On this week’s episode of Keeping It Candid, Sara Monika and I talking all about the freedom outsourcing can bring to your life, both personally and financially. This is one you absolutely don’t want to miss! Keep reading for the Show Notes, and head to your favourite podcast player to give it a listen.
Sandra Henderson (00:00.322)
Friends, it’s October 18th and fall busy season is officially underway up here in Canada. How’s everyone feeling? If you are anything like me, you’re probably feeling the weight of all of it right now. The overwhelm of everything that’s going on has really been setting in, but I am so, so happy because I actually just sent out my final wedding galleries for 2023.
I could not be more excited about that and to think that I’m not gonna have the weight of that carrying over as I head into some travel plans in November and then taking some time off for the holidays in December, it feels so good. I’ve literally never experienced this before in the 10 years that I’ve been in business, so I am definitely celebrating over here.
That being said, I am still super overwhelmed. I have a ton of portrait sessions happening. I already mentioned I’m getting ready to travel in November and there’s just so much going on with my husband and my stepson and all the things at home. So if you can relate, I want you to pop over into my DMs on Instagram at simplySandrEyvon. Tell me that I am not completely alone feeling this way and let’s support each other through what is.
definitely most trying time for any photographer at any point in the year. One way that you can take some things off your plate so that feeling of overwhelm doesn’t completely take you over is to start outsourcing. But I know that it’s a scary thing to wrap your head around for a few different reasons. There’s the cost, there’s the idea of giving up control.
But trust me when I tell you that there is so much freedom that’s waiting for you on the other side of those blocks in your mindset. A few weeks ago, I had the chance to connect with Sarah Monica, who is a fellow wedding photographer and educator based in Ontario, Canada, just a couple hours away from me, actually. She gave one of the best intros that I’ve ever had on this podcast, so I’m gonna let you hear what she is all about from her own words, because I am not gonna do it nearly as much justice.
Sandra Henderson (02:05.954)
but she is the go-to expert for all things outsourcing. During her interview, she shared a really transparent and unfiltered look at the impact that outsourcing has had on her business, both financially and in the bigger picture. And I know you are gonna have so many takeaways from this episode. Whether you’re ready to start outsourcing to an actual person, supporting another small business, or if you wanna start incorporating things like AI into how you do things, you deserve the freedom that comes along with taking things off of your to-do list.
Today’s episode is brought to you by Imagine AI, the best addition to my post wedding toolkit this year. I’ve said goodbye to long hours of culling and editing because Imagine AI has learned my preferences and knows exactly what photos I want and how I want them to look. I just get to go in afterward to add my finishing touches with masking and spot removal, and then everything is ready to export. Friends, please do not keep sleeping on incorporating Imagine AI into your workflow.
To get 1500 free edits, head to the episode description or the show notes to grab my affiliate link.
Welcome to Keeping It Candid. I’m your host, Sandra Henderson, an international wedding and family photographer and business coach. I help wedding photographers use systems to build out the backend of their businesses to gain control and continue to thrive no matter what life throws their way.
And on a more personal note, I’m a strong Enneagram 3wing2 who’s obsessed with tacos. And my love for traveling combined with navigating chronic illness life are just two of the many things that drive my passion for all things systems, workflows, and beating burnout as a business owner. Join me every week for a candid behind the scenes look at what it’s really like working as a wedding photographer, where I’ll give you actionable steps to take your business to the next level.
Absolutely no fluff here, friends, so go grab your favorite notebook and pen and let’s dive into this week’s episode.
Sandra Henderson (03:58.038)
Thank you so, so much for joining me, Sarah. I am so excited to have you here. So excited to have another fellow Canadian on the podcast. So before we get into all of the goodness that I know we have in store, if you could just take a quick little second to introduce yourself, that would be amazing. Let everybody know what you’re all about. Yeah, of course. Oh my gosh, all about, all the things. Okay, let’s go down the list. No joking. I’m like, it’s so funny. Sometimes I’m like.
Okay, let me just talk about my likes and dislikes and personality. I’m like, oh no, but maybe first let me talk about what kind of photography I love to do and all of that. So my name is Sarah Monica, but you can just call me Sarah. I used my middle name for my business name instead of my long ass Polish last name, which is too intense for anyone to remember. So it’s just Sarah. It’s not like a double whammy first name with two names. And yeah, I’ve been a photographer for 12 years now. I specialize in photographing.
free-spirited and adventurous couples on wedding days in more of a documentary style way where they can be super free on their wedding day and that’s the priority. And then I’m also an educator, I don’t know, educator guide, kind of all those things put together. I have a podcast, the Shine and Thrive Photography Podcast for about three years now. And yeah, it’s just been so much fun.
Like as soon as I hit that point in my business where I felt like everything was running like a well-oiled machine and I figured out so many things that I was like trying to figure out for so many years, I was like, oh my gosh, I just want to like share this with as many people as possible because it’s so helpful for me. So it just like naturally came about and it just feels so fun and organic to have kind of both of those pillars to my business right now. And I’m also a new mom, relatively new. Ben is a year and a half now.
and I’m engaged to my fiance Rory. We’ve been together for nine years and just some random things. I love dancing to EDM. I love anything to do with freedom, doing what I want when I want, traveling and having a ton of spaciousness in my life. And yeah, that’s a little bit me in a nutshell. I love that. That was easily the best introduction I’ve had on this podcast. That was so good. I feel like we could be best friends.
