Don't Let Your Business Stink

7 things you can do right now to take out that psychological garbage keeping your clients away

Photo courtesy of Gary Chan

Photo courtesy of Gary Chan

Taking out the garbage is an easy enough task, so why does this chore sneak up on us sometimes? We absentmindedly slip into our daily routines, attack the issues that seem urgent, and intend to address the important things tomorrow...and this is where the cycle begins. The psychological garbage builds up and soon everyone notices it but you.

Psychological garbage is comprised of things you neglect to do that when ignored, make your business stink and creates barriers to client relationships. You already do your home chores and office chores, but maybe it is time to add some psychological chores to your list.

1. Trash the "Business Card Barriers"

 Is your business card still relevant to your current branding? Does the person in the photo look like you? One in four people I network with has a business card barrier. Are you certain the phone number, address, email, and website are perfectly correct?

Recently, one woman asked me to follow up with her but neglected to put her phone number on the card. When I reached out by email, it bounced. I checked her website for other channels of communication, but her website wasn't just unreachable, it had expired so long ago the domain was up for sale.

Check over every detail on your card regularly before continuing to hand out business cards like candy.

2. Trash the "Social Media Barriers"

Imagine a time you wanted to learn more about an organization on social media, but you couldn't quite tell if they were still in business, what they were all about, or how to contact them. To avoid this barrier, your social media business profile, at a minimum, must answer the 6 most important questions...Who, What, Why, When, Where, and How. 

3. Trash the "Delay Barriers"

How frustrating is it when you call a business and don't hear back for days, weeks, or ever? Do you ever do this to your clients? You can't always answer the phone immediately, however, you can make it part of your office culture to follow up with voicemails within 6 hours, 12 hours, or at least within 24 hours.

4. Trash the "Wordiness Barrier"

It seems the medical, legal, engineering, manufacturing, and software development type companies are the most likely to get sucked into lengthy written descriptions when a poignant photograph could demonstrate all the concepts and more in seconds. (See, wasn’t that run on sentence exhausting?) People will not take the time to read novels on your website but will be drawn in by images and supporting words that sell the experience.

Reduce the long, wordy paragraphs on your website and replace them with images wherever possible.

5. Trash the "Location Barrier"

When a business fails to tell the public where they are located or what region they operate in, they have created a location barrier. Most people want to deal locally. You might be missing business regularly if people are not sure you operate in their area. Now, you might say, "But, Jared, I don't what to close myself off to jobs elsewhere." Listing a location does not prohibit travel. The fact is that the majority of your business already comes from your local area, right? Don't close yourself off to your largest potential customer base. If you want to travel, simply say, "Available for travel."

Your location or region should be listed on your business card, website, email signature, social media profiles, and supporting marketing materials.

6. Trash the "Greeting Barrier"

How many businesses have you called today? How many had an employee that answered the phone with a less than enthusiastic, "hello..."?

Changing the way you answer the phone takes you from average to remarkable with only two seconds of effort. One of the reoccurring comments we hear from our clients is, "Wow, nobody answers the phone that way any anymore!" What's our secret? We start with a friendly greeting. We state our business name so they know they reached the right place. We let them know who they are speaking with specifically. We ask what we can do to help.

7. Trash the "Photo Barriers"

There are far too many businesses out there, both large and small, that throw a few amateur snapshots up and call it good.

Be intentional: A favorite example I see often is the consultant or motivational speaker claiming they have the "secret that will change your life or bring success to business," but can't seem to afford half-way decent photos of themselves or what they do. If they are as good as they claim, shouldn't their media support that?

Be authentic: There is a medical office in the Seattle area that has images of Chicago all over their website. My first thought when I land on their web page is, "Whoops, wrong company!" I also know of a local family veterinarian with images of chiseled male models pretending to be vets. My first thought, “Are they trying to attract women or care for pets?”

Be relevant: There is a residential carpet cleaner that features imagery of an enthusiastic technician on the 38th floor of metropolitan, office high-rise. My first thought…”They probably aren’t interested cleaning the carpets in my little home.”

Make sure your branding and photography is relevant to your region, company culture, and exactly matched to what your ideal client would want or expect to see when they land on your website or browse your materials.

Most clients today will research you online before they make the decision to contact or buy. When they land on your web site they should see a business that presents themselves as confident, shows you have what your they need, and demonstrates you are intentional and dependable in the services you provide.

So don't let your business stink...

Everyone else around you excels at being average. The simple task of removing the psychological garbage sets you up to outshine your competition. Market distinction comes from being better, eliminating the barriers, having more integrity, and being known as people can count on. While all your competitors are slipping into bad habits, you can be mindful of your psychological chores and immediately set yourself apart from everyone around you.


© 2019 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle & Snohomish County Professional Business Headshot Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

Best Places to see Fall Color Around Washington State

Are you a leaf peeper looking for the most amazing fall color spots in and around Washington State? Here are some resources you might find helpful!

