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Category Archives: Joyful Thoughts

I know this a photography blog….but this is on my heart

Life can be very hard sometimes…and lately my sweet 2 year old has made it more of a challenge.

After a late start due to me staying with Colin at school and going to chapel with him, I sat down at Star Bucks and decided before I open photoshop I would go to one of my favorite blogs: and read the devotional of the day.  Wow, did it strike a nerve.  The prayer of the day is: Dear Lord, forgive me for the times I choose condemnation over love; rudeness over kindness; or decide to do nothing rather than do the right thing. Please prompt my heart and interrupt my momentary schedule so my actions accurately reflect who You are. In Jesus’ Name, Amen. Verse:“Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.” Philippians 4:5

Yikes…I often wonder about the people I trample over because I am so stressed out with Colin…what kind of example am I.   I have been guilty of being rude and short with people in public places due to me being focused on child who is screaming or running in the other direction.    Do you ever have that problem?

I am praying for grace today….I pray that I may be a reflection of God’s love no matter the situation I am in.  God is so very  good to me!

Anyhow, check out the blog…it is great!

Now I am ready to start my day…with my mind and heart focused upward.

Have a great Friday!

We are getting back to business!

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your patience with us over the summer months.  I know there were times where I ran slower then normal.  And there where times where I was able to do a session and have it uploaded, order and in clients hands within a week of doing the session.

The summer had many challenges with the kids being home, but there where tons of blessings.

We also had a series of bad events: the worst being  loss JJ’s dad just a couple of weeks ago, which is TERRIBLE, but we know that he is in a much better place  and no longer suffering.

As a mommy I am some what sad to see summer come to a end, but as a professional photographer I am so excited for  fall  and the craziness that it brings for our business.  Yes, the Christmas rush is just starting and SO much fun!  I’m so ready to do more of  the creative work that I love!!!!!

This week I will being tying up all the lose ends from the summer sessions and posting the work that I have permission to make public, so come back and visit soon!

Thank you all for your love and support!  Look forward to seeing you soon!

Instead of Christmas in July….

Hello Friends,

Sorry I did not get the  information  up on for the ‘Back To School’ mini sessions.  I just too busy playing with Colin’s pictures for the promotional pieces.  I am almost done and will have it all posted by Monday.

Just a little information in the mean time.  If you book your session by the 7th of  August, you will receive $7 off your mini session.  And you qualify for some other special deals on our mini  collections.  Just must pay your session fee in advance to reserve your time slot.  Mini sessions start at $50 for one person and run 15-30 minutes and includes  1-5×7 gift print.

More details to come on Monday!

Jillian-By Lindsey Vavra/RGV Harlingen,Texas Photographer

Again, here are a few shot from a not so recent shoot. I am very back logged on my posting…but little Jillian is just too cute not to be seen!

We are here!

Hello Friends,

I just wanted to write a little note and let you know that we are here and we are working!!!  Both of my kids are not going to any type of scheduled child care this summer simply because  THEY ARE GROWING TO FAST and I just HAVE to spend more time with them.  So, I will not be posting every job to the blog….I never have publicly posted all of our work simply due to lack of time..but my fall goal will be to post every job we do, of course minus those who still wish to keep their sessions private.  :)

Our first week of summer I have had to spend several daytime hours in front of the computer, but the boys and I have also been busy reading, learning new things, doing a couple of science experiments and made a two day beach trip-not bad.  I plan to post some pictures of them soon!

Next week I will have scheduled computer work time on Tuesday and Thursday, so I will be sure to post some of the fun sessions  we have been doing then.  And if you need me for anything..that will be the best time to catch me!

Hope you all are having a great summer and are keeping cool!

Hugs to you all!

Summer Availability

I will be posting our new calendar soon.
We are BOOKED through August 13th. With exception of newborns and “Joyful Babies” that are due for the milestone sessions.

Pricing Article

Why does custom photography cost more?

Article written by: Marianne Drenthe

Digital technology is brilliant.  The digital revolution has brought amazing flexibility and amazing amounts of control for the photographer, the hobbyist, the professional, the amateur.  With flexibility comes a price though.  Camera equipment is still considerably more expensive when you factor in its’ lifespan, the need for additional resources for processing those images, the time it takes to get a usable image and the effort that goes into all of this.

Even though you pay $1.99 for a print at your local drugstore and paying for film is pretty much a thing of the past (although you still pay for memory)  you may be wondering why you may pay upwards of $40, 50, 70, 90 for a custom photography print. Some photographers hear this statement every once in awhile:

“How in the world can you charge $60 for an 8×10 if it costs me less than $2 to print at the local drug store?”

