Posts in Business
Paper Planner Calendar - Keeping Photographers Organized All Year Long!

Paper Planner Calendar - Keeping Photographers Organized All Year Long!


As a photographer, we wear many hats and keeping track of them all is extremely important to stay on track!

If you’re anything like me, you’ll forget things if they’re not written down. The past few years I’ve always relied on my client workflow lists but I often fall short and forget micro tasks, so I admitted defeat and finally bought myself a paper planner to help keep me on track. You guys, it was so worth it! I’m now setting weekly goals/tasks as well as getting ahead on work and scheduling media posts for my business!



I love the events tab towards the beginning because I use it to plan out any mini sessions I plan on hosting through-out the year. As I’ve grown and kind of nailed down my niche and what I love shooting, I find myself offering less and less mini sessions and more of the style of shooting I love. The less is more concept works great, focus on what you’re good at, dump the rest. Clients appreciate and gravitate towards the things you’re good at and feel less overwhelmed. This section let’s me set up at a glance what I want to do for the year!

Monthly Calendar Breakdown

Alright it looks overwhelming but there’s a method to the madness. Highlighted colors mean different things. The way I go about this is at the beginning of the month I sit down and write out exactly what I want to share on media and then as it gets scheduled I highlight it. Colors mean different locations, Facebook, Groups, Instagram, Emails, Blogs, Events, they’re all listed in different colors and it helps me visualize that all my platforms are being used.

The right side I write out my editing que to keep me on track and in order of sessions shot. Then, the little check marks remind me whose been posted on media. ;)

Weekly Calendar Breakdown

I typically just write out daily tasks as needed, if I fill up the week, then I jump to the next one. The crossed out boxes mean I obviously finished the task. The filled in boxes means I didn’t need to do the task and an arrow through it means the task got moved to the following week/month pending what the task was. Simple and organized in my brain! The notes section sometimes has product orders that might need to go in otherwise it’s usually full of sticky notes that can be moved around as needed. The little sticker on the bottom left corner means everything from that week is finished up and I don’t need to look back on that week.

And yes, I’m digging these highlighters! They can erase which makes me feel like things can be moved around if needed! I added a link for them here: Crayola Erasable Highlighters

Back of the planner

The back section of “notes” of my planner is where I keep all the important things. I write out my annual goal lists, keep track of future blog post ideas, have my monthly product sales that I plan on offering, my list of high school seniors and the workflow necessary and so many other things. I like this section to remind me of what my overall business is doing and to inspire me of what I have on the pipeline for the future. I wanted to keep this section more personal so you can’t see a lot of the content as examples but get creative and use this section to make your business work for you!

PS - Writing your passwords on sticky notes in this section is amazing because then you can just peel them up and stick them in your new planner for next year!


So that’s it. That’s how I organize and utilize my planners! I try to keep it simple but motivating for me to focus on not just my weekly tasks but building and creating for future months. It truly has helped to keep me focused and not forgetting the little things that slip through the cracks. I also use this along with Quickbooks and Shootproof to keep my business organized and efficient. For more details on how I use those check out the blog posts linked below!

Quickbooks - Client Invoicing, Vendor Business Expense Tracking & More for Keeping Photographers Organized

Quickbooks for Client Invoicing, Vendor Business Expense Tracking & More for Keeping Photographers Organized


We’re on a mission to help photographers get organized in 2019 and one of the most important things in a business is to know your numbers, have a tracking system to keep clients invoices organized and a place to enter business expenses and sales tax information.

Insert Quickbooks for the win!

Yes, we love Quickbooks and cannot wait to dive into it!! We hope something we’ve mentioned will resonate and you’ll find Quickbooks or another accounting software to help get you organized and ready to launch into your business for 2019.

