Tag Archives: dear kat

Life Doesn’t Wait For You To ‘Get Thin’. Life Is Happening Right Now.

Blogcademy Zaandam-10

Kerry Murray

Dear Kat
So, this cuts pretty close to the bone. I’m off to New York with my husband this Autumn and I was thinking about hiring a photographer for a shoot. I was thinking this earlier in the year, when I was also planning on dropping a couple of stone, and needless to say with a particularly stressful wedding season (I’m a wedding photographer myself) and one thing or another its almost time for the trip and I have not lost a pound.

My husband and I haven’t spoken about the prospect of a shoot for a while, and I’d been thinking I wouldn’t bother. But today I was photographing a slightly larger lady, and looking back at the images I was thinking, she looks so happy and so in love, and what beautiful eyes she has. Then I thought, why can’t I see myself that way in photos, rather than seeing chin/ tummy/ arms?

I know I’ll most likely not like myself in the images, which makes me think it would be a waste of time and money, but at the same time I do want the photos to record me and my husband in the city.

Do you or any of your readers feel the same about themselves in photos, and if so how do you tackle it? Should I just man up and realise I’ll never be a size 10? And, should I have photos or not? You’re in front of the camera a fair amount, any advice on being photographed?

Hey babe, first off… you are beautiful… and just in case you didn’t hear me the first time listen to me again: YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL.

But I hear you, and I feel the same way 99% of the time. I constantly compare myself to my slimmer friends, and often catch myself thinking things like “If only I could lose a stone, I’d feel so much better”.

Deep down I know this isn’t true. That the shape and size of our bodies is no indication to how happy we are, how talented we might be, or how much we’re loved. It doesn’t mean squat, but it is still a constant battle for a lot of us. I’m always having to check myself when these feelings start to creep in. So I completely understand how you feel.

Here’s the thing though, photographs are not about being perfect. They’re about communicating a feeling, and freeze-framing a moment in our lives. It’s so important.

While at my parents’ house a few weeks ago my mum brought out all the old photo albums with photos of us all inside. Looking back and seeing those pictures of our whole family together was amazing. We laughed at my mother’s giant hair, our questionable fashion choices, and the fact that my dad looked about 12 when I was born. My grandparents looked young, happy, and full of life. It was amazing. It didn’t once cross my mind to focus on anybody’s ‘flaws’, I was too busy hearing the stories about trips I don’t remember, and reminiscing about how special those times were.

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I Ruined My Friend’s Wedding

rose-tinted-fashion-moments-vogue-archive-21_161237424277

Kate Moss for Vogue, April 2012

Dear Kat
I fucked up (to put it mildly!) and I need your help… advice… anything. I’m an aspiring wedding planner. I’m just out of university and when a friend asked me to help her plan her wedding I was thrilled, honoured and terrified all at the same time. I’ve always wanted to go into events and even though I’ve never planned anything as big as a wedding (and I told my friend this) I was super excited to be involved.

I worked my arse off in the run up and on the day, and I feel like I did a pretty good job considering it was my first go. BUT there were some things that didn’t go perfectly and now my friend is pissed and blaming me. For example the flowers were delivered late, the cake started to sag before it was cut and she hated the hair and make up artist I booked (even though she agreed to her, and had a trial, beforehand).

I appreciate her feedback on how I could have done things differently. After all this was my first wedding and I know I have a LOT to learn. But I can’t help but be massively crushed. Not only is my friendship effectively ruined but I feel like I never want to try and plan another wedding again!

I don’t know if you can help me or if you can say anything to really help me feel better, but do you happen to have any advice on how to deal with this? We all have to start somewhere, right?
Sarah Jane

Aww Sarah Jane I am so sorry this was your first planning experience. Being involved in someone’s wedding is a huge deal and a massive amount of pressure. From reading your email I am convinced that you did the very best you could despite your inexperience.

While you can’t change what’s already happened, the first thing you need to do is apologise, even if you feel you did the best you could at the time. While the flowers being a bit late, the cake being a bit saggy and her not liking the person who did her face might seem like pretty minor misdemeanors, you do need to look at it from her point of view. Yes, she is your friend, but in this situation she was first and foremost your client. And the customer is always right.

