TIPS & TACTICS

The Importance of Professional Headshots for Your Business | Atlanta + Dallas Business Photographer by KSimon Photography

Greetings, beautiful people!

Next on the blog? Today, I’m taking a moment to share with you why professional headshots are so important for businesses! 😃

If you own or run a business, your face is associated with your business. That’s why having high quality, professional headshots is so essential.

Business Headshot | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Although it may seem to be a fast and easy method to produce acceptable headshots, using your phone camera to take your headshots is just not good enough. It is universally known that a first impression leaves a lasting impression - make it a great one with professional headshots.

Headshots are not just for celebrities, models, and movie stars. They are now commonly used by business professionals, entrepreneurs, actors, marketers, media personalities, authors, entertainers, and the like to market their businesses for success.

Are you a business owner, entrepreneur, or professional? Read on for key reasons you should use a professional photographer to take headshots for your visual brand.

Business Headshot | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Why You Should Use a Professional Photographer for Your Headshots

📌 Adds a Personal Touch to Your Business

Let’s face it. Before people buy from you, they have to buy into you. People want to see a photo of the person whom they are doing business with. Including a professional headshot on the “About” page of your website adds a personal touch to your business. This makes your business look more human, which encourages your customer base to remain loyal to your products and services.

📌 Makes Your Website and Overall Brand Look More Professional

Headshots reflect the quality of your company’s work and professionalism. Professional headshots on your website of you and your staff make it looks more professional, as well as your overall brand. Consistent usage of high quality headshots for your business will show your existing and potential clients that you and your brand are committed to being taken seriously as professional in the marketplace.

📌 Enhances Your “About” Page

Your “About” or biography page on your website typically receives the most web traffic. People visit this page to connect a face with your business - not just read about the business owner. Therefore, it is crucial to include headshots of your entire professional staff.

Business Headshot | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

📌 Critical for Marketing and Branding Collateral

Your brand is not just based on your logo or tagline. It’s also about the feelings that your clients develop about your business. From online media to print materials, marketing collateral is a must for successful businesses. Your headshot is a significant part of this collateral to market your products and services for success.

📌 Horizontal vs. Vertical Headshots

With ever-changing design trends, online profiles, and social media, having both horizontal and vertical headshots is a good rule of thumb to showcase your authenticity, personality, confidence, and approachability.

A horizontal orientation allows for more room to fill up a page/screen or add graphics and text, provides more composition opportunities, and keeps your face as large as possible - making your photos more active visually. However, horizontal is not great for all situations. A vertical orientation is better suited as a body shot, can provide more formal or posed looks, and can be used to focus the attention of the viewer on just you as the subject without a distracting background.

Your professional photographer should make sure you and your physical characteristics are flattering in both headshot orientations. Overall, be sure to work with your photographer to ensure your headshots will serve as effective marketing tools for your business such that your needs are met for online and print materials.

Business Headshot | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Considerations for the Best Possible Headshots

Below are things you should consider for your professional headshots:

  • Hire a professional photographer who is trained, understands lighting, and takes killer photographs - not someone that has a decent camera, knows a little about photography, and kind of dabbles with taking photos. A photo from the latest phone camera will not cut it either.

  • Ensure you have the right support team. The professional photographer that you hire should have a talented support team (such as hair, makeup, and wardrobe styling) to help you plan the details of your photo shoot, as well as look and feel your best for headshots.

  • Use professional headshots that depict what you look like now. What you look like should not be a mystery to people. You can mislead your potential clients by using photos when you were younger. Once trust is lost in your business, it’s really impossible to regain.

  • Wear a pop of color. Avoid wearing all black and white. Instead, opt for wearing a colorful top, jacket, or tie.

  • Plan on spending at least $500 to $1000. Investing in professional headshots can do wonders for your business. Spend the money. It’s worth it. Otherwise, your photos will make it look like you don’t care about your business.

  • Consider having new headshots taken about every 1 to 2 years. A lot can happen in a year! Keep your headshots updated such that your brand, vision, and style are professional and modern, reflecting who you are today. Your headshots should allow people to recognize you when they meet you in person.

  • Be sure to get high resolution photos that can be used for both online and print materials.

