Photography; Business vs. Memories
Today was a day where my emotions were put in check. In the past, I’ve let my anger get the best of me and my soul mate, buddy – my wife – has tolerated my outbursts. Most tirades are about business happenings, the lack of intelligence of people and the photography business itself. Today my emotions were put in perspective and my photography has much more meaning. It has meaning because a family has lost a husband, father and grandfather.
A few months ago I did a family photo. The reason for the family photo was due to the father’s illness and they wanted to get together perhaps one last time.
I arrived at the modest-sized house, which I had scouted out earlier in the week to make sure we had enough room for the large family of 17. I started photographing couples, siblings and then entire families. The prize of the group was a newborn granddaughter who had traveled overseas with her parents from Europe for the Holidays. The child behaved perfectly for the photos. They all did. Laughing and enjoying the attention they were getting.
I was having fun, too. Everything was working great. The flash was yielding perfect exposures. The camera equipment behaved. The families and I were having fun. It was an enjoyable time. I had made new friends!
In the middle of all of this and enjoying every minute of the family gathering and the photo session was the father of the family. Grinning from ear-to-ear, watching his family being photographed.
I downloaded the images to the studio computer and worked on the images. I made some minor touch-ups and made proofs for the family.
I took the family photo proofs over to the house and was greeted by the happy couple. They were so excited to see the proofs and went on and on how comfortable I made them feel. I also emailed the proofs to the other family members that lived out of town.
I hadn’t heard from them for the last few months. My mind told me they had copied the photos and handed them out to each other. I couldn’t believe I had given them large enough proofs for them to do that. And I hadn’t put a watermark or PROOF stamp on the proofs. I didn’t feel I had to. Man, when will I learn!
Today I got a call. One that made me feel embarrassed and ashamed for having those angry thoughts of “How can someone steal photos and use them without paying for the prints?” The call was to ask if the family could use one of the photos, the one photo that everyone absolutely loves, for the funeral program for their father. It seems the father became ill shortly after I dropped off the proofs and never really recovered. It was a long few months for the family dealing with the illness. But, they assured me that the large order they had prepared a long time ago would be placed as soon as everything had settled down after the funeral. And that they greatly appreciated the photos that I had taken to remember the great days of their family and their time with a husband, father, grandfather and a friend.
I created a lasting memory for a family – a priceless memory.
Having a place to go – is a home. Having someone to love – is a family. Having both – is a blessing. ~Donna Hedges