• Sweet Pickle Pictures specializes in natural light photography for babies, children and families in Manhattan, Kansas and the surrounding areas.

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Refocusing….

First of all, let me just acknowledge the fact that I am a TERRIBLE blogger! Wow! How desperately my poor little site is in need of an update!  I did want to post a message here today though as it’s bound to be a bit wordy (and who really wants that clogging up their facebook timeline, am I right?) So here we are, hanging out in the blogosphere together for a minute. Thanks for clicking over!

So, to jump in with both feet – don’t worry – I’m not announcing any dramatic bad news! However, as my title up there implies, 2015 is going to mean a bit of refocusing for me, both personally and as a business owner. I learned the hard way this year that having a little boy in kindergarten did NOT translate to having oodles of time to carry out twice as many business-related tasks as I had the previous year!  To say it bluntly – I bit off more than I could chew. I figured this was the time for me to take my business to that next level and book more sessions than I’ve been able to take on before. As Dr. Phil would ask – “How’s that working for ya?” Well, Dr. Phil – not so good.  Failures happened, lessons were learned and unfortunately not only did my clients suffer but my family did too. Greatly. There are so many things that are clearer after the fact – like that booking nearly every available evening and weekend might be hard on a little boy who barely sees his Mom all week. Or the fact that no amount of planning ahead can help you when that one week you had slated to catch up on mountains of editing was spent nursing a sick child …and then getting sick…and then getting everyone else around you sick too. And of course  surprise computer malfunctions when you least need or can afford them! It took really stepping back from things over this last week for it to fully dawn on me – I am just not happy with how this is going, and I have a feeling some of you aren’t either. When I started my business nearly four years ago, my goal was to book 2-3 sessions a month, every month. I felt that was a pretty happy little number that would keep me occupied without burying myself in editing.  Now, while that goal has obviously changed in recent years as my costs of doing business (and available time) have increased, I never truly planned on taking on the number of sessions I eventually did. How many is too many? Well, I lost track in there somewhere for sure, but at one point I counted my sessions from August through November and there were over 50. FIFTY. In three months. I hate to say it, but that’s just not me. I am that person that likes to take their time with each client and with each session. I like to be nit-picky while processing my images – watching them come to life and knowing that I’m delivering a product I’m really and truly proud of. I don’t like rushing edits out the door or forgetting to respond to emails and having to remind myself who I’m shooting that day. That’s not at all why I got into this business! Worst of all – I don’t like the stressed out person I became, who I had to subject my nearest and dearest to every single day. Photography became more than a full time job, it became a 24/7 job.  I honestly cannot remember the last time I read a book…or just sat down on the couch without a laptop in my lap trying to multi-task and get something accomplished! Or the saddest yet, how many times my little boy gave up on me because I was glued to a computer and couldn’t play.   This is me laying my heart out on the line to you in saying all this – but I’m human, and I’m admittedly failing at this pace. Something just has to give and with the new year upon us, now is the time to make changes and promise myself,  my family and YOU that I am going to do better. This means taking on less…focusing more on each client experience and each session so that I can deliver an amazing product while still carving out some much needed time for myself and the important people in my life.  At the end of the day, I never want to regret having gone into business for myself. I want it to continue to be a joy to me, and for that to happen, I need to scale back just a bit and give myself a bit more breathing room.

So, if you made it this far (or skipped the last paragraph – ha!) You might be asking what this means for YOU. Well, this isn’t about quitting. It’s about acknowledging that I’m not that photographer who can handle hundreds of sessions a year (at least not right now) and being okay with that. It means giving myself stronger limits and sticking to them.  My session numbers per month will be set and will fill on a first-come-first-serve basis which makes it even MORE vital to get in touch with me to plan your session with at least 3-4 weeks advance notice. Some months may book up much quicker than before and I may not be able to accommodate as many (or any) last-minute bookings. SO,  if you know you have a milestone coming up – let me know as soon as you can and we’ll look at dates! If you are expecting, please be sure to contact me as early into your pregnancy as possible as it’s even more vital to get newborns on my calendar with plenty of time to plan. If you love getting your family portraits done in the fall – plan on contacting me in June or July to book those dates as that is by far the busiest time of year for us family photographers and with limited weekends available this year, they will definitely book quickly. Despite feeling like I may be forever behind on editing, I am absolutely thrilled to be planning sessions already for 2015! I can’t wait to continue to grow my business and my craft and continue serving such amazing clients as I’ve been fortunate to work with over these last few years. A big huge thank you to all my 2014 clients – especially those still patiently waiting on the rest of their images. I’ve said it before, but I will again – you are angels and you’ve put up with a lot of chaos this year while I went through my growing pains. Thanks for sticking with me and I will hopefully see many of you again in the new year!

