nichols family love | lake county il family photographer

Oh Elodie girl. My how your personality has grown and blossomed and turned you into just the sweetest little thing. I was lucky enough to photograph this gorgeous girl’s first year, and I loved seeing her again this fall. She’s going to be a big sister next spring, and I hope her mama and daddy cherish these last family pics as a group of three

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This precious girl is going to make such a wonderful big sister. I just loved hanging out with her again.

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2015 is going to be our year

Here we go again! LSP is officially another year older, and so we must be another year wiser, right? After 3 years in this business, I wish I could say I knew it all, was an expert in both the photography and business aspects of this industry, and had everything running smoothly. But alas, that is not the case. In fact, I think this year might have been my hardest one yet, because although I grew as a photographer, I greatly lacked in business and customer service. And it needs to stop. No more falling behind, no more poor turnaround time, no more long waits for prints and products. No more. One of my photographer idols just posted this tip in one of our groups, and it really, really hit me – “You HAVE to figure out a way to let your head guide your business decision making. Not your heart, not your emotions.” I have spent far too much time in the past three years making business decisions with my heart, and I have learned the hard way that it doesn’t work for anyone. Not for me, not for my clients, not for my family.

So, I’ve thought long and hard about where I want this business to be and what changes need to be made to get us there. I’ve updated the website, revamped my scheduling policies, set up some pretty specific “office hours” and I’m simplifying things all around. Lindsay and I have gotten into a great routine with how we go over emails and my calendar, and I just know that 2015 is going to be the year everything falls into place. This is the third time I’ve re-evaluated my business, and just like they say – third time’s a charm, right? Anyway, here they are:

* I will be scheduling sessions of all types, but only a select few a month. For awhile, I thought I wanted to focus on just newborns, but I realized I would miss seeing families if I cut out those types of sessions completely!

*I will schedule 5-6 newborn sessions a month, 5-6 milestone or maternity sessions a month, and 1-2 full sessions. That is it. This will enable me to actually keep up with my workload and maintain a turnaround time that my clients deserve.

*If you are a newborn client that also wants to do milestone sessions, I highly recommend scheduling those immediately after your newborn session! As you can see by looking at the numbers, I won’t be able to do milestone sessions for every newborn session I do, and I anticipate them booking up quickly. Along the same lines, if you want a maternity session, you need to schedule that along with your newborn session, as I most likely won’t have room to schedule that a few months later.

*I will try to keep you all updated as to when months book up, but please, please, please schedule your session early. Newborn sessions are best scheduled right when you begin your second trimester, and if you want another type of session, don’t wait to schedule those either!  Again, I wish I could do sessions for everyone, but it’s just not possible.  SO please, do not wait to book your session!

*Weekend sessions will only be scheduled two weekends out of the month. Outdoor sessions will be scheduled roughly an hour before sunset, and studio sessions will take place mid-morning. Newborn sessions will be scheduled during the week.

*ALL scheduling will be done via email. Facebook messages tend to get buried and forgotten, and it’s much easier to have all scheduling correspondence in one place. I will leave the messaging capability up on the LSP Facebook page for general questions, but please don’t message me to my personal Facebook page for LSP reasons. And for all scheduling questions, please email stephanie@lemonadestandphotography.com.

*Lindsay will respond to all scheduling and general inquiry emails on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. She will also send out pre-session questionnaires and confirmation emails during this time. I’ll check in on email daily to make sure there is nothing urgent that needs to be taken care of, but most email action will take place during these days.

*As of right now, we are completely booked up through March 2015, with only a handful of sessions left for April and May. We are now booking through the summer of 2015, and will begin booking fall sessions in the spring. We will keep you posted as to when fall opens up, and it will be first come, first serve.

