I've decided to start off the new year by giving back. I am asking you all to submit stories to me about a family you feel deserves a special free photo session. Maybe you know someone serving overseas who is coming home and I could capture the reunion with their families, or someone who had a long journey to parenthood and deserves a newborn session. I would love for you and I together to give them photographs to go along with the memories. I will hold the session at some point during this calendar year. The winner will be chosen privately by me. I hope you will help me in my search as I'd like for this experience to be as meaningful to the family as it is to me. You can e-mail your submissions to me at AnneHackPhotography@gmail.com
The fine print: Stories must be submitted by January 31, 2014. Once you have e-mailed your story, you must share the link of this giveaway on my Facebook page to your own Facebook page by "sharing" Anne Hack Photography's status, and then comment on my Facebook page letting me know you have done so. In your e-mail, please include your name and contact information as well as a name and contact info for the family. I will not publish the story unless permission is given, however, they will be required to sign a print release for the images. The session is free based on my Tanzanite package which includes (5) 4X6 images, (2) 5X7 images, (1) 8X10 image and (3) High Resolution Digital Files. The winning family will choose their images form their full gallery and will be able to upgrade their package should they choose to do so. Thank you in advance for your support! I look forward to hearing from you!
I realized this morning that I am entering year 5 of my photography business. A business I built from the ground up with nothing but passion to drive me. A master’s degree in education was not helping me in the current job market and economy so I had to find another way to subsidize my income. That is NOT how this started. No, not at all. Instead I tended bar, served tables, did odd jobs like watching children here and there. Others may not fully know or understand what this journey has been like for me. Scary, risky, and a ginormous investment, but I don’t regret a thing. A lot of people want to be photographers these days and it seems like everyone knows someone who is doing it. For the most part, it’s an absolutely wonderful community and many of us are friends and completely supportive of one another. I’ve also seen people startup and fail. You cannot do this because you think it’s fun, or you think it’s an easy way to make money, or a cash business. It is absolutely none of that. OK, it’s fun, but it sure isn’t easy. I am a legit business, registered with the state. I pay sales and income tax. And I put a lot more money back into the business than I would like to admit. After going out one day with camera in hand to take pictures of my friend’s son who was turning one I realized, wow, sometimes, I really do produce a decent image. And above that, I realized how much I really truly enjoyed being behind the camera! I always loved children, couldn’t wait to be a mom, went to school to be a teacher, and now getting to capture children through the eye of the viewfinder was becoming my obsession. I started offering free sessions to friends, not even realizing at the time that I was actually building my portfolio. I had been admiring amazing photographers for quite some time and knew that I was nowhere near them in terms of quality and technique. After all, the majority of my best pictures were created through pure luck and that is the honest truth. But then I started to learn. Put my camera on manual and never looked back. Suddenly, people I didn’t really know wanted pictures so I thought, well I really want that new lens that’s $499 so I guess if I start charging people, maybe I can get it one day. And THAT is how this started. Wanting to learn, wanting more, with a passion driving me to take risks and put myself out there which made me completely uncomfortable and still does sometimes. I spent hundreds of hours perusing web sites, photographer’s galleries, YouTube tutorials. Hundreds of more hours reading articles, books, and blogs about all things photography related. That summer, I did a bunch of sessions and learned a tremendous amount from each and every picture. So to those clients, from way back then, I say THANK YOU! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn and startup what has become my biggest accomplishment in life (aside from my 2 beautiful children of course). I started that summer doing a few outdoor shoots and then in September it was back to school and back to substitute teaching. That winter, we had pretty much no money. Things were rough. Really rough. I was talking to a friend and she asked, “Well, aren’t you doing pictures?” I sadly replied that I was not because in the winter I had to do indoor pictures and I needed light. There was no natural light available in my house and I didn’t have the couple of hundred dollars to spend on lights. She probed a bit more, and completely blind sighted me when she had 2 studio strobes sent to my house. Dina, I could never repay you for those lights. More astounding than the couple of hundred bucks