Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Look Back

I was recently thinking about some of the "high-profile" events that I've had the opportunity to photograph. I thought back to the time a bride-to-be and her mother came into the studio to book her wedding. Her name was Melanie Breedlove.
After visiting, they decided to book. The wedding was at Big Cedar Lodge. I got all the information I needed. They were about to leave when the mom told me, "Melanie is a former Miss Teen Missouri and was in the top 3 of the Miss Teen USA pageant". I was surprised and felt very honored to be chosen to photograph the wedding.
I went on to say you never know who you might run into in business. She then asked if I knew who Ewing Kauffman was. I knew the name rang a bell, but couldn't think who he was. She said, "That was George's (the groom) grandfather. He used to own the Kansas City Royals". Ah, yes, that's how I knew the name, Kauffman Stadium!
I was doing some only surfing, and thought I'd see if I could find any information on them, since it's been well over 10 years since doing their wedding. I found this link, along with a photo taken by me at their wedding.

Friday, January 23, 2009

"Spoken 4"

We did a fun session this week, a gospel music group. Known as "Spoken 4". One of the groups members, Tommy Fairchild, has been in the gospel music industry for over 60 years, and is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame.
Like the looks of our love seat in the field? They wanted something a bit different.
Check out their web site.

After the session, the group was off to Bentonville for an evening performance, then on to Florida.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wedding Email......What A Nice Response!

I hate complex business situations!
Several years ago, we started offering a simple wedding package. This came about after years of seeing brides struggle, trying to decide which photos they want in their album, what size they want them to be, how to layout the album, and edit them down to fit the package they chose.
I felt that weddings were a no-win situation when it came to the business. A bride would book a certain wedding package, with X number of prints....8x10's, 5x7's, 4x5's, etc. In photographing a wedding, you ALWAYS take many more photos than is included in the package, mainly because it's a "once in a lifetime" event, and you don't want to take a chance on missing a special moment.
This creates an unfair situation for the bride. Do you eliminate many photos you'd like to have in your album, or do you spend more than you'd planned, to get the album you want?
After being the "father of the bride" four times in three years, I looked at weddings from a different perspective. Keep things simple. No surprises in prices. Yes, it's important what you pay, but more important is, "What do you get for your money?"
We began to offer an "all inclusive" package, no extra charges.
Most all photos from wedding included in album.
No extra charge for high quality album.
No extra shooting fees.
No location fees (within reasonable driving distance).
Now the scary part. We began to offer layout and design of the album. I photograph the wedding, give Kelly the digital files, and she does the album layout and design. We then do a "proof" of the album, and present that to the couple. They are encouraged to make any changes, add or delete photos. I feared this might be a real hassle, having to go back and make changes. However, I'm often pleasantly surprised when we get an email like we received today.

"(bride and groom's names) love the wedding album that you did for us. We love everything you did and don't need any changes done to it. We would love for you to order it for us."

Over the past 2 years of offering this plan, we've seldom made more then 2 or 3 changes to an album! I must give Kelly the credit for her layout and design talent!

I want to offer value. Much of our 30 year business success has come from word-of-mouth advertising. Some of the best business advise I remember from early in my career came from a successful photographer. He told me, "Build your business on quality, not cheap price. Quality clients will stay with you. Cheap clients will leave when they can find products a dollar cheaper somewhere else".
Certainly in these tough economic times, we don't want to waste money. The most disappointing waste is when we pay money for something, and it does not live up to our expectations.
One of my favorite quotes on pricing is from John Ruskin (English Writer and Critic of art, architecture, and society, 1819-1900) who said "There is hardly anything in the world that some man cannot make a little worse and sell a little cheaper, and the people who consider price only are this man's lawful prey."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

$130 Winter Senior Portrait Special

Occasionally someone asks, "Do you do Senior Portraits during the winter months?" The answer, "Certainly!"
We have planted various types of shrubs, trees, and bushes that give us nice settings year-round. Our river cane area is always green, as are our pines, densiformis yews and holly bush. Here's a sample of winter outdoor portraits:
The barn and creek areas also work well in winter months. However, you might not want to get too wet in the creek!
January and February are the traditional slow months in our studio, so right now we are having a "Larry's Bored" senior portrait winter special.
Here's the deal. Get a 30 minute portrait session (two outfits), 1-8x10, 2-5x7's, and 30-wallets all for just $130! That includes the session fee and the photographs.
This special offer is available Tuesday-Saturday.
Sessions are by appointment only, so give us a call. 749-2588 or 1-800-467-4686.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Texting Trivia

I found this interesting:

The average number of monthly texts for a 13- to 17-year-old teen is 1,742, according to a Nielsen study of cellphone usage.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

No Need to Worry About Global Warming...or is there?

Depending on who you believe, we are going to burn up from global warming or freeze to death from another ice age. Or maybe things are just going to be ok.
Sort of reminds me of one of my grandmothers, she'd worry if she couldn't find something to worry about. We always remember the time my brother, Terry, and I were going to go "coon hunting" as teen agers (note: gave that up a LONG time ago!). It was a cold, winter night and Granny said, "Be careful boys, don't let a bee sting you".
So, if you need something to worry about, here's one for you:

According to scientists in this article, we are about to enter an "ice age".

Complimentary Baby Portraits

Just a reminder about a new service that we started offering in 2008. For newborns up to age 6 weeks, get a complimentary portrait session and one 8x10!
I've gotten lots of practice this past year photographing babies, and really love it! Remind your friends and family to give us a call to schedule their free portrait. Call, 749-2588 or 1-800-467-4686.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Bikin' Babies.....and more!

No Photoshop tricks here. Ian can now stand alone.

On Friday, January 9th, we did photos of Ian and Reagan. Lots of really cute ones, here's a few favorites.

King of the Sling Shot!

Someone sent me this Youtube link today, thought it was pretty cool:

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Polaroid Announcement

Polaroid announced last year they would be no longer make film for their famous Polaroid cameras after 2008. Today they announced a new camera. Sort of like a camera with a built in printer. Here's the story:

Monday, January 05, 2009

New Year's Biking

View of Table Rock Lake in the Trace Hollow area.
Jerrie at a scenic spot where we stopped to take a photo.

Jake (Kristy's husband) on a New Year's Day ride.
I occasionally joke that scenes like this would really be pretty, if we didn't live here! In other words, we don't enjoy the beauty that is around us.

I've had a couple notable bike rides so far this year. On New Year's Day Jake, one of my son-in-laws (Kristy's husband) joined me for a 10 mile ride. It was in one of my favorite areas to ride. We hauled the bikes to the Hale cemetery, just west of Oak Grove, and started our ride from there. We went in a general northwest direction, and turned around after passing the Missouri state line.
We stopped and visited with a few people I knew along the way, that's always fun.

On Saturday, January 3rd, Jerrie Joubert and I started from the studio, and rode in the same direction as my New Year's Day ride. But this time we rode out the "Ridge Road" and came out on hwy 86, near Trace Hollow in Missouri. We then went down the road into the Trace Hollow area, and came back up by the Boy's Ranch. It was a very hilly 28 1/2 miles!
It was a GREAT day for a bike ride, with temps in the lower 70's.

Friday, January 02, 2009

End of Year Bicycling Statistics

In July, I began to keep track of my bicycling miles. Here's my July-December stats:
Total miles ridden: 1,675.
Most miles ridden in one day: 70.
Top speed (off hill near Roaring River): 39mph (would have gone faster, but I hit the brakes).
Coldest temperature: 33 degrees (not sure about hottest, but rode some in upper 90's.
Most miles ridden in one month: 437.51 (September).