My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a journalist, photographer, graphic designer and FORD model who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. I love sharing my life as a creative professional and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.
My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, gardening, and John Mayer and Twilight. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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Enjoy a sweet morning in a peach orchard at Schnepf Farms.
Diana Elizabeth thinks families should hire a photographer for lifestyle experiences such as these, what a great way to document a fun sweet time!
Almost two years ago, I was thisclose to quitting my photography career. This would have been insane, I was doing pretty well, but I was overwhelmed.
I was losing my passion for photography and I thought, oh great, now what will I do if this is all over?
I realized the problem was – I was doing too much, and too much of the same stuff. I had done so much during my first year out of the entrepreneur gates – I was constantly booking, marketing, posting, and blogging. I rarely had a day where I wasn’t meeting a connection, shooting, or editing. I was religiously reading photography blogs, attending workshops every few months, growing, learning – as every serious photographer who wants to build a serious career out of photography does.
I worked weekends, worked late into the nights because I loved it, and then, and finally, it all caught up to me. I was drained – emotionally and creatively. I would almost cry when a shoot was approaching, and then I realized I was busy, but busy doing things that I was no longer passionate about, which in turn, made me feel like I was a hamster on a wheel going nowhere, and what I really wanted to be was a wild stallion able to run free and change direction just like the wind.
This is what I had to do to save my sanity, mind, and photography career:
I think it can be so easy to fall in love with something, want to do it for a career because of that saying that puts the pressure on the entrepreneur spirit – Do what you love. Because, if you aren’t, that must mean you’re just plain miserable every day.
But if we’re not careful, taking on too much to do what we love can make us miserable.
By setting boundaries, limiting my bookings, and knowing that I didn’t need the so called opportunity for a credit line, I was able to free up time. Time to rest, time to enjoy life, and the time I always wanted to have which is why I became a photographer in the first place.
That time has been long in the past, but it was a tough experience to over come, a sheer feeling of panic that if I wouldn’t be able to over come the feeling, my career was over. Now crazy back in love with photography, you’ll only see me doing what really moves me.
Have you ever been overwhelmed by what you do, photography or not? Did you ever get over it or did you quit?
Diana Elizabeth says it’s OK to change direction because life is always about discovering what the next thing that will challenge you. Being burnt out is normal, it’s not failure and walking away from something that isn’t a fit any longer is better than staying and being miserable.
Remember last summer when I had a crazy empty office because I just felt like I needed to revamp myself for the new direction I was going in – blogging. Here’s what my office used to look like. It was still great. I then showed an update last fall here.
But I got a new vintage hand-painted dresser from England so I had to do an update post. And I also learned you should take interior shots with all natural light.
Oh dear, time to redo every shot of my house this summer. So here we start with the office.
My watercolor illustration was created by the fabulous Inslee. I love her talents!
I put a Pottery Barn curtain rod up, and bought curtains from Target. To be honest, I’m still not sure about the curtains and it’s been over a year. I’m still looking for something else, but it’s at the bottom of my list.
My wonderful Ricki stained this piece for me. So much of my organization and domestic abilities are attributed to Ricki pouring into me and encouraging me.
The desk was my dad’s. It had old yucky wood laminate on the top and I bought a stainless steel top that had adhesive on the back I found years ago from watching an HGTV show. Don’t forget to buy the trimmer, you can’t do without it.
Life is about the relationships you make. Just a few favorite shots and people, more are on my corkboard that I see everyday. I miss my Yun Yun so much (she’s in the white frame).
As always, any questions just ask. If you’ve done a post sharing your space please share!
Farm house dining table: Ballard Designs / White desk: Vintage, Dad’s / Bird chandelier: The French Bee / Hand painted English dresser: Antique Gatherings / White chairs with blue damask fabric: Restoration Plantation / Jute rug: Pottery Barn / Bulletin board: DIY Staples board covered in white duck cloth and upholstery nails / Key hole door knobs on closet and wall knobs: Anthropologie / Cubby Organizer: Pottery Barn / French door installation contractor: Steven D Chochran, Inc. / Handyman and Painter: Dennis of Lowan Handyman Services, LLC / Curtain Rod and clips: Pottery Barn / Curtains: Target / Ladder shelf: Sweet Salvage, refinished by Ricki / Clock:Magpie Lovely / Vintage architecture frame: Scottsdale Marketplace / Modern gold clip lamp: Land of Nod / Pink greek key chairs, chair sketch reproduction prints + blue ottoman: One Kings Lane – Sign up today on OKL for a $15 credit for purchases of $30 or more. / LOVE sign: Made by Girl / Pillows: Target (diamond), Pottery Barn (dog), Ballard Designs (custom initial) / White laser cut magazine holders: The Container Store
Diana Elizabeth is done decorating, but she isn’t sure how to style her corkboard, so that’s on the to-do summer list.