So what exactly is Quickbooks? Well, Quickbooks is an accounting software program that helps keep you organized and puts everything in one place. I personally use the Quickbooks Desktop version and love it but I also have heard many great things about the online monthly subscriptions as well. For me, I love the one time investment instead of having to be locked into paying monthly. After talking to my accountant, he said, in reality, my desktop would be a better investment since I don’t need to update yearly because I don’t do payroll. So for me, it’s about $200 to purchase the desktop version, divide that by five year (I purchase the newest version every five years) and that’s about $40/year I’m spending for the program. The cheapest online subscription version is $10/month so basically, you’re saving a lot by just purchasing the desktop version. ;)

Client Invoicing

As a photographer, one of the major things we do in our business is send invoices to our clients. I’ve already gone over how I utilize Shootproof in a previous post and that’s what I use for my actual invoicing but I also use Quickbooks to keep track of my overall accounting for my business. So, I create my invoices in quickbooks and that’s the official place I keep track. If clients pay with cash or a check, it gets recorded here and nothing is created in Shootproof. If they want to pay with a credit card or set up payments, we then create a duplicate of the exact same invoice in Shootproof and then they do those payments there. Once payments are made, it gets entered in Quickbooks. But my favorite reason for using Quickbooks for my clients is because I can look up their past order history. Sometimes I’ll have a client come back the next year wanting to order Christmas cards and can’t remember how many they ordered the year before, I just check out their past invoices. Or, maybe they booked a high school senior session with me, well, I can look up exactly what we ordered for their older sibling and see what we had extras of and adjust their new invoices accordingly. It seriously is amazing.

Line Items (Products & Session Fees)

I’m not going to lie, setting up Quickbooks is overwhelming. My biggest suggestion when setting it up is trial and error. You really have to ask your specific accountant for help as tax information can make a difference but for me, I took the time to enter every single item I sell as products for clients along with each session type that I have. Yes it takes forever, yes it sucks, but long term, it’s the best time I’ve spent! When making up lists of your items I’ve found it helpful to get specific. Check out the image below. I created a main category for my sessions (as a service). From there I entered my session fees and put the pricing along with any description I wanted for the invoices to auto populate. Then, I created another category with my Print Packages (towards the bottom) and enter a sub-category for my Create Your Own Collections and then etc from there. Then, my other sub categories for the rest of my product based on types and sizes. Again, I know it’s time consuming. BUT once it’s done, all you have to do is drop them into your invoices. Easy. Peasy.


Referrals & Credits

Another thing I’ve learned to create and utilize is the credits section. I offer referral credits to my clients who refer friends and sometimes, it’s tough to keep track of who has earned what. So, I created a line item and just go to create a credit and apply it to their account. I send an email to them thanking them and then it’s sitting in their account for when they’re ready to use it. I also give a credit to the person who gets referred, so in the description I’ll typically write who referred them and that’s it. Then, I apply that credit to their invoices. Simple, and easy to track. My kinda program ;)

Vendor expenses

Here’s here Quickbooks gets magical. You know all those pesky expenses that come with running a business? All those receipts floating around your office and wallet? QUICKBOOKS ORGANIZES THEM!! That’s right. All you have to do is enter them and bam, records all nicely organized and ready for your accountant. I do mine a little different but the system works for me. I have a folder on my desk, I put all my incoming bills/print invoices/receipts into it. (Disclaimer, most of my bills are set up as autopay, so when I get the paper copies, they’re already paid). At the end of the month I sit down and “enter bills” into QB. Then, you select the magic button “pay bills” and you can actually mark them all paid all at once! It’s magical friends. Seriously the most magical part of the entire accounting system. There is just way too much info to go into details in this section so I’m keeping it short and sweet for now.


travel & Mileage

Again, as a photographer, we often are driving to locations or dropping off orders for our clients. QBs has a section dedicated to entering in mileage which is super helpful when my accountant asks! No more guess work or back tracking to see where I went or who I met with. You can set up exact mileage pricing as well in there. So many great things!!

