Family PortraitIn today’s entertainment and high-tech consumer culture, we often undervalue professional wall portraits. We fail to realize just how driven we are by the marketing agendas of our favorite brands and how they make us crave the latest gadget they can offer us. We are addicted to our weekly dinner out with a movie combo. Most of us have given such items a high priority in our spending budget . . . and we spend thousands of dollars each year in order to stay connected in style while being entertained.

We think professional wall portraits are a thing of the past because we can easily capture zillions of images on our smart phone, or tablet, and have continual convenient access to them. We think the images look good enough on our mobile screens. We cannot even imagine a time when we might not have access to these images on our device or in “the cloud”. We deceive ourselves into thinking that digital images are eternal. We are often too busy, or too broke, trying to keep up with technology that taking the time to have a professional wall portrait made seems unreasonable.

A Story

My family did not invest in family portraits. When I grew up we did not have a wall portrait of our family displayed in our home. We displayed scenic art pieces, but did not display portraits of family members. We loved each other and were busy with life. We did lots of things together as a family, but we did not see any value in such portraits in our home. Any pictures we had of the family were stored away in boxes for occasional viewing . . . which was always enjoyable.

One of our neighbors had a different perspective. They valued visible portraits. They displayed a large wall portrait of the entire family in the living room and had smaller wall portraits of each member of the family displayed throughout the home. I always found myself gazing at their portraits . . . lost in time.

I never thought much about how those portraits impacted my life until years later when I started working at creating professional photographic portraits. I realize now that I always felt like I was in a special place when I was in their home. I realize now that those portraits played a part in making each member of that family special to me . . . they were somewhat immortalized in my mind even though they were normal people with everyday life experiences.

Not too long ago, I visited one of the grown up children of this family. I was surprised and pleased to find that old family portrait of long ago displayed on the wall of the living room. I instantly felt like I was back in time at their home.  A flood of memories poured through my mind. I thought of their lives when we were neighbors and their journey to the present. I remembered sadly that two of them are no longer with us. As I thought of all these things I wanted to laugh, I wanted to smile, I wanted to cry . . . all at the same time! To this day that portrait has the power to captivate me . . . it is a priceless portrait to me because of all the memories it gives me.

mDSCF1585A New Value For Portraits

These life experiences helped me realize that none of my high-tech stuff  or entertainment habits is able to give me that kind of pleasure. I realized that I should not allow my appetite for gadgets and entertainment rob me of investing in family portraits. Every time I work in a portrait session, I think about this family’s portrait. It is part of the motivation I have to capture a timeless portrait that will be treasured for years to come by each subject’s family members and friends.

Perhaps you are like I used to be in that you are too busy living life that you do not see the value in taking the time, or investing the money, for a professional portrait of yourself or your family. If that is true of you, then I ask you to reconsider your sense of values and priorities.  In ten, fifteen, or twenty-five years will you wish you had a professional portrait you could gaze at to bring back all those memories?  How much time or money will you be willing to give then for such a priceless gift? Would you pay $500 or $1,000?

If you think about it, that is not much money to pay for a priceless gift that will last more than your lifetime . . . for such a portrait is a priceless gift!