Wedding Welcome Guide 2014

I am oh so happy to announce that Ashley Goodwin Wedding Welcome Guides are FINALLY complete + exclusively distributed to current couples, HIP HIP! I feel like it was a birthing process, whew!

What’s a Wedding Welcome Guide, you ask? A digital magazine complete with details on the experience of working together, outlines of the process of wedding day photography, and is jam packed with helpful insider tips and ways to stay on track while actually enjoying your wedding day. In the past I relayed all of this information via conversation (usually during the initial consultation) and email, but found it possibly overwhelming for both myself and engaged couples. I wanted an aesthetically pleasing, exciting and creative way to not only display pertinent information and share learned expertise, but also something tangible couples could go back and reference. So what better way than a digital (+printed) magazine? Issuu is a great platform for that, as it allows uploading of pdfs and the ability to include interactive links!  JACKPOT!  With my new Wedding Welcome Guide client’s get the full run-down on what to expect from inquiry to weeks after the wedding, along with behind-the-scenes advice, saving valuable time searching through emails.

Issuu offers both free + paid memberships and is a beautiful online source for sharing digital information. Best of all, you have the choice of publicly listing magazines (like pricing and investment guides) for easy access or unlisting documents, viewed only by those the link is shared. The Ashley Goodwin Welcome Guide is offered exclusively to current wedding couples, however there are lots of online templates (via design aglow) and resources listed here to get inspired for Photographers to design their own creative babies.

Cheers!

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[Couples] Jose + Nick

 

Film | Contax 645 + Portra 400 + Fuji 400h

Concept Design  |  Chelsea LaVere  

Local + Publication Partner  |  Burnett’s Boards

Vintage Lawn Games  |  Ever After Events

Models  |  José + Nick

 

 

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Working from Home: Avoiding Distractions

It’s Monday morning. You wake up on your own, reach for your phone and with your eyes hardly open scroll Instagram. Eventually you roll out of bed. You brew your coffee as strong as it can possibly get without tasting like gasoline while running through your day’s to-do list, the one you were gung-ho and DETERMINED to crush just last night. Plans for the week fill your mind as your turn the corner, tripping over a pile of last week’s laundry. “I should really do that, too” you note, hair in a ponytail, still in pajamas. Suddenly overwhelmed by the numerous tasks of getting your work-from-home business off the ground you sit down to enjoy your breakfast and make a list. As the chores grow longer and longer you feel like you’re drowning, clueless as to where to start and you’re paralyzed by what needs to be done. Instead of acting a day catching up on all the Real Housewives feels cozier. Plus it’s raining out, and you need to do dishes, so….you will. Your ginormous ambitions are soon left in the dust as you vow tomorrow will be the day, giving in to the biggest perils of working from home: distractions…and the lack of discipline that comes along with it.

Look, I’m not the most disciplined person you will ever meet, heck I am far from it. Clearly the above scenario didn’t just hop into my head divinely from God, it’s one I knew far too well. When your office is just around the corner from your dirty kitchen sink and your significant other doesn’t quite understand what “blogging + emailing all day” and “pinning for research” means (look, IIIIIIIII know it’s like, legit, but…) it’s easy to become overwhelmed by running a small business from home that requires a LOT of attention. It can feel as though one’s to-do list doesn’t even have a dent in it, so you resort to something that does have immediate gratification, like folding clothes or mopping the floors or finally giving your dogs a haircut, so even if you just manage to get that ONE THING finished, something got done. But I’m here to tell you: that’s not going to get your business anywhere. Sure, you may be one of those crazies who can’t get creative when their desk is a mess but you gotta leave that ish behind. Chances are your desk will always be a mess, own it. Instead of waking up and letting the days take your wherever they may, leaving you feeling defeated come dinner time, vowing once AGAIN you’ll get your website updated tomorrow, here are a few things I’ve found helpful in staying focused while making your own schedule working from home:

[Photo is from a morning with fellow photographers B. Mussack + Shannon Forbes). I had plenty of work that needed to be done, but instead knew that a mini hike + swim was much more important...considering I had been working non-stop. I am thankful they convinced me to swing from the other side of the pendulum for the day and be lucky to live in Hawai'i!]

1. Pretend your office is outside of your house, run by a strict boss: Set your alarm for the same time every day. Wake up, work out (or whatever your morning routine is), shower, get READY (ok, ready-ish, maybe put some make-up on with those yoga pants?) and be sitting at your desk ready to work by _____ hour. It will help set boundaries within your work day and get your brain focused. Plus, you’ll feel profesh.

