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Since I got into professional photography years ago, I’ve always felt passionately about it being used, not only as an art form, but also as historical documentation. I am, primarily, a wedding photographer in Cleveland, so it only makes sense that that legacy portion of my work would hold such weight. But it wasn’t until I became a father back in 2016 (10/25/16!!) when our son, Elliot, was born just how important that sense of legacy was.
I vowed from the time that we found out that Marie was pregnant that I wouldn’t use our child for marketing purposes in my professional photography. I wouldn’t set up photo session with him just to use them to promote baby photography and such. If I posted pictures that were “professional” I wouldn’t apply my logo, like I normally would on my pro images. It was my personal feeling that it was explotaitive. But I can’t escape dealing with and ultimately writing about the importance of having quality documentation of my son. Of course I am coming from the position of a professional wedding photographer, but would it be different if I weren’t? I don’t think so.
It’s not every day that I get my pro camera out and become the “professional photographer”, with my son. I imagine it’s like that with other parents. Those that feel that have their children’s pictures done professionally and done well don’t get them done every week or every month. I do have every opportunity since I work out of my home and have become a stay at home parent (which is a subject for another 100 blog posts). But I don’t want to over do it. I am driven by inspiration. On a wedding day, it’s impossible NOT to be inspired by the love, joy, the planning for that important day. It’s the same with being a parent and, particularly, one that spends so much time with their child. Elliot inspires me daily, but I don’t want to be constantly following him around with my 7 lb DSLR and miss actually being with him. My smartphone however…don’t even ask.
Having a child reenforced my belief that we all need proper and quality documentation of the people we love, especially our children. If you are a parent, you know how incredibly fast our children change, especially in the first year. It seems like last week that Elliot was a tiny being in a bassinet. Now he is a tiny being running all over the place getting into everything. I can’t imagine not having pictures of that progress. It’s not lost on me that these moments are fleeting.
Now I have, literally, thousands of smartphone pics of him. I want to keep Marie engaged in his day and send her pictures throughout her day. But the ones that I want to really remember him by are my “pro” pictures. They really don’t get any better than those. When I am in “pro mode” I am focused on perfection. Or as close to that as I can come in my mind. Getting the highest quality of light, placing him in it and going to work. When he looks back on those pictures he will now that we valued them simply based on the quality of those images. Not to mention that we will have them printed and displayed in our home.
Can all parents afford a high end professional photographer? I think everyone can it’s just what they are willing to sacrifice to get them (that is a subject for another entire blog post). Marie and I sacrificed things so that we could bring in one of the best wedding photographers to Cleveland for our wedding. My wedding clients, I know, sacrifice a lot to have me photograph their wedding. I don’t take that lightly. So, if a parent is sacrificing their hard earned money to have the highest quality portrait of their child, it should be the absolute best. I’ve always thought that way but it’s become especially poignant now that I am a father.
The last 15 months have past in a blink of an eye, it seems. I am so glad that I’ve had the opportunity to document my son’s life and do so with as much skill and care as I can muster. I am leaving him a legacy of quality.
These are the pictures that will be my legacy to him. These are his legacy as a newborn and a toddler. How can I not hold that to the highest possible regard? How can’t you?