Monday, April 22, 2013

Let's try this again | Bedford, Ma Family Photographer

Last time we tried a giveaway we were foiled by The Great Facebook Algorithm.  It went something like this:  If you post a link, your post doesn't go out to all your followers... but Facebook will then annoy you endlessly about spending $20, $50, $100 + on forcing it onto your followers news feeds.  Not cool.  So last time I posted a link, all of 30 people got it on their news feed.  As opposed to the 700-800 views I usually get on my fun-but-not-as-important posts that don't include links.  {yes, I can see who does and doesn't view my posts, who likes and unlikes my pages, who's talking about me and so on... the magic of Facebook business pages!}

So what are we going to do about it?  We're going to try again.  Except this time we're giving away a spot in my dSLR 101 class at the Bedford Rec Center!

Details about the class: My class is about setting up a useful, reliable foundation upon which to build your photography skills. I will be teaching you basic techniques that you can then mold to your liking. The class will be packed full of valuable, useful information that you can use every time you shoot; information that will still be relevant to your hobby years from now! We'll also be going over all of the important buttons and menu settings! It will change your life, I promise!  The class is open to people 16 and older, and meets every Wednesday for 4 weeks, 5/1-5/22, 7-8pm at Bedford Rec Center (the yellow building by the town hall/police department).

I have quite the basis for comparison, too.  My husband took the local Community College's Photography 101 class last year, so I can safely say my class is MUCH more affordable and 1,000 times more useful.  I've taken countless online and in-person classes, and I've compiled only the most useful information for use in my class.  Stuff that you don't learn elsewhere.  Stuff I've learned by making the mistakes 1,000 times in a row.  Stuff the other classes taught me, but failed to mention how to fix if I don't get the same results they did.  This doesn't mean you wont make the mistakes too (how else would you learn?), this just means I will teach you how to FIX those mistakes, so you aren't banging your head against the wall trying to figure out why your images don't look as good as you want them!

For every comment on Facebook you will get 1 entry.  For every "share" you will get 3 entries.  For everyone that posts "*your name* sent me!" you will get 1 and they will get one entry.  Simple as that.  
All referrals will be checked.  If the person that says "*your name* sent me!" turns out to be a blank profile that was just created for games/contests, you'll both be DQed.  It should be obvious, but unfortunately, it's not: NO CHEATING!

Winner will be picked Friday the 26th at 9pm 

If you want to check out the class, register for it, or see what else Bedford has to offer this Spring/Summer, Click Here.  You can either scroll until you get to "Photography" to find my class, or put in activity number 18.317 and hit "go" like this: 
Any questions?  Leave a comment! 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

2013 kick off giveaway!

Better late than never, right?  It may already be March (!!), but we can do our 2013 kick-off giveaway anyway!

I don't do unreadable fine print, so here's the lowdown:
I, Alana Hawker d/b/a Rare Photography, am giving away one free photography session, plus one 8x10 print to a winner picked at random on March 22, 2013 at 10pm EST.  The 60 minute session can take place anywhere within 5 miles of the 01730 area code, and can contain 5 people or less (if you want a group over 5, you have the option of paying the large group fee).  This is an outdoor, on location family session only.  The free session must take place on any Saturday agreed upon between the winner and photographer, before May 25, 2013.  Special exceptions can be made at the photographer's discretion in the event of the agreed upon date being rained out, or for special situations (like a military homecoming).  Any additional services will be agreed upon before the session, and charged at the photographer's regular rate, which will be disclosed and agreed upon prior to the session taking place.  Prize cannot be transfered, sold or otherwise given to any party other than the winner, and winner must be included in the photo session (unless the session is for a child, in which case the winner must be a parent or legal guardian of said child- grandparents, aunts, good friends, etc are not legal guardians unless court ordered).  Alana Hawker and Rare Photography has the right to terminate the giveaway, remove any entry, or withdraw the prize at any time for any reason (we've never had to outright cancel a giveaway before, but we did catch a few people cheating on a previous giveaway and had to disqualify them, in which the prize went to the next highest winner... let's not do that again!  Keep it honest, folks!)

