Dwelling Moments Photography: Blog http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog en-us @Dwelling Moments Photography (Dwelling Moments Photography) Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:08:00 GMT Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:08:00 GMT http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/img/s12/v179/u191121303-o377569312-50.jpg Dwelling Moments Photography: Blog http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog 80 120 Hannah's Treasure Chest Volunteer Appreciation Lunch http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/hannahs-treasure-chest-volunteer-appreciation-lunch

Today was a GREAT day!  I love to give back to our community and I had the opportunity to photograph Hannah's Treasure Chest's annual volunteer luncheon.  It was so heart warming to see such genuine and giving people with hearts of gold.  This group of volunteers not only strives to exceed the mission, but they knock it out of the ballpark with their attitudes and kind gestures.  Sarah and Leslie are incredible leaders and I can see why all these people LOVE to give back to this charity and partner with them and other organizations.  Here is a little info on the organization.  I would highly recommend you check out their website as well as "like" their Facebook page to stay up to date on all that is happening as they grow and enhance the lives around them.  Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a special day.  It was my treat to serve you!



Hannah’s Treasure Chest, a respected children’s charity in Centerville, OH, enriches the lives of children in need throughout the Miami Valley by providing clothing, books, toys and other essential items through partner agencies in four counties. Additional programs include Brighter Smiles dental kits, Backpack Bonanza, Giving Angels, and Beds for Babies.

Click HERE to see the full gallery of images.






(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Chest Dwelling Moments Photography, Event Hannah's Photographer Treasure Volunteer photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/hannahs-treasure-chest-volunteer-appreciation-lunch Wed, 23 Apr 2014 01:08:11 GMT
Momentum is like a snowball! http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/momentum-is-like-a-snowball As I look out the window on this beautiful spring day I am SO very happy we DON'T have snow anymore, but my thought today is ironically on a snowball!  When you are in a "happy productive life is great" space in your head you exude that by your body language and in your day to day conversations and actives you choose to do.  On the other hand, when we get in our heads and think, "oh this isn't working, why am I trying, no one is interested"....that is the time we need to think of a snowball and regroup our thoughts and actions.

Picture this, a snowball rolling down a very steep hill.  They start out as a little piece of snow, they roll down the hill and pack on a little more snow, and a little more snow, and then by the time they go crashing into a fence or whatever is at the bottom they explode into a bazillion snowflake pieces and flutter through the air.  It's the power of momentum.  Snowballs are just like our business.  Everyone we encounter is a little piece of our snowball and when we've been consistent and talked to LOTS and LOTS of people we start to see our little snowball get bigger and start to roll down the hill.  Then we talk to MORE people and the trend continues....y'all get my drift.

So the two KEY things to creating a snowball is simple-talk to people and be consistent!  That's it, just keep doing what you're doing and eventually you will roll down the hill!  What do YOU do to create momentum in your business?  Where is your snowball in the process of rolling down the hill?  





(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Dwelling Moments Photography, business photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/momentum-is-like-a-snowball Sun, 13 Apr 2014 20:28:08 GMT
The grass is greener where you water it http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-grass-is-greener-where-you-water-it When we relocated (PCS’d) to Ohio last June, and I moved my photography business for the 3rd time in 3 years, I couldn’t quite figure out what was different and why business seemed to come much slower than I was used to.  After much self-reflection, the answer was clear…can you say DISTRACTED?  That is clearly what I was!  There is value in doing research, investigating your competitors, and understanding your market, but when that becomes consuming while the action to move forward stops, there is a problem.  Yep, there I was…distracted and off course!  I couldn’t figure out why the new market was so hard, and then it dawned on me…”Alaina you’re not being you and you’re finding every reason under the sun to NOT do what you know works because you’re spending toooooooo many hours watching everyone else!”  Yes, it is true, you have to regroup and strategize in a new market, but it’s a BAD thing when you lose the ability to get out there and let people know who you are, what you do, and what you have to offer them.  Being in business is about sharing your passion with others and letting them choose if you are the right fit for their needs!

I fell into the pit of “I need to understand this market, what people pay, advertising sources they hire from, and (the one we all can relate too) what my competition is doing and how it’s working.”  What a shame.  I can’t tell you how many hours, days, and weeks I have wasted trying to “figure it out!”  Guess what friends; the answer is in front of you.  JUST DO IT!  Yes I know that sounds a little “Nike” and totally cliché, but it’s true.  When I first started my business I didn’t have a clue what to charge, let alone a contract or even an invoice, but what I DID have was a paying client!  Holy cow, now what do I do?  I don’t even have a logo…yikes!!!!  You might think CRISIS, but instead think SUCCESS!  That is how I started, a bit unprepared but with a bang!  This started the domino effect that led to word of mouth referrals that continued right up to the DAY the moving truck arrived.  I was moving full steam ahead with consistent business!

I share that with you to encourage and refocus you.  Are you distracted and spending time on things that really don’t matter?  Yes there are systems that need to be in place, but the most important focus for EACH of us is to have clients!  So let’s get out there and focus on the clients and let the other pieces fall into place as they become necessary.  Don’t get too mixed up in the details that can be figured out as you go!

These are my top 10 ideas to get out of the ever-frustrating “distracted rut” and instead traveling swiftly down the road to success:

1.     ASK FOR REFERRALS from the people that are hiring you.  Let’s face it, they like you or they wouldn’t work with you.  Find out who they know that may need or want your services.  Cultivate those relationships and build trust.

2.     DON’T DO WHAT OTHERS ARE DOING…be YOU and figure out what has worked for YOU.  Do that and do it consistently.  If something is not working, be OK to ditch it and look for another avenue to reach your goal.

