my Journal

How to figure out pricing in a service based industry

This is a question I get asked all the time – how did you figure out what to charge people ? It’s a little more complicated when you are in a service based business. I have been to many conferences that say things like, ” Oh, charge what you think you’re worth!” or “Charge twice as much as your competition to set yourself apart!”. Well that didn’t work for me, so this is how I figure out what I am going to charge.

1. I start with by writing down my GOALS.

How much do I hope to make in the year? What does work/life balance look like to me? How many hours do I WANT to work a day or a week ? Once I’ve established this I can break it down by the numbers.

2. Then I do some MATH.

I am not much of a numbers person, but if you know how much you want to make each year, you can divide that by 12 and you know how much you want to make in a month, then break it down by week and you get a good idea of how many hours / sessions / weddings/ projects etc that it would take to get there.

3. Do more MATH.

Then you make a list of how long things actually take you. Not how long you would like them to take you. From the beginning to the end – booking, meetings, work the event, after the event, etc. So at this point we have most of the pieces of the puzzle. Now we need a rate.

4. I establish a RATE.

I establish an hourly rate for myself based on what I want to make and multiply it by how long it will take me to do whatever it is I am pricing. For instance, the price of a one hour session isn’t just for that one hour of shooting. It’s the time to book the client, send the contracts, email back and forth, consultation, the prep before the shoot, shooting, importing images, editing the images, exporting the images, uploading the images, and packaging the product. So for me all of that takes about 5-8 hours. So I take my hourly rate and multiply by amount of hours and thats what I charge for my sessions, events, weddings. And my pricing is consistent because of this. There are a lot of different ways to do it so you’ve got to do what makes sense to you but that is a good place to start.

Hope this was helpful for you! Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you put your price list together.

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Putting the Oxygen Mask on first….

I love writing. It was actually my first creative outlet before photography or rather, the two were kind of developed together in my life.

I’ve been waiting and waiting for a time in my life where I would feel like, ” This is it! Now I have time to write, and do photography full time, and be a full time mom! “And….. that time simply hasn’t come. I don’t think there is ever a time where I will feel like I have it all together until my kids graduate and maybe not even then. So…..

I am sitting here in my messy bedroom, with a movie on for my toddler….. writing. Why might you ask? Because I want to ! And I miss writing! I decided that from here on out, I ve gotta take a couple minutes at least out of my day and do something that I just WANT to do and not NEED to do. So here it goes, Im putting the oxygen mask on first ( ya know like how they tell you to in an airplane ?) so that I can take care of my own wants and needs and therefore feel even more present for my kids and my business when I’m done.

In the same way that I often neglect what I want to do, I also neglect editing my own personal photos  until ALL of my editing for clients is done. But guess what? In 6 years, I don’t think that has ever happened. Well maybe once. But anyhow, I decided to also go ahead and edit some headshots a friend took of me at the beginning of the summer. Yep. Thats how long it took me to even look at the photos let alone edit them. So, since I did 2 things for me today, I thought I would kick off my blog tonight with sharing a few of my favorites. I look forward to attempting to write more and bringing even more interesting topics to my readers than why writing is therapeutic to me.

Until next time…..


And just for a laugh, because it made me laugh, here is how I feel like I look. IMG_4078

And here are the photos from my shoot with Holly Sigafoos Photography….


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10 things a bride can do to make her wedding photos better

Sara and Jon got married on a sunny day last year as a church in Dana Point and then celebrated at the Casino, San Clemente within walking distance from the beach. As I went through all of their wedding photos, I realize that many future brides can learn a lot from this wedding. Sara and Jon did so many things before the wedding that made the day flow seamlessly. She also used a lot of wonderful details that made taking her photos incredibly easy.  I summed up the things she did into 10 parts so that if you are a planning a wedding, hopefully this will help you out!

Lets start with the getting ready photos. Sara chose a location that was both personal and pretty, the home she grew up in. The benefit of choosing somewhere with some style inside means that the getting ready photos will be both intimate and beautiful. A hotel room also works well as a getting ready location, especially if the rooms inside are beautiful and if the outside has some pretty spots as well. One other point on this, is she got ready upstairs and we took most of the photos downstairs, leaving the chaos of getting ready out of the photos. Having some chaos and mess in photos is fine, but it is nice to designate a part of your getting ready area as the “clean” area so we can use it for detail shots and portraits. Another smart and sweet move Sara made was she had matching robes made for all of her bridesmaids and a gorgeous bridal-looking cream and lace robe for herself. This meant that every photo I took of her getting ready was gorgeous and she already looked like a bride ( please don’t wear a t shirt and sweatpants when you’re getting ready). She also had a hair piece which I think is a wonderful idea because there is something beautiful to adorn  your hair even when the veil is taken off.  Lastly, she had all of her flowers delivered to the getting ready location. Though it might seem like a pain to carry the bouquets to the venue, it gave us a chance to photograph both her and her flowers while they were both nice and fresh. Here are some of the getting ready photos….


FotoSneakPeek-11FotoSneakPeek-14FotoSneakPeek-15FotoSneakPeek-17FotoSneakPeek-33FotoSneakPeek-36The next smart move this bride made was to plan a first look. Now I personally have a 50/ 50 view on first looks. Sometimes they’re just not necessary and sometimes they are wedding day game changers. For this wedding, we had 4 different locations to be at throughout the day and a first look ended up saving us time in the long run and eased their nerves for their ceremony.

