This is Me!/Asheville Newborn Photographer

This past weekend my mom kept all three kids for the first time.  I saw it as an opportunity to go take some head shots.  I was wanting to hire a photographer but decided to just have my husband take them and then I could edit them in my usual style.  It took a little bit of educating to get them right.  lol  I had no idea that my husband didn’t know to focus on my eyes so we ended up having to redo everything because they were all blurry.  I would take a picture of him to show him exactly how I wanted it and then would let him trade places with me.  I think they turned out alright.  We had a lot of fun and it was nice to spend some alone time out in nature!  By the way, if/when you come for a newborn session, I will NEVER look like this!  hehe I am usually in shorts and a tank top with my hair up because my studio is ultra hot!  🙂





New Path/Asheville Newborn Photographer

So as time has gone on, I have discovered how much I truly love newborn photography.  I love working with families and children too but after lots of thinking and ho and humming, I have decided that my focus is now going to be on newborns and babies up to one year.  I will still be doing family sessions for families that have done  sessions with me in the past or families that do newborn/baby sessions with me but I will no longer be taking new families for family sessions.  I may eventually only be doing family sessions as mini-sessions in the spring and fall, but for now I will book them anytime of year.  This is a huge step, leading in the direction that I want to take.  I’m excited and nervous about it.  Will I be able to get enough business?  Will I miss doing so many family sessions?  Only time will tell and I can always go back!  So yay to change and to doing what you love.  This is hardly considered a job because I adore it so much!

To totally change the subject, here are some more photos from last weekend’s session.  This little man is just precious!







Why So Much?/Asheville Newborn Photographer

December 30, 2014

I’ve been thinking about my pricing lately.  I raised my prices a while back because I felt like my work is worth more than it used to be.  I also realized that my prices are so much lower than other local newborn photographers that I feel are at my same skill level.  After raising my prices, they are still much lower.  So I’m thinking again about pricing and what it means for my business and my clients.

I’ve had people not book me because I was “too pricey”.  I understand.  Custom newborn photography is an investment.  But it’s something that I feel very passionate about.  I love to not just create photos, but art.  Anyone can go to a chain portrait studio and get photos done for cheap.  But to get the types of photos that I love to create, it comes with a price, because it’s pricey for me, not to mention the amount of time that it takes to edit a newborn session.  I edit every tiny detail, every red spot, every wrinkle in the blanket, every blemish!  It takes hours to edit just 20 images.

Let me go through what it costs me to have a newborn photography business.  Just typing all of this out made a light bulb go off in my head!  The most important thing that I own is of course my camera and lens.  My mom jokes that she could buy a car for the price of my camera.  Pretty funny, but true.  I use Photoshop to edit all of my photos.  In the past, you could just buy Photoshop and it was yours.  Now, you have to pay each month.  For each newborn session that I do, I now purchase hats, tiebacks, pant sets, and blankets as well as a prop or two so that each client has unique photos.  Each hat and tieback that I buy costs between $20-$30 because they are handmade to order from Etsy.  If I want a pant set, it’s around $40-$50.  Blankets can be as expensive as $50 each!  The props that I buy are usually from local antique stores and they are never less than $50 a piece.  I usually buy some fabric to use with them or some yarn to knit to create the styling that I love.  I have made different floors for my studio to use which cost about $50 each and there are three right now.  The posing beanbag that I use runs around $100 plus the cost of the filler which is around $80.  These need to be refilled from time to time.  I supply snacks for each newborn session which cost money.  The site that I use for my galleries and printing is $240 a year which is a lot but makes ordering prints very easy for my clients.  My laptop that I use to edit photos was quite expensive.  I take on-line photography courses which are a pretty penny but so worth it to always be learning and growing as a photographer.  I have liability insurance that I have to pay.  Advertising is $150 a month!  There are state and federal taxes.  The list just goes on and on!

So when someone tells me that I’m “too expensive”, I have to laugh to myself because really, I’m not making much!  So when my prices are increased, it’s only because I’m actually trying to support my family and pay the bills.  After all, this is not a hobby.  This is my job.  This is how I support our family.  I have to make a certain amount each month in order to pay for groceries, the light bill, insurance,…I love clients who appreciate what I do and see the value in the photos that I create.  The newborn phase is so short.  I regret not having any newborn photos of our oldest daughter because honestly, I didn’t even know newborn photography, aside from a portrait studio at the mall, existed!  It’s worth saving up for and nobody will ever regret having beautiful images of their babies that will last forever!

Q & A Time!

I have been getting a lot of emails with questions from others trying to find out more about me, my photography business and just photography in general.  I thought it might be fun to do a little question and answer post.  🙂


Q:  How did you get into photography?  Did you go to college to learn?

