All Things Christmas at LG 2018 style!

Here we go again! Can you believe it’s time for Christmas booking already? And I’m late to the game this year. With my home remodel taking up my whole summer and my ACL surgery and recovery, 2018 has been a blur and before I knew it, school started and we started negotiations with the man in red! I appreciate your patience and understanding and I’m asking you to read through this slowly and carefully if you plan on booking something Christmas with me this year. 

Things I plan on covering in this post: 

-SANTA!!!!! Indoor and outdoor. Types of sessions available, costs, procedures, booking and day of stuff and changes from last year! 

-Studio mini sessions: options and cost, dates and procedures. 

-Christmas Tree Farm! Dates and price and such. 

-Ways we'll be paying it forward! 

Here’s a refresher for new clients and returning since it’s been a while since we did this. 

What is "Awesome Santa"? We used to have a session called "Workshop Santa" and then we had "Regular Santa". While trying to compare the two, I was tired of saying "regular" when our Santa is anything but regular and everything awesome. So somewhere along the line the word "Awesome" started getting thrown around and I officially changed the name to Awesome Santa sessions and it stuck. If you've had the pleasure to meet the big guy, you'll agree that name is appropriate. All Awesome Santa sessions are held in my studio in Coplay, PA. 

What is Outdoor Santa? Outdoor Santa is just as it sounds. Awesome Santa out in the elements. We did a day of Outdoor Santa last year- you might remember the sessions with the blue truck- and they turned out better than I could have imagined. I’m hoping to be able to use the same blue truck this year but with some differently wrapped presents and a few other new touches. Outdoor Santa will be held one day only November 15th, snow or shine, in the back yard at my studio. If it were to rain, the sessions would be moved inside to my Awesome Santa backdrop. For this session, you MUST BE ok with weather, no matter what that means! If it's a blizzard (I'm knocking on every wooden surface there is around me including my head right now) then we will discuss that as the day gets closer. Santa brought his magic from the North Pole to make it "snow" last year and it was gorgeous! We intend on doing that again this year.

More on Santa in a bit. 

What does a Tree Farm session entail? Tree farm is my jam!!  It's a huge part of the success of my business and I treat it just as that. Kemmerer's Christmas Tree Farm on Valley View Drive in Bath, PA allows me to come there as I please and grants me exclusivity as the only photographer that they will allow to shoot on the farm. They are so supportive of my business and I return that sentiment. I have gotten my tree there every year for the last 6 years now and I love it every time. They just built their new building last year and this year's sessions will be held at the newer field.  Every session at the farm gets you a $10 off your fresh cut Christmas tree at Kemmerer's for this season. It's a win win! 

What are Studio Christmas sessions? Studio Christmas is just that. Christmas and winter themes at the studio. No Awesome Santa in attendance, just me and lots of fun sets and props. I typically offer 4 backdrops. One is usually somewhat colorful, one is more rustic, one is wintery and one is my Awesome Santa backdrop. The biggest one is the set I use for Santa so if you're doing family photos, that backdrop is definitely one you'll want to use. All of my backdrops can fit children comfortably and sometimes families can squeeze in on the other ones but just more limited. You will be able to choose from 1, 2 or 3 backdrops upon booking and you can upgrade or downgrade at anytime, even during the session if your child is behaving better (or worse) than expected. 

Prices for all of these sessions are discussed later in this blog. Please note: ALL HOLIDAY THEMED SESSIONS ARE PRICED PER FAMILY/HOUSEHOLD! No exceptions to this rule. What does this mean? Many people like to make a cousin photo for the grandparents. I love this and encourage it but price is per household. When there’s lots of eyeballs I have to get to look at the camera, it turns into a lot more work. I also photograph each child and sibling/family as well, this is why I’ve always done it this way. 

So now that you know what I mean when I talk about each session, you'll be ready to soak in the info! 

I mentioned Santa changes above... changes this year are: 1. Retainers. 2. Galleries. 3. Amount of sessions. 4. Getting a spot. 5. Digitals. 6. Awesome Santa vs Outdoor Santa booking.

1. Retainers/Deposits will be collected upon booking for all sessions including Santa. $100 retainer will have to be collected in order to book Santa and a $50 retainer will be collected in order to book tree farm or a studio Christmas mini. So please budget accordingly if you're planning on booking any of the aforementioned sessions. 

2.  We are no longer doing flash drives. If you didn’t get a session last year you might be saying, “NOOOO!”… but let me explain a little more.  We are doing galleries. Flash drives, although 95% effective still left 5% for error. If you've had a session with me in the last 3 years, you've had your session delivered to you in a gallery link where you can log on and download the images. You will still have the images the same day as the shoot (this is for Awesome Santa only, outdoor Santa, the images will be enhanced in post production so the gallery will be ready to view in a day or two) but they will be sent to your email with a link to your gallery! Each gallery is private and only viewable if you have the link to do so. This eliminates the congestion in the waiting room and most times last year by the time you were home from the shoot, you had a gallery full of Awesomeness waiting for you in your email. 

3. Santa is a busy man and we are SO INCREDIBLY BLESSED to have had him as much as we have over the last seven years. He has very much more limited availability this year than ever before. About 1/3 the amount of sessions to be precise. About 100 less than last year. {I think I just heard a gasp!}… We are still booking the same as always as far as time with Santa goes, but giving a little extra time for him to recover between those screamers. But giving him that cushion leaves a lot less sessions to be had. Which brings us to getting one of these coveted spots.

4. Our new procedure for Awesome Santa Booking last year had some mixed reviews. Mostly good but I know there was a lot of bashing me going on in other forums for the way I did things. From the price, to how I book and everything in between. Over the years, I’ve heard everything you can imagine. It makes me sad to an extent because if they truly knew me and knew how much of my heart I leave on the table at each session, I don’t think I’d be sent those comments on the sly. When we counted our Santa sessions this year, I actually cried. Not for any other reason other than me imagining all the families that won’t get a spot this year. But I have to do what’s best for Santa and myself and pray that everyone who truly cares, understands. We are going to do the first 60 names on the google form list get a guaranteed session.  The rest of the sessions available will be drawn by a lottery. So we will open booking at 8pm and leave the form open for 90 seconds OR until we get 350 names on the list. The first 60 will get a guaranteed spot. The rest of the names will be chosen by a random number generator. As in previous years, the form will ask for your Name, Email and Phone Number. We have a little over 100 spots available so really, it’s all a lottery. If it’s anything like previous years, 500+ people will be attempting the same thing at the exact same SECOND as you. Don’t be discouraged, I hope you still try for a spot! Please don’t hate me, I love you.. :)

5. We used to give all of the digitals and attempted to keep the cost lower last year and sell digitals separately. But with the price increase this year, we are once again giving all the digital images to you for the cost of the session. 

6. Last year we booked Outdoor Santa on a separate booking night prior to Awesome Santa. This year we will be booking all Santa sessions on the same booking night. Whether you would prefer Outdoor Santa OR Awesome Santa you will try for a spot by submitting the google form we mentioned above. If your name is one of the first 60 fastest fingers or drawn in the lottery for the remaining spots, when it is time to choose your date/time is when you'll be able to choose Outdoor Santa or Awesome Santa. More on that below in Question #7. 

Price, dates and booking times and dates. 

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A: OUTDOOR SANTA (extremely limited sessions)

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Address: 2354 Old Post Rd, Coplay, PA 18037

Session Date: Thursday, November 15th

Booking: Tuesday, October 2nd, 8pm

Price: $175 includes tax. $100 retainer due at booking/ $75 cash due the day of the session. 

Includes gallery of all digital “keepers” with print release and the option to buy additional products. Each session will receive a $5.95 discount coupon code for free shipping on a print order or off of a canvas or album order. $5 from each session will go to justembrace.org, my cousin/Santa's daughter's non-profit organization in Chicago. 

B: AWESOME SANTA

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Address: 2354 Old Post Rd, Coplay, PA 18037

Session Dates: Friday, November 16th, Saturday, November 17th, Friday, November 23rd, Saturday, November 24th, Thursday, November 29th, & Friday, November 30th

Booking: Tuesday, October 2nd, 8pm

Price: $150 includes tax. $100 retainer due at booking/ $50 cash due the day of the session. 

Includes gallery of all digital “keepers” with print release and the option to buy  additional products. Each session will receive a $5.95 discount coupon code for free shipping on a print order or off of a canvas or album order. $5 from each session will go to justembrace.org, my cousin/Santa's daughter's non-profit organization in Chicago. 

C: KEMMERER'S CHRISTMAS TREE FARM

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Address: 3266 Valley View Dr, Bath, PA 18014

Session Dates: Saturday, November 10th & Sunday, November 11th 

Booking:  Sunday, September 30th, 8pm 

Price: $250 plus tax. $50 retainer due at booking/ $200 plus tax the day of the session. (price hasn’t changed from last year)

Includes your choice of 8 digital images from your gallery of all of the "keeper" images from your session with print release, the option to buy additional digital images and products, and a $10 off a fresh cut Christmas tree at Kemmerer's.

D: STUDIO MINI SESSIONS

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Address: 2354 Old Post Rd, Coplay, PA 18037

Session Dates: Sunday November 18th, Monday November 19th, Tuesday November 20th, Tuesday November 27th, Wednesday November 28th & Saturday, December 1st

Booking:  Tuesday October 9th, 8pm

Price: $100 (1 backdrop)/$125 (2 backdrops)/$150 (3 backdrops) plus tax. (price hasn’t changed from last year)

$50 retainer due at booking- $50/$75/$100 plus tax due the day of the session. 

Includes your choice of 5/7/10 digital images from your gallery of all of the "keeper" images from your session with print release and the option to buy additional digital images and products.

 TWO WAYS WE BOOK SESSIONS

Google form and our online scheduler. To give you all an understanding of how this works and why we choose what we do, here is the quick rundown. 

~For the Google form we have you put in your name, email, and phone number to give you a chance at the fastest fingers. Those submissions come in time stamped down to the mili-second and are numbered in a list. We can then go down exactly in order of submissions to count who gets the spots based on how many we have to give. This is how we will be booking Awesome Santa and Outdoor Santa AND tree farm. 

~ Online scheduler, which has the dates & appointment times all right there to choose from. Sending mass amounts of people there at once can sometimes cause minor glitches and just can't handle the sheer volume of traffic that Santa and tree farm draws. Say Tanya & I are booking a session and we click on the same date/time at the exact same mili-second. This happens rarely, but it actually could let us both in to start filling out our name & info like we got the spot. You're given 10 minutes to complete the info and click submit, and whoever submits their info first actually gets the spot and it will tell the other person that spot is then taken. You're session is NOT CONFIRMED until it's submitted and says you've got the spot and you've received a confirmation email. If someone clicks on a time but changes their mind and exits out, that time is held for 10 minutes and the scheduler will remove it as an option for others trying to book. This is why it's VERY IMPORTANT when booking with our online scheduler to commit to a date/time and follow through with your booking. If you got a spot but realized after you're in it doesn't work for you, continue your booking anyway and we can *try* to see if there's someone to switch spots with you (no promises). The spots that become held by mis-bookings will then become available again after the 10 minutes, so if you've tried for a spot and don't see one, continue to refresh, as one might become available again that you can grab. This is how we will book Christmas Studio Mini Sessions this year as there’s not nearly as many people initially trying for these as there are for Santa and they have much more open availability. 

Now to answer a few questions you might have:

7. Question- If I am chosen for a Santa spot in the lottery or I'm one of the first 60 who submitted their form to get a guaranteed spot, how/when will I choose my Santa date/time and whether I want Outdoor or Awesome? 

Answer- Those who made it in the lottery or fastest fingers were given a specific date and time that they were able to choose their time slot and date for their Santa session. That scheduling date will only be released to those who made it on the list and have received the spot. Once we determine our final list, you will receive an email that lets you know either way if you made it or didn’t and what day and time you will be able to book your specific time slot. Please add lgenerose@gmail.com to your email address book so you don't miss an email from us. 

8. Question- Can I still book a cousins back to back Awesome Santa session if we all get on the list in time or get chosen in the lottery? 

