In building new ads for Facebook and working on getting information out there, I decided that writing about the process can be helpful in understanding what all goes into creating the perfect family portrait.
Every portrait I design begins with the consultation.  I can only imagine showing up for a family session, never having taken the opportunity to get to know the family.  And, I'm not one for taking chances with clothing choices, especially when we are planning for a big, gorgeous wall portrait that will be displayed in a prominent area in your home. 
All of my consultations take place in-person and in the client's home, or at the very least in a real, live phone conversation.  Many of you are referral clients, and we're already acquainted.  I want to get to know you better.  I want to know the vibe of your family, personalities, your likes and dislikes, your expectations, your hopes and where you all are at this particular stage in life.  If we've never met before, the time I take to get to know you is even more important, because we are starting from scratch.  
And here we are at the substance of the matter.  What matters.  Your family matters, that's why you've chosen to invest in professional artwork featuring the ones you hold dearest.  Sure, you can do a quick search, find one of the thousands of beginner photographers out there, and go with the least expensive of the lot and get 450 digital images delivered to your inbox the next day.  I think you'll love those inexpensive images for a moment, because it's your family and you love your family.  But I don't think you'll love those images forever, because I think that typically, what you invest in something is about what you can expect to get out of it.   
I really like nice things.  To be honest, I like the best things.  I tend to invest in the best things and so far, those things are my favorite things and they continually bring me joy in some form or another.  My coffee, for example.  As far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed coffee.  Don't you know the moment I tasted my first cup of espresso from freshly ground coffee beans, I absolutely loved that experience!  That most definitely happened in a commercial setting like a coffee shop.  
Around 6 or 7 years ago, while at my friend Debbie's house for a spa party, she offered me a cup of coffee and, while I loved coffee, I honestly preferred my own freshly-ground coffee.  Imagine my delight when Debbie went to her kitchen, pushed a button on her super-automatic espresso machine, the whir of the grinder cranked up and less than a minute later, I was enjoying a most exceptional cup of coffee!  In a home setting, THIS was the best!  And I, then, had to have one, too!  
The price of a decent super automatic coffee machine starts around $700.00.  *gasp!*  BUT - I love coffee and this machine was capable of producing the quality of coffee I really enjoy.  So, I invested in this pricey, fancy machine and I do not regret that purchase at all.  In fact, if that thing ever dies, and can't be repaired, I will most definitely invest in another one.  While the initial cost was pretty steep, I have had two to three cups of coffee every single day from it for over half a decade!  Worth it? I'd say so.
As you go through the process of hiring someone to make your family portraits, consider the quality of work being created - is it among "THE" best or just something to get by with for a moment?  Think about what your photographer has invested in becoming the type of photographer who deserves your investment.  Pay attention to how much time he or she spends getting to know your family, being meticulous in their details and planning, then learn how to really see the difference in just O.K. pictures and truly remarkable works of art! 
I believe your family deserves better than just good-enough for the moment!  Celebrate your amazing moments with amazing portraits that last beyond a lifetime!
With love, 
Leann

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