The Best!

I was recently at a client’s home providing a consultation for a fall family session. I don’t always do a consultation but I can make time for one if needed. As I walked in their home I noticed everywhere I looked there were fantastic images of their children that I have taken over the years. Small images on tables, collages of prints going up the wall near the stairs, and large wall portraits in the living room and family room. I had photographed and printed every one.

I mentioned how many there were and my client started to rave about me…to me. “I love all my photos and can’t imagine my home without them.” She then said, “You have been our photographer from the beginning and hopefully you will be photographing all their weddings someday!” I felt really moved by this and asked her why she thought my images were so great? She went on to tell me that every part of her experience with me was excellent, not just the photo session itself or the end result images and prints.My response time and flexibility when she called and her overall experience from phone call to delivery of prints.I always captured great images of her kids even when she felt they were completely uncooperative. The quality of my work and professionalism. The way I connected with her kids. All of these reasons and more!

I share this because sometimes I doubt myself and I know a lot of people do, but running a business is a lot of work and I really want to be great at it. I really try to focus on getting back to people right away and being really considerate and professional. I love what I do and I am always trying to be better. I constantly read articles on photography, research the best equipment and labs, take classes and watch webinars on everything I can get my hands on, and make sure my studio is clean and inviting. I am always trying to master my skill and treat clients with the best customer service possible. It really is my intent to provide wonderful images for people and a great experience. I am thankful for being able to do what I love to do.

Photographs versus digital images

I stumbled across an article on why you should print your images on paper the other day while checking facebook and then I read several more on the same subject. It isn’t like I haven’t thought of it before but how safe are digital images? So I decided to do some research on the subject and I was pretty suprised. First off, I know anything can fail, so realistically any image storage isn’t totally safe, but here is what I found out. Web Storage like the Cloud can lose your images at anytime and it has happened. Images on your phone can be lost anytime and I know someone who has lost years of photos of their kids first hand. So what about storage? CDs and DVDs are said to have a life of 3-7 years and hard drives 1-5 years (which seemed shocking) flash drives 5-8 years. Also pretty shocking. Now maybe photos aren’t that big of a deal for you and maybe you wouldn’t be devestated by losing your child’s baby photos, your wedding photos, or old family photos. I have photos of my great great grandparents. I mean really cool old black and whites that I hold in my hand and stare at wondering what life was like at that moment. I treasure those photos. I also have 15 or more albums of printed photos of my kids from birth on that I sometimes sit and page through remembering all those moments. The kids sometimes have pulled a few out for a school project or a special frame, and I was always glad I had them for that. Now I am not saying I don’t have “folders” on my computer “desktop” with photos that haven’t been printed because in this digital age I have so many it’s overwhelming but I always print a few. If everything went bad I have printed photos from almost everything. I hope my kids and grandkids treasure them and they are glad I made the effort to print photos. That being said I have recently changed up my service to my clients at my photography studio to include fully edited, retouched, and color corrected paper proofs for every session. I love that customers leave my studio with photos in their hand to share with friends and family. I also offer professional printing in every size as well as the option to buy digital prints. I want to make sure my customers get what they want. Now I feel a little more obligated about encouraging people to order a few prints because I really want my customers to have the memories I capture for more than a lifetime. How safe are your images?

Senior session at The Arboretum

Where is the Class of 2017 taking their senior photos?

