Building and maintaning any business is hard work. Make it a business in the arts and its even harder. Add on being in an oversaturated area and well, I think you know where this is going. Also, I can be a bit lazy and undisciplined….

I always say I’m going to use my down season aka winter to work on all the behind-the-scenes things I want to do throughout the rest of the year and don’t have time for….but I’m also a huge procrastinator. But to be honest, I’ve been a bit bored with having no new sessions to shoot and edit (hurry up warm weather and get here already!!!) So I’ve slowly been been executing ideas I’ve had rolling around in my way-too-crowded head. 

I had wanted to offer a few styled mini sessions that I had created for my own girls but the thought of creating all the marketing materials and then posting them and then emailing back and forth with clients about the information…if only I could figure out a way to put them all in one place, with the information and the pictures and the ability for clients to book right then and there….But how??? I had seen fellow photographers from all over linking to “stores” and I decided to really look further into it. 

And then I made it happen! Yes, all my laziness and procrastination be damned, I sat down and just did it. And man, that felt good!

I present the online shop for booking sessions: http://shop.peanutpip.com/ 

As of right now, I only have specialized sessions listed, but I hope to add more as time goes on. 

What’s offered right now are Beach Sunrise/Sunset sessions

Cherry Blossoms Sessions, and these are for an extremely limited time! Those gorgeous blossoms only last for a short period of time, so if you want this session, do not hesitate to book! 

Communion Sessions, which are happening this month and next month. I love communion sessions! These can either be full or mini sessions. And if you happen to pair them during the limited blooming period of the cherry blossoms, its even more gorgeous!

My Flower Mini Sessions are super special! 3 years ago, I had an idea for a session for my girls and went out and bought flowers and created an image that is one my favorites ever. It hangs in my living room as a huge canvas and is literally the first thing people see when you come in my front door. Then I decided to do a different set up last year, because I thought it could be a fun tradition to do throughout the years. I had a couple of clients decide to book them as well and I had so much fun creating a new set-up each time. This year, I decided to open it up to everyone!

Fall is my busiest time of the year and often clients book their fall sessions months to a year in advance! I have clients who book full and mini sessions. It really one of the most beautiful times of the year and great time to update your kids or family pictures. 

Last year, I found these really cool wood trees and bought them, not having any idea what I was going to do with them! I needed pictures for my own holiday card and lo and behold, an adorable set-up was created! I realized clients might like this too, as I so often get inquiries for holiday set-ups, in lieu of a fall session. So this year I’m offering my Wood Tree Holiday Mini Sessions to everyone!   

Is there a particular type of session you’d like to see us offer? Comment and let us know!

    For the last 3 years, I have entered the Shoot & Share Contest. Its a completely free, but super fun photography contest. Anyone can enter and anyone can vote. It takes place in the first few months of the year and voting is a great way to pass the time during my down season. I do it for fun, but of course I want my images to place high. Every year, the contest has grown larger. There are 25 categories, half of which are wedding categories (which I don’t enter since I don’t shoot weddings.) The other are mainly portrait categories, like Kids, Teens & Seniors, Families, Styled sessions, etc. You can submit up to 50 images, which is what is called going “All In.” I always go all in! The contest is anonymous, meaning images are submitted without watermarks and you vote randomly. Each image is seen 48 times in each round and there are 12 rounds of voting in roughly a month period. Each round knocks out the lowest ranking images. The 12th round is the “Finalist” round, after that is “The Best of the Best”, which are the top 100 images in each of the 25 categories. The top 20 images in each category are announced and eventually there is 1 winner! Also, we don’t get to see how our images are doing until after the 1st place set of images are announced! So the only way to know if your images are still in the running is either seeing them yourself (or friends seeing them and telling you!) or by seeing your “heart” count increase, as you can favorite images during the voting process. The anonymity is part of what makes it equal parts exciting and frustrating, since we can’t see our ranking of our own images until its all over! 

    This year, there were 413,000 images that were submitted! That’s HUGE! Out of my 50 images I submitted, 39 placed in the top 30% or higher of the entire contest. The highest I placed was in the finalist round. The previous 2 years I had images make it into the top 100. But as the contest grows, so does the level of images submitted. While I was disappointed my images didn’t do better, I am proud of how well they did considering the overall amount of images submitted and the overall amazing quality of the images. 

    I placed 6 images in the finalist round, the highest image ranking 126/11,101 images! Not too bad, right? (Its the image of my Zoe in the fog with the red balloon.)

    I had 17 images place in the top 10% of each category. 17!!!

    11 of my images placed in the top 20%. 

    And lastly, 5 of my images placed in the top 30% of their categories. 

    I have to admit I was surprised that some images didn’t place higher than they did but that is the nature of the beast. Because anyone can vote, (they keep the contest family-friendly for this reason), the votes are based on taste. Meaning, art is subjective. My kids love voting with me and sometimes they do select the same images I would have, but sometimes they don’t. 

    I’m looking forward to the 2019 contest and have already started pulling images to possibly submit! Stay tuned!

    Which images of mine are YOUR favorite?? Comment and let me know!

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