Answer- No, I'm sorry. We can no longer promise this, it becomes too hard to work around with the amount of sessions being scheduled. 

9. Question- Can I book both an Outdoor Santa session and an Awesome Santa session? 

Answer- No, we want to allow as many families to be able to come as possible. Please try for the one you want the most. However, if you get a Santa spot but outdoor has filled with people before you in the random order, you would be offered an Awesome Santa spot and you choose to take it or pass.

10. Question- Can we bring our pet dog, cat, fish, hamster, rat, snake, etc. to our Santa session? 

Answer- Umm, no. We'd love to be able to allow you to bring your dogs but with allergies and the safety of so many kiddos being around I must say, sorry, but no. 

11. Question- How soon will we know if we got a Santa Spot? 

Answer- No more than 24 hours after booking opens up. Maybe sooner. 

12. Question- Is my retainer refundable or transferable to another session? 

Answer- Unfortunately, no. Unless I can find someone to fill your spot, I can not give it back. For Santa, we will most definitely be able to fill your spot if you give us as much time as possible. 

13. Question- What if my child wakes up sick on a Santa day? 

Answer- Please cancel. We don't want anyone getting sick. We will try our best to get you in another day.

14. Question- What if I have very limited availability? 

Answer- If you are trying for a Santa spot this year, please try to be extremely flexible with your availability if you receive a spot and try to accommodate any date/time that you can. After Santa is booked, we will post a thread for anyone who got a spot that is 100% flexible to any date/time who would be able to switch should someone need to, but there will be no promises we can make switches or rescheduling work. We understand kids are in school so we try to be sensitive to this. 

15. Question- What if my child is afraid of Santa? 

Answer- If you're child is afraid of Santa, choose one of the later date sessions for your best chance at them not being afraid to sit with Santa. We tend to have the most success with non-screamers the last weekend because the children have been surrounded by Santa Claus for a longer amount of time versus beginning of November when he's not really everywhere. It's just a theory but I think it is a legitimate thought.

16. Question- Is Outdoor Santa longer? Can we have outfit changes?

Answer- Outdoor Santa is the same as indoor Awesome Santa. No outfit changes. We want to get as many kids in as possible to see Santa so we're keeping the times the same across the board this year. Especially with cutting back on the amount of sessions. 

17. Question- Can we use gift certificates on Santa or holiday minis? 

Answer- Gift certificates can NOT be used on Santa sessions. They can be used on tree farm and Christmas Studio minis.

18. Question- Why such a huge price jump for Awesome Santa this year?  

Answer- Honestly, I have to make it worth my time and Santa’s time. I know there will be families who’ve been coming for years who might not be able to swing it this year and it truly breaks my heart. Two years ago, we did 350 sessions and sold out in seconds. I have less than half of that available this year but I’m still putting all my time, effort and money into making the set something magical for your kids and something you will treasure forever. I hope you understand. 

19. Question- How do I get on the waiting list?  

Answer- The waiting list is reserved for those who made it in on time on the initial booking night on 10/2 at 8pm. 

20. Question- How will you be posting/sharing the link this year? Will it be posted in one place or two and how will the link work?  

Answer- We will always post to Facebook, website and newsletter BUT we put the link to the deactivated google form out the day of so you have it and you can just refresh from there. We actually did the same thing last year that we’re going to do this year. We will post a deactivated link to the Google form the day before or the morning of- not sure which yet. Everyone will have the link and if you click on it before it’s activated, you’ll just get an error message that says, “this form is no longer accepting responses.“ Everyone will have the link to the Google form prior to booking and all they have to do is keep refreshing when the clock strikes 8pm to the second.

DONATIONS AND PAYING IT FORWARD OPPORTUNITIES.

Every year during the holidays, I like to help people pay it forward and give back to the community. Since last year was such a great success and we made such a huge impact, we've chosen to work with The Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley again to make #HolidayHopeChests. They're wrapped shoe boxes filled with goodies and necessities for boys and girls ages 2-14. We pledged to donate 500 Holiday Hope Chest boxes during our Christmas 2017 season and I’m hoping we can pledge 600 this year but I definitely need your help.  Each one you make, you have the chance at a $500 LG GIFT CERTIFICATE! We will be collecting these boxes until November 30th at several drop off spots in the Lehigh Valley to make it more convenient for you. To make sure we have them split them evenly for the children receiving them, we have created a sign up for you to pledge how many boxes and the age group/gender you will be making them for. You may sign up for multiple boxes!!!! We know that with all of us coming together, we can reach or even exceed our goal of 600 boxes this year. 

I’m happy to report, we will continue to collect PB&J from now until forever! For every pair of peanut butter (or other types of nut butter) and jelly you bring to the studio, you will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card. I’ll do the drawing once a month during the busy season and once every other month during the winter months. This is an easy way to give back to local food banks in our area.

Follow this link to sign up on our list for the boxes you are pledging to donate: 

Bit.ly/LGHolidayHopeChest2018

For more info on what the Holiday Hope Chest and these boxes are all about, you can watch this video here:

https://vimeo.com/189364159

Here is a link to a gift suggestion by age group list and dos/do nots for the Holiday Hope Chest shoeboxes:

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Link to Pay-It-Forward LG STYLE for tips and tricks and such! 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/payitforwardlgstyle/

I believe I might be the most long-winded person on the planet but there is just sooooo much information!!! If you have any questions, please let us know. Don’t forget to get signed up for the Holiday Hope Chests and spread the word. You don’t need to have a session booked to be entered into the drawing! I love you all so much. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

Please stay tuned to Facebook where I will be sharing a daily Santa tip each night for the next five days ‘til Santa booking.

God bless us everyone. Xo Lg

Jolly Good News

Good morning, everyone. What a crazy summer it's been! I have spent every moment I could with my kiddos and family, taking it one day at a time and loving every second. We still have a little over a week until school starts and after that I'll be back at the studio pretty regularly.

