Seven Years Lucky
A little over 7 years ago I decided to turn my photography hobby into an actual business. The Perdue family was one of my first paying clients and one of my first ‘real’ family sessions…waaay back when.
I had been practicing photography for a while by then, it had been over 12 years since I took my first photography class with a real film camera at a professional photography school, but over all those years I didn’t really think anyone actually made a living doing photography. Not unless they were working for fashion magazines or National Geographic and my main subjects were just alpine landscapes and friends rock climbing, mountaineering….and my dog of course.
Fast forward 6 years and many changes to my business later….
I’m both relieved and amazed that the Perdue family has stuck with me through all those changes.
Every year our sessions get better and better, the kids just get it now. Na’Tai and Emily too… giving direction gets easier as they ‘get’ what I’m going for when I’ve posed them in what probably feels awkward and given them direction to do some ridiculous thing. I suppose I’ve improved a little too…
It ain’t easy this whole photography gig. I often joke that I wish there were more people out there with a ‘passion for plumbing’ as it sometimes seems like a race to the bottom of how little someone can charge for their work.
It still crosses my mind frequently to ‘get a regular job’. I’ve worked many types of jobs over the years, maybe it’s nostalgia but some days just being able to say, ‘Did you want a bag for that?’ and being able to ‘clock-out’ at the end of the day without giving it another thought till my next shift seems awfully appealing! Especially when my 7 year old is asking me to come read a bedtime story and begging me to stop working. “Who are those people anyways? Can’t you just tell them you need to take a day off?”
Then we meet to view their photos. (A change I’ve made to the more common on-line gallery, which is a personal touch I feel better represents the overall Grinning Weasel experience). I get to SEE their faces when they view them. There’s big smiles, laughter, some people cry. It makes my heart swell when they do. “How are we supposed to pick?!” Then I get to work on the part nobody knows is actually a skill. I take all the overwhelming out of it. We go over each of their images carefully and pick out the best of the best and discuss what types of prints, sizes. ratios, where they’ll go and how they’ll compliment each other. The kids see the photos on the walls, a HUGE boost to any kid’s self esteem when the tv is no longer the biggest thing on the wall but instead THEIR FAMILY! I’ve had clients pass away and I’m one of the first people that gets contacted by family in hopes of finding that long lost picture they never printed from the disc 5 years ago.
Right. It is really important. This is why I do it.
Na’Tai takes a moment to really thank me. Genuinely. The most heartfelt thank you and compliments I think I’ve ever received.
And off I go for another year.
Grinning Weasel is Cheryl Voigt, a Squamish based photographer serving the Sea to sky corridor specializing in maternity, newborn and family portraits.