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Monthly Archives: July 2011

The power of ShootQ

Running your own business is a journey and quite the experience. One of the biggest pieces, actually the largest piece of running a business as a photographer is making sure your clients taken well care of. The insides of this subject include but not limited to… Workflows, contracts, payments, questionnaires, tasks, emails, remembering important details to the bride to make her wedding day perfect.

I’ll admit as many will with me, when I first started my business I was one of those photographers who did everrrryyythinggg on paper. Things got lost, I had to meet clients in person to sign a contract, I only accepted checks, questionnaires and emails were getting lost too quickly.. I had no workflow that was saving me time.. Actually, I had no such thing as a workflow or even a way to check off tasks. Ugh.. It was too much work to handle… then… I found ShootQ.

The more I started to get in depth with the portal, I soon realized how ShootQ replaced everything I was doing on paper, things became digitized and everything was a piece of a workflow that saved me time & energy. Finally!

In now the few years that we’ve used ShootQ separately in our business’ and now together as Scarlett & Stephen, we couldn’t be more thankful for what joy it has brought our business & lives. Saved time, happy clients and a fast running office. We’d never trade these three things back for paper. EVER!

Do you currently use ShootQ? If not, here is a short explanation of if.. Do you want your own Studio Manager? Someone to take care of your clients, manage payments, make sure everything a client should receive on time.. ShootQ is your answer. It’s an amazing web based portal that you login through your browser on your desktop or mobile device (yes, there is even an app for that too). Once you login, you’re given access to everything in your business through the dashboard… From this point , you can view the latest payments, if that contract you’ve been waiting on was signed, pre-shoot questionnaires, what tasks you need to complete for the day.. Its so easy & seamless.

Want to even see how awesome it’ll be once you get into ShootQ? Check out this short tour of ShootQ:

[vimeo clip_id="12471282" width="820" height="465"]

So.. should you invest into ShootQ? Absolutely… You will never regret the decision…

We connected with our friends at ShootQ and they’ve decided to give one lucky reader of our blog.. 6 months of free ShootQ!!!

How do I win??


1. Go like our Facebook page at www.fb.com/scarlettandstephen

2. Come back to this blog entry and leave a comment below filling in the blank for your chance to win!

“The one annoying part of my business I need to shoot away is…”


If someone wanted to win, an example would be “The one annoying part of my business I need to shoot away is paper contracts!”

3. Twitter or FB “Win 6 months of @ShootQ at http://scarlettlovesstephen.com

4. From there, on Tuesday morning at 10pm, we’ll do a random selection of the blog entries to choose the winner!! Winner will be announced Tuesday on the blog!!




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Save The Date in style!

In preparing the details of our wedding, I was clueless where to start when it came to Save the Dates, Invites, programs… and all the other paper designs here and there that would make our wedding day complete.  I saw some Do It Yourself kits at Michael’s, but I knew in reality, I didn’t have time to do it myself with all the other wedding planning I had to do in between my real job.  Then I knew about a cute paper store at the mall, but it had closed down a few months before and I didn’t know where else to go locally.  But then online I ran across a paper designer in Chicago of all places and immediately fell in love with her style!  After a few emails with her, I realized I could design my programs from the convenience of my computer.  I was sold!

So now I want to introduce you to Jessi Cabanin of Just Invite Me!  She was seriously one of my favorite vendors from our wedding, not only for her amazing talent, but for her amazing experience she created for us.  When I received the HUGE box of all her paper designs for our wedding, it was then I realized how thankful I was to have an expert do this part for me because she did so much more an amazing job than I could have ever done trying to do it myself.  And she helped save me so much time with all her cute little touches and attention to detail.  She included a pink pen I could write with for my thank you cards!  She’s an example of how the little things go a long way.

Because of how impressed I was with Jessi, I wanted to share her with you too!  Here’s an interview to help you learn more about the process and how brides can win some FREE save the dates!

1.How did you get started?

I graduated with a degree in Graphic Design, but I always kind of knew that I never wanted to work at a design firm or anything like that. I mean who wants to work for someone else?:)Would I have taken a firm job had the opportunity arose? Most definitely. But lucky for me, I never had to make that decision. After graduation, I actually took a job at Staples in the Copy & Print department thinking, hey, this could be an ok use of my degree right? Fast forward a year, and my sister is now engaged and planning her wedding. Who else to go to for fabulous ideas but her sister, right? So this was my first “client”. Well once she got married, 3 other people in my family got married. So when they saw the invites, they called my sister gushing about them, demanding to know where they were from. So, boom, 4 clients. Fast forward another year, and I now have had 98 clients (in my FIRST year). So Just Invite Me basically took off and wiped me right off my feet!

