Wednesday, September 29, 2010

BonjOrganization...Keeping your sanity and the beds made.

Are you having trouble balancing it all?
Check out the post at the new Savvy blog today!


BonjOrganization~ an organizational guide for the overwhelmed photographer

As a photographer and mom, many of us wonder  “How can we do it all?”

We think the answer might be the creation from Kelli France~ The Bonjorganization Guide.

Here's what Kelli had to say about it... "I wasn’t always organized.  The strategies that I share are ones I had to learn the HARD way when my life was getting WAAAAY out of wack and I almost wanted to quit.  Now, I incorporate the ideas and suggestions included in the BonjOrganization guide on a daily basis to keep my life in check.  Oh how I wish I had had this guide years ago!  The Bonjorganization guide was designed to help the overwhelmed Mom photographer.  The BonjOrganization is a 50 page pdf guide teaching the art of balancing work & family along with client and time management. Bonus items include “Worst First” charts for the entire family, Mom-preneur schedule, client checklists, and much more."

To find more about the BonjOrganization Guide. check the Savvy Photographer Store.

Monday, September 27, 2010

interview with Laura Novak

After many emails I have realized the feedburner is not working for the new blog so many of you are not receiving the daily emails for the new blog. I am working on it and will post a link once I have it working.
Please check the new we have a great interview and studio tour from Laura Novak that you don't want to miss.
Here's a peek...

meet and greet Laura Novak

We are so happy to welcome Laura Novak to the Savvy blog.

Welcome Laura, will you start by telling us where you work and live.

Thank you for having me! I am happy to be here.

I live and work in Wilmington, Delaware. I have two retail spaces, one in Wilmington and one in Glen Mills, PA.

How would you describe your style of photography?

I would say that my style is connected. It’s really important to me to be present during the photo sessions, to bring my heart and soul to the session and connect with my subject. Children know when you are just humoring them, or if you really care. They are very intuitive. I love to make images that tell the story of who a person is, my favorite images are often of customers I have known for a long time because I develop a relationship with the child and then communicate who they are through the photograph. I love it when a client says “wow, that is SO my child.” To me, the creative process of achieving a great image is a collaborative effort between myself and the subject.

What inspires you as a photographer?

Truly... my clients inspire me. The more I have an opportunity to get to know my clients, the better the images are. My favorite images are always of families that I know really well because by letting me ‘in’ I have more of an opportunity to tell their story through photography in a meaningful way. My best new ideas come from talking with customers and learning about what is important to them.

How long have been a photographer?

I have been a photographer for about 10 years. I started out mainly photographing weddings, assisting a wedding photographer in college when I was living in the Boston area. After college I moved from Boston to Delaware and started my own photography business as a wedding photographer and loved all the wonderful people I met on that journey. After a few years, my wedding clients started having children and asked me to photograph their kids and this is when I absolutely fell in love with children's portraiture. Since then, I have been photographing fewer weddings and more children - and now I book a few select weddings a year and mainly fill my calendar with families.

When you're not photographing, where can we find you?

At bikram yoga, playing with my dogs in our neighborhood, lunch with friends, hanging out with my husband, going for a long walk or run, and antique shopping.

Any books that inspired you {or helped you} in your business?

Everyone in our company is required to read ‘How to win friends and influence people’ by Dale Carnegie when they first start with us. The title is a little funny but it’s simply a book on practicing old fashioned values and simply how to be a nice person.

Best marketing idea?

Creating beautiful collections for the walls of our studio to give customer ideas of what to do in their homes.

Worst marketing idea?

Hiring a publicist without a lot of experience or substance (I now have a wonderful publicist with great ideas and lots of substance).

Do you feel having a studio has made your business grow?

