HBP

Friday Fives | My Five Lenses

1) Nikon 50mm f1.4 prime — I probably use this lens most, and it’s the lens I took with me on vacation to Disney. It’s on my camera I’d say about 60% of a wedding day. It’s a great versatile lens that has that soft bokeh I love, it gets me close enough to the action for portraits, but I can also back up and get wider if needed (in most cases).

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2) Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 zoom — This wider angle lens comes in more handy for my business and commercial shoots — real estate, fitting into tight spaces, food, overhead flatlays, landscapes, etc.

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3) Nikon 70-200mm f2.8 II zoom — This lens is my go-to for sports, wedding ceremonies, and sometimes portraits! I also have a teleconverter that I use on it for football that doubles my zoom (but I lose a few stops of light too so I can only use it outside when it’s bright and sunny).

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4) Sigma 85mm f1.4 prime — This lens is a sweet portrait lens, but works best outside or in larger indoor spaces when I have room to get further away from my subject. The wide aperture gives me that beautiful bokeh and shallow depth of field that many photographers aim for, plus the compression of using a tighter crop. I love me some compression!! ;)

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5) Nikon 60mm f2.8 macro — I use my macro lens for ring shots, and sometimes closeups of food. There is a rare instance when I’ll use it for other things and if say I have it on my camera for some ring photos and I need to snap a quick portrait or candid, it will still do the job. And even though it stops down to 2.8, typically I shoot rings at a higher aperture around 4-5.6 so that you can see the full depth of the diamond or gemstone. Since it’s macro, you still get that bokeh-y closeup feel, but closing down the aperture still gives me the depth I want.

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So that’s it! I’ve had these lenses now for several years and am pretty happy with my arsenal. I don’t plan to change it unless I end up adding another lens or two for a tax write-off or just frivolity. :D If I were to add other lenses, my next choice would be a 35mm (maybe the Sigma art version?) and then possibly upgrade my 60mm macro to the Nikon 105mm (or an off-brand equivalent). With as little as I use the macro though, I don’t really see the need at this point!

Do you have any questions about any of the lenses or terminology I talked about in this post? Feel free to comment below to ask! I’m happy to answer questions about my equipment. Thanks for reading!

Why I chose Honeybook as my CRM

why I chose Honeybook as my CRM

Honeybook has made a huge impact on my business over the past couple of years! I had not previously used a customer relationship management tool, but had gone through all the “normal” channels — hard copies, scanned copies, pdfs, built-in forms on my website, etc. I always struggled with the problem of having a signed contract, but not having a way to connect it with invoicing directly as a retainer or deposit.

Enter Honeybook. I researched the platform for a while, and loved the idea of having everything in one place — securely — for my clients to inquire with me, book, and pay. There’s more to it than that too that I didn’t originally know about — task keepers, questionnaires, brochures, standalone invoices, calendars, a mobile app, and so much more.

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Here’s what I love most though — the time I have gotten back. It used to take me an hour to compile all the paperwork and send to a couple when they book a wedding. Now I can send everything within 5 minutes, and have it booked and done. No longer am I having to make copies and figure up payment dates, and send separate invoices. It’s all there and (mostly) automatic.

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So what’s the one thing that sets Honeybook apart from other CRMs? Full account setup. A little louder for the people in the back — FULL ACCOUNT SETUP! That means you send your contracts, questionnaires and brochures to the Honeybook Concierge, and they do all the initial legwork for you!! I think so many people avoid switching platforms for signing up in the first place because the idea of setting everything up is daunting, which makes HB a no-brainer. AND, if you are already set up on another platform, Honeybook will transfer your existing projects for you so you don’t have the dreaded time lapse and can carry on as normal without interruption.

package collection options to auto-populate in Honeybook

I really enjoy having all communication in one place too — if a client replies to me, I can reply through Honeybook (using the “activity” tab), or I can simply reply directly through my Gmail account, and Honeybook keeps everything together in one thread no matter how I reply. This makes is a cinch to go back and check emails from clients. And how does that initial activity thread get started? Usually it’s through the contact page on my website where I’ve installed Honeybook’s code.

payment schedules with auto-pay in Honeybook

Still unsure? That’s ok! Honeybook has a 60-day money back guarantee and no credit card required to do a trial. They also offer new member trainings, and there are people like me all over the country who are Honeybook Educators and happy to answer your questions. I’ve also offered in-person training meetings in the past, and would happy to do that again in the future with enough interest. To me, Honeybook is definitely worth the investment and has solved a lot of headaches for me. I hope that you’ll find it useful and will feel the same way! <3

Honeybook makes client questionnaires easy and fast

Photos of me in this post by my friend Kristin Darling! This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my business!

Night to Shine 2019 | Tim Tebow Foundation

The annual Night to Shine event is one of the most fun things I participate in every year! For the past 2 years I have been the photography coordinator for our Champaign event, and I have to say this one was the best yet! (I also was a volunteer photographer at the first event 3 years ago).

We roll out the red carpet for members of our community with special needs, and these special guests are treated to the works! They get to experience paparazzi as they enter through a twinkle-lit red carpeted hallway, then they can choose to get hair, makeup, and nails done or shoe shines for the guys. There is an official Night to Shine step-n-repeat backdrop where they can have a portrait taken, as well as grab a corsage or boutonniere. Inside the main auditorium, they get to enjoy dinner with their assigned “buddy” and dance the night away with music provided by a DJ (emcees courtesy of WBGL radio). This year there were also two photobooth options for guests to use, complete with lots of fun props and printed photos on the spot! The karaoke room is another fun attraction as well as limo rides, a goodie bag, and cupcakes for dessert. There is a respite room for anyone needing to take a break, a separate room for caregivers to rest and relax, and medical staff on site in case of emergencies.

The very best part of the night is the crowning ceremony, where each guest is announced and crowned as king or queen. Immediately following that, there is a special video message from Tim Tebow that is shown before everyone is dismissed.

This year’s event was amazing, and I’m already looking forward to next year! My friend Jeremiah and his team from ParkLife Films always does the video, and you’ll definitely want to check it out!!

To get involved in next year’s event, follow First Church Church of Champaign on Facebook, or contact the church directly to be put on the volunteer list.