St. Simon's Island Photographer | 2015 Year in Review

st simons island photographer 2015 Year in Review - I DID FAR FEWER SESSIONS THIS YEAR THAN ANY YEAR PREVIOUS and what a blessed year it's been!  I've been fortunate to have been invited to share in some truly beautiful and personal moments with some really great families from the St. Simon's Island area, as well as Brunswick and the Golden Isles.  I've even had some clients travel all the way from the Jacksonville and Savannah area for their newborn portrait session and I'm extra grateful for that!  2015 also marked a significant change in the way I run my business.  I did easily HALF as many sessions as I did in 2014 and the four years prior to that.  Hallelujah!  Wait, what?  I only had HALF OF THE BUSINESS OF PREVIOUS YEARS?  But that's a bad thing, right?  No.  It was the BEST thing I could do for my business.

In the past, I've always thought "more is better" when it comes to how many sessions I booked each month.  It's good to be a busy photographer, right?  To be posting new sessions several times per week, right?  WRONG!  It was wonderful but overwhelming at the same time.  It became hard to keep up and keep images delivered in a timely manner.  I found I always seemed to be sitting in front of the computer either editing, emailing, Facebook messaging or doing other various business-related chores.  My moment of clarity came one evening in September of 2014 on the evening of my daughter's 12th birthday.  We were getting ready to leave the house to go out for her birthday dinner when I received a Facebook message from a potential client that I wanted to answer at 6:30pm.  Instead of waiting until the next morning to answer it, I made everyone wait on me so that I could answer it immediately.  My daughter looked at me and asked me "Mom why do you have to spend so much time on your computer every day?  I never get to spend time with you anymore".  My heart stopped.  I swear it did.  I cannot even begin to explain the feeling I had in my chest and the pit of my stomach.  She was right though.  I was (and still am) working part time as an RN and trying to balance my remaining time between 14-15 sessions per month and family.  I knew something had to change.  I did not want to become burned out from doing something I loved so much.  I took some time to really pray about what needed to change in my life - both the personal and the business side of it.  I had always felt like something was missing from my photography business and interactions with my clients so I really delved deep into what it could be...and I figured it out.

Being an RN with a several year history in the trauma/surgical ICU, I've always been an advocate for "quality" of life versus "quantity" of life.  Living a more fulfilled, shorter life is better to me than living an unfulfilled, longer life.  Healthwise and other.  So why not apply that to my business as well?  So that's exactly what I did.  I wanted to offer something that no one else in the area was offering.  I felt that my clients were being given a sub-standard level of service by getting their digital images and then being left on their own to figure out how to display them and what to do with them.  Although I've always done in-person consultations for my newborn sessions, I changed that way I do the consults just a bit.  There is nothing I love more than meeting with a family the first time to discuss their newborn and maternity sessions.  I love getting to know them and sharing in their excitement!  I enjoy learning about them and their journeys to becoming parents.  I love working together with my clients to design a custom session just for them.  Then the session comes and goodness how blessed I feel when I am holding on to my client's precious little miracles.  There's nothing more breathtaking than seeing the look in a new parent's eyes when they're holding their new baby.  Nothing quite like it in the world!  After the session, we again work together and I help them decide what to do with their images.  It can be overwhelming if you're handed 60-70+ digital files and then sent off on your own to figure out what to do with them.  They're new parents, they're tired, and they're not necessarily experienced in portrait design.  So again and again I've found that they simply set the digital images aside and "plan" on doing something with them later.  But later never comes.  I've had several clients come back to me for their second baby and they've told me over and over again that they're so glad I am now helping them with product design and helping them decide what to do with their portraits.  A couple of them have even said they're not real sure where their images are from the first session.  What?  I poured my heart and soul into their session and countless hours hand-editing their images...and they never printed any?  See, I knew I had failed them then and that's what keeps me excited about that way I'm running my business now.

Now they can have their digital images if they wish, but along with it, they will have an album or a wall art product that they will see on a daily basis and hopefully it makes them smile every time they walk by it.  Now I feel certain that I am providing a level of service that I never could before, and also a level of service that my clients won't likely find elsewhere.  Now I am taking less than half the session bookings that I was in the past and I am enjoying my family more and getting SO MUCH MORE SATISFACTION out of my photography.  Now I am providing my clients not only with their digital images if they wish, but heirlooms that will last for several generations in their family.  Will their USBs or discs last that long?  I wouldn't bet their unforgettable moments on it.

I have an ever-growing studio wardrobe of high end clothing for Mamas and Babies that my clients are welcome to use for any of their sessions.  Shades of whites, beiges, neutrals, grey.  Purely simple and keeping the focus on baby.  The wardrobe in this session was styled by me.  Did you know I’m also available to style your session, or that I can also shop for you for your session?  Anything to make it easier for my clients!

Want to find out more about what I can offer you?  Look here   Are you interested in booking your own maternity, newborn or baby milestone session?  Please click here to connect with me today. I commission only four newborn sessions per month and two baby or maternity sessions per month and it’s never too early to book!  To see some of my latest work, be sure and follow me on Facebook.

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Candace Hires Photography is an on-location and studio based professional photographer with a primary focus on custom newborn portraiture. Candace Hires Photography offers pure, natural and organic styled newborn, maternity & baby photography services with an exceptional customer experience in the St. Simon’s Island and Brunswick areas. Candace Hires Photography also serves nearby cities from Savannah and Richmond Hill, GA to Kingsland/St. Marys, GA, Jacksonville FL and Fernandina Beach, FL.