5 Tips to Reduce Photo Shoot Stress

5 Tips to Reduce Photo Shoot Stress

Blog photography

Does the thought of a photo shoot make you cringe and want to hide? I know it can be a daunting task. But trust me, if you follow these tips it will be much easier and you might actually enjoy the process. It’s time to take a leap, and have your photos professionally done. You’ll be so glad you did. Let’s get going and talk about how you can manage the process and take the stress out of your photo shoot.


The key to a successful photo shoot is all in the planning. There are a lot of details to consider and organize. The sooner you have all of the details laid out, the easier it will be. Nobody wants to be worried about what they are going to wear the day before a shoot. I love to use Pinterest to help with my planning. I make private boards with outfits I love, location inspiration and celebrities that always look camera ready. I look at how they pose, their clothing and the general feel of the photograph. Pinterest boards are great to share with anyone involved with your photo shoot. Share with your photographer, makeup artist, stylist…

Make a List (or two)

I am a big list maker. I use Evernote because it helps me stay organized and I can access my lists on all devices. I am never without a list. But, use what makes you comfortable. If you make a list with good old fashioned pencil and paper, good for you. If you like to use Notes on your phone, that works too. I highly suggest that if you are a paper note taker, when you are finished with the list, take a photo of it. Lists can get lost, and you don’t want to stress about that. You have enough to worry about. Here are some lists I make for photo shoots;

  • Locations
  • Outfits
  • Schedule for the day
  • Playlist
  • Props
  • Types of photos
  • Mood of photos

If you are having photos taken for your website or to use on social media, consider shooting in multiple locations. You don’t want all of your photos to look the same. Also choose multiple outfits. This includes jewerly. Mix it up, especially if you are wearing statement necklaces. I shot quite a few in my house, moving furniture around to get the right light and vignettes. Don’t be afraid to mix it up. When the lighting was right, we went outside to shoot. For my most recent shoot, besides my house, we went to the beach, Downtown district and a park. Have fun with locations. Look around your town. Go down streets that you never travel. You might be surprised when you find some hidden gems. It could be as simple as a great brick wall with ivy, an old barn with weathered wood, an historic courthouse or library…

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

It’s important that you are in the right mood for your photo shoot. That’s where music can help. Make a playlist that you can use when on location. For me, I use Pandora. When I was home prepping for my shoot, I listened to an 80’s Rock station that plays lots of Guns ‘n Roses and Bon Jovi. I also really love Adele, especially Rolling in the Deep and Hello. Not sure why, but as soon as I hear her raspy, deep voice, I am instantly singing along and in a great mood.


The most important decision you will make is your choice of photographer. You should connect with her and have confidence that she will help you through the process. Your photographer should understand what your goals are for the photo shoot. Are you looking for horizontal website images? Full body shots? Lifestyle/action images? What is the feel of your brand? Do you want to come across as strong yet approachable? Or are you playful and casual?

For the day of my shoot, I printed out a few pages and put them on a clipboard. This was to help us stay on point and not forget anything. My clipboard list included a few possible logos, my brand colors, details about my brand, location ideas, ideas for props, photos I needed and the moods I needed to express.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

An added benefit of communicating with your photographer is that you will feel less stress on the day of the shoot. I don’t have a great track record with photo shoots and I’m not exactly excited about being in front of the camera. I’d much rather direct clients that are in front of the camera. My last professional photo shoot was four years ago. There was little to no planning involved other than what I was going to wear. The photographer showed up, I was dressed and ready to go. One of our last stops was a nature center. The photographer was directing me where to stand. I kept moving and eventually stepped into a bees nest! I was stung dozens of times and ended up at an urgent care. I had sprained my ankle and the doctor was concerned that I could now be allergic to bees since I was stung so many times. For two years I carried an epi-pen, just in case. The visual was straight out of an ’80’s cartoon where a character is being chased by bees and ends up running into a lake.

My recent photo shoot was, thankfully, not as eventful. Although I did end up with a frog in my house. After a super long day of shooting, I was taking off all the makeup. I looked to the right of my sink and saw a frog plastered against the backsplash! I guess it’s better than bees.

Back to communication. With all of the pre-planning that my amazing photographer provided, I was not even a little stressed. I felt completely at ease. In fact, the morning of the shoot, I even had time to go to the gym. I’d highly recommend you consider using Heidi Hapanowicz for your next photo shoot. When you buy one of her packages she gives you Personal Branding Photography Course, a $499. bonus for free. It is pure gold! In this webinar series she teaches you how to;

  • Define your brand
  • Choose locations
  • Find flattering outfits
  • Pose
  • Understand your body language
  • And so much more!

Can’t travel to your shoot? Don’t worry! Heidi does the traveling for you. On her schedule this year, she will shoot in Miami, NYC, Greece, Paris, Italy, Cannes/Nice, London and Chicago!