Sandra Henderson (06:18.178)
One thing that you said, I know we’re going to be diving into all the things about outsourcing and things like that, but one thing that you said during your intro that I want to dive into a little bit is something that I actually saw on your website when I was reaching out to invite you to join me for this interview, was that in your contact form, you actually specify specific types of weddings that you prefer to do and prefer not to do, and that you don’t take on weddings in dark venues. And I thought that this was…
amazing to see on someone’s contact form. So I would love to pick your brain about that a little bit. It was just kind of like a light bulb went off as you were saying that. Because I think that there are so many, I mean, in any career, there are so many different mindsets, but especially like in photography, you have people who are like just will take anything and everything because they want to work with everyone and they want the money to come in. And then on the like, polar opposite side of things you have
unfortunately, people who are discriminatory and only wanting to take on certain weddings, but there’s this middle ground where we have this creative freedom to say what we do and we don’t want to shoot without it being discriminatory. And so I would love to hear just like what brought you to a point to say, there’s nothing wrong with your wedding, but for my expertise, this is how I can best serve you. Oh, that’s such a great question. I love it. I love it. I love
I was totally that photographer that was more of a generalist for many years where I was like, I’ll take on anything and everything firstly because I was still exploring what I wanted. Secondly, because I really just wanted to be full-time ASAP. I just wanted to have my own business, not have another job. And so I did go through that chapter. And then when I realized when I went full-time, I was still kind of saying yes to certain types of weddings out of obligation.
of obligation and there was this like also guilt associated with it if I was gonna say like no I’m like am I being too much of a diva now is that like a thing to do where it’s like no I don’t want it and I had some conversations with other photographers in the industry many people felt that way too but a handful of them actually gave me some advice and oh my gosh who was it I don’t remember I think her name was Kayla but she this was so long ago.
Sandra Henderson (08:41.606)
I’ve been doing this for a while now. She said, well, I think our couples, if they hire us for their wedding, I think they deserve someone who fully 100% wants to be there, is so excited, and isn’t in the background thinking, oh, I wish I was shooting an outdoor wedding right now, or I wish I wasn’t in this hall. I could be so much more creative in a different place.
Because if our minds, if we’re not fully present and our minds are elsewhere, we’re actually not showing up in the best way possible and they deserve a photographer that gets excited about a church wedding or a hall wedding and there are photographers that want that. There are literally photographers that see things creatively and differently and are more than happy to shoot in those locations. So that’s what really like shifted that for me. And I realized there’s actually no point to feeling guilty.
and there is a way to like communicate this in a way where it’s beneficial for them. And so yeah, I have it on my contact page. I just write, I don’t accept weddings in dark spaces like churches and I say dark spaces because I mean, sometimes I take weddings on a dark space. It just depends on the venue if I’m creatively inspired. So but in general, I’m like, I don’t accept weddings in churches, banquet halls, golf courses because they’re not.
they’re not as conducive to my creative and candid approach. And it’s actually true in the sense that when I did photograph, let’s say at banquet halls, I shoot with a 50 millimeter and a 35 millimeter, literally 95 percent of the time. And so if I heard laughter and I shoot with those lenses because I really want the viewer to feel like they are right beside where that moment happened to feel that closeness. So that’s intentional. So if I heard laughter at all,
the other side of the freaking room, I would like run over but then people would be like, wait, what? Like she’s running, go to catch their attention. I wouldn’t be as stealth as I am now in like smaller spaces. And the moment would stop or I would miss it. Like it’s just like, it was affecting my joy, my happiness, my… And so I’m like, there’s nothing wrong with me just being more selective and saying, yes, this place is where I want to shoot. And I’m not going to lie, sometimes like…
Sandra Henderson (10:59.026)
Most of the time, it’s not like I tell couples, I actually ask about the venue in the contact form and then when they contact me, then I reply back saying, sorry, I don’t photograph in those spaces or sometimes I just say, I’m booked that day and that’s it. It keeps it easy. No one has to know, but the times that I did reply saying, it’s actually not a space that like I would photograph.
I would create the work that you expect from me best in because I would need different lenses. I say that because I care about you having the best experience possible. I think I want you to find a photographer that does create well in those spaces.” And they actually respond back saying, oh, wow, we appreciate your honesty because people would assume a business owner is a business owner. They want business. And so for them, it’s like this extra level of like…
customization experience and wanting the best for them, that they’re like, we really appreciate that, thank you. And then sending off referrals, like they’re well taken care of. So that’s my approach with that. And I really think that it just also like speaks to the fact that these people that are hiring us, they don’t have a photographic eye more often than not. They’re not in this industry. And so it’s up to us to educate them and say, these are the photos that you want, but it’s literally not possible to do in this space.
until we educate them with that information, they’re never gonna know about it. So I think that’s super important. And I love that you take that approach of just being like fully upfront and disclosing it all right from the get-go so that nobody’s disappointed down the road, including yourself, because there’s nothing worse than being in a space where you don’t feel creatively fulfilled. And also with that, I save my time too, because I used to notice that without me saying that on my contact page, I used to get so many inquiries for…
church weddings and church weddings for me specifically, again, I don’t like the vibe of like quiet must be on your best behavior. Like my branding who I am as a person is very like free spirited. I like being silly. I like again freedom being able to do what I want when I want. And so for me a church, although it’s like it’s a space that people other people gravitate to and feel at peace in and that’s amazing. I love that for them. It’s not a place I feel creatively inspired in.
