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My name is Susan, and Designs by Prater is what you could call my creative outlet that pulls together my photography, art and graphic design endeavors! The most important thing you should know about me is that my life revolves around my God and my Savior Jesus Christ, my family (especially my husband Todd, son JD, and puppy Lexie), family and friends. Other than that, I am pretty much obsessed with photography, Coca-Cola, and the color green (and all shades of green for that matter, especially teal). I love sports but cannot play them worth a lick. I would not trade my time as a college student at Mississippi State for anything in the world. The friendships and memories made there will stick with me forever...Hail State and Go Dogs! And I am very picky about my chocolate chip cookies, grilled cheeses, and shaved ice (gotta be SnoBiz watermelon flavor).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Sell or Not to Sell...

...digital files. Actually, that was NEVER the question...because the answer to that is ‘TO SELL’. The real question, however, for me has always been ‘How to Sell’. Trying to find the magic number that reflects the proper worth of a digital file is a bit tricky for me. And identifying how much you want to or can invest in an assortment of prints, products, and/or digital files can be a bit tricky for you. You've already spent money on the portrait session itself and you want to have access to those digital images, in this digital day and age. I totally agree and have NO problems offering them!

So I begin the task of determining a price that properly reflects their value, as with each product we offer. What do I mean by that? Well, the price should reflect the time I have put into education and equipment, practicing my technique and brainstorming new ideas, editing the final images and getting them ready to present to a client, and any time being pulled away from other things or people that also deserve my time and attention.

Because you see, as much as I LOVE photography and Designs by Prater, 'photographer' is only one of the many hats I wear as 'client' is only one of the many hats you wear. And as much as I long for you to know me as a photographer, I also want you to know me as someone who cherishes every Sunday, Wednesday, and all our other hilarious and spirit-filled outings with the wonderful students in my youth group. I hope you know me as someone who purposefully invests in my relationship with my husband and being the best wife I can be to him. I hope you see someone who has placed everything in its rightful place UNDER a personal relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ!

PLEASE don't misunderstand me here...I pray you truly understand that the time I take to run this photography venture (dream of mine) is VERY special to me and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE recording your memories and presenting to you a quality product that you will CHERISH for generations to come. When you book a session or wedding with me, you have me hook, line, and sinker! And I really do look forward to getting to know you better...and all the many hats you wear! :) I just wanted to take a moment of time on my blog to better explain that I APPRECIATE you investing in me and that I am always looking to see how I can offer more value to YOU.

SO...on that note, I have modified my prices for individual digital files and DVD's of complete digital files from a session, as well as created 2 versions of the FOCUS portrait session that include the session fee + digital files on DVD for one price. You can view these new options on our updated PORTRAITS and INVESTMENT pages (linked in the above navigation menu).

And because every post needs a photo and I didn't include one in the last post (shame on me!), below is one of my faves from one of our recent snow/ice days! If you look closely you can see the cross on top of our church building through the icy branches. See the rest of them HERE at my proofing site!

snow day screencap

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Best of 2009 (the second half)

It's time for updating our promotional materials...yea!!! We have selected our top 2-3 images from each of our sessions from the second half of 2009, but we need your help in narrowing them down to the top 4-5 photos to use as we update our website, blog, business cards, promo postcards, brochures, etc. So...here's the deal!

We have uploaded our favorites to a new photo album on our facebook page, titled 'best of 2009 (second half).' All you have to do to vote for your favorite image is hit the Like button or leave a comment on the photo. Vote on as many images as you like, but remember, the top 2 vote-getters for portraits and the top 2 for weddings will be declared the winners! So encourage your family and friends to visit our DBP Facebook Fan page and vote for your favorite images. (Note: Facebook mandates that you Become A Fan in order to "like" or leave a comment on a photo. And I cannot lie, more fans for DBP would be much appreciated!) :)

Oh, and did I mention that the winners will each receive a complimentary 11"x14" of their winning image to proudly display in their home or give as a gift to show your appreciation to one of your voters?! So start your voting now! Good luck :)

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Out of Hibernation

I can admit it! This blog has been pretty silent since last November/December. :) We've kinda been hibernating just a bit this winter...recharging our batteries, taking a good look at our first real year of business, and looking ahead to what we want to see come from 2010. So you may see some changes in the next few weeks, but we think you'll agree they are all for the best! Here is just a bit of what we've been thinking :)

Updated Promotional Materials
We're going to be running another contest on our blog later this week to help us select your favorite wedding and portrait images from the second half of 2009. Your top two vote-getters in each category will be highlighted on our new marketing materials and in updates to the blog and website. Plus, the lucky ones featured in those photos will once again receive a complimentary 11" x 14" of their winning image. So stay tuned to the blog later this week to see what images are in the running!

Simplified Sessions and Packages
We can also admit that we MAY have gone a little crazy in setting up our packages this first year of business! Looking back I can see that sometimes too many choices can actually just confuse a client more and keep someone from hitting the GO button. So after hearing feedback from our clients, we will be simplifying our sessions and packages. A FOCUS portrait session can be used for any type of photography, newborns to high school seniors to newlyweds, etc. One session fits all! (NOTE: We will still offer our weekday vs. weekend sessions to fit the amount of time and date of the week that works best for you. And we'll also still be offering our Shutter Squared sessions with Jennie Lee Photography and a more simplified baby plan package.)

Digital Portrait Packages
Most of you are already familiar with the fairly recent trend of photographers offering sessions that include all your photos on a high-resolution DVD with a print release. Later this week, I'll also be posting my thoughts on why we have been a bit reluctant to offer these packages in the past and what has changed our minds, as well as unveiling our new digiFOCUS sessions that we feel are worth your money as much as they are our time. If this is something you have been waiting for, please stay tuned to the blog!

ALL SEASONS family portrait pass
This is where I need to hear from you! What holidays and/or seasons would you love to have family portraits centered around? Looking ahead to 2010, we are contemplating offering an ALL SEASONS family portrait pass in which we'd charge an up-front fee that would cover 4 30-minute sessions to be used throughout the year and digital downloads of your top 10 images from each session. While one person might want to use it for Valentine's Day, Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, another person might choose to use them for photos in the snow for winter, in a garden for spring, in a cotton field in the fall, and at a Christmas tree farm in the winter. You'd have the freedom to redeem your 4 sessions at your desired times throughout the year! Send me an email or leave a comment on this post if this is something that would interest you!

Well, that covers a lot of what we have been working on so far this year! And because no post looks good without at least a few photos, here are some of my favorites from some sessions that I got to be a shadow on with Beth of b.mo.foto. You can see the rest of them HERE!

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