Graduating Senior Portrait

Just had a great chat with a mom who has a photo session scheduled with me for her son’s senior photos next week. She mostly wanted to talk about locations and this has been a big subject for me this year because I have moved my studio to Chaska from Waconia and my clients want to know how Chaska is going to look for sessions. Chaska is a great area. It has the downtown area with historic brick and a city or urban look, but it also has an abundance of trees and water that makes for a nature look as well. Now if you have never done a photo session with me you may not know this, but I can make any location look fantastic. It takes an eye and the skill of using light but with my experience, skill, and camera equipment I really have an advantage over amatures. I have had great moments where a doubting customer wants to see what I am “getting” and when I turn and show the the screen on my camera to them they are shocked and excited. But I see something before I even take the image that I can’t really explain and I just see a great spot or image potential. I also have the ability to roll into a completely new area to me and do a quick assessment and get great photos in a place I have never taken photos previously. It’s why you hire a professional photographer. So yeah, I still have my spots in Waconia, Excelsior, and the Arboretum, as well as some smaller less known areas around the west metro, if you happen to be looking for a specific look, but now I have Chaska to add to my list of great places to do a senior session. I also have my new studio and brand new backdrops for a fun studio look. Summer is in full swing and my spots are filling up but if you are looking for fantastic senior photos give me a call and let’s get something on the calendar. 952-442-8249 or email me at Studio address is 117 East 2nd Street in Downtown Chaska Minnesota

Help me, help you love your photos!

I have been looking over images from last year and thinking about what made sessions successful while producing fantastic photos. Coming prepared is your best plan! Make sure you bring your clothing wrinkle free and on hangers. You will look more polished and feel better because when they come wrinkled and stuffed in a bag it’s more work for everyone. Come rested and ready to be photographed so we can get started on your session right away. Once you get in your groove fussing with hair, make up, or nail polish is a huge distraction.

Pro tip: if you regularly wear glasses consider have the lenses removed for your session. Glasses glare can throw off even the best of lighting and dull your beautiful eyes! If you take your glasses to your optomotrist, they will be able to remove and replace the lenses for you.

Your outfit looks and feels more complete with a belt, the right shoes, or accessories so make sure you have everything you need. Also if you want your basketball or something special that is impotant to you have it by the door so you don’t forget it! Remembering all of the extra details can really create a special session. Come just a few minutes early so you don’t feel late or rushed and we have a few minutes to chat about the session before we start. I want you to love your photos and you will even more if you come prepared and let me capture your best you!

Downtown Chaska senior session

Exploring Chaska

I spent the morning taking photos during the two breaks in the rain. First on the schedule was my senior session with Joe where I was able to use a fantastic spot down by the creek. The overcast weather really helped with the lighting! The green was unbelievable and the images turned out great. It is amazing how people’s expressions change when they are in a comfortable and appropriate setting for them. We also took some great photos on the new bridge that goes over the pond in Chaska. The combination of fresh wood and metal added to the water while the nature made for a great back drop! Second session in Chaska this morning was a totally adorable yellow lab puppy named Gus. Loving the images of him playing and kissing his “mom”. First, I utilized the studio space and then we went on a walk to capture some great photos of Gus against the old historc brick in downtown Chaska. It was a great morning. Make sure to check out the Facebook page for photo updates!

Senior session at the Arboretum

Let me do all the work!

The warm weather is reminding me that soon I will be photographing the Class of 2017! So excited! If you are considering my studio for your senior photos be sure that you will have a great time and your photos will be amazing! With 16 years experience I can navigate any session with ease and edit all your images beautifully. The best part of using my studio for senior photos is that I will do all the work for you. Sometimes parents or kids think they have to make a lot of difficult decisions or come up with where to take photos, or figure out what outfits photograph best. No worries! Just call me to set up a day and time that works for your session and I will do the rest. Bring all the clothing choices that you like and we can go through them together. Let me work with your senior son or daughter and get the best poses and expressions. I have great backgrounds here at the studio and cool spots within blocks here in downtown Chaska. I can take you to the Arboretum, downtown Minneapolis, or to several small towns nearby depending on the feeling or look you want. All your images will be ready in about ten days and they are fully edited, retouched, and printed as proofs, so you can see them as photographs! Need help picking a yearbook shot? I can assist you with that as well. My pricing is easy as well, No session fees, No packages, just order what you want! I offer prints, photo products, and digital images on CD if that is what you want. For those that want to order on their own, the images on CD are ready for printing, and for those that don’t want to worry about how or where to order I can do it all for you at my professional lab. Call my studio for more information about senior sessions! 952-442-8249 Let me do all the work for you!

Family session in your home

Swedish Pancakes and Lingonberries

Seems like a crazy Blog Post title but it will make sense, stay with me. This morning I was making some Swedish Pancakes. A recipe passed down for generations on my mom’s side. I make them a lot because I always have the ingredients on hand and they are so quick and easy to make. I also love to eat them. I reached in the fridge for the jar of Lingonberries to put on top and noticed I had two jars. One was the most recent that I had purchased for $6.00 and the other was a jar that was only $3.99. Now two dollars isn’t a lot of money, and then maybe it is. I had bought two for $3.99 months ago and they were just not good. It ruined the pancakes and I ended up throwing the first jar in the garbage. The second one is on it’s way there as well. I started thinking about other things that are worth the money you pay and trying to get a better deal doesn’t work. I get my hair professionally colored. I have tried the box color at home and it looked terrible and quite frankly ruined my hair. It is worth the money to pay Tina to make me look great. She is a professional and I trust her. I then thought about photography and how it has drastically it has changed over the years. Cameras are easier and more affordable then when I started and everyone has a decent camera. So why hire me? I see posts on social media advertising sessions and all the photos for as low as $15. How is that possible? To be honest I have looked at the photos these people take and I think they aren’t worth even that. If you are paying for family photos it seems strange to me to spend hundreds on new clothes and accessories, take half a day off of work, wrangle all your kids together and spend a ton of money framing a photo that only cost you $15 or maybe $50. Why isn’t the photography, the photographer, and the photo just as valuable? I have kids and I have done family photos and I would have paid a lot to make sure I loved the photos and I didn’t have to do it again another day to get what I wanted. I think what people forget is that the camera is a tool but there is more to it. First of all I have really nice cameras and lighting and everything I need to do the job well but I do this every day, full time, so I have a lot of experience doing my job of getting great images while working with all kinds of people of all ages. It can be really challenging but it is always super fun.  I love my job and I think it shows, but most of all I am really skilled and experienced, and I do have a gift for photographing people. So am I worth paying a little more? Are other professionals worth the money? I think so and I think a lot of other people think so also. I mean if you are having a wedding and spending thousands on food and alcohol and hundreds on a dress and flowers and let’s face it, just a ton of money total on the entire event, then why aren’t the photos worth what a really great photographer is charging? 15 years from now isn’t that what is left? The wonderful images of the best day of your life? I am a photographer. I want to do my very best to take great photos of you and your family. I want you to love your photos and enjoy and share them with friends and family. I hope you can see the value in what I charge as a professional running a business, and choose me for family photos, senior pics, or an event like a wedding. I know other people have cameras and might charge a little less but you will have a great time and love your photos and I get to do what I love.

Light matters

Downtown Chaska senior session

How to plan for a great senior photo session

Your senior photos are a big deal and you want them to look great, but the whole process doesn’t have to be a big deal. First you need to schedule your photos with a professional photographer and view their website to be sure it’s the style you want. I usually ask my clients to email me their favorite sample images on pinterest or have them text me some examples of what they like. Be sure to communicate any specific images or poses you are hoping to get so everyone is on the same page. It’s important for the photographer to know your preferences so they can schedule your session at the right location and at the right time of day. You don’t need a lot of fancy backgrounds or props and your clothing should be comfortable and match your personality or style. I encourage seniors to bring more than they need and I will help them make their clothing selection on photo day. Your hair should be cut or colored the week prior and makeup should be natural with just a little extra for that polished look. Be sure to relax and “work the camera” a little while you smile have fun and your photos will look fantastic! The best compliment I get from a senior is how much fun the session was. I love what I do and it shows during my photo sessions. I am experienced with working with lots of people and skilled at using light and it shows in my images. If you are graduating in 2016 it’s time to schedule your senior photos. Visit my new website  or check out my facebook page. (Be sure to like my page!)