Christene Schaaf, Photographer

About C.S. Photography, Inc.

C.S. Photography features the unique Home.Life.Art family sessions and Bébe Firsts sessions. What is Life Art? Well...Life Art is YOU! It is the relationship that is captured between family. A moment... a portrait created by me and turned into beautiful Life Art décor that makes you smile every time you walk by it and inspires your home to greet you.

My blog is filled with the inner workings of my photography passion. I will be featuring sneak peeks, tutorial tidbits, Life Art Décor suggestions, product offerings, client gallery designs and inspiration.

If you would like more information or want to schedule a Home.Life.Art or Bébe First session, please visit or email

Archive: ‘Balancing Business Series’


Monday, March 19th, 2012

There’s this book I’ve been reading. One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler by Tsh Oxenreider. The very first chapter is about eating your frog. “Do the worst thing on your plate first thing in the morning and the rest of the day is a cake walk.” I’m a procrastinator. Well, not so much a procrastinator, but I’m easily distracted. Look, a squirrel! … So every morning I know the one thing that has to get accomplished that day and I start and finish that first before the social media time suck or simply just before the day gets away from me. This has also let me be more spontaneous with my afternoons or late mornings. A friend can send me a text to meet her with the kids at the park and I no longer feel guilty that I didn’t get what I needed accomplished.

And quickly while we’re on the subject, take a hard look at where your time is going. Are you working on business related activities that help your bottom line or align with your business model? (Do you have a business model?!) There’s a difference between busy work and accomplishment. Employees stay busy from 8-5. The temptation is there for entrepreneurs to keep themselves busy from 6am-1am. Know your priorities, set time constraints and accomplish more in a smaller amount of time. Then you can feel good about playing with your kids at the park instead of being cast to the bench following up with emails.

The Art of Life: Balancing Business Series | Organize Your Thoughts, Receipts, and Notes all in one place!

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Today’s Balancing Business Series for Mompreneurs post isn’t very long, but I want to introduce you to a tool that has quickly become one of my favorites for business and for life. Evernote is an app that lets you take a screen capture and tag it to categorize it. My kids are constantly in the office scribbling on papers and helping themselves to every item. So I’m awful at losing receipts and notes. With Evernote I simply take a quick iPhone picture of my business receipts after I purchase something and tag it 2012 receipt. I can even categorize it further if needed so inputing receipts into my financial workbooks is simple and I’m no longer trying to remember where I put a receipt. I have this app on my iPhone, iPad, and computers and each time I log on to one, it sync’s everything to all three. I can also take notes with Evernote and never again am I fishing in the office trash trying to find where my 18-month old put the one piece of paper I took notes on. Try it out! I’m still on the free version but the paid version puts your scanned receipts or documents into a searchable pdf! So imagine being able to search receipts or documents based on a keyword that required no data entry from you! Check out their blog too for more ways to incorporate Evernote into your business practices.

Have a great week everyone! I hope these weekly tips are helping those busy business mom’s find balance!

The Art of Life: Balancing Business Series | Organizing Your Desktop

Monday, February 27th, 2012

This week in the Balancing Business Series for Mompreneurs we are talking about how to make a template in Photoshop to clean up your desktop. I know this isn’t a new concept in the photography community but for those of you who haven’t seen this yet it has been such a huge help for me to keep things organized and simple. You can buy a template from sites such as Design Aglow or you can make a simple one yourself in Photoshop.

Here’s what my desktop looks like.

First off, find your display dimensions. On my Mac, I can do this by going up to the Apple icon on the upper left side of the screen and choosing the “About this Mac”, click on More info and under the display it gives me the dimensions of 2560px x 1440px.

I made this template in Photoshop. You can make a new template by going to File>New. Enter in your pixel dimensions and click OK.

Using the Rounded Rectangle Tool I started adding boxes, colors and text and added my logo to the middle. You will need to decide which labels will help your workflow. Your desktop template may look different than mine, especially if you aren’t a photographer reading this. I think an organized desktop template can help anyone really.

