Monday, November 7, 2011

Why New Moms Should Consider a Professional

Jenny came into the studio the other day, pushing her baby carriage, with her 15 month old daughter inside. She wanted to know if I could "fix" pictures of her daughter's first year. We pulled up the pictures on Facebook. For the 100th time, I saw poorly composed, marginally exposed, and fuzzy images that had been subjected to all sorts of "artistic" filters in photoshop. What do you say? "I told you so" is not my style, but for the love of God, you can avoid this plight!

 Jenny fell into the trap that many young mothers fall into. Jenny had a friend with a camera who's "starting a business" and "gave me a gift certificate for free pictures" for her baby shower. Naturally Jenny felt obligated to use her friend, plus she'd seen some of her friend's good pictures, and after all, professional photography is expensive so she'd be saving money. Right?

It's sad. We see this again and again. There's something that happens with a new mom, in which EVERY picture of her bundle of joy is a "great picture", until she gets her eyes back. It may be that she sees pictures of a friend's baby, and sees a huge difference in the quality of the pictures between what her friend with a camera has taken of her child, and what this other woman got from a professional. Then comes "why can't my baby's pictures look like that?" And perhaps an attempt to salvage the pictures.

The real problem is that babies change a TON in their first year. By the time you realize that your gift was not such a bargain after all, it's too late. The baby has grown. The baby has changed. And no amount of money can bring you back and get you professional level images at that point. There's no going back. The opportunity has been lost. Very costly "savings," indeed.

We see the pictures on Facebook. You love them because you love your baby. But they are not good. And when you finally realize that they are not good pictures, it will be too late. I would not be so presumptuous or egotistical to say that you have to come to us to get good pictures. There are MANY solid professionals out there. But there are many more who have no concept of lighting or composition, and deliver out of focus or motion-blurred images covered up with lots of photoshop work. Ladies, PLEASE don't use such fauxtographers. Find a real pro and make the investment. You will get joy from those pictures for your whole life, and so will your children and your children's children.

The difference between a professional (and yes, there are many who take the name without deserving it) and a fauxtographer is that a fauxtographer takes a gazillion pictures to get a few good ones by luck and circumstance, whereas a pro produces professional level images on demand, regardless of circumstances. One thing to look for: see if your photographer is certified, by the Professional Photographers Certification Committee. This is the standards body that provides real credentials to photographers. This isn't pay for a designation. It is a rigorous test of technical knowledge (2 hours, closed book, 100 questions, 70 to pass) coupled with a 20 image submission from actual client work. As one of the judges for such image submissions, I can tell you there are a LOT of people who call themselves professionals but whose work does not merit the name. Find a certified professional near you, and you can be assured the photographer knows what he or she is doing. You will be happy you did.

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