Tax information

Ok this is another favorite part. Quite often I see people asking for tax advice on how to stay organized and reporting of sales tax. News flash. QB can do it for you (kinda). If you have it set-up, Quickbooks can auto populate which line items are needing to be taxed. From there, it’ll show tax collected and then show a summary of what taxes are owed to whom. This is so tough to get into details because you really need to ask your local accountant but for me, this was my biggest selling reason to purchase QB. I like looking at a glance to see how much I owe. I personally have a separate bank account set-up and after each session/order I transfer $XX amount into that account to hold back for taxes. That’s a whole separate subject for a different day but for now, just make sure you’re pulling aside that sales tax and tax income amount so you’re not scrambling at the end of the year to pull it together. Technically, the sales tax isn’t yours anyways ;)

Snapshots & business reports

Hello I’m Kelsey and I’m a complete nerd about reports and knowing my numbers. This program is fantastic to show me the overall reports about my business. It shows me what’s making money, what’s not doing so well, and even compares numbers to last year. I like setting number attainable goals monthly and I love snapshots because it shows me graphs and charts along with comparing it to last years monthly numbers in sales. It’s a great visual to keep you on track and at the end of the year compare what worked the best throughout the year. I like printing them all out and sitting down to make decisions, if, for example, I have metal prints on my price list and show I sold only five but my canvases I sold forty, maybe it’s time for me to look into removing metal prints from my product line-up and up prices slightly on canvases. These reports can be worth their weight in gold and my account especially loves them because they auto-populate for tax income time!!

I hope all of this information helped you guys out. It took awhile to gather the info and get it all laid out but you really should invest in some type of accounting software. You’ve spent so much money on equipment for your business why not invest in something to keep you organized when if comes to tracking your numbers? You wouldn’t buy educational workshops and then not watch them, so why would you collect income but not monitor where it’s all going?! For more info please feel free to reach out to us, we’d love to help you out! But as always, make sure you consult with your accountant, we truly don’t know your personal business’ and it’s always best to advise with someone who knows yous situation the best.

*Some of the links for Quickbooks do include referral links which means I receive a tiny portion of credit for those who purchase using the links provided.

Pay It Forward - Operation Community Over Competition (House Of Flynn Surprise Gift)

NEBRASKA Senior portrait PHOTOGRAPHER | pay it forward | house of flynn bag | beatrice, NEBRASKA

SURPRISE!! Today I surprised Kristen from K.Jensen Photography. It was so worth it!! ;)

I did a thing. This wasn't a thing motivated to promote myself or my business. This was a feel good in my soul thing. This was a random act of kindness but couldn't pull it out as a behind the scenes person. And, for that, I decided I may as well post it to show other's how much of an impact a small act can do. I truly feel like making even the tiniest ripples make a big difference, and well, this was one of them!

It's not uncommon for me to leave credit at my favorite coffee shop for others to use when they stop to grab a coffee. I often pay for meals for others in drive throughs. These are just things I enjoy doing. No motivation behind it besides hoping to make someone else's day a little better. I know what it's like to struggle some days, and those small acts can make me smile. The humanity I've seen on the news hurts my soul, if I can make a difference, why not!?

So today, I went and met up with Kristen from K.Jensen Photography for coffee. I had this planned out for weeks though. She literally knew nothing and just thought we were going to chit chat, and that's exactly how I wanted it to go! We sat there and chatted for awhile about life, personal goals, growth, our businesses, aspirations and struggles. We were authentic with each other, raw and completely open books. I loved it, I felt so connected. Genuinely people, she really is a super great human.

And then I surprised her! I told her I had to grab a gift for her from my vehicle and wanted to film it. Of course, we both checked our hair quick (mine is crazy, I've just learned to embrace it!). I promised her it wasn’t anything bad and when I got back, we both got nervously filled with anticipation and excitement.

Well, the rest you’ve seen unfold and quickly realize how heartwarming it all felt.

Again, I literally didn’t film this or do this for myself. I choose to film it and share because I want others to see that doing good and being a good human is important. You have to surround yourself with the energy you want to receive. By giving to others, trusting and having faith in humanity, you’ll notice a change in your own spirit. Sometimes wearing my emotions on my sleeve does burn me, but nine times out of ten, situations like this make the risk of being vulnerable to others worth way more than playing it safe and staying within my own bubble.

I’ve built so many friendships in my photography community and I am forever grateful for these people. My tribe is always growing and building, and I’m completely ready to let more in. Sometimes owning a business makes you feel so alone and frustrated. I can’t count the numerous times I’ve wanted to quit. But then, a tiny word of encouragement or a simple thank you from a client warms my heart and reminds me why I do what I love. These are the people that impact your business, these are the friendships and mentors you’ll learn to lean on with questions who can help uplift you. Be vulnerable. Be willing to share the love.

