Is A Professional Photographer Worth the Money?

Let’s face it, everyone knows someone who is a photographer these days. Am I right? It’s like realtors, they are everywhere.

Technology has come a long way and professional level cameras, while still expensive, are popping up everywhere. Company picnics, your cousin’s wedding, your daughter’s dance recital. Everyone has one.

So, it comes to that time of year when you begin thinking about having some pictures of the family taken. You sit down at your computer, coffee in hand, ready to find that perfect professional photographer to capture the essence of your beautiful children and charming husband.

Only a few clicks in you begin to realize not all photographers are created equal. Some charge an astronomical fee up front, some offer packages so confusing a lawyer couldn’t figure them out, while others seem to lack substance to their website making it nearly impossible to contact them.

Your mind begins to think of other options.

The lightbulb goes on. Your best friend’s neighbor, two houses down and one street over has a nice camera.  It takes great pictures. Why not ask her?

Excited by this idea, you quickly shoot off a text to your best friend and ask her to ask her neighbor two houses down and one street over if they would be interested in taking some candid pictures of the family. Just one or two poses. For the Christmas card. It wouldn’t take much of her time, you say. Just a few minutes and that should be good.

Your phone buzzes back a few minutes later.

She’d love to, replies your best friend.

Great! You think your husband, while not crazy about getting his picture taken, will love the fact that you scored yourself some free pictures of the family.

The big day arrives and it’s a gorgeous sunny day, not a cloud in the sky. Of course, you want everyone to look their best, but end up getting overwhelmed with the thought of what to put your children in. So you just make an executive decision and put everyone in white shirts and jeans. There. Simple enough right?

On the drive over you have already begun to bribe and threaten your children into behaving and hand over some candy with the promise of more to come once the pictures are over.  Your blood pressure begins to rise as your husband made the wrong turn and failed to admit it, so he just kept driving, making you late to the photoshoot.

Finally, you arrive, safe and sound.

Just a few quick photos, you tell your best friend’s neighbor who lives two houses down and one street over.

You line up in a straight line, face the camera and give it your best smile, all while breathing out threats to your children to make them stand still for thirty seconds for the picture. You ask, “does this look okay?”

You get a thumbs up from your best friend’s neighbor who lives two houses down and one street over, as she’s clicking away.

Twenty excruciating minutes later, your blood pressure is through the roof, your children are running around like little devils, and your husband has the worst attitude in the history of bad attitudes. You grab your family and rush off to the car.

As you chit chat briefly with your best friend’s neighbor who lives two houses down and one street over about the photoshoot, she feels certain that she got some keepers with the nice sunshine and the pretty fence in her open backyard.  Feeling confident that several of the over 300 pictures she took will be great, you hop back in your car and head for home.

Later that evening, as you have the kids tucked into bed and you’ve just sat down to watch American Idol, you receive an email from your best friend’s neighbor who lives two houses down and one street over that your pictures are ready to be viewed. However, all 300 pictures wouldn’t fit in the email so she put them online on some website her mother told her about.

You begin to get excited. Wow, that was such a quick turnaround! But then, that high of excitement begins to die once you’ve tried for the umpteenth time to figure that website, but can’t quite seem to view any of your pictures without installing some sketchy software on your computer. And there is no way you are doing that.

Sighing and feeling like your time was wasted, you head to bed with the thought of straightening everything out in the morning.

Come morning, you are feeling renewed, last night’s sleep did wonders. You meet up with your best friend’s neighbor who lives two houses and down and one street over and you get your CD of pictures with all 300 images. Once again, your heart begins to beat faster as you load the CD into your computer to browse your beautiful family’s pictures. You are already envisioning posting them to Facebook and can totally picture everyone liking them and commenting on them and just gushing over just how fantastic you look.

Finally, the CD loads and you start looking over your photos.

Your heart sinks. All the way to the floor.

Out of 300 photos, not a single one will work. Well. . . that one might. . . wait. .. no. it won’t.

Half of them are out of focus.

You feel like you look 20 pounds heavier than you know you are.

Your husband looks like he’s off in la la land and then his look changes to irritated as the pictures progress.

Your children, bless them, just aren’t with it. Not a single photo has all three of them actually looking at the camera. And you could only hope one of them would smile. No such luck.

And you are squinting in most of the photos. You’re confused, aren’t sunny days supposed to be the best days for pictures?  And let’s not talk about the white shirt and jeans. For some reason its not looking as timeless as you thought it would.

Exasperated, you slouch down in your chair. All the wind was just taken out of your sail. The pictures aren’t what you expected at all.

Confused, you don’t understand. Your best friend’s neighbor who lives two doors down and one street over has such a nice camera.

Is a professional photographer worth the money?