Five Insights from the Photo Retreat:

Family, Maternity, Newborn

The Love Soaked Retreat was the reset I needed to feel inspired and re-focus my vision on my art and business. 

Between the variety of sessions we shot, the retreat workbook, the assignment we did before we even arrived and the portfolio reviews, I was able to tune into me.

Several of these takeaways are insights are I had already been dipping my toes in or felt a tugging on my heart to do so, but now I’m ready to go all in.

1. My Focus 

The retreat allowed me to have one focus for three days – photography. On an average day, I’m torn between ten different things. I know everyone feels this one. But once I wrapped my sessions last fall, I’ve struggled balancing work and life. I’m realizing how often I’ll sacrifice my work time when something else comes up.

So, I’ve recommitted myself and am trying to set a better schedule. I feel nervous about this one with summer on the horizon and kids being home more, but I’m hoping I can find a happy medium.

2. Slowing Down

Since I started shooting with film, I’ve learned to take my time at sessions. Film lends to an easy and slow pace. I set up each shot and wait before pressing the shutter button. I take breaks to change rolls. Plus, there isn’t the instant gratification of knowing the results on the spot. 

With this in mind, my family sessions will now be an hour to ninety minutes. I like having the space to get a variety of images with a longer session. The extra time also allows for everyone to warm up and settle in without a time pressure. 

Think your kids can’t last that long? Here’s the thing…they probably can. I’m not making them sit still and smile. They’ll get to be kids and explore and have fun as a family. If I get what we need before then, great, but there won’t be the time crunch to!!!

I will also be taking more time to pre-plan each session with each family from the location, to outfits, to the time of day, to the little things you want to remember. Communication will be key!

3. Locations 

I have been thinking about locations a lot lately and what inspires me and what doesn’t. It was so nice to shoot in a different studio and homes at this retreat. Also, I recently had a client who requested a “beach like” location and I loved the change up! 

Homes: This is your place. Your kids feel comfortable here. You don’t have to leave to get to a session. It’s where you make memories as a family everyday and will always be special. 

Outside in Nature: My first true family session love is in nature with a beautiful sunrise or sunset. Kids have room to run and be free. You don’t have to clean your house and there’s just something about being outside in nature with beautiful light that inspires me. 

Studios: I’ll admit, I’m only about 50% in love with studio sessions. However, it is a great alternative for an indoor sessions, especially now that I’m shooting all film and it requires a lot of light. Plus, Texas is hot for the majority of the year, so those factors makes up the other 50%.

What I’m not inspired by anymore. The Kimbell Art Museum. It’s over-crowded and I’m find that I end up moving families around and resorting back to “everyone smiling at the camera” for each set up. I need a break. For the time being, I’m not going to book any new sessions at The Kimbell.

I’m searching for new nature locations to use this year. I’m encouraging clients to consider an in-home or studio session. I’m also going to ask you if you have a spot that’s special to you when you book. 

4. Feelings over Faces 

There is so much meaning in the art of family photography. It’s not just faces, it’s feelings, moments, looks, love. Years from now, these little nuances will fill your heart with the memories of what today holds. Plus, each session comes with a beautiful heirloom album to tell that story for years to come. 

I will always get “the everyone smiling at the camera” shot, but then let’s move on and capture your children snuggling with you, their curls in the light, baby thighs, that look that is so your daughter and your family being you.

“But we’re not naturals!” I heart it all the time. No worries, I have you covered. I’ll direct your family to help make those natural connections.

5. Time

As it stands, I do the majority of my business from mid September through November for family photos. I am so grateful to all my returning families who come back each year for photos. However, I’m finding this isn’t sustainable business wise or personally. See number 1 and number 2! 🙂

Last fall, I shot over 30 families in a short time period. This year, I’m encouraging families to try a family session during the summer. I will only be offering a limited number of full family sessions (no minis) during the fall. I encourage you to change it up and try a summer session!

Interested in an in-home or studio session this summer?! Now is the time to reach out and get on your session on the calendar. Sessions booked by May 26 will receive $50 off the booking fee.

Or join the waitlist for fall!

I know my business and vision are intertwined and very personal to me. Thanks for allowing MGP to change and explore new areas as I grow in this journey as well. 

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