Who photographs the professional photographer?
Another professional photographer, that’s who.
I wholeheartedly believe in paying a professional to provide this service. I don’t ask for a discount because I’m a photographer, or because they’re a friend (because really, are they working any less for me than they would someone else?). I value their service, their skill, the time they carve out to spend with me, the time they spend in post-processing, and most importantly– I understand that they have overhead and bills to pay. I respect that this is their profession and don’t expect a free ride because it happens to be mine as well.
As a Christmas gift to my sister, I hired Steve Lee for a sister-glamour-session in his studio. It was like our own little princess dress-up party. We live on opposite sides of town, so we met at Glam Studio where our makeup artist Misty worked some hair and face magic! Misty is a full-time professional who only does hair and makeup for a living. Not the girl at the makeup counter in the mall, not the neighbor who is good at makeup, or the friend who has watched like… every youtube video on contouring. A real, skilled, experienced professional who works regularly with photographers and understands the dynamics of makeup and camera lighting. I provide this service for most of my portrait clients, so I thoroughly enjoyed that it had been provided to us as part of Steve’s session.
After we looked at ourselves in the mirror and thought, “Oh wow, we have EYEBROWS!!”, we headed over to Steve Lee‘s studio in the Heights. We dragged all eleventy billion changes of clothes in with us, but he had a great place for us to spread out and get ready. We had a blast pairing up outfits (he did some photos of us together, and some of us separate), and maybe even dancing and singing a little bit in the bathroom while we changed.
He made us pose in ways that just absolutely felt ridiculous, and at times, like neck-and-shoulder-yoga. (I make people do this ALL THE TIME, and I know it makes for great photography.) “Stretch your chin forward. Follow my finger with your nose. Shoulders back! Never mind, just your right shoulder back…” It was good to be on the other side of the camera and recalibrate the appreciation for what I put my clients through. Our favorite instruction from Steve was “Barbie hands!” I laugh because with little kids, I frequently use the phrase “kitty paws”.
We met with Steve a week later to view our images and pick prints. THEY’RE SO GREAT, Y’ALL! He did a fantastic job. We chose two images of the both of us, two of my sister, and then three of me– I wanted two of the dressy ones and then one casual one to use for my professional headshot.
Check us out! I’m so glad we did this. I love my sister, and we really hardly ever get together when we’ve both had some “me time” to get ready and look put together. Usually we’re running around trying to make sure we get a shower before we leave, and doing mom stuff. Most of the pictures we have of the two of us are at Disney World, or a bowling alley, or something like that. It was WORTH EVERY PENNY to have this experience with her, and to walk away with these beautiful photographs!
The symmetry of our hair in this one is pretty outstanding. If my parents were alive, they’d both have this on their desks!!! I wish so much we’d have done something like this with my mom. I’m the one the right, my sister Erin is on the left.
Par for the course. I look kind of serious and old-soul-ish, Erin looks like she’s up to something. I like how you can see our blue eyes in all of them, and that Misty used makeup shades to really made the color stand out.
My favorite one of just-me. Wearing the earrings Jack gave me on our wedding day, and the pretty gold beaded necklace he gifted me for our second wedding anniversary.
My beautiful little sister! I love this one so much. We had it printed : )
Erin’s “business” headshot. She’s wearing the little heart necklace that my dad gave my mom a really long time ago (Look at that teeny tiny diamond. You know he felt like big stuff buying that for his lady in 1970-something). It was Mom’s first piece of “real” jewelry. Erin and I gift it back and forth to one another each Christmas.
Finally, my “business headshot”. Here, I’ve got on the earrings my mom bought for herself to wear at my wedding, and the diamond heart necklace my dad gave her on their 30th wedding anniversary. And my very favorite denim short in all the world (American Eagle, Men’s XLT so it fits broad-shouldered Polish girls and is long enough to wear with leggings).
I highly recommend doing something like this for yourself. It was, again, SO MUCH FUN! We work hard. We should have nice things. Right?
Steve is not the only professional I’ve hired for portrait sessions… Trish & Jared of Studio ATG in Las Vegas did a beautiful session in the desert hills for Jack and myself back in 2008. We still have a very large print of the third image on the wall in our room! Here’s the blog. I also had Trish do a boudoir session on another trip we made to Las Vegas, but those aren’t getting shared! I’m not that brave.
We visited Seattle last year with the kids and hired Amanda Lloyd to cart us around town and take photos incorporating some of the landmarks. Sometimes, we feel a little bit overweight or icky and maybe don’t want photos to freeze that moment in time. I was feeling that way before this session (5 months out from surgery where I had 4 large screws and a prosthetic disc placed in my back, I was still feeling very squishy/puffy). I think we all have times where we wish we felt better, felt prettier, or that our bodies were different. That doesn’t make the occasion less important, or the people around us any less loving toward us. This was us, in life, at that point… and I absolutely love the photographs. I even used our favorite for the Christmas card last year, and have it in my dining room as a large metal print.
Don’t settle for DIY’ing this stuff! Hire a professional photographer (Someone who professionally photographs PEOPLE. Not your friend, the food photographer, or the police crime scene photographer). Invest in great service and expertise. Let a professional groom you, pose you, do the editing, and print your products!
And that’s another thing. Have a professional PRINT your beautiful images that you took the time to have crafted for yourself. Don’t settle for the digital files and throw a little thumb drive or a DVD in a drawer and convince yourself you’ll print them later, and end up with zero prints because you got too busy or couldn’t decide where to put them on the wall.
Order beautiful, professionally color-corrected and calibrated prints on archival media and treat them like the one-of-a-kind pieces of personal art that they are. You deserve this! So do I. Find someone whose whole professional life revolves around making images perfect for you… Someone like me, or Steve, or Trish, Jared, and Amanda.