Babies Babies Babies Babies

I had to say it four times because, yes, I am truly having four.  I’ve decided to post info on my blog instead of clogging up Facebook.

At 4 weeks we found out we are pregnant.  The sheer joy is something I simply can’t explain.  After waiting over 5 years, it was more than a dream come true. We were so used to disappointment that it seemed surreal.  About 3 years ago I found these adorable motorcycle pants and bought them for Chuck planning that this would be the way I’d tell him I am pregnant. Years later, I couldn’t wait to tell him in the adorable way I’d planned.  Instead I called him screaming and crying into the phone.

The pants are still precious though.  At 6 weeks we went for our first ultrasound and learned we would need to buy more pairs of pants.  After having 3 doctors and a nurse at our side, we were told that I am carrying quadruplets. Yes, four babies. I feel like one of those games you play at a baby shower. Guess how many M&Ms are in the jar – guess how many babies are in Pie’s uterus.

The doctors are concerned that 2 of them are monochorionic twins. First of all, the chances of being blessed with quadruplets are EXTREMELY rare.  On top of that, to have monochorionic twins is also rare.  My sister says I should play the lottery since I am beating all odds.  The doctors are concerned I won’t keep all four babies. It feels odd to pray for quadruplets, but while holding my hand, Chuck and I heard and saw four separate heartbeats.  We saw four separate little beings moving in there.  And we immediately fell in love with all four separate babies.

The look on Anna’s face when we told her was priceless. I wish we had videotaped it.  I showed her baby 1 and baby 2 on the ultrasound. Then started to talk again and she said “Oh jeez I thought you were gonna say there’s three. Mom, that’s a lot of babies”.  Chuck and I started laughing as I showed her baby 3 and then baby 4.  She stared at me for a good solid 60 seconds.  Fortunately she is now picking out clothes and what she wants to do with her siblings.

It’s been so hard to keep this secret. We’ve wanted to share our news for years. But we will wait until the 12 week marker.

4,5,6 weeks

Here’s the first of about a million photos of our babies.

six week 1six week 2six week 3six week 3dsix week 4

March 11, 2014

We had our second ultrasound yesterday. After panicking and worrying for two entire weeks, we saw and heard all four heart beats.  All four of our little miracles are still there and doing really well.  Babies 1 and 2 are the ones that are monochorionic.  Thankfully, they are not monoamniotic which would be even more risky.  The doctor was very patient and let me ask about a million questions. I’m supposed to fly to Atlanta to surprise my best friend for her birthday this weekend and much to my excitement, he said it was ok to fly.

The two babies that are monochorionic are sitting head to foot so the doctor called them yin and yang.  Baby 3 is being smushed between all of them. And baby 4 has what Chuck calls “the Penthouse suite”.  He/she has plenty of room to stretch out. We were even able to see him move. (I don’t know why I keep saying “he”).

They’re all measuring right on track and are all very strong.  The doctor walked us down to meet my new doctor who specializes in high risk pregnancies. He was very blunt but encouraging.  He will be my OB for the remainder of the pregnancy and then will deliver our babies.  I’m scheduled to see him again on March 27.  I will have ultrasounds every three weeks so there will be a lot of photos.

For now, here are some of the ultrasound photos from our 8 week old babes.

BELL_RUTH_10BELL_RUTH_9

The Monochorionic Twins ^

BELL_RUTH_1BELL_RUTH_4BELL_RUTH_5BELL_RUTH_7

 

 

 

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15 Marketing Tips That Have Worked For Me

15 Marketing Tips That Have Worked For Me

 

Yes, I’m behind on this one, but better late than never, right?  So here is the fun part: the MARKETING in your new location.  These are just some suggestions. I’ve tried a few different options but these have worked for me and I wanted to share them.  Feel free to add any if you’d like!

 

  1. Coordinate with other vendors:  It’s as simple as that. Contact florists, bakers, DJs etc. Everyone loves to have professional photos of their “goods”. So try contacting a baker and let them know you’d love to shoot a wedding cake. They can use the photo as long as you are given credit. Great exposure!

 

  1. Coffee with wedding coordinators:  I can’t take credit for this idea. This was suggested at WPPI (and I cannot remember who suggested it, but it’s brilliant).  Do your research and find some wedding coordinators that seem to do a lot of business in the area. Send them a welcome letter announcing your new business in the area.  Include a $5 gift card to Starbucks and suggest that you meet so you can share your portfolio and what makes you special and unique to the photo business.

 

  1. School Fundraisers: All middle schools and high schools have fundraisers for their sports events. Get in on the action!  Support the local schools and get your name out there.

 

  1. Children’s activities (ballet, gymnastics): Put your cards and brochures at children’s ballet studios, gymnastics, art studios, etc.  Offer them a deal. Get in there, take some photos and let them post the photos on their walls with credit to you. Again, GREAT exposure.

 

  1. Ultrasound techs, OBGYNs, pediatricians:  I had to actually go in person to a lot of these. But go in with brochures, cards and samples of your work. Ask if you could hang a photo or two of a maternity or newborn shoot.

 

  1. Use social media! Tag all vendors: When you do post a wedding, tag ALL the vendors.  It gets you on their facebook page!