I am getting ready to take off to the South of France for a 12-day trip this weekend! I never knew what blogging would bring but I am so grateful – to travel the world, that’s what makes me feel giddy like a child!
I’m just about packed.
If someone invites you on a trip overseas, even if it’s a destination wedding, you do not turn it down. It may be your only opportunity or excuse you’d ever have to go and explore the world.
There are many trips I regret passing up – Japan and China with my mom and brother, I won’t even tell you what I did that summer but choosing to stay in Tucson (even for an internship) is pathetic. I also bailed on a Spain trip, but hopefully that will be rescheduled in the near future. Then there was that time when my best guy friend from college got married in Capri, Italy. We couldn’t make it and I am kicking myself!
So when it came to this France trip, I would cancel everything to go, this is a once in a lifetime all expenses paid opportunity. Some things in life you can postpone or redo, but not a trip like this! Here’s what I’ve packed…
Packing the international convertor in my London Fog Hardside Spinner, four wheels are better than two I have learned. I’ve had a passport since I was a baby, my mom took me to Taiwan to see her family and I’ve just always had to have an updated one for sporadic international trips – I’m not keen on my latest photo but I’m happy to have this passport cover (mine is turquoise), a gift from Fawn who I traveled to London and Paris with years ago. My camera equipment will be in this padded ONA bag in my carry on bag, the Cuyana long tote.
Equipment + Backup Chargers
I’m bringing this Poweradd Pilot X1 5200mAh Portable Charger Backup, $13.99 that will recharge my devices, up to 3x for my iPhone, and also my other photo devices. I’m bringing a total of 3 photo devices – (1) the Sony Qx10, (2) Sony NEX 5-R, (3) my Canon Powershot S100. This should mean that I am covered to capture all that I see, and if something loses juice, I can charge it while using my backup photo capture device. I also take several SD cards with me, the largest being 64MB. I shoot in JPG format and I can still do light edits if necessary before I print an album.
Extra fun things
A new journal from TJ Maxx to document the adventure, and a photo printer. Yup.
Last summer when I explored Ireland, Melayne brought her Polaroid Z2300. I paid an extra $20 to get the color blue, so worth it, right? At the end of each day, we’d pick a few favorite photos taken with my “better camera” insert the SD card into the printer and print a few, throw it in journal pages and write some observations. Daily I emailed family, hubby and a few best friends at the closing of each day in Ireland and London just to let them know what I explored, where I was and attached photos, but in these journal pages – I wrote other things.
Like, The guy named Conell who took our photo at the rope bridge looked like a young Ryan Gosling. Fun tidbits, reminders to connect photos with thoughts and when I could sit down and write a post, I’d have several notes, the emails printed out, and the journal. I can’t wait to do it again.
You can also take photos (10MP size) and video with the Polaroid, there’s an internal 32MB of internal space and 4GB of external space you can add an SD card for more memory.
The two bags I will be taking with me are the Eaton Shoulder Bag in Printed Haircalf and Kensington Satchel in black, both by Madewell. Both will fit all of my equipment in it perfectly and both have cross body straps – a necessity for a travel purse in my opinion. I will also not be taking my designer wallet and instead will use a clutch similar to this (mine is leopard and no longer available) but this in ticking stripe is the same concept. It will double as a clutch for dinner on the river cruise.
Posts will be scheduled to go up while I am gone, and I may check in so stay tuned. Au revoir!
Diana Elizabeth doesn’t speak a lick of French so she hopes they will be graceful to her. She remembers the food in Paris was divine so she is pretty sure the food will be amazing everywhere else!
Summer has officially begun! Any fun summer trips ahead?
How about a few fun and affordable things you can do to upgrade your equipment for your summer trips under $100 – you don’t have to overhaul it and buy a completely new X, Y, and Z, just see!
#1 Add Wi-Fi to your camera
Most new cameras, including a few DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (my buddy the Sony NEX included), have wi-fi enable features. But what if your camera doesn’t have that feature – including your $3500 Canon 5D Mark III body that really should have like, everything? No worries. No need to buy the latest camera or pay extra for those who had wi-fi envy. You can now make any camera, have wi-fi with a card!
Open up an App, enter the password and you can get a copy on your phone.
