Monday, February 25, 2013

Model Monday | JHawk Photography, Sparta MO

Blake Lewandoski will kick off the first 'Model Monday' blog series.  I met Blake at my first House of Style photoshoot.  Blake is a musician from Arkansas; he sings and plays the guitar.  Please check him out on his Facebook page!!  If you're ever in Arkansas and want to listen to some good music, hit up Blake to find out where he is playing.  You can also check him out on iTunes and Spotify!!

Here are some of my favorite images of him:


It was an absolute pleasure to meet Blake and get to photograph him.  Here's to a long and prosperous musical career!!  I will be following you :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fashion Friday | JHawk Photography, Sparta MO

Scheduling a session can be daunting at times ...because then you have to decide what to wear!  It doesn't have to be that hard or stressful.  Find a color you like or maybe your favorite piece of clothing and coordinate everything based off that color or article of clothing.

Although spring is right around the corner, it is still cold out.  You can still pair that new sleeveless shirt with a pair of jeans and a stylish jacket.  Top it off with some matching accessories and you're ready for your shoot.

Planning a family session?  No problem.  You can coordinate outfits for the entire family the same way by adding an accent color to the main color.  Don't worry about matching everyone exactly; mix it up a bit.  Mixing prints with solids is a great way to add interest.  You don't want everyone to blend together, rather have everyone stand out.  If you only have one little one, it is also fun to have mom and dad dress down a bit then have the little one dressed to impress to draw attention to him/her.

Go wild with maternity outfits.  Hormones are raging from minute to minute and you just never know what you're going to like ...the outfit you loved at home might not look the same once you get to the studio.  Bring lots of variety to choose from ...just make sure you are able to see the beautiful baby bump!

Senior girls ...this is your time to shine.  Pick out clothing that accents your personality.  Don't be afraid to mix things up a bit.  Also, bringing accessories that work for more than one outfit will help transition the session from one outfit to the next.  

Girls, you think it is tough for you to decide what to wear?  In my experience, senior guys stress more about what they are going to wear than we do!!  I've seen it and heard it firsthand.  Although their wardrobe is generally smaller than ours, they still have a hard time deciding what works with a photo shoot.  Guys, it's not rock science ...just pick what you want to represent you ...and don't forget to pick out something nice to make mom happy. 

Last, but not least ...don't forget to accessorize!!!!  It's the little things that make an outfit and bring everything together. 

Best piece of advice I can give you is to have fun with choosing your wardrobe.  If it seems stressful, walk away for a bit.  Ask a friend to help.  Or, give me a call ...I would be more than happy to help you. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ring in the new year | Sparta, MO JHawk Photography 2013

As I reflect on my business I cannot help but smile and giggle like a little school girl.  A few years ago, owning my own studio was merely a dream.  Like so many, I have had lots of dreams that stayed in the perpetual land of La La due to a lack of one key element or another.  All of the elements were aligned for this dream, and now, the studio has been open for over one & a half years!!

This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster as I decided to remodel the studio to be more upscale to match the vision I had in mind but was not quite able to achieve when I first received the keys to the new space.  Have you ever gotten that feeling that something wasn't quite right, then after searching and searching you finally find that thing that makes it all come together?  For me, it was my vision for a more cohesive space.  However, I am always changing so I'm sure my vision will continue to change as I grow!  (I'm sure my husband loves that last statement because that usually requires his help.)

Shutting down the studio during the remodel proved to be more daunting than I had first imagined but in the end it gave me pause to reflect on several areas of my business and the ability to work on them before reopening the doors to better serve my clients.

Along with the remodel, I upgraded some of my equipment.  I now have 2 backup cameras, new strobe lighting (this is especially good for those little ones), backup lighting, new backdrops, and much more. 

Education has also been put on the forefront.  I was one of those 'mom with a camera' photographers that popped up overnight.  The thing that sets me apart from the rest is my need to learn and improve!  I have been investing in seminars, conferences, books, tutorials, and online seminars.  I don't just have a camera.  I have gear, backups in case of failure, and I know how to use all of it properly.  I have studied the proper techniques needed to excel in this industry.  There is always room for improvement, which is why I have several blocks of time throughout 2013 allocated to education.  I don't want to just be a 'mom with a camera,' I want to be your photographer!