3.     WHAT COMPETITION?  STOP comparing yourself and your work to others!  It’s great to be informed, but highly successful people usually follow the beat of their own drum.  So determine what makes YOUR business tick consistently!

4.     WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO DO AND WHY are you doing your business?  For me I LOVE making a difference in people’s lives through the lens of the camera, capturing the moments that matter the most and building lasting relationships.  I’m doing this to have flexibility and be available for our children while still contributing to our financial long-term goals.  If you don’t know your “what and why” you’re DEAD in the water.  You need this reminder IN WRITING to keep you going on days when you want to quit and you hit every roadblock possible!

5.     ENGAGE IN MONEY MAKING ACTIVITES OR DELEGATE.  Determine if what you are doing is something YOU need to do or whether you could delegate it or pay someone else to do it.  We have a HUGE network of fabulous people in NMSN and we are here to help and support one another, so reach out and ask for help!

6.     DON’T GIVE UP!  You’re vested in this venture.  Consistency is the key to longevity and success.  There are many things that will pull at you and make you start to ask questions like, “What if…?  Should I try…?  Would it be better if…?”  STOP!  Stay the course and remember the grass is NOT always greener on the other side; it just might LOOK better from a distance!  Water your own grass and fertilize it!  Don’ get distracted by the “attractiveness of other opportunities” if they’re not right for you!

7.     BECOME THE EXPERT in your field that people know and trust.  I can’t tell you how many people have said “thank you” for taking the time to help them build their business with no strings attached just because I care.  That is the giving heart that breeds success.

8.     CONTINUE TO LEARN AND GROW, because when you are excited and motivated to learn it shows that YOU are interested in bettering yourself to the benefit of your clients.

9.     SHINE, and I mean really shine, like a beacon of light!  Have people “catch” your passion!  Make them think of NO ONE BUT YOU when then have a need you can satisfy.  Build loyalty so you never have to worry about them walking away to your competitor…EVER!

10. BE POSITIVE AND REAL…clients don’t want to be fed a line.  Make sure you’re working with honesty and integrity in all you do.  Present your business positively, whether in person or through social media.  It’s not always easy and every day won’t be a bed of roses…everyone gets that…but keep things in perspective, realize that ultimately it’s worth it, and that tomorrow is always a new day and a fresh start!

I have enjoyed sharing this list with you, and would love to hear how things are going for you.  I look forward to hearing stories of how YOU got out of the “distracted rut” that we all fall into from time to time.

I’m cheering each of you on and reminding you that YOU choose how to spend your time!  Make sure YOU are running your business inside the balance parameters you have set with your family…this will help ensure your business is working for you! J


(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Dwelling Moments Photography, business photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/4/the-grass-is-greener-where-you-water-it Mon, 07 Apr 2014 17:01:03 GMT
Tress Family http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/tress-family


This family was a BLAST to photograph.  So laid back, fun, and very casual.  Capturing the laughs, giggles, and pure joy they have for one another was so heartwarming.  Click on this link to see our great session! http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/tress

(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Dwelling Moments Photography, Professional Family Portrait Photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/tress-family Wed, 19 Mar 2014 19:38:19 GMT
Eden Yoga is NOW open http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/eden-yoga-is-now-open








Eden Yoga just opened it's doors and had a fabulous grand opening this past weekend that I photographed for the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Area Chamber of Commerce.  The atmosphere is very relaxing and the owners Kenny and Liz are fantastic.  I had the opportunity to photograph and sit in on a small portion of the yoga class.  For those of you that have never done yoga, it looks like a great way to take care of your body.  For those of you that have done it, I can see why you like it.  For me the hardest part would be "not talking" and just taking it all in.... ;)

Here's a look into the studio...the instructors are very welcoming and are right next to you to help you along and learn this style of exercise.

I would highly encourage checking out this new business in Sugarcreek Township.  http://www.edenyogaohio.com

Let me know what you think when you visit.  They have some great offers going on now to take advantage of.



(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/eden-yoga-is-now-open Tue, 18 Mar 2014 18:14:04 GMT
Putting a price on it! http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/putting-a-price-on-it






I find it interesting that photographers all struggle with "how much should we charge for our services" and then to top it off they look at other photographers and try to "compete!"  This is a crazy vicious and in my opinion dumb cycle for a photographer.  I want my clients/friends to land with ME because they CHOOSE me for the whole package.  For the way they are treated and I listen to their vision and needs, to the care that is taken at the photo shoot to check for fly away hair, straighten necklaces, grabbing a wipe to get the chocolate off your toddlers face....to the hours I spend hand tweaking each image to make it SHINE and I don't mean just be great, I mean knock you off your socks this could be a 24X36 wall portrait and you would LOVE it forever kind of image.  That my friends is why you choose ME!  I'm not for everyone, I'm ok with that, but if I am for you you're in for a REAL treat! 

Have you ever gone into a hair salon and had them say "well since the other salon is offering the cut and highlight for $75 I will do that instead of my normal $150.  SERIOUSSSSLLLLYYYYY that is just crazy!  That is my point, when I go to a salon, I am there because I WANT to be there, I understand the value of what I will get, I've decided that is the price I am willing to pay and I continue to go to the same place and be loyal because I LOVE WHAT I GET, how I feel and, the compliments I get afterwards from friends!

