Taylor | Stockholm and Paris Senior Portraits | Destination Session

Destination senior portrait sessions are becoming our most popular senior portrait session options. These sessions provide an amazing opportunity to travel the world and do your senior portraits in a location that very few get to photograph in. They are truly unique senior sessions. How many people do you know that were photographed at the Eiffel Tower?

Taylor was part of the group that went us to Stockholm and Paris during Spring Break. We photographed in Old Town in Stockholm, then flew over to Paris for a few days to photograph in a few locations there. The trip was AMAZING. We are definitely going to plan another trip over there as part of our destination senior portrait options. 

Enjoy a few of the photos from Taylor's Stockholm and Paris senior portrait session! 

Aly | Barbados Senior Portraits | Destination Session

We love to provide our clients with an amazing experience. One of the ways that we have found to be best is with a destination senior portrait session. With these sessions, we are able to travel to locations we typically wouldnt photography, including locations out of the country, as is the case here.

We took Aly to Barbados for her senior destination session. Barbados is am amazing place to visit for senior portraits. There are a ton of beaches, some old city buildings and some mountainous areas that make for an amazing background. We flew into Bridgetown and rented a car to drive around the country. This allows us to stop at places we find that are interesting and away from the touristy areas. 

This destination shoot lasted about a day. We found several different beaches to photograph at. Each of the beaches offered a different look for Aly's portraits. Some were rocky, some were sandy, but each was unique. 

Here are some of the images from Aly's senior portrait destination shoot in Barbados. If you are interested in having an unique senior experience, contact us for information on our destination sessions. 

Numbers arent what they seem

I just got back from speaking at a photography conference in St Louis called Shutterfest. It is perhaps the best conference available for photographers as it includes a wide variety of topics, shooting opportunities, networking opportunities, trade show, etc. It is unique in that everything is included in one price. There is something for everyone. If you want to shoot, there are TONS of shooting opportunities. If you want to learn and take classes, there are tons of speakers and classes available. IF you want to network with others, opportunities to do so abound. Take a moment to check it out as they are starting to sell their 2018 tickets (www.shutterfest.com). 

Now, something I have learned over the years in this business is that new photographers want to be successful, as do we all. They jump at opportunities to learn from industry leaders and photographers that they look up to. However, one thing I began to notice is that they are focused on numbers... just not the right numbers.

Let's make a comparison (remember this for later). There are three photographers. One averages $3000 per session while another averages $2000 and the third averages $1000. Who do you assume is the most successful?

The first thing most speakers do is get up there and tell the class what they average for sessions or how much they make in photography. I get why they do it. They want to show their class that they are successful at what they do. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. Afterall, as someone investing in a conference, you want to be taking classes put on by photographers that are successful. You dont want to hear from someone who is failing.

However, here is where the problem lies. Most photographers attending these events are relatively new. I dont remember the exact numbers, but I believe at Shutterfest it was in the neighborhood of 80% of the photographers there have been in business less than 5 years. That is A LOT of new photographers that are in the beginning stages of their careers. It just so happens that these first 5 years are the most important. Its the make or break years of their business. Most small businesses fail within 5 years, so its important that they stay on the path towards success, which brings them to these conferences. Education is certainly important and helps keep everyone focused towards their goals.

Sometimes, though, it can be harmful. For example, lets say a photographer is teaching a class and they say that they make $100k a year in profit (random number that is simple to use). That is certainly a lofty goal for many in that class and something that they are striving to make. They hear that number and feel a mix of emotions. 

On one hand, they are excited about the possibilities. Hearing someone else talk about their success makes them dream of the day where they have that success. They are hopeful and most importantly, motivated to hit those numbers. 

On the other hand, they are discouraged as they are no where near those numbers. They feel the weight of the pressure to succeed and hit those numbers, but they are not sure its possible or realistic. They know where they are in their business and its not where they want to be... But how far off are they in reality? That is purpose of this post.

You see, what that photographer may not realize is that they are closer than they think. Lets say they made $50k last year (again, a random number). So on the surface they are $50k off the mark. Thats a pretty big number on the surface, but lets dive into a bit and see.

What most speakers do not talk about is that there are a lot of things that go into being "successful". Goals, target sales numbers, what they consider to be doing "well" and so on all factor into business decisions. All of those things are different for every single person. Not only do we have those differences, but the biggest difference of all is the market that they are located in the the purchasing power of each dollar they make. Rarely are those things mentioned in any class, so we will mention them here.

Below are a few charts I gathered from moving.com. They are basically demographics charts that are available via the census breau. The reason I used moving.com is that I can quickly search for cities by zipcode rather than overall searches of areas. This allows the numbers to be a bit more accurate. 

For example, I am located in Inverness Florida. Most data sites do not have this city as it is relatively small. Instead, they have Gainesville, Tampa and Orlando, all of which are within an hour and a half, but they are much larger than where I am, so the numbers will not be accurate. So by searching by zipcode, I am able to gather accurate numbers for my comparison. 

The charts below include comparisons of income and housing costs between my city and various other cities throughout the USA. The focus of this post is to look at the Average Household Incomes and the Average Home Sale Price. These are our two important indicators we will discuss below.
 

Now, looking at income, you will see Inverness Florida has an average income of $47,358. Culver City (Los Angeles) has an average income of $79,161. They make roughly $30k more in Culver City than they do in my hometown of Inverness, Florida. But that doesnt tell the whole story either. Lets look at housing. The average home price in Inverness is $68,000. The average home price in Culver City is $422,500. That is a HUGE difference.

