When my children were babies, we had their pictures taken every month for the first year and every few months after that. We loved watching how much they changed as they grew, and with great coupons available, we got great deals.
Now that the children are older, that's not the case. They move more, are more expressive, and those generic studio poses just aren't as exciting. While there are still coupons available, seeing our four- and six-year-old being so still doesn't seem natural.
While browsing friends' Facebook pictures, I realized that a young friend of mine takes great photographs. Even better, she has wonderful editing skills and good equipment. Upon further investigation, I found out that this was a hobby for her and a field that she was interested in exploring further.
My friend and I worked together to come up with a plan for a photography session. Since she has little experience with formal portrait sessions, her rates are more than reasonable - about 15% of what I would pay for a similar session at a professional studio.
In the end, Noelle Hayward Photography was born. From our hour-long photo shoot, I received a CD with over 50 awesome images of my son AND the copyright license to print them to my heart's content. Noelle's shingle is now out and she's willing to give others a great deal on photos - at a great price.
If you're wanting professional-grade photos but can't afford the studio fees, be sure to check out high school and college students with great equipment. Investigate local photography classes for students who show promise, and watch the Facebook photos your friends post - you never know when you'll strike gold.