Thursday, May 12, 2011

The True Value of a Portrait

I read this post on a photographer's blog that I met at WPPI in Las Vegas last year. I wanted to share the post with all of you :)

With many inexperienced amateurs purchasing digital cameras and charging less and less for a session, I want to share the true value of a portrait. As a consumer, it is important to be educated in what you are paying for and the worth of what you are getting.

Most of what we do, our clients never see and the actual session is such a small part of what is involved.

We do this every day. Our clients may only do this once every year or even 5 years. It is important to hire a professional who will find out what you want and help you to achieve that.


  • helpful guides for clients including clothing and the displaying of prints in the home – A professional photographer does not like to leave your session to chance and will share helpful information to give you the best session possible.
  • software – It is not uncommon at all for a photographer to have over $1500 worth of software that needs to be continually upgraded, plus extras each year for giving you the most professional, and artistic images.
  • computer – The professional cameras continue to improve and constantly require updated software and computer systems. It would absolutely amaze most people to know how slow the large files can be to work with and the cost of continually upgrading.
  • camera – Most professional photographers have more than entry level digital cameras. Professional photography can be hard on a camera, especially if a photographer shoots in elements such as the beach. This will require additional cleanings and new equipment.
  • lighting
  • props
  • reflectors
  • lenses
  • education – Education is a constant in the life of a true professional photographer.
  • insurance
  • licenses, fees
  • professional, legal forms
  • advertising
  • display samples
  • assistants

The ACTUAL time that a professional photographer puts into a session:

  • corresponding and telephone calls for forms and consulting before a session (30-60 minutes)
  • planning – a photographer will spend time planning and preparing for your session, including scouting, posing, correct equipment, etc. (60+ minutes)
  • the session (1+ hours)
  • choosing the best images, eliminating blinks, etc (1-2 hours)
  • professionally processing the images (6-8 hours)
  • ordering and packaging of prints (if ordered) (1+ hours)
  • uploading images or making CD (about 1 hour)

So, at this point, we are looking at approximately 17 actual hours that go into a session, not to mention the time that a photographer spends additionally each week just to conduct business (advertising, website maintenance, education, ordering supplies, maintaining books and records, correspondence, telephone calls, exploring new industry information, etc.). While it appears that a photographer just shows up and works for an hour or two, there is so much more to what a professional photographer does.

Add to that the actual expenses that a photographer has, most of which you may not actually see because they are behind the scenes, and you will see why you will not find a professional photographer offering their services for next to nothing. They simply cannot afford to stay in business.

So, what makes a photographer worth the money? These are your portraits. Life is fragile and fleeting. One day these images will hold your memories. These images will become your memories. Most of what we remember, was captured in a picture. It is not likely that you will find professional portraits at chain department store pricing. A professional photographer just cannot stay in business at those prices. And at a chain department store, you will probably not find the artistic images that you are looking for in a 15 minute session from someone making minimum wage working there for the summer or for extra money over the holidays. Sometimes, we just have to make a choice.

You get what you pay for when it comes to professional portraits. They are an investment and will be one of the very few purchases that you will still have in 20, 30 years, or even a lifetime. The importance of these memories go so far beyond the paper they are printed on, or the hard drive they are stored on.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Hailey with Mommy and Daddy

What a fun little lady!! Hailey came over today with Mommy and Daddy for an almost 5 month session. We had fun with her little tutu and got a couple shots with Mom and Dad.

Make sure to check out the slideshow at the bottom of the post :)

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anne + Brad - The Engagement

I just made a trip down to Calendonia to meet up with Anne and Brad and photograph their engagement session on Brad's farm.

What an awesome place to take photographs. We started just right by the barn and made our way out onto their land in the utility vehicle. Hopefully get to do their trash the dress session out there too in the stream and more open pastures.

Thanks for having me out to the farm to hang out for an hour. I am excited to be a part of your wedding day coming up before you know it, August 6th, 2011.

Make sure you check out the slideshow of their engagement session on the bottom of this post.

Thanks for stopping by

Sunday, April 17, 2011

J and J Workshop July 17, 2011 - Eau Claire

Excited to announce that myself and Jodee from Life and Style Photography ( have teamed up to do this workshop geared towards the beginner photographer. Anyone who loves their camera and wants to learn how to use it, this will be a great opportunity to learn from two professional photographers. Hands on, live shooting stations, ask questions, and most importantly have fun doing something you love!

Bring your friends for this 6 hour long workshop in the beautiful Florian Gardens.

Please email myself or Jodee for workshop details and registration form.

