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self portrait project {4} and 2010 changes

Outside looking in …

Well. Where do I start. I’m feeling a little bit like I did when I first stepped out into this business – scared from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Not knowing how it will all turn out, I’m on the outside looking into the unknown. I’ve been doing a lot of research regarding running a professional photography businesses, pricing, structure, etc.  I’m beginning to understand why professional and custom photography is so expensive. In my desire to offer a gift to my families, I’m actually doing a disservice to the industry of professional photography and my own fledgling business. Everything I’m reading and encountering is pointing to the fact that I’m giving away my images and my business is not going to survive at its existing structure. The equipment is expensive. The education and time  it takes to learn and stay fresh as a photographer is extensive, it’s more than just having a nice camera and a great eye – although those tools are important, I’m constantly educating myself. After reading things like this and this and researching professional blogs of photographers I respect, I’m realizing that I need to make some changes if I’m going to be professional about what I’m doing.

I’m also learning a lot about the business side and that by law, I’m supposed to charge sales tax on the disc I hand over because it’s a tangible item being exchanged for money. {EEK!} Those articles are right.  I feel so conflicted about it, the tension of wanting to be professional, yet wanting to keep something as wonderful as custom photography affordable for the average family. This has been a huge struggle for me. How do I run a new business in an industry that has a reputation for being very expensive {perhaps overpriced at times} and yet remain professional and maintain industry standards and yet stay true to my desire to keep family photography affordable? It’s a hard balance to find.

“Be today who you want to be tomorrow”.  I want to be a professional photographer who respects the industry as well as follows my heart for families. I will always have a huge soft spot for families who are struggling to make ends meet and cannot afford custom photography, so I will continue to offer a budget friendly option. And I will continue to gift sessions for those I know cannot afford even a lick of the session fee; though I can no longer give away all of the images at the rate I’ve been maintaining. It’s a professional decision. One of the packages will offer the entire gallery on disc, and the price will reflect their value, though still at a better price than if you purchased the digital images individually {which will be available}. High resolution digital images to use as you please … these have a great value. More than I realized starting out in the business. I wanted to be generous. But … I’m hurting my business and the industry by doing what I’ve been doing. I realize that now. So, I will be offering a personal password protected gallery to order professional quality prints at affordable prices in addition to several levels of digital packages to fit every budget.

The goal is to operate a successful business that allows me to give back, remains fun, and … remains in business! I know some will be disappointed in my changes. I’ve been spoiling my clients and it’s been pure joy!:)I can still spoil you, I’m just making some minor changes so that the value is maintained and I can stay in business. I hope most of you will understand. My new 2010 packages will go into affect February 1st. I think you will be surprised at how affordable they are. Price lists for a la cart orders will always be available upon request and digital images will still be available for every budget. My creative fee will be separate from any image package you choose. All the new details will be on my website beginning Feb. 1st for sessions scheduled on April 1st and beyond. I still have two dates open in March if you want to get in on my current pricing in the next couple of days. {And those mini-sessions for Haiti are a real deal if you want to get in on those as well!}

Special note: If you have a session coming up, your prices were locked in at the time that you booked! There are no surprises.

I hope everyone understands!!! Here goes a new chapter in the life of this photography adventure!

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