I’ve got good news and bad news and good news. Let’s start with some good news…
First, we have plenty of FotoFly Santa appointments available before Christmas. These are just $35 for a couple of poses with your family/children and Santa. These images make awesome Christmas cards. FotoFly Santa is located down at Thanksgiving Point and we’re creating some amazing pictures. Click here to schedule. While we do have appointments now, that may change in the next ten days.
The bad news is we don’t have a lot (1 actually) of studio appointments available before Christmas. This is a great problem to have but we HATE turning anyone away. We want to photograph every family.
The good news is that we are willing to offer something to those of you who can wait until January. We are DOUBLING whatever you print in the studio (regular sheets – not enlargements, canvases, etc) in January with this coupon. So, if you buy 3 sheets, we’ll give you 6! They DON’T have to be the same sizes. THIS IS TRUE FOR CARDS TOO. Perhaps you can send out Happy New Year cards and distinguish yourself from the pile of ‘Merry Christmas’ cards people receive this year? I hope this offer will encourage many of you to wait until January. Click here to schedule your New Year’s pictures (or maybe Valentine’s Day cards)…
Print this coupon to receive this in January.
There’s a reason why we don’t have appointments left. We are the best at this. They say that the longer you wait for something, the more you appreciate it when you get it. Because anything worth having is worth the wait.
It’s that time of year again. It’s time to write another post about FotoFly Santa. This is our third year and we think we’ve figured most of this out. We have three cameras at a single location and three sales computers. Both are more than we’ve had before. We’re hoping that we have the equipment and staff to make this process as fun and painless as possible.
- How close to my appointment time will you start? We have scheduled appointments as a way to spread out customers and attempt to eliminate long wait times. Because the times are close together, if a child is having a hard time or we have a session with a bunch of cousins, we do spend more time. Having three cameras should help us absorb that and ensure that we are close to being on schedule. You may have a small wait time as you get signed in and get dressed. I’m confident that we will be able to help you quickly after you arrive. Having said that, there may be a coincidence of issues that put us behind schedule a little. We’re hoping for your understanding in considering that we’re taking pictures of children and they sometimes take more time than expected.
- How many poses will we get? We are trying for two poses. We are almost always successful at this. If your child is really struggling or it’s a large group, we may only get one good pose. I’ve had two emails already complaining that customers have only received two poses. This blog post is an attempt to be clear about what to expect.
- How long will you spend with us during a session? This is an important question. The time really varies. If your child is a 7 year old who does exactly what we want and smiles easily, we may very well be done in two minutes with getting two completely different poses. This doesn’t mean that you’ve been short-changed. In fact, we are counting on that some sessions will go very quickly. It’s important to note that this is not like our studio experience – where you are given time and we try to get as much as we can in that time. This is not a FotoFly ‘mini session.’ Again, we are going for two good poses. We’ve had some of our best sessions last two minutes.
- What is the process going to be like?
- First, you will arrive and we will sign you in at a welcome computer. You’ll be given a number that you’ll want to give to the photographer.
- Next, someone will help you get dressed. We have ten costumes this year to help ensure that we are always moving. Again, if something weird has happened, it may be that you wait a few minutes to dress. You can also elect to use our Santa and skip this step. Keep in mind that we have three cameras and, if you’re wanting the real Santa, it may extend your waiting time a little if the Santa is being used in another session.
- You’ll queue up to get your pictures taken. Generally, there will be 3-4 families in the room ahead of you. We’ll use the numbers that you were given at the beginning to ensure that we are going in order. You shouldn’t wait a long time in this stage. The only reason you would is if kids are really struggling in the sessions before you. You will literally be amazed as you watch the photographers work.
- You’ll get your pictures taken. This is the most impressive part of the experience. You’ll be impressed with how good the photographers are and how sincerely interested they are in getting good pictures of you and your children. Again, the time spent with your children will vary based on how well the session is going. A short session is generally a very good sign… We will give everything we have for you and your children – whatever it takes. We really, really want you to like your Santa pictures – we want the images to be legendary.