Okay, enough of the boring stuff... now for the fun part!
"I just read that super-boring paragraph of rules, so how do I enter already?!"

You have a few ways to enter!  You can do as little or as much as you want!

To get...
{1} entry... leave a comment here!  Any comment will do!  But a nice one would make my day :-)

{1} entry... leave a comment on RP's Facebook page { } then come back here and leave a comment on this post telling me you did so!  One comment per person, so include everything you did in one comment please!!

{1} entry each... link to Rare Photography's website { } from any of your personal sites.  Facebook, Tumblr, your family blog, whatever!  Then come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did and where it's posted!  Your link MUST be able to be verified!  One link per site, but unlimited sites per person!  (so, if you link me on your Facebook, twitter and Tumblr, you get 3 entries, but if you link me 3 times all on your Facebook, that's only 1 entry, got it?)  Any pages created for the sole purpose of linking will be disqualified, site must be previously established.

{1} entry each... refer someone here!  Make sure they leave a comment here that says "Joe Shmoe sent me!" and you'll both get an entry!  Referrals are unlimited!   Keep in mind I do have IP tracers on this blog, so creating multiple fake personas will only get you disqualified... which is exactly how the previous contest's 1st and 2nd place winners were disqualified, so trust me on this-- just don't do it, it's not worth it!  Not to mention, if your fake profile wins and nobody's there to claim the prize, well, that will just be awkward...

{1} entry... tag RP's Facebook page { } from your Facebook!  Since everyone should only have 1 Facebook per their rules, only 1 tag per person will count.  ;-)  Make sure to come back here and leave a comment telling me what you did!

Incase you haven't guessed by now, all entries will be added up from the comment section on this post, so if you don't leave a comment telling me what you did, it wont count!

Good luck everyone!!  See you on March 22!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Tap tap tap... Is this thing on? | Bedford, Ma Photographer

Is anyone there?  Can you hear me?  Is this thing on?  :-)

My hiatus is quickly coming to an end!  Little L, the baby I took the year off to give birth to, is almost 8 months old now!  Boy, time flies, doesn't it?

So, where is Rare Photography?  We are undergoing a few changes...

1.  We are updating our website!  We have been redesigning it to be more user friendly and more informative.  That is why when you try to visit you will see "Under Construction, come back soon!"  Soon is January 1st or 2nd.  The new site *should* be debuting on the 1st, but I think my site host is closed on the holiday, so we may have to wait until the 2nd.

2.  Our session fees are changing.  But our product prices will stay the same! We are changing prices of things to reflect the changed amount of work and skill put into them.  Everything that is the same as last year will stay the same price as last year!

3.  We are going to be hosting a giveaway on our Facebook page!  Check out in the near future to see what, when, and how we'll be doing the giveaway!

I'm so glad to be back!  I haven't completely abandoned my camera in my off time, though, so I'll be posting the images I've been taking soon!

~ Alana

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

A few sessions left | Bedford, Ma Newborn Photography

It's been a little while since I've written a blog post.  50% of the reason is because I've been wiped out due to this pregnancy, all of my energy has been going to shooting and editing, and the other 50% is because Blogger changed its back end and I can't figure out all of these new buttons!

I promise, I will get to posting about the shoots I've been doing soon!  I have a few adorable babies and a couple gorgeous families to show you!

If you're really impatient and absolutely MUST see some adorableness, head over to our Facebook at and you'll see a few sneak peeks there!

Also, a little reminder, I have 6 newborn sessions available for the rest of 2011, so if you're expecting a baby before the end of the year, give me a call ASAP!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Bigger They Are, The Harder They Fall | Boston Newborn Photographer

I know, I know, another blog post about cost, but this one is interesting, I promise!

