meeting, it was actually cool. Heather O’Mara helped plan the event, held at CPC Financial in King of Prussia, and hosted by Richard C. Capasso, CPA, PFS, CFP.

Rich isn’t your stereotypical accountant. He’s got a great sense of humor, is excited to advise on financial planning, and is really easy to talk to; it’s obvious after a few minutes just how passionate he is about helping small business owners (their firm has over 800 clients – all small businesses.)

It was an information-packed evening – two hours of advice that would be overwhelmingly long in a blog post, so instead, here’s a few highlights:

Money Matters:

1. No matter what type of business entity (Sole Proprietor, LLC/LLP, Corporation or “S” Corporation), set up separate bank accounts and credit cards so that everything is clearly defined as personal or business, leaving no gray area or confusion come tax time (and hopefully not: audit time).

2. At the very least, keep a checkbook, and have an income statement that shows profit/loss.

3. Remember that you need to earn roughly $1.40 to take home $1 after taxes, so pay what expenses you can before paying yourself. If you pay for something business-related on your own dime, treat it just as if you worked for another company and create an expense report before reimbursing yourself.

4. If you pay any one person more than $600 aggregate in one calendar year, you must send them a 1099. If not, and you are caught, you’ll lose the deduction on your return and be subject to a fine of $1,000-$10,000.

5. There’s no benefit to keeping extra funds in your business account. When there’s excess, distribute funds to your personal account to avoid any gray areas. And be sure to set aside 30% of that amount for income tax.

Deductions:*

6. If you claim a home office on your taxes, it must be a space reserved only for business, not an office/playroom, office/dining room, office/bedroom, etc. And if you’re claiming a studio, you’ll need a separate entrance into the space from the outside. Once you figure out what percentage of the home your office occupies, you can also calculate that percentage of your utilities, mortgage and possibly even your landscaping.

7. Health insurance premiums can be deducted from your tax return, as well as portions of your internet and cell phone bills (not included in the home office deduction).

8. When traveling, log your mileage – which is currently 50.5¢/mile and includes depreciation on your vehicle, insurance, and gas. (Second shooters and assistants who are traveling separately can also claim their mileage.) Only claim your vehicle if more than 50% of the mileage is used for business purposes total.

9. Charitable donations are NOT deductible – only the cost of goods (your vendor’s, not your mark up) for items gift (for example a canvas print, album, etc).

10. Don’t get wrapped-up in the idea of deductibility, or make purchases simply because they are a tax deduction. Everything should make good business and investment sense.

* Remember that if your company has a loss for the year, you can’t claim many expenses, including a home office or new equipment. You may, however, be able to extend and still claim some deductions the following year – check with your tax preparer or accountant to find out more.

If you’re interested in speaking with Rich about financial planning for your own business, or to get a business started, contact him by email at rich@cpcfinancial.com or call 610-265-4122.

Want to help out, organize, host or assist with an event? Give us a shout at info@phillyphotobetties.com.

Tech Tuesday: iPhone App Love

26 Apr

Aside from my gear – the most helpful tool I have with me is my iPhone. And I’m constantly searching for helpful apps that will make me do my job better, smarter and more efficiently.

The problem is when you google “photography app” you get all kinds of fun, iPhone camera specific stuff like Hipstamatic or Instagram, and tools to tweak or edit your iPhone photos, but there’s very little out there that’s geared towards professional photographers. So… I thought I’d share my list of favorites to start a conversation. And if anyone out there has more – please comment and share the love!

Sunrise Sunset Lite: FREE!*

Great for when a client has me on the phone and wants to schedule a portrait 7 months from now. I can quickly search the location and date and viola! I know when sunrise and sunset will be – in less than a minute. Then I can pick the perfect time so I know I have lovely light.

Pocket Scout Lite: FREE!*

No more emailing iPhone pics with addresses to remember a great spot. Pocket Scout to the rescue! This wünderkind lets you snap a photo and automatically grabs a GPS location and street address, lets you enter a name/title, add notes, share with ease, and even gives you directions back when you’re ready to visit.

