Updated: Jul 18
At the beginning of July 2019, I sent out a survey to a lot of families that have had sessions with over the years.
Why? Because I want to get feedback to make sure my services are the best they can be!
The main thing I got back from the survey was that I need to find a way to educate you all more with how I do things. I do have an FAQ section on my website and talk about updates and new ideas in my newsletter and I have a blog full of tips but to find one spot so ALL of you can see it all of the time is almost impossible lol! I will do my best going forward to answer more common questions on other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram as well, but for now, here are some answers to common questions!
Also, THANK YOU to all of you who took the time to take this survey. I REALLLLYYYY appreciate it, and I won't forget it :))
THIS WAS AN ANONYMOUS SURVEY I have no idea who wrote what answer but I appreciate them all!!
Side note: Sometimes kids just cry...and that's ok...and adorable!!
What are your biggest roadblocks when it comes to booking a family photography session?
The number one answer was: Scheduling
My response to this main concern: I know right...it's so hard. BUT, with my online booking system, you can see every day and time I have available for at least 5 months. I suggest planning a bit more ahead when possible! And keep in mind, I try and be as flexible as I can, don't see a time available but its YOUR only time, get in touch with me, and I will see what I can do!
Totally understandable, life is expensive especially when we want to do extra fun things like photos, holidays, haircuts or weekend adventures to the waterslides!
With my services, there are a few ways to make it more affordable for you or at least to spread the payments out a bit!
1. Refer a friend to me, and you get hooked up with 25% off!!
*'Frient' discount not valid with Referral discount*
2. When you book your session you need to make a 'booking deposit' think of this as a down payment as this amount comes off of your final invoice!
3. Sign up for my newsletter to have access to me 'Early Bird' Discount that I offer 4 times a year! Do that HERE!
Then this answer: Lack of access to photos/ limited photos provided with the price of the session.
Side note: If your kid picks their noes during the photoshoot I WILL take a picture of it so you can embarrass them if you want when they are older hahaha!!
What are your biggest frustrations?
I had a lot of different answers for this one so I will respond to each!
One momma's answer: Doing a family photoshoot and ending up with just a couple of myself to choose from but lots of baby and husband (it is usually me taking the photos at home, so this is the 'chance' to get one I like of myself... I did a newborn shoot with someone else, and all photos were of baby and dad and only one of me with a crying baby.
I'm so sorry to hear that...I'm not sure why the photographer didn't take more of you and the baby.
When I'm taking photos of a family, I try my hardest to get ALL of the variations of people. I also try to make sure I ask a few times during the session if there is anything we are missing photo-wise, more of something you would like to take or if you feel we have everything you wanted.
Friends, communication is KEY in any good relationship, and I try my hardest to make sure we are on the same page about your photos every time so what happened to this momma doesn't happen to you!
Another answer: Difficult kids during a shoot
Ahhhh yes...lol this tends to happen...a LOT. Kids are kids, they are not professional models who take direction 100% and know how to make a genuine smile on command. Ohhhh would it be so much easier for all of us if they did!! haha
I'm telling you right now if you have a shoot with me. Let me take care of them! For real, don't even worry about them at the shoot unless I ask for your help! I am really good with kids, and I know how to get them to do what I want (most of the time...). That doesn't mean that you shouldn't prep them before the session and set expectations for them on their behavior and such because you totally should do that. And it will help me when taking photos of them too!
What to wear, this answer came up a lot.
I have a very extensive what to wear guide that is sent to you before your session right when you book. Read it!! And I'm always here to help via email, phone, and skype! Take me up on it to save yourself the stress! I can't help if you don't ask me for help :) SEE BLOG HERE
Another momma: Wanting to have photos done more frequently, but not being able to afford them, but also knowing that your work is so, so good and so, so worth it!
Um, THANK YOU!!! That made my day xo
My Mini sessions are perfect for this! See those HERE
Few more moms wrote: Cost
*Please see above in Questions 1 for my answer :)
Another mom: Hmmm...Not getting the shot I want maybe?
Going back to what I said about communication, make sure I know exactly what it is your looking to capture I ask at the beginning of every one of my sessions if there is anything specific you are looking to get! And if you really want to make sure we got the shots, ask me to look over what we have on my camera! I'm cool with that as I want to make sure we got the shots too!!
Another: Trying to get everything I want done in time.
Book more time!! Rushing sucks and the odds of you not getting everything you want will go up and then you will just be disappointed boo that! :)
Few moms wrote: nothing
One mom wrote: Teenagers
HAHAHA ya...you can only do so much with those ;) Good luck to us all!
But jokes aside, get them involved!! What would THEY think is fun? This will make it soooo much easier to get great shots of them!
