Monday, August 16, 2010

So It Begins - Albany GA Children's Photography

So it's begun! - This week is all about school, and we start it with the oh-so familiar annual school pictures!  Are you ready for that?

I am sitting here, right now, looking at my daughter's school picture from last year.  YUCK!!  Her hair was a disaster, and the lighting left a really weird shadow on the back of her head.  This is a complimentary picture because I absolutely refused to buy a package.  Is that wrong?  Here are my thoughts...

In first grade the company set her on a rock.  It was a full-frame shot of her posing on a plastic boulder, and she was wearing a pretty little jean skirt with tights and an ivory shirt.  Nice, right?  Yeah, you could see straight up her skirt.  Didn't buy those.  The next pictures, she was totally sporting the playground hair and no one paid attention to the fact that she looked like she had just climbed out of a convertible on the Audubon!  Didn't buy those either.  By third grade she at least had learned how to smile for someone other than me.  Up until that point, everything was cheesy and completely unrecognizable.  My son's face literally contorts into this weird gorilla-showing-it's-teeth expression, and I can see horror, frustration, and a strong desire to sprint in his eyes... (we've all seen that expression).  And - didn't buy those either.

That's when I decided that I absolutely refuse to have the only portraits of my child done through the school.  I have a friend who is an amazing photographer - Holly Tye - and we had her shoot for us that year.  I can't tell you how much happier I was with the pictures.  It wasn't about cost to me because portrait photography is not about price, but value.  I don't have words to explain how precious those images are still to me.  Elise was missing two teeth, Evan's expression was totally genuine, and Ethan was just hitting his two year old toddler stage.  How perfect!  That session was a game changer for me.  My husband and I reasoned that if we were going to spend money on our children's pictures, they had better be professionally done.  We can't afford to buy images that my children will regret, or we don't really like.  Aren't we called to be good stewards of our money?

So, here's the announcement.............drum roll please................ 

This fall, I'm opening my studio for school portraits.  These are mini-sessions that will give you some control over the pictures that you buy.  You're there to make sure their hair is right, and their clothes don't have smudges from the breakfast pizza they ate in the cafeteria. 

Here's how it works - you come to my home-studio where you pay a $30 mini-session fee.  We shoot on your choice of a few different backdrops, and we'll take a short series of shots.  I'll make sure the pictures are color balanced, and any blemishes are removed.  In two days you'll be able to view 4-6 of the best images.  At that point, you can order a la carte, or one of the mini-shoot packages - perfect for marking the years-gone-by and still having control over the way your child looks in those pictures.  Here's an example of the type of images we're talking about:

For me - I like doing a full family portrait session once a year, and then a couple of mini-sessions for Christmas, sports, ballet, and school.  Everything else is snapshots.  That might seem like a lot but how else can you capture those precious moments?  I would have to buy the school picture package for each child, the ballet studio pictures for Elise, the sports pictures (per sport per season - and I HAVE BOYS!) and the Christmas pictures for cards and gifts, and it makes so much sense to me for people trust one person for all of it.  There's a relationship there, and kids are so much more at ease when they're with familiar people.  Not to mention, when you have a relationship with your photographer, they know you and can reward you.  There are definite benefits!

Back to the point - School pictures.  Let me make this disclaimer - I don't think ALL school pictures are bad.  And I know some great school portrait photographers, so please understand that I'm not coming down on everyone in the business.  I couldn't do it.... hundreds of children and small amounts of time is not necessarily the best recipe for a great photo.  Just the thought makes my nerves feel like spiders are dancing on them!  It's just my point that if you're going pay for professional pictures of your children, it makes more sense to take them to a professional that can 1) reward you for your faithful business, 2) guaruntee their appearance is as you intend, and 3) get the familiar smiles you recognize. 

Tomorrow - more on 'back to school' and how it relates to photography!

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