Not sure what to wear? What location you’d like? Here are some FAQ’s about booking sessions with me.
Q) “Why did you start taking on less shoots starting in 2011? Can’t you just squeeze us in somewhere?”
A) For the sake of my own life, family….and sanity (haha), I decided to take on less starting in 2011. The previous few years were crazy (but awesome!) for Lot116. I never knew it would take off like it did….and when it did, I took on a TON (I remember certain months where I did an INSANE number of shoots)…..and started getting burnt out. I started Lot116 so that I could do what I love AND have more time with my family. The early years felt more like work than play/family time…..so it was time for me to remember why I did this all and take things a little bit slower.
A lot of people don’t realize that a shoot is a LOT more than just a shoot. There are so many things and many hours that go into just one session, so here is a breakdown of what each shoot of mine (and most photographer’s) consists of:
1) Time spent emailing back and forth to set the date, time, location, clothing suggestions, etc. (this could be 2 or 3 emails….or it could be 20 or more).
2) Time spent collecting (and depositing when checks) deposits (as well as payments).
3) Time spent figuring out, loading, unloading (at session), re-loading (before heading home), unloading (again at home) props, and washing/cleaning items like blankets, newborn cocoons, baby blankets, etc after shoots.
4) Time spent driving to and from each session.
5) Time spent actually shooting at the session.
6) Time spent editing photos and typing up/posting the sneak peeks on the blog.
7) Time spent editing all of the photos.
8) Time spent uploading and watermarking all of the photos to the online gallery.
9) Time spent emailing the client the gallery with all of the detailed info.
10) Time spent working on any additional edits that the client has requested.
11) Time spent burning discs, packaging and sending the clients their discs.
12) Time spent backing up client files to external hard drives.
For every minute and hour i’m doing any of the above…. it’s time that i’m missing out on spending with my family (when they aren’t at school/work). It’s time that i’m not playing dolls with my daughter, time that i’m not snuggled up in bed watching a movie with my family, time that i’m not at the beach watching her collect shells, time that i’m not watching her swing at the park. I need to make sure that me missing out on those moments is absolutely worth it, by trying to work while she’s at school, and/or making enough to make it worth my time to be gone.
I’m sure i’m still missing some stuff, but all this time you were wondering why I charge “so much” for just “ONE hour” of my time, right? It’s not one hour at all…it’s many, many hours. But hey… I LOVE MY JOB… and it sure beats the socks off of working elsewhere. I mean, my “boss” (my daughter PJ) can be a pain… but it’s worth it!
Q) “I LOVE the retro/vintage family session you did. I wish my family could pull off something like that! Am I crazy to even think about it?”
A) Absolutely not!! In fact, I hope that more families will try something a little different. The family who did that does NOT dress like that every day. For them, it was all about dressing up, trying something unique….and most importantly….having FUN! The amount of emails and comments I received about that shoot was insane. It totally made my day(s)…and was one of the most fun shoots i’ve done! The wheels in my head turn ALL the time and i’ve got ideas and visions spinning in my head. There are SO many ideas that I think would be fun to take photos of families/kids/people doing. The hard part is finding people who want to step outside of the box and try them! If you have a shoot scheduled with me this year and want to try something different, let me know! I love trying new things!
Q) “We aren’t sure what to wear for our shoot. Do you have any suggestions?”
A) I love all kinds of things….especially fun, bright colors and cute clothes. Stuff from H&M, Target, Old Navy, JCrew, Anthropologie, Gap, Etsy, etc are all great. Most of my clients know that i’m a sucker for Converse (I wear mine almost daily!), so you get extra brownie points when you show up in chucks.
It’s hard to say exactly what TO wear….so instead i’ll tell you what NOT to wear (in MY own personal opinion)………
Please DON’T be the family that shows up completely matching in khaki pants or light washed denim with white shirts. I think its key to show your own personality.
Please DON’T put a huge/giant bow or flower on your child’s head. If you want the first thing noticed in the photos to be the bow, then sure, add the bow, but if you would like your CHILD noticed….avoid those big (anything bigger than a half dollar coin is considered “big” in my book) bows/flowers.
