Sunday, September 29, 2013


I'm sitting down to my 2nd Post in this Series after getting lots of feedback from a handful of Photo-Friends & have realized - this is all going to be taken a little differently by everyone.
(missed the opening Blog Post? : SERIOUSLY? : A PHOTOGRAPHERS JOURNEY)

Please know, I'm only sharing MY thoughts, opinions & experiences. We're all on a very different Journey. We shouldn't want to do things exactly alike - we're Artists.

We don't all have the same creative ideas for poses, what editing techniques to use, or opinion on what equipment will do the trick. All of which play a huge factor in our own personal 'artistry.'

It's so, so sad for me to see Clients struggling with who to hire. There's HUNDREDS of us out there - - in every facet of the Wedding Industry...DJs, Coordinators, Cake Designers, do they find the RIGHT one!?

Do Clients go with what they might want to afford (Cousin Joe) - or with the person that can produce the quality of images they so deeply want? The ones that will stand the test of time.

Do they settle ~ or reach for the stars?

When we started? There weren't these wonderful Weekend Seminars where we could all converge & sponge from fellow Photographers as they spoke on stage to the masses, you couldn't pay several hundred bucks & have gorgeous models pose for you while the lead Photographer walked you through exactly which settings to use, we didn't have Blog support, Branding suggestions or step by step explanation on how to run a Business broadcast daily online for Free! (it's like a dream come true?!)

I literally spent hours upon hours trying to figure out putting together an HTML Website - weeks! There were no simple Templates to buy for $100 & manipulate easily as you saw fit.

I would take my favorite 5 Photos & print them at countless Labs to figure out the best quality + color correctness. I ordered at least a 1/2 dozen different Business cards ~ since places didn't just hand out samples to earn your Business - - it was ALL done through trial & error. We struggled. It was hard...but, that's what gets you to where you want to be someday!! Hard work, dedication & TIME.

You don't just buy a camera, start pushing the button & 'Viola!' it's perfect!

When we were even considering doing this, I had reached out to several local Photographers via Phone + Email asking if I could just SPEAK to them...maybe come watch what they did...and not a single one got back to me. It broke my heart & I took it very personally. 

It made no sense to me that no one wanted to show off what they could do & be part of a new Dream!

So, we jumped in...ourselves. 

We started shooting for Free (THANK YOU, HALE FAMILY) to make sure it was something we could even remotely handle. I had my Business License, Insurance & back-up Cameras before we ever took a penny! When I mentor - that's big to me. Be legit! Treat Clients how YOU would want to be treated. Do what feels 'right' shouldn't all be about the dollar. This is your passion, remember?

Practice Practice Practice. And, be honest about it! Tell your Clients you've only shot 3 them a full the end, it's that Honesty that will get you happy clients!

If they go into it expecting perfection (since, of course, that's all you've showcased on that great new Blog & Website), and you can't deliver that from start to finish? You're risking your name being tarnished long-term. Which not only breaks your heart...but, doesn't make good business sense. And, charging appropriately matters, too! But, wait! Let's discus PRICING next time! xo


Thank you for joining me & following this Photography Series! If you're wondering where to start, try SERIOUSLY? : A PHOTOGRAPHERS JOURNEY! But, this Post? It's about PRICING!!

So here you are!

You don't even want to admit how many hours you've spent surfing the Web for amazing Blogs, or Facebook for posts from all the different photographers out there in your Market...and beyond.

You're comparing their work to yours & searching for the correct pricing for you, right?

~ What do charge my Clients?! ~

It's the magical question that I honestly still struggle with to this day!!

My simple answer? What allows you to sleep at night?!

What makes you feel like you're being fair to your Client - AND fair to yourself? 

If you're handing over your time, energy & talent - leaving yourself feeling somewhat 'taken advantage' of? You're not charging enough. 

If you stress out having to hand over your work to the Client because the quality has left you nervous? You're charging too much.

Going back to our own Journey...every Wedding was a learning opportunity for us - heck, it still is!

Of course, we started out charging around $200 after shooting for Free...and worked our way up over the years.

