Today marks Kimberlin Gray Photography's 2nd birthday! Two years ago, I invoiced my first client. I am so grateful to those who believed in me those very first few months when I was just starting out and trying to figure out how to make this business work.
Here's one of my sister that I took right before I started charging people and on the right, one I took this past weekend. It's so fun (and maybe a bit embarrassing) for me to look back and see how far I've come - so I thought I'd share with you a bit of that progress.
1. Note the completely 'blown out' skin on the left. That's called over-exposed! She's pale, but not that pale! If you look at her fingers, you can't hardly see her fingernails - they are all one long line of brightness. That is not well done. Good thing I wasn't charging her money!!
2. Next, the neon colors make that photo a bit hard on the eyes. Many just-starting-out photographers make the mistake of trying to cover up their mistakes with overprocessing with Photoshop. I apparently did the same! Notice how the photo on the right looks natural and normal. Exactly what she really does look like.
3. Lastly, note how much crisper and sharper the photo on the right is. You can almost see each of her eyelashes clearly defined. It is hard to tell in this websized version, but when I zoom in 100% in Photoshop, I can actually see each eyelash perfectly and the reflection of the sun and me taking the picture in her eyes!)
That means that the photo is completely in focus (well, the part of the photo that I want to be in focus, after all). I chose to 'blur' the background but her face is the focus and you can see all of her features clearly. On the left, her eye lashes are a bit muddy and you can tell that her face is not completely in focus especially when you look at her lips and eyes.
My prices then were pretty much in line with the quality of work I was producing. It is humbling to look back and remember how great I thought I was ;-) and how many people were commenting on my photos and telling me how fabulous they were.
Only now, with experience, can I see all the technical flaws. If I were just taking pictures of my own children or my family/friends, it wouldn't be a big deal. But I believe strongly that charging people money for photography means that you have enough skill to produce good, solid images (properly exposed, good composition, not overly processed, etc.) and set up your business legally, pay taxes, etc. It is easy to pick up a good DSLR camera and 'become a photographer' - but it is not nearly as easy to sustain a business for a few years!
Owning your own photography business is about 10% taking/editing photos and 90% running a small business. I had no idea how much it would cost me to own my own business....that's why I had to raise my prices, and will continue to re-evaluate my pricing structure to stay profitable (since the US Gov't takes nearly 35% of what I charge clients!)
I appreciate all those clients who have stuck with me over the past two years and continue to come back to me. I <3 each and every one of you - and the new clients who will hopefully be coming my way soon! So, I'd like to give a little something back to you!
ON TO THE CONTEST :-D
I am going to give away one prize for former clients and one prize for future clients!
Former clients: To win an 11x14 Gallery Wrapped Canvas of your favorite image from a past session with me, simply take a photo of your displayed KGP images in your home and post it on the Facebook "Fan" Page at www.facebook.com/KimberlinGrayPhotography. I will put all names of those who post a photo in a hat and draw a winner!
Future clients: To win a complimentary mini-session, head to the Facebook Fan Page, "like" us, and then comment ON THIS BLOG POST (not facebook) with what type of session you would love to win! A random comment will be chosen.
**Note: Only those who have never been photographed by KGP are eligible. Mini-Session fee is complimentary, purchase of prints/files is not included. You must live in the Hampton Roads area (or be willing to travel here). Mini-sessions can be baby, child, family, couples or maternity. Newborn and birth not included.**
Can't wait to see the photos and read your blog comments! Contest will end Wednesday, July 20th at 10pm EST. Thanks, everyone!