Business Headshot | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

For the highest quality in headshots for your business, contact KSimon Photography today! Hair, makeup, and wardrobe styling services are available to ensure you look and feel your very best. My team and I will bring your brand’s vision to life and help you take your business to the next level!

Looking forward to working with you in 2018,

Kimberly ❤️

📷 Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer ️

💜 MaCara | A True Story of Triumph Over Domestic Violence | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion, & Beauty Photographer by KSimon Photography

Greetings, beautiful people!

October is commemorated as National Domestic Violence and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In honor of this special month, today’s blog post celebrates those who have lost their lives to this violence or disease, those who have endured or are enduring their suffering, and those who have overcome or are overcoming the odds with triumphant, courageous, and resourceful lifestyles.

In fact, the statistics related to domestic violence and breast cancer are astonishing. (Sources: National Domestic Violence Hotline and CNN)

  • 1 in 3 women will be a victim of domestic violence.

  • 1 in 7 men has suffered severe physical violence by an intimate partner.

  • 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with cancer.

  • More than 250,000 US women and 2,000 men will likely be diagnosed with breast cancer this year.

However, there are many among us who are overcoming these odds. One such person is on the blog today: MaCara and her inspiring story of triumph over domestic violence!

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

💜 ABOUT MACARA

In addition to being gorgeous, MaCara is a caring mother of two beautiful children and has such a warm spirit. She is an absolutely amazing person, and I have so much admiration for her!

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

With courage, strength, and willingness, she shared her story with me regarding her experience with domestic violence:

“I am a survivor of domestic violence. Every morning, I wake up and see the physical scars that remind me constantly of that day. I used to be ashamed that I allowed myself to be in that situation. I completely shut myself out from the outside world and succumbed myself in complete darkness. While he was sent to prison, so was I - mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually locked. One day, my son came to me and said how much he loved me and will protect me forever. I knew then I couldn’t allow this person to imprison me any longer. One day I woke up, looked at myself, and said, ‘Thank you, Jesus. I’m ready to start this new life and be free!!!!!’ I have to live my life. I have a business to start. I wanted the old me back. So I’ve been getting myself together mentally, emotionally, and spiritually now - growing closer to God.“

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

MaCara is also Founder & CEO of her professional organizing business called Re-D3sign Divas, which redecorates, reorganizes, and renews productive spaces such as homes and offices in a stress-free and aesthetically pleasing manner. Her business donates 10% of its proceeds to the Genesis Women’s Shelter (GWS). GWS provides women and children in abusive situations with a path to lead an independent and safe life.

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

In her free time and especially during the holidays, MaCara volunteers at GWS. She also recently donated her birthday on Facebook and campaigned for donations to this shelter. In addition, she participates with the domestic violence ministry “Voices that Shout” at Friendship West Baptist Church.

💜 WAYS TO SEEK HELP AND COPE

Through overcoming struggles from her abusive situation with a positive, nonviolent lifestyle, MaCara shared several ways to seek help and cope with domestic violence:

📌 How can a person in an abusive situation seek help?

  • Genesis Women’s Shelter (GWS) is a great organization for those who are experiencing domestic violence or survivors of domestic violence and can be contacted via phone at 214-946-4357. GWS offers free and confidential services, including counseling, emergency shelter, and long term housing. The shelter will also help with developing an escape plan that will allow one to act fast when his/her life is in immediate danger from abuse.

  • Parkland Hospital offers a 24/7 Victim Intervention Program (VIP)/Rape Crisis Center, which can be contacted via phone at 214-590-0430. Parkland has a wealth of additional helpful resources. For example, Parkland connected MaCara with a plastic surgeon that helped diminish some of her physical scars from the act of domestic violence that she experienced.

📌 What advice should be followed by those that have experienced domestic violence?

  • Please get help.

  • Do not stay in a relationship with anyone who is abusing you in any way, shape, form, or fashion.

  • There are places you can go and get help. You can’t change a person.

  • It’s important to heal. Seek a support system with counseling.

  • Please don’t blame yourself or be embarrassed. It’s not your fault.

