Stay Off the List

Exactly one year ago today, I started talking about our pending Christmas wait list.  It’s coming again as we approach Fall.  Last year, the list began in October.  This isn’t a list on paper but a database. We use this list to try to fit in those who would like us to take their pictures but we don’t have any appointments available.  You give us the days and times you are available and we call you if something opens up.

This year, we’ve added to our capacity by expanding the studio.  But, I still think we will have a list.  We’ve also added FotoFlyAway which will help us do more sessions.  However, we are actually going to be shutting down FotoFlyAway in November to do Santa. Between now and then, we have 179 available appointments at Thanksgiving Point.  That may sound like a lot, but those sessions are going to fill quickly.

It’s a downer to have a wait-list.  For the past two years, we have turned people away.  The worst are families who are coming together from long distances and new mothers.  It’s not fun for us but it’s really frustrating for the people wanting us to take their pictures.

So this year, again, I would like to help both you and I with this.  I would like to entice and encourage you to schedule an appointment before the crush of the Christmas season.  I am offering a free 11×14 to all customers who VISIT US in September.  This is good for those who schedule now or have an appointment already.

I’m hoping that this post doesn’t backfire and I’ve created a rush to schedule an appointment during November and December.  If you can, visit us this month.  You’ll have one less thing to do before the Christmas season!

It is also likely that we will have a small, permanent price increase in October for the studio only.  FotoFlyAway’s price will stay the same.  For those who have ALREADY scheduled a studio appointment after October 1st, we will honor the $79 price. This is another reason to see us in September.

When people talk about their ‘Christmas list,’ it is usually a positive thing.  It’s a list of things that they wish for.  Our Christmas list has nothing positive about it.  It represents frustration and anxiety.  This year, we want to serve every single family that wants to come to FotoFly.  This offer is hopefully a step in the right direction.  I appreciate anyone who can visit us early – you’ll open a spot up for someone who cannot.

School pictures are not very good.

My father was the Scott Adams in Scott Adams photography and probably took many of your school pictures.  Twenty years ago, I became one of his school photographers.  I liked it.  I thought it was fun and rewarding.  One day, I was rushing through my long line of students and feeling cool about how fast I was.  He came up behind me and said, “How many students have you photographed today?”  I answered proudly, “Almost three hundred!”  He pulled me aside and said, “To you, you’ve photographed three hundred.  But, to this child, he is the ONLY person you’ll photograph all day.  Put yourself in his shoes when you take his picture.”  After that conversation, I don’t think I have ever taken someone’s picture without thinking about what it was like from his or her perspective.

My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all were school photographers – so I had something to live up to.  I was good.  I straightened hair and clothes.  I tried to be funny so I would get a real smile.  I made sure the lighting was perfect and consistent.

My father believed that EVERYONE deserved a good school picture.  Back then, we charged around ten dollars for a picture package.  Everyone could afford it and almost everyone bought a package.

Times have changed.  Prices have tripled.  Quality is poor.  School photographers appear largely untrained.  Picture packages are pre-set and manipulative.  If you have a few kids in school, you can easily spend over $100.

We offer a better way.  For $79, you can get all of your children photographed together and separately. You’ll get a variety of poses, expressions, lighting, and backgrounds.  We will work hard to capture all sides of your child’s personality.  We will spend 45 minutes with your children, not 45 seconds.  If your goal is to capture what your child is like every year – there’s no comparison.  If you need further convincing, we’re offering a free 11×14 if you come before the end of August.  Print this coupon and bring it with you. You have a little over a week to get their hair cut and some outfits bought.  It’s doable.  We have appointments available – I hope we see you.  :)  Go to fotofly.com and click on ‘SCHEDULE.’  Or, just call us at 801-727-FOTO.

Sidenote:  There is a school photographer that is doing a good job.  The company is Capture Studio (capturestudio.com)  They have a similar approach to ours by focusing on the electronic image and allowing you to create your own package.  If we didn’t exist, they are who I would want taking my child’s school pictures.  They are the best in the state.  If your school uses some other national company, speak with your PTA President or Principal about why you should change.


I’m a FotoFly Customer Now…

I started FotoFly two years ago.  In that time, we have photographed thousands of families.  We have photographed families, seniors, engagements, bridals, newborns, babies, toddlers, extended families, and a blanket.


For two years, I’ve watched parents look at their pictures.  I see their eyes light up.  I see them smiling.  I see some tears.  I imagine what it’s like for them and crave seeing that reaction.  It really is the best part of doing this.


Ironically, I have never brought one of my children to the studio and had one of our photographers take pictures of them…until last week.  Last Saturday, my daughter scheduled an appointment at FotoFlyAway.  She has just turned 15 and she’s my youngest.  Michelle was the photographer.I expected the images to be fun and creative and beautiful and amazing.  Michelle is an astonishingly good photographer.  The images capture so many sides of her.  I see her curiosity and courage.  She looks adventurous.  You can tell she’s fun and thoughtful.  You can see her sense of humor and sense of style.  And, of course, she’s beautiful.  Looking at the images, you get a sense of who she is.

My daughter is growing up fast.  Like any father, I am upset at the thought of her leaving me someday.  I love watching her grow up but I would prefer that she stopped.  It makes me happy to see her progress into womanhood but it makes me very sad.  She’s actually sitting across the room and I’m glad she’s focusing on Tetris – she wouldn’t understand why her dad is crying over his computer.

Looking at these pictures, I’m feeling some things that I didn’t expect and I didn’t fully appreciate before.  I am very, very grateful for Michelle and her skill as a photographer.  She probably doesn’t even realize what she’s done for me.  She captured almost every side of my sweet, pure, only daughter the day before she turned 15.  In these pictures, she is frozen in time and I know I’ll spend the rest of my life, every once in a while, looking at these pictures.

The fact is, my daughter will get older.  She will start dating next year.  She will finally kiss a boy.  She’ll go away to college for a while.  Surely, she will find someone and get married and have children of her own.  Her life will have challenges and become more complicated as she gets older.
But, for now, she is with me and is mine.

I have a new appreciation for Michelle’s skill.  In just an hour, she delivered something priceless to me.  She perfectly captured my perfect daughter.  Michelle:  thank you, thank you.

I guess the point I want to make with this is that, finally, I understand how you feel.  I get why you cry.  For the first time, I am a FotoFly customer.