Monday, September 20, 2010

Lily Mae Photography: An Announcement

Hi, everyone! I've had Lily Mae Photography now for about three years, oh my! If you didn't know about it, I don't blame you - I haven't done a very great job at marketing myself up to this point. I've done photo shoots here and there for people I know, but I'm now really trying to get the word out and get some more clients! I'm hoping that my friends - especially local friends - will help me spread the word to help me build up my business.

Over the past year, my church - Journey Church - has grown up! We have moved from meeting in the sanctuary of a friendly local Baptist church into our very own building. We are in a fantastic location and we were able to design and construct the building according to our specific needs as a church body. We moved in and started services in April and things have really grown from there! Two Sundays ago we added a second service to our worship gathering lineup to accommodate the growth we've seen. It's a very exciting time for us!

You may be wondering what this has to do with my photography business. We have been attending Journey Church for 2.5 years now and are dedicated to serving with this body of believers and being on mission with God. Last summer, partners of the church (us) were given the opportunity to pledge amounts that they could give towards the new building fund. Having pledges helped our leadership be able to determine what we could or could not afford when they were planning the construction. Clark and I took time to think, pray, and plan for a certain amount that we would be able to give. We wanted a number that would not simply be "easy" for us to come up with; we wanted to put ourselves willingly in a state of sacrifice for our church as Christ did for us. (I don't think it would be wise to publicize the amount that God laid on our hearts here, but if you want to know please send me an email.) When planning on how we would raise the money, one of the conditions was that I would dedicate time and effort to my photography and whatever money I would earn from it would go directly towards our pledge until we had reached the total. When I say "directly" that's exactly what I mean - 100% of the money I make goes to the church - it's not extra spending money for us.

Not long after we made our pledge, I quit my full-time tech support job to pursue opportunities to serve at the church and advance Lily Mae Photography. And very shortly after that, we got pregnant and I started having pretty severe first trimester symptoms. I couldn't leave the house much due to all day morning sickness, but I did make an attempt to do some photo shoots when I could. I did not charge any money at that time because I was trying to beef up my portfolio for my website with a wider variety of portraits. My theory was that if the gallery page on my site was extensive and impressive, I would have a much easier time promoting myself successfully to the public. My second trimester was so-so and I continued my portfolio work with some maternity sessions. When I was finally satisfied with the content for my galleries and ready to start earning money, the third trimester began and life as I knew it ended. Preterm labor, bed rest, and a premature baby pretty much put my business priorities on pause.

Now that Lily Mae is almost three months old, I have been able to resume serving in various areas at Journey Church: children's worship, student ministry, small group, and several other servant teams that run behind the scenes. Now that I'm able to handle the baby and church responsibilities without too many snags, it's time to bring Lily Mae Photography back to life and finally start making a significant dent in our pledge! That's where I would LOVE some help and support from you guys, my friends. :)

My first major stride in this effort is my Christmas Portrait Special! I am currently booking the months of October and November for Christmas sessions. I can possibly book the first half of December as well, but the goal is for my clients to have their finished portraits in time to send them out to friends and family before Christmas comes! I love to shoot outdoors on location in natural light, and the upcoming cooler fall weather will make for a really enjoyable time for everyone. So what's so "special" about the Special? Why, the price, of course! My standard rate for family portrait sessions is $250 for a 2-hour shoot, but I'm taking 20% off!! So for a 2-hour family session, you'd pay $200 and receive 24-26 finished hi-res images on dvd. I'm also offering a promotional-only 1-hour family session for $125 (12-14 finished images). I would be happy to design and process orders for photo Christmas cards using a third-party printer for the cost of the order + a 10% charge. Sound good? It does to me! I think it's a good deal. :)

So now it's your turn. I'm hoping and earnestly praying that you will jump on board with me in this effort and either hire me yourself and/or spread the word to your friends and families. My website will be undergoing updates throughout this week and I will have new gallery images and features for your enjoyment. If you know a plethora of folks who might be interested, I have business cards that I would be happy to put in your hands to pass along to others. Just let me know if you'd like some!

I know this might have been a long read for you, but if you've made it this far, I do appreciate it greatly! You are a true friend and I am so, so grateful for your support!


Kelly said...

Sounds awesome! I'll definitely pass the word and we'll see if things work out financially if we can get our yearly Christmas shots with you.

ourmoopoints said...

I'm not in your area, but good luck to you friend! :)

Danielle Blumer said...

Awesome Jess! I will let you know if I hear of anybody. I hope the Lord does great things for your business!

Genelle said...

I'm not in your area either, but wanted to tell you good luck. I think it's an awesome plan!