Sandra Henderson (13:20.322)
So I’m like, I don’t want to be in a place where I feel like everyone has to be on their best behavior and quiet. And that’s just my perspective, right? And so it’s not that I’m like against, oh, churches are not cool or whatever. Like I genuinely, it’s just, it’s just a different vibe, different experience. And we all get to feel pulled to like the locations and vibes that we feel creative in. So, but yeah, it saves me time because I don’t get those inquiries.
anymore really. So I don’t have to spend extra time sitting at the computer being like, no, with like my template email, right? Also not on the backend too. That is the perfect lead into what we are actually connecting to talk about today is all about outsourcing and ways that you can save time and energy in your business, which is just like 1000% my jam. I could definitely relate, we were talking a little bit before we started recording.
just about trying to do all the things and how it can just leave you feeling so unfulfilled and How powerful it is to take things off your plate so you have more freedom in your life So yeah, I’m super excited for this topic What do you think are some hesitations that wedding photographers have towards outsourcing and getting started in the beginning? Oh my gosh I know them so intimately because I was that photographer that I was so hesitant I
I literally was so proud. It was this like proud like hustle and grind like badge of honor in a sense where I was like I give you guys a boutique experience which means I do everything myself like no one else touches it. It’s all done by me right? And I thought that was like…
The only, for some reason I had this illusion in my mind, that’s the only way to run a business that is successful, that is good, because if I have control over every single part of their experience, that means it’ll be exactly how I want it, that means I’ll get more referrals, and I’ll get booked more and I’ll be successful, right? I don’t know why I thought that, because there’s clearly so many examples in the world of successful businesses that have employees and get support.
Sandra Henderson (15:34.398)
like high-end restaurants or Apple, for example, right? And so I don’t know where that illusion came from, but I think possibly it could have come from the culture within the industry of everyone simply doing it themselves, right? Because I think I didn’t have anyone to shed a light on me as a small business owner, but that’s even a possibility to get help, to do things the way that I wanted them done. And when I was taught in school,
Sorry, when I learned photography in school, I went to a photography school in college. I have to ask where you went because I also went to Fanjia here in London. Oh, you went to Humber? Oh, yeah. We have these Canadian connections. I had looked at the Humber program, but I originally applied to Algonquin because they had film and I was doing film in high school.
And then I applied to, I think I applied to Humber and to Fanshawe as well. But as soon as I got my Fanshawe acceptance, I was like, that’s where I’m going. That’s awesome. Oh my God. That’s so funny because I looked at Fanshawe too and I’m like, well, which one’s closer to home? And so I did that. See, I was looking for the one that was furthest away from home. Oh, that’s amazing. I would have wanted that experience, but I was I was in a situation where I didn’t have a car. My parents were living paycheck to paycheck. I had to they both lost their jobs at some point. I had to.
literally it was a rough time in my life. Yeah. Plus, serving on the weekends, going to school full-time, I had to opt out of being part of the, what’s it called, volleyball, um, volleyball team in college. And they were actually doing so well. They were like number one and two in Canada and I got on the team, but then I couldn’t because my parents lost their jobs. Oh, it was a rough time, but I think it gave me that like grit that I have within me of like, I can do anything if I
Sandra Henderson (17:21.902)
probably ended up in Fanshawe because I’ve been like, I want that dorm experience, that like community experience. I’m so happy you got to experience that. Yeah, it was great. It’s definitely a great program. So any listeners that are Canadian, we definitely recommend some of our Ontario colleges for photography, which is so strange because like there’s so many people who are self-taught. And I definitely think like I’m glad that I went because it’s my learning style to just be in that sort of environment to learn things like lighting and flash and things like that.
I definitely by no means think that you absolutely have to go to post-secondary for photography. And so yeah, it’s always just so interesting to see the different approaches of how people got into the industry. Yeah, it’s so funny. It took me, it took, it was a two-year program. And I actually think I would have learned way faster not in the program. So I actually do the opposite. I like don’t recommend it. I’m like,
I had to also take English on the side. That was bullshit. I didn’t want to write essays. Like, oh, just so, it’s opposite. And what I was sort of, what I was going to say is like, we didn’t learn how to actually like have a team in college. Like they didn’t, they didn’t teach, they taught a lot of the photography skills, but those could have been taught in a so much less time. I don’t know what took them so long, honestly, because then they could have introduced other.
aspects like, okay, so you want a photography business, here’s how you communicate to train someone here, so you put a job application together. Like that wasn’t taught. And so that’s why I think I went into it with the illusion that I have to do everything myself. Right. So I think some of the things that pop up for photographers, like for them to hesitate even thinking about or starting to outsource is number one, it’s uncharted territory. Anything new that we’ve never done
And that’s just natural with growing our businesses. It’s natural, just like first learning our camera on manual. That was terrifying. I didn’t do it for a year. I procrastinated for a year. And then I’m like, what was I so scared of, right? So it’s just uncharted territory. It’s also counterintuitive because you’re thinking, wait, but I just shot this wedding and now I’m supposed to let go of like 100 bucks or 200 bucks to get it edited? Like…
Sandra Henderson (19:33.75)
what? That’s my money. Like I earned it, right? But what I’m noticing and what I’ve noticed so much over time, time and time and again for myself, my own experience, my students’ experience is successful photographers buy back their time in the areas that drain their energy so that then they can spend more of their time in the areas that excite them and give them more energy. And that is exactly how you grow your business.
faster but in an also sustainable way where you’re not burnt out. So it is counterintuitive and you it kind of what it requires of you is to take a leap of faith like all right I’m investing this money just like when you took a leap of faith of buying your first camera it was like thousands of dollars for the camera the lenses it’s like okay leap of faith here’s my money but then it’s an investment because it actually makes money for you right. Anyway I think I’m getting too ahead of myself but yeah another reason is
like obviously, so the money, they’re scared to let go of the money, but also loss of control. So assuming that if someone else takes over your editing or culling and it takes over is the wrong word because that’s what I used to think it would be. But you have final say, you get to quality check everything, but photographers assume that they will just like have a loss of control over the quality of what they get. And they’re also scared of being seen as less of an artist.
or even seeing themselves as less of an artist if they’re getting that support. It’s like, well, shouldn’t I be the one to finalize the look of the image, right? But what I’ve learned over time is that it’s literally a formula. Once you get your editing to a place where you’re like, okay, I kinda get it, now I know what I do to each image to get it to where I want it to be, I was just sitting there being like, this amount of warmth, this amount of exposure, add this. And it’s just like a formula. I felt like a robot. And I’m like, okay.
