This is a post that I’ve been wanting to write for a while now. It’s a topic that is heavy on my heart, and it’s a lengthy one (sorry in advance). But I promise, it’s worth reading through to the end. So here goes…. A few years ago, I was the client who wanted a deal. I wanted to find the cheapest photographer in the area who would produce better photos than I could with my point and shoot, or with my phone, or even with my own “fancy camera” on a tripod. I just wanted a step above what I could take of myself. At that point in my life, that was fine. It fit in our monthly budget, it got the job done. During that time, I was also the photographer who wanted to offer that deal. I didn’t value my talent (or own it for that matter). I wanted to be that photographer that could serve everyone, and their cousins. At that point, it was about quantity, not quality.
Fast forward about six months. I decided that I wanted to make photography more of a priority in my life. I wanted to learn the art, find my style, and define by business. Even more importantly, I wanted to make it a priority for me. My husband was deployed to the other side of the world, and our daughter was growing (and fast). He was missing everything, and I wasn’t capturing any of it. Sure, we’d Skype. I’d send pictures. We’d talk almost every day, but it wasn’t the same. I wanted to start capturing her in her element, making it something important to me. That’s when everything changed.
I realized that quality is so much more important in life. You can take 100 pictures, but if they’re all mediocre, what do you have? 100 mediocre pictures. But, if you get that one photo, the one that you want to blow up to a 40×60 canvas in every room of your house, that you want to show the world time and time again, what do you have? A memory, a moment, something to cherish. Instead of looking for a deal, I started looking for quality. I wanted to find a way to capture the memories I’d hold so close forever, to share with friends and family. I wanted to make those memories with my clients. I invested in new gear, classes to learn how to use it all, and time to figure it all out. Rather than offering cheap sessions that look just like everyone else’s in town, I wanted to create something that my clients would love forever: something timeless to pass down.
A few months ago, I realized that the last good picture I had with my parents and brother was from when I was a child. I don’t know exactly what age I was, but I would guess around 10 or younger. Aside from the church directory photos, that was the last time all of us were together behind the camera. Sure, we got a shot of the family at my wedding, but the last time we had casual family photos was too long ago for me to remember. My little brother was about to leave for the Navy, and I was not letting him leave without getting in front of the camera. Rather than setting up a tripod and doing it myself, I hired a professional and I am so glad I did. Those photos are something I’m going to cherish forever.
(Photo credit: Megan Hannon Photography)
That brings us to the now. So often, I see people asking for “a cheap photographer,” or someone who gives “all the rights to their pictures,” but is that what you really want? If it is, it’s great that you know that. But recognize that you do have a choice. It might take some saving up, or even some sacrifice, but I can promise you that it will be worth it. Getting a customized, high quality, boutique styled session from a professional photographer who knows what they’re doing, who can provide you with a lasting experience, and who can serve your every need, that’s what it’s about. Getting those photos up on the wall (in your house, not on your Facebook), for everyone to see, that’s what it’s about. Instead of leaving a disc with a bunch of pictures on it in your junk drawer, only to get lost or broken, get a gorgeous print to hang on your wall. Even better? Get an album to lay out on your coffee table for friends to flip through. It will be worth it, I promise. Are your kids going to come back in 20 years and say, “Wow. That’s a really awesome flash drive” and sit and admire that ancient piece of technology? Probably not. But they’ll happily look through an album of your old family photos and reminisce with you. That’s what it’s about.
So, if you’ve decided that quality really is more important than quantity… what happens now? Save, research, and invest. You don’t have to book your session tomorrow. Plan ahead. There is time to explore. If you’re a senior (or the parent of one) who is graduating in the spring and want to get quality senior photos done, do your research. Don’t just book the first photographer you find. Ask questions, find out what your experience will include, how your session will go, and what you’ll be able to order. If you’re a mom, watching your child grow faster and faster each day, look around for a photographer that will capture your little ones the way that you see them. Look for a photographer whose portraits are full of love and character. If you’re in love, and you want to remember this part of your relationship, look for someone who can capture your love, your chemistry, your passion. The person you’re looking for is there, you just have to look.
The bottom line is this: which is important to you? Quality or quantity? Before you invest your money, no mater how large or small the amount may be, consider your choices. It really isn’t about the money. It’s about the memory.
God Bless ♥ Victoria