If you read the last post about a promotion in September, please disregard. We’ve decided we’re going to offer something like that next year in fairness to the people who visited us in July.
We love traditions at FotoFly. When someone hits their one-year-mark with our company, we smash a cake in her face. When someone has a birthday, we print an enlargement and everyone signs it. Everyday, Luke and I drink a 44 oz Sonic. Traditions all.
Every year, we’ve done ‘Christmas in July’ where we give you a discount and let you schedule early for FotoFly Santa. This year, the tradition continues.
If you visit us in July at any FotoFly location, you’ll receive a coupon that will allow you to pay $25 instead of $35 for your Santa pictures. You’ll also be able to schedule ahead of the public. This offer is good beginning today through July 31st.
Obviously, Christmas in July is a way for us to encourage you to visit FotoFly. We’re offering encouragement. I just looked it up and one of the definitions of encouragement is ‘the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.’ So, if you really think about it we’re just supporting you in doing the right thing, offering confidence that you’re a good parent who doesn’t neglect your responsibility to document the development of your family, and we’re giving you hope that you will get a FotoFly Santa appointment that works easily with your schedule so your husband can be the one to dress as Santa this year.
To react to this encouragement and visit us in July, simply click on one of the links below.
Many of you who are reading this are creative. Many of you are interested in photography. Many of you would love to be a photographer. I understand why. When you’re a photographer, you get to create everyday something that someone truly appreciates. There is nothing like seeing the face of a mom as she looks at pictures of her children that you created…and then looks at you…I love that moment.
Photography is a talent and I know many of you have it – or, you have potential. Maybe you’d like to pursue this and develop this talent but are not sure how. Some of you have come to my workshops. I’ve listened to you aspiring photographers for four years now. You want to learn. Some want to learn just so they can take their own children’s pictures. Some want to become good enough that they could actually make money at it. We have something for you.
FotoFly has created a way for you to become a world-class photographer. Not an average photographer, not a beginner photographer, not an amateur – but a real, world-class photographer. We’ve had this vision for a long time. We’ve created a comprehensive curriculum. We have an ideal facility. We’ve FINALLY gotten the licensing from the state. We’re ready to begin FotoFly Academy.
FotoFly Academy is a three-month photography school at Thanksgiving Point. In those three months, you will develop the very same skills as our own photographers. It doesn’t matter what past experience you have. Many of our best photographers had almost no photography experience prior to being trained by FotoFly. Just a few examples:
Each of our photographers has become a world-class photographer in a remarkably short amount of time. We know how to create photographers. We can make you a photographer. You will learn everything you need to become a photographer. We’re holding nothing back. If it is your goal to make money, this will help you stand out from the hundreds of aspiring photographers in Utah.
It is our intention that all future FotoFly photographers will be hired from past FotoFly Academy graduates. We don’t promise that we will hire you if you graduate, but it is how you would become a potential candidate.
Why are we doing this? Because someone needs to. There needs to be a standard established that will allow customers to know if someone has really been trained and knows what he or she is doing. As of now, there’s no certification, no licensing, nothing. All customers have is a photographer’s website with sample images that may or may not be his or her own work. Or, those awesome pictures may represent the very best images taken over the past two years. I’m afraid too many families, brides, couples and parents are getting burned – wasting their money and TIME.
We’re discounting the tuition for this first semester by $2,000.
The guarantee is that you will become an amazingly skilled, incredibly versatile photographer – ready to work in a studio or outdoors or indoors – anywhere. It’s not going to be an easy process, but you will have a skill that you will have forever. You can take it with you anywhere and it will benefit you for the rest of your life. When you graduate, customers will respect you, other photographers will respect you, I’ll respect you – because you’ll have earned it.