- We will edit the pictures and get them ready for you to see them. It doesn’t take us very long to edit the pictures. But, there may be a wait time that may be as long as 60 minutes if we’ve had the customers ahead of you print a lot of prints. We have THREE viewing computers and FOUR printers this year and our employees are moving quickly but taking the time to be sure that everyone gets exactly what they want. We will TEXT you when we are ready to show you your images. That way, you can wander around Thanksgiving Point and figure out a way to spend more money… Please return quickly or respond to the text telling us when you’ll be back. If you wait to come back, there may be some additional waiting.
- We will show you a quick slide show to see your pictures to be sure that you love them before you pay us anything. Again, the goal is to have two good poses for you to choose from. You can just pay for your CD and leave or you can print sheets for $5 per sheet. We’ve got a special deal if you buy three sheets where you pay only $10.
- A couple of policies to keep in mind:
- Santa must be in the pictures.
- If you have a group, we will take pictures of the group. If you’re wanting individuals of each child, pay for additional, consecutive sessions. We are offering a discount for each session after the first one.
- Our legendary quality.
- Our quality level has become the thing of legend. In the past, when people have come here after years of being at the mall Santa, the difference is astounding and people rave about what they have received. This is all very good and we appreciate it. Having said that, I think the legends sometimes create expectations that may be unreasonable. Please keep in mind the nature of what we’re doing and, when compared with what you receive at other Santas, our quality is unmatched – however, this is not a situation where we are spending hours with your child and charging you hundreds of dollars. I will promise that these will be the best Santa pictures you’ve ever seen. :)
We’re very excited for this year’s FotoFly Santa. We’ve learned a lot of lessons over the past two years and we think we’re closer to mastering this. We’ve been stressed about this because we care about everyone that walks through those doors and we really want every one of those kids to be happy and get good pictures.
We are photographing a lot of sessions each day at Thanksgiving Point. We have a large (15 people) support team who are all working hard to greet, dress, edit, present, and print as well and quickly as possible. We commit that we will give as much effort into the last session as we did the first. Your pictures will be worth the wait. Thanks for signing up and trusting us to create some amazing Santa images this year.
This time of year is usually our slowest time at FotoFly. As I mentioned on Facebook, August was our 2nd biggest month so far in 2013 and our 4th best month ever. Thank you, thank you. I’d like to keep that trend going in September by offering an incentive for referring people to FotoFly.
This will be a similar program to that we did last Summer:
- For each person you refer, you’ll receive $10 credit with us. No limit. Valid through the end of next year – EXCEPT during the months of November and December.
- The person you refer must be a new customer and will receive 3 free sheets with their CD if they bring in the coupon below.
- This will be for sessions that happen starting Thursday (9/12) through the end of September.
- The TWO people who refer the most will receive a free session at any location. FotoFly, FotoFlyAway, or FotoFly OnTheSpot. With less than three weeks until the end of the month, I predict the winners will be 3-4 range…
- I do realize that anyone reading this post has likely referred people to us in the past. If you have referred people in the past and you have a session between now and the end of the month, simply tell us that you’ve referred people and I’ll give you three free sheets as a thank you. In the unlikely event that you haven’t been here before, were referred by someone, AND have also referred others, you cannot combine the three sheet offers…
Just to help, here’s some talking points to help you refer people:
- “Wow! You look so tan since it’s Summer. You should probably get pictures taken.”
- “Have you ever heard the term win-win?”
- “You know how you always say that my family is better looking than yours? Here’s something that might help you…”
- “I was just noticing that family picture on your wall with your daughter. Since you now have two more daughters and a son, it might be time…”
- “Remember how you’ve never measured up to your in-laws? What if you sent Christmas pictures out in October?”
- “Your kids are so cute right now but that awkward age could happen anytime…”
I’ve already (a few blog posts ago) offered a free 11×14 coupon if anyone has their FAMILY picture done this month. With the free 11×14 for families, 3 free sheets, $10 credit for the person who refers and the proximity to Christmas, this is a good month for family pictures. So, if you think about it, it really does make sense to visit us in September since your kids are so cute right now but that awkward age could happen anytime. And you look tan.
Our children have headed back to school. All of us have spent money for clothes, supplies, and registration fees. It adds up – especially if we have a few children. I have three and I know many of you have more than that.
School pictures are an additional expense that happen at the beginning of the school year. Back when my dad and I were shooting school pictures, many of the packages were priced in the single digits. Those days are gone.
