Lounging Pups

I was at a friend’s house when I caught three of their dogs lounging in the afternoon.

I was at a friend’s house when I caught three of their dogs lounging in the afternoon.

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Lucielle Cleary. Age 103.

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Lucille Cleary shows a book of drawings in the library room at Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation. Cleary turned 103 Jan. 16, 2013.

 

 

Blood Donor

George Schneider donates his 100th pint of blood at the Rawlins Jeffrey Center Aug. 15, 2012. Schneider has been a blood donor since 1974.

George Schneider donates his 100th pint of blood at the Rawlins Jeffrey Center Aug. 15, 2012. Schneider has been a blood donor since 1974.

Don’t they know journalists aren’t good with numbers?

Attending to the business side of owning your own business. It’s the pits.

I’ve never been good with numbers. I’m great at algebra, but only because it involves letters. Math just isn’t my thing. Unfortunately, we all must use it. Whether it’s managing a household, making change, buying anything, leaving a tip or running a business. Math matters. Getting the numbers right matters. And that, my friends, takes an ungodly amount of time. (For me anyway.)

I’ve been on the hunt for a solution to this keeping track of my business accounts thing. My first instinct was to go straight for the Quickbooks. Isn’t that what everyone does? Well, it turns out Quickbooks costs money. It’s not cheap. And I am cheap. We just don’t groove. So I began the hunt for a more affordable solution. By affordable I mean free. And by solution I mean easy way to add and subtract while keeping everything nice and neat in one place.

I came up with a few solutions after researching for hours. Several blog posts helped my search:

http://designwoop.com/2013/03/10-best-accounting-tools-for-freelancers/

http://webdesign.tutsplus.com/articles/roundups/40-well-designed-apps-for-running-your-freelance-business/ (I love tuts plus.com btw.)

I ran into some trouble. After narrowing down my search I came up with Freshbooks.com and Wave.

I love, love, love the Waves accounting system. It is beautiful, easy to use, and is completely free. Yes. Completely FREE. One downfall though — it doesn’t have time tracking. WHAT? How can I freelance without time-tracking?

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The second option is Freshbooks. Free, but extremely limited with the free version. This is absolutely a great time-tracker/invoice cloud-based program. But … it’s ugly, and doesn’t have the features I love in Waves. It does however offer a payment option when you send out your invoices.

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For example, Waves allows you to control expenses for multiple companies and integrates with multiple bank accounts. It keeps track of personal expenses and assets as well as your business and it keeps them separate.

Neither will allow me to import my current system, which is an Excel spreadsheet of my time, into the software. Which is fine, but unfortunate. And creating estimates are rather limited in both.

What do you use for your freelance photography business?

Contently

 

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Another look into my life is through my writing. Although I am a photographer and focus on imagery, I’m a journalist through and through. I recently completed my portfolio with Contently.com. If you would like to see some of my writing, check out my page. Usually I photography my own articles, so you can see more of my photojournalism work on there as well.

https://nicholeballard.contently.com

I would love some feedback!

Exciting news for this girl!

I couldn’t be more excited to announce that I am working with Betsy Bell to develop a new regional business-woman’s magazine. There is so much to do before our January issue, but I’m up for the task and ready to roll up my sleeves more than ever.

I think this is going to be something I can be proud to say I am a part of. Not only am I getting to develop the bones of the magazine, but also a large portion of the content including photographing and writing.

Bring it on. I get started tomorrow!

I’ll post a link to our website as soon as we get it finalized.

In Between

Currently I’m in between. In between moving. In between beginning to freelance in a new town. In between contract negotiations. In between homes.

I won’t lie. It’s a lot. My current “office” is a desk in the laundry room of a friend’s house. My coworkers are a toilet, a washer and a dryer in the basement. I’ve seen better days. But, regardless of my current location, I’ve never felt more in control of where I’m going and that I can make it in business for myself.

So, posting photos is on hold at the moment due to most of my office being in storage. (I had to make an emergency run to Staples for pens and Post-its yesterday.) I do have several posts planned for the following weeks though: What makes a photograph great, Portfolios and how this socially-awkward photographer is succeeding in networking.

