Everyone chooses a specific career they wish to have because it's what they love, it's what excites them, it's what they were "meant" to do in life. "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life." Confucius. I 100% agree with this quote, but certain jobs such as photography has many working parts. Yes I love everything about photography, I pull out the nerd guns when it comes to winding film and hear the clicks as you switch frames, I love the when you can hear the curtain open and shut, the more buttons the better for me, I love it all. So I got the camera part out of the way, but why photography?
When I had my second son 2 years ago and then became a stay at home mom I was going stir crazy, yes I had plenty of things to do around the house, but not anything to feed my creative needs. I was on a mission to really understand everything about photography, I wanted to be able to provide for my family in case anything happened and I needed to find a legit job. So this then became my motivation, I needed to make an income.
I set out to find models and slowly moved into getting paid, this was great, or was it?? Yes I was motivated to have my own business and be a photographer. "I am a photographer" sounds so great when people ask what I do, notice a trend here?? I wanted to provide an income, I needed to fulfill my creative needs, I wanted to be called a photographer.
It became all about me and how to make money. It's not wrong nor bad to want to make money being a photographer, but not when being a portrait photographer. We have been gifted this incredible talent that some might think anyone can do, but that's not true. Yes anyone can pick up a camera, learn all the settings, and get great exposure, BUT not anyone can create a connection and a memory and that is the talent. We as portrait photographers are given one of the most special assignments and that is to freeze time. We must genuinely care about the families that we are photographing because even though you are not physically in their photo, you are in their photo. Your energy, your vision, your style, and your personality. They will remember their experience with you when they look at their photographs.
The inspiration for this article was brought on by a slideshow a photographer had shared of a family that delivered a baby that had a known fatal illness and would pass shortly after birth. This reminded me what being a portrait photographer is all about. While the family will not be able to look at their sweet babies face and watch her grow into a rambunctious little girl, dancing, singing, being silly and probably give her parents a run for their money, they will always have those photos to look back at and remember their experience the first time they were able to hold their daughter. First kisses, first glance at her little fingers and toes and the first time big brother was able to meet her. This in my book is the reason you should be a portrait photographer.
Many might wonder if I so strongly believe that being a portrait photographer is not all about the money then why is it so expensive, to be honest if I was the photographer chosen to create a memory like this one, my time and energy would 100% be donated. I would not try in any way shape or form try to profit from something like this. The cost of custom photography is a blog post for another day, but I will say that even if you can't afford custom photography that does not mean it's not important to have you and your family photographed, there are plenty of photographers out their that are able to meet your financial needs, it's your job to find that person.
If you are interested in seeing the slideshow that inspired this article you can view it here, but a little warning, don't forget the tissues.