Leaf Locator

We’ve created our own leaf locator map so you can easily see where the hottest spots are for color near Washington. Do you know of a place that should be added to the map? Email it to us at

Fall Foliage Prediction Map has created this interactive map that forecasts the fall color within ever county of the US. Just move the slider to find the optimal date for the location you intend to go leaf peeping.

Fall Foliage Hotline

Yes, Washington State has a fall leaf hotline! Just call (800) 354-4595 to get the most accurate information about the color status of any region you want to visit.

Happy Leaf Peeping!

© 2018 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle & Snohomish Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

Small Claims Process Needed for Copyright Infringement

Seattle Wedding Photographer, Jared M. Burns - Henna Mehndi Portrait.jpg

Copyright infringement is out of control. artists and photographers are losing to businesses who bully to keep what they steal. Stealing is stealing and it is time for the law to protect small businesses.

In the past four years, this has personally happened to me at least five times that I can remember. Most of the incidents were with the photograph shown here of the model with henna on her hand. In once case, another photographer even added it to their own web portfolio as though it were their own.

See this video to better understand the issue...

Are you ready to help with this grassroots movement? You can make a difference and have your voice heard. Learn what you can do next by visiting the PPA website. It's easy to do!


Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish County Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

What is the value of a photograph tomorrow?

Determining the personal value of a photograph is a complex issue. Initially, it seems like it shouldn't cost any more than the $0.13 developing fee, but consider the relative value to the one who holds the memories. People invest their wealth in lifestyle, homes, and vehicles, yet if presented with the choice to rescue only one belonging from a catastrophe, all choose their family's "Photography Memories" knowing these are the only belongings that can never be replaced.  

So what is the value of a photograph?

My wife and I on one of our first dates.

My wife and I on one of our first dates.

A Photograph is the only...

  • way to stop time

  • opportunity to see the world through another's eyes

  • truly unique thing we can own

  • way we can relive a moment

  • thing that lasts after the wedding

  • evidence our memory was real

My grandfather when he was young.

My grandfather when he was young.

A Photograph is a tangible connection to...

  • our past, present, and future

  • the our life experiences that make us who we are

  • the people, places, and things we care about most

  • our heritage

  • our greatest life moments

My wife holding our newborn son.

My wife holding our newborn son.

A Photograph can...

  • never be replaced

  • say more than words

  • capture personality

  • make us remember

  • share life with others

  • show moments we may have missed

  • traverse time and space

  • bring people together

  • transcend language and culture

My sister and I a long time ago.

My sister and I a long time ago.

A Photograph has the power to...

  • communicate knowledge, ideas, understanding, and love

  • change the world or change our world view

  • remind us of what is most important

  • elicit the strongest of human emotion

  • take us places we have never been

  • show moments we may have missed

  • strengthen the bonds we share with ones we love

  • live forever

My daughter's first ride on a ferris wheel.

My daughter's first ride on a ferris wheel.

My friend and mentor, Skip Cohen of Skip Cohen University, always says, "With the exception of modern medicine, no career field has given society more than professional photography!

The strange thing about photographs is they always appreciate with age. So, what is the value of your photograph?

It's your story.


© 2016 Jared M. Burns Photography
Snohomish Family Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

Five Holiday Gift Ideas for Advanced Photographers

PART 3: Five of the hottest 2010 Holiday Gift ideas for the Advanced photographers in your life. Keyboard Shortcut Skins ($30 - $40)

Keyboard short cuts save time and increase efficiency.  Of course everyone already knows all the short cuts for all the unique commands in all the highly specialized editing programs, right??  Now owners of Mac Commuters can with an overlay cheat sheet on the keyboard.  Skins are available for Photoshop, Aperture, Final Cut, Pro Tools, After Effects, Logic Pro, and Lightroom.

Datacolor Spyder3 Monitor Calibrator

Do you think all monitors look the same?  Think again!  What is your standard for color checking?  If you think you can judge it by your monitor, then you are in for a world of color heartache.  The only way you can get consistent color is to calibrate your monitor to an industry standard with the Spyder3.

Spyder3 Express ($70)    |     Spyder3 Pro ($130)

Honl Flash Modifiers ($9 – $30)

For anyone who is excited about off camera flash and expanding their creative options, this is the perfect Modifier accessory system.  Each piece can be bought separately at an average of $30.  There are many options including Gogos, Snoots, Grids, Reflectors, and Diffusers

WACOM Bamboo Pen & Touch Tablet ($62)

Bring the fine touch and technique of drawing and painting into the editing process.  This tool is ideal for programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, or Aperture that are very dependent on organic movements which can sometime be limiting by mouse.  It is such an improvement; some have even been known to ditch their mouse altogether!

