My recent experience... Warning: Long Post

Started Aug 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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northcoastohio
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My recent experience... Warning: Long Post
Aug 21, 2012

Synopsis:

  • Family uses professionals for two decades and spends a small fortune in sessions and prints.

  • Influenced by friends, wife purchases GROUPON for $29, one hour session includes disk of edited images

  • Husband wonders “What happened?” and reflects upon recent threads posted on this internet forum

Background starts here:

I must admit that I had been drawn to the “Pro Digital Talk” and other “Photography and Techniques Forums” to see what the professionals were talking about. I also enjoy reading the insightful responses to questions that amateurs dare to ask. I found it both entertaining and telling. Now recently, the threads that I can’t seem to get enough of are the “CL of the Day”, “Another One Bites the Dust”, “MWAC Sightings”, “FB Crushed my Business” and “iPhones: Good Enough for a Pro”. And, the list goes on and so forth. The appeal is sort of like reality TV on the net without the all the post production edits and commercials. I don’t want to read it but I just keep coming back for more! (I write this all in fun!)

I will say that I am not a Professional. However, it has been established that I am competition to professionals even if I don’t choose to compete. The category is “non-competition” competition. Furthermore, I can’t give it away my images because an otherwise paid photographer may starve and I shouldn’t sell them because it would cheapen the profession. Conflict and tension makes for good reality TV and internet drama in this case. (Still writing in fun…)

Now my wife would agree that I am not a professional photographer because I have another day-job. ALL her friends don’t consider me a professional either. I don’t advertise and I clearly state that I am an amatuer. I don’t generally offer my services; and, when I do volunteer to take pics it’s on my terms with no promises or guarantees. I try not to give anyone the impression that I do my hobby for a living. Now, I do have a nice camera and glass, I use current software for post processing, I even have a website; but, I don’t list prices for services. It is that last part that my wife and her friends say IS the differentiation of a professional. If someone accepts cash, check or credit and has a “big” camera – larger than a P&S – then they can be called professional. (Are you still with me?)

My wife and her friends spend a lot on professional photography. My wife likes to display a lot of pictures, photographs and images in general. Most are centered on family. For each of my children there were formal studio sessions during the first twelve months along with Christmas, Easter, and birthdays every year since. Then add in the annual family sessions and an occassional Halloween or fall session. Before we had kids she took the dogs to get pics with Santa... The point is we like pictures for display!

Looking back on our wedding two decades ago, we spent a third of our budget on photography and video. Another third was spent on the venue. And the rest was on everything else. I recent viewed the photographs and comparing them to some of the stuff that I see today – they are amazing. The photographer was a professional. He was booked second only to the venue. He was a bit of a jerk on my wedding day and my groomsmen had some fun with that; but, he was top of the class with the product he delivered. Side note: the video crew had two broadcast cameras (three to cover the ceremony) and most of us had wireless mics. It’s clear from the video outtakes that the photographer was just doing the job WE paid – and paid a lot – for him to do.

I have established that we like photographs and have been using professional services for two decades. We have paid top dollar for sessions and large prints. This doesn’t even mention the school photos, sports T&I, Santa & Easter Bunny at the mall, zoo and amusement parks, and the Disney PhotoPass Plus opportunities. We even had a private family photo session on one of our Disney trips. As I see it, we have been the perfect family to get on your (the professional photographer) repeat customer list.

The story starts in the next post...

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