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So in BIG news, the news I mentioned I couldn't wait to share! As you may or may not know, I have an amazing behind the scenes assistant/bestie/do-it-all-er named Tanya. She has been on my team for three years this September. She has given so much of herself to my business and to me personally just by being her. She is the type A to my, ahem, not so type A personality. She keeps me focused and on task and she juggles a family, a side business, being a wife and a mom and up until last month, being a preschool teacher in addition to her assisting me. After much prayer and discussion, I am happy to announce Tanya is starting FULL TIME with LG next week!!!! We are still looking for the perfect job description for her but nothing seems to do it justice. She's so much more than an assistant and will be taking over even more than before freeing up time for me to focus on the things I do best! I'll still be shooting and editing and answering particular email questions as always. The difference you might notice with this change is our response time. Tanya is working daytime hours only and will not be answering emails during her evenings or weekends off. We've worked out a system that she'll be checking email throughout the day and first thing in the morning to reply to anything that came in overnight. If you would like to contact us regarding your scheduled session, please try to contact at least 24 hours prior to give her the time to respond. We ask that you send an email or message to our Facebook page rather than text her (unless she texts you first regarding a session or question), as that will help keep all our messages together and answered during her work hours. We ask for your patience and understanding as we transition into this much anticipated change!

I promised a mid-month newsletter this time also to talk about Santa stuff! I know it's crazy to be thinking of Santa time in August but if you know how crazy it gets around that time of year, you understand why I'm doing this now! As you may or may not know, Santa is my uncle! (I know, I know! #BESTUncleEver) Anyway, he is a pastor at a church in Middleburg, PA. He has quite a trip to get to us every weekend and he can't do Sundays so we are at the mercy of Fridays and Saturdays with the occasional Thursday. Santa had an episode that scared us all like crazy this summer. They thought it was a stroke, it has a fancy name but thankfully I can say, by the grace of God, he's come out of it completely unscathed. I just spoke with him and he said he "CAN'T WAIT" to see all the kiddos and he's ready for whatever I'm cooking up over here! So I'm waiting to hear back from him about one thing I'm kinda geeking out about that will be super fun if we can pull it off. But, counting up the sessions we have to offer this year, we are cutting back some. I don't want to put so much on the busiest man in the world and if you've ever had a kicker or a screamer on Santa's lap, you know what kind of physical toll that kind of action takes on him. He won't EVER complain but it is physically and emotionally taxing and his well-being is my number ONE priority.  

Last year, after craziness with booking ensued I promised I'd find a better way to do it. Let me explain. 

For those who are new to this, I hear it's similar to trying to get the best Black Friday deal you can imagine and your anxiety and excitement over it are through the roof. To get an idea, we cut off allowing entries to come through after 2 minutes last year and we already had 500 names on the list. We had "sold" as many spots as we had available within 35 seconds. If you can imagine, on my end... I was thrilled! It was seamless, easy and unflawed and for the first time in years we didn't have any glitches. What we didn't expect was the backlash. If you're unfamiliar with a google form, every entry gives a time stamp to the name on the backside that we see. Everyone was flabbergasted when they said they were on right at 8pm and hit submit within seconds and they didn't make it in time. "How is that possible?" "You cherry picked who you wanted to have a spot!" "There's got to be a more fair way!" "I took off of work for this and I didn't get a spot... You just lost a customer for life!" "You should remember the people who got you started in your business, you should be ashamed of yourself for how you handled this!" Yeah.. that was the negativity I got for the one thing I thought was flawless and well thought out. Of course those who got a spot were thrilled and thought it was completely fair. Most of those who didn't were understandably upset but not angry enough to message me hatefully. Which brings me back to how are we going to book this year? The answer is, I don't know and I still have some time to decide.  I know no matter what I decide, some will love it, some will hate it and some won't care either way. I have to do what's best for myself (my health and sanity) and my family and I've been thinking about this for 9 months and I still don't have an answer. Please know, I am a people pleaser and I take every word of encouragement and criticism to heart. I wish I didn't have to think about doing a different way but those words cut me to my core last year and I was really heartbroken over it for quite some time. Bottom line is: I can't please everyone and I have to be okay with some people being mad about it or at me over it. 

What we have with my Santa sessions is very special. Santa is the real deal and I care so much about producing an amazing product for you that I pour every ounce of my energy into every picture taken. I believe that combination is what's made our sessions so sought after over the years.

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So let me think on the booking stuff for a little while longer and let me just leave this here: 

Tomorrow morning, Saturday August 26th at 10am, we will post our official 2017 AWESOME SANTA SAVE THE DATE on: 

Facebook, IG and on my website!!!!

www.facebook.com/photography.by.lg 

Instagram @logenerose

website www.lorigenerose.com 

By the way, while you're here at my blog check out the updates my amazingly talented assistant made to my website for me! She's so stinkin' fabulous! 

Thanks for listening and know I appreciate each and every one of you!!

P.S. Don't forget booking for October opens up September 1st at 8pm!!! Newborn spaces per month are filling up quicker and quicker. I only accept 10 per month and when they're filled I have to turn people away. Don't miss out, spread the word if you know someone expecting or you need a spot for yourself!

On The Up And Up

As I sit here on this lazy, rainy Sunday afternoon I'm reminded of why I'm writing this in the first place.

It was about this time 7 years ago that I posted the picture to Facebook that, I consider, kicked off my career in photography. The picture is of Katie at just 2 years old and Rocco, just shy of his first birthday. They're standing in my backyard. Happy. I had been fed up of the studios in the mall with kids working there who didn't:  1. Know me or my kids at all. 2. Care about their minimum wage job 3. Care about the outcome of the photos and 4. Consider my current theory of "whatever it takes for smiles". They were just there to click a button and I was fed up. Fed up of waiting for my turn with two kids who were past their happy time when I finally got to sit them down under the lights. I had a "nice camera" so I began to play with my kids as my subjects.

Photography has evolved in the last 7 years. When I first started, there weren't nearly as many people practicing outdoor photography as there are now. Newborn photography like I offer now, I didn't even know that was a thing. Cake smashes, either.  People just didn't do them or at least I didn't know about it.

So seven years ago, I was a stay at home mom. With two kids. I was looking for a hobby or a part time job and that's where it all started. After I posted that photo to Facebook, I believe I took three family's Christmas card pictures that year. And the rest as they say, is history.


