Planning My Year
As I began planning my 2023 year, I knew I needed to attend a photography conference. Why? To continue learning my craft and connect with other like-minded individuals. This was my first time attending a photography conference. In the past, I’ve attended conferences for my administrative background but this was new and out of my comfort zone. I felt that attending this conference at the beginning of the year would also help me set the tone for my business. Push out of my comfort zone and take risks.
On My Way to Imaging USA
In November, I joined the Professional Photographers of America (“PPA”) for their educational content and support for photographers. The upside was the conference. As a new member, the registration fee was waived for my first conference. Bonus! Aside from all the other incredible resources, I thought this was the icing on the cake. So, I signed up, booked my flight and hotel, and started the countdown to the conference. And on January 21, I boarded a plane and headed for Nashville.
The theme for the conference was Connect. Learn. Thrive. In my opinion, it truly lived up to it! The venue was the Gaylord Opryland resort and it was huge. I spent that first night walking around trying to gain my bearings. Everyone I ran into was so helpful. Big shout out to the volunteers!! Everything went so smoothly from the attendee’s point of view.
Early on Sunday, January 22, I headed down to the registration area, printed my badge and my adventure truly began. The classes and presentations were amazing. The expo was huge with an incredible variety of vendors (gear, photo labs, etc.). The two keynote speakers made an impact. I met several new photographers and had great conversations. The conference wrapped up on the 24th and I left wanting more.
The Return Home
The last bit of time I had before my return flight to Portland was spent writing up my notes. There were a lot of nuggets of information that I was bringing home and writing it out helps me retain it. One of the best feelings I had while being at the conference was feeling that I fit in. Everyone who attended were at different stages in life and their photography journey and everyone was encouraging. Such a unique experience in a competitive world. I’m looking forward to seeing what the rest of 2023 has in store because January was freaking awesome!!
As always, if you have any photography needs, please reach out. I’m happy to chat to see if we are a good fit or refer you to a colleague.
#UhaczPhotography #PNW #PNWphotography #Portraits #FamilyPhotography #SeniorPix #Headshots #Branding #WomenOwnedBusiness #VanWA #VancouverWA #PDX
2022 – A Year in Review
What can I say about 2022?
So much! But like many folks, I like to take time and reflect on the year – what went well and where I can improve. Taking a moment to look at my personal and professional life this last year, I can say, without hesitation, it has been full of joy and sadness. There have been many challenges, lots of problem-solving as well as moments of pure gratitude.
My Amazing Network
I’m so thankful for my network. They are amazing! Having a network isn’t about what they can do for you or referrals they can send your way but it is a two-way street. Also, as an entrepreneur, your network can be your sounding board, help you when you need referrals for services, and help cheer you on. Again, this is a relationship and I count myself lucky to be able to be a sounding board, cheerleader, or help share my referrals/vendors with others.
Challenges & Problem Solving
Lighting can be a challenge and depending on the location frequently requires quick thinking and problem-solving skills. The same is true for outdoor shoots in the Pacific Northwest. The summer is generally safer to schedule without fear of rain. However, the fall, winter, and spring present the biggest challenges for the weather. Knowing the places that have covered areas for photos is very important, but also being aware of rules for allowing pets (they are family too), or if they are accessible.
My Awesome Clients
Yes, I am bragging. I do have awesome clients. We get to laugh and maybe dance a little to music during the shoot. I get to capture special family moments or take a new headshot for someone starting a new work journey. I’m so grateful for the trust they put in me.
My Incredible Husband
I’m so blessed to have such a supportive husband. He is my biggest cheerleader in my business. He’s always encouraging me to try and make my dream a reality. I regularly run my blog posts by him, get his thoughts on an edit I’m not sure about, or even location ideas. He’s been my model when I have wanted to try new equipment or see how a location looks during a specific time of day. Lighting can be critical!
Professional development, in any career, is so important. As technology changes, we need to keep up. Understanding what tools are available and how to use them is necessary for running a successful business. I regularly work on a variety of professional development activities throughout the year. And, in January, I am doing something I have never done before; attending my first photography conference! The conference is several days and includes a variety of speakers and an expo. I guess that the whole conference experience will make my head spin. Bring it on!
I am excited to see what 2023 has in store.
Celebrating Three Years in Business
In August, I celebrated my third year in business. I’ve made it through the pandemic, self-doubt, and a steep learning curve on running a business, including marketing and taxes. It has been a wild ride and I’m loving every minute of it. OK so maybe not every minute, the self-doubt can be a little bugger. But overall, it has been amazing to look back and see all the progress I’ve made.
As I reflect on the last three years, I think about how little I knew about having a photography business and how much I still have to learn. Actually, I’ve learned that owning a business, especially a technical and creative business such as photography will require constant learning.
