» The Reset Conference Champaign, IL

Spotlight of Shutterbag!

We were THRILLED when Kim emailed us to say she’d love to be a part of The Reset Conference & that she’d like to be one of our featured vendors at the conference.  I’ve been eyeing her bags for awhile & am so excited to see them in person!  I personally love that they can hold a 17″ laptop!  My MacbookPro is big & rarely fits any other bag out there!  I emailed Kim to find out more about her journey with Shutterbags & loved learning about them & how she got started!

Kim said…As far as how I created Shutterbag, I have to admit I didn’t. I was introduced over the internet to a woman in Australia that was looking for a U.S. distributor for her new camera bag line. I had just written a blog post about my frustration with searching for a camera bag that was real leather. I had actually fabricated and sewn my own insert because I didn’t want a vinyl bag that costs hundreds of dollars. As soon as I read about the bags being genuine leather, I immediately got one to see the quality for myself.  I was in love when it arrived! The Australian woman (her name is Cherie) and I hit it off very well and I signed on as the exclusive U.S. distributor.  Within a few months of getting on board with Shutterbag, Cherie delivered devastating news. Cherie and her husband were divorcing, she was about to become a single mom and did not have the passion or drive to continue the business further. After just investing in my new business venture, I was crushed to think it may never come to fruition.  My husband and I prayed a lot about it and offered to buy Shutterbag from Cherie.  I was so passionate about these bags, I couldn’t let them go. I had already started marketing (albeit just a little at that time) Shutterbag in the U.S. and knew there were women just like me that wanted a pretty camera bag made of real materials.  So within just a few months after joining Shutterbag, it became mine. I kept the few designs we had and soon added my own, too.  I couldn’t be more proud of this business and the relationships I have made. I always say that we are a Shutterbag family, and I mean it.  I love connecting and getting to know each customer. They know they are more than an order to me, they are family.  Being such a small business allows me the privilege to serve and support our Shutterbag family. Heck, it is such a family affair that my kids help package the bag as they make their way to their new homes. So if your shipping label looks a little crooked, chances are my three year old and my five year old were “helping” each other put it on the box.

The photos are of the Journey bag (in goldenrod yellow) and of the Heirloom (in black). The Journey came about from asking women in an open question on Facebook what they wanted in a bag. Being able to carry a water bottle without putting it the bag with their gear was the top response. So I knew we had to find a way to incorporate that feature. So the Journey has that front pouch for a water bottle, sippy cup, or baby bottle.
The Heirloom is our most versatile bag. It comes with five straps so you can wear it as a tote, shoulder bag, messenger, or a back pack.  You can also attach the straps in more nontraditional ways to slide the Heirloom onto a rolling bag or luggage trolley. You can easily attach the Heirloom to a stroller, too.  The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

You can find these gorgeous bags at and on Facebook!


Heirloom as backpack webHeirloom-strip

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Spotlight on Amanda Zika!


Today the beautiful Amanda Zika or Dreaming Tree Photography is up on the blog!  Amanda is one of the sweetest people I have ever met…and incredibly gifted, too!  She has a unique gift of seeing the art in life as it happens around her.  Her images of the every day are just gorgeous.  Amanda blessed my family with photos that are truly a gift that I will pass down for future generations.  There is a big story behind that session that I will share during the conference.  Amanda was truly in the right place at the right time…thankful God has allowed her to be my friend and in my life.:)

Let’s get to know this photographer a little more…

What moves you?

I wanted to start with this question first for a few reasons. I hope after you read this you can then connect this with the way I photography families. I did not grow up in your typical American family. I was raised by my grandparents from birth to adulthood. They were amazing, beautiful people and tried to make my childhood as normal as possible. I had a lot of ups and downs as a child and wished all of my life to have a “normal” family. I think this is where my love for photography started. I was intrigued by photos of people just sharing life. Moments captured in time. So, what moves me? The uniqueness in each family no matter what the dynamic. Each family is beautiful and different and I want to capture that. I have learned through the years that as long as you have one person that loves you unconditionally, you can have the world.


Who inspires you? (personally or professionally?)

Wow! Isn’t this a deep question? I am inspired by so many people but I am most inspired by my children. They always give me light in the dark. Their giggles surround me at all times and I feel free. It is truly beautiful. With them I feel like I can conquer anything and any obstacle. Professionally, I am inspired by women photographers. There are so many amazing male photographers. There always have been, but I am seeing so many amazing women balancing it all. A career, children, household chores, school…It is inspiring. God made us to be strong and pillars. I hope that I can be an inspiration in this way for my family. I also have a lot of things that inspire the way I photograph. I love the color the fall leaves and the smell of fall, standing out on my deck in the cold, without a coat, taking in the silence and beauty of the first snowfall, watching my friends get married and having children, my favorite worship song coming on the radio, hugs and kisses from my sweet little man (those dimpled hands don’t last long!), holding hands with my husband and looking at old photojournalistic photos of my family.


