You’ve all heard the saying, ” a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, I beg to differ – it’s worth more! Much more! Having professional portraits and images are far more precious than you might imagine, until you don’t have them.
A few weeks ago, I shot my first wedding! I was a nervous wreck in the days leading up to the wedding. I am a bit of a perfectionist and an organizer so, I wanted to know exactly where I would be and exactly what I would do for the entire ceremony. I had it all written out – what equipment I would need and take, the shots I wanted and in what order – everything short of having a floor plan drawn out with my path from point A to point B.
I decided a few days before the wedding to pull out the album that my wedding photographer gave me. This was back in the days of film, not digital. He was gracious enough to give us a 4×6 of every image he took at the wedding, even the ones that didn’t turn out! So I looked through the album to see exactly where he stood during the ceremony and the shots he took. It definitely put my mind at ease, seeing that my plan of execution was pretty much spot on for the church I would be in!
One thing I had forgotten, but quickly noticed going through the album, was that my photographer took a picture of every person in the wedding party and family – every one! I honestly don’t know how many photographers do that these days. They’re definitely not the ones you will see posted on Facebook pages, photog blogs, or website galleries, but they are priceless!
My husband and I got married probably earlier than most would have recommended. We were both still in college. I had one semester left, since I graduated early and he had one year left of grad school. I had JUST turned 21, literally days before we got married, which is pretty young these days. So why did we get married when we did? Why didn’t we just wait another year? Well, it was very simple – we wanted our family there! We knew that if we waited, there was a huge possibility that some wouldn’t be able to come.
See my grandmother had been diagnosed with small cell carcinoma of the lungs and had very little time to live. Some of the diamonds from my engagement ring and some from my wedding band were from a ring she had given me. I knew no matter what she’d be there in spirit, and definitely represented in my rings, but we wanted her there in person!
She passed away five months after we got married. The last professional picture of my grandmother was taken at my wedding. See what I mean by “worth more than a thousand words?”
Adam’s grandfather passed away a year after my grandmother. Again, that was probably the last professional image that was taken of Papaw – a healthy Papaw. See what I mean by “priceless?”
Looking through the album, I couldn’t help but look at all the pictures of my grandfather (my mother’s father)! There are some truly sweet images of Papa! He had been sick that day and was such a trooper to hang in there for pictures, the ceremony and the reception! Mom and I were both moved by the images.
I went to North Carolina the first weekend of May to see my grandfather and to take my son to see him. He has also been diagnosed with cancer that has metastasized to his bones, and at 87 there is no life expectancy with that. He’s already outlived it! He has been on various treatments for awhile now, but after six months or so, they lose their effectiveness.
He was at a crossroads in May. There was one more treatment left, but it would be incredibly expensive. Without the treatment, they were estimating that he would have 2-3 months to live. I was 30 weeks pregnant, when we went out there, which meant that I had 2-3 months left in my pregnancy. I had also been on travel restrictions with my pregnancy, which were thankful lifted solely for this trip. It could have been and may still be, the last time I get to see him, and I have the last professional image of him.
I can’t express how much having those images of our family members mean! I feel like it’s the Holy Grail of photography! My brother is not married, and most of my cousins are too young to be married, so they will not have the opportunity to even have these images of my grandparents at their weddings. The same goes with my husband’s brother and cousins. Papaw had already passed away by the time they got married. We are so incredibly thankful and blessed to have these images and to have had a photographer that valued photography enough to take those images!
Sure there are candids of our grandparents that are special. Candids have their place in the world of photography and in our hearts! However, nothing beats a good, solid, professional image of your loved ones! Interestingly enough, the professional images are the ones that everyone wants as a keepsake when your loved ones have passed.
If you haven’t had professional portraits of your loved ones taken recently, then I suggest you book a session NOW! There’s no time like the present! It’s my goal, with any wedding or family session that I may do, that I get an image of the all family members, individually and together, so that my brides and grooms and family members have priceless images of their loved ones, just like I do!