Monday, January 19, 2015

A Photographer's tips for Grads. (guest post)

I asked award winning Swift Current, SK photographer Bobbi-Jo Knakoske (you can check out her web site here: ) for some tips I could share with you for Grad photo sessions. She had some great advice! 

Please note, the photos in this post are the property of Artistic Expressions Photography and cannot be reproduced without the express written permission of the owner. ALSO, all these grads got their gowns at Unforgettable! How cool is that?

Graduation is a fun and exciting time! You have the perfect dress and stunning pair of shoes, your hair is booked, maybe nails and make up too. Make sure to book a professional photographer that will capture the memory of this important occasion.

I book a consultation with the grad before the session for a few reasons:
- I like to know the colour of their dress. This will help in choosing the studio backdrops.We also decide on an outdoor location based on the the Grad’s preference whether it be a tree’d area with the creek or more urban then we’d shoot downtown.
- It's good get a glimpse of their personality and what hobbies they may have. This way the session will be personal and unique to the Grad.  I've had Grads include their cars, band instruments, sports equipment and even their pets!

I try to book in the photo session on any day other than grad day. This works out  best because I can spend more time with the Grad going to a few locations.  It gives us a bit more time and we're not rushed with back to back sessions.

It’s best to book your Grad session ahead of time and to coordinate it with your trial hair run. Make sure to tell your hairdresser that you’re getting your grad pictures taken that day because they will pin everything a bit tighter and make it look more polished if they know you are getting pictures. Try to stay away from hair sparkles because when it's photographed it looks like little white spots rather than sparkles. Also, stay away from getting the 2 little pieces of hair on the side of your face because it gets blown in the wind or it can cause funny shadows on your face.

The most important thing to remember about having your grad portrait taken is to have fun and enjoy the moment!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Counting dresses one by one, e i e i oh . . . .

Ah the new year's eve. That time when people get together with friends, celebrate the end of one year and the start of the next, count their inventory.. .

What? You don't spend New Year's Eve and New Year's Day counting inventory???

One of the more "fun" [if your definition of fun includes complicated computer programs, mile long spreadsheets and hours of squinting at tiny little 'style codes' for hours on end] challenges of retail is keeping track of your inventory. I don't know about other stores, but in my store I have about 3000 SKU's (items unique enough they have their own item code) that we keep track of. Many of those are one of's. i.e. wedding gowns, bridesmaid and grad gown samples, that sort of thing. It takes me two days to prep the counting lists, 6 people a day and a half to count it all and another 2 or 3 days for me to go through everything that doesn't jive and figure out why. It is not my first choice of how I would spend my New Year's, that's for sure.

But weirdly, once it's all done, I love it! I love all the information I have at my disposal once the end of each year counts and accounting are done. What sold? What didn't? Did anything major change since last year? Then the fun one, why? For me, looking over the numbers and finding the patterns and figuring out the why's are one of the best things about being an entrepreneur. ('cause trust me on this, the pay cheque and hours sure aren't! :-) )

Being able to look at my numbers, to understand them and what they mean and why they are, it gives me a great sense of control. Not necessarily peace, because being a small business means those numbers are not always happy numbers. But when it comes to your business financials, what you don't know CAN hurt you. Having this information makes it much easier to make major, and minor, financial decisions.

My 'entrepreneurial tip of the day': Know your numbers. You don't need to be a 'bean counter', but if you are a small business owner, whomever counts your beans needs to be your best friend. Because they know stuff.

Important stuff.

Like if you might actually get to take a vacation this year!