Now lets look at the rest. You can see the differences between where I am located and some of the other cities around the US. Some are big, some are small. It will give you a mix of different areas so you can see some of the differences.

What does all this mean? Well its simple. Different areas make different amounts of money. Thats pretty much common sense, but what many dont think about is that each area also has a different cost of living. Sure, we know that on the surface, but how often do we think about it? We dont. We get caught up in numbers people are telling us and we dont think about the cost of living in the location that they service. We hear they are making $100k profit which is higher than the $50k profit they are making.. Then they get discouraged that there arent there yet.

But what if I told you the person making $100k profit is in Culver City and the person making $50k profit is in a city similar to Inverness, Florida? The person in a city like Inverness only needs and average of $68k to buy a house. The person in Culver City needs $422,500. Suddenly, that person making $50k isnt doing so bad now are they? Even if that speaker was making $200k per year in profit, the person making $50k isnt doing so bad. 

On the surface we hear that big number and are shocked. We are impressed that they are making that much. We get blinded by their "success". The reality is we may be closer to them then we think. We may not need to make $200k a year in the area we are in to have the same amount of "success" as they do.

Now, housing isnt the only cost we need to look at. We also have food, utilities, transportation, etc. These things make up the cost of living expenses. Cost of living differences can be huge. Lets take a look at a few more charts from bestplaces.net..

 

These charts show you what I would need to make in another city if I was making $100k in Inverness Florida (again, just a random number for simplicity). These charts show the cost of living differences between cities. If I were to move to Los Angeles, I would need to make $192,361 to live an equivalent life as I do in Inverness. In Houston, Texas its a bit closer at $118,403.

Remember that comparison I gave in the beginning with the 3 photographers averaging $3000, $2000 and $1000 respectively? What if I told you that photog 1 who averaged $3000 lived in NYC. Photog 2 lived in LA and Photog 3 lived in Inverness? On the surface, photog 1 is making $2000 more per session than photog 3 (3x more). Photog 2 is double photog 3. Yes, photog 1 is still making more than photog 3 once you factor in cost of living, but its no longer 3x more. Photog 2 is about equal to photog 3. On the surface, what looked like a HUGE difference, is no longer that big of a difference, if there is a difference at all.

What is the point in all of this? The point is to not focus on the "success" of one photographer and get discouraged that you are no where near their numbers. They live in a different market and have a variety of different factors to consider. Average income for their market, cost of living expenses, etc all factor into the prices that photographers need to charge. Not every photographer will be the same, but that doesnt mean you cant be as successful, even if your numbers are less. Focus on your business and creating the numbers that YOU need to hit in order to reach your success. Dont worry about the numbers others are hitting that may seem significantly higher than yours. Your numbers may not be as far off as you may think :D

Alicia | Las Vegas Senior Portraits | Destination Photographer

I recently had the opportunity to play the part of Las Vegas senior photographers with Alicia as we traveled to Las Vegas to do her senior portrait session. One thing I LOVE to do with our seniors is a destination portrait session. These sessions allow me to travel with our clients to a destination of their choice for their senior portraits. Senior photography is always changing. As a senior portrait photographer, I have to stay ahead of the trends to keep providing our senior portrait clients with images that are unique and different. Destination sessions allow us to do that.

We flew out from Orlando, Florida to Las Vegas for the day. We travel around the city stopping at various places to take some of her senior portraits. We ended the day at Nelson's Ghost Town. That is always my favorite place to photograph seniors when we go to Las Vegas. We dont get any locations that look like that here in Florida, so its nice to be able to take advantage of them when we travel. How many seniors can say they traveled and had their senior portrait session in Las Vegas. It also provided Alicia with an amazing senior portrait experience that she will remember forever. 

Here are a few of her senior portrait images from in and around Las Vegas. Contact us if you are interested in doing something different for your senior portraits and going on a destination trip with us. 

Jenna | Aruba Senior Portraits | Destination Senior Photographer

Throughout the year, we offer several opportunities for our seniors to travel the world for their senior portraits. We love being senior portrait photographers in Florida, but sometimes we want to provide the opportunity to get away and have an unique senior portrait experience. 

This year we created destination sessions for our studio where we fly to another location and do a portrait session there. These destination sessions provide our clients with amazing senior experiences, far better than what we can offer locally. These trips are something they will remember for a lifetime.

For Jenna's senior destination shoot, we went to Aruba. We stayed for 3 days and explored the island and what Aruba had to offer. As you can see below, her Aruba senior session was amazing. Not only did she get some amazing images, but she had an amazing experience as well. From shooting on the beach at Eagle Beach to going into the Quadirikiri Cave, Aruba had a ton of locations for amazing senior portraits. This is one destination we will surely visit again.

Check our Jenna's senior portraits from Aruba below!!

Sherry Senior Portrait Session - Puerto Rico and St Augustine

We met Sherry in San Juan, Puerto Rico to do her senior portraits over the summer. Puerto Rico is an amazing location for senior portraits. There are plenty of beautiful beaches as lots of color in the downtown areas. Destination sessions are one way to make sure that you get unique portraits. Sherry did her second part of her senior session in America's oldest city... St Augustine. Being located in Central Florida allows us access to several airports including Orlando, Tampa and Miami for easy travel to places across the world. Destination sessions allow you to have an amazing senior portrait experience. You are only a senior once!!