Herald-Journal
Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 17, 2001

Love your photographer

By DENISE ROSENAU

I'm on a mission ­ a mission to defend professional photography everywhere. Trust me when I tell you, they don't have the cushy job that they appear to have.

As a professional photographer some years back, I worked in a well-known professional studio in Hutchinson. I graduated from college in 1992 and went straight into the business.

I couldn't wait to begin the career that I had always dreamed of. For as long as I could remember, that was what I wanted to be, so that I could make pretty pictures all day long.

I had no idea that it would be such a difficult job. As it turned out, it wasn't a career for me. My expectations were way off.

Photographers are able to use their creativity on a day to day basis - we all know that. That was what attracted me to it. I must say, the creative aspect of it was right up my alley, and also fit well with my strengths.

What a surprise I had in store, however, when I realized how hard, both physically and mentally, the work was.

I had always envisioned myself comfortably behind a camera in a studio. No where in my visions of the future did I see myself sweating in a church during wedding photographs, all because the flower girl is throwing a temper tantrum and the best man is no where to be found and, later, discovered outside on a smoke break.

I also expected children to be well behaved. Obviously, I didn't have any kids at that time. I know now that they don't always behave, no matter how much you threaten them, and that they are just doing what comes naturally to them.

I was so surprised to see that many students coming in to have graduation pictures taken despised that fact that they had to be there. Who knew that an 18-year-old young man would be such a problem?

How could I have known that he had never worn anything but

t-shirts and jeans in his life unless forced? But still, I was determined to make him look great, and must admit, most of the time did.

What I found was that being a photographer was exhausting, and the working hours were less than desirable. Once I had children of my own, the hours certainly would have been difficult to coordinate.

One of the biggest surprises that I had was, that although professional pictures seem to be expensive, the majority of the money doesn't go to the photographer, or even the studio for that matter.

The money goes, for the most part, to the lab where the pictures are developed and printed. The over-head is very high. That's why there are not many photographers living in multi-million dollar homes.

I can't say that I wasn't warned about that in college, though. I just felt that I would be so fulfilled doing my life's dream that it wouldn't matter.

That, of course, was also before children . . .

There are ways to make your photo session more enjoyable for everyone. The single, most important advice I can give to someone who is about to have professional pictures taken is to arrive on time, or preferably, early.

This is especially important for a wedding. Think about how you feel when you are rushed - do you feel like you are able to do your best under those circumstances?

Your photographer can do a wonderful job if he/she is able to keep at an even, comfortable pace, where everyone is where they need to be, when they need to be there.

Please remember that your photographer is a person with a job to do, just like everyone else. He is trying to do the best he can with the subject in front of him.

I don't know a single photographer who can make a crying baby look happy if the baby isn't feeling happy. There are tricks of the trade, but nothing is 100 percent guaranteed. Sometimes the tricks just don't work.

So, try not to expect miracles. Have you ever heard the expression "Take a picture of a monkey, get a monkey . . ."?


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