+ meet your photographer monica browning photography manlius ny

Meet Your Photographer

My photography is much more about you and your connections with each other than me, but just so you know who you’re working with, here’s some info about me!

I grew up in northern IL and graduated college in 2002 with a bachelor’s in business management. Went back to school in 2004 to get a BSN (nursing degree) and met my husband, who was finishing up a degree in Electrical Engineering and Physics. He commissioned into the Air Force in 2005, I quit pursuing my BSN and followed him from WI to FL, where we lived near 2 bases while he did the first parts of pilot training. We got married in 2006, moved to OK in 2007 for the next phase of pilot training and lived there for 2 years, got pregnant with our first kiddo, moved in AZ when I was 34 weeks pregnant and had our first baby in 2009, 2 weeks before my husband flew the F-16 solo for the first time. Then we moved to Italy and had our second baby in 2011. Then we moved back to AZ, and had our third baby in 2015 and then moved to CA and had our fourth baby in 2016. In other words, we have a bunch of kids and we’ve lived all over creation. We settled here in NY at the end of 2017 and I am never leaving this amazing state.

I feel as though a lot of people get involved in photography because they are creatives and love the picture taking part of this job. I am kind of the opposite of that where my background is in business and photography is the business I chose. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE taking photos, but I am also a business owner. Photography isn’t just a hobby I do on the side, this is my full time job that I absolutely love. I also study quite a bit to learn new shooting and editing techniques and am constantly doing continuing education to improve my photography and my business. My clients, who often turn into friends, mean the world to me and client safety (newborns) and satisfaction is my number one goal.

On a more personal note, I’ve been married for almost 14 years now to my amazing husband. My kids are 10,8, 4 and 3 and we have 2 English Cream Golden Retrievers and 2 cats. My house is usually loud and chaotic (and messy), but we are happy and healthy. We love to get out and explore the amazing area we live in and travel when our time, energy and bank account allows and we love to go camping. I LOVE the seasons here in NY as they are a real treat after living in deserts for 5 years! My favorite thing to do is sit by the fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa and watch TV while working on my crocheting. I love to write (and receive) real, hand-written letters and when I had more free time I would write many letters a month. I try to play volleyball 1-2 times a week, and although I’m getting better, I’m still not very good. I also like volunteering at my kids amazing schools when I have time off.

I look forward to working with all of my returning families in 2020 and building relationships with new clients as well!

+ monica browning photography manlius ny photographer syracuse ny

How to select a photographer

I’m going to explain a few things to my clients. Feel free to share this if you think it would help someone else.

In the world of photography, there are typically 2 types of business models we photographers use. The first is “shoot and burn” (s&b) and the second is IPS – in person sales. S&B photographers are the ones that are more “all inclusive”. They have a set price for their sessions or packages and there aren’t usually any extra fees. So if they charge $500 for a session, the session, amount of digital photos specified, and products specified, are all included for that price. IPS is a different story. Typically IPS involves a pre-consult, either by phone or in person, and then they have a session fee – say $100. With IPS you typically go back into the studio or wherever for the photo reveals and presentation and then you purchase whatever you’d like for the set fees. TYPICALLY with IPS you’re going to be spending a minimum of $800, sometimes upwards of $3000, per session. I will put my business model in the comments on my page.

Additionally, on our local FB group pages, I see about 15 “looking for a photographer” posts every week. And in the greater Syracuse area we have approximately 8347656 “photographers”. That’s a good thing for you the clients! With that many to choose from, surely you can find someone that fits your style and your budget!

With an overwhelming amount of photographers to choose from, I HIGHLY suggest you first decide on what style of photography you like. If you like studio work – find someone with a studio. If you like in-home, lifestyle work, look for someone that does that. And then pay attention to the individual photographers style. For example, there are a few really great newborn photographers in our area, but we all have slightly different styles. Some of us use multiple lights giving a brighter, more “flat” look to the work. Both sides of the photo are lit the same. Some of us to a lot of composites (take a photo of a baby and put it in to a digital background, or combine two photos together such as froggy pose). Some of us use one light and have more dimension (aka-shadows) in our work. Some of us edit our photos to be more muted colors, and some more vibrant colors. Some tend to put a “matte” finish on the photos and some like the crystal clear look. We all have our different editing styles and editing is a HUGE part of photography. (Believe it or not, it’s not just having a “good camera”. 🤪)

Next, decide on your budget. Do you want an S&B photographer or an IPS photographer? Some S&B photographers only offer digitals while others offer digitals and prints/products. Ask for their pricing up front, and it’s even better if it’s on their websites or FB pages! (Some photographers don’t put this on their websites because they want personal communication with you from the start.) Decide if you want to go choose your photos in person with your photographer and see the products offered up close and personal, or if you’re mostly just looking for the digitals to print off yourself. (As a side note here – there is generally a HUGE difference between WalMart prints and professional lab prints. We calibrate our editing programs to the pro labs so they are the most accurate. 8/10 times the consumer labs – WalMart, Walgreens, Shutterfly, etc – will have some sort of tint them and you just pray to God it’s not green if you decide to use them…)

Lastly, word of mouth is a very large part of how photographers grow their business. So if you see photos you like, ask who did them. Or, if you want to see many photographer styles in one place, Instagram is a GREAT place to compare. Type in a hashtag and see what pulls up and what you like. #syracusephotographer #cnyphotographer #manliusnyphotographer #syracusenewbornphotographer Whatever type of photographer you’re looking for or whatever area you’re looking in, if you want to stay closer to home, hashtags are a great way to locate photographers and see different styles.

More expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better in the world of photography. Look at photographers portfolios!! It is the best way to gauge their overall work! We tend to put our best work online, so make sure they have MULTIPLE images you like and not just one or two. In photography, light is EVERYTHING. If a photographer doesn’t understand how to use the available light with their camera correctly, most likely the photos won’t turn out super great unless they have genius level editing skills and hours to spend on one photo!

Hopefully this helps!! Let me know if you have any questions!