Giveaway | Engagement Session

It’s day TWO of this weeks giveaways, and today I’m giving away a TWO hour engagement or anniversary session! It’s almost engagement season, so this would be the perfect opportunity at a chance to get one!

Winner must be located around the Cleveland/Akron area (unless you’re willing to pay for travel of course..;) )

The giveaway is being done over on my Instagram acount! Follow the link below to my Instagram, find and click on the photo shown above, and follow the details in the caption on how to win!!

ENTER GIVEAWAY HERE!

Goodluck!!

It’s a giveaway!

I’ve been teasing it for about a week now on all my social media, but Andrew Smith Photography is getting a brand new look with a brand new website! This blog won’t change much since I’ve already made minor adjustments, but I’m so excited to show you all I’ve been working on for the last couple months!

Almost two years ago I launched my current site, and for a while it served me well. Since then I have refined my style, there have been new internet upgrades, and I started to feel like it was becoming a little outdated.

This Friday, December 2, I will be launching the new and improved site! Leading up to the day I will be announcing numerous giveaways that start today!!

Today’s giveaway is a brand new ONA Bowery camera bag! I bought my first ONA bag a little over three years ago and I have been obsessed since! This bag would be perfect for anyone who loves to travel!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Lindsey + Joe | Engagements

Fall has arrived!!! What better way to to celebrate than to do a gorgeous engagement session on a perfect autumn night! That’s just what Lindsey and Joe did this past Tuesday evening and it literally couldn’t have been more picture perfect! I never thought I would be photographing a couple on November 1st in a t-shirt but I got to!

Other than the flawless weather, these two came flawless as well and dressed to impress!! I seriously thought I was taking pics for a magazine the whole time! 🙂 Lindsey and Joe’s engagement session took place in Cleveland at the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Cultural Gardens. It never gets old photographing there…especially during the seasons!

I’ll stop rambling and let you check out their stunning photos from the session! Congrtas

Callie + Hans | Engagements

I apologize…it’s been way too long since I last blogged! It’s been quite the busy summer full of weddings and engagements! (Not to mention to new tech company I’m starting).

I’m so excited to share with you Callie and Hans engagements though! I think their photos are the perfect way to start up the blog again! They claim their not models, but after photographing them I was seriously doubting their claim. 😉 They had the most infectious smiles, and were a total blast to work with! I can’t wait of their wedding next year! Congrats you guys!

We Moved!!

I haven’t really made it public this past year, but a year and a half ago Emily and I made the decision to move in with her parents. It was two weeks after I quit my engineering position and we were on a mission to start saving money. Emily’s parents were gracious enough to open their basement up to us, and that is exactly where I have been running the business out of for the last year!

I’ll say, it was a little embarrassing to admit we lived in a basement… In her parents house! However, we have big dreams, and sometimes you have to rough it out to make it happen! It wasn’t easy, and often times I found myself down about where we were at in our lives. I went from living in a large, bright, and open apartment to a dim, cool, and significantly smaller space. This is the reason the local Starbucks had become my second home!

Since the beginning of the year we had been entertaining the though of moving out, but fear kept us from doing it. If we were to move out of the safety of the basement we would finally have to pay rent and bills for the first time since I went from engineer to full-time photographer! The pressure and realization that my business would be supporting me to pay the bills was daunting and frightening! What if inquiries all of a sudden stopped and I started making significantly less of an income?!

As you may have gathered from my posts about my Vivid Vision, my monthly goals, and my productivity transformation it’s pretty simple to see that this month I’m focused on personal growth. And the one thing I needed to get over was the fear of failure! In all the books that I’ve read and all the people that I’ve heard from I learned I need to stop thinking worst possible outcome, and start thinking best outcome!

So with that I decided to finally take the jump and get us out of the basement! We saved up and paid off some bills we wanted, but the time felt right and it was time to stop fearing the worst possible outcome of making a move like this.

We are both so excited to show you the progress of the move, and we hope you check back on our progress! Horray!!…I finally have a place to start hosting workshops again!!