Here’s to a much calmer and happier 2015 for all of us! Keep smiling!

Cristen

 

 

Tamara - Way to go! I’m proud of you. Happy New Year!

Fall Mini Sessions – Sweet Pickle Pictures – Manhattan KS Family Photographer

I know it’s a bit hard to believe with this toasty weather we’re having but FALL IS NEARLY UPON US! With it, fall will bring crisp, cool evenings, pumpkin EVERYTHING and rich colors added to our Kansas landscapes. For family photographers (like myself) it will also bring a lot of  WORK WORK WORK! Fall is officially the busiest time of year for those who specialize in family portraits. No photographer enjoys turning away clients when their schedule is full, but unfortunately there are only so many days in the season. I have offered a few fall mini sessions every year in an effort to squeeze just a few more families into my schedule and this year I’ve decided that one date is just not enough, so I will be offering two fall mini session dates this year. A date in September as well as October! Both dates will be weekday evenings and will consist of three time slots. Today launches booking for my first date which will be September 22nd. 2014 – yep, the first day of fall! More info below including  pricing and available time slots. Since I only have a few slots available, booking could go quickly. Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have an interest!

Fall Family Child Mini Sessions Sweet Pickle Pictures

 

September 22nd Mini Sessions

Mini sessions are $169+ tax which includes a 20 minute session slot for 1-4 individuals as well as 8 fully edited digital images (available via online download once processing is complete) with a release to print up to 8×10 at a printer of your choice. Additional print/canvas orders may be placed through me after the session if desired. Location is TBD, although I’m leaning towards using a spot near my home about 20 miles north of Manhattan (so anticipate additional driving time as a possibility!) Although I’m sure it goes without saying – fall color comes much later in the season, so for these minis we will be looking instead at green, lush locations with pretty lighting if mother nature complies! I will also have some props and things on hand (similar to those pictured above) should you like them used in your session. These sessions can work great with smaller families, siblings or milestones!

Available time slots (I will try to keep these updated:)

UPDATE: All slots have been filled, thank you!! Announcement will be made on my facebook page when booking for the October date begins.

5:25PM

6:05PM

6:45PM

 

HOW TO BOOK:

Please use the “contact me” tab above and submit my contact form with your top two choices for time slots (if only one time slot is a possibility, please let me know that!) I will be booking these on a first-come-first-serve basis, so there is no guarantee that your chosen time slot will be available. Full payment of session total is required via paypal invoice at the time of booking to hold your slot.

IMPORTANT: In the event of rain or other cancellation, the makeup date for these minis will be Monday September 29th (retaining your original time slot.) Please make certain this date works for you as well before booking! This is Kansas and unpredictable weather happens! Our minis last year were rained out and rescheduled to our backup date, so compatibility is very important! In the event of a second cancellation, I will announce a new makeup date or reschedule on an individual basis. I will also likely cry, pout and curse mother nature.

Still interested in a mini session but the September date is not going to work for you? Mark your calendar if this date does – October 13th, 2014 (Columbus Day) will be my second and final date for fall/family minis this year. Watch my facebook page and/or this blog for an announcement when booking for that date has started!

Looking forward to having both new AND familiar faces in front my lens this fall. See you soon!!

