When Jennifer first started discussing her family portrait session with me, she told me that her girls were all “super energetic & goofy.” I said that was great because that’s my favorite type of family to photograph!
Kylie (8), Alexie (6.5) and Bailey (3) were so much fun and I just adored working with them. Photographing young sisters always makes me nostalgic for when my own girls were younger. (Side note: I just registered my oldest for high school. How in the world did that happen already?) Also, Trev & Jennifer are the most adorable couple. There is so much love and laughter in this sweet family, and it shows.
The family moved to Middle Tennessee from California, and in the process, left their beloved family photographer and friend. This was the first time they had pictures made since the move, and wanted a country feel to the location. They also wanted to include their sweet, 13 year old golden retriever. Since it’s still winter and there isn’t a lot of green on the trees, I though Harlinsdale Farms in Franklin would be a good spot. I always love the textures and colors on the barns and buildings there, and it’s a great place for a dog.
I was a little worried about ti being super cold, but it ended up being a really beautiful day, though still a bit chilly if you weren’t bundled up. As a bonus, the girls found the first dandelion of the year! You guys know I love a good dandelion wishes photo, and this year Kylie got to be the first. I hope they enjoyed their first Tennessee photo session as much as I did.
First of all, I want to say that I adore this family portrait session from this past weekend at the Factory at Franklin. Heather chose to have the session at the Factory because it was supposed to rain, and the Factory provides a good choice for indoor sessions. But my favorite spots at the Factory are actually outside, so I was so glad when the weather turned out to be actually pretty decent.
The combination of agreeable weather, the great color choices for their outfits, and just a wonderful family to get to know made this one of my favorite sessions. Arica and Alec were such sweet and fun kids to photograph. Also, their big sister Maria and her fiance’ were in town for the photo session. I couldn’t help getting a few sweet shots of them alone, so it was almost like getting a combined family session in one.
Besides editing this beautiful portrait session, this week I’ve been working on making it easier for clients to get information they need about sessions right away.
I was an Engineer in my past life and bring some of that analytical thinking to my business. I love efficiency and you’ll see that through my online scheduling calendar, and my automated emails that help you throughout the process from helping you choose what to wear to reminding you what to bring to a session.
This week, I’ve added to that efficiency by adding a Facebook Messenger Bot to my Facebook page. If you message me, you’ll have the option to get a lot of information from the bot immediately, without having to wait for my reply. So if I am out shooting a session and can’t respond right away, you can still get information on pricing, frequently asked questions and information on how to book a session, with just a click of a button within Facebook messenger.
I’m pondering about adding a way for clients to get communications through Facebook messenger, such as session reminders, what to wear advice, gallery links, etc, rather than just through email. I’d love to have some opinions on that from anyone who has one!
I love creating systems that make it easier on my clients, but the personal touch is also very important to me. I’m always a text, message, email or call away if you need me directly.
It means the world to me when a new family portrait session client tells me that they hired me because a friend referred them to me for photos. I have several loyal clients who are often sending new families to me and I am so thankful for their recommendations.
First of all, if a client refers someone else to me, that means they’ve been happy with their experience in the past, and that is the MOST important thing to me. I want every client to love both their photos and the experience in getting the photos made. If a client trusts me enough to refer other people to me, then I feel like I’ve done my job.
Also, this photography gig is pretty much a one-woman show. I’m not only photographer and editor, I’m also advertiser/marketer, accountant, web designer and administrative assistant. I never expect or require clients to share my work, write reviews or send friends and family to me. But when they do choose to help with the advertising of my business, I am so very grateful for that vote of confidence.
When Venissa contacted me about booking family photos, she said that she had learned about me from her friend Nicole, one of my oldest and dearest clients, who often sends other people my way and I am so very grateful for her support. ❤
V️enissa wanted to book an extended family portrait session while her parents were in town for the holidays. We had originally booked for a few days after Christmas, but the weather was awful and rainy, so we were able to reschedule for New Year’s day before her out-of-town family returned home. What a gorgeous way to kick of 2020….I loved hanging out with this wonderful family. The weather was a bit chilly but tolerable, and they were all so much fun to photograph.
How did you kick off the new year? Are you planning on scheduling family portraits for 2020? I’m now booking sessions through June! Contact me today!
What a beautiful way to finish up 2019 with this gorgeous family of 5 portrait session at Harlinsdale Park in Franklin. This photo session was originally scheduled for November but we got rained out. We couldn’t reschedule right away because the family’s oldest daughter, Jessica, lives in New York so we rescheduled the session for when she would be home for the Christmas holidays. And what an amazing day it was! We could not have asked for more beautiful weather.
This is a family that I photograph pretty regularly, and I feel like they keep getting bad luck when it comes to session weather. I’ve shot a session for them in the rain. They had a session last year that was super hot, and then another where it was bitterly cold. They’ve been troopers through every single session and handled it beautifully each time. But it stinks because I generally feel like the weather cooperates for almost all my sessions – even late winter ones, but this one family keeps taking all the hits.
