Since the invention of the camera, rarely is there a home that does not proudly display at least one family portrait. Photographs have not only become a way for humans to tell stories and capture memories, but a method to keep those memories alive in our minds. Just twenty five years ago the idea of a freelance photographer was foreign. Baby pictures were always done at a studio like Olan Mills, in school, or at home on a 35mm camera. It was unheard of to hire a photographer to come and photograph your new child.
As technology and time has progressed, so has the world of photography and those who call themselves photographers. There is such large gap between the amateur hobbyist and the educated professional; the photographer who will “snap and burn” (take the snapshots and burn them on a CD) and the artist who will painstakingly remove every booger and stain while making you look like a model in the process. There is also a very unmistakable difference between a run-of-the-mill studio and the true artist. As said by Teresa Howell of Teresa Howell Photography, “…When you have your photos made at "those" chains, that is what you get a "photo" that looks like every other customer. There's nothing personal, no editing to boost the photo, it is fast and usually pretty affordable..........Your choices: generic or custom”.
For those with an artistic eye, it is impossible not to see the difference between a studio picture and an heirloom portrait. There is a drastic difference between reactions of “how cute!” viewing a family posed in a typical studio, and “Wow, this is beautiful!”, in a portrait photographed by a true artist. There is no denying the talent of a photographer who takes the time to get to know the person they are photographing and capture the true emotion and beauty in them.
It is time to start appreciating the freelance photographer. The artist who cannot see themselves stuck behind a camera and a prearranged set yelling, “cheese!” all day. The person who will photograph your family time and time again, watch your children grow and become just as important to your family as your doctor or a good teacher. A good photograph will last for life, an heirloom portrait will last forever.