was the BELIEF she had in me that I could do this! That support and nudge was all I needed. I powered those babies up and man, I was clueless!!!! Where do they go? How do I set them up? What’s that black line on the bottom of my picture? And so back to the books, and the web sites, and you tube, and forums. And I learned. Well, now I have light, but the wall really doesn’t photograph as well as I thought it would so I really need a backdrop stand and some backdrops, so for a few hundred more, ok I’m on my way. And it goes on from there. Props for each season and occasion, beanbag and fill, towels and posing pillows, upgrading equipment, sending camera bodies and lenses in for services and cleanings (yes, we do that), purchasing backup batteries, bodies, and memory cards. Then I had to set up a web site, and a blog, purchase an account with a cloud storage server, buy an external hard drive, and purchase editing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. OK, so for that couple of thousand, I’m on my way and almost done right? Well, I needed a few blankets for babies, and maybe a hat or two, or a headband, and the black and white paper I started with isn’t really ideal so I need a few more of those. Newborn props are another obsession- wraps and coordinating headbands, hats, and tiebacks. So cute. Most photographers also end up upgrading their equipment every couple of years to bodies worth upwards of $6K and we have thousands of dollars’ worth of lenses that are designed for different situations. So here I am, entering year 5, and I just purchased my third camera. I am beyond excited about it! You quickly realize the limitations of your equipment and my feeling is once you’ve plateaued and mastered what you have, it’s time to move up. The next lens I am wanting is $2000. Yes, just for a lens. But I know what I can do with that lens. Do I need it? No not really, but I guarantee, you’ll all love my images with it. And the list goes on. So when people have sticker shock at professional photographer’s prices, I get it. It’s hard to realize the behind the scenes investment that this involves. After a 3-5 hour newborn session, we tuck the little babies up and send them home to get some rest and the photographer continues working by hand washing all those cute little wraps and furs, machine washing all the sheets, blankets, and towels used, folding up, sorting, and reorganizing the disaster area that has become my house, and then we spend hours uploading and going through the 300 or so images we took to find the best ones and then spend hours upon hours hand editing each one. So at the end of the day, no we don’t make $100 an hour, and I find that laughable. To anyone doing this because they love it and are passionate about it, keep pressing on because you will get there! We all start somewhere; don’t let the obstacles you encounter dishearten you. If you’re doing this because you think it’s a quick and easy way to make money, walk away now. And when you are shopping for a photographer, realize that you get what you pay for.
What a fun day I had with this awesome family. This sweet little girl slept right through the crazy fiasco of trying to get her two fur-siblings in a picture with her. Ultimately it was a success but it wasn't easy since these 2 Frenchies were super excited to be here, I think they knew it was the home of a fellow Frenchie. Mom brought a few of her own items to include in the shoot which added such beautiful personal touches, and baby A rocked her session, even when she was awake!!! What a sweet sweet baby girl and a great family, oh, and a great head of hair!
That is...this little girl's personality. I could easily blog every photo from her session because she was THAT awesome. This little girl has a special place in my heart. Her mommy and I have been friends for years and we had the awesome experience of being pregnant together and having our babies only 2 weeks apart. It's such an honor for me to get to watch our little ones grow up and see their personalities shine through. Little Miss A has a huge personality and I think we were able to capture it during her 11 month session. Here are the images of this gorgeous family, and I can't wait to see what she does at her cake smash next month :-)
I was so excited when this sweet little girl's aunt decided to surprise her sister with a newborn session! With a whirlwind of an entrance she came into the world a little early but as pure perfection. She was such a little doll during her session and she even gave me smiles! I really enjoyed getting to snuggle her and chat with her lovely parents. There's something so endearing about first time parents and I love getting to talk with them and seeing the emotion in their eyes as they experience the amazing journey of parenthood. Well, here she is, a little bundle of sweetness.
There was a lot of anticipation for this little one's late arrival. Team green babies are always so exciting and she made everyone wait an extra 11 days to find out! Mom and Dad personalized this shoot by bringing along some of their own things, including a beautiful handmade blanket which was so pretty. Baby M was such a sweet girl and super sleepy. These are just a few of my favorites from her session.