I belong to a group of professional photographers and a discussion started about the value of our work. This was posted to the group by Mr. Larry Lourcey and it puts into simple logic how it translates to an investment that actually has a big return on that investment. I applaud Mr. Lourcey for putting into words what I feel as a professional photographer.
Honestly, I think a lot of people miss the true value of a timeless portrait. These days, people are trying to make smart financial choices and this covers what a value fine photography is.
Choosing The Right Investment
A lot of times, you hear the word investment used very loosely. You have time investments, emotional investments, and of course – financial investments. Now everyone agrees that stocks and bonds are an investment, but is photography really an investment? I might be slightly biased, but I think it is a wonderful investment.
Let’s say you had an extra $1000 sitting around the house and couldn’t decide how to spend it… I know, a good problem to have! Obviously, there are tons of options for you to choose from, but I’d like to just narrow it down to three.
Fun With $1000
The first option would be something Dad would love – a 60” plasma TV for the den. Weekend football just got a whole lot better! Depending on how much television you watch, you could get a lot of enjoyment out of this over the next several years.
Another option would be something Mom might vote for – a new sofa for the den. You could pick out something very traditional or maybe a really cool, trendy piece that will change the look of your den.
The third option would be a portrait of your kids. Let’s say they are 12 and 14. You decide on a nice gallery canvas portrait to hang over the fireplace – something that goes beyond what they look like and shows their personalities.
OK, you’ve made your choice and all three are working out splendidly. Every day you walk through the den and admire your darling children on the wall. In the evening, you relax on your new, comfy sofa and watch some television on the big screen. Life is good!
Fast forward 15 years – a reasonable time for any investment. The sofa isn’t doing too well. It is showing the signs of age with a few stains and small tears. You will likely drag it out to the next garage sale and pray someone gives you $25 for it. By the end of the day, you’ll be hoping someone just takes it for free – just to get it out of the garage.
Unfortunately, the TV isn’t faring much better. In fact, it is highly unlikely you still have it. You have probably already replaced the television you bought to replace the original 60” unit. If you DO still have it, you would be hard pressed to get $25 for it at the garage sale.
The portrait, however, is a whole different story. Your kids are 25 and 27 – they have moved away and started their own families. Instead of seeing them every night at the dinner table, you now see them every day hanging above the fireplace. If someone showed up at your home and offered you $25 for that portrait, you would laugh. Heck, someone could offer you that original $1000 back for the portrait and you would never take it. Why? Because you can always buy new sofas and televisions. Once your kids are grown up, however, you can’t buy portraits of their childhood.
There just aren’t too many things you can buy today that will be guaranteed to be worth more to you in 15 years than they are today. A beautiful portrait of your family will never go out of style. In my mind, that makes it a wonderful investment.