brittanyjanellephotography.com » My Blog

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  • Hello!!

    Thanks for stopping by. As a wedding photographer I am surrounded by love in both my professional & personal life. The love I have for my family is what inspires me. I come to this special place to share my heart for adoption, family & photography.

    A few things about myself...
    ~I have 4 beautiful children. They all came into our family via adoption.
    ~I hit the husband lottery.
    ~I'm from North Dakota. No that's not the state with the president's faces.
    ~I love the Lord.
    ~Someday I will learn how to garden.
    ~I drive a minivan...yes, I am that cool.
    ~I absolutely love being a wedding photographer and cry at almost every wedding I shoot.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    ~Brittany J.

Why I don’t charge a “sitting fee”

As I begin this post I want to say that I am not proclaiming to know all the answers or that the way I run my photography business is how others should also run their business.  This is simply how I do things in regards to my pricing & what has worked for me and my clients. I have dear and talented friends who run their photography businesses completely different than mine and that’s alright.  It’s what works for them and if their clients are satisfied than more power to them!

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about why I have chosen to share the copyright of the images I take with my clients. I say “share” because I own them as well.  In my collection pricing, the copyright is always included.    It’s something I am passionate about. I want my clients to have full access to their wedding/family/newborn images without having to pick and choose which ones they will have moving forward.  It is very common in the photography world to charge a “sitting fee”.  Basically, what that gets the client is the time with the photographer and nothing else.  All the images will cost extra, sometimes to the tune of $200 per image.  Personally, that business model doesn’t sit well with me for many reasons;  but I will start with the fact that a client should know what the total investment is going to be before a session or wedding is booked, down to the penny.   When a photographer just charges the sitting fee with the “option to add a collection” ( i.e.  own & use any of their images) they have no clue  what the total investment will be.  Even if they agree on a collection beforehand,  once seeing the images they may decide they want more;  and why shouldn’t they have access to ALL of their precious memories?  I believe they should.  An image that may not seem as valuable at the moment you are making your selections, however, down the road that one image may carry a significant meaning.   For example, that shot of the wedding guest that past away a couple years after your wedding and you decided not to include it in the handful of images you have/own. How heartbreaking.  A lot of times a proofing gallery is only available for a short time after a wedding,  limiting your access to your images down the road.  And let’s be honest, some photographers don’t keep your images on their hard drive for more than a year after your session/wedding.  I have a feeling I may be coming across a bit harsh or matter of fact,  but it’s because I am very passionate about this issue.

In my opinion, any money you pay a professional photographer should get you more then just your time in front of their camera.  It should get you access and ownership to YOUR images, for a lifetime!!   Yes, a photographer that charges a sitting fee of $300 looks financially more appealing at first,  than one who charges $800 for a session which also includes the copyright.   But at the end of the day, you will most likely be paying more than that $800 if each of the images is costing you $50-200 per image.  Be mindful too, that I am referring to professional photographers, not great Uncle Frank, who owns a fancy camera and is willing to give you a deal.

When hiring a photographer,  please do your research and ask questions.  What is the exact amount you will pay?  Exactly what will be included for that amount of money?  What if you would want to look through all your wedding images a year from now, will they still be available?

The photography industry is evolving and this is a heated topic right now. Many photographers who have been in the industry for 10+ years have used the business model centered around clients paying a “sitting fee” and then later purchasing a collection.  Like I mentioned before,  if they are able to run an honest and successful business with that method,  then great for them.   I however, don’t agree with that being the absolute best, most straight forward business model for MY business.  I stress the “MY” because this is just my humble opinion! This method  has allowed me to grow my business as quickly as I have.  I believe the industry is ever evolving and therefore to operate a healthy, thriving business, one must be willing to evolve as well.

Below is a shot taken of me by my second shooter at a wedding a few weeks ago.  Loved this venue!  You can view the wedding images here, and you better believe they got access & ownership to all 1000 images.;)

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Ashley - October 29, 2014 - 12:02 pm

Love this!

John Hagensen - October 29, 2014 - 1:31 pm

I couldn’t agree more, and am proud of your straight forward model. Think about it, paying for the “sitting” doesn’t get the client ANYTHING they want. What they want is the images, that’s all that matters at the end of the day. What does the photographer of a “sitting fee” model gain by withholding images on their computer and not providing them to the client? Nothing. The “sitting fee” is smoke and mirrors in my opinion as it appears to be less expensive, but in many cases is significantly more expensive. A flat pricing model is more transparent and creates less confusion down the road of what they will get, and how much it will cost them.

Tori - October 29, 2014 - 1:38 pm

Brittany, the Four Seasons had recommended a photographer that does exactly what you described! That is why we chose you instead. :)

Monica - October 29, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Thank you for being so honest! That is why when I came across your page and saw your work, I thought “This is the photographer I want!” I so look forward to having you at my wedding! 10/2015 :)

Christina @ Kiss Kiss Weddings and Events - October 29, 2014 - 2:41 pm

Agreed! You make perfect sense!

