Who: Jennifer + Chris
Where: Chris’ Firehouse, Aldeen Park, & Downtown Rockford
- Welp, it’s officially ridiculously busy season. I know…EVERYONE says that. We live in a culture that WORSHIPS “busy”….everyone on Facebook is SOOOOOOO busy (yet we all seem to find time to tell everyone on Facebook how busy we are. HA!)
But super cereal, folks. It’s getting wonky. And I love it. Bring on the summer and all the shooting that entails!
- I’ve been hitting the gym hard again, because it’s FINALLY starting to show! I’ve lost 4 lbs (which doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but because I have hypothyroidism I can’t really lose weight very easily…so 4 lbs is a lot for me!)….and I can finally recognize that I’m toning and building muscle! I’m pretty jazzed about it….so I keep going. My 1st goal weight given to me by the gym dude was hit….and I can’t believe I actually did it!
I even took my first Zumba class last night….kind of on a whim. Not sure if I’ll keep that up on a regular basis. Me dancing in public is not exactly a pretty sight. I kind of look like a drunk giraffe.
- I went golfing with the hubster at the Club this week. Well….really I just rode around in the cart drinking water and hitting a few balls inbetween the husband cursing and shanking it right.
Sorry honey….. : ) I’m sure you’ll do much better this weekend. : )
- Kind of kicked off Engagement Session season this week. I adore engagement sessions…it’s really a great time to get to know my couples and experiment a bit.
- I only caught a snippet of the Billboard Music Awards. Enough to realize that Justin Beiber probably needs to be shot out into space or something. Or…you know…just stop showing up on my television.
How does anyone LIKE this guy??!
- DR. WHO SEASON FINALE. Pretty damn good, if I do say so myself. I can’t believe there’s not going to be any more Who until NOVEMBER. I just CAN. NOT. WAIT. for the return of Ten and Rose. OHMYGAWD.
- Molly got the mutha of all flu’s this week. We did a lot of laundry, as is the case when one of our kids gets sick. Projectile should be their middle name.
- Some big changes may be on the horizon for Type A coming up soon…..I’m not really at liberty to say at this point (until confirmations come through)….but yeah….is that vague enough for ya? It involves new places….new spaces…we’ll say that much : )
- The Marissa Mayer “Professional Photographers don’t exist” statement took to the internets this week. Even though she apologized, I’m still irritated by the seemingly popular notion that what I do for a living isn’t a “real job”.
I think if more people who call themselves photographers perhaps TREATED it like a real career it may have a chance of standing the test of time. Who knows.
- This was my favorite blog post this week. In fact, wish I had written it. My girl from Wootness has a pair of iron cajones. Love her. : http://networkedblogs.com/L8jRL
- Vets Roll returned this week. I wasn’t able to attend this year, but I heard it was a great homecoming!
- This week? BANANAS. Engagement session tonight in Rockford, three meetings in Milwaukee tomorrow (2014 wedding inquiries have been blowin’ UP lately. No joke! It’s like someone told everyone they had to secure their photographer THIS WEEK. I love it!)
My husband is playing in a golf tournament on Sunday so I’m on kid-duty. Not sure what I’m going to do with that. Maybe take them somewhere and have them properly photographed together….it’s been awhile!
Monday? No day of rest for me….two family sessions..one in the Chicago area and one here in Be-Troit. I have my fitness follow-up on Tuesday….where I can proudly show off my baby-guns. I’m helping out a pal with an engagement session and then Molly has her first follow up with her doctor since leaving Birth to 3 and being recovered from her surgery (can’t WAIT to see how much she’s gained!)
Then it’s June….and I can kick off the “I have a wedding every weekend” extravaganza!!!
- WEDDINGS: 2013 is booked in full (unless you’re getting married in December. Having a winter wedding, hit me up!). Like I said, 2014 brides and grooms and brooms and grides have been contacting me left and right. It’s been insane this week, no joke. So, it’s booking season! If you’re getting married in 2014, that is!
- PORTRAITS: I’m booking into August already for portrait sessions….and keep an eye out for what MAY be my last “Christmas in July” sale (not sure yet if I’m going to keep that one going, so you DEFINITELY want to jump on it this year!)
- SENIORS: It is absolutely time to book your session, 2014 grads! Let’s go make some awesome.
- Sadly, I think with the burgeoning busy season, you will be suffering far more Instagramminess. Sorry : (
My poor Peanut was sick most of the week.
She also managed to fall asleep with her Potato Head glasses on….and show off her muscles and fly swatter.
Betty is FINALLY not afraid of her bike anymore!
Molly, carrying on the Reseburg Girl tradition of Elmo Obsession (Yes, I know that’s not Elmo on the screen, but she was watching Elmo in Grouchland. Which I have memorized at this point.)
I woke up this morning and checked Twitter….like ya do…and I couldn’t really BELIEVE what I was reading.
