Favorite 11 of 2011... / by Julie Cruz

Yep, it's that time of year again! The time when I *try* and choose some of my favorite images from the year. Each year I pick the amount of photos to go with each year. There was 8 for 2008, 9 for 2009, 10 for 2010, this year is 11 for 2011, etc ;) Here were 2009 and 2010 if you'd like to see. Just like every year, I choose a select group of family and friends to help me narrow down the choices...since it's close to impossible to select just a few favorites. Also, I just want to take a few minutes and thank all of my wonderful clients. Without you, there wouldn't be "Lot116 Photography". Many of you have been with me since day one. I have had the honor to watch your kids grow up, and capture them each and every year. Nowadays, everyone seems to be a photographer, and many start out dirt cheap (like I did), so to know that I have a wonderful group of clients that are still with me (even though "Joe Schmoe only charges $200 for everything") is a HUGE honor. I have also had a few clients who had/have decided to use someone else at one point (because I was already booked, because of pricing, etc). Many of those clients have come back to me afterwards (like a phone call I received yesterday from a family I love) and said that they regretted it, had a horrible experience, bad photos, etc.....and that "you get what you pay for".....and most importantly... "never again" and were coming back to me :) I know i'm not the cheapest photographer by any means, nor am I the most expensive (I have friends who make around $3,000 PER SHOOT and tell me that i'm "too cheap"). Since day one, I wanted to charge what A) I thought was fair, and B) What I needed to make to keep my business going (for clients, keep in mind that there are MANY costs in running/keeping up this biz - business taxes, cost of cameras, lenses, bags/backpacks, props, computers, hard drives, websites, gallery sites, etc, etc). I started out *EXTREMELY* low (like many do) to build my business. Within the past year or so, Lot116 is finally where I want it. I have learned to only schedule what I can physically and mentally handle (long gone are the days of doing up to 15 full shoots in ONE month) without getting burnt out. Also, as some of you might have noticed, instead of two, I only offer ONE type of session now. I no longer offer the "session fee + purchase of prints" option. Why? Well because in my 4+ years of business, only ONE client did NOT purchase the session that comes with the disc (they purchased prints only instead - which basically ends up costing the same...which is why I always push for the disc). It was basically pointless to even offer that option since everyone chose the higher package....so that other option is now gone, and I have simplified my pricing even more than it already was ;) I know many photographer's "hate me" for offering a disc (especially for "so cheap"), but my reasoning is simple: Many photographers don't offer a disc, just prints/canvases (usually at very high prices). With a disc, you can upload them to your favorite photo site, pop them onto your hard drive and throw the disc into a fireproof safe. Let's say your house burns down and you barely have time to get out alive. Your prints/canvases, etc on the walls are now GONE. Those photos of your family are now non-existent (most photographers delete your photos within a few weeks, months or a year, tops). With a disc, you will still have those photos as long as you did any of the 3 things I mentioned above. I'm not in this business to make a killing. Yes, I could switch to "boutique pricing" like many do, but for me, I offer what *I* would want.

Ok, sorry to have rambled and derailed a bit, but I just wanted to tell a bit about why I do things the way I do :) It has worked for 4.5 years now....so I must be doing something right ;)

Thank you all again.....and here they are, the "Favorite 11 of 2011" (in no particular order)!!