Some of the memories I hold dearest from my childhood, are looking through old photo albums of my mom’s or grandma’s. I was a weird kid, I’ll admit it. I looked through my mom’s Senior Yearbooks, about a zillion times, I probably asked all the same questions and drove her mad. To her credit, she always answered the questions, and we would sometimes spend hours looking through old photos. Me asking questions, “Who is this?”, “When was this taken?”, “How old was I here?”, “Where is this teddy bear?” I probably know my Baby Book by memory now, from back to front.
THE PAST IN AN ALBUM
My mom & grandma, and so many other members of my family, had big, thick photo albums filled with photos from years & years ago. Photos from when my grandma lived in Stanley, WI. I can still remember the house, sitting in the living room watching Scooby Doo and Inspector Gadget.
No matter where I went, there was always someone taking pictures. Lining us kids up on the couch, rounding us all up, a gaggle of giggling and squirming warm bodies, kicking and trying to run away. But still, we would smile as if the whole world were watching when they said “Cheese!!” And a moment was captured in time. I can’t tell you how many photos my mom has of us kids, my cousins, all of us lined up on the nearest sofa they could find. Those photos are all in an album somewhere at moms. Tucked away for safe keeping.
THE FILM AGE
As I grew older, I started becoming the one running around with the camera. These were in the days of film, when one roll of film cost about $20 to develop. I remember my mom saying, “Don’t waste that film!!” I took pictures of everything, and of course my mom always developed the photos. In High School, when I took my first photography course, I remember walking to school and taking photos of old abandoned houses with the old, battered, Black & White film camera we were given for the class. I loved going into the dark room and developing my photos. Watching the image I had taken days earlier, suddenly appear like magic on the photo paper. Then, using the enlarger, I would dodge & burn my photograph, of course inexpertly but I always liked what I ended up with. Now, matting & framing my work, that was another story. I hated it. I also disliked the graphic design part of it, so you can imagine my surprise when, as an adult I learned that I love designing things. If I had a photo of my disgust back then, I’m sure I would get a good laugh.
THE DIGITAL AGE
Then gradually, we came into the digital age. I love it. I love being able to see what I have created right away. So do we. Little children, after taking their photograph are constantly begging, “Can I see? Can I see?” At a wedding this last weekend, both Travis & I got the same response from a little girl, ” Can I see the picture, boy?” and “Can I see the picture, girl?” We are addicted to seeing that image right now.
THE COST OF INSTANT GRATIFICATION
What does the new digital age cost us? In my experience from observing people, and from owning a photography business for the last four years, quite a lot actually. I see less & less people printing their heirloom images. Instead, choosing to leave those images on Facebook, Flickr, Myspace, their hard drive, or a disc, and even in some cases, their camera or Memory Card. I’m a culprit too, I have images on a Myspace account I don’t even use anymore, that I have never printed. I have family photos on my hard drive, on discs, and many just loosely floating around. They’re not in albums. Sure, some of them are…but I don’t spend time sitting down and sliding my precious memories into an album for safe keeping. If we’re all being honest, this is what we all do. Once the photo has been taken and we’re able to see that we got the photo we wanted, we’re not so concerned anymore. Film forced us to get our photographs printed, because we never knew what we had on that roll of film until we developed it. Once we developed it, we either had frames or albums waiting for the resulting photographs, or we immediately went and bought one. Our memories were perfectly preserved.
WHAT HAPPENS NOW & MY DEDICATION TO MYSELF & YOU
This digital age is a great thing, but I know for myself that I need to begin utilizing it properly. What happens if Facebook suddenly disappears? It could happen. What happens in the event of a fire? Am I protected, are my images protected? God forbid something happens in the event of the untimely death of one of my family members and I don’t have that picture. I’m going to share something with you that until recently, I had told no one. I finally told my mom a few weeks ago, and I cried while I told her because I was so ashamed. I am still ashamed, but the only way to get over that shame is by sharing it, and admitting to it. A couple of years ago, while at a family Christmas I was taking photos of my entire family and I took one of my grandpa. He was midway through one of his trademark rolling laughs and I captured an image of him. I checked it on my screen, it looked good. When I got it home, and pulled it up on my computer, it was a great picture, it just wasn’t perfect. Being the perfectionist that I am, I deleted it.
Whoosh! Gone. Never to be seen again.
I’ll have plenty of opportunities to take better ones, I thought.
Well, last December, just a week before Christmas my Grandfather passed away very suddenly. I never got the opportunity to get that one last perfect picture. The one picture I had that was as perfect as it was going to get, is now gone. I can’t share it with anyone. I can’t look at it. It’s gone. Sure, I can remember that laugh like he is sitting right beside me. I can feel his bone crushing bear hug like he just gave me one now. I can still smell his trademark smell of skoal, Old Spice cologne, flannel, and some very personal smell that was just him. But that picture sure would be nice, it would be an affirmation of everything I visualize in my head when I think of him.
So, from this point on, Violet Photography & Design will no longer be offering CD’s except with the purchase of a minimum print order. I am going to make it my business to get all of my clients, real, tangible PRINTS. Prints to give to your family & friends, prints to hang on your wall in beautiful frames chosen just for the occasion, prints to put into albums so your children & grandchildren can see where they came from. No more depending on Facebook to keep your precious images safe. No more.
WHAT IT REALLY COSTS YOU
Through recent research and questions I have asked of my friends, family, and past clients who have purchased a CD I have learned the following.
1. They paid about $200 to get the CD of all of their images from me for their session.
2. Of those who printed from the disc (many didn’t) they spent around $90-$150 in prints, on average.
So, at the minimum, you’re spending $290-$350 when it is all said & done. My new packages start at $360 and include my time, talent, & equipment, a 2 hour minimum session, edited images, and a print credit, along with the option of adding your images from your session to your package. On top of that, you don’t have to do any of the ordering, no standing in line waiting for the person in front of you. No killing an hour waiting for your images, no second trips back to pick them up, and if there is ever a problem with a print I take care of that too. You do nothing but show up for your session and choose your final images for print. I even bring your prints to you for delivery. I’ve dropped prints off at workplaces, homes, coffee shops, you name it, I’m flexible. For a limited time, I will also be offering a Complimentary, archive-ready photo album for your images.
It’s time to stop counting on technology to keep our images safe, because now a fire isn’t the only thing we have to worry about.