📌 How does a person cope with and overcome an abusive situation in positive ways? Here’s what MaCara had to say about how she coped and what helped her overcome domestic violence:

“Actually as a survivor, you’re always trying to cope. Dating is the hardest. However, I found out that opening up about my situation allowed me release the pain I’ve held in and not allowing the person who committed this act of violence to have this hold on my life. Sharing my story also allowed other women who have been in the same situation to come to me and tell me how much they appreciate me opening up because they’ve been scared to open up. I know how hard it was for me to share because you feel like it was your fault, or you allowed for it to happened, and just fear being judged. But once I opened up and attended counseling and support groups, I was able to overcome some of the pain. And just time itself helps you to cope.”

If you or someone you know is currently in or has experienced an abusive situation, please seek help or encourage and support him/her with seeking help.

In the words of MaCara: “You are beautiful and deserve so much more. You are loved and cherished.”

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

💜 THE AMAZING PORTRAITS

Given MaCara’s experience with domestic violence and the astounding odds she has overcome, I designed a photo session to showcase and celebrate her beauty, courage, and strength.

MaCara, you are a beautiful person inside and out, and thank you for being such a great inspiration to us all! It has been an honor getting to know you, photographing you, and sharing your inspiring story with others.

The resulting photos? STUNNING!!! MaCara completely blew me away!!! Here are my remaining favorites from her unforgettable session:

Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
Fashion Makeover Portrait of Beautiful Woman | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC
  • Need to capture keepsake moments reflecting your unique lifestyle and personality?

  • Are you ready to take your brand, career, or project to the next level?

  • Haven’t seen how beautiful and fabulous you are yet?

Shoot me an email today to schedule your session! Currently booking: November and December dates.

Stay blessed and keep looking up,

Kimberly 😘

📷 Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle, Fashion, & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer ️


Makeup: Nijia Britt at Nijia Britt | nijiabritt.com | @nijiabritt

Retouching: Nicole N. and Kimberly Simon of KSimon Photography

Photography & Creative Direction: KSimon Photography | ksimonphotography.com | @ksimonphotog

👪 The George Family’s Epic Portrait Session + 5 Essential Tips For New Parents | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle Photographer by KSimon Photography

Good evening, lovelies!

I hope you are making this week a great one! I’m super excited to share another awesome client session with you!

Next on the blog today is the ever-so beautiful George family: Anissa, Gerond, and their super adorable baby girl, Gabby! Plus, Anissa and Gerond share their essential tips on becoming new parents!

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Their family portrait session was beyond amazing! It was EPIC! I admire this couple so much. You’ll find out why shortly. 😉

👪 ABOUT THE GEORGE FAMILY

Anissa and Gerond are so much in love! The happily married couple met on September 2, 2005 (Gerond said this exact date to me with so much honor! Aww!) at their friends’ wedding in Connecticut. It was the wedding of Anissa’s friend from high school and Gerond’s friend from college - 10 years ago.

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

And get this! For 3 years, Anissa and Gerond stayed in contact and maintained a long distance relationship. Both were in graduate school and working full-time jobs during this time. Distance and busy schedules would typically cause a relationship to fail. However, Anissa and Gerond made their relationship work. UNBELIEVABLE! They have now been married for 7 years and continue to grow together. This is definitely an amazing couple to watch and learn from!

Born and raised in Connecticut, Anissa is an absolute sweetheart. I quickly noticed that she is a wonderful mother, devoted wife, and has such a warm and clever personality. I could easily sit and talk with her all day! It was so endearing to capture the caring way she interacted with her hubby and baby girl.

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

In her free time, Anissa loves to read books and enjoys watching her favorite TV shows. She is a huge fan of Shonda Rhimes, screenwriter, director and producer of hit TV series Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and Private Practice. Shows like these definitely keep viewers coming back to watch more episodes!

Gerond is from Oklahoma City, attended Oklahoma State University, and proudly represents his alma mater by stating that he “bleeds orange”. Lol! He’s so full of life, witty, and such a fun person to be around. After meeting him, I realized that he takes so much pride in being a wonderful husband and father. He also brightens up the room as soon as he enters it. He describes himself as an “outgoing nerd”. Being a great father, devoted husband, the life of the party AND intelligent!? That’s a winning combination right there!

