Capturing Moments

Last week I didn't talk about a new service Jessie Marie Studio started to offer this fall. Lifestyle photo shoots for young families. Families who are still trying to navigate what it means to be a family. Much like my own family.

For these Moms & Dads it is sometimes hard to comprehend that they are living the moments their kids will remember forever right now. I have personally found photos to be the best way to capture memories for my family. However, as I commented on Monday, sometimes it's more important to live on the other side of the lens. Because of this, I invite young families to use me as their photographer for an hour or two while everyone from Mom to baby brother enjoy the moment together.

Moments like family walks, playing on swings, playing catch & coloring with chalk. These are all moments my first family, the Tiras, shared while I took photo after photo. It was a joy to spend a Saturday morning capturing moments for this young family.


Living in the Moment

The Vacation
by Wendell Berry

Once there was a man who filmed his vacation.
He went flying down the river in his boat
with his video camera to his eye, making
a moving picture of the moving river
upon which his sleek boat moved swiftly
toward the end of his vacation. He showed
his vacation to his camera, which pictured it,
preserving it forever: the river, the trees,
the sky, the light, the bow of his rushing boat
behind which he stood with his camera
preserving his vacation even as he was having it
so that after he had had it he would still
have it. It would be there. With a flick
of a switch, there it would be. But he
would not be in it. He would never be in it.

Ever since my husband, Jarrod, read this poem to me I've challenged myself to live on the other side of the camera. It's been hard. Really, really hard. I felt like I would lose my memories.

I started small. I didn't take my iPhone to the park with me. I enjoyed having my hands free to climb with Cadence. I shared the moment with her instead of documenting it.

I will never stop taking photographs.

I love taking photos, editing photos & sharing photos. However my relationship with my photos needed to change. The mountains of photos are controlling me & I need to control them.

I began to challenge myself to focus on storytelling with my photography instead of using it to preserve a random memory. To keep myself accountable I joined Instagram. Once I joined I started following some amazing photographers for inspiration. And now I've been purposely posting my Instagram photos with words to create a one frame story.

I may not end up with a picture of Gavin's first time in a swing, but I will be there. And then the second time I'll be there camera in hand.

Follow my stories @jessiemariestudio on Instagram.


Something Small

Small business with a small budget? We're here for you!
Thanks to the internal business research I've been doing to create The JMS Plan my target market has become more clear.

I give to you new copy to use on my website & future ads.

Let me guess, you are in need of something.
Something amazing.
Something wonderful.
Something beautiful.

Is it a logo for your start up business?

A monthly eNewsletter for your home based business?

Or are you afraid to say because it's too vague & hard to explain?

No worries. Contact us today & we can help you turn your something into something amazing, wonderful & beautiful.

Jessie Marie Studio is a small design studio that focuses on meeting the needs of business with small budgets. Such as work-at-home moms, churches, non-profits, small businesses & start-ups.


Website Traffic Ahead

Artist: James Rizzi, American (1950 - 2011)

"There is a lot of 'build it and they will come' hype about web sites, but it's simply not true. You may build it, but then it's one of billions out there, with millions of sites added every day. Talk about information overload! That's why it's your responsibility to drive traffic to your site."
- Page 105 in The Designer's Guide to Marketing and Pricing by Ilise Benun and Peleg Top

This year I have been learning how to build Wordpress websites for others. Sadly when I finish a website everyone on the Internet doesn't come running to see it. It may be functional & look amazing, but you, my friend, have to tell people about it.

How you ask?

Talk About It
This new website is your baby. Treat it as such. Tell everyone you know about it. Online & in real life.

Put it in Print
Put your URL on everything. Business cards, brochures, even your truck. The more people see you have a website the more apt they will be to go there when they need your services.

Pick a Focus Point
What do you want a visitor to do when they get to your new site? Sign up for a newsletter? Subscribe to your blog? Let's put that action 'above the fold' (in the area before a visitor would have to scroll). This way your website will not just be a wallflower, but will build a relationship.

Keep Your Website Fresh
Try to update your website with new content regularly. Do you have a Facebook page to link to it? How about new work to brag about? For visitors to come back again & again something new needs to be happening.

I am not an expert at increasing website traffic by any means. SEO, Google analytics & keywords sound like a list of foreign languages - that I am learning. I will promise to make your website functional & look amazing, if you promise to tell people about it.