If any of my readers has any questions, let me know and I’ll dedicate a post.

The Business of Photography – Finding My Place

Leanne Cole PHOTOGRAPHY

Trying to be a successful photographer is becoming harder and harder.  Photography is so much accessible these days and so many people are doing their own, that for someone to try making it as a photographer means something completely different.  So I have to work out where I fit into all this.  Is there a place for my photography and if there is how do I find the people who want it?

These aren’t new questions, I’ve asked them before. but as I put myself and my work out there, I am finding that the world is not quite as I thought,  and there seems to be a change in the way photographers work.  The word “niche” seems to come out a lot.  Once upon a time if you wanted to be a photographer then you did as much as you could, now, it seems you will never find success if you…

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Early morning musing

It’s 6:23 a.m. in Wyoming. The sun is just coming up and I can’t sleep.

I’ll admit it. I am a night person. If I could reverse the world, people would wake up at 6 p.m. to start their day instead of the ungodly hour that I am finally tired.

This past week all I can think about is my photography and my lack of progress in freelancing. Those questions that plague artists: What should I put in my portfolio? How should they be ordered? Does this reflect my style? What IS my style? Does my brand reflect my photos? Should I update my “About me” page?

No definitive answers have popped up yet, but this is plaguing me. It is weighing on me. My shoulders slouch with each thought and my brain races as I lay in bed staring at nothing while my mind is a hurricane meeting a tornado while an earthquake is let loose. It makes it difficult to sleep.

This sudden bout of insomnia is most probably related to the end of my job. That weird and uncertain in-between time when you move from one state across the country and it is a logistical nightmare. Not having a job nailed down doesn’t help the situation.

But what’s a girl to do? I’ll just sip my coffee, work on my never-ending portfolio and gaze at the beautiful sunrise, and tell myself it’ll all work out.

I gotta take that picture.

Wyo Sunrise

 

Contest Photos

Well, I did it. I entered the Wild West Photo Festival contest in Casper, Wyo., sponsored by 307 Magazine and Wyoming Camera Outfitters. I’m glad I entered.

Of the four photos I submitted all were chosen to be printed and on display for the public. More than 300 photos were entered into the contest. Only the top 150 were chosen to be displayed. I am one of those who were recognized.

So I didn’t win. So what. To me it was an accomplishment. A big accomplishment. Tears actually welled up in my eyes as I saw all of my photos on display, printed 13×9″ in full color. People were stopping in front of them and praising my work while I listened intently from just a few feet away. I really did it, and the public enjoyed my images. It was thrilling. Who cares if I got all sappy!

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Cowboy Portrait

I was thoroughly impressed with nearly all the images selected to be displayed at the festival, and couldn’t argue with the winning photographs chosen for each of the categories. It really was an honor to have my images alongside many of the outstanding photos submitted and chosen. Even a few published professional photographers in Wyoming submitted photos.

Before the unveiling of the top photos, the festival held free workshops with Canon representatives. Since I’m a Canon-lover, I sat through three hours of an intermediate course. It was a great refresher course, but I learned a few things, especially about some of the newest technology and new line of lenses.

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The experience was definitely and eye-opener on my part. You see, I’m slightly (OK, I’m ridiculously) socially awkward. I get anxiety over meeting people. It’s horrible for networking, which I am finding out is mandatory in this business. But the workshops were great. The price was better. And, in a place where I’m so isolated from the rest of the world and especially my photog friends back home, I actually felt a sense of kinship. I was surrounded by people who loved photography as much as I do. I sparked up a conversation over one of the displayed images. ME! Starting a conversation! On purpose! And the best part, it made me feel confident in my skills again. It made me feel confident in my eye for imagery again, to have this stranger agree with me regarding the critique of an image. I miss that. I need that.

My mind is made-up. I’m going to photo events every chance I get once I get my move back to Columbia, Mo. finished. I couldn’t be more excited.