We had the honor of photographing an amazing event last week at the gorgeous venue called the Loom for the Tajh Boyd Foundation Gala. It was such a fun night of meeting like-minded and passionate people, hearing stories, laughing at jokes, but most of all raising money for a great organization that is changing the lives of so many children in the Upstate. Many familiar faces attended including Delvin Choice and CJ Spiller.
We were so inspired by this young man and his love for children. You can see the passion in Tajh Boyd’s eyes as he spoke about what his Foundation was about and how it’s mission is to empower the youth of SC to overcome adversity through education, mentoring, and character building.
What really struck me about Tajh Boyd was when he spoke about why he ended up choosing Clemson University over all the other schools for college. He told us that he knew he could go to any of the schools and they would help him to be a better football player but as soon as he met and spoke Dabo Swinney, he knew that this coach would help him become a better man in life. He said that’s what he wants to see happen to the children he is honored to mentor. He wants to help them to discover what they want to be in life (whatever career they choose) but better yet help them to discover who they are (character) and how they can make a difference in their communities.
Even though this was a night of fundraising, Tajh made sure to speak with everyone that attended especially taking the time to chat with all the children that were there, giving them a few pointers on football. He has a heart of gold and I know great things will happen with him and his Foundation! It really was an honor to be a part of such a special night.
It’s always been so important to us as professional photographers to hire other professionals when it comes to photographing our personal, family portraits! Yes, we could attempt to set up our cameras with a timer and capture the moment, however, in my opinion, it’s just so impersonal looking at a camera without an actual person to engage with. To me that’s where the real talent comes into place; that person behind the camera! Especially with children, you need someone engaging with them to draw out their true personalities. So important!
We desperately needed an updated portrait. It’s been a few years since “Papa” Phil photographed our family; Ally was only 2 years old back then. You may say, “well that was only 3 years ago” however our family has greatly changed and the kiddos have matured so much since then. We always suggest that you capture your children and family every 3-4 years to hold onto to the changes that will happen. It’s amazing to see the difference!
I wanted something totally different but pulled from our family’s personality. We are not a “beach” family so that setting didn’t work and our last family session was taken in our studio garden with the fall leaves. So we chose one of the coolest settings right here in the middle of Taylors, SC! Taylors Mill is such a unique place with it’s rough wooden floors, brick walls, and do I have to say it? “Those windows”! Absolutely fell in love with those tall windows with the light streaming in and hitting those wooden floors. Just perfect for our little family! You’ve gotta check this place out, my friends!
We called up our dear friend, Mitchell, owner of Mitchell’s Photography (such a talented photographer) and asked if he could capture this moment for us! He didn’t skip a beat and said, “I would be honored to! Thank you for asking me!” So we got the session scheduled! He was so much fun during the entire process. We challenged him a bit with the location because he had never been to Taylors Mill but immediately fell in love with it. Mitchell made the session so easy even though it was a hot morning and by the time the session was done, we all were drenched with sweat (Ally and I were both glistening; lol! The guys were sweating).
Mitchell really captured some memories for us and we could not have done that with a timer on our camera and trying to do it ourselves. So remember, even though we are in this awesome business of photography, we too hire professional photographers and so should you!
Yes, we do call our camera room a “no parent zone”! This is where all the “magic” happens!
I remember as a child, my mom would drop me off at my Grandmother’s house for the day and when she would return I would start pitching a fit. My grandmother would say, “she hasn’t acted this way all day! She’s been a perfect angel!” Now that I’m a mom myself, I hear these phrases all the time. It can be frustrating however it’s a proven fact that most children behave better when separated from their parents. We’ve seen it time and time again whether here at the studio or even with our personal experiences with our children.
That’s why during a child’s session, we encourage this separation. Alex and I work side by side in the camera room. While Alex sits behind the camera capturing the moments, I’m sitting with the child making the experience fun and keeping their attention on what’s happening during the session and; not on Mommy or Daddy. We start to see:
the child’s real personality whether they are shy or outgoing; that’s what makes a timeless portrait so unique
he/she is more focused on us instead of Mommy/Daddy
we gain their trust (at least for a moment)
they build confidence within themselves and that helps to draw out their personality
98% of the time we are successful in separating however in those instances where a child won’t separate, we don’t force the situation. We want their portrait experience to be fun! So when we’ve determined that it’s not going to happen, we bring mom into the camera room. She’s only there so that the child can see her and is confident enough to move on with the session. After every session (almost always) children are eager to head back to the camera room because they are so comfortable. That lets us know that we’ve done our job and have created an environment that children love!!!
It’s so important to hire a “professional photographer” when capturing precious memories of your family and children. Why? We hear horror stories everyday! Check out some of the latest that we’ve heard:
The family schedules a beach session. They arrive at the scheduled time and the photographer is no where to be found. She arrives 30 minutes late because of traffic, she’s frazzled, and has very little time to work with the family. She rushes through the session and she even asks the family how they want to be posed. What?
Another family schedules a park session. The photographer arrives and has issues with her camera. She fails to get the camera working and has no backup camera. She turns to a family member (who so happens to have a good camera) and asks to use his camera for the session. Then proceeds to grab her phone, pulls up Pinterest, and thumbs through pictures as a guide for posing. Oh, my goodness!
