If you've ever attempted to wrap a newborn, you know how hard it can be to get that perfectly smooth wrap! Photo Contest Community Friend, and owner of HomeSewn Photography Props, Leah Severson, turned her newborn wrapping troubles into a business.
Leah says her inability to wrap newborns well in her own sessions led her to design four wrap styles that make wrapped babies look perfect every time... even if you're not a great wrapper 😉.
Along with HomeSewn Photography Props, Leah also runs The Photographer's Co-op. Leah says the community is a place for photographers to learn. They have LOTS of free videos from industry leaders who share their knowledge on posing, lighting, marketing, and more!
What are you working on right now?
I'm super excited about some new things I'll be launching soon in HomeSewn. We'll be offering a subscription service for our TuckWraps. Subscribers will get first dibs on new designs each month. I'm also adding lots of new floral fabrics and other fun designs to the shop - including a rainbow TuckWrap set that I'm working on designing right now.
What is the goal of your brand/community?
The goal of HomeSewn Photography Props is to help photographer "up" their wrapping game by offering unique, patent-pending newborn wraps that are easy to use. The goal of The Co-op is to provide photographers with a wealth of free educational resources from industry leaders.
What do you hope that photographers learn/take away from being part of your brand/community?
Education and inspiration.
What is your biggest piece of advice for a photographer that is just starting out?
Set your prices and policies from the very beginning so that when issues arise - and they will - you don't have to try to figure things out as you go. Price yourself appropriately. Always always always treat your clients with kindness, even if that's not how they're treating you. And remember that when you have an issue with vendors, to treat them with kindness as well. They're people too, after all.
Each year the Shoot & Share Photo Contest teams up with awesome businesses and friends from the photography industry to share joy AND give away thousands of prizes to the top photographers from around the world! (There are more than a million dollars in prizes this year!)
We'd like to take a moment to introduce you to our community friends that help make the Shoot & Share Photo Contest a huge success year after year!
ShootDotEdit is a Community Partner AND one of our Round Sponsors this year. They're graciously donating some epic editing packages to our top winners!
ShootDotEdit provides personalized editing for wedding and portrait photographers. They were founded by wedding and portrait photographers, and love being a part of the Shoot & Share family and community of photographers!
Let's get to know a little bit more about the ShootDotEdit brand and community!
What are you working on right now?
CULLING! For years, we've been focused on helping save photographers time by with helping with the color and style. And while that saves a TON of time, we've always known that culling is a painful part of the editing too!! We now have several options that include culling with a membership. That way you can literally just shoot the wedding on a Saturday, and send us everything as soon as you get home! That alone has been saving our members 1000's of hours a year.
What is the goal of your brand/community?
Our mission is to help wedding and portrait photographers be more successful in their business. Everything we do is designed to give photographers MORE time with their customers, and more time actually shooting. Our philosophy is that the more time a photographer can spend with their clients, whether it's connecting, or shooting, or just chatting with them, the more successful they are going to be. We want to relieve photographers of all of the things that have to be done, but take you away from focusing on what you love!
What do you hope that photographers learn/take away from being part of your brand/community?
Focus on what you do best, and outsource the rest
What is your biggest piece of advice for a photographer that is just starting out?
Your couples are booking you for YOU as much as they are booking you for your images! Most people don't get their pictures taken professionally frequently, so your couples are looking for someone they can trust and feel comfortable around. If you put your couples at ease and you make them feel confident, they are going to look confident and natural in front of your lens. If they feel good, you'll get great images, AND your couples are going to LOVE you and recommend you to ALL of their friends.It took me personally a long time to learn that, and in the end, my connection with my couples was equally, if not more important to my business than my actual photography.
Voting is LIVE, and there have already been over 10 Million votes cast!!
So far 30,000 Voters from 90 countries 🌎 have spent 8,500 hours ⏰ casting 10,000,000 votes 🗳! Plus there's been 100,000 hearts (favorites) given out!!
We're so excited for this year's Photo Contest and we want you to vote too!! It's the biggest FAIR & FREE Photo Contest in the World, and EVERYONE CAN VOTE (Yup, everyone, so be sure to help us share the news!!)
