Customer Service for photographers needs work

Wall Art, Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait

Customer Service for portrait photographers has been on my mind lately and it makes me really sad how much we as a group haven’t been serving our clients.

I lump myself in to this group because I was there in the beginning of the digital photography wave and am totally guilty of giving just digital files. Which equals horrific customer service. That is for sure my biggest pet peeve but we’ve been over that on a previous blog post. Check that out here for my feelings on the disc being all you might have in ten years. The disc is the worst offense because it puts all the work on busy moms and as a mom of two I know Moms do not have time to organize, backup, cull, print, deliver, frame and hang their portraits. 

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait

We have to stop showing moms 1,000 and one images, she’ll get a headache

But this brings up more point where we photographers have been failing our amazing clients. Culling, don’t know what that is I’m sure it’s an industry word, sorry. Culling is basically looking at all the amazing images from your portrait session and picking the very best ones. I know I know moms want to see all the cutest ones and pick the best smiles, and they love laughing at all the crazy outtakes. But seriously we are here to save moms time, not give them 150 images to choose from on the reveal day. Science says too many choices lead to paralysis

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait, customer service

We’ve all been there.

We go to the store for a birthday card and 20 minutes later we are still reading cards! What gives? Choice overload makes our brain work so hard it becomes more impossible to make a decision. So let’s all agree moms make ten thousand decisions a day for her kids. We need to give her the absolute best of the best for her family portrait wall options. This is just good customer service and should be a priority.

This is where to pre photoshoot consultation comes in handy!

Asking questions before ever picking up my camera makes this culling process so much easier. Knowing that mom wants a photograph to go over the fireplace or couch and that she is leaning towards one amazing image tells me she needs a horizontally oriented image and that I need everyone looking their best. This means I need to narrow down to the best of the best and not even shoot any vertical family portraits.

Asking moms if they loved posed images or prefer candid family interactions is another great question. If mom is looking for everyone to be smiling at the camera then those sweet tickle shots with Jimmy’s eyes closed tight are great for social media. But they are not going to be mom’s choice for the wall. So just take them out of the decisions for the fireplace wall. I’m not saying to delete those wonderful portraits. I’m just saying moms need us to do a better job of listening and making it easier to make these decisions. This should be an industry standard customer service practice from all of us.

Wall Art, Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait

Beach Maternity Portraits

Epic maternity portraits, Wrightsville, beach, NC, fort mill, sc, Tega Cay, SC, wall art collection

Do you have too much on your to do list before baby arrives to plan for a maternity photo? Thinking that maternity portraits aren’t really something people like you do? I get it most moms I talk with don’t feel beautiful during pregnancy. Let me guess you feel sleepy, full and not yourself. Well let me just say you are a rockstar, you are actually growing another human and that’s a miracle. And miracles should be celebrated.

These aren’t really portraits for you right now.

These are memories for your baby, maternity portraits tell your baby how much they were wanted, and loved and waited for. These portraits are also for your future self. Trust me in ten years you will be saying wow I really looked great in those pregnancy photographs. Don’t believe me go look at your portrait from ten years ago or better yet ask your mom how she feels about photographs of you and her when you were a kid. She will tell you she loves and treasures those photographs.

Epic maternity portraits, Wrightsville, beach, NC, fort mill, sc, Tega Cay, SC, wall art collection

Celebrating your pregnancy with portraits is a great way to relive this special time.

I know that sounds a bit cheesy but it’s true, passing the maternity photo on the wall or flipping through the album is like a window back to this stage in your life that only lasts a short time. Stories and photographs are the easiest ways to remember what it was truly like.

Let me help you create gorgeous portraits of your pregnancy so you can easily remember your special time with your baby. And so you can tell them all about a time before they were born.

And just in case you need more convincing I deliver your final portraits to your door ready to hang on the wall. Installation is even included. Don’t add more work to your already busy life by trying to DIY your maternity photos, let me help you create timeless art for your home.

