The holidays seemed to whirl by this year, for that matter, 2014 went by in a flash as well. Traditionally, I send a holiday letter with my Christmas card (when I actually get it accomplished, but had to forgo the letter this year as I just kept finding more exciting things to occupy my time). However, I thought it might be a fun new tradition to send our clients an annual letter now that the rush of the New Year has calmed.
2014 was filled with many wonderful sessions. We love seeing how your families change over the years and meeting the new generations. It is always exciting to see what’s trending with the new seniors, but that the excitement remains the same year after year during that amazing time of life. We treasure getting the privilege to experience some of the most special milestones in a close up way with our lifelong clients. We also enjoyed meeting our new clients and look forward to those sprouting friendships.
Every year we usher in the exciting changes to our business. Our competitive side embraces the changing photography industry and sees the challenge as a way to stay fresh and current.
We remain passionate about Revealing Life’s Beautiful Stories. Our mission to deliver artwork that will become a family’s legacy and a way to proudly display those values of love and relationships remains unchanged. Another constant is our approach as artists; we are free to be the most creative when we forge strong relationships with our clients. Our expertise is easiest exercised when we can approach a session as we do with our own families and close friends.
So what has changed? We are striving to embrace current technology and trends to make delivery of the art the most simple and effective while maintaining a standard of JP quality. The current JP team is minimal, efficient, and highly skilled. The packages have been modified after reflecting on what we really wanted for ourselves and what we feel our closest friends and family really need for their legacies of art.
To start, we need to let you see what we see. To deliver to you our vision and interpretation of the subject, the whole picture from the session. We have created a new Artist’s Book that really represents what JP captures. For example, at a family session, we may capture several moments: a playful interaction, a brief calm, and a well-orchestrated natural pose that depicts the current life stage and intertwined relationships. For a senior we may see expressions of their many sides through different outfit choices and glimpse into their soul when their eyes open up in a serious, close up pose, while the next moment shows a dimple or laugh that is just so them. Every session is now delivered with our version of the story revealed in our beautiful Artist’s Book.
We also are now including an image stick with the digital files for you to archive. As files have become very large, it has helped with quality of the digital process, but storage solutions have changed to make the most effective option for each client to store their own images on a personal cloud type server (off–site). If a catastrophic event should cause your artwork to need to be replaced, then you can bring the files back to JP. With the image stick, we have begun including print releases to allow you to make gift size reprints (8x10 and smaller) anywhere that is convenient, though we recommend continuing to order through the studio for best color and quality of portraits. We also have a new photo card partner that allows you to instantly make design selections and changes on your own computer.
While our minimum package doesn’t require you to purchase wall art, we strongly encourage everyone to showcase your commissioned piece of art on your wall. We love collaborating on wall art design. Over the years, we’ve heard “I don’t like putting pictures of myself on the wall” or “hanging a big picture of my kids up is ostentatious”. We emphatically believe that a well done portrait captures you in a flattering light and is finished with a quality of fine art, and that our clients love and value their families and themselves, and should confidently and proudly display artistic expressions of those values.
More changes included moving out of our downtown office space at the end of the summer in an effort to simplify our business. Partially due to technology advances, partly from making a conscious decision to be more selective with our services and products offered, and also making sure our clients are the correct fit for us and us for them, we no longer needed the size of staff we once housed at that location. We are now able to operate with a small but stellar team, and give a more personal experience by again utilizing the office space above the studio.
Speaking of the team, we wanted to share our family holiday portraits with you. Jackie’s session was a take two. The first round was a five-minute impromptu attempt at Clear Lake. With four kids, four kid’s spouses, at the time - four grandchildren, it is tough to find time when everyone is in the same state. The quick - throw on something to take a picture - ended up with more distracting outfits then we realized and sans Baby Hayden (to be born after this attempt). So, take two was on Christmas Eve with better thought out outfits, but still crunched for time. It was cold, I’m not sure what happened to Baby Hayden’s socks, Charli had consumed too much sugar - which caused a meltdown to cancel the Nana & Papa with the grandkids shot, it was too windy for the banner Anj made to work properly, I’m not sure who was supposed to comb my boys hair, and we needed to get to church, BUT we ended up with a pretty awesome “growing family tree” themed card for Jackie (mom) and a beautiful wall grouping for her living room.
Mindan had a hard-to-top session last fall, so she decided to wait until after our super crazy fall studio time and do a snow shoot that included her niece, for a cousin picture. It ended up that her mom brought her niece and happened to be wearing the black and plum colors (and was of course looking great), so she was able to jump in and used the images for her own holiday card and a wall portrait for her home.
Tracy was by far the most on-the-ball of our crew. But if you’ve had a chance to hang with her, you know that her love of the art of portrait photography is infectious. While fall colors are beautiful, my favorite time in Iowa is summer. The lush green depth that the outdoor locations give portraits is unrivaled. Tracy’s family knows the drill (Brandon has some great childhood images from JP in a timeless 80’s jean jacket). Her boys always look forward to the adventures at the studio – they are hopeful they’ll see one of the frogs and they know we don’t pull teeth.
Ok, lastly to Bob and Cari (me). I loved our images this year! (Check out my wall grouping on Facebook.) I’m a classic procrastinator, so it started with a trip to Kohl’s the day before to grab outfits – no set color, it would depend on what was available. Mom had stumbled across this new location of a rural gravel road and bridge on a bike ride a month before and I had not actually done a couch-on-a-road pic for myself so when the time came, we threw the couch in the back of the truck and were off. However, by the time we got the kids ready we were losing light fast so it was hustle and on to the next spot. We ended with this awesome silhouette that has Eli pointing at Charli – this is the perfect summation of our current stage – Charli is rambunctiously trying to keep up, Eli is often annoyed with her and telling her so, Brody is the calm that keeps it together, and yes we still love each other as we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.
So that kick’s off our new leaf of sharing our own stories and images with you. If you are interested in more of our stories, we have re-launched our website www.jpmain.com and there we will feature more insight and images as we go along with our story and philosophies and you can sign up for an email to stay up to date with the articles. We look forward to another amazing year to share with you, our clients friends and family.
The JP Team