READY TO VOTE?
Here are some tips from the Pros!
1. Charge your devices (laptop, phone... kids' tablets 😉) and increase your data plan! 2. Meal prep now (or order take out)... you won't want to cook! 3. Tag your friends... your clients... your BFF... your great aunt... you get the idea. We don't want anyone to miss out, so share the news!!
Make sure to follow us on Instagram & Facebook for all the latest contest news & updates!! See you there and Happy Voting!
We are thankful for each and every one of you and, as always we're committed to helping you navigate this difficult time.
Please reach out if there's anything we can do to help you or others who may be affected.
Last year we were made aware of sexual harassment claims against a member of our team and, as you may expect, that was a tough thing to hear. We want you to know that we have no tolerance for that type of behavior. And we’re sure hearing this was tough for you, as well.
We took action quickly to understand the extent of the claims, promptly investigated those claims, and placed the accused on administrative leave pending the outcome of that investigation.
Ultimately, after a thorough legal investigation that included multiple interviews, a review of relevant documentation and the cooperation of all parties, a third-party investigator concluded that the claims of sexual harassment and other related claims were unsubstantiated. However, unfortunately, there was evidence of an inappropriate relationship between a supervisor and a subordinate 18 months prior.
As a result, the supervisor is no longer employed by the company. We then worked diligently with the individual who made the claims to provide a path forward that was best for that individual.
We know this is traumatic. Most traumatic for those directly involved. But also traumatic for our team who experienced a jolt of confusion, sadness, and a roller-coaster season, and traumatic for you -- our community.
Good news!! We heard from so many of you that an extra day just wasn't enough, so we've EXTENDED the Photo Contest submissions deadline.
You have ONE WEEK to enter your photos! SUBMISSIONS CLOSE AT MIDNIGHT (PST) FRIDAY, APRIL 24TH!!
Need to change out a photo? Now you've got time! Need to double-check a category? Go ahead and do it!
Whether it's your first image... your 5th or your 50th, there's still time to submit! The more photos you enter, the better your chance is to win! So go ALL-IN by submitting all 50 photos today. We’ll even send you an All-In Club badge to celebrate!
From the Photo Contest, to education, to an amazing community, we're all about Sharing Joy in the Shoot & Share Community. We know photographers around the world are being greatly impacted by COVID-19. We are committed to contributing $10 million dollars back into supporting the photography industry. For more on how we can help, click here.
In just one day nearly 100,000 photos were uploaded to the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest and 2,500 new photographers submitted images.
So far more than 350,000 photos have been submitted to the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest by 10,000 photographers. 4,500 of those photographers are All-In, which means they've submitted all 50 images!!
Submissions close tonight (April 15th), which means you have just a few hours to get your images submitted this year.
Here’s what you need to know:
* It’s totally free & open to everyone!
* You can enter up to 50 photos in 28 categories.
* Photos are displayed randomly & they’re completely anonymous!
* Anyone can vote & the photographer with the most votes wins!
* It’s family-friendly! Get the kids involved… vote together… share joy!!
Here Are 3 reasons we think YOU should participate!
It's so much fun!! (And a little addicting… especially the voting!)
Prizes!! Oh yeah! The top winners get some epic stuff!
Community! Choose the photography communities that you are part of when you enter your photos. You will get to see community specific updates along the way, plus it’s a fun way to rally and support your fellow photographers and cheer them on!!
Grab your favorite 50 images and make sure you follow along on Facebook and Instagram for all the details, updates & contest fun!!
As part of Shoot & Share’s commitment to the photography industry we have created a $10 Million Dollar Support Kit. Everyone who participates in this year's Photo Contest will get 10 free professional website designs, and a free website for 1 Year.
Shoot & Share is more than just a community. We are truly a family, and through good times and bad, we're all in this together.
While so many photographers are struggling with sessions being postponed or cancelled, and there is growing uncertainty over what the future holds, it's more important that ever to join together and help support those around us. As a community we're working together to share joy, support our industry, and help our fellow photographers. The Shoot & Share Community will continue to create a community where we can educate, inspire and connect with photographers across the world! We can't wait to connect with you and get to know you all more!