#2 Turn any bag into a camera bag
Ask for my opinion on camera/purse bags and I’ll just tell you they’re all ugly and to buy a Louis Vuitton and make it a camera bag – I would give you the same response in regards to diaper bags. I use the ONA Camera Insert to carry my Sony NEX and all four lenses in any bag.
#3 Take your own Selfies, but without your arm in the way
Selfies get so much of your head and no enough of the scenery. I know, that’s the purpose of a selfie, but maybe, just maybe you’re going somewhere cool and you want more of the scenery. You know when you give a stranger your camera and you get it back and you’re like, Oh great, a blind monkey could’ve done better?
Try this compact travel tripod, this one is coming with me to France next week.
Note, this is NOT for DSLRs, this would be for a point and shoot, something lightweight, even a mirrorless camera and you would need a remote release. Do not email me complaining if your DSLR goes tumbling down the hill on this – had to say it, you know there’s always one.
Happy vacay shooting!
Diana Elizabeth will be sharing all the travel equipment she’ll be taking with her next Wednesday, she bought something you might be surprised about, it’s very old school, turned new school.
Credit lines are great, but only if you get paid.
I was recently asked by a blossoming photographer whether he should charge someone to use his photo for the cover of an E-book. Was a credit line enough? Or is it OK to charge for photo usage?
I’m sure he wouldn’t mind that I share his question (and hello to his Mrs. who is a regular reader!) since he said he was frantically Googling an answer, I figured there might be some of you who may one day need this advice. So here goes.
Yes, you charge for someone to use your image, especially if they will be making money off it. A photo credit doesn’t pay the mortgage, and rarely does anyone try to look at the credit line and have the interest or ability to hire you. Expand your portfolio? Build credibility? Eh, depends, but rarely. Please note that a concept shoot is very different – I give photos for free to the model, and makeup artist, for their portfolio. If they want to use it for an ad, I ask for a credit line, but if a venue were to ask, they have a marketing budget that can pay a bit for photo usage (also know they would and can hire a photographer for a campaign so you can request payment).
So how do you ask for payment for photo usage and how do you gauge what it is worth?
Example #1 – Charging even if you already got paid once
When I am hired by a magazine to shoot an assignment . For easy math, let’s say I got paid $400 for that session.
Client I worked with then asks to see all the images and wants to have them/buy them. I send a price list that says something like $150 per photo, $200 for 2 images, and $250 for 3 images – those numbers are made up for this post. But if they want the entire session, it’ll be $600 – which is discounted from the $800 my sessions typically are. I’ve had a client before snub at the thought of paying $150 for a single image, in which case I thought how strange, because no one can get a decent portrait session for $150. Charge $50, $100, whatever just so you can at least have a nice date night.
Just because I got paid once doesn’t mean I should give the image for free to every one else who asks later.
So the client/publication says no and won’t pay. OK, so they don’t get your image, it wouldn’t have made a difference anyway, you still wouldn’t have had dollars in your hand.
Example #2 – Your image will help sell the product
A very big online retailer wanted the images I took of models in a product they were going to sell on their online site. I took these images for free, it was a concept shoot. I also know that on their website, they reshoot every product with a model, therefore they must pay for a model and photographer anyway.
I threw out a cost per image. They said their budget was $X per image. I accepted. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I still got something when they had originally assumed they would get them for free.
Stock photography also costs people money, and it’s not exclusive! It also comes with a circulation limitation, online media, print, billboards, you name it, so stock photography isn’t cheap, so neither should you.
Example #3 – Providing an image with limited usage rights
If I have a magazine assignment at a resort, chances are the resort may want to use it for their marketing material. There is probably a model in it.
You need to contact the agency the model is represented by and ask for their rate. You must know the usage the resort wants – say online media only and for 1 year of usage. Then you also need to determine your cost. You may be out of budget, but what you can do, is offer 1, 3, 5 images or change usage time so you can still get what you are asking for – this way you are not losing money, instead you are providing more value.
Don’t ever give copyrights of unlimited usage, otherwise known a a buy out UNLESS you are getting enough where you can happily walk away and feel like you won the lottery, as if this moment wouldn’t come again.
Whether you are a high end photographer, newbie, the fact remains if someone wants to use your image, your image is good enough.
It means it’s valuable to them, which also means, you should and can charge, it is your photo after all.
Diana Elizabeth has learned that credit lines while are appreciated and almost mandatory anyhow are nice, they do not pay for things and rarely elevate a business. If you are going to shoot for free to expand your portfolio, that is fine. However keep in mind there comes a point when you realize money is more valuable.
