Top 10 Funny Client Comments or Requests | Chicago Family Photographer

I’m sure you’ve all seen it, the YouTube video “Funny things people say to photographers.”  Well, it’s true, people really do say some pretty crazy things to me – one of the fun parts of my job for sure.  On this gloomy day in Chicago, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.  They each brought a smile to my face and hopefully they will do the same for you  🙂

10. (Most frequently asked)  – Are we the worst family you’ve ever photographed? or
         Is every two year old a pain in the butt, or is it just my child?

9.   Please don’t shoot me from behind, there won’t be any room for anything else in the frame!

8.  Do you have any photos of a really beautiful and CLEAN home you can swap out for our house and then you can just drop us into?

7.  (Parents, after showing up with their 3 year old twins) – Okay, here you go, we’ll be back later to pick them up.  Have fun!

6.  Can you photoshop hair into my husband’s bald spot?

5.  Can you make me look taller than my wife in these photos?

4.  (Expecting mom)  Doesn’t my belly button look like Pac Man?

3.  My cousin thinks her kids are so friggin cute, so I need these photos to show her what REALLY cute kids look like! 

2.  Who needs those photos of the whole family prancing through a meadow all smiley and sweet?  I want a realistic representation of my family – let’s get my husband sleeping on the couch with his hand in his pants, me in my pajamas, unshowered with my hair up and my kids covered in food with toys scattered everywhere. 

1.  Can we also do a paternity session to show how big Daddy’s belly has gotten over the past 8 months?

Big thanks to all of my wonderfully funny clients for these.  Love you guys!

Giving Back | Chicago Family Photographer

Last summer, I attended a photography workshop where I met Jim Davis-Hicks.  He is a wedding photographer, father of 4 and the founder of Thirst Relief International.  I was so inspired, not only by his willingness to take on such a huge endeavor with 4 kids at home, but by his ability to make such an incredible difference in the lives of those who really need it.  He and his wife and children have traveled the US spreading the word of their cause – what an incredible lesson in selflessness and compassion to teach your children!  If you’ve not heard of this wonderful organization, please take the time to learn more about how you can make a change too.  They provide water filters and clean drinking water to those who desperately need it.  Imagine your favorite 2 year old, and now imagine not being able to give that child the most basic of all human needs – clean water to save his/her life.  What they are doing at Thirst Relief is truly inspirational.  They are saving and changing lives forever – really making a difference.  Just a $5 donation provides clean drinking water to a child or adult for 30 years!  I was moved to tears watching Jim’s presentation and hearing about the children they have saved.  I think about it often.

Cianne Mitchell Photography will be donating 3% of all sessions to Thirst Relief International from March 1 until July 31st.  So book your session before July 31st and help save a child’s life.

Why professional photographers don’t like to sell digital images

Why do photographers charge so much for digital files?  Why won’t “ABC Photography” sell me my digital files?  These are questions I hear pretty often.  Admittedly, I have asked them myself before I became a professional photographer.  Now that I’ve been on both sides of this issue, I’m here to shed some light on this subject and hopefully give all of you a better understanding of why these coveted files are so carefully safeguarded by professional photographers.

First, I will start off by saying that when you receive a disc with digital images on it, it’s not just a cheap disc with digital images on it.  It IS a quality disc and it DOES have digital files on it, but there is a ton of time, expertise, expense and work put into each and every file you receive.  In a typical 2-3 hour session, there can be more than 8-12 hours of work related to just that session.  I will delve into the time and cost of everything in another blog post if anyone is interested, but right now I’m going to focus on the 5 main reasons for the cost associated with a digital file.


1.       The time and expense of creating those files.  If you are paying a $200 session fee for a 2 hour session, this does not mean that the photographer is making $100 an hour.  Instead, break down that $200 by the typical 8-12 hours it takes to complete a session and it’s more like $20 an hour, which is really not much when you think about a typical hourly salary. 

2.       We are professionals and our goal is deliver high-quality fine art pieces for you to see and enjoy for years to come.  We prefer that our clients and their families SEE their images displayed somewhere in their home and not sitting in a media cabinet only to collect dust or be posted on Facebook for a short time and be lost in the social media abyss.  We strive to create timeless works of art, capturing pieces of your family life, those magical things about your child that make them who they are.  These are not just digital files to us, they are precious moments of time that you don’t get back.