Here's some fun ways to grow your tribe and get through this together!
1. The Shoot & Share Photo Contest
Did you hear the news? We know how much fun the Photo Contest is and we're kicking things into high gear so that we can get the 2020 Contest started! Grab your favorite 50 images, prep some meals for your family, and get ready for endless hours of fun, voting and so much more!
Grab a cup of coffee and join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for Cameras + Community!!
Our brand new community chat was designed just for you. Join us live to talk about all things photography + business! Mark your calendars! We'll meet on Thursday afternoons right in the Shoot and Share Facebook community. You can join us on a Zoom call just to chat, to find inspiration, share ideas, and grow our businesses together. Let's get together as a community to help educate, inspire, and connect with other photographers! We'd love for you to jump on with us!
3. Share Joy & Find Inspiration
We love featuring our Shoot & Share photographers and we have lots of ways to do that. Follow us and tag us on Instagram to be featured, and join our Facebook Group to be part of our Weekly Inspiration Thread.
Plus you'll find amazing resources on our blog and in our Facebook group to help you grow your business! Head over to the Units Tab in our Facebook group for educational content or check out the Inspirationator to see all of the previous Photo Contest winners!
Shoot & Share is more than a community, it’s a family. ❤️
We know photographers around the world are being impacted by the recent events. Our Founder, David Jay, shares how we can all work together to get through these tough times.
Over the past decade we have been through a lot together and what’s most encouraging is that we’ve become a group of people who genuinely cares for one another.
When I was a teenager my dad sat me down and said,
“If you make your business about helping other people you’ll always have plenty of work.”
It’s inspiring to see each of you do this every single day.
Many people don’t know this but our company is made up of photographers! Almost everyone at Shoot & Share is currently a professional photographer or was a photographer at some point. So our heart aches with you as weddings, events and other shoots get cancelled.
The government will provide assistance for the big companies (airlines, automotive, etc…) but we want to do everything we can to help photographers and other small business.
We are committed to contributing $10 million dollars back into supporting the photography industry.
The way we can do this is by offering a $1000 support kit completely free for 10,000 photographers.
This Support Kit will include:
Professionally designed custom website & blog.
Unlimited website design changes as new designs become available each week.
Website and Gallery analytics allowing you to see exactly what content your visitors are engaging with with SiteViewer.io
More to come…
The only way we can do this is with your help.
All of these products require education and customer support. As you know our SUPER HERO Customer Support team is made up of working photographers just like all of you and they are here almost every second of every day to help you. I just had the chance to be with them for a company retreat and they are the most incredible, loving and caring photographers I’ve ever been around. They are the heart and soul of our company and this community.
You can help by doing a few things:
❤️ Love and encourage one another.
🙋♀️ If you know the answer to a question please jump in and share. Each of you has gold inside and we want to see it.
📸 Participate in the Photo Contest! This is our annual family reunion of sorts.
😃 Smile at peopleand please only buy one package of toilet paper.
Over the next few days we will be sharing more info about how to get access to the items above.
3, 2, 1.... Oh my goodness friends, the 2020 Photo Contest is almost here!!! Submissions start on April 1st, but before that gets here we're counting down the top winners from 2019. Here's the Top 10 images from the Lifestyle & Documentary category!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers!!!
Here are your Top 10 Lifestyle/Documentary Photos of 2019:
Let's explore the great outdoors today with all the gorgeous images from the Travel and Landscape category. Here's the Top 10 2019 Winners!!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Travel/Landscape Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Travel/Landscape Photos of 2019:
The best camera is the one you have with you, and that's clear with all the amazing images in the Phone Photography category.
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Phone Photography Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Phone Photography Photos of 2019:
Want a little inspiration to create something new & exciting? Today, we are celebrating the Top 10 images from the Creative Projects category!
Join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Creative Projects Category!! Contest Submissions start on April 1st!
