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custom photography, part 1 | tyler, texas photographer

There are tons of places in east Texas where you can have “pictures taken”.  And I’m sure many of them do an excellent job at doing just that.  But, there are only a few photographers (like myself) in the area who truly offer “custom photography”.

So, what is custom photography?  I mean, wouldn’t you think it’s all the same?  You make an appointment, show up, snap-snap, picture taken, you’re done.  Right?

<insert annoying buzzer noise> WRONG!

It’s this train of thought that I often hear, that has prompted me to do some educating on the subject (wow, I am making myself sound really smart!).  So today, I offer part one of several little installments I plan to do, explaining what custom photography is, what’s included, etc.  And since I always give credit where credit is due, let me say I did not write the following, rather borrowed it from the author Marianne Drenthe, via Professional Child Photographer .  Let’s get on with the learnfest!

Custom photography is more of a luxury than your entry level cookie cutter chain experience. Custom photography truly is not for everyone, it requires a level of commitment, investment in time  and money, forethought and planning on the part of the subject/client and requires a larger time commitment for the photographer as well.

Clients who enjoy taking a more active role in the creation of their families’ memories have the desire to have portrait art that is truly personalized.  These more discerning clients have been known to budget and allot time for a custom photography session. Many clients opt for it to be a once a year special experience, some opt to have custom photography sessions done to record their child’s stages in life.  Having said this, it is clear that custom photography is not in everyone’s budget,  it is something that most families save for to splurge on from time to time to memorialize their children as they really are (not posed and primped in the cookie cutter studio setting).

There is a great deal of time involved in creating high end custom photography sessions for a client.  The luxury of great service, better choices and a supberb end product.  The result of all this are heirloom quality images.

Custom photography has been likened to purchasing a fine vehicle.  To get to point B from A let’s face it, even a bus ride would suffice.  If you want to luxuriate in a finely appointed vehicle, customizing your own experience by listening to smooth jazz while sitting in a climate controlled setting adjusted purely for your comfort in a body hugging leather interior, perhaps that Lexus you so desire is your cup of tea. Custom photography is much the same cup of tea.  It is the Lexus of the photography world.  It is where the intangibles make the experience truly wonderful and the images themselves make the investment of money and time truly worthwhile.

Custom photography can be broken down into even more levels.  There are on location, studio, mixed studio/on location, specialty location and destination type photographers.  The beauty of custom photography is in the choices and in the luxury of thoses options.  The customized service level you are sure to experience will be amazing.  The knowledge that your final images are the result of someone caring about those moments so much that they take extra time ensuring that the artwork you receive is good enough to stand by with their name on it.  That level of quality and commitment  is all but lost in the age of “mass produced,” “mass marketed,” corporate “everyone is a number”.  Custom photography is based on being unique to you.  How great an experience would be,  to be able to sit back and allow a photographer to do this highly custom work for images that you will most likely cherish for a lifetime?

Keep in mind more than anything that the Lexus will never appreciate in value the way your portraits will.  The portrait art you become invested in from your custom photographer will no doubt increase in value and become more priceless as the years pass.

Look for “part 2” of the installments next week… (more custom photography education coming your way!).  And  since I always have to include an image with a blog post, have a look at what I just put together and ordered of the boys.  I am loving it, the funky font, their crooked smiles in the first frame, their best funny faces in the second… it’s all so very ‘them’.  This will hang in the hallway near our master bedroom (and yes, sadly these were taken almost a year ago and I’m just now getting around to ordering it).  Sigh.

boys_storyboard copy

Until next time,


February 1, 2010 - 6:24 pm Erica Vining - Great post! :)

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