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!! XOXO - Kelsey with Dirt Road Photography

house of flynn bag giveaway kristen jensen from k.jensen photography and kelsey homolka nerud from dirt road potography pay it forward with a community over competition collaboration and meet for coffee and talk about being photographers and the business of cameras, nikon, canon
house of flynn bag giveaway kristen jensen from k.jensen photography and kelsey homolka nerud from dirt road potography pay it forward with a community over competition collaboration and meet for coffee and talk about being photographers and the business of cameras, nikon, canon house of flynn evermore camera bag

And I had a huge request for a link to the bags, so I’m linking up to the full sized Evermore that I gifted her! The two that I own are the mini and full sized Evermore’s and I can attest that they’re amazing quality! My next purchase (when it’s back in stock) will include the Warm Honey Evermore, or well, basically, the entire Warm Honey line-up of products! Look into the company, they’re moving mountains and give back so much. They fully fund an orphanage in Mexico too!

Shootproof - Gallery Hosting, Contracts and Invoicing

Shootproof // gallery hosting, contracts & invoicing // photographer review


Quite a few years ago when I was starting to step up my business game I started researching gallery hosting for clients. I needed a system that I could upload their images that would allow them to share with friends and also download their images if needed. I took my time to compare quite a few of the common ones but, eventually, I settled into Shootproof.

If you’re interested in Shootproof, use the link provided to try it out and get a free month of their services! Set up your account, look around and give them a try. I promise you won’t cancel after the trial is over and you’ll love them! Even the contracts/invoicing section alone keeps you organized and is worth the $10/month for their cheapest plan!

Gallery Hosting

At the time, Shootproof had some bare bone uses, which worked for what I wanted. They basically had options to hold my photos in galleries with the option to add passwords. The other thing I loved at the time was the option to link my galleries to some of my favorite print labs. That meant I could create an ordering site directly on there and not have to worry about manually entering print orders if I wanted. My out of town clients could go directly to their gallery, send it to grandparents and everyone could purchase the sizes and quantities they wanted. It literally was fantastic while I transitioned into the all inclusive business structure into the “in person sales” process where clients come in to sit down and view then order products. Another bonus is that you can go in and “favorite” certain photos to help narrow down and pick which ones you love the most. It’s great when trying to choose prints or select the digital files you want. I also love the feature of being able to send the favorite photos to clients via a digital download link. It’s a one click system that makes my life super easy for mini sessions.

Mobile Apps

With my business structure, I offer clients mobile apps to compliment the purchase of digital files. With the plan I have through Shootproof, I have an unlimited amount of mobile apps I can create so it’s another fantastic way to deliver images to clients to view and share with their friends and family while on the go. It’s a great add-on to my gallery hosting services that can include links directly to their entire gallery. The biggest difference between mobile apps and the online galleries is that you can’t favorite or purchase products. The mobile apps are mainly intended for viewing the photos. It’s fantastic for those situations where you don’t have service to access the internet as well. ;)


This was a feature that was added quite awhile after I was already using Shootproof. And it was a lifesaver!! Again, my entire goal of my business is to streamline my workflow so I’m spending less time doing behind the scenes work and more time shooting or hanging out with my clients. With the contracts and invoicing features, this is getting easier. The contracts allow me to create templates of my own or they have some pretty cool ones you can actually purchase through them as well. You can go in and adjust details, link to specific clients as well as link to your invoices. Game. Changer. I cannot express enough how important contracts are to not only protect yourself but to protect your clients from any misunderstandings with what is expected from both of you.


This is the best feature they have added to do!!! Literally, I hated the days of waiting for clients to mail checks/cash or pay deposits. Sometimes I wouldn’t get them for weeks or they’d forget completely. I’d send a printed invoices along with their contract and it’d get lost in piles of mail at home and never be returned. Now, I can drop in pre-made session fees, print products that have my taxes/pricing memorized and it’s such a simple process!! The best part, you can LINK your invoicing with contracts to specific clients. Then, link that same client to their gallery, and it’s all inclusive to keep track of it all! Set up due dates for the invoices, add deposits or retainers and even split the invoice up into an auto pay system if the client wants to link their card to it. Literally, lifesaver.