Call me if you are ready to chat about maternity portraits 803-336-5125

Planning ahead for baby photography – Fort Mill

planning ahead for baby portraits, wall artwork, fort mill, sc, Charlotte, NC, Tega Cay, SC

When you are expecting baby number three it’s easy to think oh I got this I know what is coming next. Moms who plan ahead are my spirit animal. (serious over planner here).  Plan ahead moms make their life and mine so much easier. I distinctly remember chatting with this mom about where she wanted portraits to be displayed in her home.  How she wanted them to feel and how having a photograph of the three kids together was so important to her.  

Why newborn portraits matter in the grand scheme of things

Having photographs of this special time is a once in a lifetime opportunity and something this mom didn’t want to forget. The newborn stage goes by so fast and it’s easy to forget the small details. Having newborn portraits on the living room wall will remind her that she was wanted and loved!

Great Job Mom

Shout out to mom on her clothing and styling choices for this session. I feel like she could teach other moms how to style a family and make it look effortless. These kiddos always look put together yet casual for portrait sessions. But don’t let that fool you it’s never as effortless as it looks. I recall tears from little D last year when he had to take off his batman shirt for picture day! 

Perfect little sister

Little miss was a dream baby model, I’m not sure she cried the whole session. And only woke up to eat near the end. She seems to be an easy going little sister and that will help mom out immensely with two active older brothers. 

Are you planning ahead for baby at home?

Check out my best baby soothing tips here.

 

 

 

Have you heard about Charlotte Aquatics’ Baby Bonding Class?

baby bonding class in action Charlotte, NC, Charlotte Aquatics

I had not either, my friends and neighbors rave about the swim lessons and how Charlotte Aquatics taught their kids to swim like fish. But Charlotte Aquatics’ baby bonding class seems to be swimming under the radar. Since I spend a ton of time with new moms and babies I thought we should talk about the baby class today!

Sensory experience and infant development

Did you know that proper infant development and growth require sensory experience and movement? One of the most important sensory inputs for the development of the brain is touch. Skin-to-skin contact and touch enhance bonding between parents and baby. Babies crave contact with their parents. They need physical contact to build trust in their parents, and the world around them. Self esteem and trust that baby’s needs with be met, is built through contact with parents and caregivers.

The science behind the class

“Scientists now believe that to achieve full development of the mature brain, stimulation in the form of movement and sensory experiences during the early developing years is necessary. Neuroscientist Carla Hannaford, author of Smart Moves:Why Learning Is Not All In Your Head, explains that beginning in infancy, physical movement plays a vital role in the creation of the nerve cell networks that are at the core of learning. The more children move, the more information they are gathering about their environment and themselves.”  In addition, the hydrostatic pressure of the water magnifies the sensory stimulation that your baby receives as they move through the water.

The Baby Bonding Class helps you get baby moving while having fun!

Getting babies out of car seats, strollers and carriers is essential to their development in today’s busy go -go world. A fun way to get that critical skin-to-skin contact and provide optimal stimulation is to join a Baby Bonding Class at Charlotte Aquatics. 

Babies and parents alike will enjoy the class and the company of other new parents. Allow your infant to experience touch and movement all while having fun in the water! 

baby bonding class in action Charlotte, NC,  Charlotte Aquatics

To learn more about Charlotte Aquatics’ Baby Bonding Class call (704) 341-9673 or learn more at https://charlotteaquatics.com

Real Kids Portrait Session

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids artwork for your home, all the kids, puppy, playroom

Mister serious here isn’t the most serious little guy I’ve met but he is one of the most polite. He is growing up to be a well mannered, fun loving guy. His parents are doing a great job with him. It was an honor to create his portrait in our Fort Mill, SC studio. He came in with his little sister to help create a special art piece I had in mind during this real kids portrait session.

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait

She was all smiles for her portrait day. Also just as polite as her big brother and happy to try any pose or prop I suggested. Her outfit was so fun! Sequins and a big bow are great to accessorize and show off her personality without distracting or taking away from her sweet expressions.

Real Kids create Art in the Studio

The idea behind our art piece was to show off the fun of all the kids not just the Human kids! So we had to bring in the furry littlest sister for the portraits. She did such a great job for being so young and full of energy!

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids studio portrait

Just a few images from this fun #Real Kids studio portrait session!