My family has been the building blocks of my business. My job, as always, revolves around my kids. When they were little and I had a shoot to go to, I would take them to my mom's house. When I started, I only had a couple of shoots a month... If that. A few years later, I was working many hours a week, running kids to preschool and picking them up two hours later. Shooting non stop. Editing all night. Then, I couldn't wait til they were done with half day kindergarten so I'd have full days to work uninterrupted and edit during the day and not have to be awake all night. Well, that didn't happen either. The emails kept coming, and I got busier. This past year, I was busier than ever. I even cut back. And somehow I was busier than I've ever been. I go to bed at 2 or 3 am most nights. I'm never fully caught up. The guilt I feel if I take a night off from editing...? It's ridiculous and if I tried to describe it to you, you'd call me crazy.

My point is, I always thought, "once the kids are bigger, things will be easier!" Not sure what I was thinking but now that they're older things are harder than ever. Baseball, basketball, karate, dance... No consistent babysitter, so it's usually: RUSH as fast as humanly possible to make it from the studio to my driveway to get them from the bus (many times it involves me chasing the bus down the road to the last stop on the route and waving like 'that mom' at the bus driver because I missed the bus, AGAIN!!!), rushing them to my mom's so my dad can take them to whatever after school activity while I go to my evening shoots, the hubs calling me to see where he's picking them up from, coming home and again, rushing, trying to make it for bedtime prayers before the kids go to bed. Eating dinner for myself. Then around 9 I head downstairs to edit til 2 am (ish).

Even though I write a version of this blog, every year at this time... I somehow revert to my old ways. After much thought and consideration, scratching my head and saying "how did this happen again".... I've chalked up my busyness this year to one thing...

"The List".

Ohhhhh, the list. Last year, I posted about the list. How if you needed a session anytime throughout the year, contact once and we will contact you when I open booking for that quarter, and before I open it up to the public. It was a very awesome way for you to get it done once, and it was perfect for me and Tanya when booking the current quarter. Although we never promised being on the list guaranteed a session, I always accommodated everyone to the best of my ability. Well, two weeks ago when Tanya and I met up to go over the schedule and choose my work days for the next few months, I realized my stress and crazy scheduling issues stem from the overwhelming list. I would have people on the list that "need a Tuesday evening in fall" for example. Well, now to accommodate that Tuesday evening in the fall means I'm probably going to miss one of my son's baseball games. That's just a random example that might not even be accurate but some variation of that request covered the list. I left the dinner meeting with Tanya sick to my stomach and crying. I realized something had to give.

The number of people needing a fall session outdoor this year, who are on the list, who do not include my brides and grooms needing engagements or the 14 weddings I'm shooting in the next 3 months, total over 50! Fall colors are only in their prime in the last two weeks of October and if we're lucky, the first week of November. It is physically impossible for me to do it all. So, after much thought, I have decided I am only going to offer outdoor half sessions this fall. Typically my full sessions are 45 minutes long. The half sessions I'm offering are 20 minutes. Booked every 25 minutes. They're being offered up at some of my favorite fall locations on different evenings throughout October. It's the only way I can figure out to accommodate the amount of families needing me this year. And not sure if there'll be any left for anyone not on the list but please contact us if you are interested.

Needless to say the list is no more. It's just become too much. From now on we will be using the newsletter approach. The day before we open up booking for the following month, we will send out a newsletter with booking information and all the details and promos for the month including minis and giveaways. This will be around the same time every month and will begin in late November or early December for January booking. And it will be like that always. Booking for the following month will be booked the month before.

Then, perhaps the biggest change is the way EVERYTHING is being booked. If you've booked with me in the past, you've probably been in contact with Tanya to schedule your session. Initial emails, back and forth with available sessions, need to knows about your session, reminders and then retainer invoices. All of which were done with Tanya sitting behind her screen doing that all manually. We are moving on up and have decided to book everything with my online scheduler. It's a program that we've used in the past for mini session bookings. We have all of my available dates in the calendar. Once you get the link, you will see indoor or outdoor option, you'll click on which you prefer... You will see only the sessions I'm offering at the current time and the dates and times I have open. We booked studio indoor for fall with this method and it's been incredible. You will need to pay a $50 retainer upon booking. This is saving Tanya an unbelievable amount of time and energy and freeing her up, too. When I'm busy, she's busy too. We are both overworked and it's not good for anyone.

Please don't think I'm complaining. Or bragging. It's the furthest thing from the truth. I desperately need you to understand that change is hard for me. It's unbearable at times. Especially when I receive backlash from you guys. Disappointed emails because of my new schedule. Or see snarky comments on posts about "how full of herself" I am because I write blogs like this explaining my reasoning.  My only goal in this business is to make you happy. If you're not happy, then I've failed. I'm not bragging. I'm not doing anything but trying to explain to you that I'm maxed out... As a photographer, as a mom, as a wife. It's not fair to my family. So please understand, if there's no evenings in the studio, it's either because I'm sold out of them or there aren't any being offered up right now.

These decisions were not made lightly. I can promise you that. I believe it is what's best for my business and for myself which in turn trickles down to you guys. A happier me will be a happier you.

Phew. That was tough guys. Thank you for still being here and still reading! Enough of that hard stuff, let's talk about Christmas and the holidays!

Santa save the date is coming at you tomorrow night. Get ready for that. It will also include BOOKING DATE AND TIME. ****BOOKING IS NOT TOMORROW EVENING. THIS IS SIMPLY SAVE THE DATES AND MARK YOUR CALENDARS****

SESSIONS BEING OFFERED THIS SEASON:

-FALL OUTDOOR HALF SESSIONS-

~Monday, October 10th- Trexler Park

~Tuesday, October 18th- Lehigh Parkway

~Wednesday, October 26th- Kreidersville Covered Bridge

~Thursday, October 27th- Walnutport Canal

-HOLIDAY SESSIONS-

~Kemmerer's Tree Farm: October 15&16 (booking date will be announced soon)

~Studio Christmas mini sessions: late November (booking date and session dates will be released soon: weekday and evening appointments available)

~Santa's WORKSHOP & AWESOME SANTA sessions: dates being released Monday August 22 at 9pm.