Email Automations

Something that’s probably one of their newest features that I use the most is their email automation systems. I like using them because it helps kick reminders out without me having to keep track of where I’m at in my workflow with every single client. What you can do is set it up to kick out emails when it hits certain things. My series I have created include invoice deposit due, invoice due date, gallery released to visitors, gallery expiring soon, and invoice overdue. Although I have several others that are similar, I like to keep it simple and not completely spam all of my clients. These help to remind them of specific things that are coming up for their sessions. Now, I can say that almost 90% of my invoices are paid on time and I don’t have to worry about not having people place orders from their galleries because they get reminders about them.

Gallery Archive

Ok last one, I swear this time! This. This was genius. I’m super weird about getting rid of client files, so I guess, I’m basically a geeky version of a hoarder. I still have every single photo ever taken in my possession ever since I started my business. It’s ridiculous holding five years worth of raw files, edits and marketing I know. But I just can’t get rid of it! So, I love that Shootproof let’s me do the same! While you’re limited on the plans with how many images you can put into your galleries, it doesn’t count against you if you archive the photos! Which means, you get charged like one cent for every gigabyte of space. To be exact, here’s what my account says: “Archived 24 GB of data at a rate of $0.04 per GB.” ….you guys, I’m paying FOUR CENTS to hold years worth of client galleries. Fine. Take my money Shootproof! Those pennies are worth it to know if something were to happen to my hard drive (or my back up hard drive, or the back up to my back up hard drive down at the bank in my safety deposit box) or if a client were to lose their home to a fire or tornado or flooding damage, I still have their photos. That piece of mind means so much to me for less than a dollar a month. We’ll touch base later about how to store client files, but this is another way I keep myself accountable and backed up for my clients. So worth it.

So. There’s a (long) but quick summary of my favorite perks of using Shootproof. Seriously, finding Shootproof was one of the best things I’ve done and hands down the cheapest investment I’ve made in my own business. It’s streamlined my business and I love that it gives clients their own little space to view images and order if they want.

*Some of the links for Shootproof do include referral links which means I receive a tiny portion of credit for those who sign up using the links provided.

Transformation Photoshop Editing // Noah Beck // Wilber-Clatonia High School // Dorchester Nebraska Photographer

NEBRASKA PHOTOGRAPHER | Photoshop Editing Comparison | High School Senior PHOTOGRAPHY SESSION | Clatonia, NEBRASKA


Every once in awhile, I like to share a behind the scenes look at the editing process so clients can see truly how much magic goes into the edit of your images. It’s not a drag and drop quick change and sometimes I can put hours into editing a session. I just hope others enjoy the images as much as I do capturing them and processing to create the magic I first see when I’m taking them!

So. To break down a little more what I all did while editing this picture (cause hey, I know some photographers are on here and want to learn too!). I first always cull my images in Adobe Bridge software. I star rate my top favs and what I plan to edit. Then as I edit, I change the star rating so I can see progress and know what I have left. After sorting, I pull into Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) and start working in there. Lighting, I adjusted the exposure, upped the contrast slightly, pulled the highlights down a little, lighted up the shadows, bumped the clarity a tad bit. I also did a slight bit of sharpening (I typically sharpen in Photoshop instead of in ACR). That’s the basics of my edit. From there I pull into Photoshop and will run a few actions as needed depending on what I want the final outcome to look like.

There it is. There’s my workflow on an image! Sometimes I will batch edit the ACR files because I shoot with the same settings and then will tweak individual’s as needed but I try to keep my workflow consist and quick paced. These are the basic editing that happens to all files clients see. Since I do IPS (in person sales) with my clients, I do 90% editing before they view images and then smooth skin, remove minor blemishes and liquify as needed once we choose which images you want to purchase. That saves me the extra time working on details that aren’t necessary.

I hope this is helpful. And, as always, if you have questions drop them in the comments or email me! I have been tossing around the idea of a few business geared mentoring or workshops and would love to know if people would be interested in that. I feel there are so many fantastic other photographers out there that can offer posing or editing but I don’t see a ton of things about running your business so this is something that’s really important to me.