Here’s how things are looking as of right now:

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Right now, I am excited and hopeful looking at the 2015 plan. I am so lucky to love what I do, and while I wish I could go back and get tougher earlier on in my business, I’m not willing to give up. I absolutely love the personal relationships and connections I’ve made with my clients, and nothing is going to change with that. When it comes to business decisions though, I need to be better about keeping it strictly business, as it will be better for all of us. As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Thank you for your business, for sticking with me, and for your support. Despite my shortcomings, I still feel like the luckiest girl on the planet to do a job I love with people I love. Thank you.

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Debbie - November 6, 2014 - 3:19 pm

Love this so much! I feel like I’m in the same place with my business, and while I’ve tightened things up a bit this year, I haven’t quite laid down the law like you just did in this post! Now you have my feeling like I should put it all out there :-) Best of luck in 2015 and beyond!!

nommensen family love | lake county il family photographer

I have been photographing this family since big brother here was 6 months old, and they are always some of my favorite people to “work” with. The night of their recent session, we were blessed with happy kiddos, gorgeous parents, and the yummiest, most delicious light. Check it out.

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I just love them.

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mentoring with sbp | lake county il family photographer

Last Thursday, I experienced one of the highlights of my career thus far, as I was lucky enough to do a 2:1 mentoring session with the amazing Sarah from Sarah Beth Photography. I have followed Sarah on Facebook and Instagram for some time now, have purchased her actions, and pretty much drool over every image she posts. Sarah has a knack for capturing raw and real emotion in her clients, shows the natural love and connection within families, and somehow manages to find the most perfect, yummiest light during every single session. I’m pretty much obsessed with her. So when this opportunity came up to do this mentoring session with my pal Robin, I jumped on it and couldn’t wait to take the trip down to Indy.

Now, despite having purchased numerous posing guides and action sets, and spending countless hours studying the styles of photographers I admire, this was the first “official” mentoring I’ve done during my career. Even though I feel like I already knew Sarah (since I basically stalk her on Instagram and am pretty sure we’re long lost BFFs), I was still super nervous and didn’t quite know what to expect. That was silly of me. We met Sarah at a quaint little coffee shop for the business discussion portion of the session, and within minutes we were all curled up on couches just chatting. She made me feel at ease immediately! Plus, she was a complete open book and took us through every aspect of her business. Not only did she answer every question we asked, but she sought to truly get to know us as fellow photographers and moms and showed us how she has tweaked her business to work for her. It was evident that she has spent a lot of time and effort getting her business to run like a well oiled machine, and since this is the part of the business I struggle most with, I found this to be invaluable.

After chatting all things business and styling with Sarah and her assistant, Heather, we moved onto the shooting portion of our session. I was SO anxious to watch Sarah in action, as I wanted nothing more than for her to share some of her shooting magic with us. We arrived at our location about 30 min early, and Sarah walked us through the different spots we’d be shooting in, the typical flow of her sessions, etc. Once the family arrived, and the session officially began, I was so shocked at how relaxed everything was. After spending the day with Sarah, I had learned she was pretty easy going and super funny, and this definitely carried over into her session. During each set-up with the family, Sarah explained what she was doing with posing them, talked us through her camera settings, and then started shooting. After we took our turns shooting, she looked at our LCD screens, and helped us make some tweaks and adjustments to truly get the “shots” she was after. She showed us what she looks for on her screen, how she places her subjects in relation to the light, and guided us through simple posing tips. I definitely had quite a few “a-ha” moments! Sarah encouraged us to try some camera techniques I had been nervous about, walked us step-by-step on how to get that magical sun, and was overall just a wealth of knowledge.

Check out some of the gorgeous images I was able to capture of our stunning model family:

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If you are looking to take your family photography to the next step, and truly learn how to capture that magical sun – Sarah is your girl. I would recommend Sarah’s mentoring sessions and workshops to anyone looking to improve their family photography, and I am so thrilled that I had this opportunity. Plus, one of the things that made this experience so special was sharing it with my great friend, Robin of Picsy Photography. It is truly such a joy going on this journey with her, and I am a lucky girl she’s in my life. Plus – we snuck in a little shopping trip too ;) To see what Robin had to say about our experience, check out her blog post {HERE}.

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