Now to go update my website.


Mission Possible

"With your Right-Brain Business Plan, you'll use your vision and values to help you pen a Passion and Purpose Proclamation instead {of a mission statement}. This proclamation describes what has heart and meaning for you and your perfect customers, and how you're making a positive impact through your work." pg 45 Right-Brain Business Plan

The JMS Plan started with "Educate Through Visual Solutions" as it's Passion and Purpose Proclamation {mission statement}. However, as I began to fully understand my services this statement didn't encompass my design AND photography offerings. I felt the statement worked for the design services but not the photography ones.

Old Mission Statement Card  |  Front.
Old Mission Statement Card  |  Back

Back to the drawing board I went. I imagined a fancy mission statement with all the bells & whistles. And then I reread my current daily inspirational quote:

"The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so the necessary may speak." 
Hans Hofmann

So with that in mind, I bring to you The JMS Plan's mission statement.

Jessie Marie Studio's Mission Statement Card  |  Front

Jessie Marie Studio's Mission Statement Card  |  Back


Fall Schedule

The reason I work at home
Where the work gets done. Main Work Space.
Garage Office
Champaign Public Library
Cafes & Coffee Shops
"Behold, children are a gift of the Lord." Psalm 127:3

Being a Mommy Freelancer is the most challenging job I've ever had. You have to balance two worlds simultaneously. As one of those worlds flutters around with extreme unpredictability the other screams for attention. You take a guess which is which.

And the hours! The longest hours known to man. As a Mommy Freelancer you are never off the clock. 24/7. 365 days. Repeat. I would surmise all parents of young children work these crazy hours. No matter if they work outside or inside the home.

Balance. Balance is the key to making this season of life beautiful. Everyone - mothers, fathers & children - need quality time for themselves, quality time together, time to work & time to rest.

This fall I've decided to purposefully schedule my rest time. Don't get me wrong I have office hours, but if I'm not careful those hours will steal my children's childhood. I define rest/off time as the time I will give myself permission to not think about work so I can be fully engaged in the moment.

Jessie Marie Studio Fall 2012 
Loose Schedule

Off: 600am - 200pm
800pm - 830pm weekly planning

815am - 1045am work time
afternoon work time (naps only)
Off: 300pm - 1000pm

morning work admin
afternoon work time (naps only)
Off: 300pm - 1000pm

815am - 1045am work time
Off: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
500pm - 800pm work time

morning work admin
300pm - 500pm work time
Off: 500pm - 1000pm

Day Off!

800am - 1200pm work time
Off: 1200pm - 1000pm


It's in the Cards

"Your values play an important role in your business. They are what you and your business stand for. And they are what your customers will experience when they interact with your company - which may entail anything from reading a simple marketing message, to engaging in a personal session with you, to using your product. Values will also help you make decisions." pg 42 Right-Brain Business Plan

Right-Brain Business Plan Exercise: Create a Card Deck of Your Values

What are your values? Sure you know you have them, but have you ever sat down & tried to define them? It's not as easy as it looks.

When I started out to define mine I consulted the Internet first. Because the Internet knows what I stand for. Um, right. Anyhow, the Internet did hook me up with lists of values to choose from. Lots & lots of lists.

I scanned the lists for words that truly resonated with me. I then made my own list with words from the Internet & my own head.

Work Well Together









Great Design


Then, I brought in my editor, Jarrod. He helped me decipher between words that were actual values & words that were things I do. After editing & some discussion the following Values List of Six for The JMS Plan was born:

Great Design

Great Outdoors





Then made my deck of values:

JMS Value Cards. Fronts.
JMS Value Cards. Backs.


Baby Shower Invites

Not only has a baby joined our family, babies are being added to many other families we know as well. And with special first-in-the-family babies Baby Showers are a must.

And all Baby Showers need invites.

First, I present to you the invite I designed for a very special friend in town.

Invite. size 7.283 inches x 4.723 inches

The next invite is for my pregnant sister & her husband who live in New York state. The rest of us live in the Midwest so we are throwing them a Mail Order Baby Shower. I present to you that invite plus a postcard each guest will fill out & send out east.

Invite. 8.5 inches x 5.5 inches.

Front of postcard. 6 inches x 4 inches. Sized to fit in a cute photo album for the Baby.

Back of postcard. Same size as front. ha!