Here’s the exciting/challenging part, classes start on June 16th! We had secure our ‘post-secondary school’ license before we could advertise publicly. Because of the shortened notice, we will be slightly flexible about when you must be paid in full. To reserve your place, visit our website and pay the enrollment fee. We actually already have a paid student before we’ve advertised! We understand that you may have a lot of questions but want to reserve a spot, we are allowing refunds of the enrollment fee until June 9th. To enroll, learn more, and contact us with any questions, visit:
Finally, one more way to earn a free session from FotoFly… If you refer someone who ends up being a student, we’ll give you a free session at any location. It’s the least we can do.
I’m glad we presented our mission statement yesterday. I received personal messages from some of you confused about what it meant. It’s always been clear in my mind but didn’t translate very well to the public. So, without changing the meaning, we have changed the wording.
The mission statement was originally written to declare our intention to change the photography industry. From the beginning, we’ve wanted to influence all of it. And there’s some things that need to change. FotoFly is thriving, but the rest of the photography world is headed into a weird direction. Here’s what I’m seeing.
As of last night, there are 745 amateur professionals advertising on KSL. I spent a couple of hours looking through them and I have some concerns. Today, I took some time to attempt to duplicate the type of problems that I was seeing. The issues fell into four main categories:
There was a lot of splotchy lighting, some just bad lighting, and mostly FLAT lighting:
I saw awkward posing, unnatural posing, posey posing, and unflattering posing.
I am into pensive looks. Sometimes I like crying pictures. I love smiles. But, I dislike fake smiles or bored/nothing expressions.
Many of the pictures were incorrectly composed. In other words, they were cropped wrong (too tight, unbalanced) or there was something in the foreground/background that didn’t belong. Or, they were just weird…weird vignettes or colorizing.
Bad photography has always made me a little angry. Whether it’s a random family portrait on someone’s wall or as I’m reviewing our own pictures – I always feel some level of anger. I think I put myself in the family’s or the parent’s or the bride’s shoes and it is upsetting. Especially when money has been paid.
As I looked over the 745 photographers, I thought: “If I were a customer, how would I EVER choose? How would I know if this person actually knows what he/she is doing and know that I’m not wasting my time and money.” Then I thought, “If I was one of these 745 photographers, how would I ever stand out?” Tomorrow night, I’m going to talk about FotoFly’s step in solving this problem.
Until then, I would like to have a fun contest that involves you and YOUR pictures. Email to email@example.com pictures that YOU have done that, after you’ve looked at them, you’ve realized that you had a lighting, or posing, or expression, or composition problem. Please don’t send pictures that you had someone else do of you. I don’t want to embarrass any fledgling photographer out there – but if you’re okay with it, post pictures that you’ve done. I don’t want any copyright issues… We will pick winners in each category. So, tomorrow night at 9:00, we’re picking four more winners. This is the most I’ve given away in a long time.
Here’s the deal, you must send them by 7:00 am tomorrow morning because I’m going to post my favorites of each category tomorrow morning and we’ll spend the day voting. Tomorrow night at 9:00, I’m going to announce the winners and finally make our big announcement.
For almost four years, our process has been:
- 45 minute photography session.
- 60 minutes of editing while you wait/run errands/eat lunch/etc.
- 30 minutes reviewing your images and choosing prints.
- 15 minutes getting your images printed and then paying.
By the time you’re done, it has been between 2-3 hours. I know that, for many, the process is too long. In fact, it would probably deter me from getting my kids’ pictures very often. I don’t have many afternoons to kill… So, we’ve decided to give people the choice to leave after the session!
Introducing EasyFoto. Beginning Monday, May 19th, you will have the choice to be done with the studio experience when your session is over. Of course, we ask that you pay the session price before leaving… Within two hours, you’ll be emailed a link to easily download all of your high-resolution images straight to your computer – as if you had just inserted your disk or flash drive. You receive the same variety and quality of images. As always, we guarantee that you will love your portraits.
The EasyFoto option will cost $8 and has five benefits:
- You’ll be in and out of FotoFly within an hour!
- You will receive a $5 certificate code good for any prints.
- You’ll still receive a 20% discount coupon code for your prints if you order within a week. The prices are the same as the studio prices.
- Any family member or friend can also download the full-sized images if you give them your gallery code. There isn’t a limit to how many times your session can be downloaded. Your parents and brothers/sisters will love this!
