You Don't Understand!
You see all the photographers out there saying “you should get your family pictures done” (I am one of them) and you think to yourself “you don’t understand!”. Followed with all kinds of reasons why you put them off every year. Here is my story of my family session this past April, I had all the same worries and fears.
You know, they always say put yourself in your client's shoes to understand how they feel in front of the camera and to improve your customer service. Because unless you have been through it yourself, you wont fully understand how your clients feel. Sure, I could set up my camera on a self-timer like I usually do for a quick family picture myself (always hating the results because of the things I couldn’t see in front of the camera that I do behind) but what would that teach me. I needed to give up control to someone else for a change and yes that was a challenge. I am one of those who cherish pictures for the fact that I want to be able to look back and share memories connected to the people in the picture, but I don't want to be in front of the camera for anything. I will avoid it like the plague. Back in April, I decided I wanted my family pictures for Mother's Day as I haven't had an updated family portrait that had everyone looking in over 8 years. So I contacted a professional photographer that I loved the style of photography of, and set the date/time & location. I paid my session fee (not cheap) and started planning what I wanted and clothing choices. We worked with a professional photographer for the first time since our Oline Mill's pictures that I hate. I am a natural worrier so I stressed about everything from the beginning. We chose to do our session right after the kids got out of school as this is when they are in a good mood and my loving husband was running on zero sleep from work the night before. We arrived early at the destination and everyone used the restroom before our photographer arrived. I fixed the kids hair and fought to keep them out of the creek. I already knew what I wanted for on my walls, which made the photographers' job easier.
The problem was me being self-conscious of my appearance, and a person who has to control everything. I found it hard to not take control, I kept paying attention to the little details and I am sure the Photographer got annoyed with me. I was not able to let my true personality show in the pictures. My children did amazing at following directions and not adding to my stress for the day. Though my husband is not big on pictures and doesn’t see the point, he was a good sport and went with the flow. So I am sharing my family portrait with you.
Here are some reasons you might be avoiding the family session this year (I had the same reasoning, but was so happy in the end that I went forward with my family pictures):
1) "My children won't cooperate, they are always fighting and pushing my buttons!" You may worry your children are going to push your buttons and fight the entire time, but they are more likely to behave for someone new, as they always want to give a good impression just like with their new teacher each year. Also during your session I will keep them so distracted they won't have time to fight with each other and in most cases, they are too tired by the end.
2) "My husband wont take part, he doesn't like pictures!" Let him know why it is important to you that he be a part of the pictures, everyone’s reason is different. Mine was tomorrow is never promised and we don’t have any pictures of us with the children and I want a picture with just you. We have none since we got married. Also, leave the hard part to me on getting him to cooperate. All you have to do is get him to the session. I promise you will have a happy, relaxed, husband by the end of your session and everyone will be laughing.
3) "I don't know what everyone will wear!" I work with you on this. As a Full service photographer I will come to your home and we will shop your closets first to create a color pallet of clothing that represents your family and match your home decor. See if you look around your home and see more blues, then you will want blues in the clothing options. If it is more rustic feel, then you would want more earth tones. I will help you with your selections so your family will look their best, you will feel amazing, and your portraits will fit your home decor.
4) "I don't like the way I look!" I promise you will look and feel amazing during your session. We are our worst critcues and but our loved ones love us for who we are and will only remember us how they see us not how we see ourselves. But my job is to make sure you look your best and have fun at the same time. We will pose you in a way that is flattering making your self-conscious areas not stand out. There are tricks that it is my job to know! Both in posing and clothing.
5) "The price is so high!" Yes, this I understand price can be part of the decision, and it was a hurdle for me to get over as well. I had to save and cut back on some things to be able to get my portraits, because I wanted them, not only for me but for my children. Family portraits aren't something you do all the time, but should be something you invest in and look forward to enjoying. It may be something you want to do every year or ever couple years either way saving up for what you want is key. I know you are thinking “But why are they so expensive, we only get an hour and prints don’t cost that much at Wal-Mart!” When it comes to photography you get what you pay for in quality and service. A full time photographer is a small business and their business is their lively hood. Just like your job is your lively hood. You may only see them for a couple hours, but behind the scenes a photographer can spend anywhere from 10 to 20 hours in prep and post processing on your session. A lower prices means less time. In many cases a photographer makes less then minimum wage after expenses and taxes. From contact to delivery I spend on average 20 hours on each client. I am a full time photographer and my prices put food on the table. I have yet to take a vacation!
6) "I want to get my family pictures done, but we don't have the time!" Ok, I get it as your children get older you are juggling more than your schedule. You are juggling sports, after-school events, meetings, travel for work, both work schedules. The thing is, there is always time if you want to do something, you just have to fit on the calendar. Just like you fit in a doctors appointment, a shopping trip, or a vacation, you make time to spend with family. What is an hour? Take a half day off work, pick the kids up early, go have lunch and enjoy a fun 90 minutes with your children with no worries, not phone calls, and no distractions. Book a session a month out so it is on the calendar and you have time to plan everything or chose a weekend and spend the morning together having a picnic after your session. Make the time because remember your family portraits are memories of your children from today because they will never be this small again.
Pictures tell a story and give the ones you love the most the memories they will cherish. Yes, we all have a phone with a camera on it, but how many of those pictures have everyone in them. How many do you want to put on the wall? No more excuses. If I can get in front of the camera with my family and get over my worries you can too!