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)
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).
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.