Safety in photography: holiday edition

I saw a really good post over on newbornphotography.com about taking safe photos during the holiday season. To most of us pros, they are common sensical but there are a lot of people who will try to take photos themselves (and hey man, more power to you if you want to give it a shot). One of the first things they talk about is the danger or wrapping your child in Christmas lights. Just– don’t. It’s so unsafe for so many reasons, not the least of which is the lead the wires are coated with. In fact, you should wash your hands after handling the lights yourself!

I love the look of “twinkle lights” in holiday photography- it’s a safe way to incorporate lights without risking anyone’s safety.  I had one of my daughters sit for a minute so I could show you a couple safe twinkle lights. I’ll do a tutorial post on how I shot these twinkle lights shortly ;D ::UPDATE  read how to create this backdrop HERE.
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If you’ve looked back and found that WHOOPS you’ve done this, don’t worry about it. Most people really don’t know better. Before I had any idea what I was doing, I’m about 98% sure I tried something with lights. But I won’t do it ever again. Your safety as my client, or your child’s safety if you’re trying this on your own, is more important than getting a bunch of “ooh that’s so cute!” comments on your Facebook feed (and you betcha I’m going to post to my Facebook).

There is one other big thing I can’t stress enough when talking about safe photography, though not holiday related. Let’s talk about railroad track photos.

Never, ever EVER (for real) take photos on railroad tracks. Nothing ruins a photo session like being hit by a train like happened below:

http://petapixel.com/2014/06/20/photographer-missouri-hit-killed-amtrak-train-photo-shoot/
http://www.diyphotography.net/train-kills-one-photographer-injures-two-taking-photos-train-rails/

Even if you’re preeeeetty sure the tracks are “dead” meaning they haven’t been in use (that you know of) you are still trespassing and breaking the law. Please, don’t ask us to shoot on tracks. I don’t like having to tell my clients no, but I won’t hesitate to do it. I love my clients but there’s no way I’m going to jail for you or anybody! If you read that like Garth Algar from Wayne’s World, award yourself one gold star.

I know there is a ton of info out there and a lot of people feel :so what: when it comes to things like this, but if you’re my client, my friend, I will never ever put you in harms way.

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I Heart Faces Challenge

The Pets Challenge is always so popular 🙂 I Heart Faces does these challenges every so often and it’s nice to pull out my camera and shoot for fun! I’ve been so swamped with work/ shooting that I forget that this is something I like to do in my spare time, too!

I was lucky enough to see Zoe (our dog) and Martha (our cat) who are usually barely tolerant of one another get nose to nose without so much as a raised hackle. Zoe is an old lady, long blind from genetic glaucoma and Martha… is a cat.  :*) They’re not the best of friends but maybe that’s all a rouse?

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My feelings about #3 …

So, over on Wendy B Photos I shared an article by the amazingly talented Amy Tripple Photography. It’s a list of things photographers want their beloved clients to understand. It’s one of the few times that I thought YES YES YES. I wish I knew how to say this! But then I don’t have to say it, because Amy did it so well. I wanted to talk about #3 on the list.

It hurts my feelings when you joke about my pricing.

  • When you imply that my prices are getting too high, it feels like you’re saying that my work isn’t worth what you’re paying. I’m quite sensitive about my pricing and it feels incredibly vulnerable to have to put a price on my passion and art. There are so many parts of running a business that I can’t expect you to know about: taxes, a studio, equipment, website fees, a salaried studio manager… these are just a few of the things I’m desperate to tell you about when you make a joke that “this hour had better be amazing because we sure are paying for it…” I can’t, of course, so I try to remember that you probably don’t understand all the costs involved in running a small business and continue on with your session.”

While the above doesn’t happen to me during sessions, it stings when someone inquires about a future shoot and straight away asks, “What do you charge?” or they make comments like “when is your next sale?”; it makes me think that the person doesn’t put any value into the work; they’re only looking for someone who is “cheap” even if that’s not the case at all. I know cost is one of the most important things that potential clients consider, but it should never be the #1 most important. How much do you value your photos? I’m neither the most expensive nor the cheapest person working the block so to speak and I do the best I can to work with families for whom budget is the #1 deal breaker. ** if you are worried that you cannot afford my pricing, TELL ME. If you book out far enough in advance, I can gladly take small payments over time so that you can be paid up in time for your session**

I do *everything* I can to provide professional, affordable portraits be they family, maternity, newborns, etc. I do NOT believe that professional and personal photography should be a luxury only the wealthy can afford. There are a lot of people who could never afford to spend $400, $500, $1000 on photos. Does that make them less deserving? I don’t think so.

Does that mean that other photographers need to lower their pricing? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Each one of us sets our pricing in line to where it should to be for our specific needs. None of us will have the same pricing structure, even if we’re located in the same zip code. What works for one of us will likely NOT work for another.

I am priced as low as I can be, while still being able to cover my costs of doing business and as any other small business owner can attest, it’s not cheap doing business. There are times when I need to increase my price, or my product pricing but I have done and will continue to do everything I can to make professional photos available to as many people as possible.

I can’t thank my clients enough for being understanding of the ways in which I operate my business ❤ ❤