When my husband and I got engaged and married, our picture journey truly started. We never really had a need for photos after college graduation and the 10 years after until we got married. We hired a photographer friend for our engagement photos and an amazing wedding photographer, Lily Durkin and thats been it. On the other holiday events throughout the year we never hired a professional, or so we thought we did by heading on over to the mall. Even though they look a bit ridiculous, here are the ones that we had taken:
When I had my firstborn, I knew I really needed newborn photos! For this event, I was unprepared and exhausted with a fussy baby that didnt latch on to nurse, but took my daughter anyway into a retail photography chain to get photos of her. I guess I didn’t learn my lesson with the Holiday photos from above!
I am blown away at the difference between these photos. To begin, the photo on the left is of my own daughter, at 14 days old at a commercial photography studio in the mall. I remember feeling super weak that day but knew I needed to have her in the studio very young. Like a lot of people I didn’t know any better, or know a photographer and decided to be cheep and spend only a little bit of money, which ended up being about $300 for prints only. I remember we were rushed in and out of the room after other clients who ran late. We got 20 minutes of shooting time at the studio. We were given our proofs about 45 LONG minutes later and picked out the options. I was truly shocked and wondered why my photos didnt look like the photos on the wall they had showcased. Those babies were so cute and curled up with a ribbon on their back and my baby looked like that? I brushed it off because one I was excauhsted, and I assumed she was just uncooperative. At the same time, I was in love because it was my daughter, her toes, her feet. I was clueless how horrible they were because I looked passed that and saw her.
I suppose I didnt learn my lesson because we did go back to other chain stores after that, just not the same one as the newborn shop, and 2 and 5 month old photos. Pictures below.
I could just go into a million reasons why I dont like it, but lets just say why I love it. Firstly, Its my little baby, and her cousin, and they are family and I love them. Now lets talk details. Abby looks horrid with her patchy and red flaky skin. Why didnt the studio touch that up? She looks like shes drugged up on the photo on the left and trying to eat with her mouth on the right. She is so red, and blotchy and there is no creativiity whatsoever with that white sheet. I could have taken these photos at home. Ok, I’ll gave the company another chance and travel to Sacramento to take pics with my sister, and got the same results. Pictures below. So maybe its not my baby, maybe its the studio?
or maybe try again when Abby gets older? Same white sheet… hmmmm. The shadows are so bad, my husband looks so uncomfortable not even sitting on the ground.
Well after this I finally was excited to start to get away from these commercial photo studios. I was tired of the white sheet, I was tired of looking just awful in photos and I didnt want to regret not having cute baby photos of my kids. By the time I was pregnant with my second child I knew that I needed something better so I hired Missy B Photography, who took some amazing photos of our little boy!
Amazing right! No red skin, no uncomfortable child! While Tate was pretty uncooperative during his shoot, Missy still managed to get some super adorable shots of him!
From this moment on I knew I was never going back to those old days:
We used Karey Ronnow from Orange Blosson Photography/ Hazy Lane Studios for our first family photos, and Karey was stunning working it with 2 dogs and those “grandparents in the background that want to take pictures while we are getting out pictures taken” We are Photographers worst clients ( 2 kids 2 dogs and 2 grandparents with a camera- EEEK! Sorry Karey!)
and then used Katie at Round Lens Photography in Arizona to take photos of us:
Last year we used Kristin Troyer to take our family photos. LOVED them!
She took our photos again this year!! AMAZING how much better they are than that silly white sheet!
From here on out, I have vowed to never step foot inside of any of those studios. I want to look back at quality images and not cheap poor shots. I know not everyone can afford custom photography, but consider this, once a year at the Holidays, almost every single photographer offers some sort of holiday discount session or special. You probably will spend $100 on a pair of Jeans or Boots and new shirt for the photo ( like I did ) and add up to the cost of a session ( $250) You will have the photos longer than you can remember how much you paid for them, I promise!
I just wanted to share this to you all who have never taken professional photos, or have never used a more custom styled photographer. Learn from my mistakes and start early. I have always loved photography and after having 2 children of my own, and being that “Mom-tographer” I knew I found my calling to have a business in order to enable other people to get better quality photos than those “cheap but expensive” photo studios in the mall. For a little more money, you get a 1-4 hour session, custom designed set ups, you arent rushed in and out of the studio, you recieve completely edited and retouched photos, not horrible red skinned babies, and smooth beautiful looking digital images you can print now, or print again in 10 years. This last session, the newborn photo on the right, I delivered 102 images of the baby alone! Every single one of them edited in detail, by me, and retouched to look superb! The Mom and Dad came into my studio on October 17th and their images were delivered in high res 11 days later. I just absolutely love being able to offer this to all of you so you dont have to be the culprit of Commercial studio photography. A custom photographer will prep you ahead of time for your session, they will identify great photo taking opportunities like Holidays, 5-10 day old babies, 3,6,9,12 month shoots, and more! They will retouch images, giude you to how you look the best, edit photos in photoshop including swapping heads that arent looking, smoothing patches or skin like scratches or zits ( yes zits!) haha and even touching up grey hair or other problems.
Here are some of my latest favorite sessions: