Welcome to The Modern Tog – The Ultimate Business Resource for Photographers.
My name is Jamie Swanson and I am a wedding photographer in Wisconsin with my husband Brandon. We’ve got three beautiful children named Madeleine, Britta, and Soren.
How I became a professional photographer
I never intended to be a professional photographer. I always enjoyed the art, and saw that I had a knack for it while studying abroad in France for a semester. I fell in love with taking photos with my first digital point and shoot camera. One day I had the opportunity to borrow a DSLR and I was hooked. I saved up for about a year and finally picked up my first DSLR camera. I mostly took photos of flowers and my kids – pretty typical for new DSLR owners.
My friends started commenting on how amazing my photos were, then started asking me to take photos of their kids, and then had their friends (who I didn’t know) start asking me to take photos for them. It was at this point that I decided to start a business. My friends Trisha, a West Bend Wedding Photographer and Andy, a Milwaukee Wedding Photographer both started their businesses within a year of me and have been ridiculously helpful and inspiring to me in this journey. I’m thankful for their friendships and for how awesome they’ve been when I’ve asked for advice or critique.
From selling rocks to selling photos
Growing up, I was always trying to sell stuff. My first money-making venture took place when I was 5 years old. I scooped up a bunch of gravel rocks from my driveway (think sandy and brown, not anything special) and I placed them on a blanket on the corner of my street and sold them to people walking by. I remember getting a quarter from Jenny’s dad and feeling rich. There was always something – lemonade stands, paper airplanes, cookies, car washes. I’d sell anything I could. You can bet I was one amazing girl scout cookie seller!
It shouldn’t have surprised me that I would enjoy running a business, but it did. It made me come alive. I love photography, but I get even more excited when I think about marketing, sales, and how to turn our little business into what I want it to be. I’m one of those lucky artists who actually really loves the business side of things. It’s great!
The Modern Tog is born
I was surprised at how many people suddenly started asking me for advice about photography once I officially started my business. I didn’t have a lot of knowledge to share at that point since I was pretty new to the business stuff myself, but I found a lot of satisfaction in helping when I could. There’s very little I enjoy more than helping people, and being able to combine that with my love of photography and business just rocks my world.
At some point I came across Problogger, a blog about blogging. The lightbulb came on. I wanted to start a blog for photographers. I found myself answering the same questions over and over again, and this seemed like the best way to share the information with lots of people. After about a year of brainstorming, dreaming, and planning, The Modern Tog was born.
What to expect
My goal is to post a new article here once or twice a week that will be helpful in running your business. I’m sure there will be a few weeks during the busy wedding season where I won’t post as often since my clients still come first, but I’ll do my best not to leave you hanging too long.
The majority of the content shared on here will be free, although I may offer a few items in addition to all the amazing content on the site if I think they’d be helpful to you. For example, I am sharing my entire photography pricing guide strategy for free, but if you’re not good at math you can buy the excel workbook that I use and let the program do the math for you. While I reserve the right to sell things from time to time, I don’t ever want this place to become spammy, so drop me an email on the contact page and yell at me if you think it’s pushing the envelope. I really do appreciate that sort of feedback immensely.
The content will be geared towards the modern photographer – one who finds most of their customers online or through word of mouth and embraces the internet. We want this to be a community of people who are willing to help each other out and share tips and resources, since we all know that there’s plenty of business out there for all of us.
Follow our blog
There’s a few different ways to make sure you don’t miss any of our awesome content. I suggest signing up via email, which will deliver our new posts and the occasional email about what’s happening around here before it hits the blog. This is the best method for people who really love our site and want to be the first to know about what is happening behind the scenes. We promise never to spam you or sell your information, and you can easily unsubscribe if you change your mind.
The second method is to follow us via a feed reader. Here’s a link to our RSS feed. You can also follow us on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, or Google+. Finally, if you’re really old school you can simply blog-stalk us by checking back every so often, but that might not be the best way to spend your time.
How you can become a part of The Modern Tog
It’s always better to learn from a community than to try and make a go of it on your own, so we encourage you to submit articles for publication on the site. We cannot publish everything we receive, but we’re glad to consider any advice that you have to give.
We’d also really appreciate it if you’d use the links on our site to make your purchases. We get a small referral fee for everything you buy when you use our links, so it’s a great way to help keep this site up and running that doesn’t cost you a thing. We especially appreciate it when you click these links before shopping at Amazon, Adorama, and B&H. While many of the links on our site give us a small referral fee, we’d never post something we didn’t believe in or use ourselves. I’m not here to lie to you – that pretty much goes against everything I believe in and what this site is about.
Thanks for stopping by. We hope you’ll follow us and share this site with your friends!