Understanding someone else’s job is a pretty tricky thing really. We all have preconceptions about what other jobs are like.
Don’t get me started on the theory that teaching is a 9am – 3pm!
It’s the same with photographers. I think we’re really a bit of a misunderstood breed. And so to try and enlighten you all, I’ve put together a guide describing what it's like to be at our side of a session. Hopefully, it will alleviate some of your worries about what a session involves and give you a glimpse into a day in the life of not so little ‘ol me!
1. You’re nervous, I’m nervous, we’re all a bit nervous.
So you arrive at the session.
You're in the car feeling somewhat nervous.
You’re worried the kids won’t show themselves at their best.
Your other half isn’t totally thrilled about it all.
And...you’re not convinced you picked the best outfit to wear (despite having laid out ten different possibilities and gone with your first choice after all!).
I get it.
And here’s the thing - I’m nervous too!
I will have been prepping for your session for a good few nights beforehand and my head will be swimming with where we will go, how I’ll move you from one pose to another and what methods I’ll use to get the very best shots of your kids.
However, once we get started and we all relax a bit the nerves will subside and things will start to flow. Remember, we’re here to have fun.
2. Go with the flow and let me guide you.
I have total respect for the fact that you (or more likely your other half) would have done your research before coming along and you'll know the photography basics. Some of you will have your own cameras and be pretty damn fantastic yourself but please trust me to place you where I see it working.
There will always be a reason for my choice of position and pose. You may have your own ideas of poses that you would like which we'll have discussed beforehand but try to allow me to direct the session, relax and go with the flow.
3. All kids are a little nuts.
You know when you go to a parents evening and the teacher describes your child as hard working, polite and well behaved? Then you look at each other and wonder whether they have the right kid? Same applies here.
Kids will always respond better for someone else.
They all have their own little quirks and little ways and I’m used to that! Not only that, I love that each one is a proper individual, it’s what makes my job interesting and challenging at the same time. Your kids will get a bit hyper, but that’s ok because sometimes we need that to get fun shots.
I’ll calm them down so you don't have to worry about a thing! Let them be cheeky and funny and wild for an hour. There is very little they can say or do that will horrify me.
It’s equally ok if they are shy. We’ll take our time to bring them out of themselves and there are ways we can capture them without them necessarily being too far away from you.
4. Daddy, be cool!
Ok Dad’s, I get it. You are soo not up for this. I rarely get a Dad who is actually looking forward to the perceived trauma of a session but I also rarely get one that doesn’t enjoy it just a little. It’s one little hour out of your life and we will make it as fun for you as possible. See it as an hour to play with your kids without any distractions. Make some memories, when you see the images you won’t even remember that you were feeling a bit blah about it all.
5. Mums are all self-conscious.
I haven’t worked with a single mum yet who isn’t self-conscious when it comes to being in the photographs. I’m just as bad when it’s my turn in front of the camera. Have faith in the fact that you will be placed in a flattering way in nice light and you will be photographed from a good angle. And remember to be in the moment and have fun too. Connections and emotions are what we’re looking – they make the best images to hang on any wall!
6. This session is super important to me too.
I know how much time you will have taken over this session. You will have trawled the internet looking for the right photographer. You will have planned and possibly even shopped to ensure your clothes are all coordinated and looking great. You will have had a stressful time getting everyone out of the door with perfect clothes and hair and clean faces and you’ll probably not have has nearly as much time to do your own hair and make-up as you would have liked.
I totally get how much is invested in this session at your end but believe me it is more than equaled at the photographers end too. Photographers want to impress you, they want to nail that perfect shot again and again, they want you to love what they created for you and when you share it with your friends and families they want it to be of the highest quality and the best possible representation of their work.
We care. Big time!
7. I wait on tenterhooks to hear what you think of them.
This is both the most exciting and most excruciating part of being a photographer. You send off a sneak peek or a finished gallery and then your stomach starts to churn.
It’s like waiting for a text from a rubbish boyfriend back in the day.
You cannot take your eyes off your phone. Please, please, put your photographer out of their misery and send a quick text to let them know what you think. We are fragile individuals who like to know that we have pleased you!
And that's it for this little insight. There are many many other things I could bore you with, about what it's really like to be a photographer but all in good time my friend!