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Gerond is also a beer connoisseur and loves to play golf in his spare time. He has been crafting his own beer for the past 4 or 5 years and will perhaps turn his unique trade into a business in the future. Gerond also enjoys traveling for work and likes to BBQ. He and Anissa both love good food (The Dallas area is certainly an excellent place for that!). He also proudly shared that he loves taking care of his baby girl, Gabby. Too adorbs!

OMG, baby Gabby! 😍 At the time of this session, she was one week shy of 8 months old. This darling little angel had so much personality! I adored her as soon as I saw her for the first time. Her eyes were so bright and filled with happiness. She was not shy with me at all by grabbing my attention with her smiles and adorable facial expressions.

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

So, what is baby Gabby like? Here’s what Anissa and Gerond shared about their precious little girl:

“She’s always smiling. She likes bubbles, loves to play in water, and loves reading time. Her favorite toy is her little teapot. Oh yeah, she loves tea time.

She’s a little chatterbox now [Gabby is now 18 months old]! She is running, kissing, screaming, jumping, and playing dress up. And she loves bananas. Sometimes, she gets cranky if she doesn’t have a banana for breakfast!

Her favorite book is Hippos Go Berserk! by Sandra Boynton. She loves for us to read this book to her at bedtime. We [Anissa and Gerond] can recite this book from memory now!“

How awesome is that! With such great parents, it’s no wonder that everything about Gabby gave me so much life!

👪 ON BECOMING PARENTS

The couple’s thoughts on becoming parents are definitely worth taking note of. They said, “It has been exciting, fun, and hard as new parents! Gabby is a really great kid though. We’re so blessed to have a happy and awesome baby girl. She has taught us how to be great parents. You can go to all the classes you want but you really learn how to be a parent when you actually have a kid of your own.”

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

A typical day for the George family includes dropping off Gabby at daycare, going to work, coming home, eating dinner, having bath time, and saying goodnight at bedtime. Then they repeat this routine all over again the next day. This family has their day-to-day routine down to a science!

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Anissa shared that their family schedule varies on the weekends. “We have a similar routine on weekends except we integrate fun activities,” she said. “There was a lot of splash time this summer. And there was a lot of chalk writing going on with Gabby - on the driveway, back patio, fence…everywhere!”

How I adore this amazing couple! But wait, there’s more!

👪 5 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR NEW PARENTS

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Are you a new parent or thinking of having your 1st baby? Anissa and Gerond had these great, essential parenting tips to share:

1) Be flexible. “You’ll think you can plan for everything but you can’t,” the couple said.

2) Don’t be too hard on yourself. “Kids will throw a wrench in your plan every single time, “ the couple shared. “It will happen! So you must be flexible and not beat yourself up for things to work.”

Through their experiences as new parents, the couple now knows the following tips but wish someone would have taught or warned them beforehand.

3) Your kid is unique. “Every kid is different,” said Anissa. “What works for our friends’ kids does not work for us and vice versa.”

4) Figure out what works. “Classes will teach you one thing but it may not work for your kid,” shared Anissa. “Take classes, learn the information, but then you have to figure out what works for your kid.”

5) Fathers, beware of combing your little girls’ hair and get prepared to do so. Gerond had this to share that will help all the fathers out there with baby girls. He stated, “I wish parenting classes would have taught me how to do little girls’ hair! It was ok when Gabby’s hair was very short, but now it’s growing longer. It’s so frustrating!” [Fathers of baby girls, consider yourself warned! 😉]

Awesome advice from awesome parents!

👪 THE EPIC PORTRAITS

I absolutely love my wonderful clients and am so grateful for them! And I can’t believe baby Gabby is 18 months old now (Wow! Where did the time go!?!?). Babies and toddlers are very active, have extremely short attention spans, and a lot of work to photograph, but capturing those special moments are P-R-I-C-E-L-E-S-S! I can’t wait until the George family’s next session soon!

Here are my remaining favorites from their epic session:

Lifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Family Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC


I hope you enjoyed today’s post. More pretty pictures and exciting news & updates are coming soon! Stay close for new posts!

