Why We Hire a Family Photographer

Photos by our amazing friend and our Professional Family Photographer, Mick Schulte.

My husband and I are BOTH professional photographers. I’m committed to documenting our family life every single day, which means the camera is out and handy at all times. Often, my husband Chad will grab it and capture a few images as well. As you can imagine, we have TONS of personal photos of our family, so why would we ever spend money on hiring an additional photographer?

We don’t think it’s strange at all, actually—in fact it’s very important to us. We STILL choose to hire a photographer at least once or twice a year to document our life (even before we had any kids) for four specific reasons.

  1. We want real, genuine images.
    Sure, self-timers are helpful, but amazing, genuine images of your candid life are impossible without a third party. Currently, we have three people in our family. I’m estimating that 99% of the images we take ourselves picture one or two people, while the remaining 1% are semi-cheesy images we set up to capture with self-timer of all three of us together. In those instances, we are generally reenacting something we just did or trying to fake a candid scene in a ten second timeframe. Yes, they may look alright, but they are actually disingenuous; they’re posed! Only a real, living third person with a talented and creative eye can capture our genuine family interactions.
  2. We want photos with ourselves in them.
    As professional photographers, we’re generally much more comfortable behind a camera controlling it than we are in front of a camera feeling vulnerable. Later in life though, I don’t want my collection of photos to show only the people IN my life, but also to show photos OF my life—with me in them, interacting and experiencing life. In the future, how cool will it be for our children to have images of their parents interacting with them, playing an active part of their lives? Yes, of course they’ll have their own memories, but they will highly value moments that are preserved [tangibly] from the past. Plus, they’ll be interested in seeing their parents’ lives before they were born, too.

    (EXTRA NOTE HERE, especially for moms: When looking at photos, our kids will not be be cued in to our messy hair, squishier-than-we’d-like mid-sections, facial blemishes, or stacks of dirty dishes in the background. Those are details you notice of yourself and your daily grind. The fact that you are confidently IN photos with your kids and enjoying life with them will outshine the details for them every time. Don’t let your personal insecurities keep you from getting in photos!)
  3. A hired photographer sees things differently than we see ourselves.
    It never fails—every time we hire a photographer to make images of our family, I end up seeing new beauty in our daily life. Like I mentioned before, I am making photos of our family every single day. With that repetition, even still, I’ll lock into certain aspects, see things a certain way and leave out certain scenarios from shooting, unintentionally. A third party comes in with fresh perspective, notices things that we don’t, and captures moments in a way that we could never do ourselves. Find someone you trust to document your life and build a relationship with them. Their talent and creative eye will be invaluable to you and you'll find yourself falling in love with your family all over again.
  4. We value photography and give it priority in our lives.
    You wouldn’t hire an obese fitness coach, would you? What about a car mechanic who drives around a rattle trap car? No way! When you are passionate and skilled to do something, you’ll be the first to follow your own advice. As a professional photographer, I can’t pitch to my clients the importance of valuing photography and hiring a professional if I don’t follow my own advice. I really do believe in the value of photography for good times and for bad. Therefore, even when money is super tight for us, we don’t put “family photos” in a “luxuries” category for a later time. It really is a “need” and not a “want” for us, so we budget for it and make it work! Yep, sometimes unexpected events cause us to shift around our budget uncomfortably in order to keep “family photos” in our top priorities, but we’re intentional about it. We believe we’ll thank ourselves later (and so will our children, and theirs).