- Your session is archived indefinitely. This is a great way to backup your images.
Our software will allow you to easily review each image and choose which images to print from the comfort of your home. Here’s some honesty… This is the big risk for FotoFly: by presenting to you your images in our studio, the likelihood of you printing with us is greater than if you view the images at home. We rely on the printing with us to keep session prices low and stay in business. If our printing sales drop to zero – we’ll need to reconsider the EasyFoto option or raise our session price to stay in business. So, please continue to use us to produce your prints that you use for your walls, scrapbooks, desks, gifts, etc.
There are three main benefits to printing with us:
- The color of our prints is more vibrant and matches reality. The images are crisper.
- The quality of paper we use is dramatically different than what you’ll receive at a discount printer. You can feel the difference.
- You’re supporting FotoFly and keeping us around.
You’ll have two choices for delivery:
- Have your prints held at the studio for you to pick up. They will be ready within 24 hours of you ordering them! (except on Sunday)
- Have them delivered to your home for $2.95 (for regular sized prints). We will ship them within 24 hours!
You will be able to adjust the cropping of your images through the software. We will offer responsive support for any other adjustments you would like to your images before printing.
If you prefer how we have done it in the past, you will still have the option to view your images with an artist an hour after your session. By the way, nothing will change in how we schedule sessions or how much time we allow photographers to photograph sessions.
I’ve uploaded a few into a sample gallery so you can get a feel for what it will be like to use the process. Go to www.fotoflyeasyfoto.com, click on ORDER PRINTS, and then enter ’20141111example’ as the GALLERY ID. Be sure to take the time to read the instructions about how to download at the top of the gallery.
Since the creation of FotoFly, I’ve tried to innovate/improve based on what I would want as a customer. To me, I think the waiting game after the session has been the low point of the FotoFly experience. We want your lasting memory being a talented photographer doing everything he or she can to create amazing portraits for your family (like this) – not spending time on our super nice couches in the front of the studio.
I know that our low price encourages people to come to FotoFly. I also know that the three hour commitment has discouraged people from coming to FotoFly very often. It’s our hope that the low price AND the shortened time and added convenience will make us the obvious choice for frequent family photos – at least until the other studios start doing the same thing and then we’ll have to come up with something else.
Children are born with a few natural tendencies: They like to play. They have great imaginations. They love to create. Somehow, the world beats these natural tendencies out of us and we conform. It’s sad really. Some people, however, seem to hold onto to these gifts.
At FotoFly, we try to find people who still have these natural tendencies intact: creative, fun, playful, and have amazing imaginations. Madison Larsen is one of our most veteran photographers and, rather than slipping into a rut, is still pushing the creative envelope. She had an idea for a cool image she wanted to create, did it, and wrote about it – including the behind-the-scenes pictures. So, in Madison’s words:
I decided to do a self-portrait one afternoon after I got off work. We had a FotoFly Art Show coming up and I’ve had this idea in my head that I have wanted to try out, and now I had a deadline to make it happen. The next day, I went to work at FotoFlyAway at Thanksgiving Point. After shooting there all day, I decided the location I wanted and Kenny said he would take it for me. After work it started raining, but it wasn’t raining enough to make us reschedule the shoot. Luckily Alex was able to come help out too as we wouldn’t have been able to do it without her!
Here is our initial test shot as I was explaining to Kenny what I was going to do and what I wanted it to look like:
As you can see in the image above, every thing is darker, but we do get some light on me which, I think, makes the picture work. So pictured above is Alex. She had the pleasure of throwing my skirt up in the air so we could make it look like I was falling. So once we got the skirt picture, we had Alex toss my hair.
Mind you, my abs are KILLING by this point. And I’ve almost fallen off the chair like 5 times, but eventually we got something I liked. Then I had Kenny stay where he was and take a picture above where I was and below where I was so that if I wanted to add in more background later, I could.
