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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Big Changes for JLP!

The month of October has brought wonderful change to Jen Lebo Photography and I am so excited to share it all with you!

I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed photographing my clients like I did this past month. From the very first day of the month, I have felt my work evolving and changing and I have noticed a new look and style to my images- more candid and unposed, more bold and colorful, more authentic and more intimate. I am finding myself more excited with every upcoming session!

That said, I was also finding myself loathing every post session situation. I was spending hours and hours creating, processing, selling, ordering, delivering, packaging, and stressing. And each extra hour of stress meant one less hour with my family. I was spending less time with the people I loved and when I was there with them, I was not someone they wanted to be with anyway.

Something had to give.

I finally broke this past weekend, at the very end of the month. I told my husband I was giving up the business, and that I'd be fulfilling my current client obligations, then packing it up for good. He gave me the space I needed to digest all of this and work through it.

I spent much of the weekend crying. Every time I thought of putting my camera away I would burst into tears. I knew I'd have trouble even photographing my own kids like this. But I also spent a lot of the weekend praying, and I called on a few of my loyal prayer warriors to help me out. You see, I am a woman of faith, and I truly believe God when He tells us that He will show Himself to us and that we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts. (Jeremiah 29:13) So I sought Him.

And in the midst of all of this I found tremendous answers and tremendous peace and I knew what I was being called to do.

I am a photographer. I know deep in my heart that this is a gift that God has given to me. Not a gift in the sense that "Oh I'm so gifted", but a gift in the truest sense. A gift that God has blessed me with to enjoy and savor and celebrate. A gift to glorify Him with. And I love doing that. I love photographing my beautiful family. I love photographing your beautiful families. I love spending time with wonderful people, creating wonderful memories. It is a joy that never ever gets old for me.

I also love taking those images and editing them to make them that much better. I shoot in a special way that makes my images "mine", but I edit in the same way. I put my touch on every image and I love the results. To me, editing each image is just as fun as taking the photograph.

And I feel great in knowing that this is what I'm called to do.

However, I have also been called to be mom. To be wife. To be family. My family means everything to me, and anyone who knows me can back that up. I have been blessed beyond compare to be able to spend my days at home with my kids as a stay at home mom. I'm there to drop them off at school, and I'm there to pick them up in the afternoons. I can help them with their homework, listen to their problems, bake them brownies on a whim, take them for walks on beautiful fall days, care for them when they get sick on a random Tuesday morning, and kiss them goodbye at their classroom doors everyday. I love every minute of it...well, almost. ;)

And I was losing it to the stress and busyness of my business. I was also losing the joy of photography to the business.

Let me get to the point already!

After a long weekend of prayer, tears, counsel, and more prayer, I have come to a wonderful and (I think) huge decision regarding my business!

Jen Lebo Photography is going 100% DIGITAL!

It's all about simplifying, about getting back to basics, getting back to what truly matters in my business and in my life- people and images.

So no more gift prints, no more canvas wraps, no more albums, no more packages. It's just the session and the image.

This goes against everything that I've read and studied about over the past few years regarding the business of portrait photography. Pros would scream at me for making this decision! How will you profit? How will you upgrade your sales? How will you get return orders?

My answer is simple. I don't know and I'm ok with that.
To me it's about honoring my Master Planner and letting the rest fall into place. It's about putting value on the hours I spend with my family and the hours that my work takes me away from my family.

My session fee will be straightforward and simple- $150 for 1-2 hours of photography and fun. A wonderful experience leading to wonderful images.

From there, clients will have 3 options:
Buy a CD of 5 images for $225.
Buy a CD of 15 images for $550.
Or buy a Cd of all 30 or so images for $750.

That's it. You pay for the artist, the time, and the editing. You walk away with the images and the copyrights and total control over your photos. No printing costs, no shipping costs, no overhead costs. My prices reflect the value of my time and artistry(with minimum business costs), and those are prices that I know I can stand behind and I hope my clients can happily understand.

For all of my current or already booked clients, I will honor promotions of course, as well as give the option of prints and packages- after all, they booked before these changes came to be. But starting today, any new clients will find the new Jen Lebo Photography!

No more big promotions, no more contests, no more newsletters, or marketing attempts. From now on Jen Lebo Photography is simply the art and the artist. The mom with the camera. The woman with the gift and the joy and the peace!

One final note. After coming to this tremendous decision, I wanted to celebrate by photographing one of my favorite little faces, that of the youngest in my pride! I took these yesterday, and after seeing them, felt tremendous confirmation in the decisions that I have come to. I find such joy in embracing the blessings of my photography and my family... and your families.

If you've gotten this far, a million thanks for reading this entire post!
And thank you for joining me on this journey!
I'll be keeping this blog (and the website) for sure, as I absolutely love sharing all things photographic with anyone who will listen! I'll be blogging about great families I've photographed, great projects I've started (like one I'm beginning today- stay tuned!), and wonderful experiences I've had. And of course, I'll be hoping to hear from you too!

Stay with me! I have a feeling that the best is yet to come!
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Kim said...

Love you, girl! God will bless your obedience in the best way He can. :-x

Jen Lebo said...

Thanks Kim! Thanks for getting through it all too! Scott says you must be a fast reader! :) Banking on His providence and blessings! He never fails and I'm in great hands!

Allison said...

Jenn, I'm so proud you are following God. He will connect all the dots and do the impossible. Thanks for sharing your journey to this decision. I'm sure it will bless many!

Nancy said...

Give up the should be a writer. I will pray for you and support you no matter hesitation. Love you.

Lucy De Jesus said...

My prayers are with you Jen! Thanks for sharing your talents.

Fresh Local and Best said...

I think this is a terrific idea, and it is very brave of you to try something that the industry is so reluctant to embrace, but that many clients want. It may be a move that you'll find others following.

Ann Hamel said...

Jen - I wish you all the best with your changes. There are lots of folks out there doing the parts that you are giving up - lots of places will print for folks and hopefully your customers will enjoy that process as well as the time they spend with you. I admire you and am inspired by you. We all join you in glorifying Him.

The Smith Crew said...

Jen - I love the changes for many reasons! I love that you are putting your family first & scaling down & I LOVE that you are offering digital. That's the way I'd prefer it & I think you will feel a lot of others feel the same. It makes things so much more flexible for the customer. I may just take you up on your new digital packages :)


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