A staggering analysis for running a successful photography business in Michigan.

I’m in the process of doing some major evaluations on our business. Our goal is to be one of the best Michigan wedding photographers along with having a success portrait business serving high school seniors, kids, families, and babies. We spend a lot of time running our photography business to make this a reality…too much time in fact, which can make family life difficult sometimes. I really needed to understand what jobs are getting done, how long they take, who’s doing them, etc. to help me evaluate our current state and plan for the future of our business.

I knew that we spent a lot of time working, but I never really knew how much. During peak season, on average we might have 1 wedding, 1 portrait session, and 1 sales session. Sometimes it’s more than that, and some weeks it’s less, so I used that as my median. If we did everything that needs to get done, we put in about 113 man hours per week between Cheridy and I which doesn’t include anything related to taking care of the home/family. I typically spend about 81 hours per week on the business and Cheridy spends about 32. By the time you account for our home related chores and activities, we both are busy for about 85 hours per week and that includes having some help. The numbers used to be higher before we had any help.

A large portion of my time is spent working ON the business which is important for continued growth and long term success and this whole project has made me realize that for the sake of our family, we need to either cut back on business or get more help. That led to another analysis to determine the costs of running our business to figure out if hiring more help is even feasible. Most people would laugh at the excel spreadsheets that went into figuring all this out. I’m an excel nerd but at least I’m using that engineering degree for something!! It’s always eye opening to start looking at the real numbers!!

Here’s just some of todays geekiness!!

excel spreadsheets

High School Senior Photography in Michigan with Arising Images

Cheridy and I started doing high school senior photography a few years ago because we were looking for other avenue’s of photographic expression. High school seniors pictures can be a really important thing for a lot of kids. We were not too happy with most of the pictures that we had seen because most kids get the same type of pictures as everyone else. They are typically studio based and traditionally posed, traditionally lit, etc. On top of that, at many studios, it’s like a factory with the amount of kids that come in and out the door in a given day.
We really wanted to get out of the box and offer something unique and different for the entire experience from the personal attention and service down to the photos themselves.
Our goal is to not even compete with the chain studios but instead to offer a completely different service and product to the students that are interested in that. Our service is for students and parents who value photography and want something artistic as opposed to coming to us solely because they need to get the pictures taken somewhere.

We do a limited number of high school senior photos each year so make sure to book in time. Since we started opening our doors to high school seniors, we have had students coming from all over southeastern MI, from our own city of Sterling Heights, north to Clarkston, west to Ann Arbor, and south to Detroit. We photograph so many seniors from Troy that sometimes we feel like we’re the official photographer for Troy High School.
We’re looking forward to photographing the class of ’09 and suggest calling to get your photos done early as the late summer dates book up fast!
For more information, go to our senior site at www.ArisingSeniors.com
Here’s a few recent favorites:

Troy High School (Troy, MI)
high school senior 1

Chippewa Valley High School (Clinton Township, MI)
high school senior 2

Cranbrook Upper School (Bloomfield Hills, MI)
high school senior 3

Troy Athens High School (Troy, MI)
high school senior 16

Oakland Christian School (Auburn Hills, MI)
high school senior 5

Lake Orion High School (Lake Orion, MI)
high school senior 6

Clarkston High School (Clarkston, MI)
high school senior 7

Rochester Adams High School (Rochester Hills, MI)
high school senior 18

Avondale High School (Auburn Hills, MI)
high school senior 9

Stony Creek High School (Rochester Hills)
high school senior 12

To learn more about our weddings, go to our wedding website at www.ArisingSeniors.com

Also serving:
Rochester High School – Rochester Hills
Academy of the Sacred Heart – Bloomfield Hills
Andover High School – Bloomfield Hills
Grosse Pointe North High School – Grosse Pointe Woods
Grosse Pointe South High School – Grosse Pointe
Groves High School – Birmingham
Henry Ford II High School – Sterling Heights
Lahser High School – Bloomfield Hills
Laker Academy – West Bloomfield
Marian High School – Bloomfield Hills
Model High School – Bloomfield Hills
Plymouth Christian Academy – Canton Twp.
Plymouth High School – Canton Twp.
Roeper School – Birmingham
Seaholm High School – Birmingham
Sterling Heights High School – Sterling Heights
Stevenson High School – Sterling Heights
West Bloomfield High School – West Bloomfield Twp.

Please call even if your school is not on the list above as we are always adding new schools.

Helping Move

This morning I had the opportunity to work with some really good guys.  One of the guys that I went to Utah with a few weeks ago has a heart to serve.  He found out about a woman from our church who had just recently been divorced who had to move all of her belongings (and that of her two daughters) to a new house.   She had a lot of big things and no way to move them so Mike got a group of 9 guys together and we all went out there and moved her stuff.
I realized this morning that Cheridy and I are really blessed with our family and our home and our business and sometimes it’s really easy to get wrapped up in our own world and our own happiness and forget that other people are struggling and dealing with difficult issues.  Spending time with someone like Mike, who regularly serves and helps other people, helped open my eyes and my heart.
One of the things that Mike mentioned is that after going through a divorce, this woman most likely has lost some of her trust in men and to have nine strangers show up at her house and move all her things will hopefully restore some of that faith.  I think that’s a big part of Mike’s mission and ministry which I think he’s calling “Jesus on the move” and it was really cool to be a part of that this morning.

While we were moving everything, my friend Dion got a call that he had to rush to the hospital because he was about to have a baby!  Him and his wife are adopting and the birth mother went into labor, so we had to unload everything from his car so he could get on the road.  Congrats Dion…can’t wait to hear more about it!!

National Geographic Special

Cheridy and I had front row seats to a little National Geographic Special.  A robin has had her nest built right outside our front door for a few weeks now.  Every time we go in and out of our house, we scare her off with a quick apology.  Today, we realized for the first time that she actually had a baby in there.  Then we saw there was not one but three of them!  We quickly washed off our dirty glass front door and then sat and waited for her to bring some food back to the little ones.  I shot this from inside our house looking out the front door.

mother robin and her babies

Welcome Curtis!

I just wanted to welcome Curtis Wiklund to the Arising Images team. He’s going to be working with us for the summer and helping me with some of the processing workload.
He’s currently going to UofM for his bachelor in Fine Arts. He’s one of the most creative young people that we know, so we’re really excited to have him on board!
…and we learned that he’s better at grammar than I am so he just adopted the new responsibility of grammar checking everything I write!!

curtis wiklund