So long story short, how did I get here? WORD.OF.MOUTH. It is seriously THE most powerful tool. Treat your clients right and give them a fabulous experience, and you dont NEED to advertise. Oh, and then Facebook, OBVIOUSLY.  To this day (almost 3 years from my official first client) and I have NOT advertised a dime and have had the pleasure of working with almost 300 brides. I’ll actually be coming up on that big milestone here VERY soon. So if you’re reading this, and might be interested in our services, you will want to stay tuned because we are giving away something HUGE.:)

2.What exactly do you offer brides?

We offer a full service, custom invitation + stationary experience. I encourage brides to start out with Save the Dates to give your guests a mere glimpse of whats to come. Up next we design FABULOUS invitation suites, all based around your theme/colors/etc. These are {almost} guaranteed to leave your guests dying to see what the wedding has in store, with anticipation just bubbling over. Then comes the big day. What’s a big day without lots of details? In this phase, the sky is honestly the limit. I love when brides come in with all these crazy awesome ideas, because as a creative, I love trying new things! Menus, programs, placecards, favor stickers, table numbers, napkin rings, CD labels…..YOU NAME IT, we do it. =)

3. What are the creative trends you see on the horizon for next fall and spring weddings?

One of my favorite newer creative trends is ditching the graphics and using text only to work the invitation. I was sketchy about it at first, but I have always been a huge typeface fan, so I loved the challenge! Also, brides are getting more and more creative about the colors they are mixing. My favorite project that I’m working on right now is purple, orange and green. It sounds a little strange, but these invites are BALLIN’. Keep a look out on the fanpage, because I can’t release them just yet;)

4. What are key elements brides need to have in an invitation, program and save the date?

PERSONALITY. Incorporate your personalities, what drew you together, what you both love, etc. You only get married once, so why not tell your guests your story?? Why not give them the best invitation they’ve ever seen? They’ll still be raving even AFTER your wedding. Oh and then of course, don’t forget to tell them when and where to be:)

5. What’s the most unusual paper design you’ve done?

My two most favorite things are custom maps and colored envelopes!! They really add soooooo much to the invites. I also love when clients have me print the guest addresses on the envelopes as well, because it allows us to carry over the graphics from start to finish!  Its bound to stand out from the daily ‘junk mail” too!

6. What are the benefits of why brides should hire a professional designer vs. Do It Yourself?

The only benefit I think there is to DIY is cost. I totally understand that there are budgets that need to be met, and if thats how you need to do it, then so be it. BUT, I bet 95% of DIY brides have that “OMG i didn’t think it would be that hard” moment. Its very hard to know (and understand) the amount of work that goes into paper details for a wedding. Also, most DIY brides aren’t really familiar with the process or tools. I would say this biggest benefit to hiring a professional designer is TIME. Your time (as well as ours) are WORTH something. I have many brides that actually choose our Premier Package, which actually has us design, print, produce AND send the invites out. Why? Because time is of essence, and not everyone has it! Wedding planning in general is usually a full time job on top of whatever other job you have. So if you find a fabulous vendor (insert me here), why not let them do what they’re good at, and let you get back to the other stuff?

7. You have something special you are giving away that all brides can win through this post, what is it? :-)

We do!!! We are offering FREE Save the Date postcards to not one, not two, but THREE lucky couples! Here’s the rules:

1.  Go “like” http://fb.com/scarlettandstephen

2. While you are on FB, go “like” https://www.facebook.com/JustLoveMePD#!/customizedperfection

3.  Come back to the blog and leave a comment below with your wedding date and THREE words that describe your relationship. I love to see what people think of themselves!:)

Winners will chosen at random and be announced this Friday afternoon, so check back to this blog post to see if you won!

Here’s some more awesome samples of Jessi’s work!

EDIT: The winners have been selected and they are… Tifty Jones, Tiffany Leigh & Amy Clifton. Congratulations & enjoy your Save the Dates!! Thank You once again to Jessi for supporting this week’s contest!

Our love story in motion picture… Part 3!

In previous weeks, we blogged our love story video and our highlight wedding video. This week, we are concluding the video series with our honeymoon video! A week before our wedding, Stephen was like “We should go get a waterproof camera for all the tropical stuff in the water we’ll be doing.” We found a pretty cheap digital one at Target and it ended up being such a great addition to our honeymoon to be able to take not only photos, but video footage in the water too! We highly recommend getting one before your honeymoon or next vacation to a tropical island!

We put together some of our silly videos from the trip into this montage. We went to the Royal Plantation by Sandals in Ochos Rios, Jamaica and absolutely LOVED it! Not only was it an all inclusive, but it has a private mansion feel and it’s the only Sandals resort that came with a personal butler. Needless to say, we had fun thinking of all the different things we could use a butler for, such as fetching the peacocks and bringing us coconuts on the beach, ha!


Does your Facebook page need more attention?


