Is Photography A Good Investment?

Some time ago, I wrote a post on the value of photography as an investment.  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.  That makes it the perfect time to revisit the post-with just a few updates…

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 50” 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 to look of your den.

The third option would be a portrait of your kids. Let’s say they are 12 and 14, like my kids. You decide on a nice gallery-wrapped canvas portrait to hang over the fireplace – something that goes beyond what they look like and shows their personalities.

Looking Ahead

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!

dallas portrait

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 50” unit. If you DO still have it, you would be hard pressed to get $25 for it at the garage sale.

laughing child portrait

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.



What do you think?  Have you had similar experiences?  Leave a comment and let me know!


  1. Thomas

    I love this post.

    When I got divorced my children were very young.

    Not being able to see them every day simply broke my heart and for years I couldn’t watch their photos. It was very emotional thing for me. But I knew that I must cherish each and every moment. So I bought a small digital camera which I used to carry with me all the time.

    Today when they come to visit me we sit and watch the videos and photos together.

    Thank you so much for writing this post.

    Have a great weekend,

    • Larry

      So true Thomas. Its always kind of a pain to drag a camera around everywhere you go – but you are always SOOO thankful years later.

  2. Maggie

    Such a great post! Wish more people realized how important truly professional portraits are to their legacy. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Jean Huang

    Larry, just the kind of argument I would make to my clients. Nicely said!

    Could I post the link to my FB page and the content (of course link back to you) on my blog?

    Thank you in advance,


  4. photosfashion

    Le portrait est la mémoire du temps, la valeur est dans les yeux de celui qui regarde l’image, on devrait tous se faire photographier avant de mourir .

  5. A brilliant thinking about understanding the values behind a moment captured through photography. Requires sensitivity of a photographer in capturing spontaneous expression Who can portray someone’s personality even those closest to did not realize it. Showing the clients could expect the unexpected which is the priceless moment of they family’s members.

  6. I bought my first 35mm Minolta in 1984 and haven’t stopped taking pictures since then. It is so true what you write and I’ve been telling everyone for so many years, “Take pictures of your kids at least once a week” Corny saying, but to say every day would be too much. I’m glad I did.

    • Larry

      You can always buy a sofa. You can only take pictures of your 12 year old for one year. It gets away faster than most people realize.

  7. You got it right! Photography has faced inflation because of all the gadgets and digital cameras at every home.

    Still, great portraits should be in value as they have been earlier and that is why great photos need great a photographer to take them.

  8. About once a month I read this, its a good reminder of just how valuable our photography is. Its something we need to keep in mind when pricing our own work.

    I actually have this link in every email I send. :)

    Thank you Larry!


  9. I love the spirit of this post. I try and tell my clients the same thing all the time, it’s so worthwhile to spend good money on your portraits/photography. It’s something that lasts a lifetime and more.

  10. Wow….beautiful portfolio it is.

    Investing money in photographs is such an amazing idea. Creating portraits of our special moments and letting hang them on the wall, reminds us about our old memories which can’t come back. And the portraits also increase the show of our home.

    Thanks for the share :)

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