Wednesday, October 22, 2014

This is why I do... what I do!

We just finished up the annual PPMA (Professional Photographer's of Mississippi/Alabama) fall conference at Joe Wheeler State Park. I always enjoy the fellowship with my photographer friends, "talking shop", advancing my skills and knowledge to better serve my customers, etc., but this year, Michael Taylor and Monica Sigmon were the speakers and Michael showed us a film by Kodak that was put out a few years ago. It truly reminded me why I do, what I do! It literally brought tears to my eyes! It wasn't even that long of a film (maybe 5-10 minutes), but the part where the older man was looking at a picture of an older woman... MAN! Kodak didn't need to tell me that he was a husband missing his deceased wife and that THAT picture was his connection to her. THAT! That is why I do this! THAT is why I love my job! I have always loved photography, I knew at 9 years old that I wanted to be a photographer, but more than that - I've always loved pictures. I LOVE looking through old pictures - not even of just my family, even that of strangers - I love that photographs capture that moment in time - it shows the clothes, the cars, the hairstyles of that era, but it often times shows even more - it shows personality, relationships, sometimes even how clean (or not) your house was! I love the digital age - the instant gratification of seeing your images, being able to share with the push of a button with friends and family all over the world, but it also makes me sad. Most of my clients don't get digital because they know when you hire a professional photographer it's like hiring a baker; you are hiring a professional to do the job. In the same way that you wouldn't go to a baker and just buy the ingredients to make a cake yourself - you hire a professional photographer to finish the job - print the prints through a professional printing company (not Wal-Mart) that is going to withstand the test of time, greens look green and reds look red, the cropping is done in a way that is pleasing to the eye and the subject, the paper is coated with UV protection so that it doesn't fade, etc., but so many times I see photographers only selling digital - or even when some of my clients do want digital - I wonder if the pictures ever even get printed - or if they do, what does the end result look like. Not even with just professional prints, but the ones we are taking every day - we capture now days ever single detail of our children's lives - from first steps to first day of school, to high school graduation - but how many of those are we actually printing (I'm even guilty of this myself!). This is one of my favorite pictures (and it's a scan from another family member that had copied it from another family member) - its of my Grandmother and her family. My Grandmother died when I was very young, and I don't have a lot of memories of her because I was so young, I never even met her parents, but through this picture, I feel a connection with them - I can see me in them - I know from the looks of this picture - and through the stories I have heard - that this picture was a big deal - they saved up their money, went to a professional photographer, dressed in their best clothes - to preserve this memory of their family. I do know there was a few kids that came along after the picture and that my Great-Grandfather didn't live too much past this picture, but what a memory that not only they had, but that generations to come have had off of this. That is exactly what I want for my clients - I want them to look back on their pictures years from now and say "I remember this session - I remember going to buy that special outfit, I remember that was our first home that we hung it in, we had so much fun that day". I want to put the special memories back into photography. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with digital and sharing and printing our own prints, but I do think there are special times that we need to preserve our family portraits, get them professionally printed and hang them on the wall so that some day our great-great grandchildren are in their flying cars looking at whatever their form of social media will be and seeing the scan of a scan of a picture that I took. That's why I do, what I do, and I am HONORED to those of you that chose ME to be the one to preserve your family memories!

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