Getting your portrait taken has gone through many changes since the first snap of a human face. At first the motivation was to remember a loved one after they died. Early photographers often took photographs of deceased loved ones. (They even posed them in sitting and standing poses to suggest they were alive when photographed.) In those early days of photography most people had no photographs of themselves. Maybe a photo taken after death and before burial was better than no photograph at all?
Fast forward to today. Thanks to cell phone cameras everyone is a photographer. We live in the era of the selfie. Photos of people, including you, are everywhere. Who wants to pay a photographer for a portrait when you have a cell phone? Good question. Here’s my answer.
Three compelling reasons to have your portrait professionally taken.
1. You are worth it.
When you hire a professional photographer you are saying, “I’m worth it.” And guess what? You ARE worth it. You are a survivor. You have faced challenges. But you are still here and that means you are worth it.
Perhaps people have told you a different story. Through words, actions, and attitude they look at you as though you are less than you are. Too often these destructive messages come from people closest to us. Spouses, parents, siblings, and friends can send us the message that we aren’t worthy to be treated well.
Maybe your entire life you’ve been the one making sacrifices. Year after year you’ve put others first. You’ve voluntarily put yourself at the end of the line. But now, it’s your turn.
I’m here to tell you that you are worth it. Do you remember the “treat yourself” episode from Parks and Rec? That clip is a reminder that you are worth it. A portrait of yourself is a magnificent way to treat yourself!
2. You will receive beautiful photographs you can hold in your hand and hang on the wall.
Many photographers have a “shoot and burn” business model. They shoot the photograph and “burn” the files onto a disk or thumb drive. I’m not knocking those who use this model. There are some great photographers who hand you a thumb drive.
When I first started out, that’s what I did. I shot photos and loaded them on a thumb drive, put them in a box with a ribbon, and handed them to the client. But, here comes the important part, I don’t know of anyone who ever printed out even a single image. Their photos remained on a thumb drive in digital format. What’s the point of that?
Think about it. I’ve never seen anyone take their thumb drive of images, frame it, and hang it on the wall. Thumb drives are easy to lose.
When you hire a portrait photographer make sure you receive more than a thumb drive. Why? Because we you will never print out those photos. And your photos can never be enjoyed locked up on a thumb drive stored in your junk drawer.
3. You are contributing to your legacy for future generations.
I idolized my grandfather. He was the kindest and wisest man I ever knew. I needed someone like him when I was growing up. He’s been gone for more than 30 years. But when I see a photo of him, fond memories of his life flood my mind like a gentle spring rain. The photo automatically triggers my brain to contemplate his legacy.
While writing the paragraph above, my son texted me. He is going to drive through the city where we lived 35 years ago. He asked about the location of our apartment where we lived. His question reminded me of a photo we had taken of he and his sister 35 years ago in front of the apartment. I located that photo and tears came to my eyes. That’s the power of photographs. And that’s why you should get your portrait taken.
Every day you are adding to your legacy. You are writing a story about your life. And when you are gone, what will they remember? Your portrait will trigger the brains of your future generations. And they will remember your life and legacy.
BONUS REASON: You are marking a place in your life journey.
Most photos are taken at momentous spots in your life journey. It’s no surprise we snap photos at birthday parties, weddings, confirmations, and graduations. Why? Because you are attempting to capture that hinge-point moment forever.
A photograph is one of the few ways to stop time. It’s a way to say, “I was there and this is how I looked.” But why do we only think of stopping time at major life events? Why not stop time when you celebrate a promotion or raise? Why not get your portrait taken when you survive cancer or COVID? Why not just celebrate another day of living?
There’s a story in the Bible about the Jewish people crossing over into the Promised Land. When they get to the other side of the river God tells them to get large stones and stand them up in the river. Why? It’s so that when people ask, “What do these stones mean?” they can tell them how God helped them.
Portraits of yourself serve as markers along your life journey. When people see photos of you they will ask, “What does this mean?” It invites them into the story of your life.
It’s time for you to get your portrait taken!
“It’s one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it’s another thing to make a portrait of who they are.”Paul Caponigro