We’ve seen the flyers and the prices for their predetermined packages. If we have more than a single child in school, it adds up quickly and the total amount is unreasonable – especially when considering the quality we’re receiving.
Obviously, I’m biased towards FotoFly and feel like we’re a better value. I could argue that we are the only reasonably priced option for professionally documenting your children’s ages year to year.
Another thing to consider: we will capture what makes your child unique. Is it an instrument, a hobby, a sport, or just a toy? Try adding that to a school picture…I don’t think they do that. But at FotoFly, we encourage it and it’s a great way to capture what your child is interested in year to year. Look below to see what I’m talking about. Of course, we can also do a traditional, head and shoulders shot too. :)
To further encourage you to come to us for your school pictures. I’m going to do something that I haven’t done before. I am going to give you a free sheet for every child (of that child) when you buy a CD. If you have five children, you’re getting five sheets. I personally know a few of you have ten children so I hope you’re reading this… Starting tomorrow (August 28th, just bring in the coupon below for you session and CD before September 8th (ten days away). This offer is also good at FotoFlyAway and FotoFly OnTheSpot. It does NOT apply to extended families!
So, before you write that check to that national school photographer for 30 seconds of their time, consider coming to FotoFly for 45 minutes of a well-trained, talented photographer whose goal is to bring out what is truly unique in your children.
Last week, my daughter turned 16 – she’s my youngest. Here’s the video: Morgan’s Birthday. It’s a solid display of my singing voice. Beautiful harmony at the end. I also have a nineteen year old and an eighteen year old. It’s hard to believe how fast they’ve grown and are leaving home.
I got a little nostalgic last week and started organizing old pictures when they were young. We have very few family pictures. In reality, we have only FOUR family pictures in Morgan’s 16 years! You read that right.
It got me thinking about my OWN childhood. I found my childhood photo book and started looking at pictures. Again, only a few family portraits. Here are the family pictures I could find.
I do remember another picture when we were teenagers… So, coincidentally, my parents also did FOUR family pictures done while I was growing up. My dad was also a photographer so maybe it’s a case of the shoemaker’s son has no shoes…
I actually think this is a pattern with most of us. We love getting pictures of our children but are uncomfortable with ourselves. It usually is our hair, our weight, our face… I wrote about this two years ago – that we are all waiting for some ‘ideal’ time. With my own family, we waited too long. We have a family picture with Morgan when she was a baby, 3 years old, 9 years old, and 12 years old. That’s it! I have almost nothing that documents our RELATIONSHIP. I would give anything to have more images with me in them. Because I was always the one taking the pictures, it’s as if I didn’t exist.
I encourage you to get into the picture with your child at FotoFly. It DOES NOT MATTER what you look like! The key is that we are capturing the RELATIONSHIP between you and your kids – which is always beautiful. Whatever discomfort exists in getting family pictures taken is nothing compared to the discomfort in living without them later.
To help motivate you, if you bring this coupon in before September 30th and get a family picture (the parent(s) included), I’ll give you a free 11×14. So, you now have a small reason added to your big reason to finally get that family picture done sooner than later.
With every photography workshop I’ve taught, I always get requests to teach a Lightroom class. We are big fans of Lightroom. It is the program we use 99% of the time at the studio. There is no better way to organize, edit, and beautify your images quickly. It has all the power you need to create professional photographs.
Adobe offers a FREE 30 day trial of Lightroom at this link: Lightroom download. If you like it, you can buy it from Adobe for $149 or $78 at academicsuperstore.com if you have a student or are a student.
On Saturday August 17th, I will be teaching a four-hour workshop on Lightroom. The workshop will be 10:00-2:00. During this four hours, I will teach you everything I know about Lightroom including:
• Organize your image library in a way that makes sense.
• Import and export in whatever format/size you want.
• Create presets to quickly make your images unique and remarkable.
• Easily change cropping, color balance, exposure, contrast, etc. to correct an image.
• Knowing the tricks to make your images POP and look professional.
• Fix problems with the image – change the background, remove skin blemishes, reduce pixelation, darken or lighten part of the picture.
• Create slideshow videos with a few clicks.
