Monthly Archives: May 2015


So this post comes with a heavy, heavy heart. I mean a heavier heart than I knew I was even capable of having. On Monday we lost our dog Chandler, by a tragic accident.  Channy had been a Mercer for about as long as we have been a Mercer family. We got him in August of 2008, shortly after we had gotten married, and before the birth of Olivia. Looking back, he was really such an amazing dog, I have always said we have been so lucky with our dogs, not having health problems, potty training so well, and only mildly chewing (and that wasn't even Chan that was our lab, Chelsie) We were blessed. But after the birth of my 2 kids, I wasn't the dog mommy that I should've been. Were they well cared for, sure, all their needs were being met. So I think my guilt is that, I wish I would've let him sit on lap a little more. I wish I would've been as excited to see him as he was excited to see me whenever I got home. I wish I would've taken him to more places than just the groomer and the vets office. I wish I would've just not taken him for granted.  He was unknowingly such a part of our family, even though he was in the background most of the time.

For the past 2 days, every little thing makes me miss him. Pulling into the driveway, and opening the garage door and not see him run out to me, him not barking at every stranger, not seeing his little face waiting at the door to be let in, not see him chase the kids across the yard, not watching him follow Chelsie everywhere she goes. Everything in the house feels different, the sounds, the atmosphere, EVERYTHING. Oh goodness what I wouldn't give to hear the little gallop of his paws on the hardwood.

I, loving pictures the way I do, instantly went to look for pics of Channy and to my surprise, I have tons. Anytime I was photographing the kids in the yard, there he was. Maybe in the background sometimes, or maybe him being the little lover he was, he pushed himself to the foreground.  Oh how I cherish these photos, because looking through them I really did capture every aspect of who Chandler was, and the little things and he did that made him so unique and special. Oh geez I am going to miss him so much!

I know and pray that with time, this gets easier.  There is such an emptiness that I never imagined I could have felt by loosing a pet.  It's heart wrenching. I hurt for my husband, I hurt for my kids, and I especially hurt for Chelsie who is going to miss her best friend.  So everyone please today instead of just walking by your pet, stop.... give them a hug, a pet on the head, or a little extra attention. Because like with anything you don't know if they will be there tomorrow.

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Last week we completed our 2nd class in the 3 part series, Let There Be Light! It was fan-tas-tic. We sat inside, munching on snacks, talking about light and what we look for when we shoot as natural light photographers. We touched on metering, white balance, and focus points and said what they mean in our business.  I really feel like we are helping these ladies figure out what it's like to be photographers, and they have such wonderful questions and feedback. Gahh, I love it!  It is such a powerful thing to be able to share your craft with people.  On that note, we were also able to go to Washington High School this week, and go over the basics of photography to 3 classes.  We all know how nervous I am speaking in front of a group, so I don't know if it was all the essential oils Tara had me put on before hand or all the prayers I was sending to Jesus but definitely something came over me and I did it! I did it without shaking, tunnel vision, ringing in my ears and my heart racing. (Thank you Jesus!!!) With all this positivity that has come from our teachings, I know we are on the right path in our business.  A path of being mentors, teachers, and inspirers.  I feel like it is filling a place in our business that has been lacking.  Our goal now is to reach more, so if you are a mom with a camera, a high schooler, or a new photographer that needs some guidance and someone to help you work out your photography issues, WE ARE HERE, and we want to help you.  I personally love the way I feel when we leave such an awesome coaching/teaching session. It fills my soul!  So after hearing the message from Pastor Shawn (at NDMC, my church) where he told us to be better, be bigger, be an inspiration to someone, fulfill what He has called you to do, I feel that these workshops are allowing me the outlet to do just that! And it's AWESOME.

If you are interested in learning through one of our classes, check out our Tiptoe website and click the "Tiptoe Teaches" tab for the next date and our workbook info.

let there be light PhotographyWorkshopFlyer for web Title Page

Let's be honest this is going to be a super hard post to write or even talk about for that matter. Our pricing... Eeeekkk! So let me start off by saying that this is not me complaining or talking about any other photographer out there, this is strictly why our pricing works for us and how we have come up with our prices.  I absolutely love, love, love what I do. There is nothing better in this life than to wake up each day getting to be a creative, to be an artist, and actually make a living at it. There is not a day that goes by that I am not truly thankful for this as my career!  I just want to shed some light on why our prices are higher than the "100 images for $30" photographer, and why we could never charge that and make it in this industry.

First off, we have BILLS, we maintain a beautiful studio on the main street in downtown Charles Town, this allows us a place to shoot newborn, some maternity, and boudoir sessions, it also serves us as a gallery for our work, a place to conduct ordering sessions, consultations, our new Tiptoe Teaches photography series, and our regular meetings.  Tiptoe now consists of 5 photographers, so it is imperative that we have a space like this to call home. Does it come with a heavy price tag? Yes, between rent, electric, trash, internet, insurance, maintenance, etc, we are paying dearly for what we love and need!

Secondly, we are an official LLC. We are registered to pay taxes, carry insurance, have an accountant,  pay for lots of equipment, and a rash of other things that come with the price of doing business OFFICIALLY, and again we couldn't have it any other way. Our goal going into this business has always been to be official and to grow... a Tiptoe Studios franchise in every state! LOL! As much as we would love to do this as a hobby, that is just not the kind of photographers we are. We are serious about it, it is our career, it is our baby.  I feel like our clients, especially wedding clients, should have some peace knowing that we are going to still be in business and going full steam ahead, by the time your wedding rolls around! Not here one day and gone the next.

