A subject that comes up WAY too often in our brand rep groups… Professional photographers comparing their work to brand rep Mamas or “Momtographers”. It infuriates me, but not for the reason you may think.
First and foremost, STOP THINKING THAT THIS IS A COMPETITION! Brand repping is about networking, it’s about spending time with your little ones while you capture sweet moments with your camera. It’s about supporting small shops and getting them the promotion that they need to make sales and put food on the table. When any professional photographer claims that their services are worth more than a Mama who isn’t a professional, it’s hurtful. It’s inaccurate. And most of all, it’s wrong!
As a shop owner, I have both professional photographers and Momtographers on my team. And I love them all equally. WHY?! Because they love being a part of this community. They love helping each other out. They love what they do, regardless of whether it’s for fun or if it’s something they do for a living. And that love and passion makes working with them, providing free or discounted items an absolute joy for me! No one is keeping track of how much money the items are worth or how much their photography is worth. There is a common love on our team that I couldn’t run my business without. While a professional photographer might provide a professional, high resolution image that I can blow up to billboard size, a Momtographer may provide the cutest, sweetest picture of their child, enjoying their small shop clothing. Both are equally as appreciated and respected.
When I see professional photographers in our brand rep groups comparing the $20 dress to their $500 session fee, it confuses me. There is a HUGE difference between my paying you $500 to take family portraits of MY family, that I will cherish forever and likely blow up and hang on my wall and you taking a few pictures of your own child in my merchandise and posting a couple on social media. Please stop comparing those things. It’s like a surgeon putting a bandaid on your child’s scraped knee. A Mama can do it just as well as that surgeon can. That surgeon is probably just doing it because they want to help. They aren’t going to talk about how much that 3 minutes was worth.
I myself am a Momtographer. I work hard to style, find the perfect location and capture images of my children that will help small shops to promote their pieces. I know that my pictures are not guaranteed to sell hundreds of that item, but I work hard to promote the shop and get the word out about the quality. I don’t put a value on that because it’s something I’m choosing to do. I love doing it. Some of our followers will check out the shops we work with… some will buy… some won’t. But I know that I will do everything I can to promote that shop, as a thank you for sending me something that they hand made (regardless of how much that item is worth). Our time is equally as valuable and that’s what makes the concept of brand repping work.
My pictures have come a LONG way in the almost 2 years we have been brand repping. And I owe that to my professional photographer friends. See, while others are in our brand rep groups comparing their work to the work of Momtographers, there are professional photographers that are more than happy to give tips and help others to take their photography to a new level. Thank you April and Lindsay! Without the two of you, I would still be shooting on action mode and editing in Facetune 😉
Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly inspired by professional photographers. I think they have one of the greatest professions. One of my friends, Jen (jenpphoto.com) is a huge inspiration to me. She captured Falynn at 2 weeks old and was the beginning of Falynn’s love for being in front of the camera. I saw the amount of work she put into capturing the perfect pictures and how much editing she does to make them even more magical.
I think that most professionals are worth even more than they charge. BUT… I don’t believe that a professional photographer should get into brand repping until they understand that this isn’t about your worth… it’s about support. It’s about fun. It’s about community. It’s not about how much your equipment cost but more about how much passion you have for the small shop community. If you want to get paid for your services, then stick to your business. Brand repping is not a business, it’s a partnership.
Please stop the negativity. Give suggestions and tips vs. criticizing those that aren’t perfect. Lend a hand instead of slapping someone with it. Be a part of the community that people will applaud vs. will stay away from. We are all in this together, so let’s start acting like it.
How do you feel about this subject? Comment below and let us know your thoughts!
Heather is the Mom of three and a marketing professional. She enjoys graphic design, writing, photography and making new memories with her family.