Getting engaged has really opened up my eyes to what it is like to be a customer as opposed to the business owner and one of the things that I have found difficult to wrap my head around is the lack of transparency when it comes to prices. It is really hard to create a budget and one that you can stick to if you don't have solid numbers to work with. Often I see websites that read "contact for pricing" or "packages starting at $xxxx.xx", and even when you do contact that person getting a solid quote can be like pulling teeth. This is why I made my prices available to see. I can create custom packages if you don't see one you like, but even with custom packages it is easy to figure out what the price will most likely be based on my website. For example, If you like a package that includes an engagement session, but you don't need the engagement session, you can look at my engagement package prices and subtract that price from the wedding package you like and know what the final total will be. Money is tricky and emotional but knowing you have solid numbers makes the decision more mathematical and less daunting. Every client deserves to know how much your services are going to be and they shouldn't have to deal with undisclosed costs down the road. Attached is a link to my price page so you can see and plan your photography investment. http://www.livishaw.com/prices/
Here are a few sneak peaks from our wedding season so far!
Don't let the clock run the Creativity
One of the hardest things to do on a hectic day is to relax and become creative. When you are limited to a short period of time it is easy to rely on standard poses and shots to ensure you get a basic variety of photos. This doesn't mean you won't get nice pictures of your day, but giving a limited amount of time for the photographer to work will box them into more traditional or standard looks. The more time the photographer has the more they can explore and curate the photoshoot to fit your wedding's aesthetic. Another bonus about having more time is that you will all have the ability to relax into the photo session, take in the moment and have more natural looking photos. The more stressed you feel the more stressed you will look in the photos. Give yourself enough time so you don't feel like you are counting down the minutes on the day.
Golden Hour Glory
So many couples like my style because of the way I use the light in my pictures and one of the best ways to guarantee that look is to be aware of the time of day you are shooting. I always recommend scheduling your photoshoot closer to the "golden hour" time of day. This time of day greatly differs depending on the time of year. If your wedding occurs during a summer month you have a great deal of available natural light because the sun sets later in the evening. If you are celebrating your wedding during a winter month you will see the sun go down much faster. Look at the time of sunset (you can google the time the sun will set on your day far in advance) to make sure you are using the light to your advantage. It also depends on your surroundings. If you have a wide open, flat area (open field, beach etc) then you can schedule your session right up to the time of sunset. If you are in a wooded area, city scape or a place with lots of rolling hills you will want to shoot up until (on average) an hour before sunset so you don't loose the sun behind your surroundings. The best way to know how the light affects your venue is to visit it at a time when the hours of light are similar to your wedding day. One other helpful idea can be to schedule a "sunset mini session" during the reception. Sometimes it is too difficult to arrange the full photoshoot around the sunset but it is far easier to schedule a 15-20 minute break from the reception for just the two of you to take advantage of the beautiful sunset. It also adds a nice little exhale moment for you to take in the incredible day.
*** Knowing when the light is the best is also a great asset for booking engagement sessions ***
An honest heart to heart and insight into why I am raising my prices...
I am so excited to announce that my packages are officially raising in price to keep competitive within the market as well as create a more manageable structure for my business. To anyone who knows me well knows that over the last two years I have worked to the bone to improve my skills as a photographer and grow my business. I have always wanted to keep my prices affordable as I know this industry is very expensive and it is not always easy for couples to afford the wedding of their dreams. With this in mind I kept my prices quite low, while offering fully equipped packages, and decided to take on more work to make up the difference. This unfortunately created 2 extremely stressful work years with 10-12 hour, 7 days a week work weeks and a real hit to my overall life balance and health. You don't know your limits until you hit them, but it gave me great inspiration to review my business, see what was working and what needed to change, and it showed me that taking care of yourself and not overworking makes you a far more productive person at the end of the day. Part of the reason I am raising my prices is to ensure that my clients get a more fluid process, better communication with me, as well as more time dedicated to providing the best product I can possibly provide. Another reason is to ensure that I am giving myself enough time and energy to do my job well and not get bogged down or too overwhelmed. The less stressed I am, the more energetic, awake, enthusiastic and creative I am and I want to make sure I am giving as close to 100% as I can.
This year I have also updated my equipment and have decided to take my business in a more specialized direction. Taking on less work will give me the time to help my clients curate their weddings more from a photography perspective and will allow me to fine tune the style and aesthetic of my portfolio. I also am excited to have the time to spend submitting weddings to magazines and wedding blogs to share my couples stories and their beautiful weddings. (Should they wish to share their weddings with the public of course).
To my clients who were understanding and patient while I worked hard to get their images back to them I thank them from the bottom of my heart! As a one person company, you feel so much gratitude to those who keep it human and understand that good work takes time and care, especially if you are like me and have a strong desire to do the best work possible. To my current and future clients, I am so excited to take what I have learned and create an even better experience!
Owning your own business is challenging and pushes you in ways you never would expect. It also gives you wonderful opportunities and allows you to have full creative control to explore what you love. I live and breath my job and take a great deal of pride in the moments I capture and work I create. I will continue to work my butt off and do what I can to learn and grow. I am looking forward to a more balanced life and cannot wait to share the joy of that experience with all of you!
Thank you everyone! :)
Jade and Jame's wedding was a lovely event with a bright, airy atmosphere and a wonderfully relaxed feel. The design was gorgeous and highlighted Simply Beautiful Decor's eye for elegance and whimsy. I particularly loved photographing this amazing couple with their adorable daughter! Their wedding took place at Ravine Winery in St. Davids, located right outside of Niagara on the Lake.