As I’ve compiled more digital fun things, I’ve found I’m in a mess with tangling cords, and running out of outlets. And during the week I’m about to shoot a wedding, there are batteries and chargers all over the place. Madness! This is my GORM shelving unit by IKEA, with extra shelves, this all courtesy of my good friend Ricki who helped me organize my life when I first moved into my house. Clip on basket can be seen here.
So I organized a bit, and then I emailed our electrician to ask if it was possible to add an outlet right around the corner.
A call to our electrician (poor guy had to go in the hot attic), I had an outlet installed!
I can now use two crazy large surge protectors with USB (smaller here) and leave them plugged in to charge. I love my label maker - it plugs into your computer USB and you can select any font you already have installed on you computer. Graphic designer dream come true.
I recommend this surge protector from Staples because it has 10 outlets and 2 USB charging ports. I also like how the outlets are spaced for those odd ball plugs.
I loved how NYLO Hotel in Dallas tied their long electrical cords – I think I need to do this around our house.
And that’s how I charge all my gadgets and gizmos. Do you have any good solutions? I feel like organization is always a constant work in progress.
Diana Elizabeth says now it’s time to adjust cord lengths.
Peach Orchard at Schnepf Farms, Queen Creek, Ariz.
Monday morning I stumbled out of bed at 6 a.m. with coffee in hand, ready to drive an hour to the outskirts of Phoenix – Queen Creek to be exact. The location was the lovely Schnepf Farms for a photoshoot assignment for PHOENIX magazine.
My models were Julie Read and her adorable 6 and a half year old daughter Amaya. You have probably seen Amaya before modeling tutus, Julie is the owner of Juju’s Tutus which was featured on Wedding Chicks amongst a few others, in a few concept shoots I’ve photographed (check out this circus one), and our shots were purchased and appeared on Gilt when her line was for sale!
Thanks Julie for sending over these behind the scenes iPhone pics!
The theme of the shoot was picking peaches – as the farm is now open to the public to pick their own peaches off their orchard. How fun is that? Check out Schnepf Farm’s website here for more information.
I just adore her, can’t you tell? Julie jokes that I could be Amaya’s mom. Amaya is currently unsigned talent but I am pretty sure she’ll get picked up by an agent pretty quickly after she gets submitted. Then maybe one fine job we’ll be paired as mother daughter!
I must say the peaches were absolutely delicious, and throughout the shoot Amaya couldn’t wait sink her teeth into one, repeatedly asking. So after we shot for a good while around the orchard, I told her she could enjoy one. Those shots were adorable! I am so excited to share the images with you soon but you’ll have to wait for the first preview in next month’s issue of PHOENIX magazine – my most favorite publication in the world.
Thanks to Carrie, Mark, and Mary for their hospitality, what friendly, genuinely sweet people at the farm. Please go and support them, they have all sorts of festivities, and they even host weddings! Put the pumpkin patch on your calendar this fall!
Diana Elizabeth used to have peaches in the front of her home in Sacramento. Neighbors used to knock on the door asking if they could take the ones off the ground and her parents were always happy to say yes. She learned the lifespan of a peach tree is 20 years.
I am so overdue on this post, please excuse me. A month ago, my friend Stephanie emailed me asking if I would be interested in modeling for Jasmine Star. I would love to tell you this was no big deal at first since I think so highly of my friends and I have many mutual friends with Jasmine Star, but really, let’s be real – this was a big deal.
Every photographer who does weddings or portraits knows who Jasmine is. Who hasn’t followed her blog at one point religiously to find you’ve spent hours going back to all the photography tips, the funny personal posts – especially as a beginner? I waited in line at WPPI my first time to watch her speak. I even purchased one of her wedding courses on CreativeLive about wedding photography.
She motivated me early in my stages of photography, so I was thrilled to finally work with her that I felt like a circle was being completed.
Here I was, after all that time able to work with one of the best and well-known in the industry.
I wore a black wedding dress which is just wicked awesome.
Mr. Wonderful was a great sport and had his hair sleeked back which he disliked to the core but he didn’t complain. The look was very Mad Men like – a show I’ve never seen but I get what they were going for. These were taken at the Saguaro Scottsdale Hotel, a design by Your Cloud Parade.
And in typical Mr. Wonderful fashion, Benjamin had some posing ideas of his own. I always tell him to control himself in front of my professional peers but he just can’t. We’ll see if those made the cut when Jasmine releases the images.
