A little birdie whispered in my ear and told me that two of our favorite bloggers (ahem, Suzanne and Amanda) have not had professional family portraits taken in a good five years time. Part of me wants to give them a stern talking to, but the other part of me hangs my head sheepishly because I too have committed the same sin — avoiding professional family photos.
This is probably a bad thing to be admitting to, especially since for the last several years, I was living out my dream of owning and operating my very own photography studio. It was a lot of hard work, but I loved (almost!) every minute of it.
Part of being a professional photographer included shouting from the rooftops the importance of professional family photos.
“Life is short, moments are fleeting… capture them on camera to remember forever.” That was my cry. And luckily, photography has made so many advances in recent years and digital photography has made getting professional family photos much more affordable. Yet, many people still don’t take the leap.
Isn’t it horrible that my livelihood depended on other people having professional family photos taken, yet I never made the time for my sweet family to step in front of the camera. It was not for lack of wanting… life just got busy and hectic and that was always the thing to get put off.
Often, my reason for not getting a session scheduled for our professional family photos was because I was busy photographing everyone else! Then I was pregnant, or losing baby weight, or we decided to do it after my brother-in-law got married, But then my sister-in-law got pregnant so we wanted to wait for her baby to arrive.
After years of discussing having professional family photos taken, my hubby and I finally decided to bite the bullet and purchase a gift certificate for family photos as our Christmas gift to his parents. But we missed our window of opportunity.
On October 5th of 2010, my sweet mother-in-law passed away very unexpectedly. We were set to leave that morning, with my in-laws, for a family trip to Disneyland and instead we began planning a funeral. In those early days following her passing, all I could think was: “We never had family photos done.” I posted on my photography blog, urging everyone I knew to stop making excuses and get those professional family photos taken, because now I realized just how short life was, just how fleeting those moments could be.
We have lots of pictures of my mother-in-law with my girls, but we have no pictures of our entire family together. My heart hurts when I think about that, because to me, pictures are a very important part of life. Pictures are all my girls will have to remember their grandmother by, and I don’t have any of our entire family together.
Aside from preserving memories, I feel that there are many other benefits of professional family photos. A true professional photographer is well trained and talented in their field. This means that they will know how to work with lighting and scenery, how to pose and crop in order to get a truly beautiful image that is several steps up from the typical snapshot. They will know their way around Photoshop and be able to touch up the photo to remove that pesky zit that showed up on family picture day or to brighten everyone’s eyes or make the colors really pop.
The time and talent of a professional photographer should give you a piece of art that features your most prized possession, something to hang on your wall and take pride in showing.
Within a month of my mother-in-law’s passing, I had made arrangements for my husband and our girls to have professional family photos taken and I invited my father-in-law to come along as well. I knew I could not risk the chance of missing out again. Those photos were taken just last November, and already I am looking at the calendar, figuring out when we can schedule another session, one that will hopefully include my brother-in-law and his family.
I am no longer working as a professional photographer — my mother-in-law was the one who watched my girls and made it possible for me to live out my dream. I am actually enjoying my status of full-time stay at home mom though, but my shouting from the roof tops has just gotten louder.
Have professional family portraits done — even just once (but hopefully on a somewhat regular basis)! Preserve those memories for the future. Spend an afternoon hanging out with the people you love and let a professional photographer capture your relationship on film. I honestly believe that you will not regret it.
Guest blogger Officerswife33 is a mommy and an amazing photographer who writes I’m a Mommy. What’s Your Superpower? She has two of the cutest little girls in the world and is married to her own crime fighting super hero. Check out Facebook for their latest adventures.
Fitting a professional photography session into the budget is usually the biggest reason for not doing it, but as Suzanne is beginning to realize, you get what you pay for.
And if you want to get more ideas for great family portraits, check out Calhoun Ink at www.calhounink.com.