One aspect of the business I have personally struggled with is whether to offer a disc.  I feel that I am doing an injustice to my clients by not providing a better experience.  Although I have been providing print packages, JHawk Photography is now a full service boutique studio.  I do not do quickie shoots and hand over files on a disc; referred to as a shoot and burner in my industry.  I want your experience to be much more than standing in front of my camera then waiting for a little disc that will more than likely sit in a desk drawer never to be seen again unless shuffling through the drawer for something other than the disc!  I want to provide a relaxing and fun story starting from the moment of initial contact, whether it be by phone, email, or in person.  I want to see your expression when viewing your images for the first time and help you choose the right images for your favorite products offered.  I want to hand ready-to-hang or gift products to you, see your excitement when you see them in print, then see how you have proudly displayed your memories!  I cannot do that by handing over a measly disc that may or may not see the light of day again.

With the new changes, I have also changed up some of my product offering.  I have reduced the clutter and have narrowed down the most popular products from 2012.  I have created a new perks bonus so clients can earn FREE products!!  I am venturing out to work with like-minded businesses, offering some great giveaways for referrals, Last Moments was created for non-profit (more information to be announced soon), and a new yearly scholarship prize to be awarded to the highest achieving referring senior.

Some really great changes came from the remodel.  In a nutshell, it was important for me to take a step back to evaluate my business structure and implement whatever is necessary to achieve success.  I am in this for the long haul.  Where many of those 'moms with a camera' are only offering a service to make some extra money, I will be here 20 years down the road if you have a house fire and need replacement images for those that were lost.  I will be here because I have a passion for photography not just a camera.  I will be here because I truly enjoy meeting each and every client, making your ideas come to life, and helping you create a story to go along with your memories!

I hope your new year is filled with blessings, happiness, and love.  HAPPY 2013!!!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Grand reopening event | Sparta, MO JHawk Photography studio event

I'm a little behind on my blog posts :(  When I started the blog/website, I thought it would be a great way to communicate with my current & potential clients; I just had to develop a plan of action to get that done!!  So, for now I am going to update with the grand reopening event & some highlights . . . .

I had some wonderful vendors participate in the opening.  They each set up a mini display just outside the studio in order to attract more onlookers.  Here are a few snapshots from those displays:

Vendors included Designs on the Cheap, Jordan Essentials, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, Mark, Humana, & Twisted Designs.  Each donated to the swag bags that were given to the first 10 guests.  Jackie, with Designs on the Cheap, included some extra goodies in the swag bags that were unexpected!  A few of the vendors also donated items to the raffle.  There were lots of prizes given away at the end of the event, including a year of free photography ...any session and as many as the winner wanted!!! Snaps of just some of the awesome swag goodies:

No event is complete without some awesome snacks!!!!  The cupcakes were catered by Jennifer Handy and might I add how deliciously moist and yummy they were.  I made some veggie cups and some hummus cucumber bites; ideas found from pinterest.  Although I was unsure just how many guests to expect, there was just enough snacks to go around.  I was so thankful for not having to take all the cupcakes home with me (although I was secretly hoping for a few). 

One of my favorite parts of the event was having these two lovely ladies in attendance so I could get a quick snapshot of them with their child's wall art.  Teela's canvas (left) is 32" x 48" ...Jackie loved the studio sample so much she purchased one of her own because she couldn't wait for it to be retired!!!  Cody's canvas is 24" x 36" and is proudly displayed in the waiting/viewing area.  There are a lot more samples on display, but those will photographed and included at a later date along with the FAQ page.

Unfortunately, I got hung up in the excitement of the event and completely forgot to take some snapshots of guests, vendors, myself, and the studio!!!  I wish I had.  I will be taking some shots of the studio and updating the site with those and a FAQ page soon.

Friday, August 17, 2012

It's starting to look classy ....

 I cannot restrain myself from posting another image of the viewing area!  I am so extremely happy with how it is looking.  My inspiration wall is complete with gorgeous handmade curtains.  My best friend Jackie spent a good amount of time helping me to create this wall and make everything perfect.  I am unbelievably appreciative and LOOOOOVE this wall. 