What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out?

Always follow your heart. I truly believe that if you put your all into something it will work out. When I first started out I was so nervous. I thought no one would hire me and that I was wasting time and money. Thank God, I had a strong support system that pushed me along the way. I really think finding your style before you open your business makes a huge difference too.  I knew how I wanted and what I wanted to photograph, but sometimes I felt lost and would go home not loving the images. That is why I wanted to answer “What moves you?’ and “What inspires you?’ first. I wanted to show you why I photograph in the style I do. Once you find your inspiration you will see such a huge difference in the way you photograph weddings and families. So, make a list. List your favorite times in your life, your favorite season, your favorite memories, your favorite photographers…just list it all and think about it. The things you love define part of your soul. Your outlet for those inspirations will come through in the way you capture people and things.


Did you ever think photography would be your career?

Yes! Yes! Yes! When I was in college studying photography and living life in the darkroom, I truly believed I would be getting calls from National Geographic (being one of their photographers is still a dream!). But, my family told me I would never make any money and to do something else. So, I did and I hated it. I spend 7.5 years in a career that suffocated me. When I took the plunge and decided to do what I love it was refreshing. My life and everything revolving around it changed. My husband is very supportive and told me to follow my heart. He is my rock and I would not be where I am without him.


If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?

Ireland! We were supposed to go this spring but decided against it because we didn’t want to leave the kids that long. I made Brett promise me that we will go with the kids within the next few years. I love to travel and have a huge list of places I would love to visit which include: Australia, Prince Edward Island (Holler if you remember Anne of Green Gables!), Paris, London, a tour of the upper-east coast in the fall. You get the idea. I love beautiful scenery.


Favorite quote?

It is a Bible verse that I have huge in my living room and remember every single day. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for you to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.


Favorite hot drink?

Coffee. Nuff’ said:)


If you could have any super power, which would you choose?

To fly!!!! Of course, I am afraid of heights so I probably would never make it off the ground. So, I will resort to my 2nd choice. I would love to be invisible when I wanted. That way, when I am in the bathroom taking a bath or whatever I am doing, the kids won’t have the desire to just walk in. I think most of us know that feeling!


Guilty Pleasure?

I sometimes sneak and watch bad reality t.v. You know, RHWOC, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo. Luckily, I only have time to watch these shows about once a year. But I still watch them and I enjoy it – even if watching does lose me a few brain cells!


Summary of what you hope to share with attendees of the reset conference.

I hope to share how I get people to feel comfortable with me. Comfortable enough to open up and just be themselves. I would also love to share how I try to balance kids and family life, volunteering, photography and household chores.


Best secret for working smarter not harder?

I work hard to spend more time with my family. I remember that every minute I spend procrastinating is time away from my kids. We all procrastinate in some way so we have to be self-disciplined. I also don’t work every day. I only have set days I work and for only a few hours. And guess what? I get it all done! I can discuss this more at the conference because it would take two pages for me to type out!


Amanda…thank you for being so gracious & for being willing to be a part of The Reset Conference!  We just love you to pieces!

If you still haven’t registered, there are only a few seats left.  You can grab one of them by registering and using coupon code AMANDA50 to save $50 on your registration!

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Spotlight on Boxdrops by SJP!


We are so excited to have Boxdrops by SJP as a part of The Reset Conference!  I’m so looking forward to seeing these in person!

I asked Sarah Jane about how boxdrops came to fruition & she shared the story with me.  Love this girl & her heart for the photography industry!

So the story of how boxdrops started….

Elizabeth VanHoutan is really the talent and inspiration behind BoxDrops by SJP. We happened upon each other a few years ago (both living in Decatur, IL now and both from Jefferson City, MO originally) and loving her style and art I knew I wanted to work with her to create custom backdrops for my clients, specifically some really unique designs for events like high school dances, etc.

She’s painted at least a dozen full-size custom drops for me over the past couple years and each one is gorgeous! Somewhere along the way she brought in her portfolio for me to photograph so non only did I have the full size designs but I had her full portfolio in digital form. I knew we needed to get these designs out into the world and figure out a way to share them with other photographers so I put together a digital overlay set (as I was already using and enjoying her art as overlays in my own work). The overlays are great (I still use them in my work daily) but I really wanted something more, something life-sized so backdrops was the obvious next step though it wasn’t a quick or easy one.

Elizabeth and I have been talking about and I’ve been researching how to take her art to the next level for what seems like forever and finally we’re here and really brining her visions to live in stunning computer-printed high quality fabric drops! (YAY!!!!!!)