Fall Outfit Inspiration

It’s finally fall! And with fall comes the exciting family picture planning but the dreaded searching for the perfect outfit. Look no further and let us take the stress away from it! We’ve created the perfect mix and match stylized board for you to check out with outfits for your whole family.

We tried to create outfits that can easily be dressed up with accessories or dressed down for a more relaxed, laid back feel. We also included plenty of outfits that can be re-worn for daily use do you don’t feel guilty purchasing all new outfits for your session. ;)

Think Patterns.

When picking out your outfits consider choosing one or two patterns and try to keep everything else fairly basic. Think less patterns more textures. What that means is choose maybe one floral shirt or even maybe a little dress for your baby and then pick some textures to mix in. Dad in half zip pullover sweater, brother in a waffle knit shirt with potentially a puffy vest. Mom could toss on a flowy top and a cardigan. Toss in some accessories, (check out Madison + Barrett Jewelry, they’re always my go to for accessories!) and you have yourself outfits that are picture perfect!!!

What I typically do (and let’s be honest, it’s because I always over-shop) is I like to purchase 2-3 options for each person. I then bring it all home and lay it out. I pick my favorite outfit for each person and lay them all together to see what they look like. If something looks off, I go to the second option that I purchased for them. Sometimes that means swapping out dad’s shirt so we don’t have two button up shirts or maybe switching the babies vest so we aren’t all wearing vests. Then I pull accessories and shoes. Boys are fairly easy but us girls always have too many options. ;) Think cute wedges for yourself, maybe your little girl have some taller boots and the babies always look cute in moccasins. Once you’ve got what you think finalized, put them aside for a few days and then pull it out to look again. You’ll have a fresh eye for them and really it’ll help you decide for sure that you love it.


So that’s it. Now you can stop stressing about outfits! Focus instead of then fun you’ll have during your session. And as always, send us your outfit choices! The more we plan ahead, the less you’ll have to prepare the day of. We love taking a look at outfits, it truly helps us feel inspired to scout locations that’ll flow with your theme and colors. Reach out if you want help with specific styling, we’re all about using what you already might have so you don’t need to purchase all new outfits either of course!

(*We tried our best to create only links of clothing that will stay in stock for awhile. While boutiques have super cute and stylish options, sometimes the stock doesnt stay for very long but we always recommend shopping local and supporting the small business’ around you!)

2018 Cutest Kid Contest :: Dirt Road Photography :: Southeast Nebraska Photographer

It's August which means we're going to be running our Cutest Kid Contest again this year! We absolutely loved see all of the adorable submissions from last year so we're going to go ahead and create another contest to see how much those cuties have grown as well as see some new faces.


E-mail us your entries at and follow the directions as listed below.

The photo with the most votes/”likes” will receive a free mini session with five digital images included! The photo with the most "shares" will receive a 25% discount off a session fee from a session of their choice.

- Accepting photo submissions from August 1st - 14th. 

-- Voting will be from August 15th - 29th.

--- Winner will be announced August 31st.

Check out last years contestants, we cannot wait to see all of this years submissions!


- Photo’s submitted cannot be taken by a professional photographer
- Free session does not apply to any booked or past sessions
- Previous contest winners cannot participate
- Free session applies to children or family session only
- A fee may apply for any winner with over five people
- Free session must be redeemed by December 31st, 2018
- Digital download five images and limited print release is included
- Winner has the option to upgrade the session to include a full session

Nebraska Photographer :: Cutest Kid Contest 2017

It's August which means we're going to be running our Cutest Kid Contest again this year! We absolutely loved see all of the adorable submissions from last year so we're going to go ahead and create another contest to see how much those cuties have grown as well as see some new faces.

E-mail us your entries at and follow the directions as listed below.

The photo with the most votes/”likes” will receive a free mini session with five digital images included! The photo with the most "shares" will receive a 25% discount off a session fee from a session of their choice.

- Accepting photo submissions from August 1st - 14th. 

-- Voting will be from August 15th - 29th.

--- Winner will be announced August 31st.

Check out last years contestants, we cannot wait to see all of this years submissions!

