Member, Professional Photographers of America

Hard Earned Cash

Most of us work hard for our money.  Most of us need our money to stretch as far as it can possibly go.  However, we all have different priorities as to where we will spend our hard earned cash.  

Let's just take an example from my own family.  One of my kids LIVES for all things XBox!  To this kid, XBox is the very reason he wakes up each day!  He works hours upon hours to get a nice check just so he can spend money on games and gear for the XBox.  No one else in our family understands this.  The XBox is not important to anyone else in this house.  The XBox is his number one priority at this stage in his life.

My oldest son seems to spend all of his hard earned cash on underwear.  My youngest boy prefers to spend his money on anything hunting or fishing related.  My point is this...we all have different priorities.  There's no wrong or right choice.  It's just what's important to you.

I obviously value professional photography and professional wall art.  I am proud of my family and I want to showcase that in my home by hanging their portraits on our walls.  I want guests to visit and walk over to them and look at them.  More importantly, I want products that will last a lifetime.  I want wall art that will be around for generations and generations.  Just think about the old photographs your family has.  Which photographs are still in good condition after 5 years?  10 years?  20 years?  50 years?  I can tell you exactly which ones because my grandmother is a HUGE genealogy fan!  The photographs that last are those printed at professional labs rather than consumer labs.  It has always been that way and it was more than likely always be that way.  

I'm not saying that I ONLY print photographs at professional labs.  All the snapshots on my phone are printed at consumer labs - Shutterfly or Free Prints to be honest.  But all of our professional portraits that I hang on our walls and display as wall art, are printed at a professional lab.  What's the difference you ask?  A lot!  And we as consumers tend to go for the "cheapest" and most convenient option, such as a disc of images (that won't last a lifetime by the way and neither will cheap prints).

Let's think about little things, like an oil change.  When I get an oil change, I go to someone that can do it quickly without breaking the bank.  However, as things become more important to me and my family, I tend to spend some more time and money.  

Let's use tires as an example.  When I was a teenager I had a front tire blowout at a high rate of speed.  The car went off the road and flipped several times, end over end.  I survived thank goodness and my worst injury was a broken femur.  Tires are not something I purchase based on price or convenience.  I choose to go to someone I trust 100% to make sure my tires are going to be as safe as possible for me and my family.  

Let's jump to photography.  Where is that on your list of priorities?  Is the product something you want done as cheaply as possible with the greatest convenience?  Is your idea of family photos showing up at a location with little guidance from the photographer as far as planning outfits, locations, etc, receiving a disc of images, and then going to WalMart of Shutterfly to have them printed?  Or do you expect more from a professional photographer?  I personally expect guidance in planning, answers when needed, with the end result of professional wall art hanging on the walls in my home.  

Often times you get what you pay for.  Photography isn't any different.