 

  1. Hair and Makeup Artists: Plan a stylized shoot. Get together with a hair salon and a makeup artist.  Find yourself some models (if you post on craigslist or Model Mayhem, you’ll find some in a heartbeat) and get shooting!  Then allow the Hair and Makeup Artists to use your photos crediting your studio

 

  1. Craigslist and Model Mayhem: When all else fails, go to the basics. It’s worth digging around and seeing who is looking for a photographer. I’m not big on posting myself on these types of places because you end up with people asking you to do a photoshoot for $30 but go see who is looking for headshots or something like that. It’s more exposure and really that’s what we’re aiming for.

 

  1. Senior rep program: I do love senior rep programs. I have another blog about my Senior Reps so feel free to read that, but this is another great way to break into the Senior market

 

  1. Blog blog blog: If you have quiet time, blog!  Put your name out. Do a before and after section.  And then post it EVERYWHERE on all social media you can think of (with the exception of myspace. I’m told that’s dead, right?)

 

  1. Use your past clients:  Before you leave your area, you probably have a photographer you like and are comfortable with. Ask to team up with them.  Offer an incentive to your past clients.  Tell them something along the lines of “If you refer a client to me in my new location, you’ll get 10% off your photoshoot with ______(the photographer in your old area)”.  The photographer gets more shoots as well. It’s  win-win!

 

  1. Photo meet-up groups: Get online and find a photo meet-up group. Meet other photographers. Don’t be scared to second shoot with someone. Work through referrals!

 

  1. Take photos of a venue: A lot of venues won’t put you on their preferred vendors list until you’ve shot a wedding there. Instead, go and take amazing photos of their venue and then ask if they’d like to use that photo….for a price and they must credit your studio.

 

  1. Take photos AT a venue:  Like I said, since the venue won’t put you on the list yet, schedule your stylized shoot at their venue. Then technically you have shot at their venue.  Add it to your portfolio so that when you go into that venue, you can say “oh but I have shot at your venue!”. (sneaky sneaky)

 

  1. Bridal Shows, craft shows, art shows, farmers markets: I cannot speak on this personally, but have been told these are great ways to get your name out as well. I have a bridal show coming up in October and will report in on how it works out!

 

 

Really what we’re aiming for is getting your name out there. Have it be the topic of conversation all over the place.  It gets people talking, whether they see your cards at the ultrasound facility or at a Cheerleading fundraiser, it helps!

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Kristin & Ryan. July 28, 2013

Kristin and Ryan are such a beautiful, fun and intelligent couple. It makes me so happy to have clients that are so easy to work with and make my job truly enjoyable!  I wish these two a lifetime of happiness. They will be a couple that in 50 years I can say “I knew them when they got married”.  Congratulations!

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KristinSeptember 4, 2013 - 6:44 am

Pie,

These are so perfect….I’m still speechless ;) We absolutely loved working with you and can’t wait to see the full set of our day! You have such a brilliant eye and an amazing technique, and we feel lucky that we’ll be able to say that WE knew YOU 50 years ago, too!

<3,
Kristin & Ryan Winet

Part TWO of Relocating your Business – Business Forms

Last time we talked about taking care of your clients when relocating your business. This next topic is one of my least favorites. We’re photographers, not lawyers or accountants, right? Right. But seriously, DO NOT forget that when relocating, you need to get your business paperwork taken care of.

Business License: You need to be licensed. Period. Do you want to be taken seriously as a professional? Yes? Then get a license. The city in which you are operating your business will have these forms on their website. It’s easy. You just have to fill out some paperwork.

Business Insurance: There are a few reasons you need insurance. First of all, what if something bad happens? What if your gear gets destroyed or stolen? Then you’re out all that money! Insure your gear. You also need insurance for your business. As sad as it is to say, the public in general is very eager to sue. What if you’re out on a shoot, and a child steps in a hole and breaks his ankle? It could happen! And if it does, you are putting yourself at risk of being sued. Was it your fault? Not necessarily. But just the act of being sued is expensive! Attorney fees, going to court, not to mention the time you have to spend dealing with it. But let’s just say that you are sued and lose…do you have the money to shell out? GET INSURED!

BBB: The Better Business Bureau. I will admit, I’m not 100% sure why I feel this is necessary, but it doesn’t hurt to have another certificate! This is also done by area. For example, I had to deal with the San Diego BBB.

Taxes: Probably the most important topic I can cover today. You need to meet with an attorney and an accountant and figure out what the State laws are and what you need to be doing to get your taxes in order. Personally, I set aside 30% of my income for taxes. I really cannot stress the importance of getting your Tax ID number and becoming legit so that you aren’t in trouble with the IRS later on. No one wants to have to deal with the IRS, right?

LLC vs Sole Proprietorship: I’m not a lawyer, and won’t pretend I know what is right, but this is also an area to discuss with your attorney. I’m not giving legal advice via the internet (because I don’t want to be sued) but add it to your list of questions to ask your attorney.

Ok so there is the beginning of it. I am sure I’m forgetting something important, but these are a few of the vital forms to add to your checklist when relocating your business!  Yes it will cost some money up front, but in the long run, you are saving yourself time, money and possibly worse consequences.

Next time – Marketing tips! I have a few I’d like to share!

 

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