- Photo’s submitted cannot be taken by a professional photographer
- Free session does not apply to any booked or past sessions
- Previous contest winners cannot participte
- Free session applies to children or family session only
- A fee may apply for any winner with over five people
-Free session must be redeemed by December 31st, 2017
- Digital download five images and limited print release is included
- Winner has the option to upgrade the session to include a full session


Nebraska Photographer, Nebraska Newborn Photographer, Nebraska Family Photographer, Nebraska Senior Photographer, Nebraska Child Photographer, Wilber Nebraska, Dorchester Nebraska, Crete Nebraska, Friend Nebraska, DeWitt Nebraska, Plymouth Nebraska, Roca Nebraska, Sprague Nebraska, Martell Nebraska, Kramer Nebraska, Lincoln Nebraska, Milford Nebraska, Wilber Nebraska Photographer, Dorchester Nebraska Photographer, Crete Nebraska Photographer, Friend Nebraska Photographer, DeWitt Nebraska Photographer, Plymouth Nebraska Photographer, Roca Nebraska Photographer, Sprague Nebraska Photographer, Martell Nebraska Photographer, Kramer Nebraska Photographer, Lincoln Nebraska Photographer, Milford Nebraska Photographer


To book a session please contact us!
Dirt Road Photography
910 County Road 1500
Dorchester, NE 68343
Website: Dirt Road Photography
Facebook: Dirt Road Photography
Phone: (402) 826-9245

Business Budgeting - How To Focus On Setting Budgets & Staying On Track

Business Budgeting - How To Focus On Setting Budgets & Staying On Track


I've always done a decent job at budgeting for my business and I typically set limits on the amount I spend per year on specific "areas" in my business but this year I decided to take full financial responsibility of my business and really focus on profiting more and running it smoother.

So, what was the easiest quick tips to give someone interested in doing the same? Let me break it down!


Find out your Cost Of Doing Business (CODB)

This might seem obvious (and intimidating) but some people really don't know exactly how much it costs them to run their business. For me, I purchased a guide and found a quick spreadsheet that helped to break down exactly what you needed to pay as well as breaking it down to exactly how much I needed to make per session to get the desired salary I wanted. Here's a quick link to one I found online (not what I used but looks fantastic and easy to use!)

Some things we all don't think of are the hidden costs. The extra business cards we order, the printer ink we use to print invoices, the transaction fees from our credit card readers, maybe the repair/maintenance costs of getting your equipment checked out annually (come on, I can't be the only one who does this way less than I should right?!) but those tiny things can add up to easily over $2000+ of expenses we really don't budget into our expenses for the year.

So, focus really hard, if you have some form of software that you use for accounting that can be pretty easy to calculate with a little work. I love that the worksheet I used let me input how many sessions per year I had planned on booking to break down my costs even more which really let me put down goals of exactly how many sessions I wanted to book!


Create a Worksheet for Budgeted Expenses (and stick to it!)

Once you've figured out your CODB sit down and really start to focus on budgeting and what you need to earn per session to make a profit while still setting aside enough to upgrade business expenses. I like to set aside $XX each year in certain categories for my props and equipment upgrades. These categories include backdrops, newborn outfits/wraps/blankets, boxes/bigger props, and camera/lens upgrades. Each year I use a specific savings account and dump a percentage of that months income into the account. Then, I keep track of my purchases and can purchase the props I've had my eye on with that money. I of course keep track and limit the amount of things depending on what I've already spent in that category.

If my backdrops limit is a max of up to five per year and I've already purchased three by March then the rest of the year I can get two more or find creative ways to diy my own. I do give some wiggle room, so if I were to sell an old drop I don't use I put that money into the account and can then purchase an extra if it's something I need but I really focus on keeping it all within limits.

Same with equipment. I am set up to purchase a new camera body every three years and then lens' on the off years. It's nice to have that in the budget knowing I'm slowly upgrading and swapping out for newer and sharper products. If I were to lump purchase them all, I'd go broke but by spreading it out over a period of time and keeping them rotating through it's super helpful and less stressful on the account.


