Monday, August 22, 2011

Helping With The Dollars~

It’s the time of year when I tend to change things up just a bit.
I don’t know why it works that way. Really I don’t. Most people reinvent things at the first of the year, but for some reason, that seems to happen for me in the late summer/early fall. Maybe it’s because the holidays are just around the corner, and I tend to really come alive during that time. Maybe it’s because a new school year is beginning, and I just ride that wave of new beginnings.Anyway, I’ve been taking a look at the business, and I’ve made some decisions that are solely in your benefit.

I’ve been writing about money a good bit, lately, and I figured that - with the last few posts encouraging people to better value their family photography – it might be wise to give a little practical help. I’ve always been the type of person who likes to know all the steps to achieve a result.

For example, I have this phrase seared into my brain: “Do not grow weary in well doing.” Great! Don’t grow weary… But HOW, I ask. I still have to do the same things. My load has not been lightened. When I learned the how, I felt much better prepared.  I knew exactly what tools to apply in order to prevent weariness, despite the fact that my circumstances were exactly the same. 

After the last three post you have a better understanding of the value of quality portrait photography. You know why it’s worth more. You know why paying a professional photographer benefits you. But – let’s face it – the economy isn’t fantastic, and more and more often it feels like money is tight.

“So, what’s the answer when you’re faced with the struggle between what you need vs. what you can afford?”

I’ve made it easier for you by giving you some great options.
First, I’ve split the payment system for you. Instead of paying a large chunk at one time, we separate the payments between the session fee, installment 1, and installment 2. Here’s how it works.

Session Fee – this is due when the photo session is booked. It reserves your spot on the calendar and no one can take it out from under you.
Installment 1 – this is due when the viewing/ordering session is held. We sit down together to place the order for your pictures/products and go through the list of what you need to purchase, along with all the proofed images. Once we have the total cost for the entire order, we’ll split it down the middle 50/50. Installment 1 is 50% of the total order.
Installment 2 – this is due when the pictures/products are delivered or picked up. Installment 2 is the remaining 50% due for the order.

Secondly, to make things even easier, I’ve decided that I will begin accepting payments via PayPal, as well. It has been so secure and reliable for years, and I finally feel comfortable offering this as a payment option for your images. The great thing about PayPal is that you can set up any type of credit card to be used with your account, giving you the freedom to make monthly payments if you need.

Money is tight. Things aren’t always easy. I know. I just can’t stand the idea that portrait photography is one of the first things that gets set to the side in times like these. I suppose it breaks my heart because I'm so guilty of it. When Elise was just a baby, Derrick and I were living on one income with a budget so tight that we could barely breathe. In her first year, I had only two photo sessions done for her. Did you get that? TWO sessions. Didn’t even have her 1-year pictures taken. And the boys – None. Zilch. Not a single portrait of my boys…AT ALL. I can tell you, as I look back, it breaks my heart. I have snap-shots, and those are precious, but they’re not the work of a professional, and they’re not the quality of a portrait.

Now, my kiddos are older and I shoot their portraits every 6 months… WITHOUT fail. Elise is old enough now to be enamored with her baby snapshots, and she pours over her baby scrapbook several times a year. Both the boys have books – neither are anywhere close to being done. I can tell that it hurts their feelings, too. Especially Evan.

Please know that when I share with you about the importance of those pictures, it’s not coming from a business woman. It’s coming from a mom… One who’s had to explain to their child why there’s not pictures of him. One who’s had to piece together various snapshots for school projects because there isn’t a family picture of all of us together. One who’s had to apologize to their child.

Something happens when my kids see their pictures – old and new. They see themselves as valuable. They know their memories are valuable. It happens as they get older. Ethan doesn’t get it as much as his big sister. Elise, though, she lights up in a very special way when we look at her pictures together. It’s like a message from me to her, without words, that says – I love you so much that I want to keep this moment forever. She TOTALLY gets it.

When I showed Evan this picture of him and I together, he smiled really big and said – “I love my mama.”
I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything money could buy!

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