Glenda - October 30, 2014 - 5:56 pm

Love your work and love that your price includes ALL the pics.

Sarah & Tom: A Tapatio Cliffs Wedding

No amount of wind & rain was going to put a damper on Sarah & Tom’s wedding day. At the gorgeous Pointe Hilton everything was ready for a picture perfect day that is until a huge storm came through. Amazingly enough the rain & sky cleared just in time for them to move their ceremony back outside & allow us time for some beautiful sunset portraits on the cliffs. The thing that stood out most to me about this couple was their outlook the entire morning while plans were being changed. They remained calm & joyful, they were getting married and that’s all that mattered. Sarah & Tom make an amazing duo. Their passion for life & love was beautiful to witness.

S&T~ I am so grateful you two could look past one another’s college affiliation and fall in love!;)Thanks for sharing such an incredible day with me.

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When will we move past this?

A question I ask myself regularly. Somedays it seems we have made it to the other side of the extreme behaviors associated with the grief & trauma our boys have experienced and other days it still seems like we have a long way to go. Today it still seems like we have a long way to go. When we set out to adopt our big boys (9 &10) from Ethiopia I read every adoption book, blog & article I could get my hands on. At the age of 25 & 29 we committed to jumping in head first to the unknown of raising older children with tragic pasts. I read about other’s experiences with adopting older children and would a lot of times wind up reading about the many struggles that can come with it. I chose to overlook a lot of those resources because of course it would be different with my children, after all I was going to be a way better, more loving parent than the ones in those stories. Well I think you know where this is headed, I quickly realized no amount of love, concern or attention would “fix” my boys. I use the word “fix” because I used to think that’s what it was about, fixing the bad behavior and helping them be their best self. I have since learned through many tears, frustrating moments & late nights pleading with God that it isn’t about changing them or even myself but allowing God to heal the wounds, letting God come into the darkest places of our hearts. There is no method of parenting that will completely change any child. There is grace & there is hope. Those are the truths I cling to in the dark of night when I feel overwhelmed at the responsibility God has given me to parent these beautiful children. I am learning to embrace the messy parts of our life. I am learning to show grace to the child who constantly break my heart with hurtful looks and words. I am learning to control my knee jerk reactions to the behaviors that seem to never end. But most importantly I am learning to accept the love that God constantly shows me, I am starting to realize I cannot show genuine love & grace to my children until I realize how much my own life has been a reflection of God’s constant pursuit to know me and love me. One thing I always tell my children is that I am still learning. I want to be the best mother to them and realize I fail regularly. I hope to always be in a position of growth & discovery. God has blessed us with 4 incredible children and 4 extended families we hold very dear to our hearts. The fact that I am entrusted to raise & guide these small humans is sometimes daunting but I am learning to take it a day at a time, a word of affirmation at a time, a hug at a time & a kissed boo-boo at a time.

XO Brittany

Since every post is better with pictures here we are in Seattle a couple of weeks ago.:)

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Dawn Wright - October 18, 2014 - 5:37 pm

Amen!! This healing is a lifelong process. It is hard and hard work. The trauma is real….and the heartache is real. Connectional parenting is great! But it is time consuming and goes against our “natural reaction”. It is dying to self and putting on the armor of God while loving while remembering those hidden hurts deep beneath their smiles.

Thank you for sharing!!

Steph & Tyler: Hudson, WI Wedding

There are so many words I could use to describe this couple & their wedding day but joyful fits best. Everything about Steph & Tyler’s wedding was genuine, loving, positive & full of joy. After shooting their engagement session in ND a few months ago I could barely wait for their day to arrive.  Guests came from all over the country to help them celebrate which I think speaks volumes of who they are as people and as a couple. Having been together for many years they have so many loved ones cheering them on as they begin their next journey as husband & wife. I had never been to Hudson, WI before and fell in love with it’s charming downtown and waterfront views. I hope the images below show what an amazing love Steph & Tyler share.

S&T~ You are seriously the best. Can you move to Arizona so we can hang out all the time? You two are the real deal & can’t wait to watch you rock this whole marriage thing!

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Janel & Jeffrey: Maternity Session

Last year I took Janel & Jeffrey’s engagement and wedding pictures. It was an absolute honor to have them ask me to document yet another exciting chapter in their love story, becoming parents! Having been together for years they wasted no time starting a family. I may be a little biased but becoming a mom (x4) has been the most amazing experience, I am ecstatic for this beautiful couple to experience it!

J & J~ I always love my time with you. Your excitement over this sweet guy was a blessing to witness! You will make wonderful parents. XO

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