Set up Auto Transfers for your Budgets

This seems simple when you think about it. Say your budget shows you're putting away, $25 per month for your props fund and $50 a month for camera gear. Set up your business bank account to auto transfer over $75 to a savings account on a set date every month. Just like the website/subscription fees that are being taken out you really won't realize it as a big expense coming out and eventually you'll just budget around those coming out, leaving cushion in the checking account for transfers. 



Again, tough to do when you're starting out (I've been there!) but seriously, find a way to pay yourself a set amount and don't "dip" into extras. It might mean you have to set yourself on a personal budget with your spending habits but by establishing a salary for yourself you can then calculate it out to pay yourself weekly or maybe monthly. Then it's easier to plan ahead and know exactly how much you're getting paid so you can adjust goals if needed.


Find Attainable Goals

Keep in mind that budgeting and finances can be extremely overwhelming so start small and scale as you go. It's taken me quite awhile to establish a solid CODB as well as pushing aside "slush" money funds. When I first started I didn't realize how much it actually costs to run my business, I just transferred over my salary to my personal account and paid bills as they came. By sitting down to create budgets and CODB it really opened my eyes to realize that being pro-active about my business accounting, I could live debt free and afford things that I couldn't before.

Be realistic about your goals. If it's not in the cards to purchase new props every year, that's ok. Focus on building the business the way you want/need to and slowly slip in a few purchases when you can. Maybe it's easier to take some cash out every once in awhile instead? If it works, go for it! (I actually pull every $5 bill that comes into my posession and drop it into a mason jar, then cash it in a few times a year, works great for Christmas funds when it's time to purchase gifts!)

So, there's a few helpful tips/tricks that will hopefully help you take control and not feel like you're constantly just paying your business bills. My biggest goal for this year is to pay for a workshop retreat at a resort in the Carribeans and be able to pay it all in cash by February using my business savings account. This would be so amazing to enjoy a vacation (while learning) and write it off!

What are your goals for your business and how do you budget? I'd love to hear what works for you personally!

Giving Back :: Nebraska Photographer :: Dorchester, Nebraska

Dorcheseter, Nebraska Photographer - Giving Back - Christmas

Growing up I was taught to give back and do good things for those around you. It taught me to love my neighbors, forgive people quickly and always stay positive as you don't understand everyone's personal life or what they're going through.

This year, I wanted to give back to my clients and thank them for trusting me with such personal parts of their lives. It means so much when I have people come to sessions, laugh and have fun and then show them just how beautiful they are. It's no secret we all have confidence issues and sometimes seeing an image of yourself is tough. But I love learning more about their families, I love when their kiddos trust me enough to giggle and act silly. I like learning about my seniors, their future dreams and accomplishments in school activities. I like watching my newborns grow into toddling little one year olds and eventually toddlers with giant personalities. You guys, I love all of my clients and appreciate them for opening their arms and inviting me into their lives.

So, the only way I could think of giving back to them, was to gift them an ornament. Nothing super elaborate but something to remind them of 2016 and their session, and me. I want them to hang it up and be reminded of what their family looked like. To reminse the feelings of how much fun they had. And as the years pass to remind them that there may be several changes in their lives but that moment in time is forever captured to look back on. My favorite time of year is Christmas and I knew this would be perfect. 


But the magical thing wasn't giving back to my clients, the magical part of this whole process has been my heart growing through it. As I was boxing these I looked back and could vividly see how each and every session went. From the spring when we were picking fresh flowers, to the summer swatting mosquitoes or the fall months where I ran on zero sleep but played peek-a-boo with lots of kiddos. I boxed each one up and as I closed the lids to tape them shut I couldn't help but pray for them.

I don't talk about religion often, but I felt I wanted to share this experience. I sealed each box and prayed over every single family and each member by name as I did so. I prayed for a safe 2017, for the health of my families. For posterity and happiness and new things that can help them excel. 

There are so many negative things surrounding this world right now and they're terrifying but I feel if I can do just one tiny thing and share a glimpse of happiness in others lives, I'll do it. No matter the costs.

So, thank you to my 2016 Dirt Road Photography clients. Thanks for giving me a reason to enjoy life, to love your families and inviting me in. You all mean so much more than you realize.

Merry Christmas!!

(Enjoy our Christmas card!)