I will be honest I am not the cheapest game in town, but I don't need to compete with that photographer because I offer something different and have a niche market that is about building a relationship with you, finding what your needs are, and then solving them.  You might find me at your house with a tape measure measuring your wall to help you "design" your collage of family photos.  I can pretty much guarantee that X photographer running a Groupon or charging pennies is just shooting back to back with no real connection to their client along with doing light processing if any and slapping it on a CD and moving on to the next paying person.  I am by no means knocking that, but that's NOT what Dwelling Moments Photography is about.  I want to know you, be friends with you and build a lasting relationship with you and in casual conversation when your friend is looking for a photographer have them say "Oh my gosh you MUST call Alaina..my husband did NOT want to do family photos, he was so crabby about it but she had this way to get everyone comfortable, capture the real us, and have the whole experience be a joy."....Ok so you get the idea, it might not be those exact words, but the point is you valued what you got!

You're welcome to shop around for a photographer.  Yes, I shop around for my hair stylist.  It's important to me to have killer hair, just as I'm looking for the family or business or person that says YES it's important to ME to have a KILLER family shoot or headshot or photos of my house I am selling...the list goes on, but you get the point. It's no longer about price it's about service.

I'm curious, what key factors do YOU look for when you're shopping around for a photographer?





(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/putting-a-price-on-it Mon, 10 Mar 2014 12:26:04 GMT
Do you REALLY want to start a business? http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/do-you-really-want-to-start-a-business








I am honored and humbled when friends and people I know through other people come to me for advice.  The question I have been asked in the last week by 3 people is "I want to start a photography business, what do I do, where to do I go, how do I get started?"  Everyone knows that I LOVeeeeeee to help and my intentions are pure, genuine, and honest.  

After MANY days of research, looking at where to go from here, and evaluating a new market through professional sources as well as mentors and people I admire in the industry I have become clear on the "gold nugget" of HOW to be successful in your business and it's actually pretty simple if the following 4 principals are applied.

This truly applies to any kind of business, but for my example I am going to use photography because that is my field of expertise.  

1.  Do you LOVE marketing or are you willing to hire someone to pave that path for you?  I don't care WHAT business it is, let's face it when you're a business owner it's about getting YOU out there.  Sharing YOU with the world, and people falling in love with YOUR brand...which guess what is YOU!  Are you getting my drift..it's about selling YOU!

2.  Do you love the running a business, are you willing to hire someone to pave that path for you?  I have learned a LONG time ago that to be successful you take the pieces of what YOU love and excel at and KEY WORD are MONEY MAKERS and you hire out the rest.  YOUR time is your most valuable asset to moving forward and if you waste it you don't get it back!  I'm just going to say this running an "under the table cash business" may work for a short while, but if that's the case you're not a "business" you're someone working under the table not following the rules and laws-not a good idea!  Research your state and rules and FOLLOW them.  Build credibility and be legit-your customers will appreciate you for that!

3.  Do you like customer service...sorry folks, this one you can't delegate, you either win over your clients or you don't.  Not EVERY situation is rosy, so will you rise about and WOW your customer when something falls apart.  It doesn't MATTER if it's your fault or not....remember...THE CLIENT IS ALWAYS RIGHT and it's YOUR job to make them beyond satisfied when the ships sails in the wrong direction.  Trust me, it will happen and you can overcome it!

4.  Finally, are you WILLING to do what it takes to find YOUR place in the market?  This takes time commitment and dedication to your craft.  It's OK to say ...uhhhh NO I LOVE photography and I want to shoot it when I want how I want and forget all this other stuff, then let me be totally bold in saying this:

80% is marketing and 20% is actually the craft you have fallen in love with.  I truly believe after talking to yet another person I admire in the industry that photographers get it wrong.  They think shoot-shoot-shoot-..shoot everything, everyone, and let EVERYONE else run their business because guess what they're getting paid.  When you don't have a PLAN for your business after time you will either burn out or fall out of "love" with your craft.  Now why on earth does someone want to start a business that does that?  Stay tuned, we will be chatting about loving your business in the next blog!  What do you think?  Share with me and have a fabulous day! 

(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/3/do-you-really-want-to-start-a-business Sat, 08 Mar 2014 12:45:56 GMT
Distracted in business http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/2/distracted-in-business Today is the day!  That moment you say OH MY GOSH I GET IT!!!  As I was cleaning up the kitchen and getting the kids off to school thinking about my day I realized I'm distracted during my business day!  Step into my head for a brief moment...here are my thoughts:

I need to go to the store, I need to finish writing my husband's birthday card for our family celebration tonight, I wonder if I should call and check on my client invoice or give it another day, I need to figure out if the pool membership is worth it, oh I better call and give the condo company our new credit card and pay off our balance for spring break, the deadline to order my skin care on my PC perks program is this week so I need to decide what to order, the couch is a mess I should pick it up, oh and I can quick throw in a load of laundry, I should call and confirm the real estate shoot for tomorrow and confirm a meeting I have on Thurs, I'm curious how much money we spent on lacrosse this weekend getting gear since we bought and returned a few items, oh I better return that sports bag to Play Again Sports, I wonder if my print company might be having a sale so I can work on my dining room wall collage, hmmmm what should I fill that space with on the wall?  I want to call my girlfriend and see how she is doing with her big decision, oh and how about my other friend that is making  major military decision in their lives, and then there's the person that asked me for some marketing and networking tips...AHHHHHHHH!

OH MY GOSH!  REAllllllllly distracted and I don't mean just a little and that was the happy chatter in my head as I got ready for the day.  How many of you work at home?  If you do I think there are a few things that are CRUCIAL to our success.  I started thinking about when I had a "job" and how different my self talk was.  Oh well, I'm running late I'll do the dishes later, groceries-meh I'll just grab them on the way home, laundry-the kids can do it after school, ......and the list goes on.  What's the difference you ask, well as I drive away all I focus on is MY JOB until I come home and then I pick up the pieces.  Why don't we focus on our JOB at home?  We're distracted, very very distracted and that is KILLING our productivity and making us wonder "why isn't this working, why am I not building this business as fast as I want?  Well my friends the answer is right here we are distracted and do not have a "system" in place to keep us accountable!