6 Tips to Boost Your Productivity

Do you ever feel like there’s never enough time in a day to get anything done? You have that to-do list sitting on your desk, and you’re adding to it quicker than you’re crossing things off? It’s annoying, frustrating, and un-motivating isn’t it??

If you read my blog post a couple days ago I talked about my goals for this month. My objective this month (not my goal) is to get myself into a daily routine! From day one of quitting my 9-5, and at the start of running my business full-time I lacked a routine. Some days I would spend hours in front of the computer working, while others I would spend time in front of the television procrastinating. Some nights I would go to bed at a decent time, while other nights I’d lie awake till 3:00am binging on YouTube. I’ll admit this was my life up until a couple weeks ago.

The sad part was I knew I had stuff to do. Yes I would go to Starbucks during the day with my MacBook and planner, but the work I was doing never felt complete. I would “work” for hours, but never felt like I accomplished anything….Why?

I read a book a couple weeks ago called “Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus and Sharpen Your Creative Mind” published by 99U. Since day one of becoming full-time in my business I knew I needed a set routine, but had no clue how to start building one. I knew I could possibly unlock some potential I was wasting deep inside, but how could I tap into it and start living the productive/creative life I knew I was capable of?

Since reading “Manage Your Day-to-Day”, I have read a few more books that have helped to impact my routine. However, you can read all the self-help books you want, but nothing in your life will change until you actually decide to….HELP YOUR SELF. So that’s exactly what I started doing. With the objective of creating a routine, I set goals for myself to help me stay on track. It’s been a little over a week since I started finding my groove, but let me tell you this…IT IS WORKING. I’ll share later on with you what my routine looks like, but today I wanted to share with you what I’m doing to feel and become more productive!

What are some things you do to boost your productivity? Here are six of mine:

Environment – Find a place that you enjoy and do your best work. You might find you’re more productive when relaxed on the couch, OR you may enjoy your favorite music through your earphones as you’re working from Starbucks. Find what works for you, and stick with it! If you have an office, but find it doesn’t inspire you…try sprucing it up to make it your haven of productivity!

Turn off Distractions – This was a huge productivity killer for me. I’d have my MacBook open with notifications turned on..sitting next to my iPhone that was blowing up with texts, e-mails, news updates, etc…while ALSO receiving the same notifications on my Apple Watch! It’s a wonder I ever got a single thing accomplished. So try this: TURN OFF YOUR NOTIFICATIONS! Seriously, put the “Do Not Disturb” to on, and put your phone away. (I’ve found that when I don’t see my phone I’m less likely to look at it.)

Block time and take breaks! – Whenever I was trying to work on a large project I needed to sit in front of the computer for hours working to feel productive. In reality within those hours I was…Talking to friends, checking Instagram, finding food, browsing the internet…pretty much anything that would prolong me from finishing what I was working on. To combat this I started working in 60-90min frames of time and worked rigorously for those minutes. (All while having my distractions turned off) Once that time was up I would stand up, walk around, and take a nice 15 minute break. Giving myself the chance to see the two people that liked my Instagram post while I was working. 😉

Break it up! – Do you have some big, hairy, audacious goal you have set for yourself?! If so, it can seem a little overwhelming when you stop and think of everything you have do in order to accomplish it.  I’ve found that it’s best to break larger project into little projects. So think to yourself how you can break up what you’re doing. As you complete each little project you’re going to feel motivated to finish the next. These little victories will motivate you to keep working until you’re sitting there behind you’re computer throwing your hands up in excitement because YOU ARE DONE.

You’re not perfect – Sorry to break it you…but you’re not. As much as we try to do everything perfectly, what we really end up doing is wasting our time. What you perceive as perfection, another person may perceive as crap. So stop worrying about being perfect. Now with that said don’t be half-assing your work…Do your best, but realize that “Good enough” is in fact…good enough.

Take Care of Yourself – I’ll be honest…When I have a lot on my plate anxiety eats me up, and I find myself on the couch binge watching Friends instead of doing what I need to be doing. That’s why when I would hear people constantly talking up how meditation changed their lives I decided..sure why not?! It’s been 14 days since I started meditating, and wow does it work! It has completely relaxed me, and had made me feel nothing but positive about life! This in turn has helped me focus on what I need to do NOW instead of worrying about little things that can wait. If you’re skeptical, give it a try! This can also be said for eating healthier, working out, and getting enough sleep! The better your body is feeling the more productive you’ll be!

