The Ebbs & Flows of an Evolving Industry

To say that photography has been transformed over the past two decades is a wild understatement.

Remember "Kodak Moments"? 126 Film Cameras? 110? Disc?..  Yes, I've got at least one each in my camera collection, including the evolving Brownies.

Despite the constant re-purposing of various film cameras, it has been these last 20 years that truly define CHANGE! And for the past 20 years, I've had a sign hanging outside of my office saying that I feed my kids from my craft. (often times, ramen noodles and fingernails, but I'm grateful that I didn't give up)

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Here's a brief overview of this WILD roller-coaster ride called professional photography. By this, I mean that I earn my living at it - business license, liability insurance, back-up gear, peers to back me up, studio lights, location lights, and no Uber stickers on my car (not that there's anything wrong with that until you can make the full leap!)

Ten years ago, it appeared that the D.I.Y. wave was going to kill the craft of portraiture as a viable living. We shifted from high-end, medium format film cameras (something few amateurs would invest in), to mid-range DSLR's that seemed "good enough" and etched away at a market that once supported hundreds of full-time professionals.

Add to that, a radical drop in wallet-size portrait sales (our senior girls used to average 96 wallets each) gave way to the instant gratification of "Likes" on social media pages.

Last year, shortly after moving the studio closer to two major roadways (Interstate 5 and Hwy. 217), it was practically on queue that this market came back to life. PHEW!

It appears that the days of "good enough" for yearbook photos is being edged out once again. The words "Professional quality" are showing up in yearbook specs, and voila!, I get to roll around on the ground again to do what I love to do - see things differently, and justify the investment of hiring a (okay - THIS) professional.

Unfinished images, no retouching, lost, late and all the other unfortunate occurrences that have driven many back to people like me. To this, I say, THANK YOU! Not just because I get to feed my family with it - but because you will now have a visual history of your own family.

I found no satisfaction in hearing about botched weddings, faulty gear (with no back-up equipment or liability insurance) or tweens that have never had a professional portrait prior to seeing us. 

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Now that seeking professionals is on-the-rise, I am even more grateful that I landed in the middle of a thriving tri-county pinwheel. Our newest location is right where Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties merge, putting us in reach of numerous neighborhoods and high schools. 

This year alone, we've seen seniors, kids and families from Lake Oswego, Tigard, Beaverton, Sherwood, Newberg, Gresham, Vancouver, Tualatin, Wilsonville, Canby and seniors from 14 different high schools! We are not quite as busy as those first 10 years, but with the convenience of our expanded reach, one referral from each of you - and it'll be time to hire again!

It's that time again, and not too late to meet most yearbook deadlines with an image that you WON'T regret showing up on your 20-year class reunion name badge! Give us a ring!

Brian GerathsComment