As you can see above, we got more of the background and you can see my light source. When taking extra frames of the background, it’s easiest to focus on your subject and then turn your camera to manual focus so that you can take the other pictures without having to re-focus so your final image of the composite photos will be consistent.
As you can see the original image was taken in a landscape format and I didn’t love it. I really wanted the space above me so that you could tell I was falling. So I composited my skirt picture and my hair picture together, took out the stool, added the background above me and underneath me and then messed around with the color until I got what I was looking for. I really wanted to combine the idea of innocence and beauty with a darker theme and I think I achieved that. I can’t wait to do more of this “fine art” type work.
I love these pictures! They’re a great demonstration of her talent. I love the type of person Madison is – along with the rest of our creative team. No one asks them to do this stuff, they just do it.
The challenge now is to invent some sort of way to recreate this concept in a way that’s reasonable for FotoFly to do in a session…
We’re lucky to have the people we do working for us. Having been in this business for over 22 years, I can say that these ‘experiments’ of hers are world-class. I couldn’t be more proud Madison!
If you have any questions about the shoot – or photography in general, feel free to ask as comments to this post!
We love trying new things. Tulip Bunnies is a new thing. We’ve done some trial runs with the bunnies and are feeling comfortable with them. They don’t seem to like us very much – it might be because of the chasing… It will help us all is if we communicate clearly with you about what’s going to happen. Please read the following carefully so there aren’t any misunderstandings
- We’ve scheduled sessions ten minutes apart to spread out customers throughout the day and minimize any waiting. Hopefully, we will be right on time. As always, working with children isn’t an exact science. Please view your scheduled time as a way for us to spread out customers – not an exact appointment. It’s not like a dinner reservation or movie time where we are frustrated if it doesn’t start on time. We really believe we have spaced it well.
- Our goal is to create two different poses for you with the bunnies. It may be that these two poses literally take two minutes because your children are easy to work with. That’s great and we will give high fives all around and move on to the next session. The plan is to NOT keep shooting until ten minutes have passed – the goal is to get TWO poses. We’re trying to deliver unparalleled quality at a price that is…FREE.
- Every day is booked solid. In fact, we had to extend to three weeks instead of two! As always, we are expecting to deliver amazing pictures. However, please remember that these are free sessions and we don’t have a method for retakes. If your child has a meltdown and we can’t get images, it is going to be a big challenge to simply reschedule.
- Check in at our counter at the Southwest corner of the Emporium. The Emporium is adjacent to the big water tower at Thanksgiving Point. You’ll be given a number card. We have a number counter that will be displayed through the window at the Emporium so you can know exactly what number we are on at all times.
- Bunnies are crazy. The big ones HATE to be picked up. The baby ones are okay with it. If your kids are holding a bunny, it will likely be a baby one. They don’t seem to bite but they do kick when picked up. They do have nails and they scratch. Please know that there’s a chance that a bunny may scratch your child if you want your child to hold one for the picture.
- We are hoping for perfect weather over the next three weeks. We will have a make-up day or two at the end of the three weeks if needed for the rescheduling of rained-out sessions. Again, every day is completely booked and we will likely not be able to reschedule rained-out sessions the FOLLOWING DAY.
- After your session, we will edit the images. You’ll likely wait 30 minutes to see your images. We edit them quicker than that – but it’s also a matter of running the cards around, transferring images to the server, bringing them up on the sales station, etc.
- You’ll receive a FREE CD with your images. We are offering five sheets for $20. We will begin printing your pictures immediately after view your images.
