Photography used be an industry of skilled craftsmanship. In a small town, you may have not even had one photographer. Perhaps you had to travel to a larger city where there might have been 4 or 5 to chose from. Those few could provide it all, because only they knew the craft so well. Today, there might be two on every corner. With the advent of the DSLR, the craft has become more accessible to the average person. Well, maybe not the craft, but certainly the tools. The industry began to shift dramatically. I fully admit that I am a mom with a camera... no doubt about it. I got my first camera on Mother's Day to capture my kids and it wasn't long before this stay-at-home mom started her very own side hustle. However, I quickly learned that it wasn't the tool or that fancy camera that made the photographer, it was the skill... the craft. I had a lot to learn. So I stepped back and began to learn everything I could about photography. I spent several years taking classes and honing my skill. After about 2 1/2 years of solid learning and some great achievements that I was proud of, I stepped back in and was finally to the point were I could comfortably call myself, "photographer." I put in the time, paid my dues and started to build a solid business, which came naturally. It was right about at this time that we moved and I had to start all over building the business in a new place. By this time the industry was flooded with semi-skilled people who had nice cameras and may or may not have had legitimate legal businesses. The value of a digital image dropped dramatically, depending on the "photographer." Competition became fierce, photography became cheaper and the only way to make it in the business is to stand out and set yourself apart. Skilled craftsmanship is part of that, but it became a much smaller part of the bigger picture. To make it in a highly competitive industry you have to brand yourself and market yourself perfectly on all accounts and probably supplement by capitalizing on a small niche in the industry. Your brand personality needs to be in front of your ideal client 24/7 on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter...etc. etc. and you better be on your toes, because those platforms are constantly changing. You have to change with it. Suddenly, being successful in the business of photography became less about the craft and more business savvy. If you are an entrepreneur, you know all the different hats that you must wear and there really is no such thing as part time. You have to be all in. I'm not at all complaining, it is what it is and I signed up for it.
Last year, I decided that 2019 would be the year for me to go all in. I had developed the skill and had the experience, now I had to take the plunge and go full steam ahead into marketing, branding and setting myself apart from the crowd. Even though I thought skill already had set me apart, I knew that wasn't enough. So I did it. I came up with content for blogs, I took a good long hard look at branding and I began marketing to my ideal clients. I was well on my way and beginning to see the results of all of my hard work. Then came summer and everything changed.
I suppose that this summer of transition has a lot to do with the stage of my family life. My kids are older and I am beginning to realize what people meant when they said, "enjoy it, it goes so fast." More accurately, it's like a flip was switched and no longer do you feel that the days of mothering children are endless, you see that they won't be in your home forever... in fact, they won't be children much longer at all. I began to take a hard look at why I started photography in the first place.
Being a stay at home mom, first and foremost, I wanted something that I could do for me. It became a creative outlet and a way to document the most beautiful blessing of my life, my family. Photography still is that for me and I don't regret investing all of the time and money that I did learning this craft that brings me so much joy. Photography has become so much more than creating beautiful photographs, it is capturing the light, love and beauty that I see around me every single day. The laughter, the joy, the connection and yes... sometimes even the heartache. It is all is pure love and that comes from our Creator. Photography, for me, is capturing Light. A Light much more powerful than the physical light that we can see.
Secondly, I went into the business side of photography with the idea that I could capture all of that and share it with others. I could provide the skill as a service to other families while supporting my family. Truthfully, that has always been a bit of a struggle. Yet the letters of gratitude that I got from moms who were in tears after viewing their images and the moments that I captured for her, made it all worth it. Still, juggling a growing family and a business is no easy task because of the amount of time it takes... and the amount of time it takes away. My skill level is high and my time is valuable. So I charge accordingly. I know my worth, then I charge tax.
At the beginning of the summer I was working my business full time while my kids were home from school. It was about three weeks in when I felt like I was missing out on so much time with them... even though we were physically in the same house. I realized that this time is extremely limited. That switch I was talking about flipped and when it did, it changed me. With my first child going into high school this year, it hit me like a ton of bricks that after this summer, we only have four (maybe five) summers left with all of us home together. So I decided to take a break from social media both in my business platforms and my personal to be fully present in the moment with my kids for the rest of the summer. As the noise of it all began to quiet and calm, I realized how much more authentic life is without social media. I also realized that the full time business side of photography was depleting the joy of it. I started to become anxious that if I didn't get back in, I would lose everything I worked so hard for. Yet, if the business was taking so much time away from the very reason that I began photography in the first place, it also took the joy out of it for me. I have always put my family first and taking the time to get down on the floor and play dolls with my 9 year old, shopping with my teen daughter or playing a round of tennis with my son was so much more important than any social media or Google analytics stat. They truly don't stay young very long. I just can't afford to sacrifice time with them, vying for attention in the vast sea of photographers.
So I am scaling back. I am not quitting photography by any means, but I won't be spending as much time on the marketing side of things. I will continue to provide an exceptional level of service and skilled craftsmanship to my clients. I am, however, choosing to pursue other professional endeavors to support my family that will allow me to be on their schedule and fully present when they are home from school.