Cristen

 

 

 

 

Flower Girls – Sweet Pickle Pictures – Manhattan KS Child Photographer

On the blog today is a sweet session from early Spring! Mom needed some updated photos of her girls and while the weather was PERFECT (if you don’t count the crazy Kansas wind that seem ever-present during the Spring months) the grass and trees were only just beginning to return some color to our surroundings. I was so desperate for spring flowers that I decided to bring my own! An inexpensive grocery store bouquet made a couple sweet little bouquets for these girls to interact with and brought our session the much needed color I’d been craving. Some gorgeous sun peeking out at us also set the stage for some truly lovely portrait of these little girls in their sweet matching dresses! Definitely one of my favorite recent child sessions! Check out the results!

 

Sweet Outdoor Child Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Sister Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Sister Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Sister Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Session Sweet Pickle PicturesSweet Outdoor Child Sister Session Sweet Pickle Pictures

Jmonique Itter - Such beautiful smiles, full of life. The pink dresses against the soft sun is just yummy! Great job :-)

Cari - These are beautiful !!

Ashley - Oh, they are adorable and the lighting in these is gorgeous!

Anna - Wow these are amazing!! Beautiful girls!!

carla - love those dresses! love this session!

Haley Willingham - Beautiful photos! I love the light!

harshita - gorgeous pictures…oh my god…lil girl has cutest expressions :) lighting is so beautiful

Emily Supiot - So sweet! Beautiful girls and beautiful pictures!

JoAnna - These are gorgeous! The light is amazing, and the girls are adorable!

Krystal - Beautiful images!!

Tiffany - Love these photos! You captured their sweet spirits so well <3

Abri Turns One – Sweet Pickle Pictures – Manhattan KS Child Photographer

There are few things more challenging in life than a mobile 12 month old (a mobile 9 month old perhaps? Ha!) I have photographed Abri since she was a newborn and she’s always been ready to GO GO GO. Her 12 month session was no exception. Sometimes I wish I could record sessions like these in the studio and then play them back sped up so people could watch us run around like chickens with our heads cut off.;) It would be entertaining to say the least! Keeping that in mind, I think we grabbed some amazingly sweet images from her session that night, and while she was thoroughly ‘over’ the idea of photos by the time we made it outdoors for a few with Mom and Dad, we even managed to grabbed a couple nice family photos for them to celebrate her milestone. Take a look at some of my favorites from this session below! I absolutely adore all the neutral tones that we used in studio!

12 month old studio session

12 month old studio session12 month milestone studio session little girl - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month milestone studio session - baby girl - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month / 1 year milestone session in studio - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month / 1 year milestone session in studio - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month old studio milestone session - Sweet Pickle PicturesOutdoor family portraits during 12 month milestone session - Sweet Pickle PicturesOutdoor family portraits with 1 year old baby girl - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month old baby girl with parents - Sweet Pickle Pictures12 month old baby girl with parents outdoors - Sweet Pickle PicturesFamily portrait silhouette - Sweet Pickle PicturesFamily portrait silhouette in black and white - Sweet Pickle Pictures

 

 

 

Anna - These are gorgeous!!!!

Ashley - What an amazing session! Those family shots need to be turned into canvases!

katlyn - great shots!! love them all

carla - oh my goodness! I love these!

Emily Supiot - So sweet! Gorgeous light!

Patiently Waiting – Sweet Pickle Pictures – Manhattan KS Maternity and Newborn Photographer

All too often I forget to share some of my favorite sessions here on the blog. Today I had a few minutes and had this little family on my mind (as I checked for the 5000th time online to see if he’s arrived yet!) I figured it was a good day to show off this session! This is by far one of my most favorite maternity sessions to date (and that’s saying something because I LOVE maternity sessions!) I’m thrilled with the variety we were able to get by utilizing both the studio and the outdoors to bring two totally different styles to our final images. We were also blessed with some beautiful evening light which always makes my photographer heart SO happy. It may have been chilly outside, but you’d’ never know looking at these two! Here are some of my favorites starting with our studio images!

 

Studio Maternity Session with Dramatic Lighting - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Studio Maternity Portrait Dramatic Lighting - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Studio Maternity Portrait Dramatic Lighting - Sweet Pickle PicturesStudio Maternity Portrait Dramatic Lighting - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Couples Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle PicturesOutdoor Couples Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Couples Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Couples Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Couples Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor Backlit Maternity Session - Sweet Pickle Pictures

Outdoor COuples Maternity Session - Sunset Silhouette - Sweet Pickle Pictures