- Tulips are a little unpredictable. We are going to have to move around a little throughout the three weeks. Basically, chasing the tulips. They plant different kinds that bloom at different times. So, the colors will vary throughout the three weeks. Also, we are limited by the laws of nature on when and IF they bloom. Hopefully, we have beautiful tulips throughout the three weeks, but I suppose there’s a chance that a freak winter storm or ravaging deer might destroy the tulips and we’ll resort to just ‘Flower Bunnies…’
We think we’ve anticipated the challenges with doing this and hope that it all happens without a hitch. We’ve been practicing and learning about bunny psychology and how to not kill them. The challenge, when doing something new, is that there’s a learning curve and you don’t always anticipate what’s going to happen. Please be patient with us throughout but especially the first couple of days. One thing I can promise, we will do better than what else you can get elsewhere. For example, Luke was out shopping with his two girls and was given a free Easter Bunny picture:
We’re really excited to do this and look forward to creating some awesome images for your family. We really did laugh the entire time we were doing practice sessions – between seeing the kids’ reactions and corralling rabbits, it was hilarious. We hope you’ll enjoy the process and the pictures. If you have any questions at all, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
While in Las Vegas, as we walked the streets at night taking pictures, we noticed how much control we had over the light. It seemed like we could do about anything. We were able to do things with light that we wouldn’t be able to do during the day. The pictures were unique. We got excited and were sure we could duplicate the effect right here in Salt Lake City. So we tried…
We’re pleased with the result. Downtown has some amazing architecture and lighting. We’ve stayed around The Exchange Place (3rd South and Main Street) area and there’s an awesome amount of possibilities for beautiful, stylish pictures.
We believe that there is a good idea here and that this type of photography will work really well with seniors (high school, not retired people). So, as graduation approaches, we’re offering this service to you. Your senior pictures will literally be the coolest, most unique images you’ve ever seen. You’ll be the envy of your friends. We don’t think that this is a good situation for children or families – so, we’re starting out offering it to seniors only.
We will be doing two sessions each evening. One just before sunset and one after that. So, this time of year, one will be at 7:30 and the next will be at 9:30. We will be opening up the schedule Monday (March 31) morning. I’ll post on Facebook when I do. You’ll schedule through the fotoflyonthespot.com website.
The price will be the same as OnTheSpot sessions: $195. Of course, this will include a CD with the electronic images. Our goal is to always give you a lot of value for what you spend.
You can opt to have the CD sent to you (within a week) or come by the studio to view the images and do any image fine-tuning. We know that timing is important this time of year.
Just like the OnTheSpot sessions, it will be time-based. We will plan on shooting for 90 minutes. This should give us plenty of time to set up some amazing images in various situations.
You can do as many clothing changes as you’d like. Obviously, we want to spend more time shooting than dressing.
To get this started, we’d like to give FREE FireFly sessions out to FOUR seniors. To enter, simply make up a word that you’d use to describe this type of senior photography. The one I would invent is: ”toocoolforschoolicious.” Post your word as a comment on the Facebook announcement you just saw.
We are very enthusiastic about this. We hope your enthusiasm matches ours. For now, we are going to offer these until mid-June to measure your response and determine whether it’s something that we’ll continue to offer permanently. If you have questions, email me directly at email@example.com.
Each year, I get asked to come up with something special for Spring. It’s something that I’ve struggled with. Up until now, I haven’t been able to imagine something not cheesy. I’m not going to put a guy in a creepy bunny suit. I’m not going to use stuffed bunnies or fake chicks. To me, even real ones look unnatural inside of a studio. It seems forced.
Finally, we’ve come up with something at Thanksgiving Point. We’re fencing off an area of their tulip garden and bringing in bunnies. I think in the natural, springtime, colorful environment, the bunnies will look cool. We’re calling the program TULIP BUNNIES.
These will be similar to Santa sessions in concept and length. Tulip Bunnies sessions are NOT regular sessions. Basically, we’ll be going for two good poses or ten minutes – whichever comes first. These are going to happen April 14th-26th.
Here’s the deal. You can’t buy these sessions. We are including these Tulip Bunnies sessions FOR FREE with any regular session between now and March 23rd. This is as many sessions as we’re prepared to commit to.
This is how it will work. Come in for a regular session before March 23rd. At that time, you’ll choose an appointment for your FREE Tulip Bunnies session. Again, we will have two weeks open the last half of April. Morning times, evening times, and Saturday appointments will be available. The appointment times will be first come/first served.
- Can I pay for a Tulip Bunnies session? No. The way to get a Tulip Bunnies session is to visit us for a regular session before March 23rd.
