How to Convince Your Spouse to Invest in Professional Photos when they Don’t Want To
Recently I received an inquiry from someone who was eager to have professional photos taken but was having trouble getting her husband on board, which is something I hear all the time. Generally but not always, it’s the woman who’s eager for portraits and her husband is pulling back the reigns because he doesn’t view the expenditure as more important than his annual Dish subscription.
I studied counseling for my masters and have been married for a while, so here’s some free marriage advice. You can thank me by scheduling your photo session (just kidding… sort of).
Only you know your marriage and you know what will and won’t convince your spouse, but often the less convinced spouse doesn’t intrinsically understand the value of photography and needs to have it communicated to them along with some reminders about their own splurges and a financial plan to make it work.
Discuss the Give and Take Dynamic in Your Marriage
My husband has a bit of a game addiction. He loves to buy games. He doesn’t play all of them so they’re more like a collection that he looks at and sorts through and opens and then puts back. Some of them get played but most don’t. He spends lots and lots of money on games. His parents give him money for his birthday and Christmas and he spends it two or three times.
I was complaining about this once to my sister and she said, “How much does a lens cost?” I told her the good ones start around $1,000 used and she almost shouted at me, “Let the man buy his games!” Point taken.
They make him happy and it’s more or less his only vice. He doesn’t play golf or eat fondue or care what kind of car he drives. But I buy expensive lenses and require a biannual trip to Florida.
So this may be a good time to open to dialog about the things you each do that the other one doesn’t understand, but you tolerate because you love each other.
Have a financial game plan
This piggy backs on the previous point, but if your husband gets so much money for something in your budget or unspoken fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants agreement, then it’s reasonable to request the same for something important to you. If you’re overspending and he’s not, then it’s a good time to think about prioritizing those things that are really important to you. So let’s say photos make you happier than anything else and you want them to be done well and you want the service experience of going to a professional. Let’s say your husband doesn’t want you to spend the money. Are you willing to give up anything to make the photos happen? For example, eating out or your 24th pair of shoes or the new inflatable Santa in your front yard. If there’s a plan for how it’s going to work, he’s much more likely to be on board.
Verbally communicate what portraits mean to you
And finally, you may need to verbally communicate why it’s important to you (along with a respectful discussion of the give and take in your own relationship, and your plan of how you’re going to make it work financially). Here are what some people have said about what the value of photography means to them.
We just had a client request a canvas from a picture of her and her husband taken 12 years ago. Her husband recently passed away and that was the only pic they had because they didn’t have them taken often. Even though I’m not happy with how I look, my husband and I had our portraits done recently. I figure I look better now than what I will look in the future when I will like the picture more. ~ Christine
Because parents are always the ones taking the pictures so they never get to be in the pictures. Their kids will want to see pictures of them with their parents when they grow up. ~ Julie
I’m pretty frugal and I justify it by including it in Christmas expenses. I’d rather have updated family pictures than nearly anything else. I feel the same way about other holidays, too. The most important thing on Mother’s Day for me is getting a picture of me with the kids, for our anniversary getting an updated picture of Josh and I, etc. ~ Kim
How this works for us
Obviously my husband and I don’t have friction about photography, but I do have to convince him to take vacations to Florida and this is how it works for us.
Step 1: Give and Take
Every year my husband goes to GenCon because he’s a geek. When I want to go to Florida I remind him of this. He gets to go to GenCon by himself, I get to go to Florida with our family (including him – why is this a discussion you ask? Because his favorite place in the world is the chair in our living room).
Step 2: Financial Plan
I save for two years to go to Florida and I show him where the money is coming from, where we’re cutting corners, and how I’m going to make it happen. It’s hard to argue with that kind of logic. If your husband isn’t a logic junky, this might be trickier.
Step 3: Explain what it means to me
I can wax philosophic about vacations all day. I value them more than life. I remind him also that I’m not asking to move away from Rochester, just to defrost every so often and swim in WARM WATER. It’s a thing!
And magically, we go to Florida and he’s mostly happy about it. Do you see my hot, pregnant, happy self?
What do you think?
I would love to expand this post – what would you like to add or what kind of discussions have you had with your spouse on this topic? Leave a comment below!