Wait…When Did December Happen??

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I slowly emerged from my cave office this week and realized that Christmas is once again upon us. Didn’t we do this just a few months ago? It sure came fast this year.

And what a year it was!

I’m still in a post-busy-season haze, so I don’t have the numbers tallied yet (it’s on the long to-do list), but I can safely say that it was my busiest—and best—year ever. I can’t wait to share some of the highlights (again, on the to do list) and some of the wonderful stories of the year.

So…looking ahead to 2015…

I’m getting emails and calls every day for people looking to get on my 2015 calendar.

I know, I know…I’m a planner too. And while I am really looking forward to 2015, the truth is you guys, I need a few days to recover from this incredible year.

So, it’s going to be a couple of weeks before I have the calendar ready.

I’m not complaining…it’s amazing to be busy. I am so grateful for all of you who come back year after year, as well as the new families I haven’t even yet met. I have the most awesome job…and I am so fortunate to work with such incredible clients again and again.

To put it simply: you guys rock.

So, here’s how this is going to go down:

THIS WEEK: Starting this afternoon, I’m going to take a break for the rest of this week and over the weekend. Emails and calls will be returned on Monday.

NEXT WEEK: I hope to have my calendar drafted and into the booking system by the end of the week. There are some who get first access to the 2015 calendar (baby plans, reschedules, people who contacted me back in the fall for 2015 spots, etc.), and they will get an email from me with a private link to the booking system by the end of next week. Gift certificates are available for purchase (more on that below).

WEEK OF CHRISTMAS: Gotta be honest…I feel weird asking people to book a session this week because you’re busy, I’m busy, everyone’s busy. So we’re not gonna do anything calendar-related this week (except for the people mentioned above). Gift certificates are available for purchase (more on that below).

WEEK AFTER CHRISTMAS: Calendar is available for clients to book. Clients, you will receive an email from me with a private link to the online booking system.

WEEK OF JAN 5, 2015: Free for all! The calendar will be open to everyone. I know that’s late if you’re looking for a January session, but judging from the inquiries I’ve gotten this fall, January may already be completely booked.

Here’s a heads up on a few things in 2015:

1. When the calendar opens, I’m tossing around the idea of opening it for the entire year. That’s right…if you want a coveted fall leaves session, you may be able to secure it in January. I’m not 100% sure that I’ll do that, but I’m about 80% sure. There may be a previous-client-exclusivity access to the full calendar, but again, not sure on that, so if you have strong feelings either way, please let me know.

2. I’ll be transitioning to a system where the full payment for the session is due at the time of booking. I know it’s not the most convenient thing ever, but I’m spending way too much time chasing down retainers, trying to remember who owes what, reminding people about balances that need to be paid, and, sadly, dealing with NSF checks. Bookkeeping is one of my least favorite parts of this business, so it’s time to simplify. (Weddings will still be handled on a retainer/final payment basis.)

3. Just a quick heads up that 2015 mini sessions probably won’t be announced until January.

And here’s the big one…

4. Prices for most session types will be increasing in 2015. I’ve actually never announced price increases before, but I’m going to do so ahead of time this year in order to help people plan ahead. I don’t have the details worked out yet, but the price increase will affect pretty much everything except weddings.

I will do my best to keep the increase as minimal as possible.

It always pains me to increase prices, because my philosophy when I started this business has been to provide affordable photo sessions for everyday families. But as demand increases, my costs—and opportunity costs—increase, both professionally and personally.

As one of my very favorite clients reminded me this week: you guys are coming to Lollipop Photography because you want *me* to take your pictures. The pretty pictures are expected, of course, but many of you are coming to Lollipop specifically because of the fun, the laughter, my experience with all kinds of families and situations, the attention to detail, and the service level I offer.

And it has always been my #1 goal to keep that service at a level I’m proud of. I can honestly say that I’m proud of the level of service I’ve been able to offer for the past few years, even as things have gotten busier.

But, as my business grows, the time I’m spending away from my family grows too. And I can’t continue to operate at this level of busy-ness all the time.

There’s only so much of me to go around. My time is starting to become premium.

It’s not going to be super drastic…no one is doubling prices or anything. There will be more options for the level of service you desire. And I have an idea to keep offering some affordable options as well. And you will still receive your digital files with all sessions…that’s not changing.

That all being said…

If you know you’ll be booking a session in 2015 and you want to secure it at this year’s pricing, you can purchase a gift certificate between now and 12/28/14.  Just shoot me an email on my contact page and I’ll get you hooked up.

The fine print: Gift certificates must be paid in full by 12/28/14. They will expire in November 2016. I am not issuing gift certificates for 2014 pricing on mini sessions, senior or boudoir sessions.