I was absolutely crazy about my up-do. Isn’t it unreal? This done locally by the gals at Babydoll Weddings. I think I want to request this if I ever have a formal event to attend again. Make up by them as well.
Oh and that crazy line is not the makeup line, that’s my eye wrinkle. I didn’t see that and I frantically asked Mr. Wonderful, “So is that my makeup?” and then realized, oh that’s a smile wrinkle. *Insert horrid emoji expression here.*
A few days earlier I was modeling for a clothing line and asked Mr. Wonderful to snap a photo. He just took a photo of me. He didn’t realize when I said that I meant, I want a photo of me in action which includes the whole setting, so I had to clarify.
“Honey, will you take a picture of me getting my picture taken by Jasmine?” I explained as I walked with Jasmine.
Because you know, this was a very big deal.
So what was Jasmine like in person? Exactly as she is on video, on her blog, as you would expect. Gracious, kind – she even asked if we needed anything and proceeded to serve us margaritas (I couldn’t since I turn red because I’m Asian). It felt like I knew her, because well I felt like I did after reading her life and it was just easy. I didn’t want to say goodbye, she made me laugh and smile, and I just wanted to be around her. But, we had to say goodbye. I think Benjamin summed it up perfectly on our way home.
“I haven’t seen the photos yet and I’m not familiar with Jasmine’s work, but I can see why you say she’s so popular. She made that fun and she has a GREAT personality!” – Benjamin
That’s the truth.
Diana Elizabeth says will you look how cute Jasmine looks in her little wedge booties? She wears flats when she shoots!
Photo by Melissa Schollaert
“Dad, the lens costs $1500!” I said over the phone. This was when I was just starting my photography business.
“Well Diana, I’m glad to see you are spending your money on things that will give you a return on investment instead of shoes and purses,” said my dad.
There are a few things that I have looked back at my businesses and thought – wow, that was a stepping stone that elevated me – things that were good investments in time and money.
If you find you are in the beginning stages or you feel stuck where you are, here are a few things to consider to help you elevate and kick start your business.
1. Invest in continuing education
This doesn’t mean take one workshop on how to use your DSLR and you’re done. Education never stops – consider workshops and conferences. If you find yourself asking beginner questions on gear, not understanding lenses, or not sure why your camera is out of focus, you need to find peers to ask and you should consider taking a workshop to learn from a well seasoned photographer. I’ve attended WPPI twice (it was supposed to be 3 but I turned around as soon as I landed in Vegas because I was over it), spent over $3,000 in small workshops taught by other professionals. One workshop helped me get into weddings, the second boosted my confidence to increase my pricing, the ROI was worth it!
2. Custom blog or website
It wasn’t cheap, but I knew I had to do it. I needed a site that looked unlike anyone else’s and I wanted assistance with branding. It shows you invest in your company. Having a custom website/blog/weblog elevated me to stand out, to look polished and to not only book more, but charge more. My designer is Ribbons of Red.
3. Delivery of images and presentation
How do you deliver your images to your client? Dropbox? No, no. There are certain reasons that would be OK, but for a majority of full-blown sessions, that shouldn’t be how you deliver them. You’re missing that closing impression. It would be like if you went shopping at a nice boutique and they scanned your items and you had to put it in your handbag – they didn’t wrap your clothes in pretty tissue paper with a branded sticker in the fancy bag. You need pretty packaging, a proofing gallery (which may increase print sales), and a handwritten note to thank them. Look for a good printer, pretty ribbon, USB drives, make it lovely!
4. Good equipment
I debated if I needed to say this, but I feel like I should. You should have good equipment, if you can’t afford it, consider renting it.
Who do you want to be placed with? Make friends with those in your industry, and if you’re worried about the competition, consider reading this post. I have found my peers to elevate me, encourage me, and help me get to where I wanted to be.
6. Know your pricing ahead of time
Know your cost per hour so you don’t take so long scrambling for a quote, or get upset when you price yourself low or out of the ballpark. Keep in mind that being high priced doesn’t mean it works if you aren’t booking. Being stressed with too many sessions means you need to increase pricing and book less to keep a healthy balance of time and keep creativity fresh.
7. Promo Video
Several years ago the promo video was a huge thing, I think it still is. See my first one here, and my second one here. Produced by Luxe Entertainment. It gives potential customers a feeling for your business and personality.
Are you saving up for anything that you know will elevate your business? Workshop, gear? I am thinking about a lot in my world too.
Diana Elizabeth says to note websites that offer credit back to their stores, as in rewards. This can be helpful as you build up your tools.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a writer, photographer, wife, model, and Christ follower. Welcome to my blog!
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