- Does it matter if I do a studio session, FotoFlyAway, or FotoFly OnTheSpot? No – any FotoFly location will qualify.
- What if there aren’t any times left that work for me? Because of the nature of this, we’re limited in how long we can offer it. If no times work out with your schedule, you’ll miss out on the free Tulip Bunnies session. The total number of appointments will be adequate to schedule everyone.
- Can we do family pictures at a Tulip Bunnies session? Yes. The policies are identical to Santa where you can do group pictures of your family.
- Will you do group pictures and individuals? No – unless you had several regular sessions. We will not have time to do groups and individuals of each family in these sessions. Again, it will by like Santa in this way.
- What if the weather doesn’t cooperate? We’ll have a backup day each week. We will reschedule you.
- How will I see my images from my Tulip Bunnies? After your session, you’ll see them and will receive a CD with the electronic image. Just like a regular session, you’ll have the opportunity to print immediately.
- How many bunnies will you have? We’re not exactly sure. We want it to look like the kids are playing with bunnies in tulips. However many accomplishes that.
- Can I just call ahead and schedule a Tulip Bunnies session as soon as I schedule my regular appointment? This is tricky… I think it’s going to get complicated if we let people schedule Tulip Bunnies sessions at various points in the process. For now, we’re going to schedule your Tulip Bunnies session at the time of your regular session.
We are hoping that you will love this and it will become a new tradition for you and your children. If you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the studio at 801-727-3686.
Do you have a husband or wife? This person is your partner in life and the person you trust the most. He or she knows the good and the bad about you and loves you anyway. You’ve experienced challenges with this person by your side. You married this person when you were young and, hopefully, will say goodbye when you’re old. It’s the most important relationship you will ever have. It’s more important than the one with your parents, friends, and children.
Isn’t it strange that many of us have very few, if any, professional portraits done with our spouse. Many couples haven’t had them done since their marriage! Until recently, I was part of that group. Why is that? Why don’t we? Is it that we don’t like the way we look? Is it that we feel silly? Are we self conscious? Do we think that a family picture is good enough?
This is a sorry situation. How would it help us to have a portrait of us as a couple on our phone or on our dresser or in our office? What a great reminder of who is the most important person in our life! I think it might help with our perspective. Another thing: How are we going to feel when we are, once again, alone with our spouse and we don’t have pictures of each other throughout the stages of our lives? I predict that the pictures of the two of us will mean more than anything. We will want more of them. We won’t care if our hair wasn’t perfect or we had extra weight. We will just want them.
In December, my wife and I had our pictures done. It is my Facebook profile picture, my LinkedIn profile picture, it’s on my phone. It comes up when my wife calls. I love that picture! It reminds me that we are a ‘we.’
I think we sometimes feel like we are coworkers and caretakers as parents. I’ve felt parents’ reactions as we suggest a couple’s picture during a session and I’ve felt bad as many couples decline. It’s almost as if we feel, “Why would I get a picture with my coworker?” Well, our spouse is not our coworker and maybe a portrait will serve as a reminder.
To help you this year, we’re going to give you something. This is for couples who have at least ONE pose of their session be of them as a couple. It’s not a discount or free prints – but something that goes with the theme Valentine’s Day. We’re giving away two $5 yogurts at U-Swirl from February 1st until Valentine’s Day. U-Swirl is in the same shopping center as FotoFly and you can get your yogurt right after your session or as part of a date night (which is also a good idea while we’re on the topic). We hope that the free yogurt will be enough encouragement to get here and bring your spouse.
I think Valentine’s Day is typically about ‘new love.’ Personally, I think that ‘old love’ is the best. It’s built over a lifetime of serving someone. I’ll never forget seeing a very old couple saying goodbye to each other at the airport. They hugged for minutes. They just weren’t letting go. It was like they had never been apart. I want that and I know that love like that has to be earned over many years. It’s a journey and it would be nice to have some pictures along the way. Schedule by clicking HERE.