Zack Arias had posted a snippet of a quote from Marissa Mayer, Yahoo CEO.
It read as follows:
“There’s no such thing as Flickr Pro today because [with so many people taking photographs] there’s really no such thing as professional photographers anymore,” Mayer said (though she acknowledged that there are “different skill levels”).
Well hell. At least she’s acknowledged not everyone is on the same “skill level”. **eye roll**
But professionals? Well STOP RIGHT THERE…nope. We, apparently, cease to exist.
Why? Because everyone and their mother can post on Flickr. This has, in the words of Mayer, rendered us tax-paying “professionals”….pointless. Non-existent even.
Everyone has the tools of our trade and have figured out how to turn them on, therefore everyone is a photographer.
First issue I take with this is she’s biting the hand that feeds her: professionals paying to use her service. There’s no respect there…..just a flippant dismissal of their years of hard work and dedication to the craft.
Second issue? It’s just plain incorrect.
When I do my taxes every year, under occupation is “Photographer”.
When I pay my mortgage every month, I’m doing so with money I made as a photographer.
When I go to work EVERY. DAY….I’m going to work with a camera….as a photographer.
It’s what I do for a living. It’s not a hobby. It’s not something fun to make pocket cash on the weekends while the hubby works the “real job”. It’s not something I am just “trying out” until the next fun “Mom Job” comes along. It’s not something I just put up on Facebook because I’m bored and want something to do while the kids are at school.
I’ve been professionally shooting for 5 years. I’ve been in my studio for 2 years. I’ve shot over 100 weddings. I’ve attended classes, workshops, and training seminars. I’ve worked on my child’s birthday, missed family events, and have gone WEEKS without being home on the weekends with my kids. I give up my summers and MOST of my spring and fall. I’ve weathered slow seasons and amazingly busy seasons. I’ve seen more and more “photographers” come and go who realized it’s a lot more work than they anticipated.
And you know what? I freaking LOVE it. I love all of it….even the painful parts….because its my CAREER. My chosen job. I approach it professionally every. single. day.
1,000,000 folks with a Facebook page and a dream are not going to bring down professional photography. However, proliferating the idea that we are all one in the same and therefore professionals are obsolete WILL.
Hells YES, Ms. Mayer, there are varying skill levels.Just like people who are incredible musicians go on to be rock stars. Just because everyone and their mom can post a video on You Tube completely murdering a popular song doesn’t mean professional musicians are simply a “higher skill level, but not professional”.
What makes someone “professional”? Maybe that’s where the conversation needs to go.
Are you a professional because you say you are?
Are you a professional because someone will pay you in exchange for pictures?
We are in an industry with no barrier to entry, no checks and balances, and no regulation. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because, if you are dedicated, the sky is the limit. You can take it anywhere….regardless of where you started. However…it also lets in the riff raff….and it’s very hard to be heard above all the noise. Every year I see it become harder and harder for clients to distinguish professional from….well….not.
They become confused over pricing discrepancy. They become confused over what is skillful work vs. unskilled work. The industry is NOISY….and crowded….and, yes, confusing.
And now we have CEO’s coming out and saying…welp….it’s all simply varying skill level…but professionals? A thing of the past.
I beg to freakin’ differ, Ms. Mayer.
To continue the strong showing of professional photography, we have to continue to ACT like professionals. Continue to learn our craft, continue to PRACTICE our craft, and continue to treat our clients professionally.
Professional Photography is not dead…..yet. Let’s stop rushing it to an early grave.
Who: Sylvia + Ryan
Where: 7 Bridges, St. Francis Seminary, Water Street Riverwalk, & Pabst Brewery Area
The customer is ALWAYS right.
We’ve all heard this. A million times. I had a boss when I was in high school working some terrible fast food job that used to say it NON-STOP. I had a bit of a flippant attitude towards making Dairy Queen soft serve cones the correct way, apparently.
(putting that little curlie-q on top is not as easy as it looks)
I offer up, however, that the customer MAY BE “always right”, but they may not be “always right for you”.
As business owners, it’s part of our duty to have a solid business plan…and a firm grasp on who our target market may be. Our target market is not everyone. We cannot be everything to everyone. That’s a surefire way to have a bad time and to watch your business go down in flames. Identifying your target client takes time….and in the in between time, how do you go about avoiding or weeding out those who are not your target client without burning bridges or hurting feelings?
Learning to say “No” effectively is one of the most difficult lessons in life I’ve had to learn. And I still suck at it. Seriously. I am a notorious people pleaser. Being the “Type A” personality that I am, its in my nature to want to be the “savior”. To want to say “Yep, I can do that!” and then just figure out later how to pull it off.
However, when you work in an industry as creativity-based and subjective as photography, saying yes to every request and every job that comes along can be disastrous.