Ask her if there’s anything you can do to make it up to her, and go out of your way to do anything that she might ask you. Think of something nice you can do for her to show how very sorry you are. How about a canvas print of one of her favourite wedding images? Try your very best to build those bridges.

kate moss for vogue

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Help! I’ve got Pre-Wedding Cold Feet

Photography farm Workshop Styled Shoot Brighton Beach

Ive been with my fiancé for nearly 7 years and when we got engaged in October I was over the moon. Now we are planning the wedding and I keep having dreams about running away and going on adventures on my own. We’ve talked about it and he understands it doesn’t mean I don’t love him and I’ve spoken to a lot of people who’ve told me its very normal but I’m worried about it.” Lauren 

First off, your fiancé is right, being nervous before a massive, life changing event (like marriage!) is perfectly normal. In fact you’d be completely abnormal if you weren’t a little bit apprehensive about what the future might bring. But as someone who’s been married for six years, let me tell you something – nothing really changes and any subtle differences are TOTALLY for the better!

The safety and security you feel in your relationship when when you’re married is like nothing else. It’s difficult to explain it to someone who hasn’t yet taken the plunge, but just knowing that this person has chosen to be with you, and only you, for the rest of their life is a wonderful feeling. Fights don’t have the same devastating effect, and you can be yourself more. It’s unlikely that a little tiff or disagreement will end the relationship (which you might have always been worried about before) and although you drive each other crazy sometimes, it doesn’t matter because you love each other SO MUCH.

Photography farm Workshop Styled Shoot Brighton Beach

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How Do We Tell People We Don’t Want Their Children at Our Wedding?

jill greenburg

Most of our friends now have children. If we invited them all to our wedding there would be nearly 35 kids, we were only planning a guest list of 75 and don’t know how to let people know without upsetting them. We know some people will struggle to get sitters but I’m worried it will turn into a screaming child frenzy if we invite them all. Do we do a blanket no children or invite some, the ones we are closest to and risk upsetting people on the day? Added complication is my two nephews will be there who will be 1 and 3 and my flower girl who is 6. Any help/advice appreciated! – Sarah-Jane

Sarah, I completely empathise, this was the exact situation we had with our wedding too! While we didn’t have a flowergirl or ring bearer, we did have a couple of nieces and nephews there, but chose not to invite our friend’s children.

I want to kick off my reply by saying I am not anti-children, or criticising people who choose to have them, but they’re not really for me. While some people can’t imagine their wedding without kids running around all day, I certainly fall into the camp of those who can.

Although proper wedding etiquette states that unless there is a +1 on the invitation, only people whose names are on the invite should actually rock up, there will always be some people who ignore, or don’t understand, this and will assume their whole brood is more than welcome. To avoid any potential confusion we phoned our friends with kids to explain the situation outright. Pretty much everyone was fine with this, and some were thrilled to have a night away from their sprogs! Babysitters for the win!

If you’re struggling to figure out how to explain why some children (like your flowergirl) are invited but others (like your work friend’s three little darlings) are not, then you can always cite ‘budget constraints’, or ‘space limitations’ as the issue, even if it’s not true.

jill-greenberg-end-times-shock

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How Do I Know What to Charge?

how much should I charge2

Hi Kat
A quick query: How much do you charge for product reviews? I am a virtual vet. I also have a blog, posting every day. This is becoming a larger part of my workload, but I do it for free, which is a challenge. Part of my mix is a weekly product review, which I have done for free up till now. A PR company told me that one of the reasons that they use me is that I am free whereas people like you charge a fee. So hence my question: How much do you charge?

Hey Kat
I’m a relatively new wedding photographer and struggling with setting my rates. I know I’m cheap (a lot cheaper than most other photographers I’ve looked at) but I feel that my prices
 are justified because I’m still in my first year of business and I have a lot to learn. I guess my question is really this – how do I know when I’m good enough to charge more and how do I get from where I am now to where everyone else seems to be?

I get a lot emails from people asking me these kinds of questions so let me start by being completely honest – when it comes to how much you should charge I really have no idea.

