Monday, March 1, 2010

Here we go....

Anyone who's met me knows I'm an open book. I'm, like, the queen of TMI. I'm going to continue with that theme as I announce and explain the huge changes that my business is about to undergo.

The year 2009 was a really big year for alison eden. We got tons of new clients with beautiful kiddos, and we also got to see the majority of our regulars again and watch their children grow! Angela and I worked insanely hard, especially in the last quarter of the year. Once I got over the shock of the fact that I could even attract so many clients, I realized that this pace has proven especially hard on my boys and my family, not to mention my own body. Work-life balance isn't even in my vocabulary. Now Angela's gone, out on her own, and I'm still working like a dog, trying to catch up from early January! I watched “Baby Mama” the other day. I sobbed at the end. Ridiculous, I know. Actually, I cry almost every time I watch a movie or hear a song or read a book about having babies. It's because feel like I'm missing this special time with my children, and I'll never get it back. I've realized that I've really got to de-stress before Chuck officially exits babyhood forever. Enter business counseling.

When I sought business counseling from Professional Photographers of America, I knew it was going to be a hard road. I knew they were going to tell me things about price and procedure I didn't want to hear. I approached my mentor consultation with a list of things in hand that I was NOT going to change. Guess what? They wore me down. In their insistence that I HAD to make these changes in order to get my life back, they wore me down.

And so, it is with a heavy heart that I announce the end of established clients' original rates. I'm breaking the promise that I made to my wonderful clients when I started this business. Ugh. In fairness, that promise was made when I was a fledgling, self-taught, dining-room shooter with nary a Photoshop action to my name. In the few years since then, I have worked furiously, investing countless hours and tens of thousands of dollars in education, equipment, and accessories, with one goal in mind: to make more thoughtful and beautiful the art that I provide to my clients. In addition, I now spend at least three times as many hours on each session as I did then. At some point, that promise tragically became antiquated; I just refused to admit it. Well, it was really, really fun while it lasted.

It turns out that I have been doing several things wrong in the last year or so, among them shooting too many sessions, shooting too many images per session, offering a full-session disc to anyone that wanted it, and presenting my clients with their images over the Web.

The changes I am prepared to make are going to have an impact on every aspect of the alison eden experience. I think it will be overwhelmingly positive. I will be able to spend more time consulting with clients before the session, to find out where they want the images to go and what other inspiration they have for these photographs. I will be able to use that information to shoot more thoughtfully to that end. And I'll be able to present the final images to my clients, in person, and really experience the images with them. I'll also be able to spend more time educating myself, re-vamping props and accessories on a regular basis, and devising new artistic ideas for images. And above all, I'll have time to be more contemplative about each image—I think I lost something of my signature style in the furious pace of the last six months.

I want to be very clear about the fact that I'm not doing all of this so I can make more money. I'm doing it so that I can have more time to spend with my family and take better care of myself. I'd really like to be able to take my kids to the library or work on phonics with them, for instance. Or have ticklefights with them without a two-minute time limit. Or plant and actually tend a garden (Have you SEEN my front flowerbed? How embarrassing!). Or exercise once in a while. Or cook healthy food for my family. Or go out to dinner with friends. Or just plain rest instead of spending every moment multi-tasking (or attempting to) and filling my body with more and more stress hormones. I want my children to remember their childhood fondly. I want them to remember their mother as a warm, cheerful, engaging woman, not a lady that works half the time she's with them and spends the rest of the time being stressed about the fact that she's got so much work to do. And as far as my work is concerned, I also want all these hours I do spend to be worth something! I realize that, even though I'm blowing these images up to 100% and retouching every tiny little booger or fingernail scratch off of my clients and doing expert color-correction on every single photo they see, most of these photos are never seen larger than 4x6, or 8x10 at most, and many of them are never seen in printed form and are only posted on Facebook (on un-calibrated monitors)! My mentor opened my eyes to that one.

My dear clients, I really, truly love you guys. I'm incredibly lucky to have you in my life, and especially lucky to have had such warm and friendly people to help me grow as a photographer. I am so blessed to have met each and every one of you and your children, and I hope we can continue to have a relationship, even if it's just a friendly one. Once you examine my new pricing and everything, if you decide you have to find a new photographer, I won't get my feelings hurt! Every family has to decide what portraiture is worth to them, and I absolutely respect anyone's decision to cut a budget, as I hope you all respect my decision to take control of my family life by taking control of my work life. Does that make sense?

What this all means for you, the client:

Yes, your total investment per-session will probably be more expensive. But the images will be better. And the whole experience will be more interactive and far more personal. I'm so excited to be growing and entering a new phase, and I hope you'll share it with me!

The new rates will take effect on April 1st for new clients.

Established clients will have until July 1st, 2010 to purchase products from past sessions at their original rates. Established clients can also schedule ONE more session and purchase from that session at original rates, but that session must take place before July 1st, 2010, and said order must be placed by August 1st, 2010. Clients in the midst of a maternity/newborn combo or a Baby's First Year plan can finish out their plan at their rates.

Beginning April 1st, mini-sessions will only be available on the first Tuesday of every month (9-5), except for periodic promotions, which will take place at the time and location of my choosing (suggestions accepted!!!).

Okay. That was really hard. Thank you for being part of my life and my business. You can see the new pricing structure below. It will probably take some tweaking here and there to get it right, and I welcome suggestions from you guys about packages or mini-session themes.

Now, stay tuned for some serious catching up on blog posts. I'll be posting my favorite images since my last post in.... holy crap, OCTOBER???!?? Oy. Anyway, onto the stuff you want to see....



a full session at my studio is $200. on-location, $300. that (plus sales tax) is what you'll owe me at the session. session fee covers time and talent and a $60 print credit. print credits can be applied to LOOSE PRINTS only (not canvases, books, or digital files). full sessions typically result in 30-50 finished images. this fee covers two “grown-ups” and their children. please add $25 for each additional grown-up.