Interested in booking your very own session with KSimon Photography? EMAIL ME today and tell a friend! And be sure to check out the all new referral program so you don’t miss out on receiving awesome freebies. 😃

Until next time,

Kimberly

📷 Atlanta + Dallas Fashion, Lifestyle, & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer

❤️ Erica & Darnell ❤️ | A Romantic Engagement + 10 Tips to Plan a Debt-Free, Dream Wedding | Atlanta + Dallas Lifestyle & Fashion Photographer by KSimon Photography

TGIF! Happy Friday loves!

If you and your significant other are newly engaged or if you know a couple that is, you don’t want to miss this inspirational blog post.

Today on the blog: Erica and Darnell’s uber romantic engagement session and tips on how they planned their DEBT-FREE, DREAM WEDDING!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

I often hear about couples getting themselves into huge debt as a result of their wedding. Not Erica and Darnell. Set to marry this month, this adorable, fun-loving couple paid off their entire wedding before walking down the aisle!

Unheard of, right!? Yep. My feelings exactly. Weddings typically require a lot of planning well in advance and can be quite costly. So what this couple has done is definitely rare and nothing short of purely amazing.

❤️ ABOUT ERICA & DARNELL ❤️

Erica and Darnell met in October 2009 when Darnell came with her best friend’s boyfriend to her house party (during the Magic City Classic weekend). They hit it off immediately. Shortly after Erica and Darnell were introduced to each other, Darnell sat beside her to help look through her CDs and select the next songs to play for party guests. They have spent time together every day since then. So adorbs!!!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

We had so much fun during their photo session! Erica is such a sweetheart, has a vibrant spirit, and was glowing the whole time. Darnell is cool, calm, & collected and kept the jokes coming. And on top of that, I’m extra silly. We laughed practically nonstop! Lol!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

These love birds are a certainly a match made in heaven. The way they look at each other and enjoy the time spent together makes my heart sing! They taught me so much about true love and have a special place in my heart.

I can’t wait to photograph their special day this month! So how did their proposal happen!?!? I’m glad you asked. 😉

❤️ THE PROPOSAL ❤️

Darnell’s proposal to Erica was so R-O-M-A-N-T-I-C!!! During Erica’s birthday weekend in 2014, the lovely couple visited her sister, brother-in-law and niece in Chicago. That night, everyone (well, the adults) dressed up for their dinner reservation at the fine downtown restaurant called The Signature Room at the 95th. 

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

“When we arrived at the 95th floor, it was so beautiful up there!”, Erica reminisced. “The entire restaurant was surrounded by glass. We could see all of downtown Chicago. The lights of the city were all around us. It was just gorgeous.” 

Erica thought that they were just going out to have a nice dinner in celebration of her birthday. After all, everyone was relaxing and enjoying their drinks. Well, Darnell had another plan in mind.

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Once they were seated at their table (by a window with a nice view of downtown Chicago), Darnell called Erica’s best friend (on speakerphone) and placed his phone on their table. It turned out that the best friend could not attend the dinner in person and wanted to hear the proposal over the phone. How thoughtful!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

At this point, Erica was thinking how strange it was for Darnell to call her best friend and knew he was up to something. It did not cross her mind that he was about to propose. Darnell turned to Erica and said, “Are you having a good time?” She assured him she was enjoying herself. He then said to her, “I just have one more question. Will you marry me?” She said yes and started to cry (tears of joy)!

People dining in the restaurant around them noticed the proposal and joined Erica and Darnell’s family and best friend in congratulating them. And the rest is history.

❤️ 10 TIPS TO PLAN A DEBT-FREE, DREAM WEDDING ❤️

One thing inherently evident about Erica and Darnell’s loving relationship is their solid teamwork. They set a goal to plan their dream wedding and worked together to pay if off before walking down the aisle. The couple achieved their goal three months before their May 2015 wedding!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

Want to know how they achieved this?

Here’s a list of their 10 awesome tips to help you and the love of your life plan your dream wedding without becoming newlyweds in debt:

  1. Decide upfront whether or not you and your significant other will pay for your wedding. Making this decision will help you set your mindset clearly and avoid possible pitfalls. Erica and Darnell decided to pay for their wedding themselves. Doing so motivated them to get everything booked and paid off early. If you are not paying for your wedding, be careful not to procrastinate and become complacent that everything will be taken care of for you. Your involvement and timely planning will still likely be needed to limit stress and prevent undesirable results for your special day.

