If I hadn’t given birth to a photographer’s baby, it never would’ve occurred to me to enlist a professional to take my kid’s picture. I have a cell phone camera. Most of the people who associate with my baby have cell phone cameras of equivalent Jobsian value. My baby’s life could be sufficiently documented on the same device I use to track my period and check the weather in California.
Little did I know! Listen up, people. I highly recommend procreating with photographers. They may not make a ton of money and they may bore you to tears talking about light even when you’re lying in the dark, but your family’s historical record will be incalculably enhanced by their creative skill set. Alternatively you could reproduce with someone who has a stable, high-paying job and then just shell out a few hundred dollars a year for family portraits, but to each his own. I don’t regret the route I took. I’ve always been good at love and money.
Professional photos of kids have a clarity and vibrancy that cell phone pictures lack. They’re an improvement on real life. And I say that as someone who really likes the way things are going! In pro shots, bland backgrounds are blurred out. Faces are bathed in gorgeous natural light, controlled for exposure. These photos evoke a simultaneous appreciation for art and for family that directly confirms the value of the ones you love. These photos make you happy. Admiring them in a frame or in a book feels better than scrolling through your phone. Plus…retouching.
Knowing what I know now, if I didn’t already have access to a lifetime supply of free professional photography (thanks, Matt), I would pay the money. It’s not just vanity–though who doesn’t want that soft halo of backlight around her face? Pro photos tell a story that isn’t just “I happened to have a charged cell phone with available memory when that event occurred.” A good photo is bigger than the event. It is its own thing.
Which is all prologue to the main point of this blog post: to help you find the right Charlottesville photographer for your family portrait session. Frankly–and admitting this is another example of why I’m a great businesswoman–it’s a hard thing to mess up. There are a lot of really good photographers with prime lenses around Charlottesville, partly due to the local wedding industrial complex. The differences you see in photo quality might not be huge. Variables that are just as important if not more important than your choice of photographer are the following:
- Time of day/light quality
- Session mood
Granted, a good family photographer helps with all these factors by getting you to the right place at the right time and by doing cartwheels (sometimes literally) to make the experience fun. With little kids and self-conscious adults, it helps to have an experienced smile guru behind the camera. But I rarely meet parents who complain about their past family photo sessions. It’s like wedding photography: I’ve seen some abominable wedding photos, but they’re still shown to me with great pride by the newlyweds. Even if they’re out of focus, they still tell a love story.
And now I give you my working list of Charlottesville family photographers:
Prolific, popular, has a great Instagram (@ezeamosphotography).
Based in Crozet, talented with terrific energy.
My boo, Bean’s dad, and the tog behind Park Life.
Fine artist, exquisite photos of his daughter, well known for his unique wet plate portraits.
- Denise Feagans Photography
- Firefly Photography
- Jeffrey C. Gleason Photography
- Jason Keefer Photography
Husband and wife team.
Me and Matt! Trained in commercial photography, new to area, obsessed with own baby.
- Robert Radifera Photography
- Melody Robbins Photography
- Brook Robinson Photography
- Sarah Cramer Shields
Highly respected and established, has Charlottesville studio.
Great eye, documentary style photography.
I’ll fill in more names and details as I get them. Feel free to leave comments about your favorites!