I'm sure most if not all of you have heard the phrase "You get what you pay for". Over the span of my adult life (many, many, many years) I have learned many lessons regarding that same phrase. Sometimes it taught me not to go with the cheaper option, and sometimes I just grumbled and continued price-shopping. When I met my husband, I think he became tired of me complaining about how my feet hurt all of the time, and gently suggested that I stop buying my shoes at Payless. After a few attempts at proving him wrong, and tossing my fake sheep-skin boots and uncomfortable sandals, I finally invested in good shoes made with quality materials and my feet have been thanking me for it ever since. Anyone who hires me for an outdoor shoot will see me wearing my old Uggs-and yes, they are real. I replaced these with new Uggs for non-work related outings, but these are seriously the most comfortable boots I've ever worn-and they keep my feet warm and dry. For weddings, I recently purchased a pair of black Tom's which are also very comfortable and allow for a more professional look. I've never been a brand-snob but when I find something I like, I stick with it. So the only brand names you will see me sporting these days are the aforementioned shoes, Coach purses, and of course the iPhone.
So, why in the world am I talking about shoes and purses when I'm a photographer? Well, firstly in case you haven't noticed already, there's a whole heck of a lot more to me than photography. But also, it's sort of making the point of my blog this month. When I'm not willing to spend the money needed to get quality products or a fabulous experience, I'm not going to be too happy with the results. I realized this myself when I went "cheap" in hiring a photographer a couple years in a row. I have a tendency to not want to spend money on myself. Sure, when it comes to my business, I pay thousands of dollars on one lens or a camera body, yet it gives me hives to spend $50 on an outfit for myself. With the help of my husband (who is the polar opposite of me when it comes to spending habits) I started to be more open to spending more than I normally would on quality products and services.
I have always been a person who sends out Holiday Cards with photos. And now that I run a business, I believe it's even more important to do so. Although we are coming up on 10 years of marriage in a couple of months, I still did cards with photos when I was single. One year it was with Santa-and one year it was with Bogey & Slugger from Fiesta Village.
I was so disappointed with our annual Holiday photos 2 and 3 years ago, that last Thanksgiving I set up my tripod and took our photos myself. They were ok, but I can't pose myself so even I realize how important it is to hire a professional. This past year I met quite a few photographers and one whom I just absolutely adore! She has such a fun and spunky personality, and her pictures are pretty awesome as well. So it was pretty much a no-brainer to hire her for our photos this year. She totally did not disappoint! It's going to be a story that I never forget, because I paid to get my hair & makeup done at the same salon that I send my clients to, and after 2.5 hours of primping, my husband got called in to work so we had to cancel the shoot. False lashes don't stay on when you cry-just an FYI. All worked out because we were able to reschedule our session for the following weekend and the weather was beautiful at a winery in Temecula.
I felt so nervous leading up to the session-I am hardly ever in front of the camera. But Ali made me feel comfortable and confident and the photos are just stunning! I paid more this year than I have in the past (yet it was still such a bargain) and I won't ever sacrifice that again! I don't know why the previous photographers didn't give good results (their photos online were very pretty) but it may have something to do with the fact that I traded sessions with one photographer (I could tell she didn't see me as a real client when she said she didn't have time to edit my photos any further as she had clients to work with). The other photographer was a guy, and even though I told him about some of my desires and insecurities before the session, it didn't seem to be first on his mind. All that being said, I don't blame these photographers fully for the photos that I didn't like. Some of that blame goes on me. I wasn't willing to pay their regular rates for their work.
This made me think about several things when it comes to you-my clients.
1. I know what it feels like to be you-in front of the camera, nervous, insecure, wanting everything to be perfect. Nothing is perfect-but that's what makes life unique for each of us. Be yourself; but be the best version of you. Have fun. And you will most likely be thrilled with the results of your photo session.
2. If you aren't willing to invest in something, you most likely won't be happy with the results. We all have priorities and things that we won't bat an eye on spending money on. But when we try to skimp on the things we shouldn't, we really skimp on ourselves. Capturing memories is important to me-so I will continue to spend the money to hire the right person for our photos every year.
3. Professional hair & makeup is a total game-changer!
I hope you all have a truly blessed Holiday Season and that 2020 is a year that brings you each joy and beautiful memories in the making!