At a recent bible study Scarlett & I attended, I was chatting with one of our new friends about the power of Facebook.  As I told him we had almost 100,000 post views to our Facebook page and just over 1,100 in the first 2 weeks of our launch, he immediately wanted to know how to do the same for his Facebook page to attract more clients.  He is the owner of his own company and understands how quickly the internet is changing and with this, there is a whole new world through blogs & Facebook to capture a new client base. He explained how he has a Facebook Page for his business that someone else set up for him. He has no idea on how to build a Facebook page the correct way, directing fans to his page, building iFrame tabs & what are the right ways to interact with those who comment & like. I responded with excitement because the answer to all of his questions is something I love focusing on, the creation, direction & growth of Facebook Pages for business. I’ve enjoyed studying Facebook and love sharing the different ways it can benefit YOUR business.

Whether you are a photographer or any business owner, one of the core things to understand with designing an effective Facebook page to attract more clients, and even your blog too, is asking yourself the question, “Do I have a Call to Action” in place for my visitors?

There are two potential areas to install a Call to Action right now, at this moment. A Facebook landing page that serves as a Call to Action AND a Call to Action on your blog that furthers a conversation.

Lets look into both for a moment.

1. Call to Action on Facebook

On your facebook page, you can program a “landing page” for your visitors that’ll become a Call to Action. This is created by a JPEG image you put together that explains your brand and through what is called an iFrame, you can place into your page. Inside of your landing page can be videos, images, a message from you, etc. Here is a phenomenal example of a Facebook Call To Action that

Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser put together on his page:

A few things to point out that are great with this Call to Action: Bob marks out the benefits of his product, shows the product so you know what to look for in the store, has buttons that explain where you can get in touch with Bob (YouTube & Twitter) & has a video embed so you can get a personal message from Bob himself. Most importantly, It has an arrow pointing to the “like” button. Visitors are given an experience within the page and are told what to do next if they choose to continue into a conversation with Bob.

2. Call to Action on Your Blog

When a visitor comes to your blog. They view the most recent post, stumble around your content, watch a video and then prepare to leave a comment. Once they leave their comment, are they given choices on the blog of what they can do next? On our blog, we made sure that there was clearly seen Call to Action’s available. Clearly marked are buttons that allow the viewer to link this post, subscribe to our newsletter, LIKE us on FB and most importantly, a large button that allows the bride to “Contact us to shoot their wedding.” In the comment box, when a user leaves a comment, it is immediately published to their page for all their friends to see! (See what I’m talking about below this post!)

5 Easy tips to remember when coming up with your Call to Action

1. Use one of the following words within your CTA to attract the user to take the next step: Call, Buy, Register, Subscribe, Like, Donate

2. Create urgency within your CTA. You want them to get on board now.

3. Make sure you place your immediate message in their first line of sight.

4. Make your CTA STAND OUT visually and not get lost in the design.

5. Keep it simple and don’t make things busy.

So how exactly DO you create a Call To Action on your own Facebook page? Could your Facebook Page use a little more attention? Are you ready to attract more clients? Are you still clueless what the point is between a Group page and a Like Page?   I have SO much more to share about how you can maximize the most for your business with your Facebook page, and because it’s too much for a blog entry, I’ve put together a 60-minute live webinar that I’m hosting this coming Tuesday, July 26 at 8pm EST to walk you through all the important steps.  In the 60 minutes we have together, we’ll be covering:

*Steps covered on how to build a FB Page
*Defining your “Call to Action” online to attract more clients
*Building a welcome page & custom info page
*Taking things to the next step with effective Facebook Ad’s
*How to study Facebook Analytics
*How to use Twitter & Foursquare integrated with Facebook in your business
*Using additional Facebook applications to direct traffic
*Easy coding iFrames & Static HTML

$39 to watch webinar live and ask questions




Limited seats are available! Don’t miss out. Your Facebook page will thank you for the extra love!

It wouldn’t be fun to host the webinar without giving away a FREE seat! Here’s the contest rules:

1. Go “like” our FB page at www.fb.com/scarlettandstephen

2. Tweet this:

I’ll be learning how to grow my #Facebook page with #scarlettandstephen!
You can too! http://bit.ly/nuBJH #FF Please #Retweet

If you don’t have a Twitter, you will need to sign up anyway.  I’ll be explaining why in the webinar!:-) And feel free to tweet this as many times as you want to increase your chances, but please don’t annoy your followers with too much repetition!

3. Register for the webinar here.  At the beginning of the live webinar, the winner will be chosen and announced via the #scarlettandstephen in everyone’s tweets, and if you win, we’ll simply refund your money after the webinar is over!

Lastly, I want to leave you with this powerful video about the stats of Facebook and how the world is obsessed with it.  It’s pretty incredible!

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Jacksonville newborn photographer

Two years ago, I shot a sweet intimate beach wedding for Mike and Rachel out at Guana River State Park. They were the kind of couple that didn’t want a big wedding, they just wanted a simple ceremony to celebrate their love as they came together as man and wife. Two weeks ago, their love expanded with the birth of their little girl. It was such an honor to be the first to capture photos of their precious newborn! I love being there from the beginning of a couple’s love story and watching their love turn into a family.

Here’s some of my favorites from the session and all the pink goodness!:-)