Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The important things...

When my oldest daughter was born 3 1/2 years ago, I was determined that I would take my own pictures of her. I had a nice camera, and had already shot 6 or 7 weddings. There was absolutely no way I was spending our limited, poor-college-student money on pictures when I could do it myself. How hard could it be? 

I had absolutely no idea how to take pictures of newborns. I was sleep deprived. I was super stressed about not killing the baby. I was a brand new mom. Lucy wouldn't sleep, she had a very negative opinion of tummy time, and I had no idea that I had long since passed the ideal time for newborn pictures. It was an epic failure. 

Yup. The world's ugliest baby pictures. 

Over the next two months, I did photo shoot after photo shoot, hoping to get great pictures of my adorable new baby. As she got a older, she was a little easier to pose. When I got these shots around 2 months, I proudly posted them on facebook, and promptly got tons of comments on how darling they were. I was so happy with myself. 

Fast forward a few years. I had progressed in my photography journey significantly. I knew what I was doing, I had studied and practiced and studied and practiced some more. I knew my camera inside and out. I knew how to use light to my advantage, and how to edit colors true to real life. I noticed things when preparing to shoot an image that others don't. I had become much more interested in getting a few beautiful, artful shots, rather than a zillion mediocre ones. 

Every year since having kids, we've taken family pictures. And every year, I've set up my camera with all the right settings, then posed us all and had someone snap it for me. Every year it's gotten a little bit better. And every year I've been reasonably happy with the results.

A few months ago, I saw that one of my favorite photographers was going to be here in Utah. I immediately asked my husband if we could sign up for a session. He was hesitant. He didn't want to spend the money on something we could do ourselves. 

And then it clicked. I couldn't do it myself. I can't take gorgeous family pictures of my own family. Sure, I can get cute shots of my kids. But I can't spend hours getting myself, my husband, and my kids ready. Go to the location. Worry about finding a spot that will photograph well. Get my settings right. Pose my family, with a good idea of how it'll look when I'm in it. Set up the camera in the right place. Jump in the shot. Get everyone to look at the camera and smile. AND make sure I look fabulous. No one can do that. Pretty sure it's impossible.

I realized that I can't expect people to hire me and trust me with capturing their most precious memories if I'm not willing to hire someone to capture my own family's memories. I, more than anyone, should understand the value of photography. I should be the person who puts that little bit of extra money we have into images of my cute husband and sweet baby girls, instead of something we'll outgrow or forget about. 

So I signed up for a session with Andrea of Tea Tree Photography (check her out here. She's amazing. Really. You will be in love. Just don't forget about me once you see how talented she is.) After buying a house, then paying for a new transmission, then replacing the other car, then fixing the first car after hitting the deer, then recovering my hard drive (did you know that costs $1300?!? What the?!), money is very tight right now. It was a big sacrifice for our little family, even though her prices were phenomenal. But do you know what? I just saw the pictures yesterday. And I bawled. I was so beyond happy that we chose to pay someone else to preserve those memories. I honestly can't think of a better way to spend our very limited cash. And even my ultra-frugal husband agrees. We will never regret the decision to have Andrea take family pictures for us. 

Every time I look back at those pictures of Lucy as a newborn it makes me want to cry. She was a really cute baby, and I have forever lost the chance to capture that. I know times are tough. I know photography is expensive and can be hard to justify. But hiring a professional photographer is something you will never regret. I couldn't get those special images for my own family the way an outside observer could, but I can do it for you. And you know what? You wont regret it either. 

And a *couple* of the beautiful images by Tea Tree Photography. Oh man, she is wonderful!


Julie Gropp said...

love this! thanks for sharing your experience.

Andrea said...

Love this! You said it perfectly!

Gwen said...

Came over from Clickin Moms. I love this, and it is so true. I have no newborn photos of any of mine, and it makes me want to cry too, every time I think of it. Thanks for the push I needed, I've been procrastinating about signing up for a session this fall. My twins are starting kindergarten, our baby is two, and I don't want to look back and wish I had better pictures any more.

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