Tuesday, July 15, 2014

THFC Photographer Critiques :: Recomposition & Cropping Under Trees

Light glowing through trees — without a doubt this is my new favorite thing about being a Seattle family photographer in the spring/summer time. Trees trees and more trees...give me more trees! 

So I was pumped when Victoria (one of amazing photographers who works for my family photography business, the Happy Film Company) did a shoot together last month under the tall trees at Greenlake Park in Seattle. After I posted the pictures on the blog, Victoria emailed me asking why her pictures from this location were not included in the final collection. 

I made her this little video to explain how to recompose photographs to really show off the beauty of tall trees and make them look amazeballs with people standing/sitting underneath them. The main trick to showing off trees in family portraits is tilting your camera upwards. You can get down low on the ground (yes, even on your belly) and then focus on the family. Hold the focus (don't let it go!) and tilt the camera up until the family is at the bottom of the frame and you can see all the glorious leaves above. #awesome

Did I mention I love trees? haha

Great job Miss. Victoria for taking beautiful pictures and thank you for being my example in this video.

Monday, July 14, 2014

thePhotoChicks Podcast — Golden Oldies & New Interviews

When was the last time you sat around laughing at yourself? For Miss Cheryl Ford, apparently that's all the time. haha (Sorry for the spotlight Cheryl.) I just love it when Cheryl sends me a text and tells me she's listening to our old podcast episodes and laughing out loud. It's pretty shameful but we do find ourselves hilarious — I think that's a good thing though. haha Those were the good old days of thePhotoChicks, when Cheryl and Chamonix spilled their guts about photography business and life and we went on tangents about cupcakes and road-trips and laughed hysterically at nothing. Nowadays, we're still having fun but we've cranked up the cool factor on our podcast.

We are now interviewing other photographers every week, asking them all the same set of questions and hearing about their personal journeys in the photography industry. Even if no one ever listened to our episodes, Cheryl and I would still keep this podcast going. We are so inspired by every photographer we meet (on Skype) haha and each 30 minute episode is an amazing outlet, a little change from the everyday march of running a business.

We love hearing from our photography buddies and interview alumni who send us little messages and Instagram photos when they're listening to thePhotoChicks. Apparently, our show is great entertainment while you edit photos. Perfect! That's exactly what we want and it's so rewarding to be contributing to the photography community in this uber-techie way. We love it.

If you'd like to listen to thePhotoChicks podcast, here are some of our most recent episodes (and some of the golden oldies). Enjoy!!

Interviews:Interview with Naomi Levit — Wedding & Portrait Photographer (Hawaii)
Interview with Katie Cann-McTaggart — Seattle Wedding & Portrait Photographer (Seattle)
Interview with Tobin Smith — Glamour Portrait Photographer (Vancouver, Canada)
Interview with Carly Bish — Wedding & Portrait Photographer (Seattle)
Interview with Melissa Kilner — Wedding Photographer (Seattle)

Golden Oldies:
Mistakes We Made in Our First Year of Business
Annoying Things About Photographers
Business Dreams & Photography Fantasies


Sunday, July 13, 2014

{Grateful on Sunday} Bringin' Home the Benjamins & the Gorgeous Pacific Northwest

Things are falling into place. It feels so good when you work so hard and finally you start to see results. This past month, my bank account has started growing and I set up my IRA and a brokerage account and people are starting to book photo shoots because they're finding me on Google organically (which still feels like a complete miracle!) and I've been able to make some fairly big purchases (like a new computer monitor and harddrives) without feeling guilty or going in debt. Feels good. Very good. It's especially rewarding because I've been making this money out of what feels like nothing. Granted "nothing" means like three years of 24/7 working and thousands of dollars on equipment, software, and workshops but whateva... it feels like nothin' haha Don't think I'm some gangsta swimmin' in a pool of hundred dollar bills or anything. I mean, we're talking a couple thousand dollars. That's it but it's so much to me. :D #feelinglikeabigshot This week (a.k.a. month) I am so grateful for this financial growth! 

I am also so grateful for officially launching the Maui branch of my family photography business (the Happy Film Company) and seeing Seattle & Maui side by side on my website,

 trees, trees, and more glorious evergreen trees everywhere I go, 

the beautiful sunset on the valley that I get to watch everynight,

finally starting to understand how the stock market works and dipping my toes in,  

going to Value Village with my brother and finding this gorgeous green creature, 

and then taking that gorgeous green creature home with us and laughing THE WHOLE WAY home as I drove behind them,

publishing my very first wedding video, 

FINALLY after three years of putting up with my broke-ass-but-still-clingin'-to-life-card-reader...I bought a shiny new one!

discovering a crazy delicious recipe that everyone is asking for,

treating myself to a girl's date with my neighbor and getting Shellac for the first time,

#PNW views from the middle of Lake Washington (views so good they nearly make you crash your car),

 colorful houses, 

driving with the sunset behind me, 


homemade cake for breakfast, 

pretty letters from friends,

getting green juice as a surprise gift from Cheryl who couldn't stomach it haha,

taking action and buying my new computer monitor #makeithappen

 wild daisies,

my iPhone that lets me take pretty pictures all day long (easily a.k.a. without having to haul around my gigantic camera) 

the color of the trees when the sunset hits them, 

What are you grateful for today?


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Pricing Your Photography by Demand Instead of by Principle

"$10,00, Are you kidding me?" the lady said to Picasso. "You only took 5 minutes to do that sketch. Isn't $10,000 a lot for 5 minutes of work?" — “The sketch may have taken me five minutes, but the learning took me 30 years,” Picasso retorted.
Photographers love throwing this story around. It's a way to make yourself feel better when people tell you your photography prices are too expensive. It's like we have to remind ourselves that we are amazingly talented "artistes" and our digital images are "priceless works of art". Well, I'm kinda over it. 

I'm tired of watching people's faces fall when they look at my prices. I'm tried of explaining why a digital image is more valuable than a print. I'm tired of puffing up my chest and pretending to be some fancy million-dollar artist that I'm not (yet).

I want to stop charging prices based on principle and start charging prices based on demand. 
I'm not going to charge $3,000 for a box of photos because "that's what I should charge because I'm a fancy-pants talented artist that's worked hard to get where I am and now you get to pay me for it." 
I'm going to charge $3,000 only when there are 3,000 people banging down my door begging me to photograph them and they're all offering to pay me $4,000 to be first in line.
The price increases because there is demand. 

I think it's ridiculous to charge through-the-roof prices when you're just getting started and your inbox is empty and your voicemail-box is empty and your bank account is....empty. Some people say that slapping that high price tag on your website right from the beginning will make you look more experienced and desirable. They say it's important to enter the photography market "at the right level" rather than trying to climb up the ladder. (I totally bought into all of this when I was starting my business.) 

I agree that you shouldn't sell yourself short and market yourself as a "budget" photographer when you want to be a luxury photography. Not a good idea. But if your goal is to be a luxury photography, the reality is ... you're probably going to take a few years to get there. Your prices will be much lower now than they will be in the future. Fact. Accept that fact and be comfortable with charging a fair but modest amount now. 

A lower (more realistic) price point will make it easier for you to get new business in through the door — which is what you really need right now. As the business pours in, the prices can start to slowly climb the mountain. And like I said before, when the clients are climbing in through your windows and vents, then you can start charging ridiculous prices because people will basically be throwing money at you. (Now isn't that a nice idea...haha).