Well it’s a new year, and like most people I’m evaluating my life. What works, what doesn’t, what can I do better. Back in October we got exciting news that another baby was on the way, which we are so thrilled for, but of course it has me looking a lot at this photography business I’ve grown and how to manage it all. With my current business model, I give clients lots and lots of personal attention, special perks, and great products. While I love the way I currently do things, it also takes a lot of time. People would look at my social media pages and assume I wasn’t doing much, when that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I actually had to turn people away on a few occasions as I only could take 2-3 clients a month, which was really hard for me to do. Here’s a breakdown of the current time I invest for each client:
15-30 minute pre-session consultation discussing desires for the session, pricing, and the booking process
1 hour planning for session
1-2 hours for the actual session
20ish hours (could be more actually!) editing, sending pictures to print, getting pictures matted in slip in mats, videos and galleries made, and preparing for the reveal session
1-2 hours for the reveal session in the client’s home
1-2 hours preparing files, making and packaging order
1 hour drive to client’s home for delivery
In short, that’s an average of about 28 HOURS (not to mention three appointments) on just on ONE client! That’s quite a lot of time, and while I loved being able to service my clients in that way and get to know them more personally, I’m realizing as I prepare for life with three kids under 5 (whoa!), something’s got to give and it just can’t be my kids. They are only this little once and I don’t want to look back and realize I missed it all.
So what’s going to change? Here’s a list.
1. Pricing. I will be scaling back to all inclusive session pricing, which now can be found on the pricing page. No more calling so I can go over and explain all my pricing. It is now right there for you to see, and the full price will be due at booking. Some may think that’s a lot to ask up front, but again, I’m going for simple here. I don’t want to keep track of deposits, remaining balances, not to mention emails and reminders to you to pay the balance. That’s a lot of stress for me and for you, so again in the mind of making this easiest and most simple use of your time and mine, the full balance is due at the time of booking to reserve your date. Get that out of the way up front, and then we can just relax and look forward to your session.
2. When possible, every session still comes with a print credit. This is absolutely crucial for me to include. I believe so strongly in printed images and believe photographers that are just handing you a disc or USB drive with digital images are doing you a huge disservice. A picture isn’t a picture until it’s printed, and more often than not will go on facebook and then just die sitting on your computer. Add on to that I have access to the best professional printing labs in the country so your pictures will look AMAZING and you’d be crazy not to print with me. The change I am making is your order will now be shipped to your house instead of personal delivery. The print credit is big enough that you can opt for some gift prints to give to family, or splurge and get one big wall art size print for your home. I also still offer high end items for those that are looking to invest more in high quality products.
3. Reveal Session will be no more. I cannot tell you how hard this will be for me. It was one of my favorite parts of the whole process. I loved being there when clients saw their images for the first time. I loved watching families cuddle up while they viewed their pictures, and little ones get excited to see themselves on the TV. I loved getting to talk with them about what they liked, didn’t like, what they need and being able to easily and quickly meet that. But in an effort to simplify my time, it has to go. Galleries will now be made available online. Pictures will be able to be downloaded straight from the gallery, and orders with your print credit will need to be placed within two weeks. And of course, if you have any questions during the process, I am always available by phone or email.
4. With this model, I will be able to take MORE clients per month but still invest LESS time overall out of the house. Yes, you read that right. With me only seeing clients at the actual session and everything else done online, this will free up more time to take on a few more sessions per month while still not overwhelming my schedule and taking too much time from my family. I’m planning to start at 4 sessions a month and will adjust as necessary, so hopefully no more turning away clients because I’m already booked full.
5. My Watch Me Grow package is changing completely and now offers fully customizable plans for those wanting to document all of the changes from maternity through the first year. Pick your number of sessions based on your budget and all come with a print credit.
What’s not going to change?
1. Sessions will still be the same. My style is not changing. The time is still pretty much the same amount, and the number of images you get is not changing from my previous sessions. You can still expect the same quality as you’ve seen.
2. I still plan to do pre-session consultations. I think chatting with someone even if it’s only 5 minutes, helps to get a feel for them and can reduce nerves going into the session. With most of this already spelled out though, these will be brief as it will just be a quick chat over desires for the session and picking a location and a date.
3. My products are still high quality heirloom products. The one bonus is with this method, I can reduce the prices a little, giving you more for your money.
So what will happen from here?
I will resume booking for the 2016 year as of today. Keep on the lookout because I will be posting details on snow sessions in the next day or two with special pricing only available for sessions in the month of February. Provided everything goes well with this pregnancy, I will continue taking sessions up until sometime in May when I will go on maternity leave and anxiously await the arrival of our sweet little boy. Depending on labor and how quickly we adjust to a life with three little ones, I am hoping to slowly starting easing back into sessions late July/early August and be back in full swing for the fall session. So with a crazy schedule this year, if you are thinking of booking a session with me at any point, please contact me! And as a bonus, here are my two reacting the news of their new little brother: