Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Knot | Jackson, MI Wedding Photographer

I am VERY pleased to announce that I am officially listed on The Knot! For those of you who don't know what The Knot is, it's the place to be online if you're engaged. They have TONS of resources for engaged couples ranging from vendors, to inspiration boards, and forums where you can talk with other engaged couples to get their take on things. The great thing is even after they get married a lot of them still go back to The Knot and talk about their experience, what they loved and what they'd do differently. They're an amazing resource all around. Plus, their staff are incredibly friendly and helpful, I think I talked to my area rep on the phone for at least an hour! You need an account to see the full thing, but if you do check out my listing!

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Great Debate

There's been a post going around amongst photographers the past couple of days from an upset bride in Seattle, Washington. Here's the original post, I doubt it will stay up for long, but below is what it says in case it gets deleted:

WHY is finding an amazing wedding photographer so difficult? :/

I am a Bride who is getting married this summer and have yet to find a decently priced, exceptional, amazingly talented, fun photographer.

WHY because the word "WEDDING" is involved photographers think they can change you $ 3,000.00 for wedding photos? Oh, because no bride is going to go without so they are going to pay it, because they HAVE to. They are ripping people off for all they have! Why when you want to get married it costs you AT LEAST 15,000 after all is said-and-done? Its such CRAP!! I love all you $ 3,000 photographers out there but i think your prices are WACK. All your doing is hanging out at a wedding taking tons of photos and editing them.. and thats worth $3,000!!! You're making so much money its crazy. I just wish people would be more realistic. I mean the "average" persons salary for 1 freaking month is somewhere around $3000. (Thats making 19$ an hour) So you're going to take someones WHOLE MONTH paycheck for one flippen day of photos? Just because you CAN!!?????? So that maybe they will not be able to feed themselves or pay any other bills they have, right? It makes me SICK!

I know im speaking for more than just myself right now. Alot of brides out there think the same thing. & I bet all you fancy photographers wont even read this. oh-well.
Maybe there are cheaper photographers that will read this and LOVE to take my photos :)

I have to admit when I first read this I was kind of angry, but then I realized why she felt this way; she hasn't been educated on what goes into taking those "amazing" wedding photos she wants. So let's break it college degree is in Photographic Technology, just a fancy way of saying that I am a photographer. I had to pay for school to learn my trade, we'll go on the low side and say about $1,700/semester. It was a two year program so that would be $6,800 (and it took me four years to complete so that number is REALLY on the low side). I had to buy professional equipment so I can take the photos, $2500; that includes a main camera, a backup camera (accidents happen and I don't want to be stuck telling a bride I can't finish her wedding because my camera broke, but that's a whole other post), memory cards, hard drives, flash, and two portrait lenses. I had to buy Adobe Photoshop and even with my student discount it was $300 and lastly a computer $1300. Now if we add that all up that's $10,900 just to get started doing photography!!! I haven't even included ALL the overhead costs either. I've left out the prices of a website, web designers, marketing material, advertising, legal services, insurance, and MANY more. But we'll leave it at what it is, so say I shoot 20 weddings a year, that puts the overhead at $545/wedding.

Okay, so now to break down a wedding. I might catch some grief for putting this out there, but I want to be honest and show that we really don't make what the Seattle Bride thinks. My wedding collection prices aren't anywhere near $3,000, but I'll base it off my prices anyway. So take the middle package I offer, the I Do Collection for $1,500. It includes 8 hour coverage from two photographers, fully retouched proofs in an online gallery, $175 print credit and a 10x10 leather album. I pay my assistant $160, the online gallery costs $145 to run, the album is around $260 and the couple is getting $175 worth of products/prints. So right off the bat that takes the overall price down to $760. Most of my weddings are within a half an hour drive time of my home so that takes $20 in gas. You figure an hour's drive time total + 8 hours of shooting is 9 hours of work, a typical work day for the average adult. Then take out the $545 in overhead out and that leaves $195.

Then what the client doesn't see, the editing part. I allow myself one month to edit the images and post them to the gallery. There's roughly 1500 images to go through between mine and my assistant's images. I look at each one and choose the photos that make the cut. Then I retouch them, ie. color correction, exposure correction if needed, if I take the remaining $195 and divide that by the 30 days, it comes out to be $6.50/day. Does that really sound like we make $3,000?! I could only dream of making that much. I think the Seattle Bride forgets that we have bills to pay and mouths to feed as well, $195 doesn't go very far these days.