The answer is multifaceted and has a lot to do with the time, aforementioned equipment costs, artistic vision and reputation of the photographer, expertise and the usual costs of running a legitimate business.


Approaching it from a time standpoint, for instance let’s imagine if you will that you have hired a photographer who has work that you love and that is travelling an hour to your on location session.  TIme break down:

  • session prep time (30 mins – 1 hour, includes equipment and back up equipment checks + vehicle checks)
  • one hour travel time TO session
  • 15-30 minutes prep time at client’s home
  • 90 minutes-2 hours with client photographing subject
  • one hour travel time FROM session
  • 30-45 minutes uploading time from digital cards from camera to computer
  • 30-45 minutes time spent backing up the original images
  • 2-5 hours editing time to present you with a diverse gallery of edited images
  • 1 hour prep time getting ready for ordering
  • 2-3 hours time with client for ordering images
  • 1 hour sorting through and checking order
  • 30 minutes-1 hour prep time for delivery
  • 30 minutes-1 hour getting order shipped
  • any additional phone time or time needed for add on ordering, shipment issues, quality issues

As you can see, average client time for a session ranges from just under 13 hours to 19 hours dependent on the photographer’s level of service.  This is time dedicated only to your session.  When the photographer charges $150-$300 for the photo shoot you are not just paying for the two hours of session time, you are paying the photographer for 12-19 hours complete time for your session.


Regarding equipment costs, a good quality professional camera with a selection of good optical quality lenses and digital storage mediums and computer set up can run from $10,000-$30,000 costs dependent on the photographer.  Even though you can purchase a really good quality digital SLR for about $2100 there are still other costs related to photography.  A good lens for portrait photography can run up $900 to $2500.  A dependable computer system with software loaded for business and creative usage can run $2500 to $8000 dependent on the photographer.

Then come lab costs for specialty products.  A good photographer knows the lab is integral to their success.  Photography labs dedicated to the professional photographer  often cost more and offer a range of products that allows the custom photographer to continually offer new, innovative products for you, the discerning client.

Discussion other costs of running a photography business could take awhile so we’ll skip the intricate details.  There is of course much more: including costs of running the business, taxes, studio rental/mortgage if the photographer has ownership of a dedicated studio, vehicular costs, costs of advertising/marketing, costs of sample pieces that the photographer will likely bring to your session, etc.


Often times clients will mention to their photographer that X studio in the mall/department store only charges $25 for an 8×10 or they may mention other things related to discount photography chains.  The fact is those discount chains make their money on volume, not on customized 1:1 service.  According to several articles at the time, did you know that in February 2007 a rather well known discount department store that started in Arkansas closed down 500 of their portrait studios across the nation?  The reason is simple, you cannot make money on 99¢ “professional” prints if you do not sell enough of them.  Interestingly enough – those same studios that offer the loss leader packages often charge much much more for their a la carte pricing (as high as $40-50 for an 8×10).  The whole reason the big department stores began offering portrait studios in the first place was to get you, the savvy consumer, in through their door so that you could spend more money with them in other departments.  Your “PORTRAITS” are considered the true “loss leader”.

Going to a chain studio, as a consumer, you don’t have the benefit of 1:1 attention for 2 hours at your home where your child is allowed to explore, play and be comfortable in their home environment, nor do you get the experience that many custom photographers are known for or the lovely captures of natural expressions.  You simply get a bare bones, “SAY CHEESE” experience.  Keep this in mind when selecting a photographer.


Being in demand, being well known for quality work, having a good reputation often costs time on the photographer’s part.  Their expertise comes at a cost, their time learning their craft and learning the intricacies of lighting and the commitment put forth on their end to create a persona about their business that oozes professionalism.  A great number of photographers go a very long time from the time that they purchase their first good camera to making money at the business of photography.  Many photographers, when first starting out, rush in thinking that the business will be easily profitable in no time, how expensive could it be to get a camera and use it to create their dream?  They often neglect to factor in the cost of business, the cost of equipment, software, back ups, etc..

Being of sound reputation, a better professional photographer knows that they must always reinvest in their business to create the reputation of being top notch.  To create good work good equipment, reliable equipment, back up equipment is a necessity.  The photographer who desires to be known as better/best/unparalleled reputation-wise knows that the most important thing they can do for their business is reliability and dependability.  This is how reputations get built.  Good work often is a wonderful side product of building that good reputation.

I hope this (lengthy) article helps shed some light on WHY a custom photographer is a better choice for your family’s memories.  The photographs that are produced as a result of the professionalism and dedication that your photographer has will be cherished for a lifetime (or more) and great thought and consideration should be placed into hiring who is right for your family’s most precious investment.