In Category: ‘Biz Stuff’

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >

Happy New Year to all! 2009 wrapped up with much hustle and bustle. So here I am celebrating a whole new year, a brand new blog site and a great award.

I know, I know…some vendors say this is just a marketing ploy from WeddingWire. But I take it as a great compliment to be recognized for giving great service to my brides. A big thank you goes out to all of you who submitted feedback for me in 2009, making this award possible. I’m really excited to be counted amongst the winning vendors, and more so for a second year in a row!

Here’s to a rockin’ 2010!

BCA Plum Tree Studios Wins Brides Choice Award 2010

There is a pretty clear line dividing the photographers who choose to feature music on their sites and those who don’t. It’s a bit of a heated debate easily found on various community forums. I understand both sides pretty clearly and think that both have their valid points. But in the end, as it does with almost everything else, it comes down to a personal decision.

For me, it’s like adding the music to a movie – personality, let’s say. After all, I’ve said it many times that I looove music, and my everyday life is hardly ever without its soundtrack. — As it happens, right this very moment it’s moving to Ingrid Michaelson’s The Hat.

Why should my website be any different? After much self-debate I opted to include music on my site. But there was a smidge of a problem.

Going back to said photography argument, one of its key points of argument centers on the difficulty in obtaining permission or rights to legally feature music. Many websites out there routinely post music illegally without any regard to artist rights. As an artist myself, I wanted to avoid doing this to anyone at all costs. It is a bit ironic that many photographers out there have no qualms about doing so, which sparks the debate on and on.

So I started doing some research to adhere to my personal principals. At first, I went the route that most people go. I tried contacting Indie artists via their websites/social networks to request permission or info on obtaining a license. But I quickly found that it is as difficult to garnish a response from these artists as it is from the big label ones. After a lot of online reading, I found the answer: BMI.

BMI’s licensing service offers folks the ability to feature music from countless artists – big names and newbies alike – for a fee roughly starting at $350 annually. It’s relatively easy to set up an account and the quarterly reports are simple as well.

If you are thinking of featuring music on your site, BMI is a great solution. The moderate cost is well justified by the wealth of music available, and the peace of mind that comes from doing the right thing and respecting the work of others.

Wedding Wire has completed the first annual Bride’s Choice Awards and Plum Tree Studios has been selected amongst 100,000-plus vendors as a top pick for wedding photography in 2009!

The award is given based on responses from actual brides who were surveyed about Plum Tree’s photography services with criteria regarding service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. I am so incredibly honored and thankful for your positive feedback!

I can’t find the words for the blessing it is to do what I do. Being a wedding photographer is one of the absolute best jobs in the world and I am delighted to receive such an amazing award! Thank you so very much for making it possible!

BCA logo Plum Tree Studios Wins The 2009 Brides Choice Award!

Making Your Own Luck

November 11, 2008
Okay, I’ll admit it. I admire David Jay like a pre-teen from the 80s who gushes over rag-mag heart throbs. But in a professional way. Seriously. ;)

I think this man is single-handedly creating a better world for all of us by filling it with people who truly get what it means to spread joy and kindness. Meet Wayne Toshikazu: former lawyer turned amazing photographer. Wayne is like most of us. Yearning for freedom in his life, self-fulfillment, and that feeling of great happiness that comes from knowing you are exactly where you are meant to be. This year, Wayne took his leap and has been met on the other side with– what I can only imagine to be– astounding rewards with more yet to come.
Taking this kind of leap takes more than just courage. It takes faith. Seeing him inspires me and, I think, inspires others to do the same. I hope that, whoever you are reading this blog, can feel inspired too. That you can get this small glimpse into someone else’s journey to freedom and find the faith to take one of your own…whatever that may be. Because if we are all so lucky, we’ll be that much better for it, and our world will be too.
Okay, so David is not single-handedly doing this. It is ALL of us, together. On the whole, we are a land of great people searching for ways to do great things and for great reasons. In searching, we (in photography) find David, leading the way by example and providing incredible tools to make it that much easier. We should all be so lucky in our journeys.
Godspeed my friends.
UPDATE: Wayne is an almost lawyer turned rad photographer. ;)

It’s up and running folks! There’s a brand-spanking new social network where you can interact with fellow photogs who are inspired and have a lot to share! I’ve just been fired up since attending the Free To Succeed seminar with Jasmine Star and David Jay.

It’s been great meeting some of you in person, getting comments on the blog as well as a the wonderful exchange of emails. There are so many other questions and ideas to share…so, if you’d like to continue, come join!

Just email me at for your invitation.

You cannot miss it. Bottom line.

If you are a photographer who is entering the business, treading water trying to learn and grow, or you are a several-year pro looking to revitalize your business in this challenging economy, you absolutely MUST attend this seminar.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that for $100 (or $50, if you’re smart enough to book it FAST) I would obtain such a plethora of useful and home-hitting information, crucial to helping me get to where I want to be…as a photographer and as a citizen of this world.

So when I got the one-and-only email announcing the tour and their very first stop here in Houston, TX I could not help but think that for a measly hundred bucks (in comparison to what other seminars charge) this had to be nothing shy of an “infomercial” style workshop, geared towards pushing products and services for sale. But still, I could not pass it up. You see, I’ve been a big fan of David Jay for over a year now. In a way, I credit part of what I’ve done with Plum Tree to the inspiration I got from seeing his website, reading a little of his blog and learning what a great person (not just photographer) he truly is. David made “it” tangible for me.

