WHY I WONT BE DOING THE COVID-19 #FRONTPORCHSESSIONS AND WHY YOU SHOULDN'T EITHER.
Well here we are. Literally almost everyone in the entire world on STAY-AT-HOME orders in order to combat the COVID-19 virus and the sickness it causes.
How are you doing? For me personally, I've been struggling...a lot. It's a scary time of uncertainty, for everyone and even more so for those that are vulnerable healthwise and for those that are self employed and/or running a small business.
With most of us on the requirements to stay home and practice social distancing, photographers are hit pretty hard - just as hair dressers, nail salons, and massage therapists. We just cannot do our jobs without interacting with other people. Unlike other jobs, it is just not possible to service you over video chats, as much as we would love to do it! We have all cancelled any upcoming sessions and our income has stopped! I personally haven't done a session since March 8.
Of course there are ways to shoot from a distance with many telephoto lenses that are out there. Could I shoot a family session while maintaining social distancing? ABSOLUTELY! Will I under today's stay-at-home order? NO WAY
There is a new type of session that has exploded around the nation. Maybe you've heard of the front porch sessions. The theory is, the photographer takes family portraits while maintaining their "social distance" by shooting from the sidewalk or street, which is fairly easy to do as long as all parties involved are understanding and abiding. Now if you've been around children and especially ones that totally love their photographer :) they want to run to you, hug you, show you something neat, etc etc. It would break my heart to have to yell for them to STOP, especially since most wouldn't understand as to why. (See the end of my post for tips on how to take your own porch photograph)
What is happening with these sessions is not in accordance with the strong recommendations and advice we are being told with the stay-at-home order. Yes we are able to still go outside, take walks in our local neighborhoods, for now and all essential businesses are remaining open at this point. Sadly, as much as I would like to consider it, photography is not an essential business.
Photography involves continuing to operate a non-essential business. Portrait photography involves the gathering of people and at least one person (usually the photographer) having to leave their home in order to do so. With a stay-at-home order by doing so photographers, as a non-essential business are not leading by example and not helping in getting us all through this crisis as quickly as we can. It gives the sense that "well they did it, so it must be ok". It also puts them at risk (those with legitimate businesses) for financial penalties in some areas.
Don't get me wrong...I absolutely LOVE the entire idea behind these documentary sessions of the current times, but I just feel they are not responsible and really how are they any different than park sessions which are an "every day business as usual" type session.
Photographers, and families considering any type of engagement in social interacting at this time, PLEASE just STOP! Only together as ONE will we win this battle in a timely manner. And when that happens, the sun will shine brightly, the trees will bud, and the leaves will still change color and we all will have come to realize how precious our families and life in general truly are. Everyone will want to to get that portrait they had been putting off all of these years and photographers calendars across the world will be so abundantly full!
STAY AT HOME!
How to take your own "front porch photo"
Find the location where you will be taking your photo. (porch, back deck, couch, etc) Watch how the light hits that location at different times throughout the day. Maybe even take a couple of selfies in the different lighting in order to find which you like best. Most people think super bright sunlight is the best when in actuality that's not always true. Many shots taken in bright sunlight, your photographer has done lots of behind the scenes editing to make it beautiful. Photos taken in soft light such as early morning or an hour before sunset (golden hour) are ideal. Even a cloudy, overcast day tends to be "perfect light" to take a photograph. The clouds act as a great filter.
2. Don't Stress
This photo does not have to be perfect. This is not going in photo contest. The importance is to document you and your family at this moment in your life. It can be as creative or simple as you want it to be just don't stress over it.
3. What to wear
Wear what you want! If you feel like getting full on dressed up, DO IT! Just want to take an as-is, "here we are" type photo, GO FOR IT! I'm giving you permission to just be you! Walk out on the front porch and capture it!
Whatever camera you have is the best camera to use! This includes cell phone cameras. As photographers we sometimes get wrapped up in the "perfect" photograph with perfect lighting/equipment and fail to take the every day snapshots from our phones of our families. You don't need an expensive tripod either. Use a chair with stacked books, set your timer on your phone, prop it up with a coffee mug and TAKE THE PHOTO! No special equipment is required to do this.