Black Rapid Camera Strap ($55)

The camera strap of all camera straps!  This is ideal for any photographer who is on the move and likes to feel free.  Its sling design is not only great for comfort and but most notable for its speed and ease of use.  It is also an expandable system that can be adapted to fit most any shooting style.


© 2010 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Family Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

A 2010 Holiday Gift Guide for Beginner Photographers

PART 2: A holiday gift guide of creative ideas in 2010 that are sure to please the beginner photographers.


Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod with Ball Head ($55)

This is the most portable tripod ever created and perfect for the active, high paced photographer.  This little monster will cling, grip, or wrap itself to almost anything, anywhere!  It provides strong stabilization, yet is small enough to fit in almost any bag.

Kata E

Kata E Camera Strap ($17)

Any photographer knows the easiest way to spot a “newbie” is by the manufacturer strap they are sporting.  The strap that came with the camera was designed for a 4’ tall hunchback who likes hosting free advertising around his neck.  Its also made of slipperiest material ensuring the camera will find the quickest, most efficient route to the ground.  Save the photographer, save the camera, and save the strain on their neck and back…buy them a real strap.  The Kata E Camera Strap is so affordable, yet solves so many problems that the photographer will thank you for years to come!


5-in-1 Collapsible Disc Reflector ($28)

This is a photographer’s “go-to” light modifier for almost any situation.  Made of Translucent, White, Black, Silver, and Gold materials, its design yields many creative solutions to almost any lighting challenge.  It is ideal for any photographer who enjoys taking portraits.


50 mm 1.8 Prime Lens ($90-$109)

This is one of the best lenses you can buy at this price point.  It seems is a low cost item, but that is only because  it has fewer high quality glass elements.  This it a great lens for capturing the indoor family moments and overcoming challenges of many low light situations.

Canon 50mm ($94)     |     Nikon 50mm ($109)

iPad Camera Connection Kit ($29)

This one is for the Apple buffs out there!  Use your iPad as, not only an instant way to share and view photos you have just taken, but also as a portable backup device.  This is the answer to one of the iPad’s short sights and wonderful way to let the camera tap into the beauty of iPad’s interactive display capability.

Brando Lighting Kit ($88)

The coolness factor and versatility of this light modification kit is indescribable!  Used by many professionals, this is a complete and innovative arsenal of creative lighting power.  It is a great way to begin to explore light and almost all the solutions a portrait photographer would ever need.


© 2010 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Family Photographer | 206.659.7468 |

Top 8 Hottest Photo Gifts for Any Photographer

PART 1: A holiday gift guide of creative ideas in 2010 that are sure to please any hard-to-shop-for photography enthusiast in your life.

Canon / Nikon Lens Mug ($24 - $30)

Not limited to just coffee, this mug is ideal for anyone who is an avid beverage drinker, very loyal to their camera brand, and likes to be a little different around the office.  It is so realistic people will look twice when they see beverages poured into this lens.

What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

“What the Duck” Comics by Aaron Johnson ($12 - $25)

Brilliantly crafted strips full of inside jokes and wit photographers of all ages will understand and throughly enjoy.

What the Duck: Rule of Nerds What the Duck: A W.T. Duck Collection

Book Ends

Vintage Camera Bookends ($45 - $50)

Photographers love their books so what could be better than bookends that add a retro, yet sophisticated touch.  Perfect for the home, office, or studio.


Eye-Fi Wireless SD Flash Memory Card

Eye-Fi SD Cards work with almost any digital camera that uses SD flash media.  It takes all the work out of uploading your photos.  Simply turn on you camera when in range of a wireless network and all content is automatically transmitted to your computer, socal networks, or where ever you choose.

Available in:     2 GB SD Card ($37)  |  4 GB SD Card ($45)  |  8 GB SD Card ($90)

Digital Frame

Digital Photography Frames ($30 - $200)

Some have said this is the least desirable gift in 2010, but NOT so for photographers.  What was last year's hot novelty item has now dropped significantly in price, meaning larger digital frames are now accessible to all without breaking the bank.  If you thought these cost too much for what you get, take another look because 8" frames start around $30!


Photo-opoly ($30)

"Your Life.  Your Photos.  Your Game"

The perfect way for a photographer to refine their family and business skills at the same time!  Adding your own photos will add a unique touch the who family will enjoy for years to come.  What a great way to create family memories!


iamaKey USB Key Flash Drive ($18 - $43)

Photographers are always on the move and always need ways to store and transfer digital media.  They don't want another electronic device in their pocket so here is a solution that will blend in with a key ring.

Available in: 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB

Magnetic Polaroid Frames ($15)

A fun an trendy way to show photographs around the home or office.  Best of all they can easily be swapped out to keep up with your high paced digital life.   The dry erase pen makes it easy to add a personal touch or caption.


© 2010 Jared M. Burns Photography
Seattle Wedding Photographer & Snohomish Family Photographer | 206.659.7468 |