Saturday, June 8, 2013

Changes are happening!

So, lots going on here at AbbeLynn Photography! I've had a busy couple of months, in both life and photography. The life stuff has mostly been detailed on my family blog and FB (Paris, moving, Foxfield, 10th anniversary, work travel, time with kids, time with family, time with friends...the list goes on, as it does for everyone!), but I realized this week that I'd had so much going on photography-wise that I wanted to get it all down in one place! I like to use my family blog as a way of getting down "on paper" a timeline of events that I can go back and refer to later, and I can see the utility in using this blog the same, to chronicle events as my business continues to grow! So periodically (when a lot has happened), I plan to try and get a summary out here - thanks for reading :) Let's see...where to start??

First off, in the past 8 months (since things really started taking off with this side business), I've photographed one wedding, two families, three boudoir clients, one maternity shoot, and one large event. As well as, of course, a lot of practice on my own little projects to continue to grow as a photographer. This mostly means photographing my children in all kinds of settings, as they are the most readily at hand subjects that I have, but as you've seen from what I share here there have been a number of opportunities to photograph subjects other than them as well.

I started this blog in April 2012, and it turns out...this is my 100th blog post! That averages just over 6 posts per month, which is more than one a week, so I'm happy with that given everything else that I also have going on! Here's hoping I can keep this up over the summer.

I joined up with an online printing company, Miller's Lab as they are highly rated in terms of price, quality, and turn-around time. You have to join up as a photographer (i.e. with a business name), so it was a big step for me to do that! The quality of their prints is wonderful, and there are so many options for type of paper, sheen, lustre, and products that it makes my head spin. Their stuff is a bit much for me to use for "everyday" photos that I order for myself (i.e. 4x6 photos for my albums; Shutterfly will still suffice for that), but for something nice for our house or for clients they are perfect, and really inexpensive.

Just a couple of weeks ago I placed my first order with Miller's - two photo albums! They were the first albums I've created for clients; both were for boudoir clients who wanted the albums as presents for their husbands. Both albums came out beautifully (I did two different sizes, and actually like the larger size better so I think I'm going to stick with that as my "standard" going forward, as it's only $10 more than the smaller size), and my clients loved them. As of this morning both have given the albums to their husbands, and they were both surprised and loved them. I know they're talking me up to friends, so I'm hoping this will result in more work soon!
"He was genuinely surprised and he loved it! Thank you so, so much" - J.W.
"The book was a HUGE hit! Thank you so much again." - E.L.
Positive client responses are the best thing that I could hope for...I'm so glad to make them happy.

As I mentioned above, I did my first maternity photo shoot (the photos will be up here soon as an entry; I do have a "sneak peek" album on my FB site. Blaire is a friend of mine who has done family shoots for us before (those will be posted soon as well), and she hardly ever has her own photos taken due to typically being behind the camera, so I was excited to get to do them for her.

Last weekend I had the first request to photograph an event - the 2013 Loudoun County Democratic Committee's annual Jefferson-Jackson dinner. In addition to photographing the speakers, I also decided to set up a "photo booth" where couples and groups could have photos taken. It was a big hit! As I needed a way to share these photos with a lot of people, most of whom I won't see at all otherwise, I created a smugmug account:
I'm still using the 14 day free trial; it doesn't seem like it's an ideal way to make money, and the cost per month may be a bit higher than I'm willing to spring for. If I don't try to sell any photos, then it's relatively inexpensive as a way to store photos online and share them with others, so this may be a route that I go. However, I'm also investigating zenfolio, as I've heard good things about them, so I will update with the final choice once it's made!
UPDATE: I started a zenfolio trial just after I wrote this post, and I'm loving the interface, the price, and the fact that I will be able to migrate the blog there and keep everything in one professional website. I'm about 99% sure that I will be going with zenfolio. I haven't added much to it yet ( the LCDC pics that are already on smugmug, and I just added a folder of my favorite photos from my daughter's dance class), but I will be adding plan to add many more albums in the coming weeks!

From this event I also received my first official published photo credit!
Terry McAuliffe is running for Va's Governor and was the keynote speaker. I discovered with this event how difficult it is to take a quality, flattering picture of someone who they are giving a speech, but I think in this situation I nailed it!

I also have been working with new editing actions, as I described previously in my "black and white" post. There are other "mini" actions that came with these free collections that add a little something to photos, and I've been playing around with them as well. I'm still debating spending money on a full set of actions for Lightroom, as I do like to keep my photos as natural as possible, but some of these really do make photos pop!

There are a couple other new things that will be added here this week hopefully this week, but I'm going to keep those under wraps until I'm ready to reveal them, so you'll have to check back soon! :)