—I have to put a timeout here and apologize for what I’m sure will seem like scatterbrained gobbledygook in the morning…I’m just so excited that I cannot write quick enough to capture all my thoughts! —-

What David and Jasmine are doing is simply revolutionizing our industry. They are building bridges for the photographer community. I confess that many times I’ve longed to connect with a fellow local photographer, ask questions, share experiences and support, but have been stopped by the fear of competition. One of the greatest messages from this seminar is that forgetting or failing to network within our own group of fellow photographers is a huge mistake. We can only grow as we build upon our strengths, openly share our weaknesses and refer to one another. We cannot do it all alone. This, among other things was a great truth shared at tonight’s seminar.

To that end, I’m starting a monthly “Photographer’s Think Tank” along with my new friend Jamie Johnson and a few others that I’ve met tonight. I hope more will join!

So, to wrap it up, I left this workshop tonight feeling empowered, inspired and renewed. I have a better understanding of my goals, how and why I want to get there and, yes, some knowledge of a few great products to facilitate it all. I also have one other great photographer to idolize: Jasmine Star. Both her and David gave me real life examples of how branding works, how marketing works, how the world of business works and how they’ve made it work for them.

This is by far one of the best things I’ve done for my business and for myself personally. You should, too.

Okay, I’ll admit it: at first glance it is a bit misleading.

I do not, nor ever will have a traditional portrait studio. So why choose such a name for my company?

It’s more about my approach and my style of photography rather than the setting. I value natural light and genuine expression above all else. So, you’ll never catch me doing the “traditional” style portrait session.

Did you know that in the olden days photography was so expensive, and such a privilege reserved for upper classes, that when posing for portraits the subject was instructed to render their most “serious” and “respectful” expression? No wonder my grandma looks like she’s at a funeral in her wedding portrait! Really, look at old photos, I mean the ones from 1930 and before, and you’ll see that everyone’s got their poker face on.

Anyway, back to the answer for the burning question…

I consider the World to be my studio. Nature, cityscapes, your sofa…this is my studio. I do have nice backdrops for more formal purposes, and if you catch me using them, it’s usually in an outdoor setting. Natural light is just so much nicer for your beautiful mug!

And then, there’s the “Plum Tree” part…there’s a

whole other blog devoted to this one!

Happy Reading! :)

What a glorious day! First day of Spring, beautiful weather…and some great news I’ve gotten:

featured And the Sun is Shining!

I am so honored to be recognized among such a fantastic community of artists! :)

The New Website

February 17, 2008

WEB The New Website

I am so very excited about the new website! In truth, it launched earlier this month and it has been such a whirlwind. I’ve been meaning to blog all about my experience in setting up, and now the enjoyment of seeing it to fruition…but it’s working so well that two weeks later, I’m just barely getting here.

Firstly, I’d like to thank my good friend Javier Avellan at Schipul for all of his assistance in maximizing the search engine optimization (SEO) for my site. His suggestions have made all the difference in the world in helping folks out there in web-land find my website in the sea of sites available. I’ve learned so much about SEO and search engine marketing. There were many times that I thought my head would explode, but Javier helped me keep things in perspective, broke down the principles very clearly and steered me in the right direction. Schipul is an incredible company, run by a team of creative and caring people who really have your company’s best interest at heart. Based out of Houston, they assist companies all over the globe to maximize their web presence and marketing strategies. Best of all, they are so confident in what they do, that they will even host you at their free monthly seminars, whether you book their services or not. Who does that?

Schipul does.

So why worry about the optimization of your website, you ask? Well, because it can really make or break your business. Do the wrong thing and you can be harder to find on the web than a needle in a haystack. Something I didn’t know, search engines actually punish you for doing the wrong things and launch your website into deep oblivion so nobody even knows you exist. Likewise, do the right thing and they LUV you…putting you at the coveted spots towards the top of the page on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. Paying your way is just not enough anymore, and let’s face it; we don’t all have the deep pockets that the bigger companies have.

One of the coolest examples of SEO is Adobe Acrobat Reader. Did you know that if you search the words “click here” on Google the very first thing that pops up is the Adobe Reader Download page? To the unknowing (like I was) this may seem insignificant, but the reason this happens is that just about everyone who has a link to Adobe on their page also has those two words linked to the download site. Often times the link and the words are one in the same. And poof, just like that, two little words now have a very direct path to the number one information exchange software around. That’s a pretty good formula for success. But don’t take my word for it. Give it a try for yourself and marvel at the results! If you have a business with web presence it behooves you to learn more about SEO and SEM. I am so very glad I did.

Next, I have to give a shout out to my friend Jen Martino at Portfiliositez. Jen is one half of a very creative duo that launched an innovative web design service for photographers and artists last year. I cannot tell you how many hours I spent searching for a company that could provide the tools to build the website that I envisioned WITHOUT costing me my arm and leg, and head and torso! I was so close to booking bludomain, but after researching and seeing the horrible reviews about customer service (they basically take your money and drop you like a hot potato) I was wise enough to skip on their deal. Thankfully, it was right around the time when I wanted to give up that I found Jen and Jamie. They really were a God send. Not only do they have some of the most creative layouts out there, but their customer service is bar none some of the very best I’ve come across. I’ve really put Jen to the test, what with all of my requests to maximize SEO for my site and all. I’ve gotten responses to my questions in the middle of the night sometimes. Even when it really wasn’t her job to help me, Jen went out of her way to do so.

I love these girls and thank them heartily for providing a hugely needed service at an affordable price and with OUSTANDING service. There really is no one else out there who offers what they do. THANK YOU!

  • Page 1 of 2
  • 1
  • 2
  • >