(If you have already contacted me prior to noon today to get on the 2015 early calendar announcement list, don’t worry…I’ve got you on the list and the calendar will open up for you by next Friday. You will get 2014 pricing on the type of session you inquired about if you book before 12/29/14. Baby plan peeps: you’ll still get your pricing we discussed when you first contacted me.)

So, there’s some notes on 2015. I’ll be back soon with some fun stories, pretty photos, helpful advice, and—oh yeah—that calendar!

Hope you’re having a sweet holiday season so far!

Stephanie + Dan | Columbia MO Wedding Photographer

Stephanie and Dan were just such a sweet couple, inside and out.

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen such a calm bride. Stephanie was as cool as a cucumber from the moment I met her at the salon throughout the whole day.

Their wedding at St. Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Columbia Missouri, and reception at Kimball Ballroom on Stephens College campus was simply gorgeous.

A gorgeous wedding. A gorgeous couple.

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Her ring was stunning. I love all the diamonds encircling the main stone. Can I get a re-do on my engagement ring? (Just kidding, dear husband!)

 

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Navy + gray just might be my favorite color combo!
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Stephanie had her hair and makeup done at Regeneration Salon & Spa in Columbia. It was beautiful and lasted the whole night!

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The skies were threatening rain right before the first look, but the church’s courtyard was just too pretty to pass up. So, we made the decision to go ahead and go for it. And it was incredible.

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The wedding party was too fun. This might be my favorite wedding group shot ever. Well played, groomsmen. Well played.

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This wedding party knew how to make an entrance!

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… and so did the bride & groom!

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Have I ever told you how much I love the DJs with the colored uplights? No? Well, I love them. Look at how cool it makes these reception photos! They add so much atmosphere to the reception shots. Her DJ was BerryGood Light & Sound. Highly recommend them.

 

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Sneak Peek Extravaganza | Columbia Missouri Photographer

Oh, Facebook. You cruel, cruel friend.

I got excited to have a spare moment today, so I decided to catch up and get back in the habit of posting sneak peeks as we head into the fall busy season. I posted several sneak peeks on my Facebook page today, but the stats tell me that those lovely photos are being served to a fraction of my fans.

Which is completely infuriating.

If only I had an outlet to be able to share these lovely photos with the public…

So, here I am…and here are some lovely sneak peeks from some of my latest sessions!

I have met some really amazing new families lately, and I’ve seen some beautiful returning friends. I feel very fortunate to be able to capture sweet memories of so many wonderful people.

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Annie + Justin | Columbia Missouri Wedding Photographer

Meet Annie and Justin.

This is one super-fun couple that had a gorgeous wedding.

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The bridal party was an amazing group of friends that were such a blast to capture.

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See! I told you they were fun!

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I caught this little sweetie staring in my direction during the ceremony. I just couldn’t resist!

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It was such a beautiful day on the Francis Quadrangle.

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Ellen + Jesús | Columbia MO Wedding Photographer

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Over the past few years, I’ve been in the practice of sharing the sneak peek galleries of weddings on my Facebook page, but it has become increasingly odd that they are missing from my website. So…forgive me as I play some catch-up over the next couple of weeks to get some 2014 weddings up here.

Let’s start with Ellen and Jesús’ classic wedding at Missouri United Methodist Church in Columbia, Missouri early this January. It was a gorgeous, elegant winter affair, complimenting the beauty of this historic church with touches of the season.

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Ellen was such a beautiful bride, and I absolutely loved her gorgeous dress, which fit her sweet personality perfectly.

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Jesús looked very dapper himself in his classic black tux.

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The wedding ceremony was beautiful.

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The bride’s grandfather is a minister, and he assisted with the marriage ceremony. The message he delivered to them before the marriage vows was both touching and hilarious. And I think he might have even gotten a little teary-eyed sending off his beautiful granddaughter!

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The bride and her family is so close, and their whole wedding was filled with beautiful reminders of how much love they share together.

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The MUMC church is absolutely gorgeous, especially during the holidays!

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After we finished up with formals, it was time to head over to the reception. Guests were greeted by this gorgeous ice sculpture!

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I loved all of the little glances Ellen would sneak to her groom throughout the toasts. Love!

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Ellen and Jesús danced the night away in each other’s arms. It was adorable.

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After the formalities, DJ Aaron Rose had the whole crowd on their feet the whole night. Such a fun party!

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Sunny Side Up | Family Photographer in Columbia Missouri

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This baby boy was featured on the blog a few months ago and this time he brought along his whole family. Such a cute family.

We headed out to Shelter Gardens in Columbia, MO, which has just been extra gorgeous this year.

I’ve photographed big sister since she was a newborn, and truth be told, she’s been a little camera shy in the past. This time, though, she was a dream to work with!

In fact, she may have stolen the show.

Here are some of my favorites:
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No need to panic…dad was just out of frame to spot this little guy if he got too brave. Safety first!