What this means for Faye Sevel Photography...
1. I will be taking on only a very limited number of sessions each year
2. You will see a lot less of me on social media
3. I am ending the Dance Ambassador Program
If less posting, blogging, marketing etc. means the death of my business, I'm really at peace with that. The whole point of this wasn't that... the point was to capture light and love for others at a high level of skill and service, which is what I will continue to do. I recently met a family who asked me not to post any of their images online, because the experience was meant only for them. I always have and can certainly respect those wishes. Now, I think I understand that mindset a little more. Perhaps the industry will shift again and people will value the skilled craft again... and maybe it won't. In any case, this summer began as the summer of hustle and juggle and it has ended with much more clarity and grace. My kids start school on Monday and without a doubt, the best half of the summer was when I slowed down and began to take it all in. I will always be capturing the light and love that I see around me and I will continue to soak up every single moment of this beautiful life that I get to live with my family.
Less posting, more living. <3
- 30 minute session for families, children and teens
- 15 full resolution digital images delivered via direct download with a print release
- venue fee included in your price
- non-refundable and no reschedules, however you can transfer to another family
Link to reserve your date and time: https://fayesevelphotography.bigcartel.com/
Choosing a photographer can be a daunting process. I'm sure that you even know at least 5 different photographers. So choosing one that will give you a memorable experience and a good return on your investment is no easy decision. Here are my top three things to considering when choosing the right photographer for you.
Check out their portfolios. Do you like what you see? Most photographers have a signature style and you should be drawn to it, even if you can't quite put your finger on why. Photographers specialize in different genres such as documentary, lifestyle or portraiture. Their style might be light and airy, dark and moody, or classic and timeless. While versatility is great, choosing someone based on consistent style that you see in their portfolios will ensure that you will get exactly what you are expecting. If they are consistent you should see the same results not only in their portfolios, but throughout their social media as well, Right away, if their style doesn't match what you are looking for, it's time to move on.
When choosing a photographer, you aren't just picking someone to take photographs, you are purchasing an experience. A photo session is more than just showing up and having photos taken. Does your photographer offer a consultation to help you pick outfits and design your session? Do they make an effort to get to know you and what you are looking for? How will they make you feel confident during your session? Once the session is over, will they help you choose images that fit your needs? Your overall experience will be enhanced if you choose someone who works with you on each step, from initial consultation to choosing a session date, to helping you pick out outfits and designing your session and finally to the delivery of your final images. A great place to find out about working with a particular photographer is Google Reviews. Or simply ask the photographer what's included in the session fee and what the process is like.
Most importantly, what is it going to cost you and what are you actually getting for that? If you want someone to just snap away, you can find that easily and cheaply. But is that what you really want? Maybe it is and that's fine, but good photography is not cheap. When you invest in good photography, you are investing in a photographer who goes above and beyond for their clients and has the education and skills to do so. They see their work as their art and take that very seriously. Will your photographer send you a bunch of digital images with their watermark on them? You might actually be paying the photographer to advertise for them, if that's the case. You won't be able to print those images. Does your photographer offer high resolution digital images that can be printed? Will your photographer give you artwork to hold and cherish forever? Investment is about the overall experience AND the final product you are investing in.
If you are looking for a photographer with phenomenal style who gives her clients a memorable experience and an exceptional product, I'm your photographer!!! Let's set up your consultation and start planning your session today! Contact me here to get on my schedule.
1. Hire a professional photographer who specializes in Dance Photography. The industry agrees with me on this... dance photography is the combination of two very distinct disciplines. It's important to find a photographer experienced in working with dancers. The dancers that I have worked with will tell you that I help them translate what they do in a three-dimensional world into a two-dimensional photograph. Dancing on stage, at the barre or in center is much different than hitting a dance pose for photographs. We build our poses from the ground up starting with the feet and going all the way to the tips of your fingertips making sure that all of the angles look good in two dimensions. Dance photo sessions take such a long time, because every single pose is very detailed. A photographer that specializes in any other genre simply will not have the skills to effectively pose you for photos or the knowledge to look for details that showcase your technique. I know that you want to look your best and it's my job to help you get the shots that you will love!
2. Carefully consider your wardrobe. What type of look are you going for? Are you more classical or contemporary? Do you want something edgy or romantic? Will you be using the photos for your personal enjoyment or for auditions? If the photos are for auditions, what are the requirements for the school or company that you're auditioning for? These are all important questions to answer before deciding on outfits for your photo shoot. A long flowing skirt will enhance movement beautifully. A strong, edgy outfit will give you that sharp modern look. Don't choose anything that you cannot comfortably move in. The last thing that we will want is to restrict your movement. Taking time to put a lot of thought into your session will go a long way to produce the results you want!
3. Collaborate for posing. Dance photo sessions are a collaboration between the photographer and the dancer. Come ready with some poses in mind that play on your unique strengths. It's very important for you to communicate to me what you would like to do with your dance session. Some dancers are dramatic, others are looking for a bright and vibrant look. I will make lighting and background choices based on what you tell me about yourself. Some dancers are very flexible and others are extremely strong. Poses that reflect your strengths and dance personality help to make your photo shoot unique to you. I will have dance poses on hand, but I always recommend coming to the session with poses in mind. I will often ask you to show me the pose before I even pick up my camera. I will tell you what works and what doesn't. If something is not quite right in the pose, I can help you to tweak it so that it looks great in a photograph.