Last mom wrote: Things not going to plan! Be it kids get sick, weather sucks, hubs and I had an argument, car breaks down, etc but it’s life.
Oh, the curveballs life throws us sometimes right...ugh lol BUT we can't let them stop us from achieving our dreams whether they are going on that family vacation to Europe or having family photos done. Patience and persistence friends always payoff!!
Side note: During your session, let your kids be kids and goof around a bit, it is a part of who they are after all! Isn't that why you want to take family photos anyway? To document them NOW and who THEY are!? :)
What is one other thing that you struggle with when planning a family photoshoot?
A lot of moms wrote: what to wear
This is a very common question, and I answered it already, but please refer to my what to wear BLOG
One mom wrote: hair and makeup for mommy
I know people!! If your looking to get pro makeup and hair done just let me know and I'll send you their contact info!
A lot of moms wrote: Scheduling/Availability
This too is very common, and I have answered this in question #1!
One mom answered: Figuring out the best time for the photos (and how often to have them done - considering that babies grow so fast but also balancing that with cost)
Good point! It can be a bit tricky to figure out but in the end...any time is a good time ;) But, with new babies I suggest 10-12 days for newborns or if you want a bit more alert baby 1-2 months. The next milestone is when they are sitting up on their own, which tends to be around the 6-month mark, then the next milestone is 1 year!
Another momma: Trying to be spontaneous and not look forced in our pictures. Mom and dad are older so it's hard to take a great picture. LL is good at capturing spontaneity and telling us how to position ourselves so we look better. Kids are easy to take beautiful shots.
Oh why thank you lol and she's right, I love to direct and take as natural photos as I possibly can!!
Another mom wrote: Trying to relax & look natural.
It is very tricky to do especially when you have kids hanging off you or being squirmy and maybe not listening as well as you would like them too lol.
What I say to this is you worry about you, and I'll take care of the kids!
Few ways to do that:
1. Keep super happy awesome thoughts in your head. Something you did, get to do, etc. This will keep your face natural and happy. Or if I'm doing something silly to make your kids laugh, maybe that will work for you too!! :)
2. Practice a few poses at home in the mirror before coming. With and without holding your kids. Memorize them!!!! This will really help!
3. Breath woman breath!!
4. Don't put so much damn pressure on yourself before the session. You're setting yourself up for disappointment.
5. Have fun with it. Yes, you want beautiful, fun photos that best reflect your family...so have fun together as a family as that WILL best represent you!
6. Know that even though I am doing everything I can to get your kids to have fun and look great, I'm doing the same for you! I will always keep my eye out on you to make sure you are looking your best!
7. Don't put so much damn pressure on yourself. Yes, I said that already. If you're like me though you needed to hear that one more time. xo
Another momma answered: Where to do the shoot
This is an important one!! I get asked this all of the time and my answer is: What is the look and vibe you are going for? Do you want a park, beach, urban, graffiti, themed, activity, etc? I also ask them to think of who they are as a family? What style or location fits them best? Then, call me and we can brainstorm some ideas I know loads of places!!
Another mom: Getting baby to smile.
Kids are kids, if they are not in the mood or not feeling well, it can be a bit tricky to get them to smile. The best plan of attack is to do things they love to do, play, sing make silly faces, etc.
I have even come across some kids who I call 'observers.' These tend to be under 3 years old and don't tend to give big smiles. They have cute little ones, and you can see it in their eyes, but they just don't do the 'big smiles.' And hey, that's ok and is what it is! They are not any less cute it's just who they are, so let them do them! :)
Another circumstance is that your child might be super shy if this is the case you need to for sure meet up with me at least 10/15 Minutes before your session so your child warms up to me so I can get those smiles out of them! I also recommend showing them videos and photos of me prior so they are somewhat familiar with my face!
In the end, to get kids to smile, it's all about them having fun. They are not robots. If you know, they need a little bit more 'coaxing' to smile, bring their favorite toys to the session, bubbles, music, etc. What makes them smile? Also, chat with me about them prior, it will help!
This momma wrote: Convincing my husband to go with it.
THIS answer here is a big one and one of the hardest. You think it's the kids that can be difficult? hahaha nope...the dads can be the hardest sometimes. I have a blog called 'How to convince your partner to have a photoshoot' check it out HERE!
Last mom wrote: Being in front of the camera. Being super introverted and a mom, I’m frazzled, frumpy, dead tired, and don’t want to be immortalized that way in photos so it’s a lot of work to undo years and years of the effects of motherhood and oh yeah the social anxiety part.