There are so many factors that need to be considered when setting your rates, and as an outsider I can’t examine any of them. What I can do for you though is point you in the right direction for figuring this all out for yourself.

Finding your pricing sweet spot should depend on a variety of elements, all of them very specific to you and your business. There are a number of things you need to look at:

1. How much time the job will take you – time is money and all that. It might be easier to think in an hourly rate, i.e. the longer and more complex the job, the more you should be paid.

2. How much doing this job will cost you – in expenses such as travel, kit or outsourcing anything. These obviously need to be covered by whatever you charge.

3. How many paid jobs you want to do per week/month/year – so you know how much you need to get paid, per job, to reach whatever salary you want to earn.

4. How much you need to earn, per job, to make a profit - because, after all, you hopefully want to make one. Make sure you add a little bit extra on your fee to get there!

5. How much it costs you to run your business – knowing this will help you figure out how much you need to earn for your business to be profitable. Taking all of the above into account as well of course.

6. Your experience – the more of it you have, the more you can charge. In the vet’s case, you also need to consider the traffic and reach of your blog. What kind of results can you give people who pay to be reviewed on your site? The more traffic your site has, the more you can command per article. How many products will the companies you feature need to sell off the back of your review for them to be happy about what they paid? For example, if you charge £200 for a review, a dog biscuit company might have to sell 40 packets of biscuits at £5 each to break even.

7. What you think you’re worth – how much do you think each job is worth? Would you be happy to do the task for £100? £500? £1000? £10,000?

8. What people are willing to pay you – it’s all very well and good quoting someone £10,000 for a job, but will they actually be willing to pay that?!

how much should I charge

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How to Email Like a Pro (or, How to Get a Reply from a Busy Person)

PATINA X COLOR CONDITION1

Dear Kat
I’m a new blogger and I’m really struggling with getting my name out there… well, it’s not even that really, I’m struggling to get any kind of response from people. You see, I’ve emailed a bunch of people in the industry that I admire, sometimes to ask for a little advice, but mostly to just introduce myself and say hello… but no one is replying to me. I’m starting to feel invisible!

It’s so difficult to get a new blog or business off the ground as it is and I already feel like giving up. What am I doing wrong?

“Getting your name out there” can be one of the biggest hurdles for new bloggers and business owners. You have this great idea but no-one knows you exist! There must be an easy answer… right? Unfortunately you couldn’t be further from the truth. Effective networking and marketing need to go way beyond simply sitting behind your computer and firing off a few emails or tweets and hoping someone pays attention. I’m sorry to break it to you, but they won’t.

Emailing people you admire, or want something from, is a skill in itself, so today I thought I’d address this issue specifically.

PATINA X COLOR CONDITION2

The first thing you need to realise is that the non-responses are probably not personal. It’s unlikely you’ve mortally offended any of these people.

To be brutally honest with you though, I hate getting messages like this. It’s not that I don’t want to help where I can, but sometimes it can all just feel very demanding. Like, they want me to do something for them (and as harsh as it sounds) there’s nothing in it for me.

Also, a lot of these emails feature the same irritating mistakes. Like most of the people I’d imagine you are emailing, I am very time poor. It’s actually quite presumptuous to expect a busy person to give up some of their precious time to help you “get your name out” when you’ve effectively just cold called them.

So what can you do to make sure the busy person you want something from might actually reply?

Your email is personalised and genuine

If you’re emailing someone you admire, either to just to introduce yourself or to ask for advice, then for goodness sakes make it personal. This is not the time to use the CC or BCC tool! A mass email stands out a mile and efficiency should never win over manners.

Always address the person by name. I get hundreds (I wish I was exaggerating) of emails a week from PR companies, small businesses or people wanting something from me that simply start with “Hi there”, or “Dear Sir/ Madam” (!) or even worst “Dear Blogger” REALLY!? To me this looks like you’ve either a) sent the same email to multiple people or b) can’t be bothered to find out what my name is (and for goodness sakes it’s IN my email address!) 

You need to show that you are genuinely interested in whoever you’re emailing, especially if you are asking for a favour. People are less likely to ignore you if they see your passion and personality coming through in your message.

PATINA X COLOR CONDITION3

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