November 30, 2010 | Posted by: Julie Cruz | Category: Previews
Cindy and Daniel are photographers as well. In fact, they were the ones that took our family photos in '09, photos of my sisters and I with our parents earlier this year, photos of PJ and my niece Maylie numerous times, etc. Not only do I LOVE their work, but I love THEM too :) They are such a sweet, cute and awesome couple.....and have some super adorable bunnies (you might remember pics of PJ and Cindy's bunny, June for PJ's b-day/Easter shoot earlier this year)!
Cindy asked if I would take holiday photos of her and Daniel (and I was beyond flattered.....not to mention super nervous), so we headed out on what seemed like the coldest day of the year (quiet all you east coasters with snow, etc....this IS freezing for us Californians ;) haha) armed with blankets, mugs, hot cocoa, marshmallows, etc and had a blast :)
Oh and since their last name is Lowe...... I just had to get this first shot ;) ..........
November 22, 2010 | Posted by: Julie Cruz | Category: Previews
Q) "Why are you taking on less shoots for 2011? Can't you just squeeze us in somewhere?"
A) For the sake of my own life, family....and sanity (haha), i've decided to take on a little less in 2011. The past few years have been 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 past few years have almost felt like more work than play/family time.....so it's 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 driving to and from each session.
4) Time spent actually shooting at the session.
5) Time spent editing photos and typing up/posting the sneak peeks on the blog.
6) Time spent editing all of the photos.
7) Time spent uploading and watermarking all of the photos to the online gallery.
8) Time spent emailing the client the gallery with all of the detailed info.
9) Time spent working on any additional edits that the client has requested.
10) Time spent burning discs, packaging and sending the clients their discs.
11) Time spent backing up client files to external hard drives.
.........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 tried to leave a comment for you, but can't find anywhere to do so. Where can I leave comments?"
A) My wonderful brother in law is working on adding comments to my site, so hopefully soon I will have the comment feature added to my blog . If not, you all can email HIM and bug him at......... just kidding! ;) Hmm...but when it's up....ALL of you who have emailed me and gotten on my case about not having comments, BETTER comment all the time ;) I don't want to be the lame-o that has all of 0-5 comments! LOL. In the meantime, you can add Lot116 Photography on Facebook and leave comments there! I LOVE receiving comments on FB, and so do my clients! :) Here is the link: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lot116-Photography/98199290026?ref=s
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 ;) If you are looking for that "Olan Mills" look....please head to Olan Mills.
Please DON'T bsp;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 I have no interest in doing that. Picture People does plain white, black, etc backdrop studio shots.....so again, like the Olan Mills thing.....head to Picture People if you want that look ;) 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 kids having FUN....not pissing them off ;)
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) "Do you offer gift certificates?"
A) Yes I do! Just shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org 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! :)
November 18, 2010 | Posted by: Julie Cruz | Category: Previews
Sunday was my last day of client shoots for 2010 and it was a bittersweet day. I was a bit sad that they were my last 2010 client sessions, but also very excited to know that this year I would actually get some real time off in December. For the past 3+ years, I have booked up so quickly and far in advance that by the time I realized I needed a break...it was too late. Basically, I haven't had more than 2 weeks (I think?) off in the past almost 4 years. Last year I had planned to have a few weeks off around Christmas, but 2 newborn clients arrived early (one by a few weeks and the other by a month!...and on Christmas day), so I was back to work earlier than expected :) This year I planned ahead and made sure that I didn't have any shoots after mid November, since I knew it would take me a few weeks to finish up editing all of the November shoots. I have worked SO hard to get where I am today and although I wish I could take on every inquiry I get, it's a lot of work and time involved with each and every shoot, so I just can't. 2011 will be my "dream year" (I hope). I will be taking on a few LESS shoots per month (so if you are thinking about booking for 2011, contact me soon because i'm currently booked up until MAY of 2011), going on our first family vacation (in April) since PJ was 15 MONTHS old (crazy, right??), having more time to spend with PJ (in the fall of 2011 she'll be starting 1st grade!...which means FULL school days.....so in the meantime, I would like to enjoy more time with her), etc.
Anyway, I rambled a bit, but check out these two awesome and adorable families from Sunday, at one of my favorite spots.......
November 17, 2010 | Posted by: Julie Cruz | Category: Previews
I have been separating posts by family, but PJ and I have both been sick since Friday, I have a million sessions to finish editing, PJ had no school yesterday and has "minimum days" (a measly 2.5 hours) all week - which means by the time I get home and sit down to work, I have to turn right back around and go pick her up, I forgot that we both have haircut appointments today, etc. Basically I feel like i'm running....but getting nowhere.....so i'm going to try and spare a little time by posting all 3 mini sessions from Saturday into one post (and will be posting the 2 from Sunday tomorrow). This doesn't mean that I love these families any less (I love you ALL!).....it just means that i'm going crazy over here....so it's either all grouped together...or possibly none at all! haha. So anyway, I met with these 3 awesome families on Saturday. It was super, super bright and crowded (since the weather was so nice)....but we made it work :)
November 16, 2010 | Posted by: Julie Cruz | Category: Previews
This little guy was such a sweetheart. Even with being dragged outside for a bit (on a much windier day than we all expected), filling a diaper QUITE loudly (haha), having a few "I partied so hard I puked!" moments, being surrounded by his daddy's vintage Hot Wheels and even being put inside of a pumpkin (he was born on Halloween....so we had to do it!), Sammy was such a sweet guy and put up with it all. Mommy and daddy have been wanting him for so, so long.....and he's here, he's healthy....and he's adorable! Oh and if you're wondering what "The Best Nest" in the title has to do with anything, it's because in Sammy's room is his dad's favorite book (yes, the actual one) from when he was a kid, which is "The Best Nest". Sammy definitely IS in the best nest, with 2 parents that love him more than anything......