Value | Ocala Boudoir Photographer

I never thought I’d reach a point where I felt the need to write a post like this, to bare myself in a way I’m really not sure that I should. I feel as though all my client’s in some way’s become a friend. Someone I chat with, joke with, and follow a long watching the important moments of their life…. if only through Facebook or the occasional email. Maybe that’s why I feel like I can say this? Those of you who are  in that circle of friends, the ladies I refer to as “my girl’s” when talking to a new client I think will understand. I hope will understand. I started my journey with photography back in High school. I wanted so badly to take the photography course that my high school offered but I guess every other kid in school did too, there was actually a waiting list for the class. So it fell to the wayside. A couple year’s later my first daughter was born and I bought my first SLR 35mm camera. I remember trying to hard to produce those awesome artsy shot’s I saw in books and online. I remember my mother in law lending me her first digital camera { talk about a dinosaur it took FLOPPY DISKS!}. I took photo after photo of my daughter in an attempt to create *something* close to what I thought looked professional. More years and babies passed by, again my love of photography pushed to the side by life. Around the time my son was born I bought a sweet little Kodak point and shoot. It took pretty decent photo’s and I got the crazy idea in my head “Hey! I can be a photographer!” So me and my little Kodak joined the army of Craigslist photographers. The one’s who offer family photos’ for only $25 and then edit them with free software {heck if they are even edited at all!}. Did people book me? Heck yea! Who doesn’t love a deal? And $25 was a heck of a deal to get family photo’s with a disk of images. Were my images great? HELL NO. Quite frankly I’d be embarrassed to even admit to some of my past work. Not long after I bought my first real DSLR camera, a Sony A200. I worked that camera until both it and I reached a point where I needed more. I learned a lot over those year’s. I learned that I needed things like Insurance {What if my client sues me? or gets hurt during in some freak accident during the session?}, I needed real professional editing programs, I needed marketing material, and to put money into education to learn how to be a better photographer. I shot everything and anything back then. Weddings, babies, maternity, families, kids, & boudoir. Quite frankly anything that paid. I learned I hated 90% of it. I love working with couple’s, and I do love a great wedding every now and then. Boudoir is where my heart is though. Taking a woman through the whole process.. Consultation, hair/make up, her shoot and then showing her those final images and being told how fabulous/sexy/wonderful/fantastic she felt during her shoot and how in love with her images she is… For me there’s nothing like that feeling. Knowing that *I* did that. I helped her. I showed her how beautiful she is. I showed her that she does not have to be a size 0 to be sexy and desired. That quite frankly is why I do what I do. I don’t do this to get rich, but paying my bills would be great. I don’t do this to be famous, but hey..knowing I’m making a name for myself around town is awesome. I do this for my girl’s. I do this because after 4 kids and 2 boudoir shoots and never being below a size 10 in my adult life.. I know how good it feel’s to have those photo’s. To be someone other than my normal mom-wife self for that couple of hour’s.

I got an email today. And I’ve gotten a few like it lately. There’s some confusion on when the $99 session’s were available and when they ended and that they are no longer available. I made the decision to take them away after working with 7 girl’s in one weekend. Yes.. 7 boudoir shoot’s in 2 day’s. You’d think the amount of work would make me happy, and while I value of my ladies… I know I wasn’t on my game that weekend. By the end of the day I was exhausted and worn out. Sore from showing each of my girl’s how to do those crazy poses you see me post. Thinking about the amount of work still left to do when I locked up the studio each day left me mentally drained. Sorting, editing, backing up the photo’s.. All the behind the scenes work that goes on to provide my ladies with beautiful images. I love what I do. Please do not confuse that. I also value not only myself but every single one of my clients. This is why I took away the $99 session. I don’t want to provide my girls with a cheap ala craigslist session. One where she’s just a number and a dollar sign. Another click of my shutter in my photography factory. I want to provide a quality experience for each of my girls. I want her to be comfortable, laugh-a lot, have fun and just have an opportunity to  re-discover herself. I want the final product I put in her hand to be one that’s beautifully made, one that will last.. Not a cd I bought on sale at Staples and wrote her name in sharpie on. {Oh yes this does happen}. I don’t want the first time she meet’s me to be the day she shows up for her session . I want to build a relationship and a sense of trust with her. Booking a boudoir shoot isn’t something you just do. It takes courage to meet someone and ask them to take photo’s of you undressed and to make those photo’s not only beautiful but flattering. Providing these things on a $99 budget wasn’t possible. The time away from my family, the expenses involved, the value I place on every relationship I build with each of my girl’s is worth far more to me than that. Booking a boudoir session, doing something for yourself that will make you feel wonderful, that will leave you feeling beautiful and sexy and on top of the world.. quite frankly should be worth than $99 to you. Yes.. photography is a luxury. I get it. 110% I get it.  I know that what I provide is not a necessity. But that’s what makes it special. I know that not everyone can afford what I offer, I’ve come to term’s with that. I do what I can to make my services accessible to my girl’s, while still finding a way to pay my bill’s and expenses.

I write this not from a place of anger, but a place of sadness and exhaustion… of heartbreak. I love what I do and I firmly believe that every woman should experience boudoir even if it’s not with me. Just make sure that the person you do choose to work with in such an intimate way.. values you and themselves.

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