Yes - I think as a portrait photographer it’s really important to be able to show ideas and wall collections to your customers so they can imagine what the concept would look like in their homes. Now that we are onto our our third studio we have learned how to present our ideas and concept to clients in a way that is exciting to them. It’s important to me to create a space where immediately when the customer walks in they experience the five senses right away – smell (we usually have a candle lit), taste (there is usually candy out), sight (a simple, easy display to look at along with fresh flowers), touch (we usually try to have something tactile they can touch) and sound (we often have a light, relaxing XM station playing). Being able to host our clients in this way I think enhances the experience we are able to provide them.

Any regrets having a studio?

Our Pennsylvania location is located in a large shopping center – our neighbors in the center are the Gap, Gap Kids, Banana Republic, and other major retailers. I was in over my head negotiating the lease and despite good legal counsel and a broker, there were many items I ended up in a negative position on once I realized what the lease actually meant! I wish I had known about some of the main aspects to a lease you can get screwed on when it comes to commercial real estate but it was a good lesson and will never happen to us again!

What do you think makes a photographer successful?

Start out with a business plan – know how much money you need to get going, the kind of customers you want to bring in the door and take the time to understand what is going to be required. Most people I have talked to in my workshops (women especially) fall into the photography by accident and don’t really have a plan for what they are going to charge, how they are going to get customers, how much money it is going to take to start and when they can start taking a salary. Then they are not taken very seriously by their spouses or family and become upset or frustrated which creates conflict. It’s always best to establish expectations in advance – for yourself and everyone else in your life!

What’s your weakness in this business?

I love moving forward on a lot of different ideas at once, and over time I’m learning the importance of focus. It’s not only important for me, but for my staff, who needs leadership from me in the form of constantly communicating a consistent direction without switching gears every time I have a new idea. I still have new ideas all the time so I have make sure to stop myself and prioritize (it’s a work in progress!).


Savvy indulgence? Really good soap and shower products. I love L'Occitane and Red Flower.

Ideal getaway? Four Seasons Costa Rica.

Favorite thing in your closet? A fitted top made with black vintage leather that the owners of Kooba gave me during a photo shoot.

Are you a Nikon or Canon girl? Which model do you use? Canon 5d Mark ii.

Favorite lens? 50 1.2

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

psychologist specializing in family relationships (not much different than photography, right?)

Can you give the Savvy readers your best piece of advice for starting or running a photography business.

They should follow their intuition, rather than over-think something and thus over-ride their gut feeling. I have learned to trust my intuition over the years, because every time I don’t I end up regretting it. At this point, if something doesn’t feel right I won’t even consider it. A woman’s intuition is a gift.

Tell us your proudest moment of your career~

Almost two years ago, I was on a shuttle bus coming back to Delaware from the Philadelphia airport and the only other two people on the bus were Nurses from our local Children’s Hospital. We started talking and came up with the idea to have a wall of hope in their NICU unit, which was recently built. Once the head NICU nurse got wind of the idea, she really drove it forward because she wanted it so badly for her patients. Last spring we revealed a dozen 24x36 prints with each child’s story in the NICU hallway of our local hospital during a ceremony honoring the participants. The reveal was very emotional for myself and the families involved and now I’m working on our newest project,a charity foundation.

Here is where you can find Laura...


If you are in need a business plan, Laura is offering Savvy readers a

50% off  with the discount code “fallsale”

Check out

We are thrilled to take the savvy readers on a tour of the studio of Laura Novak. It's dreamy...seriously one of the best studio tours. I think she has amazing style and her decorating is top notch. Enjoy the tour. :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

new luxe line from millers + jamie schultz = fabulous

These were just released...and we think they are fabulous!

The templates are from Jamie Schultz and the cards are from Millers new line Luxe Line. Aren't they dreamy?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

want to be a Savvy contributor?

Do you love a good studio tour?

Have you noticed a studio in your town and always wanted to peek inside?

Here's your chance...we are having a special week of studio tours.

We invite you to be a Savvy contributor!

Scout out a studio that you think Savvy readers would love...then call or stop by and introduce yourself.

Let them know you like to photograph their studio with the possibility to be featured on the Savvy blog.

