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Longview Senior Session ~ And a little bit about me....

Hello there!

So, I get asked a few specific questions repeatedly.  I also find clients have funny reactions to bits of information about me that I assume everyone knows already.  So I decided I should do a little Q&A.  But how do you go about that without seeming.....vain?  I can assure you the answers to some of these commonly asked questions will actually prove the exact opposite.  So just for kicks here we go (feel free to scroll right on down to the good stuff if you like.  There's a fun senior session down there somewhere... I promise I'm not watching and will never know).

Image credit: Erica Mae Photography in Athens, TX

Fact that surprises most of my clients - I have 2 jobs.
Yep!  I have a full-time job in IT at our local school district and I love it.  Then of course I have another full time job - photography.  Wait - I have another full time job - my family.  So yes, I'm busy - but I love it all.

The question that quickly follows the revelation that I'm not in fact at my studio all day in my PJs, but do have a 9-5 is:  "are you planning on doing photography full-time?"
And the answer to that is - probably not.  I love both my jobs.  And while it's a balancing act, I have finally found a rhythm that fits me and my family.  I get to be nerdy during the day and creative and artsy in the evenings.  Adding a studio to our home was the by far the best decision for our family and my work schedule.

Next fact that surprises people (actually this one generally shocks most everyone) is the number of children we have: 6.

No - you're not mathematically challenged, there are only 5 kiddos here.  One had to cancel last minute.  Image credit: Erica Mae Photography in Athens, TX

Yep - 6 kids from a soon to be Senior down to 1st grade.  My husband and I married a little over 2 years ago.  I came with 2 kiddos, and he came with 4.  So we are basically The Brady Bunch.  It's crazy.  Schedules are all different.  Kids are always coming and going - but I love my family and wouldn't change it for the world.

How long have you done photography and how did you get started?
I absolutely love reading about others journeys whether it's life or photography.  Writing about my own seems.....scary (pronounced SCA-WEE).  But I always appreciate those who are willing to be open and share.
I actually didn't pick up a camera until the Spring of 2008.  I was a newly single mom who had just moved and had to put several things in storage - including my beloved piano.  I grew up playing on that old Kimball and my parents actually bought it when I was a baby.  Stressed that it was sitting in a musty and damp storage facility, I knew it was being damaged and I needed to do something.  On a whim I placed an ad on Craigslist and it sold that day.  And I cried.  And cried.  And cried.  It was one of those dumb decisions you make in a moment without thinking through the implications.
I decided that I would at least use the money for something meaningful.  Something WORTH something.  So I immediately went to Anthropologie and stocked up on things for my closet and home....Wait.  Just kidding.  I purchased my first camera.  A Rebel Xsi.  Absolutely no intention of becoming a photographer.
I remember when the box arrived.  I remember it came to my office at work.  I remembered the light in the room and the first picture I snapped (in auto of course).  And I fell in love.  I read and read and read about light and shutter speed and aperture.  White balance, lenses, depth of field.  Anything I could get my hands on.  I joined online forums.  I went to workshops on the weekend.  I look back at those first shots I thought were amazing and cringe.  But here's the deal - we all start somewhere.  And I genuinely hope that a year from now I look back at today's work and think "Wow - I've come so far!"
Deciding to go into business happened naturally.  It was scary of course.  I remember before every shoot I would have butterflies in my stomach those first few months.  I still hadn't learned the art of posing and making people feel comfortable - so it was an awkward mess (although my clients said I hid it really well).
The best decision I've made for my business has been the investments I've made in my gear and the investments I've made in education.  Although my degree is in business (which I'm SO thankful for as it's been a lifesaver), with the amount of money I've spent on education I could be well on my way to a photography degree.  I firmly believe that learning from those who are skilled and successful is a worthy investment.

How do you find time to do everything?
This has been a trial and error thing for me.  The number one time saver?  Get it right in camera.  While I still do post processing on all of my images to give them that "wow" factor, these are minor adjustments.  When you're not sure what you're doing, post-processing is a...... (trying to think of a family friendly word)..... pain in the rear.
Also, I have a boutique business model.  I identified early on what type of business I wanted to run.  I knew right away I did NOT want to be herding my clients in like cattle.  I take on limited clients - but they get a lot of my time.  (I spend about 10 hours on each client from shoot, to post processing, to consultations and ordering appointments).  And this is what I LOVE.  I KNOW my clients.  Their personalities, what they like and don't like.  Forming relationships with people and being able to capture their families as they grow is the most rewarding thing I do.
I'm also very protective of my family time.  I do not shoot on weekends except for one weekend a month. The only exception are for those clients who travel from out-of-town for their sessions.  Monday-Wednesday evenings are reserved for photo sessions and client consultations.  The rest of the time is for my family!
And finally - I don't have time to do everything.  Everything never gets done.  I have a tremendously supportive husband who helps me more than anything  (isn't he a cutie?).  We also hired a friend to help me clean the house twice a month.  I'm not going to lie.  I LOVE that about as much as my firstborn....OK - I promise I'm just kidding - but you get the idea.

Image credit: Erica Mae Photography in Athens, TX
If you have any questions - any at all - I'd love to hear from you!

Now - on to the good stuff!

Oh what fun we had!


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