Confessions of a true perfume-a-holic:
I search for perfume constantly.
Sometimes–well, a lot of times–my shopping plans revolve around how much perfume I can sample.We gotta park by Nordstrom, because I need to do my sampling first and then see how I feel throughout the rest of the mall, wearing Marc Jacobs’ latest or Coach’s classic.
I’m surprised the Sephora folks didn’t bar me from the premises when I proceeded to sample every.bottle.in.the.store the first time I went in that glorious place. and by ‘sample’ I mean spray them on the testers and stick them in my purse, and then into my clothing drawers for months. And when my friend’s dad picked us up from the mall, he said, “Wow.” Sometimes ‘wow’ is a good thing. Sometimes it is nice code for, you smell like a chemical plant dipped in eighty nine kinds of flowers, and you leave a vicious flowery tornado behind you wherever you walk.
But I was in love.
For all my love of perfume, I rarely buy actual bottles of actual perfume. I scoop up armfuls of body mist and the like, because I haven’t found something I love enough to commit to a full bottle of full strength eau de parfum. Every trip, I get my hopes up and think my smell soulmate might just have arrived, and we’ll ride off into the sunset together–but I leave, every time, smelling of someone’s latest attempt and brow furrowed.
This search has been so long in the making that I’ve wondered, in a small voice:
is it possible there will never be the perfume for me?
Maybe you’ve been on the hunt for the perfect photographer for you for a long time, and you’re discouraged. Why isn’t there someone out there who gets it?! You’re wondering. You might be at the point of wanting to tear out your hair. Just hold off on that for a sec, k? I want to take pretty pics of that hair before you rip it out.
See, choosing a photographer is like choosing a perfume.
Go with me here.
The first thing you see is the packaging of the perfume–the oh-so-gorgeous bottle with its pretty little ribbon and the tantalizing name of the darn thing. Who doesn’t want to smell like ‘happy’, or ‘beautiful’? Yep.
For photographers, this is their logo and the design of their website. Does the photographer’s logo and website resonate with you? Do you find it ridiculously hard to navigate their website? It’s okay to give up if these things aren’t floatin’ your boat. (Remember when that was the cool thing to say? Wooo 7th grade!) Photographers spend a lot of time and money creating websites, logos, and other doodads that represent them and their brand.
So the bottle is beautiful, the packaging makes your heart sing, and you’re ready to lean in and smell.
The top notes are heavenly.
This is the photographer’s portfolio. The best foot is put forward here, and you’ll start to see themes. Is there a particular edit that makes you want to barf? Move along and keep smelling, sista. Does this photographer seem to be more documentary, or is there an apparent posing to the photographs? Most of all, how does their portfolio make you feel? If you find your brow furrowing or your mouth frowning, even if you can’t put words to it, seriously: don’t go any further. Trust your gut on this one.
But, if the initial work you see makes your soul soar, you’re ready for the middle notes of this photographer’s scent. (Is this going too far? I’m kind of obsessed.)
The middle notes of a perfume are apparent after a little while on your skin. This is scrolling through the photographer’s blog and/or seeing a full wedding/shoot at a consultation–this is the heart of the perfume, and the heart of what you’ll experience and receive through working with a photographer.
Still love what you see and hear?
The base notes of a perfume are what’s left lingering after hours of wear–with a photographer, it’s the feeling you have after interacting with him or her. Do you still feel excited out of your mind to work with him or her? If not, for real: this is the great thing about there being so many photographers out there today: you can find one whose work you love and whose personality meshes with yours.
Now let’s talk price.
If I could find this elusive perfect perfume I’ve been searching for for years, I would pay a whole lot of money–because the experience is a million percent worth it to me.
For me, the joy of waking up and splashing a few drops of pure liquid happiness and pleasure on my wrists would warrant me dropping some serious cash.
It would be an investment in my joy in waking up and wanting to face each day with confidence and wild love.
And if someone, say, Walmart, proclaimed to me that they had the perfect soulmate perfume for me for the low price of $19.99 I would not believe it, and I would run in the opposite direction. Is it possible that the $19.99 perfume could smell amazing? Yeah. But if Walmart doesn’t value that perfume for what it’s worth to me, why would I value it that way? It’s possible a photographer could be amazing and only charge you a fraction of what you might pay for the same photographs–but if that photographer doesn’t know the value of her work, why should you value it?
This is the tough part about hiring a photographer.
If you really care about photographs–if you really care about the experience of waking up every day to the lusciously custom personal art on your wall of the people you love most–your soulmate photographer is not going to be the equivalent of the $19.99 Walmart perfume.
She will know the value of the photographs she’s going to create with you. She will want to do those photographs justice with the highest quality products. And she knows that when you make the mistake of using the $19.99 Walmart photographer, it’s a complete waste of your time and money because that perfume is going in the trash after one use.
High quality photographs are an investment–and I want to make sure you find the most incredible photographer for your style and your soul. So–if you’re not completely sure if I’m the photographer for you, that’s 100% fine. Let’s chat about it! And, if we don’t end up being a good fit, I’m more than happy to recommend other professionals who will give you what you want better than I can. (because I don’t believe in photographer competition, remember?)
But if we are soul mates? Whoa. We’re gonna create amazing things. I can’t wait.
Brooke Schultz is a photographer who is only a little bit obsessed with perfume. This summer she’s fulfilling her lifelong dream of being a blonde, and she would love to photograph you and the people you love most in the world–she would also love to give you the inside scoop on life overflowing with creativity and soulful photographs by lettin’ you on The Soul Train. (clicky clicky that pretty coral tab on the left and jump on it!)