Here are my tips:

1.  Start your week with a "staff meeting" which I know you're saying you're kidding it's just me???  That's a-ok my friend told me that you have to be accountable, on track, and have goals to have a successful week.  Each week may be different but hitting these key points would be a good start:

*Who do I need to call, what do I need to accomplish, what do I need to follow up on, what should I work on building?  What is my financial goal this week and what do I need to do to be on track?  What hours am I truly working, etc

2.  FOCUS ON YOUR JOB, take calls when it's best for you, make calls when it's best for you, check and return email when it's best for you and CONTROL your business don't let others control it for you.  Set boundaries and stick to them so people can know what to expect from you.

3.  BE PRODUCTIVE, consider yourself working for a "boss" and think if I was at work would I do this?  If not then don't do it-being accountable to ourselves can be tricky, but when we have a vision we are MUCH more likely to stay on track.

4.  REWARD YOURSELF for a job well done!  

How are YOU doing in this area?  Are you one to be distracted easily?  If so I hope this helps, if not I would love to hear any of your tips that keep you focused on track!

On that note I am off to have my "staff meeting" and get myself set to have a rockin' productive week!



(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2014/2/distracted-in-business Mon, 24 Feb 2014 15:08:06 GMT
The day I was at the wrong location for a photo shoot... http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/10/the-day-i-was-at-the-wrong-location-for-a-photo-shoot




I am CONVINCED that things happen for a reason and when you're looking to bless others you will be put in the path of opportunities…this is by far my BEST and most favorite "LOST GPS" story yet!  It's rather simple, I went to the park I "thought" I was supposed to be at, texted my client and said "I'm here by the pond, see you when you get here."….

While I was waiting I glanced over and saw this sweet family trying to take pictures-you've all seen it and know this scene well...you set the camera on the grass, set the timer, run, pose, and go back and see what you got…NO-that was just not going to work and I immediately dropped my bag and offered my services.  I introduced myself and gave them a business card and offered them the images.  You can imagine how excited they were as this was their WEDDING day!!!  We had an absolute blast and I felt so privileged to be there "at the right place at the right time" to give them what they needed…memories of their most precious day of their life thus far!  The families were so embracing and easy to work with and I can tell you that it was not awkward or odd, just a beautiful moment that I know everyone involved cherished.

Then….my cell phone rang, it was my client-we talked for a few minutes to try and figure out how we could be missing each other…to then hear the words-"what park are you at…"…UGH, my heart sank, I was at the WRONG WRONG WRONG park and they were over 40 min across town.

I am not sure exactly where the miscommunication was, but I didn't care because I knew that I would take care of my client and I knew that God had intended for me to be at that park at that moment for that blessing.

These are the moments that make me a photographer…to truly bless others.  I know that I will keep in touch with Emmanuel and Ashley and I can't wait to watch their family grow.  I wish them the very best as they start their lives together and truly thank them for allowing me to capture what they so deeply desired.

(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Bellbrook Dwelling Moments photography wedding http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/10/the-day-i-was-at-the-wrong-location-for-a-photo-shoot Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:57:45 GMT
Pumpkin Spice Latte at McDonald's http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/pumpkin-spice-latte-at-mcdonalds


I just tried the new Pumpkin Spice Latte at McDonald's because I heard on the radio this morning that this could be a "game changer" since Starbucks has capitalized over $200,000 on this drink alone over the past few years I thought wow, I better try it.  It got me thinking about offering a "like" product for less money.  Here is my quick review of the drink:

1.  They don't offer it in decaf so that was an immediate minus 1 in my book

2.  They do however offer in in non-fat so that was a plus one

3.  Whip is an extra 30 cents so another minus 1

4.  They don't fill the whole cup another minus 1

5.  It does NOT taste nearly as good, but would do in a pinch so that is neither plus or minus 

So, the big question is would I go there instead of Starbucks?  If I wanted just a quick drive through cup of coffee at a low price my answer would be yes, but there are MANY things missing that would make me hands down choose Starbucks.

The experience-when I go to Starbucks I am either meeting a friend, my hubby, or I am networking with someone new.  I love the ambiance there and it's a very comfortable place.  I can think of SOOOOooooo many wonderful conversations I've had over a cup of coffee there.  At McDonald's it is just drive through, grab, and go.  I think this is like business and whom you choose to work with.  If you just want a particular product, no strings attached and you're not really tied to the quality you may choose X company.  If you want something spectacular that shines above the rest you many choose Y company.  The beauty is there are a lot of choices and somewhere in there you will find what works for you.  

So, go ahead, try the McDonald's PSL and comment on what you think, I'm curious to hear your response!  This is another example of you "get what you pay for!" ;)  Personally, I wouldn't trade the conversation and the time with friends for a few bucks.  I will be happy to keep supporting our local Starbuck because for me it's MUCH more then just a hot drink!

(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Bellbrook Dwelling Moments business photography pumpkin spice latte McDonalds you get what you pay for http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/pumpkin-spice-latte-at-mcdonalds Thu, 26 Sep 2013 17:42:13 GMT
You are what you attract! http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/you-are-what-you-attract This is so darn true!  How many times do we think negative things and then it seems like our days are full of disappointments and frustrations.  It starts between our two ears in the thoughts and attitude we have for what we are trying to achieve.  