If you want to create beautiful photographs, knowing how to use your camera is only part of it. You must know how to beautify your images the same way professionals do. Have you ever wondered why your images never look like the pros even though you’re photographing correctly? Believe me, Lightroom is necessary make your images amazing. I’m including some before and after pictures that demonstrate the type of things you will be able to do with Lightroom.
We will also offer some cool presets. The same ones we use at the studio and at FotoFlyAway.
The cost is $30. It’s worth $30. This workshop will be very hands-on with your own computers. I’ll get you some images before the class so we’re all working from the same images. You will learn.
Did you know that a dragonfly lives most of its life underwater? Usually, THREE years as a nymph before it emerges into a dragonfly! Interesting that we opened nearly three years ago. Of course, shortly after they emerge, they mate and die quickly…so let’s hope that the analogy ends with the emerging and transforming.
I know you’re interested in the announcement but I would like to tell a story first. Try not to skip down to the pictures and bold/colored lettering. You’re already doing it! Seriously?! Read for one minute.
People often ask me how I came up with the idea for FotoFly. My answer is simple: I just thought about what I would like and what I wouldn’t like if I were the customer. I wrote those things down on a piece of paper and it became FotoFly. That was almost three years ago. It was something new. I felt like I was reinventing the photography studio. It’s usually easier to imitate, but it’s better to innovate.
About a year and a half ago, I was driving by Thanksgiving Point and had the thought, “That place is beautiful. I wonder if they would ever let a photographer set up shop there permanently. If we could make it affordable, I bet people would love that!” I pulled over and asked and they politely told me that they did NOT. About a week later, I got a call saying that the CEO wanted to meet with me. Apparently, they had taken the time to look at my Facebook page and decided that they may consider me as a partner. Essentially, the enthusiasm of my Facebook followers helped them change their minds. I have never shared that story here and I should have. I owe you all for my partnership with Thanksgiving Point. Thank you. FotoFlyAway wouldn’t exist without you. Again, it was something new. I didn’t invent being a photographer at beautiful venue, but I thought of a way to make it affordable and convenient. I’m actually surprised other photographers haven’t attempted to copy the concept at other places…I’m sure it’ll happen soon.
On July 10th, it will be three years since we opened the studio. We’ve seen a lot of growth since then. Little known fact: the amount of sessions we did on our grand opening day? One! We do more now- we’ve grown. I believe in progression – I think we’re all supposed to be. Last July, we doubled the size of our studio and made the studio more ‘three dimensional.’ Again, it’s fun to innovate and come up with something new. Over the next two months, you’re going to see additional changes to the studio as we make updates to some of our walls – amongst other innovations. Studios can be about more than just walls…
Over the last three years, we have gotten the same request over and over again: ”Do you do on location photography?” The answer, as you know, has been no. The problem was, we couldn’t conceive of a way to make it systematic and efficient enough to be remotely affordable for you. The cost of paying someone to do a pre-consultation call, drive somewhere, scout out the location, shoot the pictures, edit them, and deliver them to you made the price out of reach. Finally, after many brainstorms and spreadsheets, we think we’ve figured it out.
We are calling this new concept ‘FotoFly OnTheSpot.’ It’s a long name but it grows on you and is catchy. It, of course, is our version of on-location photography. I am going to describe the basics here and you will have many questions that will be answered by the website. Here are the basics:
The website is www.fotoflyonthespot.com. The website is very fun and will be running Wednesday at 9:00 pm. You won’t be able to make an appointment until then. Last year, with FotoFlySanta, many of you figured out a backdoor to schedule ahead of time. Don’t do that. :) The website uses new technology that doesn’t work very well on your phones yet so please plan on visiting our site from your computer FIRST. We’re working on a second, less cutting-edge website for your mobile devices.
We will have three areas that we will travel to: Utah, Salt Lake, and Davis counties. This also includes the canyons associated with those counties (within reason). We will photograph in your home, park, city center, etc. If there is a charge associated with using a certain property, you will be responsible for paying that charge.
Our price is $195. There are no extra fees or charges… No mileage charges, per person, stuff like that. As with the studio and FotoFlyAway, this is the absolute minimum price that we can charge you and make money at this. I really, really want to make this affordable.