Third and maybe most important, we spend TIME with and on you. On average, a Tiptoe client (for a regular session), from start to finish takes us anywhere from 7-12 hours to complete. From the initial contact, to the session, to the editing, to the ordering, it really does take us hours to make sure the client has had the Tiptoe experience. So if we were just charging $30 per session, after bills, we would probably be making something like 10 cents and hour. Is making a couple dollars per session worth hours upon hours of my time away from my family? Nope.  So when you see our hefty price tag of $40 for an 8x10 or $1300 for a session CD remember you are paying this for our expertise, our style, and our artwork.  You, the client, would never be able to go out with another photographer and EVER capture the same images that we did, organically.  Each photographer sees things a different way, and that is what makes it ART.  Tiptoe is not the walk-in studio that has lights everywhere and 15 backdrops that get used over and over again with the same 4 poses (not that there is anything at all wrong with that, it's just not what we are trying to achieve). Rest assure you will get something unique when you come to us!  At least that is what we are hoping for when you choose us as your photographer. *wink*wink.

In closing, does it bother us or even hurt our feelings when potential clients turn their nose up at our pricing? Well the answer is, of course, YES! As an artist we always wonder if they are saying that our ART isn't worth that?   We have to keep reminding ourselves that we know we are a high-end studio that may not be everyones cup of tea. We want the clients that will appreciate the moments we want to uniquely capture for them, so if pricing weeds them out, that is okay with us. Generally speaking, we are all people pleasers at Tiptoe and we hate to have anyone out there that genuinely LOVES and appreciates our style, but they just can't honestly afford us. So many, many times a year we do things like our mini sessions, picture parties, school portrait day and giveaways, so that these potential clients can use us and get a great deal!  It may not be the complete Tiptoe experience but you will still leave with some really great images.  However, even after offering what we think is a great solution for those clients that don't want the hefty price tag for a session, we still get the occasional neigh sayer.  We think highly of our work and know that it is worth every penny you may pay for it.  So like a lot of artists, whether it be a beautician, graphic designer, interior decorator, and even photographer, you are paying for an individual and their talents.  I would never go to my beautician and tell her that she isn't worth my $45 trim because her scissors only cost a couple dollars.  I know going there I am paying for her talent and because I love the way SHE does my hair. Again, not everyone may be as particular as me, but regardless I feel like there is always something out there that people would pay more for because they are getting something personal and geared just toward them.

I sincerely hope that I have not offended anyone, as this was not at all my intention. I really just wanted to be able to voice why we charge more than some other photographers. I hope this post comes off that way! Please feel free to leave us a comment and let us know what you think!




So, we have had quite a few newborn shoots lately, and while I love love LOVE  doing them, boy does it mess with my mommy hormones, lol.  As I was rocking my two year old Maverick to sleep tonight, I had that moment.  The moment I think all of us mommies get when we realize our babies aren't babies fever!  My baby just turned two a couple weeks ago, he is dangling off my lap, reading books with me, Maximus is now 4 and another year of preschool is coming to an end.  I can't help but get that little itch, ahh another baby...and it doesn't help that Maximus keeps begging for a little sister.  He keeps saying "mommy, we can just go to where we got Maverick and get my baby sister"  and I respond with "oh buddy, if only it were that easy!"  Now, I'm not saying it's completely out of the question, it's just not in the cards right now, or at least not for a couple years, and even then, who knows.  I'm just thankful for newborn shoots so I can get my baby fix.  So any mommies out there getting ready to have a baby, give us a call or shoot us an email and ask about our maternity/newborn package.  Bring your babies to Tiptoe, I need my fix! 🙂

So we had such an awesome time last weekend shooting Mommies and their kids!! They all had a chance to get pampered Tiptoe style by our awesome hair (Lisa from Hair Cuttery) and makeup (Tayna) ladies!! They rocked our moms socks off, and made each lady so super beautiful!! Seriously could recommend these ladies to anyone. They are fabulous!! And we topped off the pampering with some fresh snacks and mimosas!! Yummo! It was an awesome time! Now in honor of Mother's Day, we wanted to show some of those moms their Tiptoe Teaser.

Tiptoe wants to wish ALL the mommas out there a super wonderful Mother's Day! Take the day off and enjoy those that made you a mommy!! Wink, wink!

Mommy and Me
mommy and me day 2015

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So I had the privilege this evening to photograph my nieces SENIOR PROM! Wow, y'all this is it for her! She's done with high school. It's so bittersweet.  Since we have moved out to the Mercer Compound, it has been so incredibly wonderful to have her right here as our neighbor, our babysitter, our "race car driver". She has turned into such a woman, an adult, and a mature lady! I love her, and I am sure going to miss her being around when she's gone at college next year! Cheers Sophia, you are off to BIG things!!

Tiptoe does prom
Tiptoe does prom

Here are a couple of my favorite photos from a newborn session I recently did! OH MY WORD, do these parents make some beautiful babies!! Stinking gorgeous!! Gahh!

One of my favorite parts of this shoot had to have been dad being so involved in the ideas for props and backdrops for our newborn! It sure does make it personal when we can incorporate it into a shoot! He is an avid hunter, and was actually away on a hunt and made it back just in time to be there for her to be born!! I loved hearing their/and every clients unique story of the birth! It takes me back to my own kids births, oh how your whole world changes! And you can never love anything more than that perfect little baby you created! 🙂

Newborn session
Newborn session