2. Set work hours (and emailing times): Making it known to yourself, your significant other, and your clients that you are in the office from ____ to _____ helps set routine and manages expectations. In emails I list my working hours so others know when to expect a response (and I absolutely avoid my email like the plague during the evenings and on weekends) and I set limitations on myself. Let’s be honest, small business owners could absolutely work 12 hours days every day (happily!). There is THAT much to be done, and by setting routine and strict structure you’re more likely to get more accomplished throughout the day. For me, work begins promptly at 9am and ends at 5:00pm (sometimes a little later). When Marshall hits the front door home from work, I leave my office, shut the door, and make a point to spend the evening with him. Some people also find it helpful to only answer emails within certain time frames of the day, worth a try!

3. Avoid internet distractions + k-holes. I know people love to sit down at their computer with their coffee and scroll Facebook and read blogs. Heck, doesn’t it go something like “give comments to get comments?”. While I think it’s important to know what’s going on the the world and to also support your peers, I think checking out what everyone else is doing first thing in the morning not only takes a ton of time but can be detrimental to our entrepreneurial psyche. For real! Think about it: before you have even opened an email you’ve seen who’s been picked as Martha Stewart’s Top Photographers, seen a FABULOUS film shoot that left your breathless and wanting to stomp your camera, and that such and such got booked in Bora Bora again, #thankful. More than likely in your noggin now nothing will be as good, so those Real Housewives from the sofa are looking real soothing right about now…Can’t peel yourself away from other’s blogs? Maybe limit yourself to 3 a morning, or commit to spending your lunch break scrolling your guilty pleasures instead.

4. Lunch Break: Speaking of lunch break: take one! It’s easy to get burnt out if you don’t, or worse, not eat all day then eat all the things when you realize you’re starving at 4pm. You’ll feel like a responsible adult who runs her own business and feeds herself. Bravo!

4. Designate ‘out of office’ days. Making your own schedule is awesome, it’s what we’ve always dreamed of, right? However it can get tricky and lead to scattered days when scheduling shoots, photographing weddings on Saturdays, and finding time to run to the post office. Consider making set days for certain business. Like Mondays “download + email” days (with no appointments allowed), Tuesdays and Thursdays “session” days, and Fridays fun days (since most wedding photographers are shooting on Saturdays). Making a point to book multiple consultations and run errands on certain days helps keep time efficient.

4. Invest. Finding it hard to focus on business and get it all done? Simply put, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:21). Now, our hearts should certainly be deeply invested in places OTHER than our businesses, but when it comes down to it–if you’re committed and working hard the discipline will follow. Just take it one thing at a time. Don’t feel like you have to do it all first, prioritize. Choose the project that will have the most immediate impact (i.e. submitting weddings, updating website, blogging, setting new pricing, etc.), then work towards the next project. Soon you won’t be thinking about the laundry downstairs, instead you will be so determined to get your business rolling that you forget to get up from your desk to pee (I know I’m not the only one who sits here saying “okay….let me just do 10 more edits THEN I will use the restroom….”). In time you will most likely go from one extreme to another, so make sure to find a solid balance.

5. Skip the guilt. Don’t let lies of “I’m not doing enough” bring you down. Do the work and you ARE doing enough. And don’t ever EVER feel bad about taking a day off from work to hit the beach or take a road trip…it’s your business (that you will soon be having to pull yourself away from!), make it one you truly love.

 

 

 

 

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Photographing a Wedding in Hawai’i: What to Wear

[My hair may have found it's way into a pony tail (the wind was INSANE) and my glasses aren't getting much use, but I was thankful I had slippahs in my bag that day! From put together to hitting the beach in a moment's notice, gotta always be Hawai'i ready! Thanks to Shannon Forbes for the photo]

You’ve got your gear packed and ready, memory cards formatted, and the family formals list snapped tightly to a clipboard. Everything is ready to go as your stare blankly at your closet “what do I wear?!?!?”. There are plenty aspects to shooting a wedding in Hawai’i that are different than other locations in the U.S. With varying terrain, quick changes in climate (okay, not HUGE changes, but there’s a possibility of some rain ya know) and a mix of styles and cultures, it’s important to dress for the occasion being comfortable and practical while still looking fab. While the standard “photographer’s uniform’” is considered all black pants and a blouse, I have heard stories of shooters being mistaken for the careering staff….and worse, split britches. Anytime I head out into public I want to present my best self…unless it’s a run to Target, then you’re getting my “did I just wake up or work out, you will never know” self. Everyone is different with their own personal style, and while I attend events I want to look put together and professional, feeling confident yet super comfy in my wardrobe choice.

