Happy New Year!!! I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays and shared lots of love and laughter with friends + family! We have had a wonderful few weeks. Tomorrow is my last day of my holiday break, and I intend to use it wisely by wrapping up the website redesign and launch! (I know – no working on vacation, right?) Our Christmas and New Year was filled with family, laughs, smiles, and looking back on a wonderful year that has passed and another to come. No year is without its challenges, but I think we’re ready to face our new hurdles head on in 2012!
Personally, I am ready. Many people make resolutions for the beginning of each year. I am not one of them. A lot of my fellow photographers are talking about all the big things they have planned, new and sparkly. Myself, I am going to turn the focus inward and work on perfecting those things that are already in place and that my clients and friends love. That’s not to say you won’t see new things from me in 2012, I just prefer to think of them as not so much new as they are improved. ♥ I’ve updated my Wedding Collections to prepare for a new year of brides and grooms (can’t wait.) I’ve refocused my portrait energy to grow myself as a photographer and provide the best client experience yet. There will be lots more of that in blog posts over the next few weeks, so stay tuned. I think you’re going to like what you see!
One of the first things I wanted to talk about in the new year is why I shoot on location, primarily. I am asked over and over by clients, other photographers, even friends, “You’re growing so fast, and your pictures are great! Have you considered opening a studio?” The short answer: “Yes. I have.” Now do you want the long answer why I have not moved into a brick + mortar place? Thought so.
The reasons are many. The obvious are financial. The overhead of operating a studio would triple my average session expenses, which are then passed on to the client. That doesn’t sound nice, does it? I operated a small home studio on the East Coast for a few years, and while it was convenient for the Virginia winters, it was more of a hassle than it was worth to me or my clients. When we moved here, I had the opportunity to reestablish that small home studio, and decided against it. What I have now is actually just a small “shoot room” or area off our great room that works great for babies and small children, has beautiful natural light, and will only ever be used for babies or mini-sessions.
Occasionally, folks will associate an “on-location” photographer with someone who uses only natural light (no flash or light sources), or who is not familiar with the use of artificial light in photography. I can assure you that is not the case here. In fact, I feel far more comfortable with at least my speedlight with me, if not another softbox or strobe to assist me in controlling the light and producing the best images I can. I love natural light for babies, but in almost any other circumstance, I’m going to use my OCF (that’s off camera flash).
So, advantages of studio lighting aside, the real reason I have not established myself in a studio environment is this: providing better results to the client. Think about the last time you had photographs taken in the studio (especially if this was as a family). It is very limiting. Not only are you outside your usual environment, the space is very limited, and usually it feels a bit like you’re on stage. I don’t know about you, but I get a little antsy in front of a camera in a closed space. But if I am shooting a session on location, I can work with my clients to pick a place (or several) that are not only comfortable for the family, but also are meaningful. The resultant images are always unique and special to your family. (Not cookie-cutter chain studio images that hang on the refrigerator for a few months.) I’ve had so many clients request a favorite park or beach, or even their home, and the difference shines through in the images. The session is more relaxed, and when we’re relaxed, everything will flow so naturally. After the first session with a new client in one of their favorite local spots, we often feel like we’ve known each other forever instead of only a few hours.
My images are keepsakes, heirlooms. They tell the story of your family in that moment in time, whether you are just starting your life together as a couple, expecting your first child, celebrating a special milestone of your third child’s life, or celebrating a graduating senior. I will always have my shoot room available for those special circumstances, don’t worry. (It is the BEST for holiday mini sessions, like the upcoming Hugs and Kisses Valentines Minis!) My clients are always welcome in my home; you’re family! For your next session, why not consider a lifestyle session in your own home, documenting a day in the life of your family? Or even a trip to the Farmer’s Market? There are so many wonderful places that fill our daily lives, and I promise each of them can bring something unique to the session. So, let’s skip the stuffy studio, and explore!
Coming up in my next post, I’ll explain more about my new in-person proofing system and its advantages to you. ♥ Welcome to the new year, everyone!! I’m so glad to have you along on my journey!