Here are your Top 10 Creative Projects Photos of 2019:
From stunning wedding shoots to stunning fashion portaits, the Styled Wedding & Fashion category is full of inspiration. Today, we are celebrating the Top 10 images from the photographers that placed in that category! Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Styled Wedding/Fashion Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Styled Wedding/Fashion Photos of 2019:
Hey Shoot & Share Family! Did you hear the news? The 2020 Photo Contest is almost here. It's time to start gathering your favorite 50 images.... Submissions officially start on April 1st!!!
Let's spread a little love today to some of the winners from 2019! We're celebrating the Top 10 images from the Engagement/Couples category today!!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and don't forget to share a little joy and help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Engagement/Couples Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Engagement/Couples Photos of 2019:
Alright! Who's ready for some good news? The first day of Spring is tomorrow (March 19th) and that means the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest is just around the corner. While you wait, here's the Top 10 images from the People/Portraits category!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the People/Portraits Category!!
Here are your Top 10 People/Portraits Photos of 2019:
We're half way through March and that means Spring is even closer than before!! We can't wait to share more details about the upcoming 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest. Today, we are celebrating the Top 10 images from the Maternity category!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Maternity Category!!
Today, we are celebrating the Top 10 photographers from the Teens & Seniors category, including the #1 image from this year's Grand Prize Winner Missie Lafrenz!!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Teens & Seniors Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Teens & Seniors Photos of 2019:
Spring is just over a week away and that means the 2020 Photo Contest will be here before we know it!!! Today, we are celebrating the Top 10 images from the Kids category!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Kids Category!!
We love seeing all of the adventures babies & toddlers get into! Please join us as we celebrate the Top 10 images from the Babies & Toddlers category!
Be sure to join us in the Shoot & Share Facebook Group for all the latest updates on the 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest, and be sure to help us celebrate the Top 10 Photographers from the Babies/Toddlers Category!!
Here are your Top 10 Babies/Toddlers Photos of 2019:
The 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest is quickly approaching and we're getting contest ready with a look back at some of the top images from each category. Join us as we celebrate the Top 10 images from the Newborn category!
The 2020 Shoot & Share Photo Contest is just around the corner and we can't wait to see this year's incredible photos. As we gear up for the contest, let's take a look back at some of the top photos of 2019.
With an impressive 35 of 50 images placing in the top spots, the 2019 Shoot & Share Photo Contest winner won the hearts of voters world wide, and is inspiring photographers from her home state of Iowa and beyond.
The 2019 Shoot & Share Photo Contest winner is none other than Missie Lafrenz; a wedding, maternity, family & senior photographer from Indianola, Iowa. Missie believes that life is all about experiences, and loves getting to know her clients so that every session is a reflection of that.
"I just really like showing people how wonderful they are through a photograph. I feel like we are so judgmental of ourselves, and wish they could just appreciate themselves the way a photographer does. So I'm really inspired by getting to know people; and by making people feel their best and showing them how beautiful they are."
Missie says she's always been inspired by fashion, and photographers who march to the beat of their own drum. She says she doesn't follow a lot of other photographers because she always tries to be authentic in her own work. When she does, it's a photographer whose style is different than her own, so that she can push herself to the limits.
"I am inspired by those artists who are authentic to their vision and craft. Anne Geddes comes to mind because she was doing something so different and changed the game because of it! My mind set is inspired by artists like her- to do MY work unapologetically!"
She also loves working with other creatives and often dreams up entire sessions based on an idea... or an outfit.
"My artistic inspiration comes from fashion and people. I can find a dress and have a whole session planned around that single dress! I am also one of those photographers that sees someone and just wants to run up to them and say "can I take your picture!?" I love photographing people and seeing each individual's beauty!"
That's exactly what happened with one of her favorite top placing images.
"It's the boat with the lily pads, with the couple, and she's in a red sweater. It was one of those images that I envisioned. I had a dream and I obsessed over it, and asked some friends to help me out. Once I took the picture it turned out exactly the way I wanted it to. I feel like, as an artist, when you can execute your vision, it's so satisfying. So that picture to me, when I look at it, it proves that I was able to do exactly what I wanted and it looks exactly like what I wanted, so I love it."