The photographer will call you before your session to make sure he or she is clear on what your priorities and preferences are. The relationship will begin with that phone call.
At an appointment, we will spend ten minutes scouting out your area and sixty minutes shooting.
You will NOT have to pay ahead of time. I know this sounds unexpected and other studios likely don’t do this. With OnTheSpot, you will pay at the CONCLUSION of your session – once you’re comfortable that the session was successful.
Our policies about extended families remain.
You will have the choice of reviewing/receiving your images at the studio or having them mailed to you at no extra charge.
The photographers for FotoFly OnTheSpot will be veterans. In fact, I will personally be shooting most of the sessions in July! I have been experimenting at different locations/situations. I believe that there is still a learning curve here and I have to be sure that I am an expert at every part of this new concept first.
Also, part of why we’re doing this is a way for our veteran photographers to, as they start their families, (rather than quit) work for us part time with a flexible schedule that allows them to be a parent and continue with their photography career and passion
We hope that this is something that you will like. It is very easy to be in our studio and let you come to us. This is more of a challenge to manage. It’s something I have always wanted to do and am excited to finally provide this service that you’ve been asking for.
We’ve just have two good reasons to schedule a session at FotoFly. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We were busy everyday at the studio. In fact, we started everyday with a full schedule – sometimes with a waiting list. Now that those important holidays are over, we have openings.
School has just been let out and vacations are starting to happen. It’s a time a year that many families aren’t thinking about family photography. Well, I’d like to give you some reasons to consider getting your family images in June.
First, I’ll give you 3 free sheets with the coupon below before the end of June.
Second, I’ll give you $25 off of our SECRET PRODUCT we are going to start offering. Don’t ask a lot of questions about the secret, we’re not at liberty to discuss them but let’s just say it’s pretty incredibly amazing – and that’s at my amazing standards which affect the normal level of amazing by a factor of double or triple – anyway, it’s exponentially amazing that I think it’s amazing.
Next, I’d like to address the ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM and talk about why many of you don’t come to FotoFly or any other studio for pictures. So, take two minutes to watch the video below:
Why do you NOT want to come to FotoFly?
You’ve been given an incentive to schedule in June. You’ve been enlightened about why you should be coming to get your portraits taken at FotoFly. It’s time to schedule and appointment by clicking HERE.
I hope we see you soon at the studio! You will like us! We will take beautiful pictures of you – it’s a win-win!
It’s time. We have been open since July of 2010 with the same price of $79. Back then, I wanted to offer our service at the absolute lowest possible price and still have a viable business. I think $79 was the right price. The lowness of the price was almost shocking to some. It helped us get the word spread about our business. Delivering the quality that we were for only $79 was legendary and people talked about it.
Some believe that I am surrounded by piles of money. I’m not. Since we’ve charged so little, paid our employees so much (we pay our people double what many studios pay), printed with only the most expensive paper and ink, used the best equipment, etc….the piles of money don’t exist.
We want to expand and grow our company. We hear those who ask us to build another studio in Davis County or in other states. We believe that EVERY family deserves a local FotoFly. To grow, we must have some capital to do that. Slightly raising our prices will hopefully give us that.
I love how I see customers from all income levels. We see customers pull up in their Porsche and some in their Pinto. But there is no difference in their children and every one of them deserves to feel beautiful and important and have amazing portraits. So, we will never raise our prices beyond what the typical young family can afford. This new price is approaching that limit. As our waiting list grows, the answer for us will NOT be to raise prices – but to build MORE studios.
I hope you will continue to support our business and feel like you’re getting a lot of value for what you are paying. We will try very hard to make sure every session is magical.
For those who know that they are going to be coming to FotoFly in the future and have the money now, we are offering gift certificates that don’t expire for $79. There is no limit on how many you may purchase. You buy them by clicking the ‘Buy Now’ button on our website homepage.
I wrote a post like this last year… It is time to put this out there again.
One thing that I learned a long time ago is that people always have expectations. Whether it’s a movie or a marriage or dinner or a photography session – people form expectations about what the experience will be before it happens. At FotoFly, we understand what your expectations are and try to pleasantly surprise you each time you visit.