What I love About Being a Photographer
There are a few things that I love about being a photographer:
So, what will the next year hold? More mistakes…I mean more learning opportunities. For sure! The most important thing I’ve learned about owning a business is that the learning never stops. I make progress every day, every month, and every year. The second most important thing I’ve learned (whew it’s hard), do not compare myself to other photographers. We all have our own journey and are working at our own pace.
I’m looking forward to seeing what the next year holds.
#headshots #brandingphotography #portraits #lifestylephotography #seniorportraits #seniorpictures #schoolpictures #back2school #schoolpictures #firstdayofschool #headshotphotographer #profilepic #professionalphotography #portraitphotography #portraitphotographer #familyportraits #portraits #familyphotos #siblings #familyphotography #familyphoto #familysession #familypictures #pnwphotographer #pnwphotography #PNW #VancouverWA #VanWA #SeasideOregon #OregonCoast #UhaczPhotography
Let’s Talk Tattoos!
Tattoos. Tats. Body art. Ink.
I’ve always loved tattoos. But they used to have a seriously bad reputation and were looked down on. Times have changed so much! When I was in my early twenties, tattoos were NOT considered professional. One did not dare have any tattoos that could be visible if you wanted to be a professional. Now, you can have full sleeves tats, and no one blinks an eye as you walk around a lawyer’s office, etc.
Cody booked a headshot session because she got a new haircut and a new job. She really wanted an update photo for LinkedIn. I’ve worked with her in the past for family photos and I’ve admired her ink. It is vibrant and fun–just like her. Since the session would be her solo, I asked if I could add some time to do some pictures of her ink after the standard headshot. I just really wanted the shots for my portfolio. She gave me an enthusiastic Yes!
We put in some music and had some fun trying different posing and angles to highlight her tats the best possible way. For me, music is a must during a shoot, especially if it is inside. I ask clients if they have a specific playlist they want to put on or a genre of music so I can turn on my Sonos speaker or the I Heart Radio channel. Music can help the client relax and boost their mood. Always important before having your photo taken. Warning: I will often dance around to the music. But I’ll try not to sing…to loud.
No matter what type of photo you want, traditional headshot, one that showcases your personality, or some of each let’s chat! We can find the perfect package for your session.
#tattoos #bodyart #tats #authenticself #headshots #headshot #headshotphotographer #portraits #profilepic #profilephoto #PortraitPhotographer #portraitphotography #VancouverWA #VanWa #personalbranding #business #professionalphotography #photography #photoshoot #headshotphotography #portraitphotographer #professionalheadshots #headshotsession #corporateheadshots #studiophotography #businessheadshots #PNW #PortlandOregon #SeasideOregon #womanownedbusiness #smallbusiness #UhaczPhotography
Your Network is Gold
There are many photographers in our area and around the country. Some could say there is a lot of competition. But being able to be a part of a network of female photographers that is collaborative and supportive is simply amazing. When I first opened my business in the summer of 2019, I was nervous, afraid, and clueless about how I was going to be a successful photographer. Everyone has their own definition of success so I will not go into that here, but I will say there were many unknowns. Shortly after “opening” my business, I was chatting with someone in my network (a real estate agent extraordinaire) about my new adventure. She let me know about a local networking group of female photographers she had heard about from someone in her network. She offered to connect me with them in case I was interested in learning more about the group. I couldn’t say “Yes and thank you” fast enough. The group is called Viewpoint Collaborative. I started by joining the private Facebook group—it is gold! You can check them out on their public Facebook page or Instagram pages.
Viewpoint Collaborative holds monthly meet-ups to share business successes, tips, and tricks, and have outside speakers occasionally share their expertise (like taxes - Yikes!). The first meet-up came around and I gathered all my strength and courage to head out. I’m an introvert and really shy when I’m in a large group where I don’t know anyone. (Once I know you and feel more comfortable, I’m a big goofball.) It was a big challenge for me to show up to the first monthly meet-up of the group not knowing anyone, especially with a big case of imposter syndrome. But I’m so happy that I did. I’ve met some amazing women. Some do photography full-time and others work part-time while juggling another job (either outside of the home or inside the home). They are at different stages in their own journeys with photography and business ownership.
I highly recommend folks to look for ways to introduce people you meet to others in your network. I’m so thankful for my diverse networking group. I love referring folks in my network from tax, legal, and financial experts to pet-sitters to personal trainers.
Not All Creatives are Created Equal
I grew up saying: “I’m not creative, but I can take a good photograph.” I’m very good at office work and slay with my organization skills. Yup, I own that! But I don’t have that same sense of being a badass when it comes to creativity. But I’ve been reflecting on that lately and realize that what I do in an office takes creativity, and knowing how to frame an image to take a good photograph is creative. To me being ‘creative’ always meant painting, playing an instrument, or acting. I’ve met some photographers who are more on the creative side and others who are like me with a mix of the creative and logistical. I love learning new computer programs and geeking out on my lists. Other creatives operate differently–not better or worse just different. But I thought that was the only way to be defined as a ‘creative.’ Cheers to learning it’s okay to be wrong.
