On Mother's Day (and every other day)
This post has been a while in the making, but it needed to happen for me today, on Mother’s Day. It’s incredibly scary to put your heart all out there for the blogosphere to see, but this is important.
Epiphany is my favorite word. An epiphany is defined as a sudden, intuitive insight into the essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple or commonplace experience. So, what I’d like to share with you is my epiphany of the essential meaning or purpose of photography, for me, and how it is helping define me as a mom, wife, friend and photographer. It’s taken me awhile to know who I am as a photographer, but I am more certain of it now. And it’s because of my mom.
I grew up with the best mom on the planet. She was warm, opinionated, laughed a lot, and all my friends loved her. She loved current events, was an avid quilter, and had a gift for putting colors and fabrics together. I grew up in the 1980's, in an age when photography was from JCPenny's or Sears, or if you were lucky, the town photographer. There are a few professional portraits of me from those years. The photo of me under a tree with my Raggedy Ann doll and red Keds at age 4 is a family heirloom and still hangs on my dad's wall. I love it. It's perfect.
I lost my mother to cancer in 2000. She was 57 years old. My mom never knew about dimpled chads, 9/11, or that I moved to North Carolina. She never met my husband, didn't help me pick out my wedding dress, and wasn't there when my boys were born. I am not sharing this with you to garner sympathy or to be overly dramatic. I am the luckiest girl to have had her for 26 years and I appreciate every single memory, experience and photo I have of her and me. But, I wish there were MORE. So, as it turns out, not only has her death fundamentally shaped and informed my life, but it's incredibly relevant to my work as a photographer.
When it comes to my work, now you can probably understand where my passion for photographing families comes from. Yes, pretty pictures in the park are lovely and you should have a few, but my real love is for lifestyle photography. Moms and kids making cookies, playing outside, reading stories before bed. Brothers and sisters sharing secrets, building forts in their rooms, or fighting over the last slice of pizza on Friday night. This type of photography is real, honest and incredibly important. What I wouldn't give to have photos like those with my mom to show my kids. To frame for my walls. To be able to sit down with a book and page through a day in our life from 1986.
All this has lead me to the realization that selling you a disc of digital images may be what you think you want, but I am here to tell you otherwise. Yes, you probably do want them for posterity. But what you want, what you NEED, are real prints and books. Tangible things to hold in your hand and look at on your walls everyday as you make your way down the hall to your kid's room to tuck them in at night. Thirty years from now when your kids are rummaging around your attic looking for remnants of their childhood, they are not going to pick up a CD or old hard drive and say, “Awww, look how young we all were!” But, they will with prints. They will with books and albums. They will with tangible things they can hold in their hands, remember a moment from their childhood and stop the passage of time for just a minute or two.
So, with all this, I am letting you know that I am choosing to focus more on storytelling and lifestyle photography, and changing my pricing so that it gives you what you need to have. I am still offering a flat fee pricing. It's simple and no fuss, and that makes me happy. It includes our session time, an online gallery and a 8x11 hardcover book of every photo from your gallery. You need to be able to sit down and page through a book of your family, of you with your kids, showing a day in your life. If you want prints for your walls or digital files for your archives, we can do that, too.
Thanks for allowing me to share my story with you. If you're interested in a session that shows your real life, let me know. I'd be honored to document your family. And if you're a mom, I hope you have a wonderful Mother's Day.