(mini-sessions are also available—scroll down for that.)


are complimentary! bring your child within the 30 days preceding or following your child's birthday for a full session at no charge. bring cake!

when you book your session, i will contact you to set up a consultation, during which we'll discuss your desires for your photographs. when your photos are ready, i will present them to you in-person at my studio, and you can place your order then, as well as anytime within 30 days from the presentation date.


a custom-designed, hardbound 10x10 coffee-table book with twenty pages, each with one image from your session


a custom-designed 12x12 ALBUM (more substantial than the coffee-table book) with twenty pages, each with one image from your session



(keep in mind that the vast majority of my images will be presented at a 2:3 aspect ratio, or as squares)

four wallets


four-by-six or five-by-seven


eight-by-ten or eight-by-twelve


eleven-by-fourteen or ten-by-fifteen










larger sizes and custom dimensions are available. odd sizes or squares are rounded up to the next size.


1.5" depth; do not require framing:














similar to gallery-wrapped canvases, but without the thickness. image appears to float off of the wall. floatwraps look incredible with metallic canvas, perfect for bright colors:






the most modern way to display your photos; image is printed onto the back of an acrylic plate and offset from the wall; no framing required


$350 for one or $250 for two or more


$450 for one or $350 for two or more


$450 for one or $350 for two or more


fresh and funky; image is hung by assembling six metal squares with metal brackets; not recommended for all images, depending on where the cuts fall


$600 for one or $500 for two or more


a single digital file, as for use on a holiday card or birth announcement


when you order $600 or more in products from a full session, you become eligible to purchase a disc containing the entire gallery of full-resolution digital files for $200. see maternity/newborn and baby's first year packages for special digital file pricing.


both sessions: $300 ($200 at maternity, $100 at newborn) – this includes two $60 print credits. your additional end-product options are:

a single hardbound coffee-table book, containing images from both sessions


two hardbound coffee-table books (one from each session)


two sixteen-by-twenty-four floatwraps


when you order $800 or more in products from maternity and newborn sessions combined, you become eligible to purchase the full-resolution digital files from BOTH sessions for $200


4 sessions: $600 – this includes four $60 print credits, which can be combined.

accordion wallet book, containing twelve images from the entire year

$100 for the first one

$25 for each additional copy

a single collage of 4 photos of your choice, on a sixteen-by-twenty-four canvas


a wall collage, consisting of two sixteen-by-twenty four floatwraps and two eight-by-twelve floatwraps (metallic canvas)


a single 10x10 hardbound coffee-table book, containing images from all four sessions


when enrolled in Baby's First Year and you order $300 in products from a single session, you become eligible to purchase that session's full-resolution files on disc for $200



also called “First Tuesdays,” because they are only available on the first tuesday of every month (9-5), except for special promotions, which are available at a predetermined date, time, and location. mini-sessions last around 15 minutes. there are no clothing changes or background changes during a mini-session. mini-sessions result in around 10-15 finished photos. consultations for First Tuesday sessions will be done over the telephone, and proofs for all mini-sessions will be presented over the web.

$75 covers the session fee only, or choose from the following packages:

mini-session and disc containing all edited full-resolution images from session (10-15) OR mini-session and sixteen-by-twenty-four floatwrap


mini-session and single digital file (this is your best bet for holiday cards)


when you order $275 or more in products from a mini-session, you become eligible to purchase a disc containing the entire mini-session gallery of full-resolution digital files for $75.


  1. Go Alison! I was a banker/commercial loan officer (read business counselor) for 15 yrs working w/small businesses and this is exactly what you should do, even though we customers like cheap a lot. I'm also a mom and agree you can't get this time back - get the time now while you can...great job explaining it and laying out pricing!

  2. Good for you, Alison! Nothing wrong with knowing your value and creating some boundaries between work & family life. I'm sure we'll be back for another family session in a year or two, if you can squeeze us in!

  3. BRAVO. I started weeping at "I want to be very clear about the fact that I'm not doing all of this so I can make more money..." If there is anyone who puts their heart and soul into their work... it's you. I applaud you for making this tough change for yourself and your family. I am sure the rest of your adoring audience will feel the same.

  4. I have the most amazing clients in the world. I really, truly love you guys, and I am so grateful for all of the support. Thank you.

  5. Good for you Alison and for your family! I know it's a constant struggle to try and find that perfect balance and I am proud of you for taking the steps to do so. You are truly talented and work will always be there for you.
    Enjoy, we only get one shot at this life.
    Take good care of each other, Norma

  6. Alison, you are a very gifted photographer, amazing. I have referred you to two of my dearest friends - who loved your work as I do. Growing your business strategically is smart, you may lose some clients, but you will keep those that value your products. You may want to reward referrals as a means to spread the word.

  7. Thanks so much, you guys. Yes, I have been thinking about a referral program.. Just have to work out the kinks... :)

  8. Good for you Alison! It's often hard for artists to fully value their work, and the time that goes into creating it. It's even harder to expect others to do the same. You are a great photographer but an even better mom for laying this all out for your clients. They will respect you for it!

  9. Hi Alison, I just caught up on your blog post. You poor thing, it sounds like you really struggled with your decision but it definitely sounds like it's the best thing for you & your family, because overall, your family is the most important. I'm so glad we've gotten the chance to know you from the very beginning! We'll see you soon for Delaney's one year and if we can swing it, we hope to see you on maybe a yearly basis.
    Kudos for doing what you needed to do!