With our first cell phone, which gave us opportunities to take pictures wherever we were, we thought we’d reached the golden age. We could record every chef’s meal, every park we visited and every family gathering. We had a complete paradigm shift in our sense of control of being represented in photos. We no longer waited for our annual portrait session or a big occasion or event to see ourselves and our relationships immortalized in pictures.
Because I’m a photographer it may seem that what I am promoting is photographs, however, the deeper motivation is the strengthening of relationships, family and friendships. In most of our lives we can overlook the very things that form the net that holds people together.
My best girl
I’m inviting you into my living room for just a moment to shed some light onto something I think is happening. When my niece Ellie was 7, a magazine hired me to photograph a cover for their community publication and they wanted a little girl dressed as a fairy for this issue. I asked Ellie (my best girl) if she would do a fairy photo session with me. She was tickled to say yes! We had so much fun that afternoon and we dressed her in costumes, gave her glitter, a magic wand and a crown of flowers. The magazine LOVED the photos and wound up using two of them for different months. I was so thrilled with the pics of my best girl, I had a large canvas made of my favorite picture and hung it in my living room. Fast forward 5 months to Thanksgiving – I was hosting dinner for the whole family at my house and Ellie squealed when she saw the 30”x40” canvas of her displayed proudly in our home. Moments later, my little 5 year old nephew Benjamin, Ellie’s brother, came and tugged on my shirt. The next sentence he said stopped me cold… “Auntie, why isn’t my picture on your wall? Don’t you love me?” Oh Em Gee…. This is what he thought? It broke my heart and I scooped him up and we began planning his dream session.
My little nephew, the Superman
He wanted to be a superhero, so OF COURSE we went all out! We decided on Superman and Batman as those were his favorites. We proceeded to have Ben transform from Clark Kent to Superman via a phone booth, and I created a comic strip canvas of his transformation then photoshopped the last panel to show him flying over Manhattan. Then for the Batman photo, I photoshopped him on a building at night with the bat signal behind him. He gained the confidence of a superhero and was speechless when he saw himself flying. “How did you do that?” he said… “Magic, sweet boy”. This rounded out to be a wonderful afternoon with him and his muscles grew and he puffed up just a little bit!
I’m not knocking cell phones
Cell phones serve a purpose. They are great for capturing daily moments and posting highlights on social media. If you want a professional photograph of you eating a steak at Gordon Ramsays, I’d be happy to oblige if you bring me along for dinner – but that’s probably not practical. I can almost guarantee you that your great great grandkids won’t have your facebook password. Remember myspace? Or floppy disks? Or CD’s? We were certain those would never go away – and I won’t even mention VCR’s lol. It is doubtful that any of these things will have a resurgence. One thing that is timeless is prints. Having an actual hard copy of a photo on archival paper that can be displayed and passed down or shared is priceless. When was the last time you printed something from your cell phone? To drive this point home here are two photos – both taken by me… the first is a cell phone pic I took of Benjamin when he was born, before I was a photographer – the photo next to it is of my grandson. Again, the cell phone picture was great to share on Facebook that my new nephew had arrived, but would I frame it? But the one of my grandson? Heck yes I’ll frame that!
This is why you hire a professional. Period. These moments matter, the people in them matter, you matter… These moments can’t be recaptured. Because all of the generations before me left no legacy of their image, I am left only supposing what their presence was like. Here is a photo of my grandmother, Helen – she passed when I was 4 years old. I have no memories of her and it breaks my heart. I have only seen maybe 4 photos of her – ever. I am told that she loved me more than can be imagined, and I gave purpose to her final years of life. It hurts my soul that I can’t “see” her. A photo can tell so much – i want to know the softness of her loving eyes, how did she smile? I am relying on the memories of others. This is why I personally have a mission to make sure that everyone in my life is represented in beautiful images. I want my grandson to remember my mom, their bond, their giggles – to remember how his GOPA (great grandpa) was is favorite dude and that they had an unbreakable bond.
These are things to treasure
I became a photographer because I want more for you. I want this for everyone. We all need to be present and celebrated in photos. We all deserve to be cherished and adored and to feel like a million bucks. I want to take the best photograph you’ve ever seen of yourself.
There are things you can treasure in your heart, but without something tangible the memory can fade and become fuzzy. Don’t let there be a gap on your walls, brought on by our digital age. Book the session now. Do it now. You are enough now. Take this moment in time and celebrate what is.
Be present in prints
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