Dec 29, 2012

New year, new plan

This is one of my most favorite times of the year. When one year draws to a close, I always look back and take stock of my accomplishments, failures, experiences and lessons. (I've got lots to say about goals vs. resolutions but that'll come later). This year was one HELL of a year! I had an amazingly full calendar at the studio which brought so many lessons along with it that I'm eager to implement in 2013. I experienced some amazing things in my personal life - particularly running leg 5 of the Klondike Road Relay which, if you're unaware, is slightly longer than a half-marathon. A side effect of my extremely busy work schedule was that I spent a lot less time than usual with my family. I consider this a failure but totally fixable starting right now.

If you are a member of the Facebook Fan Page, you've seen me mention that there are changes afoot with my photography studio. The specifics of that will be announced in the new year but I'll give you some insights now as to the "why" behind the changes in availability and pricing.

We have decided to home-school (or more accurately, unschool) our  youngest son so naturally, that means that my availability at the studio is extremely limited. Until we establish a rhythm for his new course of learning, I can only comfortably commit to shooting once a week so it's very much a first-come, first-served situation. As a children's photographer, I have every confidence that my clients will not only understand why my family's needs for my time and attention come first but I also know that they'll be fully supportive of these changes. They will bring about healthier boundaries for me as I have a tendency to try and do everything so if I'm limited in my availability at the studio and am fully committed to my role as parent AND teacher, then I must honor those things and I have the structure to do so.

As for the pricing structure, being at the studio is taking me away from my family and that must be accompanied by fair compensation. Over the past three years, my business has undergone many changes including the imposition of a minimum order. I understand that this makes some uncomfortable but it's important for me to be able to somewhat predict the financial yield of my efforts - even more so now, as being in the studio means I'm not with my son. Minimum orders will be increased and enforced. I won't make apologies for this decision as I know that each client who continues to book with me will receive the same luxury service that I have always made available. I am aware that this will make my service unattainable for some and that's ok (there will be ongoing special events so that I can continue to serve ALL of my clients). I never wanted to be the photographer for everybody. That's a silly notion. Art is not universally appreciated and as an artist, I am 100% comfortable with the idea that my style of image creation, my way of interacting with clients and their children as well as the obvious point of my pricing and product offerings won't be right for everyone. However, the clients whose values are similar to mine will be the ones who continue to book with me as I make this shift and for them, I'm deeply grateful and immensely excited to work together. 

As an aside to those whose hackles are up over the idea of an imposed minimum order, I don't want to waste your time (about five hours total for the whole process for you) or mine (8-10 hours of work for me) by meeting with you, shooting your kids and preparing digital samples and presenting them to you just to have you leave empty handed and me with no income. We are committing to working together so I can create meaningful art for you that showcases your beautiful children but in order for me to run a profitable business (because that's what it is, plain and simple) I need to know that I will be able to generate revenue.

I will be spending the beginning of 2013 settling into my new role as educator for my son and at the same time, I'll be creating the curriculum for a handful of courses on creativity for kids and adults. I intend to hold dates for these classes that will be just for adults, just for kids and some for parents & kids to work together. They will be photography based but applicable to all kinds of art forms.

There are a few other top-secret projects in the works but we can't disclose the details just yet... once they're set in stone (and deposits are paid!) we will be sharing all the info. Just stay tuned because you do NOT want to miss out on this stuff!!

If you are wanting to be a part of the Kickstart the Year program that I've been blogging about over the past couple of weeks, please click the KTY link and share your blog address so I can read your posts as you make your way through the workbooks. I'll leave you LOTS of blog-love :)

Alright. That's a long enough post for one day. If you have questions, please feel free to post them in the comments section below. Alternately, you can email me at info[at]vanessafallephotograpy{dot}com. (just remove the brackets!

Much love and blessings

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