A few weeks ago I was photographing a family of three generations. As our session was wrapping up, my client Jean, the grandmother of the group, asked me if I would take a photograph of she and her husband. She laughed, and told me that her friends keep telling her that she needs an obituary photo. I grabbed my other camera with my Canon 70-200mm f2.8 out of my bag, and photographed the two of them individually, creating the beautiful images on the next page.
That small request really got me thinking...
When we lose a loved one, what do we have left other than memories? PHOTOS!
I am embarrassed to admit that when my precious mother passed away in 2016, we did not have a professional portrait of her to display at her Memorial Service. How bad is that? In my defense, I did try multiple times, but like me, she hated to be photographed. I did have a great photo of she and my father that I took years prior to her passing that we were able to display in memory of her at the Memorial Service.
Recently I had the pleasure of photographing Hal, a retired Captain in the U.S. Navy. He was turning 80 years old and wanted to be photographed on his 80th birthday, which fell on a Sunday. I typically try to take Sundays off, but I had to make an exception for Hal, because how many 80 year old men want to be photographed? He told me that he started this tradition on his 60th birthday, and has had a professional portrait taken of himself every 10 years since then. Hal was a fascinating gentleman, full of wonderful stories to share. He was a skilled diver in the Navy, and in his younger years, he worked with race horses. As a diver and horse person myself, I loved to hear all about his life. I printed and framed a beautiful 11"x14" canvas, complete with a small brass plate, with his name and the date of the photo session engraved on it. He also ordered 12 5"x7" portrait prints for his grandchildren, that I mounted in a portrait folio. Hal is leaving a wonderful legacy for his children and grandchildren that will be cherished forever.
No one wants to think about death, but it's a reality. Wouldn't it make sense to have an great legacy portrait of yourself, a photograph that friends will recognize in the newspaper and that you will be remembered by? And most importantly, an image that you love of yourself.
A dear friend of mine died at the young age of 38 in a plane crash. He was a self made prominent business owner in the Naples area and was flying his plane to Sarasota with two other young business men. Shortly after take off, the engine of his plane stalled and spiraled down crashing and killing all three of the men. The accident was tragic to say the least, and my life will never be the same without him. The reason I am telling you this sad story, is that my best friend did not have a great photo of himself. The photo used in the media and online was an out of focus snapshot of him in his auto racing attire. Heartbreaking.
Over the past 19 years as a professional photographer in the Naples, Florida area, there have been countless times when my photographs have been the last portrait ever taken of an individual. Life is fragile and we have no idea what tomorrow brings. It just makes sense to have a portrait of yourself that will be cherished and passed down for generations to come.
The next time that you schedule a family portrait, have an individual portrait taken of yourself too!
If you'd like to discuss a legacy photo for yourself, call me today and we can create a beautiful portrait of you, that your family will cherish forever!