Don't let this one scare you. It's not anything super fancy and is not required but will make things alot easier for you if you have small children and/or pets. An intervalometer allows you to take multiple images at a time, ever heard of sports mode on your camera? The difference is you don't need to be pushing the button. Set the timer and how many interval photos you want (I'd suggest 1 photo every 5 seconds) and there you go! You will get shots that show true emotion in the moment and you may even get some pretty hilarious shots by doing this. These obviously can be purchased online to hook to your camera but you can also get some awesome apps right on your phone to use.
6. Set up
Get everyone together and check to make sure everyone is in the viewfinder. It's better to be further back as you can always crop in later.
That's it guys!! Those are my main tips in order for you to get a great photo of your family while you're all together...I mean let's face it, how often are we all together? Take advantage of it! Stay tuned for my own "front porch" family photo.
I'd love to see all of the photos that you take! And if you'd like me to edit it for you, I would be happy to do some quick edits. Send me a message on facebook and I can tell you how to get the photo to me.
What's New for 2020?
I've spoke a bit about some of the new things I want to unveil this year...many that involve ways for you to earn free stuff, and who doesn't like Free?
Let's just jump to it! Here are the top 10 exciting new things happening this year!
1. BTS (Behind the Scenes) photos
You’re probably used to seeing perfect family photos on Pinterest. After all, photographers love showing their best work right? I'm hoping to give you some insight on what goes on behind the scenes at some of my sessions with you. I hope to show you some "what you see/what I see" photos as well as some before/after edits. Although I don't typically allow photography during my sessions as it can be distracting to both myself as well as little subjects, but this will slightly change a bit. I have started allowing BTS shots under these conditions....
1. you must stay out of the way 2. I need to be in the shot
As a thank you for your help in showing off what a session with me may look like, you can earn (1) Free digital file from that session when you check in and share to your facebook page AND tag the Mahia Keller Photography facebook page. All instructions need to be followed in order to earn the credit.
2. Cake Smash Discounts!
If you haven't taken a look yet, be sure to check out the new 2020 Cake Smash "Bucket List". These are sessions I've been wanting try! I've had some parents come to me fretting that they have no idea what to do for their little one's 1 year session, this will help eliminate some of that stress for you and give you a big discount at the same time! For more details, click on the Studio Info tab.
I'm not sure about you all, but with just about anything I purchase (product or service) I look at reviews from previous customers. Photography isn't any different. Once you've had a session with me, if you would go to the MKP facebook page and leave a review, you will receive a $10 credit. (this only applies to reviews made starting in 2020. One per client)
4. Customer Service Survey
Piggy Backing off #3, good reviews come from great customer service. My goal is to treat every customer how I would want to be treated. Photo sessions can be super stressful for many and I want you to feel as comfortable as you can, making your session relaxed and fun! Once you've had a session with me you will receive a survey in your email. By filling it out, it will better help me know what ways I can improve, what things you liked most about your session and any ideas you may have in general for future sessions. As my thank you to you, a $10 credit will be added to your account.
5. Mini Schedule Posted
In past years, Ive posted mini sessions as the season/holiday approached but this year, I've posted all mini's for the year in order for everyone to plan. I may add a couple more depending on time and participation of the ones that are posted. These are all subject to change at any time but I don't foresee any issues. The Spring/Easter date may be pushed back slightly due to timing of some other things going on but any changes will be posted on the Fb page. I've also added a Buy 3 get the 4th Free deal too this year! AND if you're a VIP member, you have an extra deal so check the group.
6. VIP Members
Loyalty is highly appreciated at MKP. I realize there are so many wonderful photographers in our area and when you continue to choose me as your family photographer I want to reward you! When you spend $250 in any combination in a calendar year with me, you will be added to our private facebook group.. Here is where you will receive first booking options, new ideas, and extra discounts only for you!
7. Referral Rewards
I've always had a referral program in place but have made it even better! When you tell your friends and family about MKP and they book a session, not only will you get an extra digital file after their session but they will too! How awesome is that!
8. 100 to WIN!