Dang girl, I'm so sorry you feel that way...that sucks. Maybe I could break it down a bit:
*Introverted: Just go with it loI I don't need you to talk or have a conversation with me I don't even need you to look at the camera. Taking more lifestyle photos where you don't look at the camera as much and you just hang out with your kids and 'do you' might be the best plan!
*Frazzled, frumpy and tired: I know your life is crazy busy but you need to find time for YOU. Go shopping, get a massage, get your nails done do whatever it is that makes you feel better. No one else is going to do it for ya girl and you need to take care of yourself!!! Doing simple little things like that will make you feel better :)) xo And also reminding yourself that you will sleep again one day lol
*Social anxiety: Have your photo session where no one else is around! Your home, a park that no one really goes to, or the studio! But I feel you might be most comfortable at home taking lifestyle photos as mentioned before!
I hope that helps :))
Side note: Have fun with your kids during your session that's what it's allll about!!
If someone could wave a wand and fix your biggest frustration, how would you like it to play out? What’s the dream solution for you?
First mom wrote: Perfect hair and makeup done for me, someone let me sleep for more than 5 hours, basically have someone take care of me before a photoshoot! I’d look years younger!
I wish I could wave a magic wand for you on the sleep thing lol but you're on your own there sorry! But as I mentioned before I do work with an amazing hair and makeup artist and she is available to book! And as for taking care of you before, I have extensive tips and guides to helping you pose and prep for your photoshoot so I hope those help!!
Next mom: Help with making mommy look her best for the shoot. Pre-discussion of best angles, to make everyone appear their best friend in the frames.
When you book with me you get to download my free posing guide!! And I direct you as much as I can to help you look your best! Have a favorite side or angle? Let me know and I will help showcase it! I got your back girl!
Next mom: Flexibility such as that you offer in rescheduling if required.
I do so you are in luck! Life happens and I am a very understanding person!
Next momma: Keep on doing what you're doing...maybe open up more spots on the weekend to do a photoshoot.
Thank you I will!!!! :))
You know, I used to shoot up to 10 sessions each Saturday and Sunday and ohhhhh many did I get burnt OUT!! I also shot tones on Wednesdays and Fridays...
I love what I do but if you have ever had a session with me you know I give you ALL of my energy and I only have so much gas in my tank!
In 2019 I decided not to work Sundays anymore not only because I had worked weekends for 9 years straight and it was exhausting me but also because my husband only has ever had weekends off...guess when we would get a day off together?? NEVER lol unless I took a random weekend off but then we were usually using that day to visit family.
So, I'm sorry but not sorry that I only have one weekend day available, book ahead friends! I need time for myself and my family as that is what is most important to me!!
And in the end, honestly, I might be available less but you may have noticed my photos over the last year have improved 10 fold. One reason being is that I take time to recharge my, mind, body, and soul! It has made a HUGE positive impact on my life and I wouldn't change it for the world!
Next mom: Advice!
Giiiirrrlll I have so much advice for you you just need to know where to look to get it! My FAQ's, my blogs and my Social media. Full of useful advice! BUT, if there is something specific you need advice on that you can't find caaalll me! :)
Next momma: Instead of planning ahead, we all wake up with a good hair day and no plans and book a photoshoot last minute when we already know we're all in a good mood and can get to the beach (or location) in half an hour.
Hahaha this is great! Well, you could always call me and see if I'm available! No harm in trying! :)
Next momma: I don’t need one. You’re out of this world and always a delight to work with.
Can you see me blushing? And smiling from ear to ear? Well, I am!!! Thank you...
Next mom: Come look at our closet and tell us how to dress
Sure! lol but seriously, if that helps you I'm happy to come over or we can Skype!
Next mom: Perfect combo of timing and affordability
May the stars align for us all!! My suggestion - plan ahead, save, check out my mini sessions!!
Next mom: again - our family takes photos every 2 years and this is a HUGE treat...so because it's every two years, we plan it out months ahead of time and really enjoy the process. Pinterest and Instagram are great for inspiration...but we deliberately choose a photographer who gets our style and comfort level. Aside from ensuring my toddler is well behaved, I don't think the process could be any easier!
FAAAANTASTIC!! High fives!
Next mom: Reasonable cost
I agree!! Paying a reasonable cost for amazing professional photography is ideal!
I price my packages to industry standards for someone with my 12+ years experience level and awesomeness! If you compare me to others at my level you will actually see I charge less than most!
I just got this review and I think this speaks volumes:
For our daughter's second birthday we booked a 20-minute session with LL of My City Photos. During the shoot, our daughter screamed, cried, pouted, sniffled, raged, and was in every way contrary and difficult. I was sure the shoot was a bust, but later when we were shown the shots, I liked so many of them I found it impossible to narrow my choices down to the allotted five. LL is so great with kids and she’s so good at her job the shots she got make it seem like our daughter was on her best behavior and enjoyed herself the whole time. "That comes with hiring a professional," said my husband. "Incredible," I said. LL truly did a bang-up job and we look forward to shooting with her again and often.