My First Trip to California!

 

I’ve traveled up and down the east coast countless times. From New York, to the Carolinas, to Florida, New Orleans, the Mid-West and East coast is home, and I’m ashamed to say I haven’t traveled out west as much as I’d like. BUT…I’m making progress! Last year around this time I pushed further west with my trip to Vegas for WPPI. Then last October Emily and I flew out to Scottsdale, AZ for the United retreat!

We had a blast traveling to those places, but one destination seemed to keep eluding my wishlist of travel destinations…California. I have so many photographer friends that live there, but yet never visited! When I booked a wedding for this year and found that the couple lived in LA I decide it was time to get out of Ohio and finally cross California off my wishlist!

Right after the Rising Tide Society leadership retreat in Charleston, SC I boarded a plane headed for the west coast! This time it was truly the west coast! My flight landed in LA around 7:30pm, I picked up my sweet rental from Sixt Rentals, and I was on my way to explore!

The first night was pretty uneventful as I checked into my hotel, ordered a pizza, and relaxed the rest of the night. The fun began the following morning…After waking up at 5:30am (8:30am on the east coast) I got a good workout in at the LA Fitness across the street. After I showered and packed up I was on the road headed for Venice Beach. A couple weeks before my trip a friend had told me that this was where Snapchat was headquartered, so I wanted to check out where all the magic happened!

Once I got the beach I’d have to say I was a little disappointed! The beach was completely covered by fog, and you could barely even see the Pacific Ocean. I strolled down the beach around 10:30am, and most everything at this time was still closed so needless to say there weren’t many people out. I began walking towards where the map on my phone was saying Snapchat’s headquarters was. I walked a little over a mile to find that…(drum roll)…Snapchat’s headquarters was vacant and boarded up! Later I found that they had moved to a space in LA!

Despite the disappointments earlier in the day, my experience got much better as I left Venice Beach and headed towards Santa Barbara. My friends at Agree.com, PASS, and Shoot and Share had recently moved into a new headquarters there and I decided to go up and visit them! They have been such an incredible vehicle for change in the photography community, and I am nothing but excited for everything they’re doing!

The drive up to Santa Barbara was absolutely breathtaking! I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my friends in their new offices, worked a little bit on some new ideas I had thought up for Social, and grabbed some good food later that evening at an amazing Mexican restaraunt where we met up with some more friends!

The remainder of the trip I stayed in Burbank, CA with a friend who showed me all around the hills of Hollywood, Studio City, and other various areas! The trip was absolutely inspring, and kinda gave me the itch to move out to Cali some day! Here’s so pics of my adventure! 🙂

How nice are these views and this headquarters?!!

My BMW 228i for 9 days! I only got to put the top down for half the trip…I picked the cold week to go…

Friday Favorite | Native Union

I absolutely love design. Especially when it’s mimimal…That’s why when looking for a stand for my Apple Watch it started becoming impossible to find one that fit my style. I had almost given up hope until one day on Facebook I stumbled across an ad for a company called Native Union. Finally an ad that turned out to be beneficial!!

As I browsesd their website I began to notice that they not only sold Apple Watch stands, but ones for your iPhone, as well as beautifully designed phone cases. FINALLY some nicely designed products that meshed with my style!

Without hesitation I order an Apple Watch and Phone dock (seperate items), and a phone case. Within a few days all items arrived on the doorstep, and without wasting time quickly rushed to open the box. It seriously felt like Christmas.

The first items to be opened were the docks. I quickly assembled two pieces together for each dock and sat tham on my night stand. They were perfect. Next came the phone case. While I opened the box I began to see the design and was struck to find the case was broken, and had multiple design defects. In addition to the defects it was the wrong design! You might be scratching your heads at this point, and baffled as to why I would say Native Union deserves to be featured as a “Favorite.” Well the truth of the matter is within a few hours of writing a complaint I heard back immediately from the company, they aplogized, promised to fix the problem, and within a short amount of days I received my new case…the correct design and flawless.