I love it when you love it! It makes me so extremely happy when you love your photos so much you share on your social media! When I post your sneak peak, I will add "<3 and Comments Below...100 & they Win!" on your post. This could be on facebook, instagram, or both so be sure to follow both! When you reach a combination of 100 hearts and comments on the post you will receive (1) extra digital file from your session.
9. Newborn sessions
At the end of every newborn session, you will receive a special gift for your new bundle of joy! Take a photo of your baby with this item, post on your social media page and tag Mahia Keller Photography, and you will receive a $25 MKP credit to use toward your next session. (products or digitals)
10. READ! READ! READ!
I cannot stress this enough! Most everything you could possibly want to know is included in my contract that you sign. This includes the address, time, and what's included in your session. Many times I've been texted or messaged the question "what is the address" or "what time is our session". I don't always have my phone near me right before a session. I could be finishing setting up for your arrival or with another client and may not see your message until after the fact. This could in turn cause you to be late. I only except clients no more than 10 min early and if you're more than 15 min late, your session will need to be rescheduled with a new retainer, and you forfeiting the previous retainer you paid. When I have sessions sometimes back to back, I cannot start later than 15 min past your scheduled session time and your session cannot go beyond the time allotted. This will be strictly enforced this year, especially during super busy times such as the Santa Experience sessions. With that being said, reading your contract in full each time, could benefit you in more ways than one! Throughout the year, I will "hide" freebies in random contracts. Who knows what it will be or where it will be, other than it will be IN the contract somewhere. If you receive a hidden treasure, you must let me know what it is and where you found it prior to your session in order to claim. Anything after that will not be eligible.
I hope you all will enjoy some of the new changes for 2020! I'm always striving to make things better for all of you. Because if it weren't for you, MKP wouldn't be :)
2020 Mini Sessions
This is the first time I've had all sessions for the year planned out....or at least thought of :) If you're in the VIP group and haven't looked, you have something special waiting for you there ;)
You can book any of the sessions at anytime, just know that my full sessions take precedent over mini sessions, therefore making spots very limited. I'm also trying something new this year with having minis open for more than just one day in order to accommodate more people that like to do the themed sessions.
Specific details for each session you will find under that sessions "ad" on the main facebook page. All sessions will require a $50 non refundable retainer that goes toward the total balance, with the remaining balance due 3 days prior to your session date.
I may end up adding 1 or 2 additional themes, but it will depend on time. If you have any themes you'd be interested in doing, send me a note. You never know how many others may have asked about that theme or heck, it could be something I've never thought of!
Finally, if you purchase 3 mini sessions this year, your 4th one will be free! And yes, if you had a Vday Mini with me this year, that will count! *Free session must be used in 2020 and the Santa Experience is not included.
New Year = Creativity
Welcome to my new site and where I've started my first ever Blog!
Most people make "new years resolutions" but I've decided to make 2020 my year of creativity! Stepping out of my comfort zone a little and trying things I've thought I never could do....this being one.
I want to make this blog a place to showcase new and/or favorite sessions and hopefully a little bit on what goes on behind the scenes. I've been working on ways to make things easier for current as well as new clients and some exciting ways for you to earn free stuff! And we all love some freebies right?
Take a look around on the new site and please give me some feedback! What do you like, not like, could make better, etc. I've added some new, exciting stuff for 1 year cake smashes so be sure to check that out if you have a little one with a 1 year birthday coming up this year!
I hope this will give you lots of information in the coming days/months and that you will want to come back often to see what the next exciting thing will be! I have mini session ideas, referral rewards program, and a possible Rainbow Baby project I'm working on that you wont want to miss!
Thanks for being the first to "stop by" in 2020 :) And now to start off with, check out this beautiful family of 3, soon to be 4! They are super recent here to the Lafayette area and I was so excited they found me just by searching online! I was even more excited when momma had so many creative shots she wanted to do! We actually recreated the same pose they had done when their first was on his way. They originally were hesitant to allow anything to be shared but once they viewed their images, they gave me the ok to share! But when your family looks so great, why not! I cannot wait to get their new addition in the studio next month.
Check back soon as I get my first ever blog going where I will showcase my most recent and favorite work with a little insight of me or my amazing clients!