I have two daughters....they are my everything. Natalie is 10 years old and Melissa is 7. Over the past several years, my daughters have watched me grow Fotoplicity out of a passion and have been the inspiration behind many of my creative ideas. But this past year my seven year old asked one question that made me stop dead in my tracks and re-think my entire business model. This one question put into motion a brand overhaul that is currently taking place and I think will resonate with every Mom out there.....
One day, I was cleaning my room when Melissa came in with a sad look on her face and a little photobook in her hand. She sat on my bed, looked at me with big puppy dog eyes and then lowered her glance down into her lap staring at the the photobook. "Mommy? Do you love Natalie more than me?" My heart just about broke into a million pieces.... I sat down next to her and asked her why she would think that. "Because you don't have any pictures of me as a baby." The photobook she had in her hand was one I created for Natalie's one year birthday. It was kept in a pile of other little photobooks I had created before I had Melissa. I quickly tried to console her letting her know that I do indeed have hundreds of baby photos of her....on the computer. "But I can't see them there, I can see Natalie's on the wall, but not mine." I did a quick inventory of the photos hanging around my house. She was right. All the beautifully framed baby photos were of Natalie.
How could I possibly explain that things just got too chaotic and busy with two children, work and life to find time to create photobooks or wall prints for her? How could I justify that all those digital images hidden away on my hard drive were as valuable as the ones hanging in full display on our walls? How could I let her know that I had every intention of printing photos of her but somehow the years have passed by and I never found the time to do so? I couldn't. There were no excuses, there was no answer that would make her hurt go away. "Life got in the way" was just not going to cut it here.
Feeling completely discouraged and broken myself, I told her we would go to my computer and pull up her baby pictures. And we did...of course it took me about 45 minutes to hook up the old hard drive, get it to work on my newer computer, shuffle through thousands of irrelevant files and sort through a ton of meaningless digital images that were blurry and crappy all to get to the few good baby photos. The photo-hunting experience definitely took away from the feel-good moment of the memories.
Melissa's simple question and the following "digital experience" made me realize that the emotional value of a printed photograph stands undeniable. Our digital, fast-paced lifestyles and abundance of cell-phone snapshots have devalued the most meaningful, timeless possessions of every family. Digital photographs have become expendable and offer a very short shelf life in comparison. I had a hard enough time accessing Melissa's baby photos from just a few years ago....how much more difficult will it be in 10 or 25 years from now? Will future technology even be compatible? Will your grandchildren care to load them up on their computer? Will there even be computers?
Today's world moves so fast. Moments are rarely appreciated because there is this constant pressure to move on and find the next big thing. It took my 7 year old daughter's pain and feeling of neglect to make me realize that digital images are NOT always ideal. Yes, they are convenient and have their place, but when it comes to emotional value....nothing compares to a high quality printed photograph.
I am determined to stop this cycle for every single one of my clients....even if it means printing just ONE image.
Thanks to Melissa and my broken heart, this year I have changed my session offerings from all-inclusive digital packages to lower session fees with reveal and ordering appointments. This means that once you have your photo session we will set an appointment to sit down and review your photographs together. We will savor and discuss each beautiful image and together we will explore some options for displaying your memories for everyone to see and enjoy. I've put together some amazing Collections for your walls and your coffee tables to keep things simple or we can work together to customize something special. At the appointment you will be able to choose which photo or photos you want printed or included as part of a Collection. I will then take care of the ordering details and call you when your prints arrive and you will walk away with a PHYSICAL piece of memorabilia that will last a lifetime and be handed down to your children and their children.
Oh, and I should mention that you will still be able to get digital copies of the purchased prints, so you can store them away on your hard drive (just in case), share on social media, email or print to send to distant family at your leisure.
I am making it my job to ensure that your child will never ask you why you don't care enough to print or hang their picture.