My Favorite Locations • For the Photographer

I moved to Idaho Falls in the fall of 2015. I didn't know ANY locations when I first moved so I had to go searching. Luckily my husband is from Rigby so he was able to help me out for a few. Over the past 3 years of exploring, here are some of my favorites! 

Kelly Canyon/Cress Creek - Having mountains within 40 minutes of me is my favorite thing about living here in Idaho. Kelly Canyon is one of those places that people often over-looked because it is a very common spot, but it has so much to offer! I have found my own favorite places within Kelly's that work for the look I want. There is also Cress Creek near Kelly's which is a great spot as well! 

Tautphuas Park - During the winter I have such a hard time finding locations that are, one, close by so my clients don't have to drive far in bad roads, and two, have a gorgeous look covered in snow AND being completely dead. Tautphuas park saves the day every time. Covered in snow is still my favorite, but even as it's melting the pines look great with the sun coming through!

Downtown Idaho Falls - Have you every explored downtown Idaho Falls? There are some super awesome spots! Especially during the winter, and early spring, when there isn't any snow but everything is still dead. I rely on downtown all the time! And every time I go, I seem to find another cool area. These are all off of Broadway Street! 

Hidden Gems - My absolute favorite locations are the ones I've found myself. There have been days where I fill up my tank, pack a lunch, and just drive for hours. I'll take roads I've never taken, or I'll take a road that I know is already pretty so I have a feeling something even more gorgeous near it. The hardest part of doing this is finding beautiful land that ends up being private property!!! Always check that the property is public and that there aren't any signs marked otherwise.
Many of the locations I have found end up being my favorites because they are something that only I (or a few others) can offer because they are something I've found! There are places I didn't know existed within 5 miles of my apartment, and others are 2 hours out. But I'm always up for a nice drive, especially if it includes pretty scenery. So my advice is to go find something new. Take a drive and go somewhere you've never went or somewhere you've always wanted to explore.

Don't Let Location Hold You Back - Keep in mind that a location doesn't have to dictate how awesome your session can be. I love pretty mountains just as much as everyone else, but the truth is we won't always get the chance to go to beautiful locations. And as photographers, we need to have the ability to show the beauty of our subjects without an epic backdrop. Last week I had a session with my niece and all we had was the backyard area of our hotel. The hotel rooms were completely surrounding the area and the swimming pool with a cover on top was totally in the background. But that didn't hold me back from being able to document and show how adorable my little niece is! 
You can create beautiful images in not so pretty areas!

How to Organize Taxes • For the Photographer

I can't believe it's already March! The new year is always time for new SD cards and external hard drives, back up 2016 photos one last time, clean my gear, and close out 2016 bookkeeping. I didn't know about bookkeeping for quite some time until a fellow photographer and mentor, Michelle Peterson of Michelle & Logan, mentioned that no matter how much you make you have to file your taxes. Depending on your gross income you may not end up owing very much in taxes, but you'll still need to document and file for the IRS. You can read an article that covers more details HERE.

So here is my bookkeeping system for taxes from start to finish! 

I met with my Accountant, Josh, at the beginning of 2016 to ask my tax questions and to find out what was the best way for me to bookkeep in order to make it convenient for him as well. The basics were dates, category of expenses, and amounts for each which I knew I could do in Excel. 

I try to pick up any business supplies the same day as sessions. I reset my miles on my car before I leave my apartment and I take a photo of the miles when I get back home just in case I forget. Hate entering in more than you need to? Check out Mile IQ. This handy app keeps track of all the miles you drive without you lifting a finger! Swipe right for Business and left for Personal. Okay, so you do have to lift a finger, but it's only $6 a month! 

If I pick up anything business related, I try doing a separate transaction from personal items if I can. When I get home I file my receipts in the first folder of my file folder. Any receipts in the first folder need to be entered into excel. After my internet and phone have been paid, I file those receipts there too. 

Once every week, usually Mondays, I update my Taxes in Excel. I start with expenses. I go through my receipts and highlight the date, item(s) and amount. I then enter them into excel with their best fitting category. 

Sessions are next where I'll enter the date of the session, clients name, type of session, amount, and if it was paid in cash, check or Paypal.

Because I'm a Sole Proprietorship and don't buy vehicles under JayCee Photography, I get to write off my miles. If I bought a car under JayCee Photography, I wouldn't be able to write off business miles. Here I document the date, session, where I went, and miles I drove for the session.

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After everything has been entered I save my excel sheet and then upload it to Google Drive just in case my computer ever crashes. I then file the receipts entered into "Receipts" in my file folder. Anything that isn't in the file hasn't been entered into excel. 
I am in no way an expert in accounting and bookkeeping. But I still remember struggling with keeping things organized. There are other ways of recording and keeping track of taxes, but this method has worked great for me.