Emma Joy and Family

She's back again, this cute little lady Emma Joy. For some of you that have seen a few of her images from last year and know her story, thanks for reading again.

Here is the story I posted last year for the new people that don't know about Emma Joy.

Emma Joy Groll was born on July 1st 2008 she was such a perfect little baby 6 lbs 3 oz 21 inches long. I was so happy to finally have a brunette baby! Her and i stayed up late watching tv that night at the hospital. We bonded that night! Not knowing what the next day would bring. The doctor came in the next morning around 11 am. Checking her like they normally do. I remember looking at the doctors face she kept putting her stethoscope up to Emma's chest. She took her out of the room just to take a look at her further. She said I think it should only take a few minutes..2 hours later the news came. The cardiologist from the pediatric department came in..I remember her look..I will never forget her face.

I was so confused that next 20 minutes her explaining that my daughter had Hypo-plastic Left Syndrome. She was born without the left ventricle of her heart.(emma was actually born with a small not developed left ventricle )
The three options they gave us were
1- Take her home to pass away
2- A heart transplant..but they cant guarantee that she would get a heart in time. Or her body might reject it and she will die.
3- Have 3 open heart surgeries in a matter of 2-3 years

We sat there in disbelief! What my baby might die. At that point all i wanted to do was do everything in my power to save my baby. As the doctor was talking to us they rushed emma up to the PICU of the hospital to hook her up to medication to help keep a ductus open for blood flow in her body. If it wasn't for that ductus that stayed open longer then what it usually does she would have gone into cardiac arrest. But thank the Lord hers stayed open!!
They flew her by jet an hour later to Childrens Hospital of Milwaukeer.We did not go home for almost 4 months!

On July 10th 2008 Emma joy had her first open heart surgery called the Norwood surgery. That was a long recovery. Then on September 29th 2008 Emma had to have an early 2nd surgery do to her heart starting to give was time for the Glenn open heart surgery. We finally were able to come home on October 12th 2008. It was a long haul especially being away from our other 2 little girls for so long. We have been home since. A couple nights hospital stay since but other wise Emma is doing great. She is growing like any other child.
What may the outcome of her life persist of. It is a question for everyone. We really don't know. The oldest person living with HLHS is only 23 years of age. They say Emma will probably need a heart transplant at some point. But HLHS babies living is a brand new thing. Her next surgery we are guessing will probably be spring of 2011. Then after that close a whole in her heart later on. But we are trusting our God that He will keep her healthy and live a long life with her family and friends.

Emma doesn't go anywhere because of her heart condition. We cant take the chance of getting her sick. So for Jared coming into our home and helping us take Emma joys first pictures EVER! Was not only a blessing but such a great gift. I was so unbelievably overwhelmed with joy when he showed me her pictures! I never thought anyone could capture the love that is in those eyes of hers that I see every day. The fight for life that she has. Jared is an amazing photographer and now we would like to call friend. We for sure wont be using anyone else. Thank you Jared! You have done something for us that we wont ever forget. God Bless!!
Parents of Emma Joy Groll
Heart Hugs!!

These next 4 images were taken last year in their home.
A new year for the Groll family, and a new edition to their family as well :)
I was so excited to see the girls again, and especially Emma Joy. There is just something about this little angel that makes me smile. The cutest little girl, she's always so happy running around. Now she's talking and giggeling like never before.
It is an honor to be trusted and welcomed into their home to photograph their family, and to be able to watch their little ones grow every year. It's amazing to see the love and devotion that you two have together and with your family. I cannot imagine all of the things Liz and Justin have been through with everything throughout the years with hospital visits, stay overs, and hardly being able to go on a family vacation because of Emma's condition and the risk of her being sick. I am working on something for your family that I plan on announcing May 1st that I hope you are as excited about it as I am. Thanks again for allowing me to come into your home to photograph your family!

Check out the slideshow of Emma Joy and the Groll Family

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Photographers weekend-Jennifer Whalen and Eric Wuennenberg

Haven't posted for awhile, been crazy busy trying to get caught up on some stuff!!

Just a quick post from last weekend. A good friend and old mentor Eric Wuennenberg of Performance Photo out of Westby Wisconsin ( came up to my place in Hudson this weekend for a photoshoot with some fashion models and a tag along with photographer Jennifer Whalen ( Jennifer photographed a couple of her friends with some experimental lighting that Eric and I assisted and hung out at the Guthrie Theatre downtown Minneapolis, so go check out her blog to see some of the shots we helped out on.