We can only choose 5-7 studio tours for this feature.

The best part is you might just acquire a new photographer friend. This is the perfect opportunity to meet a fellow photographer in your area...and get to see a great studio.

Send us your images by the end of October.

We are looking forward to seeing some awesome studio spaces.

If you think you have a great studio then feel free to choose yourself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

the savvy collection bag has arrived...

love. love. love this bag.

it's the camera bag to have.

you won't see everyone with it.

everyone you see won't know it's a camera bag...just a fabulous bag

more details to follow....soon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Savvy Saturday Sale

What a great day for a sale~

Savvy Straps are on sale for $15 for the next 24 hours...don't miss out!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, September 17, 2010

our new addiction {i mean addition}

we are not "cat" people...we have always had dogs..and we love dogs.

we are now "cat" people. meet Denver

I had no intentions of adding anyone or anything to our family. we had enough going on adjusting to our new home in Japan. why would we take on the responsibility of a pet right now...especially a kitten? I'll tell you why. Someone had found him on base and dropped him off at the vet. They could not keep him there and he had three more hours to live...and then I walked in. end of story.

I have three very happy children and one very thankful kitty. there is something about having a kitty curled up in your lap that makes you sit down and relax a little. his head rest perfect on my laptop while working. sorry to show the pictures...I can't resist.

tonight we went to dinner and i finally took some pics of the kids. not many and they are not perfect. but they will do just fine. can you believe I can actually go to dinner by myself with the kids...a month ago I never thought I would be comfortable driving anywhere here. It is actually starting to feel normal...the Japanese are the nicest people I have ever met. They will do anything for you and smile {and bow} the whole time. I do love it here. I still have panic attacks in the car~ did I tell you they drive on the opposite side of the road here? and the fact that I have no idea what any street sign says. driving is stressful but necessary so I do it...but not always happily. It took me an hour to get home from soccer on should have taken 20 minutes...if I could have read the street signs I might have known I was going the wrong direction home. we did make it home and two of the kids had a great nap in the car due to our adventure. my daughter woke up and said "we're still not home?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

design your space

The Savvy Store has an interior designer on staff to help you design your workspace. It's done virtually~ you email her images of your space and she will plan out your design and email you the finished room design. Most clients want to use the furniture they currently have but give the room a new look. She will give you ideas and suggestions to bring new life to a tired workspace or even a bedroom. For more info and purchase your one hour consultation, check out the Savvy store.

Mama Mia’s Maternity Book

I got an email from Johanna who wanted to share with me {and the Savvy readers} a little project she is working on while awaiting the birth of her daughter. Here is her story~

When I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to document it in a cute way. I didn’t want to just do the weekly pictures of the belly growth standing in the same spot wearing the same thing. I wanted to capture everything that goes along with being pregnant too (minus the gross stuff of course). My main goal though was to create a keepsake that my child would have fun reading when she’s older. I’m always asking my mom about how her pregnancy was with my brother and I and she can’t remember it all. So, if Mia is anything like her mommy (which I’m sure she will be), she will really appreciate having this to look back on.

Don't you love this idea! Such a creative way to document such a wonderful time in our lives that we often do forget the sweet details of.

Thank you Johanna for sharing your precious idea...we can't wait to see what creative things you'll create once she is here! To see more of the book, visit her site here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

the winner of the Cottage Collection frame

Congratulations to Carolyn Fulgi...comment number just won the Cottage Collection "Bungalow" frame! Email us with your address and we will send the frame your way.  Thank you to everyone for entering! We have had some great suggestions for the Savvy many ideas that we are already getting started on.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

another giveaway on the new blog...

I wanted to let you know about the giveaway on the new blog! We are giving away a Cottage Collection frame...go check it out!

another giveaway today

We are giving away a Cottage Collection frame to one lucky winner!