You can check out more of thier products at www.nativeunion.com

My April Goals!

March has been quite the month! Early on in the month I got to travel to Charleston, LA, AND Vegas! What a month! My trip to LA was my first ever to California and I completely fell in love! (More about my visit in my next post) Vegas was pretty great as well with WPPI!

In addition to all the traveling March has really been a month of self reflection and improvement. I’ve recently started listening to podcasts more frequently, reading books more often, and really focusing on creating a personal routine that helps set me up for success.

I read three books that have really helped change my perspective on life and business, and I highly recommend you check them out! The first one was “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi. I suggest EVERYONE read this book! It taught me so much about how to meet, network, and build relationships with people! The second book (which I finished in a day) was “Manage Your Day-to-Day by 99U. After reading this book I wanted to completely change my daily routine! Which is exactly what some of my goals for April are going to help me with! The last book I read which literally took me an hour and a half to read was “It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want to Be” by Paul Arden. This was seriously the easiest book to read, but it was really motivating and fun!

I’ve learned a lot through these podcasts and books, and in April my objective is to focus on what I’ve learned and apply them to my everyday routine. I have to admit I’ve already started a couple days ago, and I can feel a HUGE change in my productivity and overall emotion! As you can tell…I went from blogging once or twice a month to three times within the last week! Here’s to keeping the habits!

April Goals

Personal

  • Meditate once a day for at least five minutes
  • Exercise for a minimum of 45 min each day
  • Eat out a maximum of 3x/wk (This is an important one!)
  • Read 3 more books
  • Travel to San Fransisco
  • Continue to work on making my routine a habit

Business

  • Book two more (and final) 2016 weddings
  • Finish entering all 2016 client info into ShootFlow
  • Blog at least twice a week
  • Send newsletter once a week
  • Create Social Media system for automated posts
  • Finish the 2017 Wedding Pricing Guide
  • Receive 10,000 page monthly blog views

My Vivid Vision

It wasn’t more than a few days ago that I was two miles in on the treadmill listening to “The Suitcase Entrepreneur” podcast. In this particular episode the host Natalie Sisson discussed turning your dreams into reality. Referencing Cameron Herald’s book Double Double, she discussed what he calls your “Vivid Vision”.

Essentially what your Vivid Vision is is a detailed view of what your life will be three years from now. It’s narrated in the present tense to give you a sense of what your life would be like if you were living it at this very moment.

While I was making mine the experience really made me think of where I wanted to be in the future. It’s so easy to get complacent living day to day with no directed focus in where we want our lives to go. Personaly I have thoughts every now and then of the places I want to go, the carreer I want, and the life I desire, but I have never really sat down and actually defined exactly what I want it to look like. I believe by not doing this I haven’t allowed myself to make the proper goals towards the life I want to live.

If you want to make your own Vivid Vision I highly reccomend you read Cameron’s first chapter of Double Double that you can find here. As he suggests I recommend sitting down with pen and paper to write it out. Your computer can end up distracting you, and take your focus away from your vision.

It was a little bitter sweet after I finished mine…Once complete I looked it over and noticed that in not one page I talked about my photography business. It made me really reflect and realize that I’m aware I won’t be able to photograph weddings forever. However, I believe I can change more lives through Social and that is where I want my attention to be in three years.

** DISCLAIMER **

Now before you jump to think this is an announcement that I’m giving up wedding photography…IT IS NOT. Let me be clear; this a vision of where I will be in three years. If and when any of this happens during the journey of getting there I will have to make that decision, but right now I’m still fully vested in my photography business. I have 18 amazing couples this year that I couldn’t be more excited to capture their day. As much as I’m currently working on building this second business the attention all my clients deserve will not lessen. I’m still as in love with wedding photography now, as I was at day one. 🙂

So…with that said I would like to introduce to you my vision for year 2019! If after reading this you want to create your own I’d love to see it! Don’t be afraid to share your dreams…there’s always people out there that can help you reach them. You just need to make them visible!