A mom schedules a toddler session at her home. The photographer arrives and spends 2 hours at the house photographing the toddler. After numerous changes of clothing, the toddler is spent and tired. Mom is excited about seeing the images and the photographer tells her that she will receive a link so she can order her pics. A week passes and no email from the photographer. Mom emails the photographer and is told that they will soon be uploaded for her to view. Another week passes and still no link. Mom calls the photographer this time and has to leave a message. Two more weeks pass and still no previews. Mom is frustrated, calls the photographer, and her response is that all the images from her toddler’s session were “somehow” deleted/lost after the session. Sorry!
These are just a few of the many stories we hear when moms call our studio. They’ve had such bad experiences that needless to say they are hesitant to even try to schedule another session with anyone. Do you blame them? The result is that they didn’t hire a professional photographer. In many cases, they chose someone that was a friend/acquaintance that dabbles in photography on the side or a part-time photographer that has the lowest price. The old saying that I’ve always heard, “you get what you pay for!” In most cases, that statement is true. You can’t expect someone that gives you photography for free or at the lowest price is going to “long-term” give you the best customer service. We know that there is a time and place for everything. You’re not going to hire a professional photographer for every event in your child’s life but those moments that are most precious to you, please leave it to the professionals.
Here’s what you get when you hire a professional photographer such as Phil Hyman Photographer:
Our goal is to get to know you. Building a relationship with our clients is at the top of our list. It’s the only way to truly capture timeless portraits of your children/family. We schedule a planning appointment in order to sit down with you and go over your wants and needs, find out about family dynamics and personalities, talk about location and clothing for the session, and chat about pricing. When you leave the studio, you will have a big picture view of what your experience will be from start to finish.
During the session, we never rush through however we know that your time is valuable. Sessions usually last 45 minutes to an hour depending on the subject. Most subjects especially small children have a very low attention span so we know we have to be precise and quick to capture these moments before their gone.
After the session, we don’t just email you a link to order. We want to be there every step of the way to offer our expertise and guidance. We will schedule a time for you to come in and view the photographs on a large screen and together we choose the right portraits for your home. We are here to help you decorate your home with your wall portraits.
Delivery is so much fun! We always schedule a time for you to come by and pick up your portraits. We want that time to sit down with you and make sure everything is correct and in order plus chat with you about family and what’s been happening since the last time we saw each other. We always carry portraits out to your car (then it’s up to you to safely get that portrait in your home; lol). We can even deliver large portraits directly to your home and schedule a time for hanging those portraits.
We know having a professional photographer capture these moments for your family is an investment. It’s not like going to Walmart for a 15 minute session and walking out with prints in your hands. It’s an investment in time and money. But the investment is so worth it when you glance up at your walls and see your babies and their true personalities in portraits. Be sure to go to www.philhyman.com and sign up for our “Free tips to decorating your home with portraits!”
Here on the blog, we talk a lot about both our family and our business. This time, we want to talk about you! Our customers are like family to us, and here at the studio we enjoy both meeting new people and continuing to develop our relationship with long-time friends. We want to take the opportunity to share with you some of the traits we admire in our clients.
Most of our clients come to us with a specific reason in mind when they get ready to plan a portrait session. Whether it be to mark a special milestone in the life of the portrait subject (birthday, graduation, etc.), a large framed portrait to give as a treasured piece of art, or a family portrait taken for the annual Christmas cards, we have found that our sessions are most often carefully planned for a purpose. Knowing why the portrait is being taken helps us to better serve you as we plan for your one-of-a-kind session.
While we seek to develop a relationship with our clients that will continue for many years to come, no relationship can be only one-sided. We are so blessed to have clients who include us in their family’s lives and truly desire to see us as more than just people with a camera. Family-oriented clients like these remember us when they have important family events they desire to document, and some have even thoughtfully remembered us with sweet gifts during the holidays or personally connected with us in some other way. We realize that this takes intentional effort and we are so thankful that they allow us to be a part of their family and we offer them to be a part of ours.
We recognize that portraiture is a unique business and that our clients make an investment when they choose Phil Hyman Photography to be their portrait artist. We are willing to work with our clients to develop a payment plan, if necessary, so they can keep a budget while preparing to enjoy a piece of quality, personal art that will last more than a lifetime. Many of our clients have begun to save for their next portrait immediately after their current one is completed. We appreciate their recognition of the importance photography plays in documenting family history. Time and time again, our customers express to us how appreciative they are to have such quality fine art in their home, proudly on display. As artists, we love nothing more than to see our work enjoyed.
We have some creative clients, and it is certainly fun to see the variety of settings in which our portraiture is on display. Some chose a single large portrait for their wall, while others order a group of images which, when hung together, tell a story. Some choose a colorful fall family portrait or peaceful summer evening beach portrait, while others prefer the stark contrast of black and white. While we will always have the same classic style, this variety is one of our favorite parts of our business.
Thank you for being a part of the Phil Hyman Photography family. If there is any way we can help document your next family milestone or help you to prepare ahead for Christmas gifts, please feel free to contact us. You are the reason we love the portrait business!