How I prepare my Photography business for an out of state move

Moving a business can be a lot of hard work especially since it takes about 3 years to establish your clients, I tend to get new clientele right when I'm leaving a new state (I'm here Hampton, Virginia but I was in Alamogordo, Vegas, and St. Paul before that). But there are things you can do ahead of time to start out strong in a new place and keep clients from where you just moved from. Here's how I prepare my business:

Hampton roads fitness and boudoir photographer

1- Stalking or as I like to call it, educating yourself on other businesses in the area. I spend hours and hours researching businesses that not only I like but think I can do something for them as well as they could add value to mine. Because I'm heading towards beauty/boudoir/fitness I look up fitness instructors, pole dancing classes, women's groups, lingerie shops, boutique shops, makeup artists, hair stylists, wedding shops/events, fashionistas, and meet up groups in the area along with anything specialized in that area. I don't jump the gun and email every location. I look up their website and all forms of social media and see who they are and what they're about. If I feel we'd be a good fit and complement one another, I reach out to them. Once I actually get to the city, I do more cold call/marketing in person which at first is overwhelming and you'll hear lots of no's, but it's part of process to meeting new people and businesses. 

2- Look up events to advertise at or be a vender. There are tons of women's vender fairs, Christmas, wedding, etc so I try to find one I think will get me the most face time with people and worth the money. However with a photography business, there is hardly a sale at the vender fair so I don't spend a huge marketing percentage there, because there isn't always a lot of direct income from it. However, it is a great way to meet other venders and people. 

3- Getting to know other women and their businesses. When I start to meet people in person whether it's marketing meet up or organically, I try to do a lot of the listening unless they ask. So I can learn about them, so I can do something for them and don't make it about me. 

4- Don't forget where you move from! I still hashtag a previous location where the photograph was taken because I still want clients from those cities! So I try to keep connections to get business, and I don't try to cater only to the new city by only posting for them. Which is why I don't do a lot of suggesting places in the new city because most of my followers aren't there. 

you are fearfully and wonderfully made

5- Take some time to re-do your online presence. I switch locations on Instagram, google, linked-in, Facebook, website (which I forgot and a very wonderful person pointed it out to me!) and social media in general. I try to make my website SEO friendly for my current city so they can find me. 

6- Announce my travel schedule online. In order to keep clients from other cities, updating when you'll be there both in my newsletter and online is a great way to keep them in the know and able to schedule a session!

7- Re-do all my business licensing for the new state.

8-Update physical address on my brochures, address labels, etc. 

9- I set up model calls to work with locals and also a great way to first work with makeup artists/hair stylists before a client gets there so the team together is polished. 

10- Make friends- word of mouth is always a great way to build your clientele, plus you'll need a great group of people to support you.. even outside of business.


A little extra- It will be slow moving. You feel like a beginner in your craft, trying to get clients in the door. It's often frustrating and you might feel like it's too much to take on trying to rebuild something that was built up in the last place. But I always tell myself to keep working, because this is what I love to do, and I know it's what I'm supposed to be doing right now.

Keep Shining

Shanna Star

Risk. Are you willing to take it?

Risk and dreams. They usually go hand in hand and although risk scares us, progress comes at a price, so are you willing to pay that price?

"There is only one thing more painful than learning from experience and that is not learning from experience."

Progress comes at a price. it might be giving up some of your favorite treats for a while for a goal, giving up a little extra sleep to get it done in the morning. it might be not going out every weekend spending money or spending all your time with friends. You might have to cut out going out to eat often. it might seem boring and you might be ridiculed by others but when you’re heading towards your goals, you will progress and reach those goals. ( of course there are some prices that shouldn’t be paid and that’s for a different post.. IE never spending time with spouse, kids, family.) 

We’re too comfortable being comfortable. It’s easier to keep living a life you know will get the you paycheck, play it safe, get judged less, not put yourself out there, not stretch you, not take away your personal time and not failing. It’s easy. But risk is essential when you have dreams and goals you want to accomplish. It's scary when you know you might fail. You have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, pushed, pulled to your limits and challenged. It will make you stronger, better, and happier.

So here are a few things comparing the risks you take and the victories you get from taking risks.

take risks for your business
victory from taking risks and reaching goals


I fail too. I take risks and I fail often. Ideas that i can't follow through or accomplish. Visions i have but they don't turn out how i imagined. Cold marketing where i get turned down. What a real fail is though, is when we don't try or give up because we're scared. (i wrote a post about failure before you can read here.) Now more than ever i am embracing risks, hardships, and failing. Why? because i'm seeing the rewards, i'm coming through with victories of new ideas, pushing harder, and realizing my potential. 

How can you realistically start take small risks?

You might start by joining a group or activity you've wanted to (women's, fitness, hiking, book club, wine club, business groups etc), reading new books that are centered around business or self-help. It could be the first time you cold market yourself, or even when you see someone and feel compelled to compliment them, do it. Reach out to someone. It doesn't have to start with a huge risk like quitting your job or changing everything in your pantry to be more healthy. Those changes only occur when you change small things daily. You'll look back and see how much has changed by simply doing something small everyday. Soon you will conquer your fears. "You will never change your life, until you change something you do daily." John C. Maxwell (start with one of his books if you're not sure!)