[I am not an affiliate. I do not benefit in any way if you purchase a photo shoot with Heidi]


Pick a location in your house where you can lay out all of your clothing, shoes, accessories and props. I ordered a garment rack so I could have all of my outfits clearly organized and ready to go. You can get them for around $24.00 here.

Before my photo shoot, I was easily able to line up all of my items, make sure they were pressed and make sure that I had all needed accessories. Looking at everything nicely organized makes it easy to see if something is missing.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

If your brand colors are grey, navy and green, you probably don’t want to have your photo taken wearing purple or orange.

Photoshoot | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Take a Deep Breath

If you are stressed it will show in your images. Remember throughout the process to take a deep breath. Sometimes it helps to just look up at the amazing sky and to think about all the things you are thankful for. It also helps to think about something funny. Lighten the mood a bit and have a great time.

Remember that social media and your online presence should reflect the real you. Not a made-up, fantasy you. If you want to connect with people on a personal level, build their trust and eventually work together, you need to be real and show your personality. People like genuine, down-to-earth, likeable people. Be you, not somebody else.

Bonus: Read this for more helpful tips on having a great profile image and why it matters.

When was the last time you had your photos taken for business? Tell me what it was like. Where you happy with the final images and the process? What could have been better and why? Lastly, if you loved your photographer, let me know. I’m always happy to meet people that are great at what they do.

Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

3 Ways to Build Customer Relationships

3 Ways to Build Customer Relationships

Blog Customer Service

What if your customers disappeared tomorrow?

Would you wish that you had nurtured those relationships instead of taking them for granted? If you’re like most of us, you didn’t open your business and have hundreds of customers knocking down your doors. You worked hard for your first customer and likely continue to work hard for each and every new customer. Building a lasting relationship with your customers is much like working out. While it would be great if we could go the the gym once and be fit for life, sadly that is not the reality. If we want to be in great shape, we need to work at it everyday. You need to lift weights, take a spin class or two and make healthy choices in the kitchen. The same goes for building customer relationships. You might be the most energetic, magnetic, memorable person on the planet, but you still need to establish, build and nurture those relationships. It’s time to do some heavy lifting and marathon training where your customers are concerned. Here are three ways to build a relationship with your customers.

#1: Thank Them

I am big on the value of a thank you card. As a business owner, it doesn’t matter if a person is a one-time or a long-term client. Sending a thank you and letting each customer know they are appreciated might turn them into long-term clients. And they will be more likely to recommend your business to family and friends if they have had a positive experience. A thank you is like icing on a cupcake. You would likely have enjoyed the cupcake all by itself, but with the icing it’s that much sweeter. Just this week I received a hand-written note from a person I have only met once. We are connected via a private Facebook group. A note from her was completely unexpected and greatly appreciated. Receiving this note furthers our relationship and makes me feel more connected. People like to feel appreciated. It doesn’t take much effort, but can have measurable, lasting results.

#2: Express Genuine Appreciation

Do you ever receive mailers offering “new customers” a special price or savings? When I receive those, I wonder why new customers are more important than loyal, existing customers. Do you know what it costs to acquire a new customer? If you’ve ever looked into it, you’ll know that is a lot cheaper and easier to keep existing customers. According to an article on Entrepreneur.com, written by Lon Safko,

One miscalculation that many business owners make involves the ease with which they will attract customers. This is called field of dreams marketing. Small-business owners are generally experts in some other areas and somehow they believe that if the core message of their marketing is, “Hey! We are selling XYZ, and we’re now open!” people will start pouring through the door.

When I was researching data for this post, I found many articles all with widely varying statistics about how much it costs to acquire a new customer versus keeping an existing customer. Some sources say it costs 4 – 10 times to acquire a new customer as it does to retain current customers. Other sources say it’s as high as 30 times more! If that doesn’t make you appreciate your current customers, I don’t know what will. They are valuable – make sure they know it!

#3: Connect With Them, As People

This can be as simple as an email. We have all heard the old adage, out of sight out of mind. It’s never a good thing to be “out of mind” of your customers. Do you ever send a message to an existing customer just to say hello? I’m sure you send your usual funnel of emails and offers to purchase your latest products or services. But, do you ever really just send them an email that is completely for them? It could be a free download, a webinar series or other piece of information that would benefit your customers, without benefit to you.

For those of you that work from home, this next one can be tough, but trust me – it’s essential. Networking. Yes, I said it. You need to get out and network. While I’d hope your customers would be happy to receive your emails, I bet they would still prefer to see you in person. Have you ever been friends with someone on social media and then you get the chance to meet in real life? I have and it was amazing, on many levels. Here are a few stories.

