An Ode to Momtographers
In this day in age there is no shortage of momtographers–the often dreaded hybrid of the mom who poises herself as a photographer. Professional photographers love to hate these entrepreneurial women who want to make the most out of their shiny new DSLR and preserve the fleeting childhoods of their precious little ones. Not all momtographers claim to be professional, but nearly all of them are united in their goal of preserving their own children’s memories. So…
Why do people love to hate momtographers?
- “They ruin the industry”
I’ve come across this stigma that momtographers are ruining the photography industry for professionals on countless occasions. They often price themselves far below the going rate in a given area, and will eagerly accept lowball offers for their work for others. I’ve seen it, we’ve all seen it. The advertisements for $35 sessions with 15, 30, or even 50 fully edited digitals included. I get the concern here for other photographers in the same area who may feel undercut by these types of offers. But at the end of the day, these offers shouldn’t affect your business as a professional. If your only edge in the industry is affordability, your business is at risk regardless of momtographers undercutting your prices.
- No, that’s pretty much it. That’s the fire under the hater’s butt. They “ruin the industry”.
Why I Admire Momtographers
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a mom with a photography business. So by some definitions, I’m a momtographer. I do value the industry, my quality of work, and my time, and I don’t offer $35 sessions with a buttload of digitals to the public. But whether other momtographers follow the same mantra is simply none of my business. Women, especially stay at home moms, are already policed enough by public opinion. Both men and women are telling us that we should get a real job. That raising our own additions to the future population just isn’t as important as holding a corporate job. That we should leave shaping our children to daycare workers while we focus on a career. Now we have people telling us to put down our cameras when we try to have a career or a hobby and raise our children at the same time.
Are you seeing the issue yet? It all boils down to none of your business.
Momtographers are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs make mistakes early on, and many will see that offering virtually free photography to the public was a big mistake, but for many it helps them grow into a better photographer or find out they don’t actually like photographing others and their children after all. No matter how you look at it, it’s a self-resolving issue. Those that don’t charge their worth will eventually learn to value themselves and charge a reasonable price for their time. Those that are simply no good at photography or running a business will simply not stand the test of time. The market is the market, and whether or not you’re a momtographer has nothing to do with your success or failure. And even if there are a steady stream of newly emerging momtographers taking clients on, those aren’t your clients anyway. Now back to my praise of momtographers.
Mothers are some of the strongest people there are. It takes tremendous empathy, selflessness, and work ethic to raise a human being. Whether you stay at home, work from home, or work away from home, if you’re a mom you have one of the hardest jobs in the world. You are a valuable part of society, even when you stay in pajamas indoors for days at a time. If you want to pursue a hobby and possibly turn it into a career, you are empowering yourself, fulfilling yourself, and I admire you endlessly.
It’s hard work to learn your camera, put yourself out there to a community, and find time to practice. And then to do it all legally and professionally. Then balancing parenting on top of that! Give me a break! No really, give us all a break. Momtographers will make mistakes, and it might make your eyes roll, but they aren’t hurting your business, and they are fulfilling themselves and trying to raise a little one or two or six at the same time.
It’s hard out there for momtographers. The least we can do is hold our collective tongue and maybe even offer our support. I think you’re amazing.