This is teachable to someone else. But those are the things that I think are holding photographers back. So uncharted territory, it’s counterintuitive. You don’t want to let go of your money. You feel like you’re going to lose control or nobody can do it as well as you can. Or feeling like you’re not as much of an artist or like an actual quote unquote business owner because you’re not doing everything yourself. Those are some of the things that come to mind.
Sandra Henderson (21:49.318)
I have definitely experienced all of those myself more than once over the last 10 years. So yeah, I can totally relate to that. And the idea of the like that we have to do everything ourselves. It’s something that actually just earlier this year, I realized is not just us who thinks that way. But there are other people who think that way too. And I’ve it’s been how many months since April and I’m still trying to wrap my head around the words that somebody had said to me, because photographers outsource their blogs to me.
And I do the writing and they’re like, well, how are their clients going to feel if they find out that somebody else is writing the blog? I’m like, but the blog literally has nothing to do with their capability of using their camera and producing great photos. And like we look at corporations and hospitals and all of these places that have somebody at the top and all of these people doing all the things below them.
I hate to say below them, but you know what I mean? Like in that system. Supporting the vision. Exactly. And so it’s so crazy to me that we think that artists and small business owners need to be doing everything all by themselves to be a legitimate professional. Yeah. And I think it’s also this illusion that you know how we can all be our own worst critic when it comes to, for example, our looks, the way we look, right? We can dissect ourselves. We know in the morning when I first wake up,
I think I look like this, I’ll fill in the blank, right? But then if I like do my hair and I do this, I’m ready to go out, I look like this, like fill in the blank, right? And so what I think we’re experiencing, but then on the outside looking in, if there’s another human like looking at you, they’re more drawn to what you have to offer with like your energy, the conversation, just the connection. They just want to be there for the connection. We don’t really care about that.
extra pimple you have right underneath your chin that someone can’t notice but you notice and it’s flaring out at you, right? So of course when we are in our business, we see everything. We know every single detail. But someone, just keep in mind someone looking in from the outside, they are literally just focused on your energy, the energy you’re showing up with, and your photos. Like, oh cool, cool photos, art, oh I like what I feel in the photos. They do not care about the how.
Sandra Henderson (24:05.846)
like a restaurant, what do you care about, right? And what comes to mind for me is I wanna go there, have a nice experience where I feel well taken care of, my needs are taken care of, which is my thirst and my hunger. But I also, whoever I’m going with, I just wanna have fun and connect. Do I care how the kitchen cooks the meal? Do I care like who sat me who didn’t? If I look at things the opposite way, if…
literally there was one person working at that restaurant and it was just the chef and the chef had to seat me and the chef had to get me my drink, the chef had to take my order while also making 20 other orders while then also somehow making sure that the quality was intact. It’s like, well, then I would notice that something is off and then I would be unhappy and then I would like never go back to that restaurant or recommend it and then that’s when that business feels that chef feels burnt out and that’s when he wants to quit and there’s no other way and business dies.
So it’s like that, it’s like if you get support in your business through outsourcing, the things that you think people will notice and judge you on and think you’re not a true artist is a total illusion. But the opposite, if you are overworked, burnt out, you’re constantly delivering things late and you’re working 12 to 15 hour days, you can’t catch up even when you’re working 12 to 15 hour days. That’s what people notice. They notice
the lower level of your energy. They can get upset because they paid you money and they’re not getting the level of attention they need. Or they were super excited for a date night and they didn’t get the images on time and they had to reschedule and who knows what went into that. Maybe they had a babysitter come, but then you’re like, sorry, I need two more nights. Those types of things are what people notice.
Sandra Henderson (25:53.938)
outsourcing can positively impact both your life and your business other than obviously like the taking work off your plate? What are some things that surprised you as you started alleviating all of your duties? Oh my god. Okay, first of all, you said duties. I’m so glad you just said that. I do that to my husband all the time. So good. For anybody that doesn’t know Chandler Bing from Friends. I love it. So good. Oh, that made my day. You know how many times I say that at a wedding?
And someone just looks at me like, I don’t get it. And I’m like, okay. Oh, that would make me so sad. There’s nothing worse than making like a solid reference at a wedding and nobody gets it. And you’re like, okay, I’m just gonna walk away. So now we’ll kind of get back on track. So those, yes, back to the duties. Perfect. So, okay, I love this question. I think before I dive into it, I mean, this is partially answering it. I did want to like paint the picture of like what happened to me.
with when I was hesitant to outsource and then when I actually was like, I’m, you know what, this isn’t sustainable. I can’t do this anymore. I’m going to try something new. So I, I’ve, what I found was I was shooting 15 weddings a year. This was back in 2015 and about 20 sessions or so. And I’ve just felt like I was hitting my head up against a wall, like over and over. I’m like, I want to grow my business, but boom, I can’t.
because I literally don’t have the capacity to take on any more weddings or sessions. And so that meant that I gave myself an income ceiling because I couldn’t actually get paid more, but I was still working, working on all the backend stuff. But when I finally was like, okay, I’m gonna let go first of the thing that I hate most, which was spending so much time editing. Well, like, I mean, let’s be more specific. I loved editing.
for an hour or two, because I got so creative and I got to see my images, but then the rest I was like, oh my god, I’m just a robot sitting here. I don’t want to be here. I want to be out there in the summer sun. You know what I’m saying. So I was like, okay, let me outsource the rest. Right? So that was like a freaking, it took some time to learn and figure things out. And I didn’t have it optimized then as I do now. But the result of me starting to
Sandra Henderson (28:11.122)
making, by the way, I like being super open to my numbers. So back then I was making $27,000 in take home income. So this is after taking away my expenses, my taxes and all of that. So it was only 27,000 and I was working 80 to 90 hour weeks from like May to November with 15 weddings and 20 sessions. I’m like, what the heck? Because I was also trying to grow the business and market like everything, right? Network. And so then
This is my result just one year later, one season later after beginning to outsource just my editing. I actually doubled my income. So I went to like, I think it was like $55,000 in take home income. And I cut my working time by like 30 to 40%.
huge. So I was literally experiencing just a year into outsourcing, working less and making more. And that’s when everything started shifting.