It seems like we've been taught to "be real" and "assume the worst"....well for my world I assume the best and when the worst comes...well, I cross that bridge when I get there.  By having a "unstoppable" attitude is when we start to break through barriers and really reach our goals.

So, here's to keeping those crazy negative thoughts to a minimum and remembering that we are all created to do something amazing in our days and let's rock and roll and get the world wondering "why is she/he so dang happy about life!"

Let me give you just a few practical things you can do to turn your frown upside down:

1.  Think WHY not, why CAN'T I do this and then press forward and just do it.

2.  Know that when you have a thought and it just keeps perking up there must be some merit and TAKE ACTION!

3.  If you're frustrated, walk away and find simple beauty in your surroundings.  I find that picking up my camera and going outside to shoot just something simple reminds me of why I do what I do-the passion returns to give me clarity of blessing others with my photography.  Whatever your niche is remember WHY you're doing it.

4.  Turn on some music and dance around-yes really, it just takes being silly and goofy sometimes to lighten up!

5.  Know that tomorrow is a new day so don't beat yourself up!

Here we go.....cheering you on to just move forward even if it's one little baby turtle step at a time. :)



(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/you-are-what-you-attract Wed, 18 Sep 2013 15:38:17 GMT
It's been a day of "NO's".... http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/its-been-a-day-of-no-s You can all relate, you have grand, glorious new ideas that just get smashed in the ground.  You're ready to go, you have your plan, and not one, two, or three people say no, but 5....now what?

Be grateful, glad that you got those out of the way and now you're on the path to finding YES YES YES!  I have found that instead of getting frustrated with NO to think, "whew" glad that's over.

It's time to pick yourself back up, dust off, and regroup.  That is what it's like to be an entrepreneur...no one ever said it would be easy, but when you follow your passion and your heart by default your business will expand.


(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/its-been-a-day-of-no-s Tue, 17 Sep 2013 22:13:22 GMT
DONE is clearly better then PERECT http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/done-is-clearly-better-then-perect-sometimes How many times have you thought "I will do this, but I need it to be done right...".....and then....it sits...and sits....and sits....because you just don't think it is "right?"

Well I am here to encourage you to JUST DO IT!  We don't always have the perfect way to present an idea that we have, but if we don't just try and put our idea out there....how on EARTH will we ever know if it will or will not work?

This is a short post today because I am following my own advice.  I have a few things that have been churning in my brain to do and I have not done them.  I am clearly making excuses because there might be a NO with what I am wanting to pursue, but darn it, we never know unless we ask.  No is just a word, it has no value, it just means try again and keep going!

What might YOU need to do today to build your business or in your personal life that you've been putting off.  Trust me once you just do it there will be a weight lifted off that it's done and you can move on.

Cheering you on today!

(Dwelling Moments Photography) 45305 Bellbrook Dwelling Moments Photographer Photography advice business http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/done-is-clearly-better-then-perect-sometimes Thu, 12 Sep 2013 15:26:54 GMT
Why I don't do "FREE"... http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/why-i-dont-do-free There seems to be a lot of "talk these days about doing things for free in a photography business.  Everyone wants a photographer.....

Let's break this down:  You don't go into a "business with a storefront" and ask them for their merchandise for "free" so I am still struggling to understand why a "one man band" that obviously is not backed by a corporation is asked to "give their services?"  It's interesting that for some reason this photography industry is so completely "fly by the seat of your pants"....one photographer can offer one price and another a different price.  I am NOT here to debate the photography industry, but to shed some light on why FREE is not valued and WHAT is....

When you do something for FREE you are doing it with no strings attached-there is no value in the outcome other then you have done a "favor" for someone.  There is no conversation about "I would love to do this for free, but there is MUCH more to taking the photos, there is the sorting, processing, and finishing the images so that they are professional and complete."  Somewhere people think "free" means hey come and take some pics for me and that's where the mind stops.

I have decided that I no longer do FREE.  Why you might ask, because FREE is not a win win and let's face it when I am taking time from my family and spending time building a business that I am so passionate about and love it's not a good use of my time.

Now this might sound like I'm being negative...read on because I am not! ;)  There is a word that I have grown very fond of and it's DONATION which is a TOTALLY different conversation then free.  Donations are beautiful-they are valued and they have purpose.  The people that have reached out to me and asked me to donate just gives me this whole new passion in the world of photography.  Whether it's photographing a military member reuniting with their loved ones after deployment, meeting recipients of high medals and honors from their wounds in the war, capturing the very last photo of a well known General and his wife at the Air Force Charity Ball just days before they were in a very unexpected plane crash and died, attending a volunteer appreciation luncheon for Hannah's Treasure Chest and catching all the smiles, laughter, and pure joy this group has for their mission, being the photographer at my husband's parents retirement party.....the list goes on, but you get the point-there is purpose, there is value, and there is a feeling of gratitude.  I ALWAYS walk away from donating my time feeling so touched by whatever I had the opportunity to take part in.  

Now comes the balance, I would love to be able to say yes to every single request that comes my way, but that is just not possible.  I have picked a handful of "causes" that I am so very passionate about and will always do for donation.  If someone asks me I will think about it and decide if that is something that fits in my scope.  I don't say no to be rude or mean, but as we all know we have to have a sense of balance.  I am very well in tune with thinking now about the "full experience" instead of just the hours I am shooting, which actually tends to be the least time consuming part of the whole photography process.

So, you ask, what might you do to make it a win win when you are asked to photograph something for free?  My advice is this...first, decide if this is something you want to DONATE your time and efforts to.  Think about the whole project from start to finish, figure out your timing, your family schedule, and if you truly think and want to commit to it.  If you say yes GREAT.  Here are a few things you can do to make it a win win.