Please DON’T wear anything with big logos on them (including TV characters on your kids’ clothing). It might be cool or in style right now, but in a year or so will you really want to see the huge “Old Navy”, “Dora the Explorer” or “Spongebob Squarepants” in the pics? Yeah, doubtful…..and again….it will be the first thing noticed in pics.
Q) “Can you suggest any locations?”
A) My location suggestions usually vary depending on whether or not children will be in the shoot, and also the age(s) of the child(ren). There are many things to factor in, like, possible passing cars/traffic, whether your child is the type to “run off”, steep steps that may not be safe, sand being eaten (by little ones) or rubbed in eyes on accident, etc. Another thing is the time of year. For instance, in the fall, trees have beautiful leaves, but it’s usually very cold, etc. The beach is usually “freezing” (for us San Diegans – hehe) in the fall/winter and then overly crowded in the summer. In early Spring the grass is really green, the flowers are in bloom, the fields/meadows look gorgeous. In the summer, all of the plants have dried out and died, the chance of possible rattlesnakes, etc in the bushes is very high because of the heat, etc. I suggest locations on a case to case basis depending on the above.
Q) “Do you have a studio or do studio shots?”
A) I don’t have a studio…and don’t plan on getting one. I love shooting on location to change up variety. Don’t get me wrong, if there were an amazing loft (which I would turn into a mini play haven for kids with awesome couches, cool toys, fun bright colors, etc – think Urban Outfitters + Ikea + Pottery Barn Kids + Anthropologie) or something somewhere that had awesome natural light and didn’t cost a ton, it would be fun…..BUT budget wise, it’s easier for me to shoot on location and keep my costs lower. Paying to rent a studio would cost me money….which in turn would mean that I would have to raise my prices to pay for it. Some photographer’s just bring “backdrops” (either blankets, sheets, rolled paper, etc) and possibly studio lighting to do “studio shots” at clients homes….but its just not my style. Plus, kids aren’t usually thrilled about being “stuck” in the same spot for more than a few minutes (especially if they are already crawling and/or over the age of 1)…..so trying to keep them on a backdrop/sheet/whatever for about an hour would be torture. I’m all about having FUN!
Q) “I’m a photographer too! Can you tell me where (fill in the blank) location is? I love it and would love to take my clients there!”
A) I try my hardest to find unused and unique locations because I like to avoid “busy” locations (like Balboa Park, Old Poway Park, etc). Why? I don’t want my photos to look like everyone else….and I don’t want to worry about shooting in super crowded areas (which causes for passers by stopping and watching – yeah, real fun for my clients – haha). If I told everyone exactly where my locations were, i’d have to worry about showing up at shoots and seeing other photographers already shooting there. It wouldn’t be too bad with a huge location with plenty of shooting space, but let’s say you show up at a small roll up garage or something and another photographer is there with their clients and you are losing light by the minute. Well yes, this could put a huge damper on your shoot, especially if your client really loves and specifically asked for that location. Sure, you could wait and hope that they get the hint and hurry or finish up quickly…..but what if they don’t? What if they just got there too?
Most of the locations I shoot at are private property (and i’ve been lucky enough to receive permission and/or not to get “kicked out” of anywhere yet). If photographers keep going to those locations, it could become a problem and I could possibly “lose” my shooting locations because it has become a problem or issue. Another issue is that if you tell one or two people, those people go tell one or two people, and those people go and tell one or two people….and so on…..well yeah, that “unique” location has just become another “everyone shoots there” spot.
I prefer to just keep my locations “secret” to avoid losing them and/or seeing everyone and their mom shooting there…which would ruin the fun and uniqueness of my locations :)
Q) “I tried to leave a comment for you, but can’t find anywhere to do so. Where can I leave comments?”
A) Click on any blog entry title to go to the individual story and you’ll see the “comment form” below. You can also add my Lot116 Photography Facebook page and leave comments there! I LOVE receiving comments on FB, and so do my clients!
Q) Do you shoot out of state?
A) Definitely! I love traveling to shoot. The price will vary according to distance + travel fees, but you can email me to discuss more in detail.
Q) “Do you offer gift certificates?”
A) Yes I do! Just shoot me an email at email@example.com if you’d like to purchase one or want to know more info.
Have more questions that you’d like to ask? Hop on over to my FormSpring page and see if i’ve already answered it. If not, ask away!