I get asked this question at almost every session I do. I actually never in a million years thought I would be a photographer!  All through high school and my first two years of college, I had goals to be a neo-natal nurse.  I took my anatomy classes in high school, loving every second of them, so when I went to college, I declared my major as nursing and picked Florida State because of their great nursing program.  I took all of my classes that I needed and just had one class left before I could apply. I was right on track, had been volunteering at the hospital and was ready to get started.  And then everything changed.  I could not get into my very last class.  The class was full.  People were sitting on the stairs hoping to get a spot, including me.  I was going to have to wait another semester!!  I had spent the last 2 years taking classes and all I had left was this one class!  I left that class that day, cried, freaked out, wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do, and then I took it as a sign!  I had hated volunteering at the hospital. The nurses seemed so tired and stressed.  I hated the sterileness of the environment, the fluorescent lights, just everything about it.  But I knew that I loved working with children and had always been so great with them naturally, so I went that day and changed my major, no, not to photography, but to early childhood education!  I wanted to teach kindergarten!  But I had to wait an entire year to apply to the program. I had just missed the deadline.  🙁  (Imagine the phone calls that I got from my family telling me what a mistake I was making!)  So in that year, I took a few classes that I needed and also a photography class, dance, ceramics, drama.  And I realized that I LOVED the arts!  The photography class that I took was very basic for beginners, but I loved it so much and wanted to learn more and more.  So once I finally did get into teaching, I took a night class at Austin Community College and holy moly, to my surprise I hated it!!  It was all about developing film and was a black and white class.  I was so confused about how to get correct exposure and would only figure that out once I spent all of that time developing my film. The teacher was awful.  So I ended up quitting to avoid making anymore of a fool out of myself.  And then I got a digital camera.  I finally could mess around with exposure and see the results right away.  When our first daughter was born, I wanted great pictures of her and so I read the book that went along with my camera, read everything I could on-line, and started learning Photoshop on my own (no easy task!!).  I was totally obsessed and wanted to be great!  I eventually started doing pictures for free for families and slowly started building a business.  (I had taught kinder and first grade for 7 years and was staying home with our daughter by this point.)  I feel like I’ve come a long way and am really proud of myself for accomplishing what I have on my own.  I look back at my old pictures and cringe, but hey, I was learning.  I still love to learn more and more and feel like there is always room for improvement, so I hope to continue to grow!  Whew, that was long!  😉

Q:  How do you use Photoshop to improve your photos?

I will say, and some may disagree, but to get really great pictures, it is necessary to do a little bit of editing, not always, but most of the time it can make a huge difference.  I use a bunch of different actions.  I like to pick and choose and mix them up to get different effects.  I use Kubota, Totally Rad, Paint the Moon, and have a ton more that I honestly don’t even remember the name of.  lol

Q:  How would you recommend getting started as a photographer?

First of all, you really have to be able to use your camera correctly.  Get a book to go along with your camera and learn how to use it manually. Learn about how to get correct exposure, ISO, white balance,…Next I would say to just practice and figure out your style and how to work with different types of light.  Take a class to learn Lightroom or Photoshop or get some books to learn on your own and then get out there and take pictures for family, friends,…in different environments and lighting.  It can be so scary and intimidating, but the only way to learn is to just dive in!

Q:  How do you handle difficult children?

LOL  Children aren’t ever difficult.  😉  Oh wait, I have a 2 year old and a child with Aspergers.  Yes, they can be difficult!  I will say that I have always been really good with children and talking to them comes naturally to me but there are times when a child wants nothing to do with me or my camera.  That’s when the toys come out, the crazy voices, the bubbles, whatever it takes.  I usually start off with some family pictures to warm the child up and then we just hang out and play until I can tell that they feel comfortable.  I usually am able to get some smiles out of them with a little work!

Q:  Do you advertise?

No, I don’t and so this is where moving around so much has put a damper on my amount of business.  My business will start to take off and then we’ll move!  But we aren’t moving anymore so I’m trying to really get things up and running here in Asheville.  Maternity leave isn’t doing much to help me out, but it’s what I need right now.  I usually get clients from word of mouth and so far that has worked out great!

Q:  Why do you only do 4 sessions a month?

My family is the most important thing to me.  My children are my full time job and I don’t want to miss anything when it comes to them.  For that reason, I only set aside a couple of hours per weekend to do sessions.  The editing that I do afterwards takes place during nap times and after my children are in bed.  I have a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind taking the kids somewhere fun for those 2 hours and then is okay with me working at night, as long as I still have some free time to catch up on our shows.  😉

Q:  What type of session is your favorite?

I LOVE babies so working with babies is definitely my favorite. I really love newborn sessions but they take a lot longer than any other type of session.  I guess 6 month sessions would have to be my favorites. The babies usually aren’t crawling yet and can’t get away from me. haha  They are usually pretty happy and love to smile at that age.

Q:  Why don’t you do teen sessions?

Honestly, I did one session for a senior and discovered that it’s just not for me.  I feel awkward around teenagers.  Maybe it’s because I felt so awkward as a teen and subconsciously think that teen clients are just thinking about how uncool I am. 😉  I don’t know.  I feel much more comfortable working with children.

Q:  What type of camera and lens do you use?

I have a Canon 5D Mark ii and a 50 mm 1.2 lens. I LOVE my camera.  It’s like one of my children.  😉  I was very lucky to have been left some inheritance money from my grandmother.  I used that money to buy my camera and get my business up and running.  I will be forever grateful to her!

Okay, if anyone has anymore questions, please feel free to hit me up in the comments or through email and I can add them to this Q & A!

Happy Holidays!

I will be away from my computer for the remainder of the year taking time to be with my family.  If you send me an email, I will get back to you after the holidays.  I look forward to an amazing 2012!  We will have been in Asheville for one year in January!  So hard to believe!   I hope you all have wonderful holidays and a happy new year!  Cheers!!