Having a diverse network of female photographers helps me in my business in so many ways. For instance, when I get stuck on a lens, posing, or light issue I can reach out to my group for help. They can also reach out for brainstorming ideas on areas where they may be stuck. As the only member of my business, it is nice to have a group where you can ask questions and brainstorm. It is also a great referral source for second shooting/assisting or for a client that wants a specific type of photo session that you perhaps do not specialize in (for example, newborns or boudoir).
Another reason why I love this group is for the fun we have. This spring a few of us got together to do a shoot and try and capture some of the spring blooms (getting a dry day in the Pacific Northwest in spring with blooms is like chasing a unicorn). Luck was on our side and we had great weather and some pretty trees blooming. One of the photographers acted as our model while the rest of us took turns photographing her in various poses and outfits, then we also photographed each other. “Behind the scenes” photos were a must as well. We spent a couple of hours just before golden hour. We talked about lenses, cameras, lighting, our favorite type of shoots, and posing. One of the photographers had a lens I had been interested in and she loaned it to me to play around with for a bit. We both had the same body model so it fit perfectly. I fell in love with it and knew I was right to upgrade. It is the little things like that where you truly appreciate your supportive circle.
We are not each other’s competition. We are cheering each other on!
Below are some of the images from that fun afternoon.
Players for the day:
Julie Court Jacob
Taylor Erickson (model)
#MakingMemories #womensupportingwomen #womenownedbusiness #FamilyPortraits #FamilyPhotographs #Portraits #Photography #FamilyPhotography #brandingphotography #headshots #highschoolseniors #seniorphotos #VancouverWa #PNW #smallbusiness #UhaczPhotography
Why Do I Need to Update My Photo?
In business, our photos are all over the web from websites to social media sites. These are often the introduction of your business to future clients. Staying current with your images and being on-brand sends a clear message to your clients of who you are and how you can help them. Remember, first impressions count!
I recently updated the headshots for a local tax firm in Vancouver. Their last headshots were a couple of years old, and they had some recent staffing changes. Also, since the pandemic, they have changed their dress code to more casual office attire. I was able to use my mobile studio to set up in their office and use the outdoor space in front of their building to provide several options for them. Even in winter, we had some nice evergreen trees and the brick from the building to serve as a nice backdrop. We quickly photographed everyone with the two options. I was even told by someone who had been dreading getting their photo taken that the process was “painless.” That made me so happy to hear ~ mission accomplished!
Several folks liked the indoor studio style for their LinkedIn profiles, however, for the company website they decided to use the outdoor shots. Those outdoor images are more on-brand for them. They decided to use those images for their website. Instead of doing one big group shop as they had in the past. Several employees have alternative work schedules, and it was challenging to find a date and time that worked for everyone to be in a group shot. So we decided to take a different approach. Instead, we took individual photos and then created a composition shot of the group. This will allow them more flexibility for updating with staffing changes.
Interested in scheduling updated photos for you or your team? Let’s chat!
#headshots #headshot #headshotphotographer #headshotphotography #portraitphotographer #professionalheadshots #corporateheadshots #studiophotography #businessheadshots #brandingphotography #portraits #growyourbusiness #lifestylebranding #digitalmarketing #personalbranding #digitalbrand #profilepic #profilephoto #business #headshotsession #professionalphotography #commercialphotography #visualmarketing #portraitphotography #photography #photoshoot #lifestylephotography #PNW #VancouverWA #VanWa #PortlandOregon #SeasideOregon #womanownedbusiness #smallbusiness #UhaczPhotography
Current Group Shot
Updated Group Shot
April 11th, 2022
It's a snow day in Vancouver! Unexpected and crazy big fat flakes!
What is a mobile studio?
You may be wondering what exactly is a mobile studio? I bring the studio equipment to your location and create a studio in your office, home, or other event space. It is not me driving an RV or other tricked-out trailer somewhere. If you want to have a shoot in your office, home, etc. we can make that happen. I bring all my gear needed to make that happen from a backdrop set-up (selection of white, black, or grey), lighting system, reflectors, and sitting stool. I usually pack all that in my handy-dandy heavy-duty wagon to bring the studio to you. (Check out my wagon set up photo below!)
Why use the mobile studio option?
The mobile studio is ideal for busy professionals who have limited time to have their photos taken. I can come to you and then we only need a few minutes with you in front of the camera. Also, being in your space provides an opportunity for branding photos of you if that is something of interest. Now you may be wondering about branding photos, right? It is more than just the headshot but photos to show off you and your business. It is the visual story letting your clients and future clients know how you can help them.
