Because you love us all so much
The holidays are the happiest time of year, are they not? And I just know you can’t wait to share all your happiness and generosity with your favorite photographer. After all, if you had pictures taken any time this year and paid less than $3,000 for the set, then you owe him/her. I mean, my father paid $300 for a single black/white head shot in 1968. What we’ve done for you is probably a bit more complicated. Not that we really care about that sort of thing. We’re only in the business for the art of it all. Eating is totally optional.
Now, I know you must think that we’d all like a new camera, but we don’t necessarily look for you to go with the big bucks. After all, your families should come first. Although, if you think of us like family then, by all means, feel free to respond accordingly. Still, there are plenty of things you could get or do for your photographer that would make them very happy this holiday season. We’ll break them down into three easy-to-remember categories and then you can do what you find appropriate from there.
Big Ticket Items
Okay, so no self-respecting photographer is going to ask you to buy them a new camera for the holidays. Still, some of you have taken advantage of a generous soul and gotten pictures for free. Some of you have been doing this for years and yet, when the holidays roll around, what have you done for your photographer? So, here are some big ticket things you can get that will make them happy.
New Glass. Now, be careful. Not all lenses are created equal and chances are your photographer is pretty picky about the kind they use. Also, not every lens fits every camera. In fact, lenses have to specifically match the brand and type camera your photographer is using. Still, if you have an extra $1,500 or so you’re not using, I’m sure there’s something they wouldn’t mind adding to their collection. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Pack Gear. Carting expensive gear all over the place can be scary. I wince every time I see a camera sitting in the seat of someone’s car with no protection. If you’ve observed your photographer handling their camera in this manner, then getting them some kind of pack or case is something they would almost certainly appreciate. There are several different kinds. My preference for every-day use is an over-the-shoulder bag that allows me to pull my camera out quickly and start shooting. Others prefer backpack styles and hard cases are a must for the photographer who has to fly frequently. This doesn’t have to be a high-dollar buy, but the more padding and flexibility a pack has the better and, sadly, more expensive.
Light Modifiers. Please don’t consider this option unless you know your photographer fairly well and can get the make and model of his lighting gear without being obvious. Many photographers, especially those with smaller operations, are limited in the number of modifiers they can afford. The more modifiers they have, though, the more creative they can be with your photographs. Prices range from a couple hundred dollars to a couple thousand. Budget accordingly and, by all means, be careful.
Small Ticket Items
Okay, so you don’t have a couple of thousand dollars to dump on your favorite photographer. That’s okay, we still love you and promise you’re our favorite clients ever. You don’t have to spend all that much to make us happy-er. There are a number of things that would make almost any photographer happy to see under their make-shift tree that sits forlornly in the corner of their tiny little apartment.
Camera straps. Think the broad kind. If your photographer is still using that crappy little strap that came with the camera, they need help. Those little straps are practically worthless in a pinch. I’ve been using the same strap for the past 25 years and even though it’s extremely tattered at this point, I know it could still hold my weight if I need it. Embossed leather is a nice touch, or artisanally woven is colorful if your photographer is vegan. Even the best straps are under $200 this time of year, so you should be able to find something that would fit your budget.
Lens Wraps. As simple as these cloths are, they can really do a let to protect lenses, especially if you happen to live in a climate particularly prone to dust and/or sand. They also come in handy if your photographer travels a great deal. Lenses often get jostled around quite a bit during transport and even if the photographer has a good case having a lens wrapped is great protection. This is a perfect gift for the cash-strapped person as most start around $20.
Tripods. Even if your photographer already has a tripod or two, they can never have too many. There are a variety of sizes and kinds appropriate for different shooting situations. Best yet, some table-top varieties cost as little as $20, so it won’t break your budget. Consider what your photographer already has and help them complete their collection.
Won’t Cost You A Dime
Okay, I get it, money’s tight this year for a lot of people. That’s why you asked if we could discount our already-discounted prices. That doesn’t mean we don’t still love you, though, and anything, absolutely anything you want to do for us is still very much appreciated. You don’t have to spend any money to help us out with some of these gifts.
Referrals. I don’t know of any photographer who couldn’t use some extra business this next year. Even if we looked busy this past year, that doesn’t mean we don’t have openings going into 2017. Of course, we’ll be much more appreciative if they’re referrals that pay full price, but we’re honestly thankful for all the business we get. Thank you in advance.
Credit us when you post photos. Chances are we mentioned this when we first took your pictures but we know how easy it is to forget when you’re in the heat of a picture-posting frenzy. We’re not as likely to be upset if the pictures are over two years old and you’re just posting them for memories’ sake, but the new stuff? Yes, please, by all means. We will be most appreciative.
Food & drink. How well do you know your photographer? Almost all of us have a sweet tooth and more than a few of us enjoy an alcoholic beverage here and there. Okay, so this might cost you a little bit. Still, I know very little makes me happier than a tin of homemade fudge or sugar cookies. Granted, they won’t last very long, but for those few moments, we’ll be thinking nice thoughts of you.
By the way, please be considerate when giving a gift to your photographer to make sure you are sufficiently respecting their religious beliefs. Fortunately, both the first day of Hanukkah and Christmas are on the same day this year. If your photographer is Muslim, however, you don’t have as much time as the prophet’s birthday is this Monday, the 19th. Of course, several of us celebrate Festivus and the Solstice and Kwanzaa as well. It’s not going to hurt you to ask which holidays we celebrate, though, because some come with limits on what is acceptable. Me, personally, I’m good with anything at any time. Especially if you’re bringing alcohol. Scotch, please.
Look around. There are a lot of people in your life who provide services for you at or below costs. You know who they are. Show them all some appreciation, even if it’s only a handful of cookies. Your gestures of kindness really are appreciated.