I usually lay my head down on my pillow for the first time at around 10pm. This is followed by many ups and downs. Get up. Go to the bathroom. Back down. Get up get a glass of water. Back down. Get up check my email, back down. Roll over. Play candy crush, etc. You get the idea. Lately I find it really hard to turn my brain off. Im sure many of you can relate. One minute I am thinking about whether my 3 year old will really suffer if I don’t put him into the most expensive preschool I can find that teaches 10 languages, fencing, and the basics of the culinary arts. The next minute I am wondering if my daughter is going to grow up to be one of those girls I saw walking past me at the mall yesterday… You know who I am talking about….one of THOSE girls. Well poop, now I REALLY cant sleep. Then I start thinking about my business. Why is it important to choose ME over the 19839874387 people with a DSLR camera and a Facebook page. How can I get my clients to understand how important these moments really are? How can I get them to click “contact me” after stumbling onto my investment page with possible bulging eyes. Its 1am and I think I just had an epiphany.
Ok, so I admit it. I wasn’t the most enthusiastic bride. Don’t get me wrong I wanted to get married. After all, we had been together since we were 15 years old. I was ready. But that is what was important to me, a marriage. Not a wedding. I would have been ok marching over to city hall and signing a paper. But our families would have disowned us. So we did the wedding thing. Now, even though I wasn’t the bridezilla some were born to be, there 2 things I knew trumped the list of wedding to-dos. My dress… Well my dress had to be fabulous. I wanted to look beautiful for my husband to be. I wanted to take his breathe away as I walked down the aisle. So the dress was a deal breaker. I only went to one place. The best place I knew of. Kleinfeld’s. I bought the first dress I tried on. I tried on more than one, of course, but the first one was the one and we knew it immediately.
The other deal breaker was my photographer. I wanted pictures to remember this day. And I wanted them to be good…. no, not just good. GREAT. This was the most important day of my life, wasn’t it? So it had to be captured forever so I could show my grandkids how much their Mem and Pop Pop loved each other (Im totally running with that. I don’t know what my grandkids will call us but I totally think we look like a Mem and Pop Pop). And they will say “Mem you looked so beautiful and Pop Pop was so handsome and you looked so happy!” Because we are. So I didn’t price shop. I went with who I knew was going to give us exactly what we wanted and make us feel comfortable. Alfonso Martone. Yes. It was going to be expensive but I didn’t even bat an eye at forking over thousands of dollars to capture the most important day in the history of our lives! Didn’t everyone? I mean wasn’t that pretty much status quo? I wasn’t going to trust this monumental day in the hands of an amateur.
So we got married. And I wore my beautiful dress. And we had beautiful pictures taken. And they are in a beautiful album on my shelf.
And then, it happened……..
We had a baby.
And suddenly I realized that THIS was the most important moment in my life. This was a monumental day. Ok sorry sweetie. I don’t mean to downplay our wedding. Our wedding was the day we created our marriage. But THAT day. January 4th 2010 was the day we created our FAMILY. The day we had my daughter (July 2, 2011) was just as equally life changing and monumental, of course. The point is when you become a parent, your world just changes, instantaneously. It just does. And suddenly, things that were so important before just aren’t anymore. The only thing that is important is your precious child. That little tiny being with their soft downy skin that looks up at you and begs you to just love them. The one that smiles in their sleep with their teeny tiny fingernails and only a hint of eyebrows emerging. The finest eyelashes God could have ever created. Those things change. FAST. It is SO important to capture those first few days. I have SUCH an emotional reaction when I see my childrens’ photos of days past.I look back on old photos of my children and my heart literally HURTS. It HURTS. And only a maximum of three years have past! It all went too fast…. moments that will never come to be again. I have looked at my wedding photos a handful of times since Ive been married. But my children’s photos? I dont even think I can count how many times Ive went over and over them. Moments I can feel, smell, & see so vividly.
Would you trust those moments in the hand of an amateur? Can you really put a price on them? I wish I knew then what I knew now. Weddings are expensive. KIDS ARE EXPENSIVE. But I promise you both of these moments are priceless. Find someone who makes you comfortable. Find someone who is going to give you exactly what you want. Find someone who is going to freeze these moments in a way that you will want to relive them for a lifetime to come. Dont just settle for the cheapest most convenient photographer who is going to hand you a disk of 100 poorly edited photos and a recommendation to the closest CVS. Yes, your kids are going to be cute no matter who photographs them. I have phone pictures that I oodle over of my kids. But if you are going to spend money, think of it as a lifetime INVESTMENT. These photos of your children in these early years will be treasured forever. They do the most changing in the first 5 years…heck the first year! That is when they become themselves. Capture it so you can have it forever. You know how people are always saying “You get what you pay for”. Well, its true.
So after I show my grandkids our wedding album, I will put it back on our shelf. And then I will show them their mommy and daddy when they were their age on whatever space age device they have in 2060. How tiny their lips were yet so well defined. And they will say “Mem mommy was so small. Was she REALLY sleeping like that? Look at her yawn!” Their first birthday photos will breed questions like “PopPop did you REALLY let them play with cake?!?” And we will laugh and have tea with just a little milk and sugar like I did with my grandma. And then we’ll watch soap operas on the hologram TV (Or at least that’s how I think it will go down. I haven’t really gotten the details worked out yet.)
Moms and dads… THIS is the most important time of your life. THESE are the moments you need to capture. Right now. You know, before they start talking back and slamming doors and stuff. I havent gotten there yet. But I am pretty sure when I do, I will want to have these photographs handy so I can remember them when they were cute It is something you will not regret. There are so many things I regret purchasing when my kids were little. Things I didn’t need. Things I could have done without. But I will never regret having photos of their first weeks, months, years. Find someone you can trust. Because you WILL be showing these photos off for a lifetime to come. And the time goes by in the blink of an eye. Im only 3 years in and I know this already! I can only imagine 5,10,15 years from now.
And Im not trying to down play wedding photogs. Heck I wouldn’t have my babies if I didn’t have my wedding! I love my wedding photos. They bring me back to a lighter, funner, <cough>, skinnier, time. In fact, I loved my photographer. He was one of the very few people on that day to be real. He lightened the mood, made me feel comfortable and was an integral part of my big day. Up until I had kids that was the most important day of my life. And maybe its because I wasn’t that dedicated of a wedding planner (Although come to to think of it, even if I did march over to city hall, I still would have hired my photographer). Or maybe its because I don’t get enjoyment out of looking at pictures of myself like I would if I were Heidi Klum. My point is, isn’t having photos of your little ones JUST as important as having photos of your wedding. Im not saying one is better harder, etc. than the other. Trust me I wouldn’t shoot a wedding if you paid me (hah!). But many wedding photographers I know wouldn’t shoot newborns either. I have total respect for them as they would me. Im just trying to say they are pretty comparable life changing moments equally as worthy of consideration on your shelf, mantle, etc!