In one of my past lives I was a wedding photographer. It gave me a flexible work week and merged a bit of the creative with the business. Yet even after charging 400$/hour and calculating the true cost of time in consultations, dropping and picking up the film, editing, delivery to the client and the all important wedding day, which I always arrived to early, my hourly rate netted at 100$. That’s not bad but with one wedding a weekend that hardly can afford the basic luxuries I long to have. More established photographers expanded their business to family and pregnancy portraits and had a studio or a house that they could meet clients. I didn’t have a studio or house and I realized that was not the type of photography that I was not interested in. After hours and hours shooting weddings I did leave the business with a strong belief in paying for experience. The last year of doing weddings I struggled to convince people why their uncle who just bought a digital camera did not have the institutional knowledge I had to manage family and wedding dynamics and still tell a beautiful story.
When I got married it was a nonnegotiable that we had a good photographer. I already knew who I wanted from my past life and I was not disappointed. I only wish I had booked her for longer. After Stella was born I noticed there were not many pictures of her and me and us as a family. I was referred to a Parisian photographer who spoke English and had a photojournalists style that I understood. I set up the RDV and told Maxime. When he asked the price I told him 300€ including all the files plus four 8×10″ images. He said “You were a photographer. Why can’t you put your camera in a tripod?” I responded “It doesn’t work that way. What she’ll capture I never can on a tripod with self timer.” The following week Cybèle photographed our family, and as I expected, the images did not disappoint.
Fast forward a year and we are in our new home, Stella is busy walking and is quickly changing into a little girl. I again made a RDV with Cybèble and put in the calendar. After the shoot, Maxime said “Really, again we paid 300€ ? Is it worth it because we seem to have good pictures of Stella that you take.” How soon they forget. I reminded him how lovely the original images were and that I still don’t have a lot of images with Stella. A few days later our images arrived. As we sorted through them, Maxime tagged almost everyone as his favorite and said “I see why we hire her. These pictures make me so happy.” Stay tuned for round 3 next year which I think I can book with no questions.
All photos by Cybèle Desarnauts.