The Importance of Hiring a Professional Photographer. And Barber.
The photo in this post is not technically perfect. Not even close. My light stand fell for the whoknowshowmany-th time, and I was testing out my lighting to see why it was making that weirder-than-usual sound. My only available subject was my two-year-old son, and he’s…well, he’s the child of a professional photographer. More often than not, he’s faster than my shutter speed. It’s amazing. I could be sneaking around the corner trying to capture a photo of my completely distracted toddler, finger on the trigger, and he’s gone! Needless to say, photos of him looking AND smiling are few and far between. So even though this picture is not technically perfect, he’s my baby, and boy does he look cute!
I decided to go ahead and do some post-processing on the image to see if I could make the technical imperfections less obvious. I wanted to leave the crumbs on his face, and the food on his shirt, because it really showed him in all his glory at two years old. But I couldn’t take my eyes off of that crazy hair. Partially because that’s where the focus fell (not intentionally – he was rocking on his rocking horse, and again, this was not intended to be a “keeper”), but mostly because of that ridiculous haircut. You see, this was me trying to save a buck by being a DIY-er.
For his first haircut we took him to a children’s hair salon that had all of the necessary tools to keep the little ones distracted and still. They had little cars and firetrucks and airplanes with steering wheels (and seat belts!) as seats, TVs with a wide selection of children’s DVDs, and hair stylists who specialized in kids’ haircuts. I stressed and worried about how he would behave, and how his previously-beautiful (albeit way too long) hair would look after this ordeal, but these specialists with all of their tools rocked it! But…it was $25 for this special service.
I quickly realized that my son would need to have his hair cut every few weeks, and at $25 a pop, this would add up to around $500 a year! This seemed outrageous for a two-year-old boy, so I decided to explore other options. Our next stop was one of those discount haircut places. You know the ones. They’ll cut anyone’s hair for about ten bucks. Well, they clearly don’t specialize in children. The lady we got expected my toddler to not only “keep his head down,” but also remain still while she butchered his lovely locks. She was frustrated, and so was he (I won’t get into how I felt). She didn’t care how it turned out because she knew people would keep coming there for the super-low price. It was then that I got the BRILLIANT idea that I could do at least that good of a job, and wouldn’t have to waste $10 to do it.
One day I decided to take a trip to my local beauty supply store. I bought some real-deal hair-cutting shears, a cape, and a spray bottle. I had all the tools the pros used! Next on the list, I watched a few YouTube videos and read a few tutorials on how to cut boys’ hair. I was all set! How hard could it be, right? Wrong. So, so wrong. It was a nightmare from start to finish, and it certainly wasn’t as easy as it looked! This photo is a couple of weeks after that terrible day, so it’s even had a chance to grow out. It was worse, believe it or not.
As I edit the photo it hits me – this is how many people feel about photography! The expert photographers who specialize in different genres tend to be what some people consider expensive. But they have invested thousands of hours, and even more dollars into their education and gear. But you’re guaranteed an awesome experience, and beautiful photographs to hang on your walls. Then there are the budget photographers. There are some good ones, but more often than not, you get what you pay for. Many times they aren’t a legal business, so they haven’t invested their time or money into making a name and reputation for themselves. And some even think that, like me with the haircutting, all it takes is watching a few YouTube videos and reading a few tutorials and you’re ready to be a pro. Then, like my experience with my son’s haircut, you leave feeling like you could’ve done at least as good of a job yourself without wasting the money. Ah, and that’s where the real trouble comes in. While I whole-heartedly feel that parents should be capturing all of the precious moments in their family’s day-to-day lives, I also know how nearly impossible it is to get professional quality photos of your own little ones (even as a pro – reference the image above). Let’s face it; they don’t listen to us nearly as well as they’d listen to a perfect stranger off the street. They haven’t had a chance to test their boundaries with them yet. So that, along with the countless hours and dollars a professional photographer invests into his or her business, is the reason why hiring a professional photographer is so important. AND a professional barber!