I'm very excited about all that is happening this year and especially this fall. I'm excited to capture your family and children and to see you all once again. I hope you can embrace these changes and stick along for the ride.

To be added to the newsletter mailing, please join here: bit.ly/LGNewsletterSignUp

Thanks for reading this everyone. I love you all so much. Check back tomorrow for all things Santa!

Stay blessed.

Lori

A Few Of My Favorite Things Giveaway!

I feel like every time I'm on vacation I decide to do a giveaway... Haha. Yay for all of us! I want to start by saying thank you! Thank you for being your amazing beautiful self. For picking me. For trusting me. For loving me and my passion. You've supported my dream and helped me build a business that I am proud to own. 

As I've mentioned before, small business is in my blood. My parents have owned a small business since 1980. At their store, I was working the cash register standing on a milk crate at the age of six. We lived above the store in an apartment and I watched my mom go down to work every day about 10 minutes after 8 (she was and still is perpetually 10 minutes late) and work til 8:30 pm as my dad headed off to his corporate job to cover our health insurance and such. My mom taught me compassion, kindness, how to be a business woman, how not to be a business woman, how to trust my instincts and listen to that little voice inside my head. She was robbed at gunpoint, twice! She chased a man out of the store who was pointing a gun at her belly demanding money as she yelled at him to "get lost" and telling him how he wasn't about to get her hard earned money. (She's still the talk of the town 11 years later as people reminisce about that day) My mother is without a doubt in my mind, THE HARDEST WORKING WOMAN I will ever know. I owe my work ethic to her and my father who lead by example and didn't give my brother and I an easy ride. We worked. We had nice things because we worked. Worked in the store, helped my dad at his apartment buildings. They taught us how to work. My brother has a very successful tree cutting/landscaping business and here I am with mine as you well know since you're reading this right now. 

I love doing giveaways as you might have already figured out... So this one is no different. But it kinda is. I'm including some of my favorite small businesses in on this one! 

So... You guys know Tanya. LG Photography's behind the scenes, emailer, scheduler, bring-sanity-back-to-Lori-er??? She is also a wife, mother, preschool teacher and most recently, she has become a LuLaRoe consultant. LuLaRoe = most comfortable leggings, EVER. (In a nutshell) but they offer a whole line of clothing, from dresses, skirts, t shirts, kids clothes and so much more. Let me tell you, I'm seriously so over the moon about this clothing. The prints are awesome and fresh and the thrill of trying to snag a pair of leggings before someone else does is actually addicting to be honest. LLR is similar to other direct sales companies so you can host a party or buy directly. Every time I'm wearing a pair of fun or funky leggings, someone will ask me, "is that Lu-la-roooooo" and I say "yes it is but because I used to say lularooooo too, it's actually lularoe like "Monroe" and if you don't have some get yourself some tomorrow!" So because of all the sacrifices and commitment Tanya has given to my small business over the last almost two years, I wanted to be the first one to support her and host a party. I'm not in it for the free stuff, although let's be honest, it's a major perk... I just want to let her know that I support her and appreciate all of her hard work she's put into my business and I want to be able to share it with all of you! More on this in a bit...

My best friend since day one, 9th grade Spanish class, Danielle, has also opened her new business. It's official. The Splintered Owl. She has been one of my biggest supporters over the years. She can make just about anything you can imagine. Literally. We built a tree house in my yard for my kids, she built me kitchen benches, custom signs, banners and props like whoa for my photo shoots. Custom mugs, bags, Christmas decorations... You name it, I'm pretty sure she can make it! I've been encouraging her for years to make it official and run with it because it would be a waste of talent otherwise! She did it! She's official and I'm here to tell you, I support her 100% and I would love if you did too! 

So the giveaway?? Or giveawayS I should say...  Up for grabs are some LG Photography gift certificates, free stuff from my LLR party including leggings, and some cool one of a kind things from the Splintered Owl. And MAYBE the most exciting of all, ONE person will win a FREE GUARANTEED SANTA 2016 spot! 

How to enter and how to win??  In order to win any of the giveaways, we ask that you "like" or "follow" our pages (links below).  That way you can actually be ready for the giveaways. You may already have our pages liked, that's awesome! 

On Thursday August 4th at 9pm, I'll be doing a live video post done on my Facebook page announcing all giveaway winners except for two bonus giveaways during this week, which will be in my LuLaRoe party page. I'm going to give away two pair of leggings before my party on Sunday and Monday. So make sure you're actively playing along on my party page for your chance to win! Part one is an in-home party on Sunday, July 30th from 4-6pm. You can come to Tanya's house where she has a store set up and you can try things on, see what styles you love the most and actually get to feel things. Part two is my online party at 8:00 pm on Monday, August 1. Albums will be posted of her inventory and you can purchase right online, and choose to have your items shipped right to your door or local pick up at her home in Northampton. Anyone who shows up to the party Sunday and anyone who makes a purchase Monday online is going to be entered to win a FREE 2016 Santa Session with a guaranteed spot, and ONE person will be selected to win! This is in addition to ALL of the other gifts we are giving away. From the Splintered Owl, we have a custom made "Always stay humble and kind" sign which is probably one of her most popular items right now! Also, a double insulated LG drink bottle... It's seriously THE BEST, my drink is still ice cold as I'm sitting in 100 degree weather for the last 7 hours! 

I know this is a lot to take in and read but PLEASE, follow the links below... Leave a note on our walls if you're a new fan or if you're just here for the party if you'd like! We can't wait to have so much fun this week! 

After you've completed "liking" our pages, please fill out the Form below so we have your contact info! 

Love you guys. Thank you for your unending support and love! 

XoLG

**AFTER You have liked the pages, please come back and fill out this form: bit.ly/LGFavoriteThingsGiveaway

Links to our pages are just below!