I am so excited to announce that the grand reopening open house has finally been narrowed down as well.  Saturday, September 8th 4p-7p I will have the studio open for guests to stop by to view some of my work, enter to win some great stuff, & book sessions at a discounted price!  The first 10 guests will receive a special swag bag.  While you're there, make sure to grab a bite to eat; there will be plenty of great items to choose from. 

I will also have some great vendors on hand that have donated items to the swag bags:  Designs on the Cheap, Pampered Chef, Scentsy, and Twisted Designs. 

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We're getting there ....

The studio is coming right along.  I wish I could just snap my fingers & it all be done just like that ...but then again I am really enjoying spending so much time in ensuring that every little detail is just right.  My best friend & go-to person helped me in finalizing some details this week.  Is it sad to say that there aren't many decisions that I make in my business without consulting her????  lol  It's not that I second guess myself, it's more that I like having a sounding board that is so honest, insightful, & willing to offer suggestions. 

I have learned a valuable lesson with this remodel ...always ALWAYS be careful when painting!!!!  Your back, arms, & husband will thank you later.  I started out being careful but at some point painting got to be more of a chore than fun & I started slacking off.  Needless to say, myself & my husband spent several hours scrubbing away & trying not to inhale the fumes from the Goof Off & paint thinner trying to remove all the paint splatters. 

Here are a couple sneak peeks (pardon the horrible cell phone quality) ....

(left) Part of the waiting area.  Although the studio itself is painted, I still have some spray painting to do.  There are quite a few accent items needing painted or repurposed to blend in with the new color scheme.  I am absolutely in love with this black velvet loveseat though.  I cannot wait to hang the special order black & white canvas above that area!!!  That is a surprise to be revealed at the grand reopening event though.

(right) Part of the viewing area.  Far left is the viewing TV cabinet (waiting to be repainted).  I need to find a tray & nice small throw to top off the leather ottoman.  You would not believe how hard it was to paint the trim around that mirror!!  If I remember correctly there are 7 coats of primer and 8-9 coats of paint.  Can you believe that?  The wood kept absorbing all the paint making it hard to get the bright white color.  It took a lot of patience but it finally matches the rest of the studio.  Do you remember the inspiration image I posted a while back?  Well, the mirror will actually be covered (but not permanently because I want to be able to use it as a prop from time to time) by a wall of curtains.  Again, another secret to reveal at the grand reopening. 

I am almost betting that my husband is more excited for the grand reopening than I am ...only because that will mean his honey-do list will come to an end.  lol  Here he thought he was almost finished with his list when I decided to redo the bathroom.  My thought process ...I want to hang a chandalier & the current fixtures just don't meet the look I'm going for.  I decided to rip out the old sink & cabinet (they are super small) & replace with a pedestal sink.  In doing that I realized I have to replace the toilet because cream won't match the new white sink! 

Now to find just the right fireplace to replace the ugly wall mount that is currently in there now. Guess that will also be a honey-do item.  Ha!

Without further ado, the grand reopening has been scheduled for Saturday, September 1st.  I am working on the advertisement now & will post in the next few days once a few more details are tidied up. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Product sneak peek

I am always trying to find products that help you, the client, receive the most images for the money.  Wallet accordians are a great way to do just that.  Rather than cut out a bunch of wallets and trying to painstakingly make them fit into those wallet sleeves, this product takes out all the guesswork and you can have up to 12 images for one low price!!  Coated for durability and protection which makes this a product that is sure to be your favorite add on.

At only $35 for a set of 2 these make the perfect gift for parents, grandparents, out of state family, and friends.  Great for showing off a new addition to the family, your most recent family session, or that new grad.  Showcase at home, in your wallet on the go, or at your office.

Accordian wallet samples are on display in the waiting area for you to view and feel the durability for yourself.  I will also show you a sample using images from your gallery during your private viewing session.  At that time, you can swap out images or order it as is.

Wallet accordians can also be custom designed for events such as birthdays, graduation, or even be used as a unique invitation! 

Don't forget to ask about the wallet accordian at your next session and receive a $5 credit (valid until Dec. 31st 2012).