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What a crazy 2015!

2015
A medley of some of our last sessions.

February of 2015, is when Shooting Star Photography officially opened its doors, here in South Jersey.  It has been an absolutely incredible year of personal growth as well as business growth. I would have never imagined that it would have taken off the way it has.

 

beautiful ballerina
Winter light in South Jersey.

 

I’ve worked HARD.  VERY HARD.  I finished the year with 212 sessions… and even with a wedding on New Year’s Eve.  This was suppose to be a part time business. Something to keep me busy and do something I love.  I worked way to much… So I have decided going forward a few things.  A few changes for 2016.

  1.  I am going to work less.

This means not taking on as many sessions as I did this past year. I owe it to myself to have a life and to spend time with my family. I’ve been married to this computer and going to and planning sessions. It has consumed my life and I want to live it. I want to spend time with my kids and see them grow. They are only 4 and 1 and I feel like I have missed so much this past year. Unfortunately, time you cannot get back!

My goal going forward is that I am only going to take on 8 sessions MAX per month and my next few months are already filling up fast.  Having less sessions means less time away, a quicker turnaround time and pure happiness in my part. I won’t be married to my computer editing every night or staying up until 3am. I’m exhausted.

twilight
Beautiful family at twilight. Smithville, New Jersey. 

2.  I am only going to do what I LOVE to do.

I’ll explain. Of course, I have the motto that the customer is always right and I do pride myself in customer service and for providing beautiful images for my clients.  However, if there is something that doesn’t fit with what I do.. or what represents my portfolio. I won’t do it. This means cake smashes.  I honestly don’t like to do them. They get messy.  Cake ends up all over the place. It ruins props, my clothing, everything essentially and it’s not something I enjoy doing.

My vision from the beginning was to offer stylized sessions and this is what I am doing going forward. I’ve invested in some VERY EXPENSIVE handmade high-end gowns. Example:  Anna Triant Couture as one of the vendors I am using.

My motto has always been subject and environment.   I like myself, my subject and my environment… That’s it.  I’m not a big prop person, nor ever was.  I am all about my subject and that’s the vision, I am going to go forward with. I’m not into banners, I’m not into cheesy props so if this is something you want. Unfortunately, I am not the right person for you. I’ve learned to say NO this past year.  I don’t just take any customer on and it’s been that way from the get go. Most of my customers and (I love them dearly.)  Have returned time and time again.

 

As I mentioned above, I haven’t even been in busy for a calendar year yet and I’ve had customers come back 4 times already. That right there should show you something.  Customer service and providing an incredible experience is truly what we pride ourselves on.

 

3.  Focusing on a Specialty

I will be focusing on a specialty. This means no weddings and no events, no newborns, no cake smashes.  I am specializing in maternity photography, children’s photography, family photography and engagement.  This is it. This is what I love to do. As I continue to go forward, I might end up narrowing it down even more.

 

betterchedar
Aren’t these siblings beautiful?

 

4.  Happy Me= Happy Clients

This is true. This past summer I was busy and then I went right into the fall season never really able to catch-up.  I took too many customers on and I essentially burned out.  I’m truly exhausted. I was even having to turn people away because I knew my workload would be too much.  I’m not going to kill myself and have specific cutoff’s for certain dates. For example, to ensure Christmas delivery, I will have a cutoff no later than October 10th. I am going to set clear exceptions.. ( I already have, but even more in detail).

 

5.  The Experience

Going forward, I don’t want folks to walk away with only beautiful images. I want them to enjoy their entire experience. I have hired an assistant to help things run more smoothly.  It’s nice to have that help when you are out and about with your clients. I want my clients to be happy and I want them to feel absolutely beautiful. From initial contact, to location, to the final product. It’s about the experience for me.

6.  New Market Area

We will be marketing to the Philadelphia metro area, Chester and Delaware Counties, the state of Delaware, Bucks County, the Mainline and even to Princeton and surrounding areas.

Basically, these are my top 6 things/changes for this calendar year. I haven’t gone crazy with the pricing. Nor even increased pricing. My one hour standard package is still at $270.  I would consider myself still affordable to my clients with what I have to offer.

 

I hope everyone has an incredible 2016.  I am very excited. We will be having sessions in Peony fields, among the cherry blossoms, lavender, gladiolas, sunflowers and daylilies…. even a tree farm.. We have secured some pretty awesome locations, here in South Jersey and couldn’t be more excited.  We can’t wait to move forward and to meet new people!!!

Happy Shooting, my friends!!! Let’s make 2016 awesome!!!  It’s really going to be a blast!!!

 

-Dee