Monday, October 30, 2006

I'm Back! I still have a cough that won't quit, but I think I made it through the worst part. I'd like to share some of my new photos and update you all on what's going on in my world. First of all, I'd like to make everyone aware of some changes that are about to be made. For the first few months, I had set a price list that was very low for the services that I provide, for two reasons. One was to get as many clients as I could so I can show them what I can do. The second is basically to test what works and try and get an idea of where I should price myself in the market of photography. Well, it's been going great, and I've learned a lot about this. It looks like people are having a hard time choosing, and the CD has been a very popular item. However, since I've priced the CD so low, people tend to buy just the CD and nothing else, and when they do it's typically either just a few prints or a bunch of 4x6's. At this rate, and with the prices that I had set, there is no way I could make a living, and no guarantee that my images will be printed with the best color balance and quality. So, I've made some adjustments to my price list. The CD and everything that was available will no longer be available, and the prices will be better adjusted to match the value of the product. Yes, it will cost quite a bit more than what you'll get if you go to, say Proex. But, there is a HUGE difference between professional photography and a chain portrait studio. Let me explain: Your typical chain store books sessions every 15 minutes. You might get a half hour at a higher priced chain like Flash. These stores hire their photographers out of high school with very little or no experience. (I worked at Proex when I was 16.) Your photos at a chain studio are among hundreds, if not thousands of other orders, so they don't recieve custom care. They are also typically taken in a cramped studio with a bunch of cheesy props that scream "cheap pictures". Ok, so if you're on a tight budget, and that's all you can afford, go to a chain studio and you'll get a fairly decent picture of your kid with studio lighting and a background. If you're ok with that, power to you. But, if you want photographs that are natural, personal, professionally photographed and edited for the best quality possible and a photo session that is relaxed, not rushed, and in a comfortable environment where you are likely to relax and be yourself, resulting in pictures that represent the "real you" that's when you go to a professional. I have more than 8 years of photography experience. My sessions are typically 1-2 hours (more if needed) and I schedule no more than 1 session in a day. I travel to your home or chosen location for your photo shoot (sometimes involves up to two hours drive time). During the session, your family has plenty of time to get comfortable, take breaks for snacks, diaper changes, etc. After your session, I spend another hour or two on the computer processing your images, retouching blemishes, adjusting color, contrast, and many other things to make your photos the best they can be. Then I recrop them and send them online for your viewing gallery. I contact you to let you know they are online, and set your password. I then will burn a backup CD of all your images so that should the computer crash, your photos are safe. On average, I spend about 6 hours dedicating my time for each session. So, when you order a package of $150, after subtracting expenses, such as print costs, mileage, equiptment, I make about $100. That's about $16.67 per hour. Ok, that's not terrible, but not exactly a professional salary either. Then let's think about this a little more. I spend a lot of time updating my website, advertising, improving my skills, studying new photoshop techniques, researching new products, and a lot more, but nobody's paying me for that. If you actually calculate all the hours I put in for a week and how much I generate in orders, I'm making less than $7 an hour. That's not necessarily a professional salary, is it? Sorry for having to go through the whole explanation, but I need to make sure you know all that is going into your photos and why you pay more for custom portraits than you would for your typical portrait studio. I hope this will help you understand why my prices have to go up.

Anyway, keep checking my website in the next couple of weeks and you will see some exciting changes! I will be adding a products page, where you can view samples of the different products and see some great new specialty items that will be available soon!

Alright, now that I got the "info" out of the way, want to see some pictures? Here's a sweet little newborn I was lucky enough to photograph last week! She was so beautiful, and so little! I'm still amazed every time I see a newborn, because I just can't believe how quickly they grow! My Nina is 16 months old and it seems like eternity, but just yesterday at the same time, that she was that little. I'm sure I'll keep feeling that way as she grows.

If you want to see more of her, check my website gallery. Anyway, here are a few from a photo shoot of three kids, just having a good time in the leaves before it gets too cold! They were a fun group, and it was a bit of a challenge to wipe that CHEESE grin off those faces!