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Super snuggles!!

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I am a sucker for the twirly photos:
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Miss C, you take the cake!
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Like, seriously, she’s the cutest kid ever:

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You know that moment when every three-year-old girl wants to lift up her dress and show her undies? Two words: zoom lens. Boom:

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Mr. Man got a little tired of me after a while and really didn’t want to be separated from momma. She’s just out of frame here. I’m so sneaky.

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At one point, we tried to get a momma + kids photo. This was that result. I secretly love it because as moms, we’ve ALL been there, amiright?

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We tried again later in the session and ended up with something a little less dramatic:

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Downtown Columbia Missouri Engagement Session

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I love this couple.

He’s in the armed forces and was stationed far, far away from his love. She’s here in Columbia (for now). I’m pretty sure she booked me for the wedding before he had officially proposed.

But the wedding was definitely on. Venues were secured. The ring had been purchased. The bride’s mom picked out the ring, under very specific instructions from the groom…and she kept it secret until it was time for the proposal.

And the bride basically knew when the proposal will take place. The groom was scheduled to be in town for a very short window of time this summer while he was home on leave. Because of that, we had just a handful of dates to work with for their engagement session.

Luckily, we had amazing weather for this July engagement session. The light downtown that afternoon was fun to work with. And they were one of the cutest, loving couples I’ve worked with.

I loved everything about this engagement session:
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Seriously?? How cute are they??

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You are gorgeous, Payton.

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Sigh…

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We ran across this sign downtown and I made them pose in front of a window full of people. But it was too perfect! And we were very fast.

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I love me a couple that will jump on cue. Love.

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We found one tree downtown—ONE. And it was pure perfection.

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He and mom did a great job on the ring, right?

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Okay, I guess we found two trees. Loving the downtown trees.

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Hey, so we’re almost done but before we go, I’m going to lay down in the bus station driveway and you guys stand over there and look at each other adoringly, mkay? Killed it.

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Sweet Little Sleepy Guy | Newborn Photographer Columbia Missouri

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Ah, newborns. They’re so sweet. So squishy. So cuddly.

It’s no secret that one of my very favorite subjects to photograph are the brand new humans, with their sweet, sleepy personality and their adorable little poses and facial expressions.

And the little noises they make! Oh, the newborn noises.

I could photograph newborns all day, every day.

(If only I could keep up with the laundry!)

It just occurred to me last night that it’s been a while since I shared a full newborn gallery. And, as luck would have it, I finished up this little guy’s gallery last night.

So, full disclosure…I’m blogging just about half of the number of photos these parents received. And they get everything in color and b&w, so you can do the math there.

Of course, every newborn session is different. And my newborn sessions have been evolving since I went full-time with photography three and a half years ago. I’ve been trying to find my style for newborn sessions, loving both the documentary style shots and the posed, squishy baby shots.

This session blended the best of both worlds.

Heads up to expectant momma’s out there…I am considering a change to my newborn sessions, which will offer another option or two for folks, but may also involve a price increase on my current newborn session. If you are expecting a baby and are not on my calendar yet, this would be a good time to go ahead and lock down the current pricing and package.

And remember—I only take 2-3 newborns per month, especially during the fall busy season. It’s never too early to book your newborn session!

Okay, back to the adorable baby pictures:

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Remembering Spring | Columbia Missouri Family Photographer

One of the perks of blogging older sessions is being able to look back and see photos I had totally forgotten about. I remember this session being one of my favorites at the time (mid-April).

Okay, I have a lot of favorite sessions. But, to be fair, I have a lot of amazing clients that make things fun, so you really can’t blame me for being partial to everyone. =)

The other fun part of looking back on photos is the chance to see one of my favorite locations during a different time of year. Remember when the Bradford Pear trees were blooming? It’s my favorite time of year.

These photos were taken at Shelter Gardens in Columbia, Missouri, in mid-April, near sunset. I just did a family session at Shelter Gardens this Monday at the same exact time as this session in April…and the July photos have a totally different look. I like them both, which is what makes Shelter Gardens so flexible as a photo session location.

I should really do a comparison blog post to show you guys the difference…note to self.

Okay, enough blabbering…here are some of my favorites from this sweet family’s session:

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Lemonade Stand Photo Session | Columbia Missouri Baby Photographer

I’ve been looking forward to sharing these photos since April! I have some of the most creative mommies and daddies as clients, and this session was just completely over the top in the cute department.

Baby girl was celebrating her first birthday, and the party’s theme was “Lemonade Stand”. So, we re-used some of the party decorations for her birthday photos as well. Can you believe dad built that super cute lemonade stand?? It is so darling!

Now if only I could figure out how to hire them to style ALL of my photo shoots…a girl can dream, right?!

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