Families may find it helpful and want to have their family photos in their homes. Either elder relatives with limited mobility or very young children would benefit from having the photographer come to them. Perhaps you have family heirlooms you want to be included in your photo – that is easy to do if I come to you!
How does a mobile studio help the client?
By allowing you to stay in your home or office for your photography session, the goal is to minimize your stress and allow you to be more relaxed. It eliminates the commute time and hunting for a parking spot. You will be in comfortable surroundings for your session, where we can play your favorite music and your styling products will be available for any touch-ups.
One of the biggest draws is the flexibility it provides when scheduling a session. Without the need to schedule around the weather, we can get the shoot scheduled and session completed on your timeline…not Mother Nature’s. (We know how she likes to give us random snow in February and rain any time of the year!)
Is there an extra charge for the mobile studio?
No. There is no extra fee for using a mobile studio versus having an outdoor session.
And that, my friends, is a mobile studio! Interested in booking a session or have questions about booking a session? Let’s chat!
#headshots #headshot #headshotphotographer #portraits #profilepic #profilephoto #VancouverWA #VanWa #personalbranding #business #professionalphotography #PortraitPhotographer #portraitphotography #photography #photoshoot #headshotphotography #portraitphotographer #professionalheadshots #headshotsession #corporateheadshots #studiophotography #businessheadshots #familyportraits #family #portraits #familyphotos #familyphotography #familyphotographers #familysessions #familyphoto #familysession #familypictures #PNW #PortlandOregon #SeasideOregon #womanownedbusiness #smallbusiness #UhaczPhotography
I’m very excited to announce my new client appreciation program: Sara’s Circle! What is it, you ask?
If you haven’t worked with a photographer before, you may have a lot of questions about the process. You may be wondering about locations, what to wear, pricing, and so much more. I’m always happy to schedule a phone call or Zoom to discuss the process from start to finish. I also have a photo tips sheet to help with some of the frequently asked questions like – should I get a haircut right before my photo, what jewelry should I wear, do some patterns photograph better than others (yes!).
Our clients are important to us, and we enjoy working with you and appreciate your referrals. If we haven’t worked together yet, I look forward to connecting!
(Note: One discount per photo session. For example, the military discount cannot be used with any other discount under Sara’s Circle.)
Kicking off 2022 Trying a New Activity – Skiing
I’ve always been afraid to ski. Hills scare me–okay it’s actually the thought of flying down a hill and crashing that scares me. Feeling like I have no control over where I’m going scares me. My husband used to cross-country ski a lot before we met. He has wanted to go skiing again but hasn’t since I don’t ski. As a compromise, a couple of years ago we purchased snowshoes. We’ve gone snowshoeing a few times and I really enjoyed it.
This year I finally agreed to try cross-country skiing (still trying to avoid hills). Why now, you ask? I’m always encouraging my hubby to push past his comfort zone, so I thought now I should try to push past mine. Since cross-country skiing is usually fairly flat, I thought it may be okay.
The Day of Skiing Arrive
It was a sunny Saturday in January. We packed up the car with my husband’s ski equipment, snow gear, snacks, and coffee (of course) and headed up to the Mt. Hood area.
We stopped at Cooper Spur Resort for our adventure. We got our Sno-Park Permit and paid for my rentals. They didn’t charge a track fee as the trail wasn’t able to be groomed due to the recent rainstorms. We thought it would be fine and headed over to pick up my rental equipment. My hubby was going to give me lessons as we got started. I was feeling optimistic. With the sun shining so bright it was hard not to be happy and positive.
I took some selfies as I got my skis and put them on. I was so proud that I was able to put them on and stand up! I thought to myself “this will be fine, great in fact! Woohoo!”
Feeling good about my progress, I smiled and said “let’s go!” It was slow focused movement as I began. Getting my ski legs and the feel of how to balance. I thought I was doing fairly well navigating this new terrain.
And then…the slightest incline took me out! Wham, Bam, Crash! Just like that I was down and struggling to get back up. Since the trail hadn’t been groomed, it was extremely difficult to get back up. The snow was deep so falling made it tricky. Despite all of the help from my husband and explaining the process of getting back up, I just couldn’t do it. I had to remove the skis to scramble back up. This happened repeatedly over the next 20 minutes. Once the spills started, I don’t think I was able to go more than about 10 feet. Yup–the small incline did me in.
I decided that the trail was better for snowshoeing and told my husband I was going to see if I could swap my skis for snowshoes and then I can trek along with him as he was more experienced on skis.
Wishing you all a wonderful year full of new adventures!
P.S. If you want to have a photographer capture some of your family memories of outings or vacations, let’s chat! I can create a custom package for you.
I'm a Vancouver, WA photographer focusing on portraits and have a love of travel!