Not long after I realized this dream was becoming a reality I reached out to a few other talented photographers to expand our line into new arenas. I’m happy to say we have some really unique things in the works including both a scenic and grunge line both from award-winning photographers right here in the central US.

Though we’ve been toying with the idea of the backdrop line for ages it all seems to have exploded overnight. We had an unofficial soft opening recently at the FotoChaos event in St. Louis and I’m SO excited to be officially launching right here in Central Illinois at the Reset Conference, after which we’ll be making a big splash sponsoring all the drops at ShutterFest hosted by Sal Cincotta in St. Louis later that same month!!

I’m astounded and honored by the outpooring of support I’ve received from the photography community. I’m excited to bring other photographers like me fun, interesting and truly unique looks to help them create their art.

You can check out the desgins at and

Oh and now until April 6th box drops is offering 25% off presales (placed simply by calling or emailing Sarah Jane) and also will be giving each purchaser a code to earn $20 toward their next purchase for every referral order they send before the launch date.


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Spotlight on Design Aglow

When it comes to design, I have quite the love affair with Design Aglow.   Their designs offer something that is clean, modern & truly stands the test of time.  It really fits my brand well & their products give my photographs a polished touch.

I tried to sit and think about which Design Aglow product is my favorite.  That.was.hard.  Because I love them all.  I truly do.

I debated between the Baby’s First Year plan, the Essential Wedding Info Form, the Ultimate Album Builder or the Fleur Album.

But…there is one product that makes a BIG impression on my clients when they walk in my studio door.

Introducing Mr. Big–the Ultimate Studio Product.  (Which I just saw is on sale!!)


Generally when a bride walks into my studio, she has a pretty clear understanding of my style & my vision for what I do.  However, her fiance or parents haven’t spent the same amount of time pouring over wedding photographer’s websites & don’t really know what to expect.  This giant canvas in my studio gives them a very quick peek into my style & approach to a wedding day.  I can’t even begin to describe the amount of time that couples have spent pointing out their favorite photos, or showing me some of their friends which are featured on the canvas itself.  It is such a showpiece for my studio & allows me to show off many of my favorite photos all at once.

I’m in love with it.  BIG time.:)

Design Aglow…you continually impress me with everything you create.  My business and brand are indebted to you.
~Kellie Penn, Across the Miles Photography


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Spotlight on Clickinmoms


Back in 2008 I joined an online photography community that would forever change me and my approach to photography.  I learned so much, found a community who spoke my “language”, joined CMPro…but perhaps most importantly I met some of my very best photography friends through that community.  One day I was surfing through the forum and received a private message & it was Bex asking me if I’d like to meet up in Champaign since it was right in the middle from where we both lived.  I was thrilled to meet a new photography buddy.  We met at Jupiters for pizza and spent the next couple of hours talking and forming a friendship.  I had no idea that meeting would lead me to a relationship with one of my very best friends.

I always say that Clickinmoms was HUGE for me in my development of my business and the understanding of the technical aspects of photography.  I’m forever grateful for Kendra & her vision for this community.  When I first joined, it was a small group of photographers that has grown into such a large, diverse community.

If you’re not a member, you can sign up for a free one-month trial membership to check it out a little more.  Click here!  I’m confident that once you start exploring, you’ll want to stay and keep learning/sharing!

Also, Clickinmoms produces an amazing bi-monthly magazine called Click.  I’m always excited when that magazine shows up in my mailbox.  It’s BEAUTIFUL and is so well put together.  You can subscribe by clicking here!

And…if you’re not registered for the ClickAway Conference, I highly encourage you to check it out!!  Yours truly is one of the speakers at the conference!  I’m so thrilled and honored to be a part of this conference.  It is going to be amazing!

You can register by going to:

Use coupon code: KELLIECLICK to save $60 on your registration!

You can see my face on the speaker list here:  So stinkin’ crazy!!!!!!!

While in Vegas for WPPI, Bekah and I had the opportunity to sit down for coffee with Kendra & Sarah.  I just adore these women and loved finally meeting them in person.  Forever grateful for all that they have poured into me.


Clickinmoms…thank you so much for all of your support personally & for The Reset conference.  We are so thankful for you.

Sarah Karasch - Click totally gave me the courage to start my photography business! It is where I learned SO much and I am SO grateful for all the members and those who keep this awesome forum running! I wish I could come to Click Away! Maybe next time!!!

ClickinMoms - Love that you two met via CM! We can’t wait to hear about how successful the conference is!

Karen Shoufler - Clickin Moms and Bekah are the reasons I’m in business and growing in my skill every day!! Love, love, love Click! I mean, like LOVE. It’s the only magazine that I keep every single copy and refer back to them over and over :)

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