Monday, September 03, 2007
Is this for me?
I had my very first family portrait session this weekend as part of my business. I did it for free to get the experience, and I felt really good about being able to do that because it was such a sweet, new family. But boy, was it a learning experience.
First, I stressed for weeks about how to get a 15 month-old to be happy in the pictures. I thought I'd considered everything. Let the family pick a place familiar to them: check. Bring toys for distraction: check. Start early to avoid the heat: check. Have the baby dressed in something comfortable: check. But oh man, the things I just don't understand about kids....
This kid was teething. I know that means they're usually unhappy, but this kid was PISSED. He really didn't want to be there. And also? I thought having the photos at a playground near their house would be a good idea, but this poor guy had never been to a playground before. I never would have thought that would be a factor. I had them race down side-by-side slides to get him loosened up but it terrified him and his parents were totally uncomfortable doing it. I had his dad put him on his shoulders, but I don't think that had ever happened before either, so again I misjudged. And worst of all, I didn't account for the fact that the grass would be totally wet. So I took a kid who was unhappy to start with, I made him go down a slide, then I made his behind wet. It was just this side of disasterous.
And did I ever beat myself up over this whole thing. I stressed about it like you wouldn't believe. And then I got to my computer to see what I had and I found that even in the pictures where baby was actually looking at the camera (not one single smile), most of them found the dad with his eyes closed. I'm just heartbroken over the whole thing because I really wanted to do something nice for these people, and I desperately wanted it to be a good experience.
When all was said and done, I found just 2 family pics that I liked, and I sent those with a mess of others that they might like (baby alone, baby on shoulders, baby looking adorable with mom). And then I waited. And waited. And then I got a very kind email from Mom thanking me for my time, but basically they didn't like the pictures. I nearly cried. I so wanted to do a good job for them....
Then I lost sleep, wondering if this business is for me after all. And I adore my husband, but I was afraid him telling me I did a good job was because he just wanted me to feel better about it.
I don't know. I'm having serious doubts about this whole thing, and I really don't want to base it on this one experience, but I'm having nightmares. Last night I dreamed I showed up for my Oct 5th wedding and the wedding place told me I wasn't on their approved photographer list.
Did I make a mistake? I hope not.
At the very least, my Photoshop skills are stellar (can you see the fix I made? Hint: I hope it makes the Mom very happy and its the same thing all magazines do to supermodels...):
I'm Amanda. I'm an engineer in an industry full of men, a professional wedding and family portrait photographer, a firefighter's wife, a traveler, and a dogMa.