Just some food for thought on this wonderful Friday :)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

FEATURED VENDOR {Beck's Flower Shop & Gardens}

I was first introduced to Beck's Flower Shop and Gardens from their daughter, we played roller derby together. They had hosted the team a couple of times for various fundraisers and I couldn't believe the size of their store. Beck's has an awesome selection too. I love to garden, despite killing almost every plant I've owned hahaha, but they helped me pick out plants even couldn't mess up and even designed it for me! The photo below is what I went with, I adore succulents and just think they're the cutest little things ever. They're very photogenic so that must be the reason for my love of them lol.

Family owned since 1946, the Beck's know their stuff! They have fabulous customer service and go out of their way to help out their customers. A friend of mine was getting married and didn't have a bride's bouquet, I went in the day before the wedding and ordered one. They had it ready to pick up the next day before the wedding and it was beautiful. I also had the pleasure of photographing one of their daughter's wedding and it was by far one of the most beautiful weddings I've seen. As you can tell by the images below their arrangements were stunning. I'm pretty sure that bridal bouquet weighed almost 8lbs!! But totally worth the workout because it photographed so well (but I might be a tad biased lol).

I would highly recommend going to Beck's for all your floral needs, from floral arrangements to outdoor plants. And don't forget Valentine's Day is right around the corner, you can get that special someone in your life a gorgeous bouquet and see their amazing customer service for your self!!

2322 Lansing Ave.
Jackson, MI 49202

(800) 211-7871

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oh the Places You'll Go | Jackson, MI Photographer

It's only 16 days into 2012 and I've been working on some pretty BIG things for the business. Once everything is done I will launch it all at once, but for now you've got some time to book at the 2011 prices. I've restructured my prices to meet everyone's needs, I have to thank you if you participated in my Facebook questions. I really took those into consideration when I did the prices. I've gotten rid of some products that weren't so popular and added some new things that I think you'll like! After designing a wedding album for one of my clients last year I've decided to add an album to almost every wedding collection. I am so excited about that one!! The albums are gorgeous and people swoon over them, the client I did the album for last year said all of her friends and family LOVE their album.

I've also reworded my contract, I'm getting with a lawyer soon to have them go over wording to make sure everything is legit. They're prettier (the perks of going back to school for graphic design) and laid out more effectively. Plus, I've added a "first contact" questionnaire to get to know you better, so I can focus my photography to be more suitable for your needs.

My website is under reconstruction as well!! I've pretty much looked at every aspect of my business and have given it an overhaul. The site is designed out already, now I just have to do all the html code for it...aka the hard part. It shouldn't be too bad, but in the meantime the old site will be up so you won't see any difference until it officially launches. It's going to be SO pretty (once again, the perk of being a design student), I wish I could post it right now, but coding takes a decent chunk of time, so unfortunately I can't. But trust me, I will make sure that everyone knows when it's finally done :)

Now for some AWESOME changes to Natty J Photography...I'M OFFICIALLY A REGISTERED BUSINESS!! Which means a lot more paperwork for me, BUT I'm SO excited about it. It was always my dream to own my own business growing up and now it's finally true :) Call me a nerd, but I can't wait to get my tax ID in the mail and file taxes and do all the business things. I've also got a Square so now I can take payments or deposits via credit or debit cards WITHOUT having to go through Paypal. I've had way too many issues with them and I don't want to put any of my customers at risk so, that's why I've choose to go with Square. They sent me a device so I can swipe cards right from my phone, or I can punch in the numbers for out -of-state clients. The last business item I've updated is my business cards. I ordered them from, an amazing company with ultra cute items and GREAT customer service. Keep an eye out for the new ones :)

Lastly, I don't know if you've seen them, but I've seen lots of posts on Facebook lately about families getting their portraits done and one parent losing their life shortly after or they didn't have photos done and a family member's life was cut short leaving them with outdated photos as their only memories. It happens way too often and I don't want that to ever happen to me, so throughout last year I made both sides of my family do a family photo. And I had Shawna from Shawna Gerry Photography, do a family photo for my boys and I. I'm only 25 so I don't have a "family" of my own yet, but I do have my two dogs (which I'm sure you've seen before) Niko and Piglet. I adore them more than life itself. I've had clients in the past tell me that their family photos made them cry tears of joy and I didn't quite grasp it since I'm not technically a mother, but as soon as I saw the photo Shawna did, I understood.

This is my mother's side of the family, taken in April 2011. There's three generations pictured here :)
Unfortunately, this was at my Grandma Bell's funeral, I encourage all of you to get photos with loved ones while they're still here. Even if it's not professional, just do it.

Here's my dad's side of the family. Three generations in this one as well. There's other family on that side, but they weren't in the state at the time.

And here's my family picture!!! I absolutely adore it :) It's perfect in every way.


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