1.  Trade is great-if you have something they want and they have something you want then go for it...

2.  Ask that your business be noted in a program or possibly that you house the photos on your website so the traffic by default will come your way.

3.  Watermark your images and make sure that you get photo credit and that the images link to something-whether it's your facebook page or your website...

4.  Ask whomever is your point of contact to consider referring you or share you with others-after all the more people talk about you the more your "name" gets out there and that my friends is how you build a solid clientele....word of mouth, referrals, and truly doing exceptional work!

5.  Know that when you donate your time you are making a commitment so make sure that you are fully on board with your decision.  It's much better to say "no thanks" then give the client poor work because you are either over committed or don't put this "donation" high enough on your priority list.

6.  Have fun and take each opportunity to walk away with something new and wonderful to implement the next time.  This business is truly trial and error and self reflection.  Some things works, others don't and all you have to do is learn and move on and make different choices next time.

In close, I hope that people would value photography a little more.  Yes everyone has a camera, but does everyone have the expertise to process and set the camera and consistently to get the same image quality day after day, shoot after shoot, and event after event?  That is WHY you pay a professional and in my opinion why we should not work for free.  


(Dwelling Moments Photography) Dwelling Moments balance business donations free photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/why-i-dont-do-free Tue, 10 Sep 2013 15:02:34 GMT
Moving, and starting over from square one...well, maybe two ;) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/moving-and-starting-from-square-one I think part of the beauty of a blog is the opportunity for me to share with you different aspects of the business and about me.  Today I feel very compelled to just say it like it is....

Moving...it's not just moving with the military like we normally do and have done for many years, but it's moving a business.  Moving a business that was thriving and full of fun, opportunity, and great customers and a loyal clientele.  It's about working SO very hard from the beginning to "put myself out there" knowing that once I got things rolling it would just build from there and keep on going...and going....I remember the DAY the packers were at our house and I was on the computer working, setting up my last photo shoots and processing and ordering images for clients to wrap things up.  That is who I am -working and not stopping until the job is done and everyone is 210% satisfied with their experience at Dwelling Moments Photography.  The moment my husband looked at me and said "we're leaving tomorrow, you have to quit working"..that was when I knew I was in my "zone!" ;)

Now let's fast forward to moving-it's stressful-let's just face it when you have a middle school and elementary child they don't take relocating in the most positive way.  Sooooo there is the finding new friends, getting them settled for school, making sure my hubby is set for work, finding a church, finding a hairdresser, doctors, etc....annnnnnd that list goes on and on and on.  In the midst of that the energizer bunny just wants to keep chugging away and pick up where she left off in D.C. loving her business and loving how it was expanding and how I had to turn people away because my books were full.  That is a GREAT place to be in a business and I am getting antsy to be there again.

A new market is full of new responsibilities.  It's not like I can just say Dwelling Moments is here without doing some market research on pricing, competition, and what people offer.  Now y'all know I am not competitive, but I surely do not want to be portrayed as the $50 photographer that gives away a whole CD of images.  I am not saying that is bad, that is just not the wall quality imagery I am striving to give my clients.  There are TONS and I mean TONS of photographers here-some are just the ones that just take friends and family pictures, some have a website and business cards, and then some are full fledged in for the long haul doing things by the books and making sure they have covered all legal aspects of "being in business."  I am not here to judge nor is that what this is about, but it's hard to find your niche.  It's hard to find your place in a new area.  It's hard to find your market.  For someone who has based a business on word of mouth and referrals and doesn't know anyone it's kind of hard to do that at this point.  

Sometimes I think we try too hard, we are hard on ourselves, and we just don't give ourselves time to breathe because we think we have to have it now and what in the world are we waiting for?  I am here to say that sometimes no matter how hard you try things just don't align as you wish.  That's the point where to have to step back and rework your plan and figure out what you are doing that is working and what you are doing that is not working.  This does not just apply to photography, it applies to life and decisions.

I am writing this to encourage you-to let you know that if you're at a point where you're starting over or having to rework a grand plan you had, it's OK.  Life is not about a perfect plan, it's about having passion to follow a direction.  With the right timing and desire over time you will see results.  I think back to the full solid 6 months I marketed and thought I would NEVER have a solid clientele.  It just took time, patience and saying I AM NOT GIVING UP!  Just this week I was sent an email inquiry from someone I met 2 years ago-now that is a perfect example of how giving that one business card paid off...well, other then the fact that I am not there now, but you get the point.  Just keep swimming, just keep swimming....

This might be written for you, it might be written for someone you know, but I hope that this gives you the encouragement to not let your surroundings dictate your goals and dreams.  Yes, at the moment I am not living out what I want to be doing in my business, but I am living out having a wonderful transition with my family, decorating and organizing a house we have worked very hard at calling home, and getting our kids settled into school.  I'm not getting paid for that in dollars and cents, but I know that in the long run down the road when our kids are older they will look back and remember the time I spent with them getting settled in our new home and new school.  I think when you "house" is in order you can focus on other things.  I think after this crazy summer our "house" is in order and I am ready to hit the ground running!  How about you, are you ready to move forward and achieve what is in your heart and on your mind?


(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/9/moving-and-starting-from-square-one Tue, 03 Sep 2013 23:33:44 GMT
What does it take to TRULY be a legitimate business? Part 1 http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/8/what-does-it-take-to-truly-be-a-legitimate-business


This will be a 3 part blog post.  The first portion will be devoted to getting your business registered and legal, the second part will be about getting your website set up and how to have an organized workflow with client orders, receipts, and business items, and the third part will be about keys to running a successful business in my opinion and some of the pitfalls and things to avoid as well as my own personal story of how I have created a word of mouth and referral business on a consistent basis.

