From us to you…

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Wishing you all the best this Holiday Season.

We’ve had an incredible 2007 thanks to you, our customers. Our business has grown and prospered. The holiday rush is almost over.

There is still time to get your New Year’s cards done and mailed out this January. Call us for an appointment.

Keep checking the blog for our New Year’s specials…”Playtime” is coming back.

What are we working on?

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It’s crunch time at the studio. We’ve framed everything that needs framing. We’re cranking out the albums on the computer. Thanksgiving is almost here.

I thought I’d give you a taste of one of our senior albums. This is a two page spread of Zach’s Rave Book.

We love this time of year and being busy. This year’s Christmas deadline isn’t Thanksgiving or even the first of December. We can push it until the week before Christmas. If we can get you in the studio and photographed by the 17th, we should be able to fill your order. Any later than that, we can try, but it might not get delivered in time for Christmas.

So what do we like the best about the holidays?

When everyone has their orders and we can spend time with our wonderful kids. The pressure is off.

And we get to sleep in…

Look at the belltower now!

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We’ve been waiting to finish the belltower for a few years now. We should’ve had it done when we shingled the main part of the church, but hindsight is always 20/20.

We found a willing contractor finally and through the assistance of a 50 ft. lift, we were able to get the belltower painted and the roof edges shingled.

It’s quite the dramatic change in looks.

There’s still three louvers to put in and some tinwork to repair where the bell used to sit, but the hard part is over.

Mike helped the contractor put in the new louvers yesterday. Lumber dimensions have changed slightly since 1892. The new boards we slightly thicker, so a little beveling had to be done…40 ft off the ground and Mike is scared of heights.

So the belltower looks great but the tin on the steeple now looks a little sad. That will have to wait for another day.

Being shopped

8-29-07_NDX_1391We like to get calls for weddings, but there’s one type of call we’d rather avoid: the one from a competing or new start up photographer trying to copy another photographer’s pricelist, work flow and style instead of just doing their own thing.

It even has it’s own term in the photography world: It’s called “being shopped”.

Now if you are a new photographer trying to set up your own studio, we will gladly point you into the direction of professional organizations that can cut years off your learning curve. There are great online resources to be found that can help you.

Many new photographers have been known to feel insulted when the long time pro does not take time to share everything that they’ve found out the hard way. Most of us that have been doing this a while value our free time and protect it and the truth is that we are trying to build our own businesses first.

One of the biggest problems is that it takes a long time to lay down enough knowledge as a base to learn the more advanced techniques. Time, experience and repetition are the best teachers. Directly copying someone is not a good shortcut to take. You want your peers to be your friends not your enemies.

Are photographers rich?

Do you think that photographers are making a pile of money from taking pictures?

8-28-07_NDX_9680platYou might think so given the incredible influx of new studios springing up. The fact is that photography is just like every other business starting up out there: long hours, high risk of failure and not a very high return for time and money invested.

Why do we do it?

For ElizaBeth and myself, it was a matter of chasing a dream before we got too old to do it. We get to photograph great seniors like Mary Kate shown here and be a part of a couple’s wedding day. Each week we get to be at a big party. We also work huge hours 6 to 8 months of the year.

We are able to go to school programs, play nurse to the sick members of our family and take vacations when we want to. We have flexibility.

Now there are always wants and needs for new equipment for the business and obligations and responsibilities to the customer. We are not going to get rich but we will be able to more enjoy the life we have.

One advantage to being established as long as we have is that the big struggle is over and customers come without us marketing 24/7. We have a huge client base to get referrals from. Instead of spending all of that time and energy marketing, we can use that time to get better than ever before.

Education is never-ending when it comes to photography. There are always new techniques to learn: lighting, posing, photoshop, sets, sales…the list just goes on and on. The reason that we are good is because we work every day at getting just a little bit better.

In studio prom pictures

4-21-07We do many area proms, but today we decided to do something different: we are opening up the studio for all and any couples who want to come to Rutland.

We can do so much more when we are in our studio.

So here’s the scoop: come to Rutland (less than half an hour south of Brookings) go a block west of the school and turn north on 2nd St. We are in the old Lutheran Church. Come in the west side door. We’ll be available from 3 to 6 pm this Saturday afternoon – no appointment is necessary.

So we had a real blizzard!

3-05-07_NDX_1177rideAfter 3 days of blizzard/winter storm, we were ready to get out and have some fun on Saturday. Things didn’t go exactly according to plan, but we had a good time with “Blizzard Party 2007”. We saw a bunch of snowmobiles at the Rambler Stop. The chili ran out by 1:30. The wind was still blowing 20-35 mph and it was cold, but the sun was out.

The Maher family came with a fleet of sleds. RaeLynn gave Dacey and Rachel a quick ride. They were all smiles and holding on tight.

Blizzard Party!

2-28-07 NDX_2028BLOGIf you’re like Kyle, a senior from Madison, you are loving the weather lately. To celebrate we are having a Blizzard Party at the Rambler Stop in Rutland on Saturday March 3rd from 10am to 2 pm. We’ll have chili cooking and a pair of new sleds courtesy of Interlakes Sport Center in Madison for pictures. If you want to bring your own sled we’ll do some action shots.

We have been busy this past month with things we don’t always get to do the rest of the year: spending time with our extended family and starting to plan out the new year.

We have a backlog of images to post and specials to tell you about.

Glory Lost

1-25-07_DSC_9943-1Today’s image is a PPA Competition Print from last year. Although it did not score an 80 or above to deserve a merit, I think that it is very distinctive anyway.

Last year’s Oldham-Ramona-Rutland Raiders had an incredible season, but had the bad luck of facing Arlington in the Regional Finals. The Raiders were ahead of the soon to be State B champion Arlington team in the second quarter, but the lead did not last. Senior Shane Morris ended his high school basketball career with a loss that night.