I’m interrupting this episode for a quick second because I want to tell you all about something that I have used in my business day in and day out for more than six years now and I truly do not think that I could run my business without it. And that is Honeybook. Honeybook is an all-in-one CRM system that handles all the things that are client-facing.
Sending contracts and invoices, receiving payments, sending out questionnaires so you can get all those details to get ready for the wedding day, as well as having workflows and automations to start taking some of the work off of your plate, which I’m always a huge advocate for. There’s truly not enough time for me to talk about all of the incredible features that HoneyBook has. And if this is something that you’ve been thinking about trying out, or if you’re wanting to make the switch over to HoneyBook, this truly is the absolute best time to do it.
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Sandra Henderson (30:28.466)
So again, head over to share.honeybook.com forward slash Sandra to get 50% off your first year of HoneyBook. And so this is a lead in to you’re like, well, what are some of the unexpected things that come with that? So actually, let me just even paint the picture a bit further. So that was my experience a year later. I had to, it was a whole journey. I’ve never been taught how to do this. So there was like bumps in the road I had to figure out.
I had to switch editors many times, I had to hire a VA, then let go of a VA, get a new VA many times. But now I’m at the point where I’m working 25 to 30 hour weeks and this includes shooting. So this includes shooting even if I have like a 12 hour wedding day or two eight hour wedding days in a row or sessions. And I make a minimum $80,000 in take home income just from weddings and sessions.
So this isn’t even my education side of the business. So imagine that I went from working 80 to 90 hour weeks, making $27,000 take home income to 25 to 30 hour weeks, making 80,000 in take home income from like one pillar in my business. So that is just like- That is such a huge difference. Exactly. That is the picture that I wanna paint of like, if it’s possible for me, it’s possible for others.
And I’m really excited to talk about the ripple effect that creates in our lives because it’s not, yes, you save time in your business and you get to work on the things that like light you up more, that gives you more energy. Yes, you make more money, which is obviously we know that ripple effect. It like lowers our stress levels. It allows us to experience more experiences with our loved ones. It creates safety, that feeling of safety and security. I grew up in a household
intense debt and fights and arguments and my parents almost being divorced twice over it and this like scarcity and it was terrifying and it’s like I know how that can break up a family and affect relationships and the well-being of everybody and so I want to paint the picture of you can feel that safety around money you just need to buy back your time first and so
Sandra Henderson (32:48.166)
It’s really hard to unlearn some of that, like when you live with that as a child too, because that’s something that I realized as I was getting older is like, it’s hard to kind of put your like wrap your head around not having scarcity mindset around money. But I think that when you do like you’re saying start to see that ripple effect, it kind of starts to make it a little bit easier. I think it’s interesting because for some reason, I mean, everybody
like adopts these different beliefs. Mine was if I work hard enough, I’ll make enough money and then I’ll be secure and safe. But then what I realized is that at working hard, like actual grinding, working hard, yes, it gets you to a point. It got me to having a business in $27,000 in income. But then what I realized is to get to the next level of making even more money to feel extra safe.
it’s actually working smart that shifts everything. And so I wrote, I really wanted to like express everything that you can create in your own life intentionally when you do make the decision to buy your time back and be more intentional and proactive in your business and life. And so I actually, this is something I’m so excited about. It’s like the first time I’m actually saying it out loud and it’s a…
Manifesto that I created around the vision of the new lifestyle of the like the pretty much the free photographer like so if you think about the overworked the underpaid the burnt-out photographer like Let’s let’s help transition you into the liberated like free photographer So I’m gonna read this and I think this is literally when I read this Everyone will feel exactly what ripple effects are created through this. So here I go hustle and grind
No thanks. Starving artist, not into it. I’m stripping away the shoulds, the industry standards, and anything else that leaves me feeling constricted and small. I’m here to protect my greatest gift, my energy, my creativity, my presence, my flame, and I’m paid abundantly for it. My life feels like fun on Friday night and easy like Sunday morning. I choose pleasure over
Sandra Henderson (35:11.126)
beingness over busyness. I believe asking for help is sexy. The freedom to do what I want when I want turns me on, like taking a long spontaneous nature walk in the middle of a Wednesday just because I feel like it. I trust and dance with my intuitive nudges and flow through life like a calm and peaceful stream. I put my well-being first because when my cup overflows, it ripples to those I love.
Working smart is my superpower. If I want something, it’s already mine. I’m going to do things my way, the Omi way. I love that so, so much. Thank you for sharing that. That is incredible. I literally have goosebumps listening to you. So happy about that. Yeah, that was amazing. And it definitely paints the picture so, so perfectly. Yeah.