Last year, we hadn’t ever attempted this concept of Santa and so we didn’t really know what to expect. It was a completely different concept than what anyone had tried. We had a learning curve and ran into a few bumps but it went really well. Last year, people were comparing us to the mall Santa and were loving the concept and process.
Things have been a little different this year and customers’ expectations are varied. In some cases, customers are expecting something different based on past FotoFly studio experiences. So, I’d like to clarify some important aspects of the FotoFly Santa experience. Here are some of the main questions that should be answered:
- How close to my appointment time will you start? We have scheduled appointments as a way to spread out customers and attempt to eliminate long wait times. Because the times are close together, if a child is having a hard time or we have a session with a bunch of cousins, we do spend more time and we get backed up. Generally, we have break-times scheduled throughout the day to help us catch up if we get behind. (Last week, those break times were deleted somehow which caused some problems…) Anyway, it’s very possible that we won’t start on time. Please understand that these photographers are working hard at balancing keeping on schedule with making sure everyone gets good pictures. For the most part, we are on schedule!
- Why don’t you schedule more time in between sessions? The simple answer is that we would have to charge more and we have chosen to keep the times shorter and charge only $25.
- How many poses will we get? We are trying for two poses. We are almost always successful at this. If your child is really struggling or it’s a large group, we may only get one good pose.
- How long will you spend with us during a session? This is an important question. The time really varies. If your child is a 7 year old who does exactly what we want and smiles easily, we may very well be done in two minutes with getting two completely different poses. This doesn’t mean that you’ve been short-changed. In fact, we are counting on that some sessions will go very quickly. It’s important to note that this is not like our studio experience – where you are given time and we try to get as much as we can in that time. This is not a FotoFly ‘mini session.’ Again, we are going for two good poses. We’ve had some of our best sessions last 60 seconds.
- What is the process going to be like?
- First, you will arrive and we will sign you in at a welcome computer. You’ll be given a number that you’ll want to give to the photographer. Generally, we are on time. If we’re not, you’ll be informed at this point what the conditions are.
- Next, someone will help you get dressed. We have 4-5 costumes at each location to help ensure that we are always moving. Again, if something weird has happened, it may be that you wait a few minutes to dress. You can also elect to use our Santa and skip this step. Keep in mind that we have two cameras and, if you’re wanting the real Santa, it may extend your waiting time a little if the Santa is being used in another session.
- You’ll queue up to get your pictures taken. Generally, there will be 1-3 families in the room ahead of you. We’ll use the numbers that you were given at the beginning to ensure that we are going in order. You shouldn’t wait a long time in this stage. The only reason you would is if kids are really struggling in the sessions before you. You will literally be amazed as you watch the photographers work.
- You’ll get your pictures taken. This is the most impressive part of the experience. You’ll be impressed with how good the photographers are and how sincerely interested they are in getting good pictures of you and your children. Again, the time spent with your children will vary based on how well the session is going. A short session is generally a very good sign… We will give everything we have for you and your children – whatever it takes. We really, really want you to like your Santa pictures – we want the images to be legendary. You’ll also be amazed at how good looking the photographers are – except Kenny.
- We will edit the pictures and get them ready for you to see them. It doesn’t take us very long to edit the pictures. But, there may be a wait time that may be as long as 60 minutes if we’ve had the customers ahead of you print a lot of prints. We have two viewing computers and two printers and our employees are moving quickly but taking the time to be sure that everyone gets exactly what they want. We will text you when we are ready to show you your images. That way, you can wander around Thanksgiving Point or Scheels and figure out a way to spend more money…
- We will show you a quick slide show to see your pictures to be sure that you love them before you pay us anything. Again, the goal is to have two good poses for you to choose from. You can just pay for your flash drive and leave or you can print sheets for $3 per sheet (discounted from $4 if you order within 7 days). Printing takes a couple of minutes per sheet.
It’s our goal to be on time and we reevaluate every day what we’re doing and where we can improve. I’ve been stressed about this because I care about everyone that walks through those doors and I really want every one of those kids to be happy and get good pictures.
We are photographing over 80 sessions per day at each location (Thanksgiving Point and Scheels). We have a support team who are all working hard to greet, dress, edit, present, and print as well and quickly as possible. We commit that we will give as much effort into the last session as we did the first. Your pictures will be worth the wait – expect that.