  2. Start planning EARLY - at least 6 months to 1 year in advance (preferably 1 year). For many couples like Erica and Darnell, planning a wedding is something they have never done before. A wedding typically involves many moving parts that take time to determine and secure. Consider the following, for example. The dresses to be worn by the bridesmaids must be determined and fitted. Alterations take 4 to 6 weeks on average. Vendors (like professional photography) must be booked well in advance or they will likely not have availability for your wedding. Plus, life throws unexpected curve balls. Planning early will allow you to deal with unexpected setbacks and rebound.The list goes on. If couples plan in a short amount of time (such as less than 6 months in advance), then they must have the capital to pay things off quickly to avoid debt. Many couples unfortunately do not and end up in a huge amount of debt as a result.

  3. Set attainable goals. Decide what you and your significant other want for your wedding. Then map out what needs to done (such as bookings), determine when each item is due, and meet your deadlines. This will help you become organized and put things in order that should be completed. Also, if you both set a goal (such as buying a new home) after the wedding, this will further motivate you to pay off items before your wedding.

  4. Have realistic expectations and a good support system. You are getting married, and you will get excited. Want an ice sculpture? Your supportive family and/or friends will pull you back in when they feel you are going overboard and help you think through things with a level head. For instance, that expensive ice sculpture will be in a hot & humid climate and melt into a puddle of water before the wedding starts. Hmm. Perhaps some things are not worth being a part of your wedding after all.

  5. Get help from others and include someone that has experience planning a wedding. Ask family/friends and hire or appoint a wedding planner to help divide and conquer your needs and avoid becoming overwhelmed. Erica’s sister had previously been through planning her wedding and was able to serve as her wedding planner. She provided key guidance to Erica and Darnell along the way on what was needed and when things were due.

  6. Pay items off little by little. Work with your significant other as a team to pay off each purchase before moving to the next one.

  7. Use whatever extra money you have to help pay things off. This will limit your stress and prevent you and your love from becoming Bridezilla and Groomzilla. For example, your income tax refund can come in handy for paying off wedding items. It did for Erica and Darnell to help them pay off the remainder of their wedding.

  8. Save up for the things you want. Budgeting what you spend and avoiding frivolous shopping will help save the money needed for wedding purchases.

  9. Be patient. Planning your dream wedding will take time. After all, Rome wasn’t built overnight. Moving too quickly to make wedding purchases will not allow time to think things through, plan properly and pay things off. The end result of not being patient? Debt, debt, and more debt.

  10. Stay focused on each other and have fun. When you and your love are bogged down with wedding details, you can lose focus on each other. This puts stress on your relationship as a whole. Staying focused on one another will help keep your wedding needs in perspective and avoid becoming consumed with your wedding details. Don’t forget to just have fun and enjoy each other!

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

“There were some stressful moments when planning our wedding but we got through it together,” Erica and Darnell encouraged. “Couples CAN get what they want for their wedding and avoid being in debt.”

❤️ THE ENGAGEMENT PORTRAITS ❤️

I can’t say this enough - I have the most amazing clients ever! Here are my remaining favorites from this adorably romantic engagement session:

Lifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCimageLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLCLifestyle Engagement Portrait | Dallas Fashion & Lifestyle Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer | ksimonphotography.com | © KSimon Photography, LLC

What tips did you and your significant other learn or use to eliminate debt and/or ease the process of planning your wedding? Leave a comment below. I would love to hear from you!

It is my hope that you not only enjoy the content that I write on my blog and the pretty pictures, but also become inspired to live your best life and inspire others to do the same.

Interested in booking a session? EMAIL ME today and tell a friend! And be sure to check out the all new referral program so you don’t miss out on receiving awesome freebie rewards. ;-)

Until next time,

Kimberly

📷 Atlanta + Dallas Fashion, Lifestyle, & Business Portrait Studio and Outdoor Photographer


As of Fall 2017, wedding photography services are no longer offered at KSimon Photography.