The only thing I wish it had was a map view of locations closest to where I am (rather than a line list of each). Still, a great resource and tool!

Dragon Dictation: FREE!

Press. Speak. Send.

That’s the simple tagline for Dragon Dictation and it’s spot on! I find this voice-to-text tool incredibly helpful for car rides when inspiration hits, or at a wedding when I want to remember specific details like the story behind the bride’s dress or the best man’s witty joke.

There sometimes are slight errors – punctuation drops out for me at times – so make sure to proof before copy/pasting. You can also push to Twitter, Facebook, email and SMS.

TeuxDeux: $2.99

If you haven’t read it, The Design of Everyday Things is an amazing book, about how you experience and interact with, well, everyday things – and why we naturally like those that are better designed; they feel right and make sense.

This is why I love TeuxDeux.

Smart design, intuitive interface and simple function. It actually makes me excited to view my lists and start knockin’ things out. I tried other apps that were OK, but this one is just so lovely!

TripAdvisor: FREE!

OK, so it’s a travel app, not really a photography-focused app, but it’s fantastic. User-generated reviews about restaurants, hotels, sights, anywhere you want to go.

Booking a hotel for a gig that’s overnight, but aren’t sure which mid-range hotel kayak.com served up is best? Want to stop for a bite or coffee before a session but don’t know the area well? Trip advisor’s got your back.

Worldwide reach. 28 languages. Real reviews, photos and ratings. Need I say more?


*Upgraded paid and/or pro versions available with more fancy features

What are your favorite apps? iPhone, Blackberry, Droid… don’t be shy! And if you have some cool ideas to share that are Tech Tuesday worthy, give us a shout! Email info@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!

Wish Upon A Wedding

14 Apr

By: Brittany Ostrov

Calling all Wish Granters!

It’s hard to believe that it’s already the middle of April and that I attended The Wish Upon A Wedding (WUW) Philadelphia Chapter launch Party months ago! The Launch Party was a fantastic event hosted at the Top of the Tower on January 31st, 2011 that both gave everyone a brief overview of WUW and showcased some of the wonderful vendors already committed to the organization. WUW Philadelphia was completely overwhelmed with the show of support from the Philadelphia Event Industry, selling out with over 200 tickets sold in just 6 days through Facebook alone! Lucky for me, one of my partners in crime, Meredith Miller (Designer at CloudFish Studios), had informed me of the event so we were able to snag our tickets right away!

Wish Upon a Wedding is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that provides weddings and vow renewals to couples facing terminal illness or other serious life-altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation. Often, couples facing such situations do not have the energy, time, money, or resources needed to plan their wedding. This wonderful organization takes care of all the details, offering couples a chance to relax and enjoy a very special and intimate day while surrounded by the love of their closest family and friends.

Wish Upon a Wedding President, Mark Kingsdorf

There are so many ways to help this organization by donating, fund raising, volunteering and more. What became the most significant way for me to help was to become a Wish Granter. Wish Upon a Wedding relies on the generosity of professionals from the wedding and hospitality industries to provide goods and services for those in need, or the Wish Recipients. The organization is able to call on their large database of regional Wish Granters to make these weddings happen. From caterers, photographers and designers to DJs, bakers, and venues, WUW has the contacts to make a wedding happen almost anywhere in the United States!

Becoming a wish granter is a great way to both share your trade and give back to those in need, and they still really need your help. I know in the hustle-and-bustle of everyday life we sometimes get too caught up in work and not enough on the outside world, but there are plenty of people out there that really need our help. We each have something special within us successful at what we do, and to share that gift with someone that honestly deserves it is one of the most rewarding things we can do.

So, if you would like to become a Wish Granter (and live in the Philadelphia area!), all you need to do is fill out this form. WUW also has chapters all over the United States, so check this list to see if there’s a chapter closer to you. Or to learn more, visit the website to find out more information about this great organization!

Do you know of other organizations or volunteer programs that work with photographers? Would like to write a post to share them with the Photo Betties? Give us a shout! Email heather@ or jenna@phillyphotobetties.com and send us details. We’d love to hear from you!