I truly understand taking risks and being vulnerable is scary, but not reaching your potential and discovering your purpose... is much worse. I believe we have the drive, we just have to start with those small steps. 

"A ship in harbor is safe – but that is not what ships are for." John A. Shedd

Keep Shining

-Shanna Star


Busyness vs business

I wrote last week about accomplishing small goals, and how to start managing your time so you can work towards your big dreams, you can read that Here. I wanted to be clear about working towards your business and goals vs just being busy.

We as a society, especially women feel we need to constantly be busy to have worth. We are filled with pinterest that shows thousands of DIY projects, ideas, recipes and more. Social media makes it seem like we are always doing something productive and have endless energy.  Don't get me wrong because i adore pinterest and social media but this doesn't mean we have to do everything. we don't. We can't. we won't have energy, motivation, or time for our family and loved ones. I also don't think we'll remain sane very long.

What i wanted to encourage you to do is to manage time to add in important things that will help you push towards your goals and take away from the time wasters. we all have them. Managing your time helps you deceifer between the two. No matter what you goal is; reading, working out, and eating healthy will help those so those are the ones i suggested. I believe that every one has a dream and goals we aren't always sure what they are, but they're placed on our hearts. So sit down with a journal and write your fears and angers, what makes you happy and your passions. Your passions are directly connected to your talents and goals. It'll help you figure out those goals and dreams! 

busyness vs business how to break being busy


Do i have days where i need to rest, watch tv, and just plain relax? Yes. Everyone does. i watch too much tv, and spend too much time on my phone stalking people. I also order dominos pizza. Sometimes, we need those time wasters. just not every day. which is where 5 tasks a day can help you stay on track. 

While it's great when we feel busy and are accomplishing something, we should be aware of busy and meaning business with our tasks. I have days that are busy yes we all do, but i have days that give me time to accomplish goals too. By HAVE time, i mean MAKE time. I spend time on what matters most to me. 

So busyness vs business. BUSYNESS makes us feel drained, we do all those things we THINK we need to according to other peoples' accomplishments. We do them to make us feel like we're worth something. Meaning BUSINESS with tasks encourages us and gives us energy and motivation to work towards our dreams. We do these things according to what we want to accomplish and in turn end up encouraging others. 

It looks like like a daunting task when we compare what other people are accomplishing. We all choose what matters most to us during any time in our life. How wonderful it is we all have different ideas and dreams and how to get there. Keep being a go getter, but for the things that you want, not what you see others doing. i spend time on what matters most to me. 

"Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered — how fleeting my life is." - Psalm 39:4

Of course we have to chase after our dreams and be productive, but let's not forget that's not always being busy. let's break busy. Let's be productive. let's mean business with our time and actions and not just remain busy. 


-Shanna Star

Leaving you with my business verse that's also on the shirts I designed. 

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 

Wax Seal Stamp- adding a personalized touch to art

I just received my first wax seal stamp in the mail and i'm already in love. i wanted to share with you a little bit about it, the process and where you can get one! As i'm starting to add some personalized touches to my prints and products i came across this and couldn't pass it up after researching a bit. 

I first purchased the pink wax just on amazon and then went to find someone in the U.S. or close that could customize a stamp. i found Premium Wax Seals on Etsy (They're from Canada) and as much as wanted one immediately i also try to purchase things like this from smaller companies. he worked with me on what i wanted and made sure it was perfect before creating it.

the process is fairly easy just time consuming, though i'm sure i'll get slightly faster! you take the candle and let it drip where you want the wax, depending on how hot it is, you press the stamp down close to right away and hold. for about 5-10 seconds and bam. perfect. well.. my first one wasn't perfect, i didn't use enough wax so i'm missing the "y" but i love the feel of adding another work of art to my pieces for clients. gorgeous. 

below is less than a 30 second video on the process, it's sped up to 7x as fast so you can see the whole thing start to end. 



I'd love to know how you've added personalized or special touches to your art too! 

-Shanna Star

Davista Photography 1000 page like giveaway!

my new logo above! 

Thank you so much everyone for supporting Davista Photography! i've been excited to hit 1000 likes on Facebook, and it's happened! Like i promised, i'm doing a giveaway to show a little thank you!

what you win:

your choice of one of two things! if you've done a shoot with me, you can choose an 8x12 photograph printed in an 11x14 matte. one of my favorites! if you haven't done a shoot with me, or if you'd prefer, you will receive a gift card to Starbucks and my favorite book Captivating. 

How to enter:

First you must be a fan of davista photography on Facebook. 

Comment a few things for me. i want you to tell me something you're good at, and something you love about yourself. (i'll start it! and i want some heartfelt, good answers!) i'll then take them and do a random pick using an online tool. however if you say something like working and hair. i'm skipping over you ;) comment below here on my website, NOT fb. 

if you want to go the extra awesome, sign up for my monthly newsletter! 

you can also share this post from Facebook and twitter. we need to get to 2000 for the next giveaway! :) 


you have until August 26th, 2014 at midnight to enter! one comment below per person.

How you'll know:

i'll post who won, and also contact you via email to get everything set up!

you must be in the united states to participate. thank you!