I loved this quote, so I combed through my personal photo archives to find an image that embodied my interpretation.
I met Rachel, a brand new to the Air Force wife, about a year ago at a squadron Christmas party. We chatted about nothing in particular (we all know how great I am at small talk – not!), but in the course of the conversation I learned that she and her husband were brand newlyweds, they had moved from DC, and they did not have kids but hopefully would soon. Soon happened, and she booked me to do maternity portraits. I was thrilled to photograph this first time mommy-to-be, but unfortunately, two days before her consult, I received an email that baby James had made an early appearance – six weeks early – and would need a brief stay in the NICU.
Six weeks later, Rachel was ready to bring him in for newborn portraits. I was in awe; rather than being stressed out about the rigors of new parenthood, she was just enjoying every moment with her baby. This first time mom had the wisdom to know that those days of newbornness are fleeting, and she was soaking them up. Watching her look into his eyes took my breath away, and I hope I captured just a fraction of the emotion I felt.
I am often asked how to select a photographer from the vast sea of camera owners now taking money from people. Photography is an industry that has been blessed and cursed by the prevalence of DSLRs, and seemingly, everyone is now a photographer. This makes it exceedingly difficult for the average client to choose. So, I thought that I would share my thoughts on how I would choose a photographer. I will say at the outset that if I were hiring a photographer I realize that I will be spending a good chunk of change, so this is a SERIOUS deal for me, and I want everything to be perfect. Therefore, my search practices will be very meticulous. Also, I am a professional photographer who has built a business based on education and knowledge, I want someone who is at least of the same caliber.
The first thing I would do is visit the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) website and search for member photographers in my area. I know that members of the PPA are dedicated to the continued education of their craft. PPA members are likely to be running a legitimate business, paying taxes, and hold a valid permit. I would start with any photographers who are CPP certified. Certified Professional Photographers have passed both a technical exam and an image submission showing that they are competent as a photographer. (I have not yet obtained this designation, but hope to in January!) I would hop on their websites. If I got a “Please wait…Loading” flash circle, if music started playing, or if it was not an independently hosted site, I would leave immediately, and go down the list. While perusing the websites, if anyone referred to themselves as a “tog” or “photog”, I would move on. I would be looking for images that speak to me, but that are also technically accurate. Sunflare in 70% of the images? Puke. Move on. I would read their blog to see if I connected with the photographer as a person. When I finally found someone who’s work I loved, I would email them. Their return email should be an invitation to meet in person or on the phone to discuss my session and the products I can choose from. At the consult, I would make sure I connect with the photographer, that she understands what I want, and that I know her pricing, and her policies concerning digital images. I would ask about the difference in outdoor and studio sessions. Is the photographer comfortable with studio lighting? If I liked everything, I would pay the session fee and schedule the date/time. I would then expect to be invited back after the session to view my proofs and have the photographer help me design my wall art.
This is the criteria I would use, and how I suggest anyone wanting a high-end professional photographer go about their search. However, in Little Rock, I already know whom I’d choose and recommend.
It has happened again. Over the past few weeks, I’ve added more friends to my Facebook list, and therefore, have almost stopped posting status updates. Looking at the dynamics of my friends list I see family, friends, clients, acquaintances, people I met at a workshop – many different backgrounds and personalities. There have been several times that I have typed in a status, only to re-read it and delete before posting to avoid offending someone. Everything is going to offend someone! Feeling the pressure to keep the peace and not upset ANYONE has only resulted in me feeling stifled. Although I wouldn’t call myself controversial, I would call myself opinionated, and usually, my Facebook status reflects that. However, every time my friends list grows, I pull back. My business page is boring – the fear is even worse there, where I haven’t even met half of my fans.
Sometimes, I feel that a status update just isn’t enough; the subject needs a blog post. Inevitably, I never find the time to write the post and it dies in the jumble of my mind. Other times, I will blog about it, but not publish, and the draft will sit for maybe a year before I delete it. When I updated my website, I promised myself that I would be more open and honest, pour more feeling and emotion into my blog. What happened? Fear. Fear happened. The emotion that I’m not to let govern my life has once again crept in and is preventing me from being me.
So, what is the point of this post? Am I turning over a new leaf? Promising to lose the filter and post whatever pops into my head? No, but I am going to try to be more honest with myself when I ask the question, “Why are you not posting this?” If the answer begins with “Because I’m afraid…”, I will reconsider.
God has blessed me with a keen cynicism, and he wrapped this gift with sarcasm. I need to accept these gifts. I’m pretty sure that He gets a kick out of my Facebook updates, and my friends will too.
P.S. I’m having a bit of writer’s block and this topic is what came to mind – pretty ironic that it’s at a time that I’m off of Facebook for a while. So, leave any comments below, because I won’t see your Facebook activity. 🙂