So many people love photos just like I do. I am so drawn to them. When I go into antique stores, which is quite often, I always find old portraits. I feel intrigued about what their story is, and sad at the same time, that their family does not have the images, but strangers do. It doesn't seem right that the photos are orphaned.
I feel so fortunate to possess some old portraits that are actually from our family. I am so grateful to relatives that came before me, who spent the time and the money to document family. The above portrait is of my husband's grandmother. It is such a beautiful image. Her features are so clear and the styles of the period are clearly reflected.
The family resemblance to my husbands's cousins is remarkable. Without the skills the portrait artist had, we may not have been able to see her so clearly.
This is a photo someone took at our wedding. I am grateful that they did, because we did not have a photographer. (I know, the irony of it all, I now photograph weddings.) We chose not to have one because we both felt that photographers could be so invasive at weddings. Its nice to have this picture, but it's not very clear and it doesn't show much of the detail of my dress, or anything else. Looking back and knowing what I know now, not having a photographer, who knew what they were doing, was a mistake.
Here is a sharp, well lit image of a wedding I photographed last summer. There is a big difference. Sadly, I don't have any images like this of our wedding.
Here is an image of my dad when he was little. I can clearly see what he looked like and I cherish this photo. I'm so glad my grandparents felt it was a good idea to preserve family history.
This is my dad now. He is a healthy, 85 year old , living with my mom in Maine.
Here is the one and only family portrait my own family had done when I was little. I am the one farthest to the right leaning on the arm of the chair. My younger brother was born after this was done. Since we never had another one taken, his baby picture was placed in the corner of the frame. This was hung on the wall in our home. You display things that reflect what is important to you.
Here is another family member that a print was made of. Again, I love the story it tells with its clarity.
So, do you need to hire a professional photographer to document your family? The answer depends on a few variables. If you are adept at capturing images that are clear and well composed, then you don't need a professional. However, professionals are trained in how to light and pose people and then edit, to get the best results. Some people prefer only candid photography and I totally understand that, too. There is a place for both.
With the ever changing technology world, photography has entered a new age where many people's images live on some digital device and are not printed out to be passed on for generations. I can attest to the fact that hard drives fail, and your images can be lost forever. It has happened to me. I still mourn the loss of so many images I loved. Each photo I take is like a family member to me. So be mindful to print images on a regular basis. I like to make photo books periodically, as a way to preserve my images.
Professional quality prints from professional labs, are vastly better than those printed at drug stores and other places that don't solely print images as their business. Labs that professionals use, take great pride in creating meaningful print art that is important to our emotions, our families, and our legacies.
On a side note, my oldest daughter is really interested in family ancestry and through her researching, has found many photos of family members on Ancestry.com. We now have the above image of my husband's grandfather in his military uniform. Being able to see his face is really exciting. It makes family connections seem so much stronger when there is a face to go with the stories.
After 31 years of teaching, I have decided to retire and start a new chapter of my life as a photographer. It has been my passion for about 7 years now.