Monday, October 23, 2006

I am so sorry it has taken me so long to write here! I have been sick the past two weeks first with what I though was a cold, and seemed to be getting better when it turned into a very unpleasant flu type thing that has left me very miserable and coughing like a maniac. I am still suffering, but thought I should at least put an update in here so if anyone checks this, they know I didn't disappear. I'll be updating this a lot more as soon as I get better - which will hopefully be sooner than later. Thanks for your patience.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I didn't disappear, I promise! I had a crazy week last week! Last Tuesday, I had a session with a family of four who were really cute and fun to work with. We had just gotten a few shots of the family together when it started to rain! AHH! They wanted to get some pictures of their two kids together as well as family, so we quickly took a few of just the kids. I felt really bad, because usually I spend about an hour or more on a session, getting lots of variety to choose from, but this one lasted maybe 15 minutes and we got rained out. There were still some cute shots, but I would have loved to have had the chance to work with these guys some more and get something really great for them. Oh well, who can control the weather? I told them I would be happy to take some more for them another day....we'll see. Anyway, that was the start of my insane week. Earlier that same day I went to a local preschool to do their anual class photos. This was my first year doing this for them. They were just way too stinkin cute! Little 3 and 4 year olds in their school clothes looking all cute and I got to take their pictures! Too fun! Anyway, skip ahead to the next day. I was scheduled to go back to the preschool and photograph another class, so I did that, and all was great. I had a senior session scheduled for that evening, so since my CF cards were both full, I needed to process the images from the past day in order to clear my card for the senior that evening, and for the newborn and family shoots scheduled for the next day. So, I go to turn on the computer, NOTHING. Uh Oh, as my 15 month old would say. Try again, still NOTHING! So now here I am panicking because I am out of media space and can't get on the computer to process my pictures, much less check my email or do anything else for that matter. So I call my sister in a panic begging for her to let me use her computer to at least burn the images onto CDs so I could at least clear my cards and process them later. She said ok, so I'm still freaking out, but a little relieved. Then a little knock comes from the front door. Hmmm, who could it be? My best buddy Fed Ex!!! I had ordered two 2GB CF cards the week before, and they arrived, just in time! Plus, I had just received my new Canon 5D camera. The tables were starting to turn! Yeah! So I went to my sister's house to at least check my email, and schedule appointments for a couple of people who had inquired about sessions (yeah, more sessions!). Still no computer, so still frustrating, since these people were waiting for their proofs to go online and I hate to disappoint. Anyway, I went to Stillwater and did the senior session, who was a gorgeous teenage girl who was very photogenic. I was really happy with how the session went, so that made my night. Too bad I couldn't get right on the computer to go through them and get them up right away like I would any other time I had a great shoot. GRRR..... So now it's my turn to bug my moody computer programer brother who has been working 90 hour workweeks lately and just wants to chill on the couch. No, I need computer help, John, can't you understand that! So after giving me a hard time, he finally agrees to help me out a little. Computer still doesn't work, but at least I got my files backed up. Anyway, so Thursday I head out to do a 1 week old baby's first portraits, and his two year old big brother. Oh and what cuties they were! We got some super cute pics of the big brother outside, and he decided he was done with pictures by the time we got inside. Not a big deal - he's 2, it's to be expected. Mom was a little disappointed that she wasn't going to get a sibling shot, but what can you do? When a 2 year old decides he's done, it's in the best interests of a defensless newborn to let it be! Now the baby - I must say, this was one of the most adorable, well behaved babies I've seen in a long time! I normally suggest parents start with the baby sleeping so we can get those sweet peaceful baby shots, but he wanted to be awake. Normally when a newborn is awake, there's at least one crying spell. Not a peep from this little guy! Now thinking back to when Nina was a newborn and how she kept me up all night and just wore me out, this just is not fair! But, I was ok with a great baby, as jealous as I was, because I was lucky enough to take his picture! So that session went really well. Thinking back though I should have taken advantage of his great demeaner and done some nursery shots as well, but then again, mom probably has enough trouble deciding as it is. So, after this session, I head on home to try and get my computer running. About half way there, (this was a 45 minute drive) I get a call on my cell from the father of the kids I just photographed, who tells me I forgot my CF card on his couch! So I have to drive all the way back out there and pick it up. Just my week! Next was a family session for my cousin. She has a 9 month old little boy with blue eyes and lots of hair. He's a real cutie, and he likes me, so he just smiled the whole time! She put him in a little vintage looking peacoat and newsboy cap. He looked so cute! Anyway, that was a fun session and a nice day. Friday comes, and the end of the week is near! I rebooted my computer with some software I found from my old computer (couldn't find the disk for my recent operating system - that figures) and I finally have a computer! No shoots scheduled for Friday, so it's catch up time. I got all the sessions online from that week, finally! I'll attach something from each shoot on here. So, this week I've been busy trying to get the orders for the preschool processed and ordered, as well as do a shoot and process the images for 3 kids Monday, a 6 month old ADORABLE baby, and a kitten on Tuesday. Yesterday I had some trouble with my internet, so I got about half as many orders as I wanted to processed, but it got done. I finally have time to blog, and it feels good to get it all out! I just finished a session for an old friend from high school who is engaged - so happy for her! So I'll get this published so I can work on her stuff and get it online! Thanks for hanging in there. I didn't mean to disappear. Things (crazy things) just happen. The above pictures are from last week, and the ones below are early this week.