Portraits belong on your walls, not Facebook

When I first started photography, I started as most new photographers do. In the photography world, it’s called “shoot and burn.” My clients would say “I just want the digital files.” I didn’t know any better to do things differently. I would schedule a session, usually over the phone or email, meet my clients for about 45 minutes for their session and I’d go back to the studio to edit the session and send them a CD in the mail. My contact with my clients was minimal and honestly felt cold. There was no connection between myself and my clients. I didn’t get to know them as a couple, family, or individual. It was very impersonal. What was worse, I never heard from them again after the session. I didn’t know if they liked their portraits, loved or hated them.

Several years ago, I changed how I ran my business. I knew I wanted to offer more to my clients. It was from my own experience of having digital files and never printing them. I would post them to Facebook or Instagram and they lived only in the digital world.

I knew I needed to change how I conducted my business. Today, I meet most of my clients for a consultation before their session. We talk about their vision and goals for the session, what they want to do with their images, clothing ideas, location, and we talk about life. I get to know them a little and this warms us up for the session itself. During this consultation, NEVER ONCE have I heard “I just want the digitals so I can post them on Twitter and then throw them in a drawer afterwards.” Seriously people- these are your family memories!

About 2 weeks after their session, I now invite my clients back to the studio and this is where the magic happens. Together we watch a slide show of their images. This is my favorite part! Whether it’s a family session, a Kids Couture session, or a senior session, I am often seeing the tears in mom’s eyes. This is what makes it all worth it. This is not a rare occasion, this has become the norm and I absolutely love it.

Since I already know my clients goals of the session, I am able to help them to choose artwork for their walls, an album showcasing their favorite portraits of the session, or prints to share with family. My clients can even send me an iPhone image of a wall in their home and I can show them different images in different sizes to help them decide.
Yes, I offer digital files to my clients, but my goal is for your family and friends to see portraits on your walls and not just social media.  My clients value the expertise I provide them in helping them to choose the art for their homes.  The feeling that one gets when they are able to page through their album pages or touch the canvas print of their daughter is not much different than the smell of leather in your new car.

 

*Photo above is from a Kids Couture Session.

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A Family Session on Lake Minnetonka

Life with littles is interesting. The attention spans of the littles is like ZERO. This is the reason I let the kids drive the session. These two arrived with big sister busting at the seams full of energy and little brother was a bit shy to start. Sounds like a perfect balance for a session, right?
Somehow the balance of energy quickly shifts and the littles are done. I mean, when there is a park with swings, slides, and children playing in an arms reach of the session location, the time they gave to me was nothing short of a miracle.

As a photographer, my favorite image from this session is likely one of mom and dad’s most frustrating moments. I trust, as their kids grow up and move to college, they will look back at this moment and giggle as they consider how fleeting this time is.

Allowing them to play is the perfect time for me to let the kids be kids and capture them in their element. It also gave mom and I a chance to chat.
I hope each client I work with feels that I care for them with compassion on a personal level. I love learning about you and getting to know your story.
We all have a story. Thank you so much for choosing me to capture yours.
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Robby Senior Portraits | Andover High School | Class of 2018

High School Seniors…. they’re a fun group caught in the middle of being a kid and adulting. They’re on the launching pad of their future and what they make of it. As parents we’re often times hanging on by a thread to the memory of their chubby little faces and thighs in overalls. It seems like yesterday.

Meet Robby, or Bob as his parents call him. He really wasn’t into this whole senior picture thing. He was doing it for his mom. He was a good sport about it. His dad came with him to the session, but quickly left to get Robby’s gun he’d forgotten at home. If he was doing this, he was going to get something “BA” out of it. We started around the NE Minneapolis studio, Robby didn’t say much, went along with whatever suggestions I had. Once in a while he’d shoot me a look like I was crazy, but still went along with things.

Once his dad returned, he put on his flannel shirt and grabbed his gun. It was like a different kid just showed up. He loosened up a bit, gave a few smirks I hadn’t seen from him before. I think the real Robby showed up. There was a moment as we were outside the studio that had us all cracking up a bit. I had him set up for a shot with his gun. Barrel of the gun pointed upward and away from me. Oddly, it was pointed right at the Northstar Metro Transit train that just happened to be passing by. Whoops! I did give him a quick glance at the back of my camera and Robby approved, it was BA, followed by a smirk and a nod. Pat myself on the back for that photographer win!

We ended the session a short drive from the studio at an abandon railway bridge on the Mississippi. Built in the 1860’s it made for a really cool location despite being surprised by a sleeping homeless man who I thought was dead.

Congratulations Robby on your senior year!

To Robby’s parents, thank you so much for trusting me.

2017-12-03_0001.jpgServing Champlin Park, Maple Grove, Rogers, St. Michael Albertville, Totino Grace, Buffalo, Elk River, Monticello, Armstrong, De la Salle, Mounds View, Hill Murray, and Providence High Schools.

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Sisters | Whimsical Beach Session at Lake Minnetonka

I found this little gem of a spot earlier this year during a forced family fun day with 3 of my 4 kids and husband. I recall leaving it and regretting not taking a few pictures on my phone just to remember it by. I got the big eye roll from my kids because I made them wait while I walked back there to take a few quick pictures with my phone. To me this was the perfect backdrop for half pint sessions this fall with all the natural light it provided.

And then you add these girls…..
The Martin sisters are unlike anything I’ve seen in my own house. They are sweet and loving toward each other. My own kids are sarcastic and they show love through an unwelcomed nickname or not kicking you on the couch. What you see in their session was genuine and is a testament to their awesome parents.

……when God gave me a sister, he gave me a best friend.
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Chris | Irondale High School | Class of 2018

I enjoyed Chris very much. He’s your typical senior. He enjoys spending time with his friends and playing sports. He has a well decorated letter jacket as he has lettered in countless sports and clubs. But what I heard Chris talk about most, and what brought genuine smiles to his face, was talking about his time as a Boy Scout. In fact, Chris has earned the title of Eagle Scout. This is the highest achievement attainable in the Boy Scouts and you can see the pride in his face when he talks about his accomplishments. Chris’ mom has been his troop leader throughout his time there. It’s a journey they’ve had together. As a mom, I can only imagine the memories they’ve made along the way. I’m sure a bittersweet end reflecting back on all the trips, service projects, and accomplishments he’s made over the years.
For Chris’ senior portraits it was important for Chris to be in his scout uniform. I thought it was only fitting to include mom as well since this has been their journey together.

For the second half of his session, Chris’ brother and dad joined us at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony. What a great location full of mature oak trees, tall grasses, and Silver Lake for a backdrop. This was a great spot to let Chris and his brother be just that….brothers. Growing up, I didn’t have siblings, and I love watching siblings together. I love how brothers show genuine love by placing each other in a headlock style hug. Who knew!

Chris has a great foundation that has been laid for him. He will do well in whatever his future holds.

Congratulations on your senior year Chris!
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