I’m like, that’s been a work in progress for so long. It feels so good that it’s all come together and that you got goosebumps. I’m like, yay, the intention happened as intended. Good, yeah, it definitely resonated with me for sure. I’m sure listeners will have that resonate with them as well because that was really good, really powerful. Thank you. I remember years ago, I have like…
I spent the last 10 years in my business trying to find the right person to credit this quote to but Google has served me no help in this situation. But the quote was something along the lines of nobody ever got into business for themselves to work more. And I think it’s so easy for us to get caught up in that because we’re hustling and we want to build that business and get our name out there and bring in all the clients. But
ultimately, like we could have worked less and made more money at a nine to five corporate job, like with your example of $27,000 take home for 90 hours of work, like that’s two paychecks, they’re like two weeks worth of work in one week. So like, you’re not that boss to your boss anymore. Why do we let ourselves treat that way? Right? Exactly. Yeah.
Sandra Henderson (37:17.666)
So for listeners who are just getting started in their outsourcing journey, is there any specific place that you recommend getting started? Yeah, so I have like three answers that come up for me for this. So first thing that pops into my head is what I did, which was like, pick the thing that takes away the most amount of your time and energy. And for that, that was like the big, I think it’s the big rock for most photographers is the editing.
And again, don’t hold on to the illusion that if you start outsourcing your editing, that means you have no creative say and even if you love editing, because there are photographers that love editing, there are photographers that are like meh, there are photographers that hate it, right? Everyone’s so different. And what I always suggest is like, do it your way. Like, you get to keep what you love and let go of what you hate, but pay attention. Get curious when you’re editing.
Is there a certain section of the day like, hello, probably portraits? Like most photographers are like, I love editing portraits and I want to let go of the rest, right? Then do that. Like that’s a beautiful place to get started because if you can just get started with getting more of your time back, a bigger chunk, that’s when you can like really feel it. It might be like there’s so many different ways like I teach this to my OMI students like there’s so many different ways you can go with outsourcing or editing and it could be like…
super budget friendly or if you want to invest a little bit more. So it also don’t hold on to the illusion that it’s expensive. It is not. There are options that I teach where you can literally get your editing outsourced for like $90 a wedding if you want, $80 a wedding. And the second idea that came to mind was if your nervous system isn’t yet feeling like regulated to like taking that big chunk of your business and like letting go of that.
then I would say go the opposite way and try with something small and digestible where you’re like, okay, well, yeah, I can like let go of that and then see how it feels. See that just have the experience of, I have my time back. There’s like a double of me right now in this moment. Like I’m doing this and there’s someone else doing that. It’s like, whoa, I want you to just like experience that because as soon as you do experience that, it becomes a game you start seeing how beneficial it is. And so with that,
Sandra Henderson (39:41.954)
Do something as simple as being like, I don’t wanna do my laundry or clean the house as much or cook and you can literally just put up a job posting for a side gig for someone to help five hours a week to start locally in your area and just let go of those five hours, get that time back, get that energy back and start there. And then the third answer, and this is like me, if I’m being honest, straight up, I would be like, I would suggest what, so what I have done throughout my career,
is I rather instead of figuring something out from scratch, I rather just like go to the person that has the answers that knows exactly how to do it. They figured it out through ups and downs and making mistakes and having wins and then they have the actual step-by-step process. I’d rather save my time and energy from that and then just like learn from that person. So I would suggest if what we’ve talked about in this episode resonated a lot with you and you’re like,
I’m ready, I’m so done with the overwork, with the burnout, with not making as much money as I want, then I would invite you to sign up for my Outsourcing Made Easy course because that is literally the fast track. Like I mentioned before, it took me freaking years to figure out how to do everything properly and that is all just figured out for you. You get to copy and paste my systems into your business, but doing it in a way that works for you. Again, it’s a lot of work.
We are all such unique beings that I would never say, this worked for me, so this needs to be, like how every photographer does it. No, I teach things in a way where you’ll learn the principles that are timeless, and that you can literally apply for the rest of your entrepreneurial career. That just work across the board in different areas too. So that’s what I would suggest, because why spend all of your time and money figuring it out when I can just literally show you how, so, yeah.
Yeah, absolutely. And I know from my own experience, like when I first started outsourcing, it is stressful in the beginning. Like you do have to find that right fit. You were saying back at the beginning of our interview, you had to hire and rehire editors and VAs a few times and I definitely had my fair share of bad editing experiences. But just like everything, there’s the right fit for everybody. And when you find that person or that business, that’s the right fit for you to outsource to.
Sandra Henderson (42:08.098)
that freedom that you get for me anyway, I was almost addictive. I was like, okay, what else can I find to outsource because now I want to get rid of all of it and I don’t want to do anything that I don’t like doing. Yes, exactly. Oh my gosh. And then when you hear us talk about how we had to start and like we found someone we had to let them go rehire, try find someone new, like we both experienced that, right? What I, for those of you listening, I don’t want you to feel put off that you’ll have to go through that process.
because that is exactly what I just call it, owe me in short, outsourcing made easy, owe me. That’s what owe me eliminates. Like my students don’t have to go through that process because they know how to put together the job posting, how to know exactly what to look for in an interview, to look for red flags and to look for what actually aligns well with them. And then they are literally happy with the person right away 80% of the time. I can’t say 100% of the time, right? That’s impossible. I think.
