The lost generation

23rd May 2018
I had a client in the studio this week, and as she was ordering a lovely framed photo for her wall, we chatted about how she was glad to be having a physical product, and I admitted to her my fear for this current generation around us who's photos live mostly on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

I had said we could easily make a good living from just doing quick shoots and dropping all the photos onto a disc or USB then saying "Next!" and doing it again.
Where would all those photos end up ?
Will any get printed ? Maybe some I'm sure. But most of them will be shown off online, friends & family will go "wow amazing shots hun" and all that, but then a few years later - where are they ?

My dad passed away a year past October, and that Christmas I "borrowed" my mum's wedding album, and very carefully took it apart. It's a gorgeous 1950's style, all held together with 2 metal bolts.
I scanned in the photos , along with lots of others and made my mum a new book that told the story of my mum & dad, and included a wee bit about me and my big sis.
Some of those photos my mum had never seen for years, but the thing is... I couldn't have done any of that and had those photos to look at if there were no physical prints.

We have no idea where technology will go next, and Facebook one day will go the same as Myspace. If you've never heard of Myspace - then I rest my case.

For us, being full time, studio based photographers, we make no secret about how we'd love to have every single customer have a physical print (or some) of all their photo shoots. We are terrified that the current generation of children won't have any photos to look back on.
I'm delighted to be able to see photos of me as a kid with my mum & dad, some of mum & dad as a young couple, and in our house we have lots of photos of Annie and the pets we have and have had.

There's always a huge amount of "photographers" out there with Facebook pages offering amazing £49 family or kids shoots and all on a disc... seems a great deal.
To the photographer it is. They're not the ones missing out.
Me and Mrs GWS could switch overnight to that model and in an instant cut our overheads & expenses by over £1000 a month.
We would get so much more free time too as we wouldn't have to invite people back to see their wedding or portrait photos on the big screen.
With our experience and marketing set-up, we could make our lives so much easier and make just as much money - if not more, by doing nice and easy shoot 'n burn portrait sessions and run our wedding business from home.
We could even go a step further and get Mrs GWS a job somewhere so there was no need to panic about being constantly good and improving and learning as it wouldn't matter how cheap we were, as Mrs GWS's wage would pay the mortgage.
But we choose to make our lives difficult, we choose to invest more time with every client and to hope they see the value in what we do so they will in turn invest in lovely products to show off their photos for ever.
This may seem like this is a rant about other photographers, and it's not (honest) but it just to explain why we spend so much time and money in a studio, and in meeting people after their photo shoot.

After a wedding day, we could walk away with the money we've made and wash our hands of the couple but no way. I love spending another night with them as we run through a musical slideshow of their photos as they see them for the first time.

It's the same with all our portrait clients, we could meet up in a park , shoot and I'll post them a disc out. Bosh... thank you very much.
But I choose to spend a massive percentage of our takings on a studio and samples to show what every person could have. They don't have to and in fact we DO offer a digital option to all our shoots, but anyone that has seen our price list will tell you that it's mostly wall products or prints from us we want you to have.
Not because we make more money but we want our clients - and their kids, grandkids etc to be able to look at these photos for years to come.

One of our top selling frames is £160. Might seem a lot.. but that's £160 for a top quality, lab produced, ready to hang frame. That price also includes the shoot, as we (in most cases) take any booking fee off the price.
So you COULD go to a shoot and burn photographer, go to Ikea for a frame, get some prints made (hope they are good quality) and then put together the frame yourself.
You might be able to do it for less than what we charge... but will the experience have been the same ?

Anyway, I really didn't come on here today to go off about our prices and structure, nor about any other photographer's. There is a definite market for photographers of all experience & price range.
But PLEASE think about what I first started off saying.... don't leave your photos to Facebook & Instagram, or on a CD/USB in a drawer somewhere.
Print them out.
Better still ask your photographer to get some prints for you.
Better still get your favourite ones big and on your wall.
Even better than that, get books of your favourite photos from every year made up.

Your kids, grandkids and all future generations will thank you and be so glad you did. Otherwise we face leaving the current generations and all those after with no memories to look back on.

No matter what photographer you use - or even if you take photos yourself.
Please... PLEASE have physical prints and don't let this modern generation be the gap in our history.

Remember the photo we won the big award for in 2017... the boy and the ghostie dad...

That was picked by the judge, who runs the UK's top professional photographer's training company as an image to use in studios across the UK.
I took it as part of a personal project, but the instant meaning is regret, lost chances. Think of that photo as our generation's "Back To The Future" moment, but instead of the dad in the photo vanishing, it's the photos themselves that vanish.
Is that young lad going to have any physical memories to pull out of a box and stare at for ages, remembering happy times.
Will his kids and grandkids have questions to ask about old photos in a book they found ?
That's what we face if we don't get photos that we can keep.

As a matter of interest, the boy and dad above are both alive and well , and have photos from their last shoot - and a copy of this photo too. I saw them all in the Garden Centre last Monday with their gran.

So print. Have printed. Frame, stick in albums.
Don't leave our kids and grandkids with digital memories that are gone with the first drop of a phone down the toilet, or a fall out on Facebook and a deleted account.


Sorry if I went off on one there, but it just bother me why so many 'photographers' don't care.


G.x



PS
As you may know, we are HUGE into dog photography just now. When I was out with our dog (Mr Shambles) a week or so back, he got in a play date with another dog. Gorgeous black lab.
After 5 minutes of idle chatting with the other dogs owner I mentioned " you should bring your dog in for a photo , we do dog portraits" (never miss an opportunity ha ha) but the lady said "Ach my husband's a photographer so it's ok."
I laughed an said "I had to try, your house must be full of lovely dog photos?"
"No" she said "We actually don't have any."
True story , but what a sin !


PPS …

Here's a video I made for my mum a few years back. I couldn't have done this without my parents etc having a lot of prints.
Sorry to the family for some of these embarrassing photos ;/



G.x

Definitely done this time :)

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