4. A word about safety. I am a stickler for safety. Before we even begin a session I will ask you to warm up your body for at least 15 minutes with dynamic stretching. It is simply not safe to go into poses without preparing your body first. Throughout the session we will begin with two supporting legs, progress to one and then finish with more advanced poses, much like what you might do in class. If you have any concerns or pain issues, I need to know about it before we start. Also, there is a lot out there on social media these days and dancers often come to me with crazy, contortionist poses. I know that you want amazing photos, but doing anything that risks injury to your body is just not worth it. Getting great photos is not about shocking stunts. It's more about beautiful, clean lines. In fact, I believe this is important to consider not just for your photographs, but in dance in general.
5. Take your time and have fun. Dance sessions take a lot of time to get the shot. Expect to work on the same pose several times until you are happy with the results. Don't get discouraged if something isn't working. If a pose isn't working, we will just move on to the next one. This is totally normal and part of the process. My dancers tell me that my photo sessions are the most fun that they have had dancing in a while. It is a completely different dance experience and we literally often laugh to the point of tears. I love collaborating with dancers...combining the art of photography and the art of dance results in some truly beautiful and powerful images.
My dance sessions typically book at least one month in advance. This gives us a lot of time to plan to make your dance session a success.
Click here: Schedule your Free Consultation!
Did you know that the tween to teen years are the least professionally photographed stage of your child's life? When they are newborns and toddlers, they grow so fast that you want to document all of the stages and changes. As they get older, you are busy... they are busy and before you know it you are booking their High School Senior Session and they are off to college. I'm here to tell you why you shouldn't forget to photograph the tween to teen years. I'm talking about the ages of 9-18, more specifically ages 12-16. Yes, you will have loads of selfies, sports and school photos, but do you have photos who capture who they truly are in a way that empowers them to embrace their uniqueness? I specialize in this age range for many reasons of which I will share with you now!
1. Give your Tween a Voice!
Photography is a very powerful way to give your t(w)een a voice. At this stage in their lives they are becoming. No longer children, not yet an adult, this stage is all about figuring out who they are and what they love to do! When I began to photograph dance, I quickly realized that this age group loves to be photographed doing what they love to do. There is no better way to let your tween know... "hey, I hear you... I see what's important to you and I think it's amazing. Let's capture that."
2. Photography Empowers your T(w)een!
At this stage in their lives, they are super self conscious and easily influenced. I have two children in this stage, right now and I know how hyper self aware they are. Does this outfit look ok? Is my hair just right? I also know that this is the period in their lives when they are consciously questioning who they are and what they value. By photographing them in a way that shows them just how incredibly beautiful/handsome/unique they are just the way they are, it empowers them and boosts their self confidence. Building their confidence helps them to embrace who they are and to be strong in the face of all sorts of peer pressure. I think that's quite a game changer in the life of a tween/teen!
3. Finding their Tribe!
One of the most exciting sessions that I offer are best friend sessions. I decided to offer these sessions because I know that your t(w)een's circle is incredibly important to them. I also firmly believe that when they find their tribe, they help each other to be strong together. When you surround yourself with people who love and support you for who you are, you feel less pressure to be someone you're not. Your teen's friends are important to their lives and their development into adulthood. Best friend sessions have been known to strengthen that bond and to let your teen know that you love and support that they have found their tribe!
4. Social Media
Need I even say anymore? Like it or not, social media is here to stay and it does play a big part in your teen's life. I always tell my kids that it is what you make it. It can be a negative or a positive, make it a positive for you and for others. Giving them photos that they are proud of to share on social media can help to make it a more positive experience for them. If your teen embraces their natural beauty, talents and authentic sense of self, he or she will inspire others to do the same! This is all about building each other up!
5. Family... Their Soft Place to Fall
It has been a while since you captured your family together with your older kids. This goes back to this time in your life being the least photographed stage. It has actually been studied that kids who see their photos throughout their home with their family experience a boost in self esteem. By displaying photographs of your family together, you are letting them know how important they are to you. At this stage of separation, yet still needing that soft place to fall, it's incredibly important for them to see and feel that.
David Krauss, a licensed psychologist from Cleveland, Ohio says, “I think it is really important to show a family as a family unit. It is so helpful for children to see themselves as a valued and important part of that family unit. A photographer’s job is to create and make the image look like a safe holding space for kids where they are safe and protected. Kids get it on a really simple level.”
So whether it be to capture your tween or teen doing what they love, being who they are or if it's with their friends or your family together... I know first hand what's important to them. I also know how to capture them in a way that will make them feel empowered and valued. I offer individual portrait sessions, best friend sessions and family sessions for your tween/teen. Sessions can also be tailored to what you specifically need. Contact me here to talk about your needs and get scheduled! Trust me... time passes too quickly. Don't miss capturing this pivotal stage in your child's life!