Next mom: The photographer be the fixer of everything — make my baby smile, take control of all poses, etc.
That's what I do, I am a professional!!
Last momma: I would be able to work some weekdays so I could be here on weekends to have quality family time.
I felt the same way for sooooo long!!! Do what you can to take control of YOUR life friend!! You only get one, make it what you want it to be! xo
Side note: The weather is as predictable as who is going to win the super bowl. So, why stress. Sit back enjoy the game and if it rains we will reschedule!
What would you change about the photography services you’ve tried previously?
First mom: I’ve had one photography company completely ignore me. Never returned calls or emails and another one I got auto-reply and emails that I’m booked but when I called she said she’s no longer in business and the site shouldn’t have worked! It was a nightmare to scramble and find a replacement. So the customer service end needed improvement!
NOOOOOO that's super lame I'm so sorry that happened...I won't do that to you I promise!!
Two moms mentioned this: Making sure I got help with hair and makeup. Maybe this could be built-in to the package somehow?!
I did try having that service included in a package but it caused confusion so I offer to hook you up with my stylist and you can plan with her!
Next mom: The ones I tried are with strangers. It was harder for my kids to be natural with a stranger. Having used in LL in the past and the comfort level helps. I like that LL is on and makes a ton of effort to keep the kids engaged.
I'm SO happy I can do that for you and your kids!! :))
Next mom: My newborn shoot was a shot in the dark... I was exhausted and just picked someone online and went. No communication about props, outfits, what we wanted, etc. I would have liked to have chosen the props/outfits myself and had some options for family poses... Instead, they came up quite 'posed' and we really wanted some more light-hearted ones. There was an English barrier though and we didn't know the photographer - and part of it was good that she took control and just did something because, in all honesty, I had no brain cells at the time anyway to be too directive or creative. Maybe SOME choices might have been a nice balance.
Oh darn hey...sorry that happened to you! Yes, choosing the right photographer is very important as not every photographer has the same style. I believe my style is quite clear with the photos that I showcase on my website and social media but some photographers are a bit all over the place and sometimes you don't know what you are going to get. Be sure to check their testimonials always!!! But in the end, you should choose a photographer whose work you really like and if you are unsure about anything you should always speak up! It's your time and money and as I always say, communication is key in any great relationship hence this crazy-ass long blog I'm writing lol
Next mom: We’ve only had photos with you and we loved it
YEEESSSSS!! I'm so grateful, thank you!!
Next mom: Yours? Not a thing. Others? Actually getting the photos that we paid good money for in the file format that we were told we were going to get them in. We had a terrible experience with a private photographer who took our money and never gave us what we paid for.
Aaack...so so sorry that happened..lame...I won't ever do that to you!!
Next momma: I love LL!!!! The kids love her and we get HUGE compliments on the quality of photos. We see ourselves and we look great!!
I'm feeling the love here, THANK YOUUUUU!!!
Next mom: see the pix before leaving to ensure they r what I want. Hate to get proofs and not satisfied
I can do that! Just ask and I'm happy to show them to you on my camera to make sure we are getting what you envision!
Next momma: Not with you but lighting has been an issue in the past and the photographer taking control instead of me giving all the ideas for poses!
I'm all about 'Go team'! Sorry, you had that experience!
Last momma: 4-6 week turn around time is tough, especially when photos are being used for birth announcements or things like that.
I hear ya, this is the one thing I try sooo hard to improve, and believe you me it is tricky!! I know have my turnaround time down to 7-10 business days!!
Editing is a LOT of work, it takes up to 3+ hrs to edit a 30min session and I have about 8-10 of those a week so that could potentially be up to 30hrs a week just editing!? Yup...!!!
During a week's time not only do we photographers take photos and edit but we also answer many many emails, write blogs (like this one), keep our social media running, location scout, clean ur studio and more!! It's a BIG job!!
Time is limited! Sure I could hire someone to help but then I would have to charge even more for my services to pay them! lol no thanks right!!??
Please keep in mind if you need a few photos sooner, just ask and I'm happy to send you a few, I do it all the time! Or plan ahead and book with lots of time so you get your photos when you need them! Also, patience is much appreciated, I'm hustling over here!
Well, friends, that's it!!
Thank you so much for reading this VERY lengthy but hopefully informative blog!
Remember, I'm always here if you have a question so don't be afraid to ask!
Come and hang out with me on Instagram HERE
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