Category Archives: Ask Sarajane

Ask Sarajane: Cleaning your iMac Keyboard! {Asheville, NC Photographer}

Well, let’s be honest. Sometimes our keyboards get dirty. Ok, filthy. I probably touch my iMac keyboard more than just about anything else every day.

So, I went in search of an easy and safe way to clean it. So many posts talked about putting it in the dishwasher…

That’s not gonna happen.

This is what I settled with and it works great! The best news is that it’s something I can easily do on a regular basis!



with love and a clean keyboard,



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Why are Photographers So Expensive? {Asheville, NC Photographer}

Why are photographers so expensive? Who do they think they are?

These are conversations that I hear all the time when someone doesn’t know what I do for a living. Even when I first started out and charged significantly less than I do now, I would have people complain to me about the over-priced photographers out there.

While I am completely sympathetic to not being able to afford great photography. I also thought it would be nice for me to write a little something to help clear up why we have to charge so much.

It’s math.

Which, I will admit is not my strong suit. I did get a degree in photography and writing after all.

But, it’s simple really.

Let me break it down for you…

De Jesus-17

In a typical business, less than 1/3 of total income is left for the business owner to use to cover their living expenses

{ 1/3 goes to business expenses, 1/3 goes to taxes, and the other 1/3 is their salary.}

So, if you’re paying $250 for a portrait session, that photographer is actually making about $83.00.

That still may seem like a lot to you still. However, each session is not just the 2 hours you may be working directly with them. It’s hours spent at their computer doing back work: answering emails, phone calls, building websites, running errands, advertising, blogging, editing, and much more.

You’d be pretty disheartened if you worked a 40-hour work week and only came home with $83.

Here’s a make-believe cost of doing business outline for you to check out. {These aren’t my actual numbers, however, they are realistic to someone shooting 20 weddings a year.}


What does that mean?

That means they have to charge $1,431 to each client just to break even! If they charge you less than that…

They’re losing money.

This doesn’t even go into the cost of travel, meals, coffee, products, licenses, and insurance!

Then, don’t forget taxes which is a third of your income. So, about $10,000.

In order for them to make a salary of $30,000/year they have to charge $3,431 without offering any products at all!! Just for their services and a CD of files.

If you’re a portrait photographer your CODB may look like this.
{This is set up for someone shooting 1 session a week or 50 sessions a year.}


What does this mean?

They have to charge $531.00 just to break even!

In order to make a salary of $30,000 a year they must profit $1,331 per session!

I realize these numbers seem insane. A lot of times we’re able to book more than the amount of clients I’m mentioning here therefore lowering our cost. However, it’s also adding to the amount of work that you are doing. So, you may be able to lower your cost, but, you’re in turn getting paid less to do more work.

My intentions for writing this post are not to make you feel bad if you can’t afford great photography.
It’s for these simple reasons:
1. To show clients that we’re not trying to swindle you.
2. To show photographer’s how important it is to do a Cost of Doing Business for yourself.
3. To show people interested in starting a photography business that you have to keep in mind these things before you go full-time!

I hope that this has been helpful and informative!

If you read this far down, well, you’re amazing!

with love and math,


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Ask Sarajane: My Wedding Day Organization!! {Asheville, NC Wedding Photographer}

I’ve really enjoyed creating these vlog posts for you! Let me know if you’re enjoying them or if you hate their guts! I want to make sure they’re helpful! Today I am chatting all about my wedding day organization! This goes into how I keep track of my timeline, how I do family portraits, how I plan my couple’s portraits, and what I do with all of those business cards! I’m even going to show you my secret weapon! {It’s obviously not so secret…}

Please ignore the fact that my phone goes off a million times and that I can’t ignore it…

Thanks for watching!

As always, please send any photography questions you may have my way! I’m trying to do these about once a week now!

Photo on 6-5-13 at 9.58 AM

with love and the wedding day,


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Ask Sarajane: Lightroom Tutorial! {Asheville, NC Wedding Photographer}

After posting my video about editing boudoir images, I received a few messages asking me to do a tutorial on lightroom editing a large group of photos. I thought I’d give you a basic idea of how I edit a wedding and go from there!

I wanted to do the video in real time so there are some down moments that you are more then welcome to zip through if you feel like you’ve got the hang of it. If you’d like to sit around and listen to me ramble, that’s fine too! 😉

Thanks for watching and let me know how you like these and if you have anything else you’re interested in!


with love and lightroom,


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Ask Sarajane: My Basic Editing Process! {Asheville, NC Boudoir Photographer}

I’ve had several conversations recently about my editing process. I have a two step method when working with my boudoir images. I take them into lightroom where I cull and basic edit them. Then, I finish them off in photoshop where I can fine tune things a bit. I prefer using the two programs rather than doing everything in one for one big reason. I am fast in photoshop, but, I LOVE the culling process in lightroom. Simple as that.

This video will show you how I cut my culling time in half and what I use to skin soften and remove blemishes. I even go a bit into my standards as far as retouching is concerned!

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Note: in the video I keep saying “dodge” But, I actually mean “burn” sorry about that!

with love and editing,


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Ask Sarajane Vlog: Wedding Client Management! {Asheville, NC Wedding Photographer}

I have used the same system for organizing my wedding clients for a few years now. It’s great for me to be able to see everything in one place and not get overwhelmed by the details of each client’s needs. If I can see it all on paper I can stay on top of it. If I’m relying on my own memory, well, I’m screwed.

So, I thought it would be nice to share with you my system for wedding client management. That way you can maybe save some time and cut out some trial and error!

Photo on 5-15-13 at 10.47 AM #2

with love and client management,


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The Rest of the Quotation… {Asheville, NC Boudoir and Wedding Photographer}

I love warm and fuzzy. Anything that tells you that you can do it! You can chase your dreams and be successful. You can be anything you want to be. But, it’s also very easy to forget our part in that. Right?

We want to chase our dreams, but, somewhere a long the way it becomes very easy to stop chasing them and just start thinking about them instead.

We say, “I’m a photographer!” But, we do nothing to get better. Maybe you’re wanting to be a yoga instructor but you rarely practice yoga. Possibly you’re a painter but you have stopped seeking out mentors and leaders who can help you to perfect your craft.

Maybe all you need to do is think of it simply.

I want to be a ‘photographer, painter, yoga instructor, teacher, etc.’ To get there I must work HARD!


There’s no such thing as being born with it. There’s no magic spell that will make you great at what you do. It’s plain old hardwork. Keep it simple.

I read this quote the other day in a WONDERFUL book I’m currently reading.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the Life you’ve imagine. As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler.”
-Henry David Thoreau

While I’ve read the first half of that quote before. I hadn’t seen the part about simplifying your life. To me, that’s where our action takes place. As my dear friend Tyler pointed out, most of us would prefer to ignore that part.

What can we do to make our lives a little simpler so that we can reach the goals we’ve set for ourselves?


with love and the rest of the quotation,


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