Wednesday, May 19, 2010

stood up...what would you do?

I offer no-cost sessions, so as to not limit my clientele.  I genuinely want to be a photographer that makes photo shoots worth my time away from Jonas but also want "ordinary" people to afford professional photographs.  Is that too much to ask?  I go to shoots on faith that clients will show up and will order pictures.  Sometimes clients don't order enough to cover a babysitter, or not enough to be worth setting up my backdrops.  Very rarely this occurs.  I've even had one family not buy anything at all.  I personally think that is very rude.

The point of this post was to vent a little and also ask some advice...
This weekend I was referred by a mutual friend to a couple who wanted beach pictures.  I live in Savannah now, so a one hour drive gets us to the beautiful ocean.  I was to go yard sale-ing that morning but since I booked a shoot, I cancelled that and afternoon swimming with friends.  My husband had to give up his Saturday plans as well, so that he could watch little Jo-Bro.  No big deal, right.  Well, we drive all the way to Tybee (one hour each way, plus $$ to park).  They didn't show up.  It is four days later and they have not called me back.  So what would you do?  I don't normally charge session fees, but that was an expensive day for nothing.

Deep down I want to send them a bill for gas/time.  I was thinking at least $50.  Seriously.  I have since decided to revamp my pricing.  I still want to be affordable for anyone, so my philosophy now is to charge a $75 sitting fee, and once your shoot is over, you will get a $$ credit for prints.  I was thinking $50 of the sitting fee would be "refunded" toward photo purchases.  It basically guarantees a $25 sitting fee and $50 worth of photo orders.  Unreasonable?  I think it is pretty cheap!  This is mainly for on-location shoots where limited travel is involved. 

I have to keep my prices competetive with the mall/instant print labs out there, but I offer much better pictures on location, so there will obviously be a higher cost.  I am getting tired of "giving my work and time away" so I need some feedback.  What would you do?

1.  Should I bill those clients who stood me up?  How much?
2.  Should I insist on a deposit for photoshoots?  Is $75 too much (even with getting $50 credit)?
3.  Would it be better to charge by the mile?
4.  Is it best to just create different prices for different type photoshoots?  (baby, maternity, beach, etc - each getting their own sitting fee more tailored to what is involved)
5.  Is it bad to start charging sitting fees after not for so long?

I feel like the past 6 months of business were a learning experience and now that I've invested so much in equipment and such, and improved my skill level, does that warrant a change in rates?

Your input is appreciated! :D

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Attack of the Ants!

My sweet Jonas got "attacked" by fire ants on Friday morning, while he was taking his baby steps through the yard here at church.  He stepped right into their home.  I didn't even know he was being stung until I picked him up and they started stinging me!  What a tough baby boy I have!  Needless to say, I acted quickly, stripping him down to his birthday suit to make sure we got them all off!  Needed to make sure there weren't any in his diaper.  All in all he ended up with about 30 bites.  A lot of bites for someone so small! 

He was fine at first, and so we laid him down to take his usual nap [[except that this momma was so worried, I checked on him every few minutes]].  When he got up at 3, he had a fever of 102.  I called his doctor, and he suggested we take him to the ER just to make sure he didn't need fluids.  The ER at Memorial Hospital was wonderful.  We were in and out in an hour.  I've spent longer at the doctor's office WITH AN APPOINTMENT!  I was expecting to be there for hours, what a pleasant surprise.  His nurses were great, and the doctor was super gentle with him.  He ended up getting a very strong antibiotic, and orders to pop the pustules.  :(  He's doing better now, except for a tummy ache from all that strong medicine and an unrelated cold.

One of my husband's "pet peeves" [[I assume, since he comments on it when someone incorrectly states it]] is when people say they have ant bites.  His vast pest control knowledge has been imparted to let me know that they are not "bites" but "stings".  Just for kicks...this is a "Red Imported Fire Ant":

Watch out for these!  Their "homes" or anthills are more flat, not mounded like typical ants.  They tend to spread out more flatly.  Hoping Jonas's scabs heal quickly!