So of course, yesterday, when I arrived at the Park at Harlinsdale Farms where we were supposed to shoot, it felt WAYYY colder than the 54 degrees my phone said that it was. Then five minutes later my phone read 48 degrees. That’s still generally reasonable for a winter photo session, but the wind was so bitingly cold. I was worried that it would be way too uncomfortable to have fun and enjoy the session.
So when Kate showed up and asked if we could try to move the session to the Factory at Franklin, I completely agreed. I wasn’t sure we’d be able to, as the Factory charges a permit fee and I’d always booked it in advance. But the man at the front desk was nice enough to let us get the permit immediately so we were able to move the portrait session indoors, which was so much better than dealing with the bitter wind.
We were also able to slip outside for brief periods before coming back inside to get warm, and there is this nice corridor that was mostly protected from the wind. So all in all, it worked out well. But I still hope that next time they get a nice pleasant, mild day….it’s their turn.
Here goes my annual plug in favor of sending holiday cards in the mail. In almost every other way, I tend to choose the greener, more efficient way of doing things. I loathe writing checks, and much prefer Venmo. I decide to do most things online rather than paper versions. I’m content reading an e-book.
But there is just something about receiving an old fashioned paper Christmas card in the mail. I particularly love the ones with family photos (I know…shocker.) I tape each one to our front door and admire them until well after the New Year.
But I know many of my friends and clients are overwhelmed about getting a Christmas card made and sent out, so I thought I’d offer a few tips to help you with this holiday task.
STEP 1: Getting the Photos
The most obvious choice for getting photos for your annual holiday card is to use the images from your yearly family portrait session.
You can also use photos you’ve taken throughout the year. Last year, my family went on a vacation to Toronto and Niagara Falls for Thanksgiving week. I used photos I took from that vacation (including some phone selfies!) for our holiday card, and everyone seemed to really enjoy them. So don’t think your holiday card has to be all fancy or posed. I haven’t decided this year whether to use vacation photos or the more formal ones I just took a few weeks ago of our family for this year’s Christmas card.
One of my best friends recently set up her phone to take a selfie photo of her family (including their sweet dog) in front of their fireplace. They propped up the phone on a shelf and then used a smartwatch to trigger the photo, but a timer would work fine too. She had the stockings all hung, and it looks super festive and cute. This is an excellent option if you didn’t have family photos made this year, or, if like her, you had spring photos made and want something more festive looking for your holiday card.
Another great option is to come to see Santa Claus and me at the Spring Station Middle School Holiday Market on December 7. Your $25 pre-order ticket includes admission to the Spring Station Holiday Market event for two adults and your children & digital photo downloads of your Santa visit that you can use for your holiday card! Book your spot now before they sell out.
STEP 2: Printing the Photo Cards
If you had pictures made with me this year, you could design and purchase a holiday card straight from your session photo gallery. There are lots of high-quality options, and they print and ship super fast.
If you are using your own photo, I recommend Mpix.com for all your printing needs, including Christmas & Holiday cards. They are having a 50% off sale on Christmas cards that ends today if you are ready to get it done.
And of course, there are plenty of other printing options, such as Shutterfly. I have found the print quality of cards from Shutterfly to be mixed, but with their sales and coupon codes, they are definitely a good choice if you are looking to save a few bucks.
I’m just going to remind you now that if you print professional photos at Walgreens, then a unicorn will die.
STEP 3: Mailing the Photos
I know some people insist that Christmas cards should be hand addressed and signed. I’m not one of those people. My list is huge, and in this case, I’m an advocate that done is better than perfect. So I make it easy on myself.
I either have the place I’m ordering cards from print my return address on the envelopes, or I use return address labels (this year, I got some on sale from Shutterfly).
I keep a document on my computer of addresses, formatted to print onto adhesive Avery address labels. Each year, I review the list to see if it requires changes and then print the labels to address my cards. If any cards are returned to me, I make sure to figure out why, and then edit the list accordingly for next year’s cards.
I’ve seen some people on Facebook using google forms to collect addresses of people who want to receive a card from them. That’s a great place to start if you are beginning from scratch, but be sure to save the addresses in printable form to use again next year to make it super easy for you.
Bonus tip: This year, I ordered discount Forever stamps from Ebay to save a few bucks on shipping the cards, which is good since I send out so many.
That’s it, then sit back and enjoy the rest of the holidays knowing you did your part in spreading cheer.
Gorgeous family photo session with some of my favorite people
Speaking of festive holiday cheer, check out these photos of one of my absolute favorite clients. I adore their clothing choices for this session – perfect for a holiday card, but not so Christmasy that they won’t look great hanging on their walls year-round. These kids keep me on my toes, but I adore them and always end up loving the photos of them. They are so full of life and personality, and everything I love about photographing young children.