For example….I’ve pretty much been open about my distaste for selectively colored images. I am just NOT a fan. I think it’s a trend that ran its course years ago and cheapens the look of any image. (Is my dislike clear enough? LOL)
However, it may be some folks’ cup-o-tea. Obviously, given it’s prevalent use on Pinterest…there are still some strong selective color fans out there. And hell, rock on with your bad selves. I still love Cher. No shame. Own it!
However, it would not be in my best interest or a selective-color loving client’s best interest to hire Type A Images to bust out with a bunch of selectively-colored images for you. Why? Because I “know my no”. I know WHY I won’t do certain editing techniques. Either I don’t care for them or they’re just not my style. It’s not something you would ever see on my website. If a client INSISTED that this was important to them and yet insisted on wanting me as their photographer, they are going to be disappointed : )
So, is the customer WRONG? Absolutely not. The customer is right.
They’re just not right for me.
So it would be in my best interest to politely decline to fulfill that request….and refer them to a photographer who could rock it out for them and make them happy campers. That, at the end of the day, is our job: customer satisfaction. Even if it means someone else is satisfying their request.
Learning to say No also helps you maintain balance between your work and homelife. This is the first year I’ve tried REALLY HARD not to work on Sundays. It’s been difficult…darn near impossible at times, because many folks are simply not available on the weekdays. And I totally get that. But, I also have to remember that my family is sitting home waiting for me as I’m out and about and giving them ONE DAY a week isn’t a bad thing.
Since taking most Sundays off, I’ve actually been far MORE productive, because I’m not burning the candle at both ends. I also haven’t had any clients complain about lack of Sunday availability, which is great. Also indicative that I’m saying “yes!” to the right clients!
So….how do you Say No? Effectively, kindly, and meaningfully?
1. Know Why You’re Saying No
Bascially, if you’re turning a request down or handing over a no, you should first identify what’s important to you and your business. This will help tell you WHY you’re saying no.
If heavy lighting is important to your aesthetic (like it is with mine) and you meet with a couple who HATES heavily lit images, it is the KIND thing to turn away their wedding or portrait and refer them to someone who matches their aesthetic.
I have come to better know my style in the last year, and it’s made it easier to identify good “fits” for Type A.
And clients, even if you LOVE a photographer’s personality….if their work is not your “style”, don’t try to mold them into something you’re probably just not going to be happy with. We are not all one in the same. You will be SO much happier if you go with the photographer that best matches your own personal style.
2. Be Thankful and Help Them Out
If a client came to you for a consult or contacted you for a session, this is a GOOD thing….even if your styles don’t match or you’re not a good fit for one another. Be thankful to them and help guide them to someone you know WILL make them giddy over their images.
3. Don’t Lie
Explain why you are turning someone away (if you are doing so legally, which we’ll get into in a second)….but don’t lie. It’s not helpful to them or you. If someone’s idea of awesome photography doesn’t jive with yours, be honest.
4. Don’t Break the Law
Here’s where we talk about discrimination. One only has to Google “Elane Photography v. Vanessa Willock” to see where discrimination and lying can get you as a business.
Long story short, Elane Photography was contacted by a lesbian couple to shoot their wedding. Elane Photography turned them away, stating their Christian beliefs prevented them from shooting a gay wedding. I believe she also told one of the ladies she was “booked” that day….but when they came back and inquired again, the date was suddenly open when Elane Photography believed they were speaking to a straight couple.
Know the laws in your state, but in many states it’s against the law to turn down a couple on the basis of sexual orientation, race, etc.
The Elane Photography debacle is STILL being debated in the court system, but it has given people in my industry pause about when you can say “No” and when you cannot.
However, if you’re a gay couple looking for a gay-friendly vendor….we’re out there : ) I have a listing on So You’re Engayged so these couples can find me.
As a client, it’s SO important that you find a vendor that you love that is also a really good match for you. Don’t spend your whole wedding day with a vendor that is a bad fit.
5. Don’t Feel Bad if you Cave, but Remember it for Next Time.
We all cave. Seriously. It can be REALLY HARD to turn down a job, especially if you’re full time and your family depends on your income.
Just do the best job you possibly can for each and every client, and remember next time what the red flags were so you can confidently say “No” if something just doesn’t fit right. Learn to trust your gut, it’s usually ALWAYS right.
6. Sometimes…..Say Yes
Sometimes you may be UNCOMFORTABLE with something, but it may be in your best interest to say yes and try something new. Learning to identify these times is hard, but if you don’t say yes to some opportunities, you may never grow.
7. Have Courage to Defend Your Business
Like I said above, we are not all one in the same….and your business will grow by leaps and bounds when you clearly identify your target and your purpose. People who ARE your target market will find you quickly and will get a clear understanding of your style and business type.
Style can take a really long time to develop and find….I’m still working on it. I know folks who have been working on it for 10+ years. But, once you start figuring it out, make it KNOWN. Put it out there….show the work that defines you and work you want to do MORE of. That will bring the folks you can say “Yes!” to knocking at your door.
© Type A Images Photography