Anyone else tired of April Fools jokes today? Not to mention the ongoing joke that Mother Nature has been playing with us for the past month! So to make things a little brighter, I am offering a promotion on Gallery Wrapped Canvas Prints AND my most popular Kids Studio Session …. NO JOKE!!
For three days only, you may pre-buy 16×20 or 20×20 Gallery Wrapped Canvas prints…by far the most popular item that we offer at the studio. Gallery Wrapped Canvas Prints are produced on museum quality canvas, UV protected, then stretched around a 2 inch wood frame. These finished, ready-to-hang pieces are simply the best that the industry has to offer, and make a beautiful statement in any home either as a stand-alone piece, or a collection.
The way it works is that you purchase the number or canvases that you want by Saturday, April 4th at midnight, and you have until May 30th to order your canvas prints. You can choose images from sessions that you have already have done with me, OR you may book a session and then choose the images you would like to have displayed beautifully on your walls! This promotion is designed to give my clients access to luxury, professional photo products at significantly reduced prices by pre-buying in quantity from my lab.
And if custom photographic art is not something on the radar for you right now, I am ALSO offering a Kids Studio Session, regularly $575, for $400. This includes the creative fee, online proof gallery, and your choice of 10 fully edited, high resolution files, delivered via digital download. This offer is not applicable to babies under 6 months of age. Sessions at the promotional price MUST be paid for by April 4th, and booked and completed by June 15th. The number of these sessions will be limited, and once my Spring schedule is full, there will be no more offered at this price. Please note that I keep regular business hours at the studio of Monday to Friday, 9-4, and do not work weekends or evenings.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in either of these promotions. I accept Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and Interac Transfers. Please note these prices do not include HST, and it will be added to the final invoice.
“Oh my, your daughter is so beautiful! She could be a model”. “He really should be on TV”. “She’s a natural!” “You should get her into an acting class” “ That kid needs an agent”. If you are a parent of a super cute, outgoing, charismatic, spontaneous, exuberant, fashionista kinda kid, chance are you have heard things like this. But at what point do you actually ask yourself, “Is my child talented? Do they have that little “something”?”
Before you go any further, give your head a shake and ask yourself a few simple questions. Foremost, are YOU ready to be the parent of a child model or actor? It is a LOT of work, and if you do not have the flexibility to meet the demands of the business, you might want to reconsider if this is a good path for you, your child, and your family. You will have to travel to auditions at the drop of a hat, sometimes spending up a full day in travel and wait times for a 5 minute audition or Go-See. Although most agencies don’t charge for representation (most work on a commission basis), there are always expenses incurred for professional headshots, comp cards, and online marketing with companies such as Casting Workbook. Not every parent has the time of resources to fully commit to what it takes to help the child succeed, especially if they work.
Sometimes we mistake our own ambitions for those of our children. Reality check here …. Every parent can get caught up in the excitement of the moment. It is perfectly normal. Ask yourself “Is my child really the force behind this pursuit of acting or modeling? Does he or she have the drive to perform or be in front of the camera? Can they handle the constant rejection that inevitably comes with auditioning?” I am not an agent, nor do I scout for one. I am simply a photographer, a mother, and a realist, but I do come from a family who has made their way in the modeling, television and music world. It is really, really important that you spend some time thinking and exploring all your options.
The talent industry can be quite intimidating when you are first starting out. There are a ton of agencies you can find in a Google search. There are only a handful in your area that will actually find work for your child. There are the “go-to” agencies that Casting Directors and companies will source for talent first. These are the agencies that you want to be with. Be very cautious if a company or agency wishes to charge your child thousands of dollars with the loose promise of conditional work for (Disney). No agent can guarantee work, and this should be red flag number one. If a REPUTABLE agent deems your child worthy of representation, the relationship will likely be that the agent receives a percentage of whatever income the child makes. (note, there are always incidentals that you, the parent will pay, but they will be minimal).