Bag  |  Dress  |  Earrings  |  Bracelet  |  Necklace  |  Slippahs  |  Shoes  |  Hair  |  Watch

the Clothes: With typical trade winds, Hawai’i is breezy, but while working it’s easy to get smoldering hot…and not in an attractive way. That’s why I find it oh so important to wear a semi form-fitting dress (to prevent any breezy catastrophes) as well as a material that is lightweight and breathable. Covering yourself in baby powder when getting ready like Lebron tends to help prevent swvetzy. You’ll thank me for that one. Lots of people choose to wear black, which looks chic, however it’s personally not all I wear. Investing in a quality black dress makes for a versatile outfit to shoot in, but sometimes mixing it up with colors or prints is fun as well, especially since it’s Hawai’i! Just make sure it’s appropriate for the day’s attire and MOST of all isn’t the same hue as the Bridesmaid’s. When buying I look for a great fit that won’t billow in the breeze, a modest length (with lots of kneeling and working I need to wear and slip and don’t want to go flashing people!), and quality material that will hold up for multiple wears–but also won’t suffocate me. The dress and the shoes are where you want to invest, as these will be staple pieces in your wardrobe.

the Hair: Speaking of being hot, Photographers: good luck keeping your hair and make-up from melting off. I am considering posting on this one soon and great products to use to keep everything in place, but let’s just face it–there’s a good chance you’re going to be a sweaty mess at the end of the night no matter where you are shooting. I always seem to have the highest hopes for my hair, thinking it will look great down and today will be the day it won’t get all sticky but 15 minutes in I am wrong wrong wrongggg and my locks get tied into a low ponytail. From here on out, a stylish, low ‘do will work just great. With the soft winds that can turn to gusts mixed with humidity and sometimes passing showers, I find it’s the absolute most fool-proof look and still keeps you looking put-together.

the Shoes: Often times an event can start in a beautiful church or venue, lead to portraits on a volcanic rock cliff, can linger at thick, sandy beaches and can end in a glamorous ballroom. These changes in terrain are treacherous and hard to maneuver and with the wrong footwear can slow you down leaving you with mounds of sand stuck in your soles. In addition to supportive kicks it’s helpful to bring along some cheapo Surfahs or Locals to slip on. This flip flops (referred to as ‘slippahs’) have extra thick bottoms that protect your tootsies from the sharpest of rocks and won’t leave you devastated if they wind up busted (because they cost all of $3). For the rest of the day I opt for comfortable and stylish closed toed flats (unless it’s a casual beach ceremony, then I wear dressy sandals). I love metallic and wild prints or simple black with embellishments. It’s hard to find shoes that are supportive AND good looking which leads to many of pairs being fitted with custom orthotic inserts (I refuse to wear grandma shoes just for the comfort. I just… I just can’t…). This is ridiculous of me, considering I have a mean case of heels spurs AND plantar fasciitis, but my desire too look good over feeling good got me where I am today. On top of pretty J.Crew flats (that hold up beautifully), these Dexflex flats are cozy and affordable and THESE Orthopedic shoes are actually pretty cute and good to your arches. Worth the investment. Keeping Icy Hot in your bag or car for post wedding rub-downs helps aching feet, too.

the Bag:  I’m here to admit–I’m annoying particular. Not just any ole bag will do, it has to be my style and I’ve found with most ‘photographer specific’ bags I  haven’t found a fashionable fit, which led me to creating my own. While shooting I carry a lightweight, medium sized cross body bag (that’s metallic with studs! duh). It holds my film and memory cards cellphone and whatever else. With a simple top it’s roomy and easy to access and is super helpful on wedding days. It doesn’t have to be expensive, I snagged mine up at TJMAXX, just something that will hold all your necessities.

the Accessories: the best part of the look! I love to style my simple dresses up with giant lively jewelry, it’s the crux of my style. Statement necklaces are apart of my personal signature look, and I usually pair them with interesting studded earrings (since my hair is up) as well as simple, pretty bracelets (that are sure won’t snag the bride’s gown!). A watch is an absolute necessity for staying on track and not Hawai’i time.

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