In a world where 99% of photographers quit within 2-5 years in business due to their inability to compete with "Loss Leader" models, such as Walmart and Sears, it comes as quite a surprise to read THIS article. What is it about? It states that Walmart has shot itself in the foot and is now on a downward spiral that leads to bankruptcy. The reason given is the very reason why photographers who do survive have much higher prices than Walmart. They're realizing they need to cover costs in order to survive. When your only claim to fame is "lower prices", you eventually get yourself to a point where you need to raise prices in order to cover costs, which means your claim to fame is lost, leaving you with nothing but angry ex-customers who think you're raising prices "just to be greedy".

The reality of the matter is, when you take a loss just to get customers in the door, like Sears, Kiddie Kandids, Walmart and the like, you HAVE to make up the loss somewhere or you go bankrupt. Places like Sears make up the loss in the rest of their store (which is why "loading the images" conveniently takes 30 minutes, so they encourage you to look around. Here's a clue: it actually takes about 2 minutes to load the 10 images they take). However, with Walmart, their entire business model focused on lower prices. EVERYTHING was lower at Walmart. So when they stopped expanding, stopped bringing in new customers, they lacked the ability to make up costs elsewhere, forcing them to raise prices. And what happened when prices were raised the few cents it took to cover costs? Factor in the fact that gas prices are astronomical and you find that they lost the loyal customers who drove the extra mile or two for the additional savings.

I guess it makes it easier to swallow the "you're too expensive!" comments now that it's come to light that Walmart hasn't magically avoided the "rules" of profitable business, they've only delayed the inevitable.

You know what they say, "the bigger they are, the harder they fall".

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Valuing Time | Boston Newborn Photographer

The question of "what's the difference between *expensive product* and *cheap product*" comes up all the time. When I got a Coach purse for my birthday, my husband asked me "What's the difference between that purse and the one you had from Kohls???" When people ask the difference between a boutique product and a mass produced product, there are many many answers. To me, it all boils down to time.


It's the most limited resource we all have. We have no idea how much of it we have, we only know it's almost never enough (especially if you're a mom!). So why don't we value it? When I talk to photographers that SEVERELY undervalue themselves, they always say "well, the prints cost me $X so why would I charge clients $XX?" They almost NEVER value the time it took to edit, the time it took to process the order, the time they took away from other things that needed their attention, the precious minutes and hours of their own life that they will never get back.

Why is that?

When we purchase, say, a Coach purse, every piece of it is hand stitched. The leather is hand selected to be free from defect. It's hand assembled. Because of all of the people involved and their TIME, the piece is much more durable, lasting, and has much more value.

When I went to S portrait studios many years ago, we were in and out in 30 minutes, the pictures had some really bad actions slapped on them in 30 seconds and then we ordered. There was very little time involved. It definitely showed in the final product.

When I do portraits for my clients we take 1-2 hours for a consult to discuss the contracts, clothing choices, hair and makeup choices, props, guidelines, what to expect, desires for the outcome of the shoot and we just chat. At the shoot we take time to relax, get comfortable, set up poses, find perfect lighting, and don't forget the chatting! Yeah, I talk a lot ;-) In the post production phase, I examine each image at 100% to be sure it meets my meticulous and high standards. I hand edit and adjust each image individually, and view it one last time before we meet for ordering just to be absolutely certain it is the top quality I guarantee. At the ordering session we take time to discuss where you want portraits to hang, who you'll be sending them to, what frames you have to fill, and what use you'll have for any other prints or digital images. Oh yeah, and we CHAT! lol. All in all I take a minimum of 15 hours of my time per client. It is very personalized, relaxed and, dare I say it, FUN! This large amount of time invested definitely shows in the final product, too.

So why don't people value time? I think it's because we live in a world where everything is instant gratification, and now extensive time spent on something is thought to be a waste. People don't even think of time as an investment anymore!

I've been trying to value my time by making sure everything I spend my time on is worth it. Either by making sure I'm being paid a fair amount, or by making sure my past times are productive, enjoyable and beneficial to me and my family.

How do you value your time?

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Baby W | Hanscom AFB Newborn Photography

I have no words for this session!  Okay, maybe I have a few... like cute, adorable, squeezable, cuddly and sweet!  It was so hard not to tuck this little guy in my pocket and take him home with me!