I see so many Photographers out there in a 'higher range' & as an artist in the field - my jaw just hits the floor. HOW do they even get that?! How do they sleep at night? And, WHY is the Groom wearing a Blue Tux...or why is there a Pink cast to their hair?! Is their skin really grainy & orange? 

When you come across photos where you see flaws in the work - you automatically wonder "How can they possibly be charging so much more than I am? That must mean I can raise my prices, right?! RIGHT!?"

Unfortunately, I do feel that the general public puts a whole lot of weight towards your legitimacy & quality based on your price - which makes no sense to me!

Compare PHOTOS - - not prices!

I see a photographer that recently started in our area that charges just a few hundred dollars less than us for a full Wedding. I also see one that's done just a handful compared to us - that charges significantly more! 

Once again, the key for me is charging a Price that I feel is fair

We're certainly not the cheapest ~ but there's plenty out there that are far more expensive!

I'm sure there's people who see our work now & wish they'd gotten the same quality from us early on in our Journey. (I will now cringe & cower). Of course, let's remember we all start somewhere & how important it is to charge accordingly.

It's also important to know that Free (or 'affordable') photography will always be a favorite!

When Auntie Pam (who's taken her camera to a few Weddings now) says she can do it for you, a lot of people will jump on that!! And, that's okay. Everybody loves their own photos! It's's their memories!

It's hard not to take that to heart when you see people gushing over these photos that you feel could be you're doubting yourself again... 

But, the important thing is to believe in yourself & keep doing what you do...!

Stay true to you - and your Clients will hire you for that...!

One of the things that I've struggled with is : I'll be sitting at my computer working + haphazardly listening to the 'photographers showcase of the day' teaching the masses how to be a good Business person - or how to take correct photos. When they start talking about Pricing, they toss out these huge numbers. I, again, have to just sit back & be realistic re: what Market I'm in personally - and know what is going to work for me.

Niels & I have always shot together - we've never done limited-time Bookings & we've always handed over every file that we kept to our clients as quickly as possible.

It was my Philosophy from the very beginning to treat Clients exactly how I would want to be treated ~ and it continues to be how I run my Business today! I hope this Post somehow helps you...and, now, I'm off to get some sleep tonight! xo


Have you ever wanted to be a Photographer!? ...or wondered if Photography was really 'your thing'? Are you doubting if you have taken the right path & wonder how everyone else manages to pull it off?

Well, you're not alone - we've ALL been there - - we're all THERE....!

Recently, a long-time local Photographer emailed me & asked for my support. 

They were feeling a bit 'ruffled' with just how many Photographers have popped up in our area lately - many of which do not have Insurance, Licensing & are not paying Taxes...along with criticizing the quality of their work.

This Photographer took to FaceBook & let it all out. I didn't get a chance to chat with them at all prior to sharing their feelings & once I saw what was written, I was slightly...well, shocked!

Unfortunately, while the points may be valid, it also made some shooters out there feel somewhat 'squashed' in their own Dreams of getting into this business...following their passion.

I would never want that - for anyone!

Every single Photographer that has reached out to us for guidance starts by saying, "This is my PASSION!" Of course it is! Hold onto that - - don't forget it - - it can flicker out if you let it!

Some of the leading start-up Industries right now are in the Wedding Business - Photography + Event Planning. I've seen it literally EXPLODING over the past few years & as someone who has struggled immensely to get to the point they are today? I'd like to be a voice amongst the craziness & let everyone out there know 'you're not alone!'

For some reason, most of us have this silly 'I can't share MY knowledge' + 'Wait! How come THEY got that booking & I didn't?!' playing around in their head - - I've realized that it just doesn't make any sense in today's quick-changing + easy-to-enter Market.

Maybe I'm wrong here, but I feel that we should all be working together...and making sure our paying Clients are getting the best possible quality! Every Client should be working with the best fit for them. If you're Booked for a date, know exactly who they should call next. I don't want to be a Secret - do you?

With that being said ~ I'm going to go ahead & make this a little 'series' of Posts regarding our Journey through the Wedding & Photography Industry. My thoughts & observations ~ and, you're Welcome to join us!

