It's obvious to anyone that knows me that I've struggled with balance, trying to figure out a way to be a great wife & mom and work as a photographer too. I have tried just about everything, and prayed, and cried, and gotten overwhelmed, and even taken a hiatus at one point. It has been such an incredible ride, and I've learned a lot so far! Thank you so much to all who've encouraged me and prayed with me and given advice! It is so appreciated.
I've been sitting on the fence for the last four years... sometimes, insisting it is "just a hobby" and other times, admitting that I'm in a business. What is the difference between a business and a hobby? Profit. I've been running Lerin Photography as a hobby for a long time, and as it has taken more and more of my time away from my family, Adam has really tried to help me see that a mom of four doesn't have time for an expensive hobby. Rather than financing my equipment and prop-buying sprees, it is time that Lerin Photography become a viable business that contributes to the financial well-being of my family.
I've enlisted the help of an office assistant, two teens as "Mother's Helpers" for several hours a week, housekeeping, and a business software/email manager that I'm still working hard to get ready to launch. I hope that getting help will make my life run more smoothly, but there are definitely costs associated with that too.
This is a hard thing for me... because my friends are my main clients and my "clients" quickly turn into friends! Everyone who knows me knows how much I love, love, LOVE people and love to make people happy! I get the biggest emotional payoff when I get phonecalls from moms with voices full of happy tears as they rave about their gallery and thank me for capturing their baby's beauty. I'm not good at separating my professional/personal life... I mean, I met my now-BEST friend in the world as a maternity session client! Now our daughters play together at every chance we get.
But, first... I have four children, and it's no secret that Adam & I are hoping to adopt two more in the next decade. They are honestly the joy of my life. I have a responsibility to provide for them both emotionally and financially. I really would like to send them to private Catholic high school and be able to pay for their college educations. Heck, I'd like to pay for MINE... those pesky student loan bills aren't going anywhere. ;) Adam and I are in a very interesting home situation, and with so much up in the air, I definitely need to get a down payment and emergency-fund saved. That's a long story for a different day!
So where is this rambly note going?
I have to say something really hard, and I hate to do it... but its the truth! My family members will never pay a session fee, but will still be subject to regular print/product pricing. My very large circle of amazing friends and friendly clients will still have to pay a session fee to get on my calendar, and will still be subject to my minimum order requirement. As my product-photography side is BOOMING, I am not going to be able to offer free sessions and CDs for models any longer. Instead, I'm offering no session fee plus 3 image downloads sized for 4x6 prints, but other prints/products/aditional files will have to remain priced at their regular rate.
Standard and Newborn Session pricing are all listed on the investment page. Birth photography coverage will be available in the future for $350 with image CD. Weddings and events are booked at $250/hour with image CD.
I've added the following to my pricing page:
To be fair to all my of clients, I cannot offer special deals or discounts for any reason. I occasionally offer promotions, but they are only available for a limited time (as advertised). Promotional gift certificates cannot be used past their expiration date. Please understand that session fees, print prices & business policies are not negotiable. Due to the custom nature of our services and products, all sales are final.
Please understand that I love to give, and wish I could give my services at no charge indefinitely just to be a blessing to you. But the people who need me the most are my four adorable hooligans and very patient husband, and honestly... I just can't afford to give it away anymore. If you have questions about why custom photography costs more than a big box studio, please read this article to help you understand or ask me personally. There are a lot of costs and hours behind the scenes that most clients do not realize. It is my job to make it look fun (it is!) and easy (it's not!), but there are many hours of work and out-of-pocket expenses that go into one hour-long session.
Thank you so very much for loving me and rolling with my many punches. ;) And most of all... thank those of you who have assured me that I'm worth it, and have continued to book my services to prove it.