As you read enjoy these shots I have taken for my most recent adventure of making an Annual Family Year book. I know they’re not your typical backlit dream shots I get excited about but I think you can tell why they’re still exciting to me.
Also, note to self: Be in the pictures more.
So, I’ve been thinking a lot about a lot of things. I’ve been thinking about how I got started doing photography and what my goals are for it. I’ve been thinking about how i juggle business and family. And something that I don’t know if I should admit… but it’s thinking about how ‘normal’ I am.
I always wonder if I’m normal. What I mean by that is I wonder if people think the same way as me. I’m constantly fascinated by the choices people make and why they make them. I ask Trent (my husband) constantly if he thinks other people care about, think about, wonder about, like to do the same things as me. Besides being genuinely interested in human behavior it’s always a constant surprise to me that people decide they want to do something and then… well, they never do. I know my personality is different and I’m sure everyone has all sorts of diagnosis on what kind of person or personality I am but whether I’m Yellow, Type ABC, ENTJ, Gifts of Affirmation or just ” a work-a-holic” what’s important to me that may not be to others is actually living out the things I dream about. I LOVE to adventure. I love to try and learn new things- and if you know me I am constantly obsessed with them until I am so good that it’s not fun anymore. I’m not saying I’m great at everything, but before I do or become something new I always have this vision in my head of what it means to be good at that thing, something that looks unattainable and I just keep going until I get past that. After that, I’m satisfied. (This reminds me of a funny story of me pushing myself too hard at the gym that I will definitely not be sharing haha).
This is why I have found that Photography was the perfect thing for me. I know most photographers Bios will tell you they were born with a camera in their hand and things like that – and kudos to them- but that wasn’t me. And I’m ok with that. I think the fact that I never had a clue how to do anything related to photography until a little over a year ago helped, and still helps, light a little fire under me, keeping me forward moving, constantly.
My grandma was a photographer- a hobbiest. She adored it. My aunt was also a hobby photographer, but I never really knew it was or could be a job. I’d never known anyone who did it for work, except the scary JCPenny studio guys, my mom had do pictures of us growing up.
For me it all started towards the later part of 2018 (yup, that recently). My aunt had a camera sitting out in her living room and I asked her what she was going to do with it. She told me she was going to sell it on ebay BUT the thing she said right after that is what has changed my whole world since,
“You can have it if you will use it”. She jokingly told me how she couldn’t photograph her own daughters weddings anyway so she may as well pass that off to me. And I know she was mostly joking but that stuck with me. My new challenge. My thing to reach. Once I got there I would be good. Once I was good enough to photograph her two daughters weddings I would have mastered photography and I could move onto the next thing.
Well, who knew that photography and ESPECIALLY wedding photography had so many moving parts! It is extremely complex and it took me all of about 30 minutes ( I was taking pictures of my 4 month old daughter) to realize that this camera that I thought was going to just take these amazing photos without having to do anything was not what photography was about at all. I grew in respect for all photographers that day. This was a complex and also very subjective medium.
Complex AND subjective makes for things being even more complex and here’s why: two photographers would tell me two completely different things and both were right- when applied to their style.
Finding my personal style and how to control that and create it consistently in different scenarios was harder for me than learning the technical side of the camera. It’s something I am still constantly tweaking and probably will forever. Which works out well for me since I’m constantly looking for something that I can focus on improving.
If that wasn’t enough to keep me busy there is the whole website, SEO, Blog, Pinterest, Instagram (yup I’d never used instagram) and business side of things I had to learn.
So, like I mentioned before my main goal in photography was to be “good enough” to impressively shoot my Cousin’s wedding days. Well since starting I’ve added a few new goals. I want to document my daughters life. I remember my grandmother would have boxes and boxes and albums and albums of picture that she would print. That is a legacy I don’t want to loose. It’s also a life long commitment so it keeps me happily working on a project constantly no matter what else is or isn’t going on, which is my happy space to be.
As I’ve looked for resources and management systems to encourage me to take, keep and print family photos not only have I added my my legacy but I have used the things I’ve learned to help me develop my business set up to make it easy for people to plan, keep and print photos themselves.
My most recent additions to this end goal are two things!
1)I am now offering Legacy Albums in my Wedding Packages! Ahhhh. I never thought I would get to the point in my business where I would do this. Not that long ago (I’m talking months) it seemed like one of those things that only really high-end luxury wedding photographers did and no-one would buy them from me. I’m kind of a perfectionist so I look at my own work this way and I constantly focus on how I can improve. The demand from clients for these albums has made me take a break to realize I’ve done some pretty amazing things that I can be really proud of, and that have moved people to the point of inquiring about these albums being in their wedding packages!
Ok, side note and random idea… why don’t photographers offer an album like this for family sessions…maybe I should start that. Who would be interested in a family session including an album curated by me? Comment below!
2) I have an Auto-Schedule Option for Family Pictures! So each time you receive a gallery of family pictures you will get a prompt to book your next annual pictures at a date and time provided, approximately 1 year from your most recent session! And, you are guaranteed the rate you paid at the last session for as long as you continue to renew- even if we have to fine tune the date a little as it gets closer. (It’s kinda like your annual Amazon subscription- except cooler). Honestly, I wasn’t planning to guarantee rates, because I know for a fact I will be raising my prices in the next 6 months (YAY!), but this is what turned out to be the easiest for me to keep track of so you get to benefit from that for as long as you continue to do family pictures. And I really do hope it does motivate you to do them and KEEP doing them every year!
One of the things I love the most about photography is all the different amazing, kind, happy, inspiring people I get to meet, so I want you to book annually because I genuinely come to care for you and your family as I communicate with you, take your photos and deliver your galleries. It’s great to make money but I set this up for YOU. I believe so much in the impact of having photo records taken. Even long after I stop doing family photos and I am only doing weddings (which is my eventual goal) I want there to be that group of people who have stuck with me from the very beginning there with me. The ones I can’t say no to when you ask for family pictures each year, because I love you and you made me who I am.