I'd love to see you get you to the best that you can be - follow that Dream - and let's ALL have a goal as simple as...Happy Clients!! xo

(If you're interested in following this Series, our next Blog Post can be found here : SERIOUSLY? : GETTING STARTED)
....I know ~ I know...this is almost a yr old...but, we hardly have ANY photos of us together! Might just need to make THAT a goal for us over here!! "-)

Thursday, September 19, 2013


When I very 1st met Jake & Sarah back in Feb., they told me they were already starting to work on some of the hand-made elements of their day! I wasn't aware just how personal + intimate all of those details could make a Wedding day feel! From Center-pieces to decorations ~ everything you see from their day was made by the Bride & Groom - or someone that loves them VERY much!! 
When I arrived at Terra Savia to meet the ladies, the entire house had been taken over by hair & make-up - beautiful girls in all directions! I was told the Bride was spending some time relaxing. So, I approached the Master Suite quietly & was greeted with a beaming smile & relaxed gaze! Sarah & her Mom had created the most peaceful Oasis all to themselves ~ where the Bride had just stepped from the bath & was eagerly awaiting my's my arrival that often times brings many emotions. 
I could see it in her eyes ~ it was 'Official' was time to get Married!! 
Well, soon...soon enough. First, I went to work on all those amazing details she had waiting for me...!
This Parasol was airbrushed just for her ~ in the beautiful colors of the day...! I worked, Sarah began rehearsing her Vows with her Mom. 
They were so touching & wonderful to hear as I worked. She fell into her Moms arms with emotion...I smiled, shared a tear & continued quietly working...I love my job...
 With all of the wonderous Diamonds out there that symbolize commitment these days, I gush over the unique & personal stones that say so much about a person! Stunning!
The Bridal girls were all tending to each other + themselves for their flawless look!
 Back in the Bridal Suite, Xoie was putting on the finishing touches...
 Back in town? ...well, what more could the boys need? 
They had their pooch - and their hooch...! 
(did I just say that?)
 With the Ceremony starting in just minutes, Jake was waiting for us at the Contento site - where it was 95' out with minimal shade to offer them...but, not a single complaint was spoken & I could tell that all that mattered to them was this moment. 
I just adored how she gushed at her man...! 
She could NOT take her eyes off of him...!
The look of Love? It's right there...
Oh, yeah! We found that veil! 
 Here we go...!
Awww ~ Mommas...!
I LOVED her embroidery work - the trees, the tables ~ man, I get cheers here if I manage to master a BUTTON!
One thing Jake & Sarah are NOT afraid to do is live this Life to it's fullest! 
They have been fortunate enough to Travel together & used that as the basis of their Table pieces! 
So cute! 
 More fun & adorable personal touches!
One of the things I love most about Contento is the fact that the Property is yours! The Clark Wedding invited all of their Family & Friends to Camp out, get cozy & really make a night of it! It was so comfortable & laid back ~ sounds absolutely perfect to me!
The kids had a blast exploring & playing...
So many great details in every direction...!
There's Paella ~ and then there's GERARD'S PAELLA
If you've never had it - it's a mix of veggies, different meats & rice. We haven't seen it since we were in Barcelona back in 2011 ~ but, Gerard NAILED it! PERFECTION!
Sun's fading! Time to shoot!
How cute is this!?
Jake made the Mini-Golf runs himself & it was a hit!
 ...Time to dance the night away...
Thank you, guys, so SO much for sharing this day with us! From the moment I the moment I left, I could just tell you were both in such loving hands! It warms my heart to see two people so in Love & off to share their next Adventure. I hope Maui is positively GORGEOUS this week!
...and, hopefully we'll see you guys in that Mosh Pit - if I recall - he DID promise you'd be in the very front row!! xo
Dress Design | Sue Wong
Bridal Boutique | Shadows
Shoes | Nina
Hair & Make-up | Xoie Angelica
Grooms Atire | Wine Country Tux
Rings | E. R. Sawyer
Bridesmaid Dresses | White House/Black Market
Floral Design | Mom + Autumn Moore
Officiant | Cousin Faith
Catering | Gerard's Paella
DJ | Noah D 
Event Design | PTE Rentals
Day of Coordination | Olivia Saxe
PhotoBooth | Party Booths
Transportation | MTA
© Larsen's Photography