The Importance of Family Photography
In this day and age, when everyone carries a smartphone in their pocket and has a decent digital camera sitting at home, why would anyone need to hire a professional photographer just to take photos of their family? If you are anything like us, you have thousands of photos sitting on your phone that will likely never see the light of day. You probably have hundreds more sitting on the memory card of your camera or on the hard drive of your computer, languishing as you keep forgetting to turn them into prints or photo books. Those are the photos that really capture your day-to-day life, right?
Yes. Of course that's true. We all take lots of photos every single day as a way to remember those fleeting moments of childhood. Those images are precious. But they aren't on your walls.
Photography as Art
A good photographer is an artist. They have the ability to see the world and the people around them in unique ways, and to take that vision and turn it into something powerful. Something unique. Most people take snapshots every day, but snapshots are not art. An ordinary person can take a picture, but not every picture is a photograph. Because a photographer knows about composition, about color and light and imagery, their images are different than the quickly-captured snapshots sitting in your phone. Both can be beautiful because of what they represent, but snapshots are not art.
Consider the definition of art: "The quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing, or of more than ordinary significance."
You deserve to be surrounded by beautiful things. Photography is beautiful and extraordinary, and you deserve for your family to be captured in an extraordinary way. We can all go to the local paint-your-own canvas shop and follow instructions to paint something neat... but would we call ourselves artists after our fun night out? Probably not.
Photography as Skill
A real photographer cares about their art. They dedicate time, money and resources to learn and hone their craft, even in their down time. Just as any professional does, a photographer is continually improving their skills in order to best bring their vision to life.
Think of it this way: I can put bandages on my kids and give them Tylenol to help with a high fever, but I'm not trained to diagnose every illness and give them appropriate treatments for life-threatening situations. I can check the oil in my car and change a tire, but I don't have the skills to replace a transmission or fix a head gasket. These are skills that I would need to study, practice, and perfect. I have the potential to learn medicine or mechanics, but I can't do it right now- and it will take time, money and an investment in my education to do so.
I don't trust myself to treat cancer or replace an engine. I wouldn't trust just anyone- I would entrust these things to someone who knows what they are doing- through the time and effort they've put into learning. A photographer is no different. It takes time and training to learn how to use a camera, to compose pictures in an appealing way, to learn how to edit effectively, to use light to its full potential to create an emotional image. Anyone can take a picture, but not everyone can take a photograph.
Photography as Memory
If you think about all of your pictures on your phone, I bet one thing will become clear: you don't have any good ones of your whole family that you have taken yourself. If you have any pictures of your whole family, they were likely taken by a friend or stranger who happily snapped it for you in front of a landmark or ocean or at an event. It might make it to Facebook, but is it ever going to be on your wall in your home?
Perhaps you have pictures of you and your kids or you and your spouse that you took yourself, arm outstretched as you tried to find a good angle that didn't make you look like you have a double chin or weird hair. (I know I have lots of selfies that will NEVER see the light of day!) Most of your images are of your kids, shot on a cell phone with low resolution that can never be printed bigger than 5x7 or maybe an 8x10.
Hiring a family photographer means that you will have incredible images of your whole family, together and enjoying each other as a cohesive unit where everyone looks their best. You will have images of you and your kids that don't make you cringe, of you and your husband looking at each other in the midst of the family you have created through birth or adoption, and you will have a record of this story, this time, this moment, that you will never have again. These images are more than snapshots. These images are a testament to your connection as a family- and you and your kids deserve to live in a home where that connection surrounds you every day as art. Your kids deserve to live in a home where the walls are adorned with pictures of them with their parents. They deserve to grow into adulthood owning images of themselves with their mom and dad- images that they will treasure when they can no longer call you up or stop by your house just to see your face. Trust me, I know. I lost my own mom three years ago, and I only have about 6 or 7 pictures of me with her. She was always the person taking the picture, but was never in it. I have no professional portraits of my siblings and me with my parents, and I never will.
The Importance of a Family Photographer
You deserve a skilled artist trained in the art of photography to capture these moments and turn them into art that won't sit on a memory card or on a hard drive. You deserve to be surrounded by art- and what more beautiful art can there be than imagery of the people you love best in the world being surrounded by the people THEY love best in the world, captured with skill and attention to detail? Your kids deserve to have these moments captured forever- because, at the end of the day, they will care less about photos of themselves playing with blocks or covered in spaghetti... and more about images of their family that capture their family story before that chapter ended. Those are the images they will wish they had when they no longer have you.