Had a blast with these three kids creating some fun portraits for their parents and making an art piece for the home. Creating custom wall art pieces of your family to enjoy for years to come is the goal of our real kids portrait sessions! Having fun while creating them is one of the many reasons I love what I do. When the kids leave with smiles on their faces and talking about what fun they had then I know I’ve created a positive experience for the whole family! Portrait photography is supposed to be a fun time. Art is fun, call me today if you want a positive experience from your next photo day!

-alicia

Mini-Session event to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

fort mill, sc Charlotte, nc Tega Cay, sc girl kid portrait Let me be Me mini sessions to support LLS
two girls being themselves

“Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated.” 

You’re their first cheerleader…

Their first friend….

And their biggest supporter, as their mommy.

They are your whole world.

But we moms soon forget that they used to LOVE meowing instead of speaking or had a huge fascination with airplanes. Or that picking out her favorite outfit before school was the best part of her day.

To celebrate the littlest baseball star or tiny fashionista in your family, by creating a fun portrait experience that’s all about them at this stage of childhood. 

I’m working on an event just for kids to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For just a $100 donation, you can schedule a 15-minute mini-session on May 18th with me at the studio, and we’ll create great images of your kiddo all about his or her favorite things. 

It’s a bit different than the usual larger session we do every few years, but the focus is just on getting a few images of your child to capture what makes her special.
 

I’ll gift you a metal desktop print of your favorite image from the session.

I only have space to do 12 of these mini-sessions so I wanted to be sure you know before it’s too late.

Call now to book 704.313.5125!

See you soon!

Alicia

PS. Tega Cay Concert Series will have a fun Photo Booth this Saturday 6-10 at Runde park I will be there taking donations for the great cause. Come see me.


Why a design consultation before a new baby?

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC newborn baby portrait
tiny little baby toes are my fav

I’ve been neglecting my blog again (insert ashamed face) But I’m back to share a few sweet newborn images of baby Nolan. He was just so sweet and tiny! Man I love being able to capture these precious newborn stages for new moms. Who wouldn’t love to be reminded of how tiny and beautiful her baby was in twenty years? I know I’ll cherish my boys newborn portraits and baby albums forever. That thing they say about what would you save in a fire. I’m pretty sure it’s true, moms will save the baby and family portraits if they have the chance. I know I’d try.

Moms to be came in for a belly cast. Isn’t this just the best?

Did you know I can help you design your wall art before your portrait session? I love to have expecting moms to come in and chat about their newborn session before baby arrives. The design consultation appointment gives you the expecting mom a chance to get to know me, see the space and talk about what you really want before your baby arrives. We can plan wall designs, albums and even gifts for grandma before she comes to visit. That way when baby is here you can relax and let me do all the work on the portrait session day.

belly cast portraits make great wall artwork!

Are you expecting? or just here for the cute babies? Either way I’m happy your here. If you want to chat about a newborn, maternity or family portrait session just hit that contact us button at the top and leave me your number (and I promise to call you back) I’d love to have you in for a no obligation design consultation. If you are just here to see the cute little man leave him some love in the comments! thanks

-alicia


Why you should plan a Babymoon

tropical island getaway Babymoon article fort mill, SC Tega Cay, SC Charlotte, NC

Congratulations! You’re expecting! Suddenly there is a flurry of activity surrounding the impending arrival. But before you welcome that adorable bundle of joy—that also comes with sleepless nights, zero alone time, and mommy brain—make sure to take some time alone with just the two of you. A “Babymoon”, as it’s been dubbed, is a quiet, romantic vacation you take with your partner as a kind of “lass hurrah!” before your baby arrives.

Celebrate


Let’s admit it, babies take a lot of time and energy and despite your best efforts it will not be easy to fit in alone time. Celebrate your last moments of just the two of you and build up those energy reserves! It doesn’t have to be a super long vacation, maybe just a long weekend away, but make sure that it is as relaxing as possible. Something where you can just kick up your feet and not worry about cooking, cleaning, or entertaining.


For a sweet, charming escape for just a few days, drive up to Asheville and stay in the historic Biltmore Hotel or rent a luxury cabin up in the mountains of Blowing Rock. Visit art galleries, drive the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway, and dine at local foodie spots featuring local produce and meats.