LG Photography Page:
https://www.facebook.com/photography.by.lg
Instagram: @logenerose

LuLaRoe Tanya & Trisha | VIPs:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/lularoetanyatrisha

Instagram: @lularoetanyatrisha

Lori's LuLaRoe Party Page:
bit.ly/LorisLuLaRoeParty

The Splintered Owl:
https://www.facebook.com/splinteredowl

Instagram: @splinteredowl

2015 In Review... {Forgive My Tardiness}

I am sitting on a towel on a beach, on a beach chair, in white sand, under an umbrella, on Disney's own private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas.... IN FEBRUARY! My skin is tingly, my toes are sandy, and I'm gloriously browned from a week of sea cruising on the Disney Fantasy. I opted out of wifi on board and decided to embrace a tropical family vacation free from incessant face booking, email checking and insta-scrolling. Let me tell you, it was incredible. Along with eating more food than should be allowed by a human of my stature, I swam, sunbathed, napped, laughed and cried many happy tears. I even read 4 books. Two love stories written by my absolute favorite author Amy Harmon, one incredible book by the lovely Candace Cameron Bure about her experience on Dancing With The Stars and how much she loves God and isn't afraid to show it. And I'm nearing the end of a business book called The Fire-starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte. It's ignited a fire inside of me and is driving me to write to you right now. 

I'm incredibly blessed. I say this often. I know that word gets thrown around all the time, but I assure you when I say it, I know exactly what I'm saying when I do say it. I'm blessed by my talent of being able to work a camera with creative flair. I'm blessed by you who let me use that creativity to make memories for your family. Because of all of this, I can take my family on a winter getaway for the last 3 years. 

Whenever people find out we are going away, the thing I hear first is: "enjoy, you deserve it!" February is the month we choose to go away each year, simply because it falls in a convenient time of year for us. Winter is looming overhead, relentless and seemingly never ending. I've finished up my Valentine's Day sessions and haven't yet begun my Easter/Spring sessions. It just works for us. Surprisingly, it's not because of lack of work for me. Every time Tanya and I set my schedule for the quarter, we always think we are overreaching and providing more times than we will actually need, and every quarter we are shocked that we actually still have to turn people away. It's unreal to me. 

Since I didn't do my end of the year blog... (Slacker I know)... Here's some 2015 stats Tanya crunched up for me in hopes I might find some time to write while sitting under a palm tree somewhere in the Caribbean. 

550 Mini sessions including Santa, Valentine's, Easter, bluebells, summer and all things Christmas like tree farm, backyard milk and cookies, and studio Christmas. (um, writing that makes me think I need another week under the palm trees)

71 Newborns

41 Weddings

84 Outdoor or on location sessions including engagements, families, children milestones, boudoir, maternity and seniors. 

151 full Studio sessions including milestones and cake smashes. 

I literally just let out a sigh. My goodness. 

If you want my honesty, it's too much. And it's significantly less than last year in every area. And next year's blog will show significantly less again. 

I've often thought about where I can cut back. What part of my job doesn't set my soul on fire? But I love it all! I just limit the amount I take on and this year, like I said before, it will be even less. 

What does that mean for you?  It means, if you want me... Book me. Like... Yesterday. 

With my assistant Tanya's madd organizational skills, she has implemented a system that makes scheduling easy for you. It's called ... "The List". Very aptly named, it keeps your names and requests in order of the way they were received. All you have to do is decide what type of photos you need, when you would like them done or when you need them by, your availability and you're on "the list". For example, We've had people contact once and say, "I'm pregnant! I'm due at the end of April. I'd like maternity photos done in March. Newborn when they arrive. We know we will want 6 month photos, too! And a cake smash around 11 months." Tanya will schedule what she can (what I'm currently booking) and put the rest of the requests in where they fall on the calendar. It's pretty awesome. As I've mentioned before, my calendar fills up awfully quick. PLEASE don't wait to book. ANYTHING!

There is one exception to the list.  MINI SESSIONS. They are first come first serve. It's the only way we have been able to come up with a fair way to book them since they book so quickly. So we typically use an online scheduler and announce a release date and they become open for booking. I have always used Facebook as my only advertising vehicle, but have realized many of my clients are moving away from Facebook and have strictly been using Instagram. Though, I am on Instagram more than most, I don't tend to "advertise" there. So again, with Tanya's help, we are going to organize a monthly newsletter of sorts. It will either be an emailed newsletter or a blog linked to an email, but email with be the way I reach everyone. It will have info pertaining to mini sessions, Santa booking, how to's and what to do's. It'll have the low-down and the down-low and everything in between on all things LG. Most importantly, it'll feature any promotions or giveaways I'm doing. 

Which brings me to the thing I'm most excited about in all of my ramblings here. 

CLIENT APPRECIATION. Let me explain. 

April marks one year since I got the keys to my studio. (Writing that sounds unbelievable to my ears). May 3, 2015 was my grand opening. I really want to celebrate that milestone this year. And every year to come for that matter. During my vacation, I had time to think about how grateful and APPRECIATIVE I am for all of you. Literally, I've photographed thousands of faces in the last year. I NEVER take that for granted. I know what a blessing that is. (There's that word again!) "Busy" is the understatement of the century if you look at the numbers listed above. "Busy" is a word I am very fortunate is in my LG vocabulary. So I want to thank you for your support and patronage and give you a little something to let you know I appreciate you. 

Raise your hand if you like free stuff... (I just did) How does a FREE photo session sound? So good, am I right!!? THE FIVE MINUTE PORTRAIT. One day only, at my studio, come one come all. It'll be a simple set up, a plain backdrop, perhaps a chair or a couch but it's going to focus on the people. The people I'm most thankful for. The people who've supported me all these years. YOU! Sessions will be 5 minutes. I know you may think that's not enough time, but I assure you it is. Enough for a few awesome shots. Think intimate and timeless. I'm picturing black and white amazingness. Think nose to nose and big hugs. Who's allowed? Really anyone. If you are pregnant, it's a great time to capture that belly in all its glory. If you're that mom looking for "just one good shot of all of you together", this is for you. If you want a great gift for your wife or husband for Mother's Day/Father's Day... This is it! Unfortunately due to the time restraints, please leave four legged family members at home. You will receive a $15 print credit just for coming out. You can order prints from any of the photos in the gallery putting your coupon code towards it and you can also order a digital photo package should you wish. 