But 80% of the time my students come back to me and be like, oh my God, I found this person in 24 hours and they’re killing it right away. At what? They like work on shit when I sleep and I wake up and it’s done and I’m happy. Like that’s what I’m talking about when they talk about the fast tracks. So you don’t have to go through that whole process that we did. Yeah, oh, I love that. There’s, I mean, when we were just starting out in the industry, there was nothing in terms of like education. I think that’s probably a big reason why we both ended up in post-secondary for photography.
there was somewhere that I was going with this and I just totally lost my train of thought. That’s okay. Anyway, we’ll just we’ll just skip that. It might come back to me. But yeah, I oh, that’s what I was gonna say. Like, when I when we were both starting out and going to post secondary back on that train of thought, there was not a lot.
out there in terms of education online and we felt like we had to do everything ourselves and we had to go through those trial and errors. And if I could go back and change anything, it would be that I would kind of start my business when there was all these other resources around because it really just makes so much sense to have people who this is their expertise handle the things that are not your expertise. I remember
Sandra Henderson (44:19.826)
going out for coffee with my business teacher from the Fanshawe Photography Program. And he was I was telling him how I was just going to learn to do my own taxes. I’m like, my mom’s an accountant. I can handle it. I do my own bookkeeping. It’ll take me a little while, but it’s not a big deal. I can learn it. And he was like, you know, when people say that their uncle is going to shoot their wedding for them like they probably shouldn’t.
And so just because you can do your taxes, you probably shouldn’t. And I was like, OK, fair. I really can’t argue with that logic. So I will not be learning how to do my taxes. I love that you had that injected and installed so early on because right. That’s amazing. He did that for you. Yeah, he’s the best.
So do you have any final takeaways for listeners to either motivate them to try outsourcing or maybe someone who has had a bad experience with outsourcing and you want to encourage them to keep going? Okay, so what comes to mind is imagine it’s winter time and you’re standing on top of a hill and there’s a ton of like powdery soft snow and it’s perfect for sledding.
and you look to the right and you see there’s like a path perfectly like cut out, carved out for like Christian people clearly sledding down it, having a blast, enjoying it. And it’s easy, it’s smooth. It’s because it’s already been used, the path has already been figured out. And then I want you to think of that path that you see to your right as like a new
neuropath as like a neuropathway in your brain that has been created over time. And those things in your brain now come to you easily like habits like brushing your teeth, you don’t even have to think about it. It’s like you tobogganing down that hill, I’m brushing my teeth, no big deal. It’s so smooth, smooth ride. Just like you now know how to use your camera on manual. It feels like you’re driving a car. And then you’re standing at the top of the hill and you’re like, yeah, I’ve been down that road many times and I know how to like do all this.
Sandra Henderson (46:27.358)
the tasks in my business, I figured them out, but I’ve reached a point and I just don’t want to go down that path anymore. I’m exhausted. I want to make more money. I want to actually truly be freaking free. I actually want to be free. I don’t want to be working in my business. I want to be working on my business. So when you look to the left, there’s just snow. No one has toboggan down there yet. And
You’re like, you know what, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m just gonna sit down and shimmy my butt and like keep shimmying and shimmying and shimmying and there’s resistance, there’s resistance. And you’re like, this isn’t fun yet. Okay, but you get all the way down after some time, you go back up the hill, like, okay, I’m going to go again. And every single time you go again, the path gets smoother and smoother and smoother. So this is me illustrating how you doing something a little bit differently.
will feel, you’ll feel resistance initially. And it might not feel as fun. It won’t be feel as fun as you shooting the most epic, like sunset moments of like, whatever you photograph couples, families, weddings, whatever, right? Like it might not feel that way. But as you keep going, it’ll become more fun and fun and smooth. And just like Sandra said, it becomes addictive, it becomes like a game, it becomes fun, because you’re actually creating the reality that you’ve thought was farfetched. But then it becomes
happens in front of you. So I would just keep that illustration in your mind and just know that just as well as you have figured things out up until now, if you desire this new lifestyle, this new quality of life, really, you are able to make it happen. You have it within you. And just remember that what got you here to this point is great. And you’re here and you did it. But what got you here won’t get you there.
And so something needs to change. And that is just the actions you take and the decisions you make. That analogy was incredible. I love how you use storytelling to paint pictures about things like this, because for me anyway, and I know for a lot of other people, like I resonate so much with stories. As you were saying that, I was like, I knew exactly where this Hill analogy was going. And I was like, oh my God, that’s the best way to explain it. I loved it. That was so good.
Sandra Henderson (48:51.094)
So I have one final question for you. This one is totally off topic, but just a little kind of fun would you rather question. So I want to take us back to like the early, late 80s, early 90s of photography. And would you rather bring back selective color in photos or hazy pose glamor shots? Oh my gosh. Okay, honestly, easy answer.
the hazy pose glamour shots and only because my mom actually, I think she went, she tried to do some modeling in her early 20s. And I remember randomly going through old photos and these popped up in like this grid format, which looks like film, but not film, it was printed and all these options for her. And I’m like, Mom, is this you? And she’s like, yeah, that’s what I thought I would be modeling. And I’m like…
These are so cool. This is amazing. It was like a peek into like, wow, my mom in her early twenties when I was in my early twenties and it was just so cool. So now it’s nostalgic for me. Yeah. Like the selective color. I’m a very like sentimental person. So yeah, selective color. I definitely, we all did it. I mean, I did it, but not for like, we’re all guilty creatively, but not for, I didn’t, I wasn’t around as a pro photographer and people were doing it for weddings, but I played around with it. We learned it in freaking Humber.
Right? Yeah, I definitely had like, this is how you do select color. Yeah, I learned it too. I used to like, I used to love doing pictures of bands. And I remember like, I had so many pictures where I flipped it into black and white. And then I’d like bring just the guitar back. Yeah. That’s awesome. So often I did that. But I actually, I remember growing up, so my mom didn’t have these glamour portraits from when she was like in her 20s. But
When I was, I want to say like late childhood years, early preteen years, somewhere in there, I remember my mom always talking about how she wanted to go and have these Glamour photos done and so one day her and a couple of her girlfriends did and I remember seeing it like framed up in her bedroom where they like had like a green feather boa on. Yes!