Nearby Babymoon


Or if an ocean breeze is more your style, head down to Charleston and stay in a boutique hotel on King Street and stroll through the historic neighborhoods of grand mansions lit with gas lamps. There is a plethora of cute shops and open air markets and a mouth watering Southern food scene. A little further south you can find relaxing beach cottages for rent on Folley Island or Kiawah Island. Early Fall or late Winter are off peak times so prices are better and you skip the crowds but the weather is still warm
enough to enjoy the scenery.


For longer escapes some ideas include enjoying the temperate weather in Santa Barbara, California, or stay in a charming country bed and breakfast in the mountains of Vermont —especially beautiful in the fall! If you are wanting something a little more exotic but worried about traveling to different countries, the Bahamas is the perfect option. The closes of the Caribbean islands to the U.S., flights are shorter and cheaper, and unlike other Caribbean islands there is a no known risk for the Zika virus there.

Sandals Babymoon

tropical island getaway Babymoon article fort mill, SC Tega Cay, SC Charlotte, NC

My recommendation would be either the Sandals Royal Bahamian or Sandals Emerald Bay All Inclusive Resorts for the ultimate romantic experience. Enjoy the quiet bliss of a kid-less environment while enjoying a virgin daquari under a palm tree on the beach. Both of these resorts feature several restaurants to choose from, sparkling pools, private beach, and a variety of luxurious rooms with soaking tubs, including some that come with your very own Butler. The resorts are scattered with romantic little nooks, hammocks, and swings to lounge around in.


Another great option would be a cruise to the Bahamas. Three to five night itineraries are easy to find at several ports on the East Coast, including Charleston, S.C. This is what we did for our Babymoon back in 2010 before our oldest son was born. These cruises will almost always stop at a private, cruise ship exclusive beach where all you need to do is enjoy the sparkling, turquoise waters. Pamper yourself at the on board spa and soak up time in the adult only pool areas.


These are just a few ideas for a memorable pre-baby vacation. I hope my suggestions help you decide on the perfect destination—remember to enjoy every moment.

Colleen Travel Consultant

Colleen Kuerth is an Independent Travel Consultant with Mystical Dream Travel, which specializes in Disney Destinations, All Inclusive Resorts, and Cruises. Her FEE FREE services help reduce the stress of planning the perfect vacation and gives you the VIP service of a personal planner. From helping you choose the right resort, to booking reservations and special experiences, to rate watching–Colleen treats all of her clients vacations as if they were her own. Contact her at 802-373-4547, or colleen@mysticaldreamtravel.com

One Year Cake Smash Portraits Tega Cay, SC

Fort Mill, SC, Tega Cay, SC, Charlotte, NC real kids baby one year studio portrait

Cake Smash Portraits

These fun themed first birthday sessions always turn out so adorable! I mean who doesn’t love a cute baby, a fancy pink outfit, pearls and a cake! It is truly a recipe for fun and over indulgence.

Birthday Buddies

This little lady and I just happened to share a birthday so of course when her mom mentioned a birthday session I was super excited. I don’t need cake or presents for my birthday just bring your babies over to the studio and let me create a magical portrait session for them! That is the perfect birthday present for yours truly. ;)  Continue reading “One Year Cake Smash Portraits Tega Cay, SC”

Meet Patti Rumsey a Fort Mill doula

Meet Patti

Patti is a local doula and she would love to talk to you if you are expecting or just curious about doula services. Below is a little about her history as a doula and her contact information is at the bottom. Also feel free to comment on this blog and she will be happy to answer your questions. 

New baby boy Fort Mill, SC Charlotte, NC Tega Cay, SC portraits black and white mommy and me, doulaPatti Rumsey: Bio

I first got interested in being a doula after my second child’s birth in 1995. However, I didn’t start training until 6 years later and by then I had 3 children. The first being born in a birth center, second in a hospital, and the third and fourth at home. I was fortunate enough to land a job at Anderson Hospital in Anderson, SC where I worked for 3 years and attended over 300 births. This experience was one of the best times of my life. I went on to practice privately for a couple of years and had many enjoyable experiences. Continue reading “Meet Patti Rumsey a Fort Mill doula”