Thank You | Gramercy Social | Sonja Pound

In 2013, I decided to attend a Mari Smith event. I had been following and learning from her for years. The event she was promoting was for an intimate group of people (I think it was 20) to spend two days with her to learn about Facebook and online marketing. As an add-on, I chose to spend a third day with her and only 5 other people. For years I knew all about the online Mari, but I had never interacted with her face-to-face. She is genuine and caring online, but meeting her in person and spending real time with her allowed me to get to know more about her. It allowed us to connect on a personal level that had nothing to do with Facebook. We found that we had more than just social media in common.

Have you ever heard of Lisa Larter? She is another woman I had the privilege of meeting in person. I noticed her Facebook group one day in my sidebar. I don’t know if it was an ad or if I had friends that were in the group. Something compelled me to click. I joined one of her private Facebook groups and began interacting with her and the group. I learned a lot from her and months later found out that she lives not too far from me. We arranged to meet in person just a few months ago. She was delightful. I really appreciate strong women that tell it like it is. That’s how I describe Lisa.  She is incredibly smart, giving, thoughtful and savvy. Again, meeting her in person, allowed me to see if the online Lisa was at all like the real person. I couldn’t have been happier that they are one in the same. Her personality really comes across on Facebook Live, her posts and in her book. But if you ever have the opportunity to attend one of her events – hurry up and register! If you aren’t already following her, start here.

You can also connect with people you know online that sell products. I connected with Vickie MacFadden who owns PromoRX, a company that sells upscale promotional items. We have only spoken on the phone once, but we refer work to each other, knowing that we both have the same quality standard and work ethic. We continually build our relationship by referrals, emails and providing feedback for each other.

These three women know exactly how to build and nurture relationships. Just this week I received a wonderful, hand-written note from Lisa. Small gestures like that are meaningful and will make your customers see how important they are. I have probably read the note she sent to me, somewhere in the neighborhood of five times. It makes me smile every time. And, a few months ago Vickie sent me a water bottle that her company sells. Each time I use it, I think of her and it makes me smile.

These two meetings with Mari and Lisa would not have happened if I sat home and decided not to network. Nor would they have happened if they didn’t value relationships. Sometimes, you need to get out of your comfort zone and push yourself. I would not have built relationships with these two women from my home office.

Do you have other ideas for building customer relationships? How do you thank your existing customer? Have you received a thank you that reminded you that the business appreciated and valued you?

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.

Instagram Has a New BFF

Blog social media

…and you’re going to be so happy they met! Instagram is a great tool. Not only is it fun to see what people choose to share, it’s also a great way to build relationships while marketing your business. But, if you aren’t using certain shortcuts, it can be a HUGE time commitment. Watch this short video or follow the steps below to make posting faster and easier.

Quick How-to Guide

  1. Sign in to your Evernote account on your laptop.
  2. Create a NOTE for hashtags. Here’s what mine looks like; Evernote | Instagram | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social
  3. Breakdown hashtags you use for certain posts. For instance, I use the same hashtags when I post about design, and a different set of hashtags when I am posting a business tip.
  4. Create another NOTE for all of your blog posts. I create a post for each new blog and keep it in this section so I can easily copy and paste if I want to share it on any social network. It’s also great if you have a potential or existing client that is looking for certain information and you can easily send one of your blog posts to them. Here is what that looks like; Evernote | Instagram | Sonja Pound | Gramercy Social
  5. Ready to post on Instagram? Simply go into Instagram, add your photo, write a caption, choose a filter, add a location and tag people. Then go to your mobile Evernote app and open the note that contains your hashtags. Select and copy the appropriate group of hashtags.
  6. Go back into Instagram and paste those hashtags at the end of your post.
  7. Not sure how to do that? On an iPhone, you can double click on the HOME button and see all of the windows/apps you have open. Scroll using a swiping motion to find Instagram and then click on it. When you are done, if you need to return to Evernote, do the same thing again.

How much time do you spend on Instagram?

If you spend just a short amount of time setting up an Instagram notebook on Evernote, I’m positive it will save you time every time you share a photo on Instagram. Try using Evernote with Instagram and let me know how much time it saves you and if you find any other time-saving ways to use Evernote.

Here’s a bonus tip…

You can use the same steps to save time on Facebook and when sending emails. If there is any content that you routinely share, create a notebook and populate it will any information you might need to share. Are you often sharing affiliate links? Make a note that includes all of your links so you can quickly share.
Leave a comment below with any tips you love when using Instagram or Evernote. After you do that, say hello on Instagram.
Looking for more tips on how to be more productive, optimize social media, create amazing websites and graphics and how to create a team to collaborate with? Then join my newsletter community. At the moment, I only send a newsletter once per month and ONLY with information that I think will help you and your business. Join me here.

Social Media Manager ★ Second Opinion ★ Your Virtual Partner

Let’s focus on what you need and how I can help. Whether it’s Facebook management, a review of your website, testing of a new product, critique of packaging and shipping, undercover customer visits or anything in between – let me know. My goal is to give you more time to focus on your business and clients, while I handle the rest.