Those visions are often part of a bigger story for Missie. She says she feels like sometimes the audience misses out on the story, because as a photographer, knowing the story behind the image, you have a deeper connection, and you can't necessarily tell the whole story. One of her favorite stories happened during an annual hot air balloon festival in the Hawkeye State.
"There's one of a hot air balloon, and it was a proposal. I had a long lens and a short lens, and it was at a balloon festival with thousands of people; and on my long lens, while he was putting the ring on her finger, his watch said 7:29. When I got back to edit the photos, the time was 7:29, but the the date was 7/29, and it was, that picture stopped time on when she said yes, and it was just really, really cool."
From balloon festivals to the Mississippi river, even without sweeping mountain backdrops and ocean views, this Midwest photographer is right at home making something as simple as a field of corn look stunning.
"I don't rely on backgrounds. I don't rely on bridges or pretty scenery. Pretty scenery is great, but when you can focus on the connection and your clients, I don't think it matters where you are. As long as you have good lighting and connection, it doesn't matter where you are. Sure, mountain pictures are beautiful, but mountain pictures are beautiful without people in them. I'm a people photographer, so I focus on the people. If I can find a cool location, great, that's exciting, but I focus on how I can make these people look good and how I can find good light."
As for this year? Missie is all in again, and can't wait to look back on her growth since last year's contest. Her advice to those entering this year? Just have fun with it!
"Don't overthink it. I literally went through my Instagram and just picked the ones that got the most likes. It's easy to do. Obviously if you have a photo that you're like 'this ones going to win', enter that, but if you're struggling, enter as many as you can, and enter the ones that already people like and you like. That's an easy thing to do. I went through my albums and I made a Shoot & Share album and I just started adding photos to it that were considered and I then narrowed it down to the ones that wanted to add."
Some other fun facts about Missie:
* Favorite Lens: "Hands down. Canon 85mm 1.4. It's so good! I also use my 35 1.4 a lot, but if I took the same pose with both my 35 and 85...I would, 100% of the time, prefer the 85 image."
* Gear (other than camera/lenses) she can't live without? "My ladder. lol I have a tall ladder and a short ladder. I cannot go to any session without my ladder!!! The closer to heaven the better the image!"
* Her favorite surprise session moment:"There is an image of a senior girl hugging a llama. She told me she was bringing her cow, but I did't know about the llama! So when they opened the back of the trailer andI saw the llama, I about fainted! My clients said "we're so sorry we didn't tell you we were bringing the llama!" To which my response was "NEVER apologize for bringing a llama!!!!"
Want to find out more about the 2019 Shoot & Share Photo Contest winner? Check out the full interview here & see her 2019 images here!!
In this season of holiday hustle and bustle, it's easy to get distracted by the twinkling lights and holiday rush. As a photographer, you're likely right in the middle of busy season... wrapping up those final wedding edits only to be buried under endless fall sessions and holiday minis. Our calendars are full,and there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day to get it all done.
But amidst the chaos that often comes with this time of year, we would like to encourage you all to slow down just a bit in this season... to take time for your family and friends... and to remember all of the awesome people and moments in your lives that you are thankful for.
We would love for you to join us in sharing each day what you're thankful for! Post a video or a photo each day on your social media account and help us celebrate all of the reasons we have to be thankful in our lives!
We would also like to take a moment to kick off this season by reminding you how important each and every one of you is to us and this community!! Your passion for what you do and your heart for your clients is incredible and inspiring. It is absolutely humbling to watch the growth and incredible talent that surrounds us in this group every day.
We believe that business, at its best, is personal, purposeful and Monday's can be something we're passionate about.
We believe that most of us would prefer to talk to other people as opposed to ro(bots).
We believe that empathy is more important than efficiency.
...and we believe that every. single. person. is a unique and unrepeatable miracle.
~ David Jay, Founder ~
Be sure to use #30DOT to help us share your joy and your gratitude. We'd love to have you join us in celebrating all of the things we have to be thankful for!Need some help getting started? There's a whole list of prompts for you at: www.30DOT.com