The first thing you can do to get the ball rolling is hire a photographer in your area and set up a headshot session for your child. You don’t have to spend a lot of money here. Children change quickly, and you will likely have to pay for updated headshots every 6 to 12 months when they are younger. A great headshot is one that actually LOOKS like your child! “What you see is what you get” is what the casting director needs when viewing a pile of photos. The hair should be the way it usually looks. No makeup, no logos, no props. Kids should look like kids. A casting director is aware of what wardrobe and styling can do.
Once the photo shoot is complete, pick out a handful of the best images. Your photographer can help you with this. Contact the agencies that interest you, and set up an appointment for your child. Most agencies will have “open call” days, where they meet potential clients on a certain day of the week. The agency will tell you what their normal procedure is, and it is in your best interest to comply with them. Trust your instincts. Once you find a suitable agent, they will advise you on what the next steps will be. If you are offered a contract, I would strongly advise seeking some legal counsel who can read between the lines, and explain in simple terms what the contract will mean to you and your child, before you put pen to paper.
My last little piece of advise to you is, just have fun! There are no guarantees that your child will be hired time and time again for jobs. It is a highly competitive industry and there are thousands of talented kids out there. Just enjoy the moments when your child does land a client, and roll with it!
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“Why would anyone pay professional prices for photographic prints?” “How can you charge $50 for an 8×10 that I can get printed at “insert name of store here” for $1.97?” The answer to that is multi-faceted, and not necessarily the focus of this post. My intention, rather, is to show you what I am talking about.
Over the past few years, most professional photographers have adopted the sale of digital negatives into their business model. Technology changes. Fighting it is an exercise in futility. I have been in this business for over 20 years, and have embraced each of these transitions with enthusiasm. It wasn’t that long ago that I was creating wall art for my clients in chemical baths, at 4am, in the darkroom that I had in my basement, while listening to Radiohead. I still listen to Radiohead when I work, but my darkroom has been replaced with Photoshop Lightroom.
As a photographer that has always created portraits with the intention of having the final artwork beautifully preserved and displayed, at first it was difficult to simply hand over digital negatives to clients. I have to say, this apprehension had nothing to do with money. I run a business, and in order for me to KEEP running a business, my digital negatives follow the same mathematical formula that I use to price all products that I sell in order to turn a profit. I value digital negatives in the same way that I value any other product that I offer to my clients. The majority of my clients want all the digitals from the session NOT so they can make all their wall prints and canvases themselves, but as a keepsake, or to share with family and friends, and I offer special pricing for any digital negatives that are added on to a print or product order.
Here is where the problem lies. When I sell a digital negative to a client, the transaction ends there. Once that file is out of my hands, I relinquish all responsibility to what happens to that file, how it is printed, and how it is archived. That becomes the responsibility of the client who has decided that digital files are the best option for them. Those files do not include technical support. I have had clients call me 18 months later, having done nothing with the DVD other than put it in a drawer, with the intentions of making their own photo book through Shutterfly, only to realize that the DVD has disappeared. I have had clients (yes, more than one) who purchased a full digital collection contact me a few weeks later to tell me that the DVD doesn’t work on their iPad, and that they don’t own a computer. CDs that I provided clients with two years ago will be obsolete in the very near future. I can confidently say that 15 years from now, if you give your child a DVD with their baby photos on it, they will not have a clue what to do with it.
I have chosen to continue providing my full product line, with the addition of digital collections. Most of the clients that I have are those who come back year after year, and they don’t have the time, or want, to take care of the printing of their own photos. Many of them come to have me photograph their children and design a book for them every year. Having said that, the options are endless now for those of you who WANT to make your own photo books from your digital photos, and that is awesome, if you know what you are doing, and if you will make time to complete the project. The problem with quality lies in mass production, loss leader labs, and quality control. I would venture to say that almost every consumer mini lab in existence is operating within the “loss leader” mentality. They are not profiting from the sale of prints, and are losing money. They exist simply to get you, the savvy consumer, in the door, and have you spend an hour wandering the aisles while waiting for your photos, in hopes that you might purchase a home theatre system, some chicken for dinner, yoga pants, a patio set and some fish oil supplements before you leave.