To start with today I want to talk about the legal part of being in business.  I have given this question a lot of thought as I started my photography business almost 3 years ago and I would like to shed some light on this issue in hopes to clear up some confusion, give you the insight I have found out, as well as help you be as professional as you can be.  I am speaking of starting a photography business so all the details of this may or may not apply to you depending on what your business is.  However, I am confident that you will gain some knowledge and hopefully learn a trick or two to becoming a "legitimate business through the eyes of your clients, the IRS, and the state you live in.

First things first, what is your business name?  NOTE-BEFORE you spend all your hard earned efforts coming up with a catchy slogan, name, and branding it is in your best interest to MAKE SURE your name is available.  What a shame to go through so much effort to find out "there is another one of you out there!"

Once you have nailed that down then you can proceed with the following:

1.  Buy that domain name~ www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com is mine and no one else can use it because I registered my domain name and have the rights to it.  I used www.godaddy.com, but you can pick whatever domain company you would like.  

2.  Get all your social sites in place with your name at the same time, even if you're not planning on using them right away it's MUCH better to have them "reserved" with your name then to one day want to start something and find ...oops someone else took that name!  I reserved Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, my website, and my blog just to name a few.

3.  Register your business name with the state.  You will need to find the secretary of state and the info should be on their website.  You will need to fill out the form and send it in with a check for whatever that state amount is for a registered trade name.  That will give you the trade name and you will appear in the register of your state so no one else can have that name.  If you want to go a few steps farther, you can register your name and it will be "trademarked."  That however is a different process, but just a FYI.

4.  Figure out if you need a vendor's license.  There are several types including a transient vendor license-each state is a little different on this.  For Ohio I got a transient license-basically means that I will charge tax in the area I live in, but my work could be all over.  If you have a "store front" at a specific location you can just get a regular vendor's license for your county.  Fill out the form from the sales and tax website for your state or you may be able to do it online.

5.  Decide if you are going to be sole proprietor or file for a FEIN tax id number.  I opted for sole proprietor since there is just me and I don't currently have employees, if that changes I will adjust accordingly.  If you choose FEIN fill out the IRS form and send it in.  


In Ohio we have this all inclusive site to get a majority of the answers needed with a step by step checklist.  


Another VERY helpful resource is the Small Business Development Center


6.  What am I suppose to pay in taxes and through the IRS?  First, I HIGHLY recommend you hire a CPA, that is just my own personal opinion, but if I am going to consider myself a "business" then I need to hire the professionals to protect me.  A CPA is mandatory in my book to keep the IRS and the state happy as well as run a ethical business according to the state requirements.

You should be paying taxes either quarterly or annually based on the tax bracket you collect per month in taxes from your retail sales.  This can be much better explained by the state tax department.  They can explain what you are required to do and how you will file.  For me, I just go on the Ohio business gateway website and I have an account set up to put in my taxes and they will be due in Jan of 2014.

Please feel free to post comments, questions, as well as input on if this info has been helpful to you.  I want to make this an open forum so that we can help one another.  I KNOW I am not the only one that has said "now what....what do I need to do next to run a business....???










(Dwelling Moments Photography) Dwelling Moments business getting started photography http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/8/what-does-it-take-to-truly-be-a-legitimate-business Sun, 25 Aug 2013 19:53:42 GMT
Take a step through the Air Force Charity Ball 2013... http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/air-force-charity-ball-2013  

I am just overwhelmed with the amount of hours many many people put into making the USAF Charity Ball a HUGE success and raising TONS and I mean TONS of money for the Air Force Aid Society to help our military. My contribution was providing the photography and I could not be more thrilled to give back in this way. Please enjoy the photos as they tell the story of such an incredible evening! 

Thank you for viewing this slide show.  I hope that it has given you a small glimpse into the hearts of our military and their families, and that these pictures demonstrate their desire to always make the world a better place for those around them through their time, talents, and gifts to bless others!



Enjoy your day, feel free to share this with others, and PLEASE leave comments.  I love hearing what you think!

Fondly~  Alaina



(Dwelling Moments Photography) Air Force Aid Society Air Force Charity Ball 2013 The Waterford Springfield, VA USAF http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/4/air-force-charity-ball-2013 Wed, 10 Apr 2013 15:06:59 GMT
A Picture is worth a thousand words..or in my case a blog post ;) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/1/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-or-in-my-case-a-blog-post Hi all!


Happy almost February....it's just craaaazzzzy that we're almost through the first full month of January already!

I am not one to just blog to blog, I feel like I need to have a purpose and share a value with you or it's not worth your time to read...so here is my thought to share.

"A picture is worth a thousand words"....If you were to look at this photo you might think "WOW, they are sure having a great time, hmmmm I wonder what was so darn funny, or maybe why did she take a picture of them laughing?"

This picture is going to be one I treasure for years to come because it was a "moment"...just a simple little blip in time that gives you a small glimpse into my parents and our relationship with each other.

So here is the quick little "background" on this story....we were doing a family photo shoot with my parents and my husband's parents while they were all here visiting.  My mom whom is very knowledgable and savvy kept telling me where she wanted to stand and thought she had the "perfect" spots....welllllll let's just say that unless you study the lighting and have composition in your background where you think you might look best in a photograph is not necessarily where the professional thinks it will work the best to prevent shadows, and odd lighting.  So, back to the conversations with this photo....I amused my mother and let her stand where she wanted and snapped the pictures and at one point (this point) in the photo I said "MOM, would you just let ME tell you where to stand and what to do...."  It was funny to see her expression and to see the "look" my father gave me.  I look at this picture with much fondness as I know they both would because at that moment they could clearly see that I DID know what I was doing and to just let me do my thing!