FotoSneakPeek-25FotoSneakPeek-27FotoSneakPeek-29FotoSneakPeek-31FotoSneakPeek-32The ceremony was beautiful, intimate, and incorporated both the Catholic and Greek Orthodox religions into it. After the ceremony, we finished all of the family photos ( Sara and Jon  had made me a list prior to the wedding), we took about 5 minutes of photos right outside the church and then the couple left in style to go and take bridal party photos at the Casino. Sara and Jon had planned for a vintage car to pick them up. An awesome classic car always photographs well and newlyweds should be transported in style.


When we arrived to the Casino in San Clemente, we took a few more photos of both the couple and the bridal party. By separating the larger family photos from the bridal party photos, it allowed me to efficiently get the photos I need and it also gave the couple variety in their photos. Instead of all the photos being taken at the church, the bridal party photos were outside the casino. It is important for a couple to discuss their timeline with both their coordinator and the photographer. The reason I was able to capture soo many photos of this couple is because we planned it together.



FotoSneakPeek-61The reception was flawless and a huge part of that was because Sara and Jon chose vendors that work together often. This helped immensely for a large event like a wedding. Before all the guests came in, she and her coordinator made sure to plan a space of time where we could get in and photograph the reception space. Im sure you shed blood, sweat, and tears planning your wedding so make sure we get a chance to capture all the sweet details. During the reception, she always used “up lighting” which both this particular venue and the DJ offer. This gives the reception some interesting and additional lighting. The last point I want to touch on is that the couple and I planned out in advance a time where I could steal them away from the reception for a short time to take sunset shots. After a very long day with lots and lots of photos, most couples are pretty burned out by this point. But both Jon and Sara were like “Let’s do it!” and ya know what? These were my very favorite photos from the day!



So to review, here are some steps you can take to make your wedding day go off without a hitch and to get even more beautiful photos :


  1. Pick a pretty getting ready location
  2. Choose a gorgeous white robe for yourself and matching ones for your bridesmaids.
  3. Have your flowers delivered to your getting ready location.
  4. Consider doing a first look.
  5. Make a list of family you want to include in photos and pick a separate location for bridal party photos.
  6. Have a special getaway car.
  7. Ask for your photographer’s advice on where your family, bridal party, and romantic pictures should be taken so you get variety in your photos
  8. Give the photographer time to shoot the reception space without any guests in it.
  9. Choose vendors that often work together.
  10. If you have the option to take sunset photo, take it!

Special thanks to Sara and Jon for being such an amazing and easy going couple, to my second shooter Katie who I couldn’t shoot weddings without, and to all of the amazing vendors that made this day possible.

Ceremony: St. Edwards, Dana Point

Reception: Casino, San Clemente

Event Planner: Amy Beck, All in the Detail Design

Hair and Makeup: Beauty and the Beach

Dress: Blush Bridal Couture

Florist: Flowers by Lynne

Band: Blue Breeze Band

Catering: Jay’s Catering



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Lifestyle Newborn Session

What is a “Newborn Lifestyle” session ??

What I have come to learn in the last 5 years as a professional photographer is that many people  throw out terms like ” Lifestyle” or “Fine Art” to refer to their photography or their sessions but a lot of times both the photographer and the client doesn’t really know what those terms mean. Though this particular post is not about any other term other than “lifestyle”. Lifestyle photography / sessions are those that incorporate on location, whether at the clients home or another location, candid and posed shots. The style is more about capturing the family / clients in their natural element. When it comes to newborn photography in particular I offer both in studio and lifestyle sessions. In studio sessions involve both photos of the family in a staged setting or with a background and then photos of the newborn itself often involved a posing bean bag that the newborn lies in, various textiles for the baby to be posed on, various props for the baby to be set in, etc. I typically make my studio sessions more natural than many newborn photographers because I like the way a baby looks in a position that it could naturally be in. A “Newborn Lifestyle Session” is where I go to someones house and capture photos of the family together, candids of the family in their home, photos of the nursery space, and then photos of the baby by itself whether that is in the crib, on a piece of furniture or even in mom’s arms. Though I love the convenience my studio offers both myself and my clients, lifestyle sessions have a such a special place in my heart because I feel that these photos truly capture the essence of this small window of time when a new baby comes home. There is nothing like capturing moments of those first few weeks in a baby’s life: what is lying around the house, the look of joy in a mothers eye’s, the special attention to details in the nursery, and all of those wonderful little moments that make your home. JagerFamily-36JagerFamily-672016-06-25_0002JagerFamily-68JagerFamily-111JagerFamily-162JagerFamily-209JagerFamily-253JagerFamily-304JagerFamily-324

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Engagement – San Clemente State Beach

There is nothing like engagement sessions to me and they are my favorite type of session to shoot. Its usually the first session that I have with couples that turn into lifelong clients and friends. It is a couple of hours where I get to know a couple and take photos in a relaxed environment. This session was done the hour before the sunset ( my favorite time to shoot ) at San Clemente State Beach, my hometown. I love the variety this spot offers: sandstone cliff walls, railroad tracks, and huge expanses of sandy beach. Bohi-46Bohi-57Bohi-87Bohi-124Bohi-149Bohi-228

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