For the client that wishes to purchase the digital files so that they can print photos themselves, design their own books, or have canvases printed with vouchers that they may have purchased online … you will get what you pay for. If you decide that digital negatives are the way to go, it is crucial that you have a good working knowledge of your photo editing software. You must understand basic photo manipulations such as cropping, and you should be familiar with the process of uploading and downloading photo files. Putting aside my own control issues about HOW a photo should look, the bottom line is, you can send the exact same digital file to 10 different places to be printed, and have 10 different results. Although the digital information is the same in each file, the way it is interpreted by not only the machine, but also the person operating the machine, is varied. You no longer have the expertise of the photographer or the professional labs that they choose to work for, but are at the mercy of a button pusher and machine that makes its own interpretation of how your photos should look. The paper choice of each lab will differ … if you are paying 19 cents for a print, you can be sure that it isn’t going to printed on archival quality paper that will ensure a lifetime of enjoyment.
I have spent some time putting together some samples of two digital files to demonstrate how they could be printed at different labs. “Fast food” mini labs provide excellent service, and give you exactly what they promise. Cheap photos in an hour. Nothing else. In the samples below, you can quickly see how the same 4×6 image can vary.
If you are invested in choosing a professional photographer to document your important moments, be sure that you are educated in how to actually preserve those moments should you decide a digital file collection is right for you. Although it might appear you are making a smart decision financially, what is the point if the end result isn’t even worth displaying? I do not know any professional photographers who wish to hold their clients digital images hostage. We all want you to have them. Those files are important. What is most important to a reputable photographer, however, is that the photos truly reflect the caliber of work that they were hired to produce in the first place.
How do you choose the perfect photographer to capture beautiful images of your new baby? Do you do a Google search and look for the cheapest price? Do you pick the one who has the best photos on their website? I would encourage anyone booking a newborn session to take the time to ask questions. How much experience do you have with newborns? Are you familiar with safe posing techniques? Do you have a studio, and can I stop by sometime to meet you and see what you do? Babies are delicate little people, and need to be handled by photographers with as much love and tenderness as a parent would give. Sometimes it is difficult to discern sub par businesses from the true professionals, and by asking a few questions, it will become apparent who you should and should not hire.
Have you ever wondered how us photographers seem to get those tiny, little babies curled up so sweetly and sleeping so soundly? In my experience, the age of the baby is paramount to ensuring that parents get those photographs. The best time to photograph a newborn is during the first two weeks of life, ideally after 5 days old, as up until then, some are a little jaundiced, or have redness in their skin from the delivery, and most are still working out the logistics of how to feed. Not to mention that nasty old “chip clip” that is now used to tie off the unbilical cord, which usually falls off off by the time the baby is a week old. Within those first few weeks of life, babies will curl up in a snug little pose, as if they were still in the womb. As they get older, babies become more alert and stretch out, making posing more of a challenge.
When I photograph a newborn, it is a full day affair. Usually an hour to set up, 2-3 hours of shooting time, and the rest of the day preparing and editing the photos for your proof gallery. Because of the customized nature of my business, and the amount of time I dedicate to each client, I am usually booked up 4-6 weeks in advance. If you are expecting a baby, and would like to invest in a newborn session, it is best to contact me in your second trimester, and I will book two tentative appointments within a couple weeks of your due date. Babies are unpredictable with their timing, but if I know that they are on the way, you will be sure to have a session date in place.
All babies are different, and there are no set-in-stone rules to making things work. Despite the “under 2 week” rule, I have had 8 day old babies in the studio that scream for three hours, and had 6 month olds curl up and sleep like a newborn. Your photographer should have the patience, love, creativity and skill to provide you with photographs that you love and cherish!