3.       Photographers have no quality-control once the disc is in the client’s hands.  Professional photographers work with quality labs and we calibrate our color ranges with that of our lab’s in order to deliver the proper color and exposure in your photos.  These labs print on gallery-quality papers and apply protective sprays on our photos to ensure that the photos will stand the test of time.  When I release my files to a client on a disc, I run the risk of having my name attached to a photo that doesn’t represent my quality of work because the skin tones might be completely off, a crop performed by a client might screw up the composition of the photo or a black and white rendition ends up flat and boring.  By allowing clients to print wherever they want, we are allowing clients to change a photo from the way we, as artists, intended it.  It’d be like buying a painting and then painting over it in parts. 

4.       Expertise – I know, everyone rolls their eyes when they see “session fee covers time and talent of photographer only,” but it really is true.  It takes tons of time, training and creative vision to be a professional photographer.  There is a huge misconception out there that if you have a great camera, you can shoot great photos.  Not true!  You have to know how to use it in EVERY type of situation (not to mention all the other accompanying equipment).  A bit like having all the tools and ingredients to make a gourmet meal, but not have the recipe and the techniques required to make it.  How many times have we spent a pretty penny on one dinner that a professional chef created?  No, photography is not something you can afford every day, but it’s well worth it once or twice a year to capture those fleeting moments that pass us by so quickly, don’t you think?

5.       Finally, we need to make a living.  If we don’t charge well for a digital image, we lose income we could have made from the purchase of a print or product of that image.  Professional photography is a business, just like any other.  We are feeding families, paying mortgages, bills, baby-sitters, and many, many business expenses as well.  We need to make a profit somewhere and we can’t give our services away cheaply.  Those new or beginning photographers that do, quickly go out of business or raise their prices once they understand the cost related to each session.

Photographers are doing their best to come up with new ways to explain to their clients that digital images are not all they’re cracked up to be.  We really want you to have a wonderful experience and then have proof of that experience that you can walk past everyday on the walls of your home – something should be hung on your walls, right?  That is our main goal.

Now, having said all that, I do understand that we live in a digital/tech savvy world where every phone has internet capabilities, and apps, Facebook, Twitter, blogs and instagrams are a regular way of life.  Sharing photos online is an easy and fun way to connect with friends and family, especially those who live far away.  Most photographers will relinquish control and sell digital images, but again…they do so for a hefty price.

Feel free to call us about our digital file policy at Cianne Mitchell Photography.  We’re happy to answer any questions you may have.  Yes, we do offer digital images 🙂

Letter Love Set | Chicago Baby and Family Photographer

NEW PRODUCT – Cianne Mitchell Photography is announcing another new product to our line up.  The New “Letter Love Set” is completely customizable to spell your child’s name, birth stats, nicknames, family name or anything else you can think of!  This super cute set is a great addition to your child’s room, playroom or right above baby’s crib.  Also a great gift for that new mom in your life 🙂

Check it out or have a sample made for you to view with your photos inside!

Mother’s Day – A Personal Note

With Mother’s Day drawing near, I’ve been thinking about my mom quite a bit.  My mother and I have lots of physical similarities – our eyes, our silliness, our body type, our stubby fingers and my favorite – our crazy right eyebrow that curls upwards in all directions.  It’s pretty cool how we inherit little things from our parents, some subtle and some completely obvious; but, either way, we all have at least a little of our parents in us. 

My mom raised me and my siblings (3 of us) on her own.  She worked tirelessly to keep food on our table, keep clothes on our backs and keep love in our hearts.  She is an incredibly warm and caring person who is always willing to help another in need.  My Mom taught me more about love and compassion than could ever be taught in any book or classroom.  She is a decent, beautiful, sensitive, silly, tiny little fireplug of a woman, and I love every 4 feet 10 inches of her (yes, she really is that short!).  Coupled with all that sweetness, she is also armed with a little bit of “crazy Italian” and she knows how to use it.  When I was a kid, one “side-eye” look from Mom was all I needed to get myself in check and fast!  I’ve tried this technique with my kids, but I just don’t have the touch like she did.

I have so many wonderful memories of growing up with my Mom. 

  • The daily “wake up” kisses on my cheek each morning when she woke me for school
  • Gardening in her vegetable garden together
  • Her favorite Italian music playing on the record player every Sunday while we did our chores and she tangoed about our living room
  • Her long talks with me about how I could not bring EVERY stray animal home with me 🙂
  • And although she was the tiniest mom in the bleachers at all my softball games, she was not to be missed.  Cheering loudly, arms flying everywhere – she was quite a site! 

Mom, if you’re reading this, I just want you to know that I am grateful to have you as my Mother.  Your love and support through both the good and difficult times in my life has meant everything to me.  I never want to hear you get down on yourself for not being able to give us and our kids the things we want because you have given us so much more.  You gave us life, you gave us each other and you give us more love than we could ever ask for.  I will love you always ~ xoxo