Fast forward....the session was a total blast and everything was said in jest and fun.  The point to this whole story is how meaningful it is to capture the simple little moments in life.  The ones that we might just pass over thinking it's not "perfect."  That is what I want to encourage you to do-just snap away.....There is something so special about looking back on this photo and having such a clear memory of the fun we all had that day.  

Honestly, it was a turning point from being my parents little girl to being a professional that knew what she was doing and that I must say felt very good! :)  You can see the pure, good ole' fashioned joy in their eyes...and that is what I want to remember when it comes to those I love.  

I challenge you to snap away and work on journaling your days....in the midst of clicking away I promise you will find a winner....a photo that stirs up an emotion to cherish for years to come!

Until Next Time,

Alaina :)



(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2013/1/a-picture-is-worth-a-thousand-words-or-in-my-case-a-blog-post Thu, 24 Jan 2013 02:23:58 GMT
You don't have to be good at everything..... http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2012/10/you-dont-have-to-be-good-at-everything

I found this out the hard way yesterday as I was feverishly getting ready for a HUGE photography vendor booth this weekend for Oktoberfest at Fort Belvoir.  I wanted this "contact form" people could sign up for photography from me.  Now to the computer techy person like me you would think "piece of cake"....but OHHHHH it was soooo not a piece of cake.  

Let me set the scene....I was in Excel and ready to print-all I could see was wellllllllll NOTHING??????  I had two choices to keep wasting my time or go to the professional of choice whom I KNEW would be able to get my form in spit-spot shape quickly!  That "professional" of choice was my dear hubby who uses Excel on a daily basis managing billions of dollars for the US Air Force so I KNEW he could help me out.  I think he might have written the book "Excel for Dummies".. ;)

Why didn't I struggle and stress until I figured it out you might ask?  Simple, I decided that I DID NOT HAVE TO BE GOOD AT EVERYTHING and that would be OK with me.

We seem to have this false sense of "we have to be good in all areas of our lives"......people have strengths and weaknesses and when you can use your strength to help others and lean on others for your weaknesses everyone wins.  I know that my hubby was happy that I reached out to him because if I had not I would have still be sitting at the computer with a day wasted and a list a mile long of things that "still needed to be done."

Everything has a price and we have to decide what each thing we do is worth in our day.  For me, getting my booth all set to go was FAAAAARRRRRRR more important then learning about "print areas!"  My point is simple~excel at what you ROCK at and ask for help in the areas that you struggle at.  I know for a FACT that I will need to understand "print areas" for the future, but for yesterday it was not important! ;



(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2012/10/you-dont-have-to-be-good-at-everything Fri, 05 Oct 2012 14:34:28 GMT
The day something INCREDIBLE happened.......and I sadly did not have my camera! http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2012/10/the-day-something-incredible-happened-and-i-sadly-did-not-have-my-camera For anyone that knows me, NOT having my camera or at least my phone camera with me is NOT often.  This day was different.....I was taking "the day off" from being "the photographer" as we celebrated my husband's military promotion at the Pentagon.  I had a plan, I hired a professional photographer and she knew exactly what I wanted to capture so I was just enjoying the event.  I brought my camera for "afterwards"......and that is where the "missed moment" happened.

Imagine walking down the halls of the Pentagon on a "tour" with your husband and family and running into someone that works in the Air Force Chief Of Staffs Office.  We were trying to be very quiet as we walked down the ever so important hall of prestigious people when out of the blue we were asked "what's the special occasion for this tour?"  My husband answered and the next thing I knew we were in "the official office."  You would think that taking photos in his office would be off limits, but at that moment she said "who has a camera............"..........wellllllllll my heart sank.  

Rewind to the beginning of the tour....both the professional photographer and I had left our bags in my husbands office because seriously WHY would there EVER be a reason to need a camera in the Pentagon?  I know the rules and that is one that I am not willing to break and let's face it carrying around all that professional gear in high heels did NOT excite me so I left my gear and headed out for the tour.  

Flash forward...."does anyone have a camera?"  OH MY GOSH you have GOT to be kidding me....I could have taken professional grade photos in the Air Force Chief of Staffs Office.  Really, what would the chances of that be?  Yes, that is exactly what I am thinking....about as great as the guy who stands at the top of the escalator with the machine gun smiling and saying "cheese" while I snapped a photo! ;)  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.....

I know you're on pins and needles wondering so what in the world did she do?  At that moment my brother in law Chad saved the day....he had his phone in his pocket and for that I will be EVER so grateful.  Here you can see the photo of our son and my husband proudly standing and sitting at the "desk" of the highest decision maker in the whole United States Air Force.  Even though I didn't have my "fancy camera" I realized that just getting the shot is more important then missing it!  

I always strive for perfection with photography, but sometimes I think we need to step back and think about just documenting the moment for future generations to enjoy.  I don't mean the wall quality photo shoots, but the every day this is what happened and WOW wasn't that cool moments.  I would urge you to snap away...we're in the digital age and the worst that can happen is you decide..hmmm I don't like that image and hit the delete button. ;) 

©Dwelling Moments Photography (courtesy of Chad)


(Dwelling Moments Photography) http://www.dwellingmomentsphotography.com/blog/2012/10/the-day-something-incredible-happened-and-i-sadly-did-not-have-my-camera Tue, 02 Oct 2012 23:06:13 GMT