Once you have your template made, save it as a jpg. Then you’ll need to make the jpg your desktop background. On my Mac, I can do this by going to System Preferences in my Applications. Click on Desktop and Screen Saver and find your the photo you just saved. I think I actually had to save into my iPhoto folder for it to show up here. Then you are done! Try it out and see what works and what doesn’t. You can always tweak it to fit your workflow needs.

The Art of Life: Balancing Business Series | Digitalize Your Meal Planning

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Not enough people are talking about balance. As a military entrepreneur I thought of photography as a portable career. I already had a passion for it, so why not make it a venture? The next 2 years as we grew our family and added babies to the mix I struggled. I wanted so badly to have something of my own. An identity that would be me. When someone asked me what I did, I didn’t have to say “I’m just the wife.” I forget when reality first hit me. Being a photographer wasn’t about taking pictures, it’s about being an entrepreneur. And that means marketing, budgeting, taxes, licenses, editing, shooting, fulfilling orders, emailing, phone calls, bookkeeping, and the list really could go on. Add that to a day of early mornings with babies, making meals, changing diapers, laundry, dishes, paying bills, story time, playdates, bath time, and bedtime and top it off with a husband on deployment or a detachment with no family within driving distance and you can see how I and I suspect other momprenuers are stretched, overwhelmed and questioning if they have the stamina and time to make their business work. I want to be honest with you about being a mompreneur. My goal for 2012 is to take a salary. Yes, you read between the lines right. I have yet to take a salary as a photographer and business owner. And I suspect I’m not alone. All of the nights spent until 2am editing, the days trying to get an order in before one of the boys woke up from their nap have been because I love what I do and I have faith that this business will eventually compensate me for my time spent telling them “just a another minute.”

So, the latter part of 2011 and beginning of 2012 I’ve been getting the business of life in order. Because having a screaming baby on your lap with a toddler tugging on your arm while you respond to an email isn’t balance. I would love to share what has been working for me and hopefully open up a dialogue between all momprenuers who are struggling with wanting to succeed, but like me, wasn’t executing it as well as they could be.

First on my agenda of the Art of Life: Balancing Business Series is Meal Planning.
Making dinner and even deciding what to make was the single most stressful part of my day. Preparing dinner usually involved me not paying attention to the time until both kids went into their grand whining roles… pulling on my clothes, and me rummaging through the freezer for something to defrost in the microwave. I’d usually leave the youngest screaming through the glass sliding door as I tried to start the barbecue 10 feet away. 5pm rolls around much too quickly around here and the “witching hour” for (my) kids begins. I tried planning out meals before…to an extent and always on paper or in my head. But digitalizing my meal planning has transformed my 5:00 afternoons. We use google calendars for all of our family planning needs. It syncs from our desktop calendar to the iPad and iPhones so I always have it on hand. I am incredibly lucky to have a hubby who does the majority of our grocery shopping, unless he is out of town. So my meal planning is done on a Monday, and he shops after class on Tuesday’s. We also use an iPhone app called Cozi to sync my shopping list. Just to give you a quick run down of what my meal planning entails, here’s a screenshot of my google calendar from last weeks meals.



For each day I’d have exactly what I was making, the recipe already written out, and an email notification scheduled for that morning so when I received it, I’d know exactly what I’d have to throw in the crockpot or defrost for dinner.



While I’m planning out my meals for the week, I’d also have Cozi opened on my phone so can add items to the grocery list as I look over each recipe.


My grocery list is automatically synced to hubby’s phone so when he gets off work or out of class he just carries his phone around the store and checks off items as he gets them. I could also choose to have the list emailed to him as well if he preferred a print out.

If you are like my family, there are a few staple meals that we make on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. What I love about using Google calendar for my meal planning is I can choose to have a recipe repeat every week, or 2 weeks, or every month. It’s one more way to automate a task that used to take so much of my time planning and executing. Now I use my 5:00 afternoon to catch up with the boys. They can help me throw together some vegetables, or I can sit and interact with them while we are waiting for the crockpot to finish up.

So, I would love to hear from you! Are you a stretched Mompreneur? What areas of your life and business are you struggling to stay afloat with? I know I can’t be the only one out there trying to run a business and a household at the same time and in the same space. Let’s share and learn! :)


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