I woke up this morning to find out my blog turned up on someone’s search for a “cheap omaha senior photographer”.
I’m not really sure how the search engines sorted that out and at first I thought, “WooHoo! My blog turned up on someone’s search!” Then I finished it with, “for a cheap omaha senior photographer…”
But when I got over that, I had to wonder, “What is cheap?”
For example, my son’s girlfriend needs a new wheel bearing on her car. The guy (you know the one, we all have them, you know, the guy), after searching the price, raised his eyebrows in surprise and said it wouldn’t be “too bad”. The estimate came out to $173. For a teenager with a part-time job, that’s at least a week’s pay. That doesn’t seem very cheap. Sure, that wheel bearing will help her get back and forth to school this year, but if you think about it, it won’t last forever, and looking at it 20 years from now won’t trigger fond memories of friends, football games and that feather she had woven into her hair this summer.
Whoah, there. I’m not saying she shouldn’t get the wheel bearing. I like her and I want her to be safe.
But what – after your kids, the fish and your favorite coffee maker – is the first thing you’ll grab if, God forbid, your house is on fire? Is it your wheel bearing? What do you pull out when loved ones get married, have babies or die? Is it that new Carhartt battery? What is it that took you hours of loving, yet painstaking work to put into a slideshow for your parents’ 50th anniversary? A new valve cover gasket? No, it was pictures. Pictures, pictures, pictures.
It’s impossible to put a price on memories just like it’s impossible to put a price on safety. Photographers know that and so do mechanics, but it isn’t how we set our prices. We set our prices on how much we spend on equipment, training, insurance, our time, our ability and any number of other factors.
Much like a mechanic, I’m not going to be a millionaire doing this. Heck, I probably won’t even make it into the thousandaire club. Regardless, I want to take pictures people will be proud to put on their walls. Pictures that are timeless and tell a story. Pictures that you’ll want to rescue in case of a fire. So, if capturing your teen in that moment before their brow becomes permanently furrowed by car problems and tuition increases is worth $150 to you, then I’d be proud to be your “cheap omaha senior photographer.”