Sandra Henderson (51:06.566)
Awesome. Well, Sarah, this was such a fun interview. Thank you so much again for joining me. And I hope that we’ll get to connect in person one day soon since we’re not too far away from each other. Of course. And could I also just share a handful of resources that I have? Oh, yes, absolutely. I’d love that. Okay, awesome. So I have a handful of them because, you know, podcasts, they come out, people listen to them right away. Then other times it’s like a bit later and everyone has different needs too and they’re different chapters of their business.
So firstly, you can also, I also have a podcast, you can tune in at Shine and Thrive Photography podcast. And if you’re listening to this episode, the week it comes out, the following week is I am hosting something I only host once a year, which is a free live masterclass. And it’s called the Four Secrets to Having More Time, Freedom and Money While Avoiding Burnout as a Photographer.
Sandra Henderson (52:05.922)
going to, so you know how I was like giving you some numbers of like how much I made here and there and all of that. In this masterclass, I go really deep into like the nitty gritty like how much money I’ve spent on outsourcing in different years and how much time it saved me and I show you graphs. And so it really paints the picture of like what’s possible in different areas of your business. And I think it’s super helpful to see that.
So I definitely illustrate that. And in general, you’re going to learn a lot more about how you don’t have to choose between being overworked and making great money or having more free time and making less money. You’ll get to actually visually see, because we all love visuals as photographers, right? How to make it happen. And yeah, like past people that have attended the class said, like, it was just so nice to see real examples of actual numbers.
And I do want to be, I’m all about transparency and stuff. So for those of you that are literally like thinking, okay, I need a course like this and it sounds amazing. I would highly suggest that you sign up for this masterclass because you’re going to learn a ton during the masterclass and at the end, I’ll introduce the course to you and give you all the details on it and you can decide, oh yeah, this is perfect for me or maybe not yet. Or like, no, this isn’t for me. And so yeah, literally if you show up, you don’t get the,
course, you’re going to learn so much. And then if you show up and get the course, amazing. I’m so excited to support you. So you can find that at, you can sign up for the masterclass SarahMonica.com forward slash masterclass. Keep in mind that it’s best to show up live because you’ll actually be able to ask me questions live. There’s also going to be an exciting show up bonus or two. One of them is worth 500. So it’s just really exciting like to keep things exciting like that.
But if one of the times and dates don’t work for you, make sure to sign up anyway, because I’m going to make sure to take care of you. You’re going to get the replay. I don’t want you to miss out on learning or getting access to the course just because the date and time doesn’t work. So sign up anyway. And then also for those of you that are listening to this outside of the availability of the live masterclass, I also have another free resource, which is my actual three-hour post-wedding workflow checklist.
Sandra Henderson (54:25.546)
So it only takes me three hours of my time personally to get to work on a wedding after I’ve shot it. It’s game changing. It saves like 70% of your working time behind a computer. So you can get that at sarahmonica.com forward slash freedom. And then lastly, if you are listening to this episode specifically on October 23rd to October 26th, 2023, that means the doors to my Outsourcing Made Easy program are open.
and they’re only open for that four short day sign up window for, and I only open them once a year. So that’s why I’m like, you need to know about this. So you can go to sarahmonica.com forward slash freedom. All the information is there, everything you’re going to learn. And you can just DM me on Instagram with any questions you have. My Instagram is Sarah Monica photo. That’s Sarah no H Monica with a K photo. And I always only
ask clarifying questions to make sure it’s the right fit for you in this chapter. I have turned people away that were like too early in their business that it just didn’t make sense yet. So I’m always super honest, just part of my values. And that’s pretty much it. Those are all the resources. I like to take care of my community. I love that. Well, thank you so much for sharing and I will definitely make sure to have all of those links in the show notes as well to make it super easy for everybody to access. Of course. Awesome. Well, thank you so much again. This was such a fun interview.
And yeah, we’ll definitely connect again in the future for sure. 100%. Oh my gosh. Wait, where are you in Canada? I need to know. Yeah, I’m in London. Okay, that’s so amazing. I came here for college and then I just never left because I love it here. Amazing. I’m originally from just outside of Barrie though. Okay, cool.
Oh my gosh, we’re so close. This is so rare. I know, it never happens. There’s been a couple times recording interviews for the season. I’m having to navigate people’s Wi-Fi connection in Paris and things like that. So it’s so nice to be like, oh, our colleges, we actually know where that is. Oh, that’s awesome. Well, thank you so much for having me. Thank you so much for listening. You can find full show notes from today’s episode at simplysandryevon.ca forward slash keeping it candid.
Sandra Henderson (56:38.206)
In the meantime, let’s connect. You can find me on Instagram and TikTok, just search SimplySandraYvonne. And if you’re loving this podcast, I’d be so honoured if you’d go ahead and hit that subscribe button and leave a review. Until next time.
Meet Sara Monika! She is an intuitive documentary wedding photographer, photography educator and host of the top-rated podcast, The Shine + Thrive Photography Podcast. A rebel at heart, Sara’s mission is to shift the paradigm of the photography industry, both for her wedding couples and her fellow photographers. As a photographer, she seeks to give her couples the gift of true candids, so they can be free and present on their wedding day. As an educator, Sara empowers photographers to build freedom-driven businesses on THEIR terms, so they can live fully and freely as artists while working smarter instead of harder. She does this through her transformative programs Intuitive Storytelling, Crystal Clear Marketing, and Outsourcing Made Easy, which have so far helped hundreds of photographers from all over the world on their journey. When she’s not working, you can find her dancing up a storm, enjoying some wine + cheese, spending time in nature, binging her favourite personal + business development podcasts and making lifelong memories with her fiance Rory and her little boy Ben. To find out more about Sara and her work, head to saramonika.com or follow her on IG over at @saramonikaphoto.
October 18, 2023