After a few hours of helping out, Eric wanted a headshot of himself for his website so we set up in a little cove by the elevator bank with a really neat dark blue window behind. I set up the light for a couple quick shots and we were out of there.
Eric and I also attended a Scott Kelby training workshop from 10-5 last Monday for some live shooting and retouching from a big name pro. It was a neat workshop and learned some useful editing techniques and always fun catching up with a good friend and talking photography for a day or two. Eric also came back this past weekend for another seminar at the Hilton in Minneapolis for Sandy Puc and Jerry Ghionis.

In my opinion Jerry is one of the best wedding photographers in the WORLD. I have seen him twice in Vegas at WPPI and again last weekend in the cities. He is so inspirational and his work is breath taking. I look up to Jerry and his work, and am constantly going to seminars and workshops to learn and educate myself to get better for my future brides :)
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Shane + Barb - The Proposal

Today I had one of the neatest experiences in my life. I do get to travel a lot to photograph weddings, but today was a first for me. A good friend, Shane, had told me he was going to propose to his girlfriend in March and that he wanted me to photograph the proposal. I knew I was going to be home the last week of March and that is actually when he planned on doing it, so it worked out great. Started off this morning at about 5AM to a text message "Want to go get breakfast, I can't sleep" I responded back at about 8AM "Still sleeping....8:30AM I'll meet you at Jacqlyns" We talked a little bit about it there, and asked if he was going to be ready to do it at around 11AM so I could head back home to Hudson. We met at the mall, you could tell he was a little nervous, he was going to do it at her work. All of you know her, she is the cute little short choppy haired lady that is the manager of the Buckle, Barb :)

The excitement to photograph this was awesome and as I walked into the store with this monster camera, I went up to a table, put it down and put a pair of jeans over it (not thinking clearly of covering the strap) so Barb was with a customer and we were walking around and we see her go up to the table where my camera was hidden so we freaked out because she placed a pair of jeans right next to the camera strap and I thought for sure she saw it, but she didnt...

Shane told her to come over by him and she replied back with an "I'm busy..just hold on" No. No. come over here quick I need to talk to you about something......and the rest was history.

Check out the slideshow of his proposal.

Congrats Barb and Shane, I am so happy for you!!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shannon + David - The Aspen Colorado Wedding/Trash the Dress

After a long day of traveling Thursday, a three hour drive from Denver in the snow and rain, we finally arrived at the Silver Tree Hotel just outside of Aspen in Smowmass Village Colorado. I was so excited for an amazing wedding up on the mountain Saturday. Friday was a free day up until about 5PM, so a friend Mike and I hit the slopes around 8:30 in the morning. A fresh 9 inches of powder and a really neat low level bed of clouds overlooking the mountain tops at 11,500 feet was incredible.
I met the wedding party at Cafe Suzzanne for lunch, which was a little cabin up on the mountain. After lunch they wanted to go up to the top of the Elk Camp run because it was a spectacular view of the mountains for a quick group photo.
Rehersal dinner was at the Roaring Forks Mountain Club just down from the hotel. Grilled burgers, chicken, mashed potatoes, and desert was amazing.I started with the girls at the Snowmass Village Salon with hair appointments around 11:30 in the morning, hung out there for awhile and then went up to Shannon's parents room where she was going to be getting into her dress.Shannon was glowing with joy, she was so happy and proud to be getting married. After she finished up getting ready, I set up her and father for a first moment, and then again the same for the groom David after I ran downstairs to grab a quick portrait of him.

The hotel was nice enough to let us into a suite for their first moments on the top floor that was vacant, but we found a hallway that had a little nicer lighting.
The wedding was taking place at the Lynn Britt Cabin, which was a 10 minute snowcat ride up the mountain. Cozy little cabin that held up to about 100 people MAX, however they had 30 people that traveled to their wedding.

It was an amazing experience to be photographing a wedding on a mountain at this little cabin, and the only way to and from it after hours was by snowcat.
Sunday morning around 8am we took off for the hill for a quick trash the dress session with their wedding attire on. David has been skiing for years, even a ski instructor, and has raced as well! Shannon got into skiing about a year ago after falling in love with it during a few ski lessons from David.
What an awesome couple, awesome group of people to be spending 4 days with in Aspen Colorado. Couldn't have asked for better weather, other than -15 mph winds on the actual wedding day for the ceremony. Snowboarding in 9 inches of fresh powder was the neatest thing I've done in the winter.

Thanks Shannon and David for chosing me, and am so excited to start putting your album together.

Their wedding images will be posted within a month at under "Order Images"

Thanks for stopping by.