When???? Saturday MARCH 19, 2016 from 9am-2pm. As always, when they're gone, they're gone. 

What's the catch?? You know there's always a catch, right? There is none. It's just my way of saying thanks. 

Booking will open up Sunday March 6 at 9pm. The link to book will be on my website. A link will be posted to Facebook and sent out to the email addresses in the newsletter. So please be sure to sign up for the newsletter and mark your calendars for March 6 (booking) and March 19 (sessions).

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR THE NEWSLETTER  

I'm very much looking forward to seeing you and I hope you're as excited about this as I am. 

I love you guys. So so much. 

XoLG 

While sobbing... I reflected...

It was moving day from home studio to new studio down the road. 

My day: I woke up at 7 to start packing boxes. 9 am kickboxing for 45 mins. Home to shower and get ready to move down the street. Worked there until 4. Changed and freshened up and got to the Rose garden for 3 photo sessions this evening. Dinner with my family. Stopped back at the studio to see what my incredible assistant and her hubby finished while I was gone... (Pretty much everything is the answer, but let's not go there now because I'll cry more). I get home and get my kids to bed and I come down to my basement studio to get my phone charger and I'm looking around at the empty walls and things thrown all over the floor that I left behind this morning because we didn't want to make another trip. For the first time all day, I stopped. And I'm stuck. I'm stuck here in shock... In awe... I'm not sure. I can't believe I'm not going to be here anymore. I'm so happy... So happy that I've moved because it was time but that doesn't make standing here looking at this any easier. I can truthfully say, I've captured hundreds of thousands of smiles here. Tears, too. So many incredible memories were made here. I can't thank you enough. I can't believe this is real. I also can't see because I'm sobbing uncontrollably. (Oh my goodness, I promise I'm happy!) 

Happiness. That's the word that sums up my last six years here. The sweet newborns have turned into toddlers and the terrible two year olds have turned into sweet, cooperative kindergarteners and beyond. Do you know how fortunate I feel to be able to say I've captured your family's most precious moments? No amount of words will ever describe the feeling in my heart right now. I hope you can feel what I'm trying to say. I love you all. I truly do. 

Thank you for everything and more. 

XoLG

Big News: I'm Moving

Here we are... April 1, 2015. It's almost exactly six years ago that I began this journey in photography. I'll never forget my first year of Easter minis. I still photograph each of those clients that came to me for those sessions, today. My whole business has revolved around a few amazing, trusting clients... who continually told their friends about me and who kept coming back. Over the years, my business grew. I grew. I learned. I learned what makes a great photograph and why. I learned what I like and why I like it.

It was during the month of March, I realized I had grown again. I had actually OUT-grown something very dear to me. My studio. My sweet little, 350 square foot, in-home, basement studio. My new lights are huge, and I realized it was time for me to seriously start looking for a studio space. So I began the search… and while searching, I found one. I found THE ONE. The most perfect (PERFECT!!!!!) studio for me. Have no fear, for most of you, it’s closer to you than before. For my folks coming from north of Slatington, I’m sorry… you have an extra five minutes on your ride. I had a few requirements that I had to meet in order for me to pull the trigger and move out of my home studio. 1. It needed to be close to my home and in my kids’ school district. 2. It NEEDED a parking lot. 3. It needed to be at least double of what I currently was working with. My new place has it all! It’s almost triple the square footage, it’s cozy and cute. It’s conveniently located on 329/Old Post Road and Levans Road in Coplay, PA. It is exactly five minutes from my home. Have I mentioned how perfect it is?

So, end of this month or beginning of May, I’ll be officially open for business over there. I have April set aside for renovations, new floors, painting and doing some updates! SAVE THE DATE!!! Sunday May 3, 2015 will be open house/GRAND opening! I’ll have much more info as I get my bearings and wrap my head around all of this. It’s all so exciting. I’ll be doing tons of giveaways, so even if you aren’t the lucky winner of the 3,700 fan giveaway, you will have plenty more opportunities to win at the open house. So stay tuned.

I love you guys. I can’t describe how much because no words seem to suffice. You are my advertising. Until this point, I’ve spent exactly $15 on advertising on Facebook one time. Please continue to tell your friends about me… if you love your photos, tag my page when you post. You have no idea what that little thing does for a photographer. It’s a simple gesture but creates a massive ripple effect. “LIKE” my photos if you actually like them, share them when you want to. Small businesses like mine, thrive on that type of social media advertising. 

For those of you who are here for the giveaway winner, I’m very excited to announce that Danielle Dennis Spitale is the winner of the $150 gift certificate, and her comment on the photo was "My sons are 16 and 6 and I have been married for 14 years, been together for 19 yrs and I do not have any family pictures. Always had my son's pictures taken on their birthdays, but never had a family picture done!! It would be nice to have one before my son is off to college". I'm so glad it was a random drawing, because otherwise, I would have cried having to choose. Congrats Danielle! Contact me with your address so I can mail it out this week for you. I can’t believe the response that I got with all of those comments. One thing I know is: TOO many of you have gone too long in-between photo shoots. I have read every single comment and I was moved beyond words. Don’t wait for a better time. There is no better time than now. I can’t stress this enough. I had a family recently who were trying to get everyone together for a generation photo and one of the eldest family members had passed before they could make it happen. I’ll say it again, don’t wait!!! Don’t wait for when you lose those 10 pounds, for when it’s summer, for when it’s a better time… for whatever excuse you’re trying to validate. Our days are limited. Tomorrow is not a guarantee. And don’t let financial reasons get in your way… My smallest photo package starts at $85… that’s a Medium Dunkin iced coffee a day for a month (to put it in perspective). Your children deserve to have photographs of themselves to live on forever. Do it for them, if nothing else. Contact me if you’d like to set something up! I would love the opportunity to capture your family.

Once again, thank you! THANK YOU!!! A BILLION TIMES OVER! I’m forever grateful for each and every one of you. Please join me on this new journey. Anyone who books a studio package in the month of May or June, will receive 10% off their package. (Yes, I’ll apply that to all of you, even those who are already booked and even newborns) 

Thanks for stopping by!

xoLG