The frame is a part of the Cottage Collection framing we have recently added to the Savvy store. The winner will receive the pink hydrangea frame pictured with a 12x12 opening...the frame is 5 inches thick {outside dimensions are 22x22}. This is a fabulous frame! It comes with glass and hanging hardware attached.

How to enter...

Simply comment here on the blog and tell us your favorite item in the Savvy Store. Simple, uh?

If you want another entry, leave a comment and tell us something you would like to see us carry in the Savvy store.

As a special bonus, if you are the winning comment and have a post on your site about the Savvy blog or store , we will send you two frames! {your choice of color for the bonus frame...both 12x12 openings} Your post must have a working link to the Savvy blog.

The contest ends tomorrow at 8am {EST}, Wednesday, September 15th, 2010. Winner will be announced shortly after 8am.

and the winner is

Congratulations to comment number 61...Angela Carol Photography

You are the lucky winner of the Freedom Cloth backdrop from Denny Manufacturing. Please email us to claim your prize.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Freedom Cloth Giveaway from Denny

During our summer vacation in the deep south, we had the chance to visit with one of our sponsors in Mobile, Alabama. The gracious people at Denny Manufacturing gave us a tour of their company. They are the worlds largest manufacturer of backdrops and photography props. The behind the scenes tour gave us a chance to see the products being made. When you hear hand painted canvases, you don't image someone actually standing there with a paintbrush filling the canvas with a beautiful image. Watching the artist paint was such a treat...I truly appreciate the art that goes behind each canvas after seeing the process of creating it.

We also had a chance to see the Freedom Cloth® in person and learn the process and details of making one. The Freedom Cloth® is a Wrinkle-Free Machine Washable Backdrops.

Here's what the owner of the company, Denny Variali had to say about them...

This great backdrop product was introduced nearly 2 years ago and has made a huge impression on the photographic industry. We have effectively eliminated nearly all of the problems associated with traditional forms of backdrops.

Imagine a backdrop that can be stored in a bag and then has few or no wrinkles when taken out of the bag to use. No foul paint odors! It is washable and colorfast. It can be thrown in the dryer or steamed easily if required. The color rendition pops and it projects realism like never before! If you have not tried a Denny Freedom Cloth® backdrop, I urge you to because I know you will never return to the old style of Hand-Painted Muslin backdrops.

~ Denny Variali

If you are in the process of setting up a studio or making your own home studio, this is a great backdrop to have.

They have over 1300 styles to choose from.

The gracious people at Denny Manufacturing Company will be making one Savvy reader very happy! They are giving away a 5 ft x 7ft Euro Mix Pale Blue Freedom Backdrop to the winner of our's how to win.

Spread the word about the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter or any photography forums you love...and then come back here and leave a comment for each thing you do {max of three comments per person}. Make sure you provide us with a link to your shout out...if your number is chosen and there is no working link, then you don't make sure it links back to us at the Savvy Photographer blog.

The contest ends in 24 hours...all entries must be submitted by 8am {EST}, Tuesday morning {September 14th, 2010}. The winner will be announced shortly after 8am.

Good luck!

Make sure you check out the Denny site to find more photography props and backgrounds.

{Some images from our tour of the company}

Saturday, September 11, 2010

fabulous office space from Centsational Girl

An inspiring office makeover from Centsational her blog {and I love the idea of having a blog party...everyone submitted images of where they blog}...maybe we should have one!

Friday, September 10, 2010

sidewalk sale

Have you visited the Savvy Store?

We have a sweet surprise for everyone that we will announce at 11am {EST} today {September 10th, 2010}'s a big one hour sale! It will be announced on Facebook and Twitter...not on the blog. If you don't follow us on Facebook or twitter, then you can't find out the details of the big is the link for both~ Facebook twitter

We'll see you there!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

and the winner is...

Congratulations to Heather Okarma...comment number are the lucky winner of the Jamie Schultz giveaway! Thank you Jamie for offering the giveaway and the discount to the savvy readers! {in case any of you missed the discount...use the code savvy10 to receive $10 off your purchase of $50 or more}