Confessions of a Professional Photographer
Now that we've covered the major questions to photographers in general, let's tackle a few just for me. Thank you to everyone who participated on my Facebook post or messaged me with your questions. I covered several of them in my Facebook Live feed, and I'll cover the rest here.
1. What are your pet peeves as a photographer?
I answer this question with some trepidation, because I know that many of my regular clients have done one or more of these over the years. So if that's you, try not to take it personal. :)
"Cute Pic!!" Ugh. I don't really even know why this phrase bothers me as much as it does. I'll try to liken it to something else: A professional chef pours his time, passion, years of education, and sweat (probably literally) into a gourmet dish. A man takes a bite and says, "Yummy snack!" That's the best example I can think of... but seriously, when someone comments "Cute Pic!" on one of my photos, I'm sure they mean it purely as a positive thing, but it just feels a bit like a backhanded compliment.
Unexplained and Unapologetic Lateness As a mom, I absolutely understand that life gets WAY more chaotic with kids. Before my daughter, I was the most punctual person I knew, (which was great for school or job interviews, but not so great when a friend says "The party starts at 7", and it's apparently understood by everyone but me that you come at 8, not 6:50). After having Savannah, I was late to more things in the first couple months of her life than I had been in the entirety of mine. That being said, when it's 15 minutes past a session time, and a client hasn't sent a quick text to let me know they're running late, and then they finally stroll in with maybe a half-assed "apology", that's when I get irked. I see it as a lack of respect for me, my time, and my profession.
Cranky Dads Love is patient. Love is kind. Love means SUCKING IT UP AND ACTING HAPPY FOR 45 MINUTES OF YOUR LIFE SO YOUR WIFE CAN HAVE THE PHOTOS SHE DESPERATELY WANTS. (I'm pretty sure that last sentence is part of the original quote. And if it's not, it should be. Seriously, though. It is that hard?!? We women do things that we don't want to do for you men ALL THE TIME...Rant over. I will say that the vast majority of dads I work with go along with the photos in a relatively neutral or positive attitude. But every now and then, I get that dad who literally pouts more than the kids. And I just want to shake him and say, "This is for the woman you love and for your children and grandchildren who will cherish having these photos to remember you by! I'm so sorry you're missing The Walking Dead right now, but I think your family should be a little more important."... Okay, apparently my rant wasn't quite over. I'm done, I promise.
Not Printing your Photos I covered the reasons behind this in quite a bit of detail in my last blog post, so you can jump over there afterwards. At the end of the day, I can't wrap my brain around why someone would pay hundreds of dollars for photos that they never display. I have a bit of an aversion to many things digital as well. Tablets for middle school kids to do their class work on?! What's wrong with pencils, paper, and a freakin' whiteboard?! Do we honestly need kids to have their faces buried in electronic devices more than they already are?! (I say this as I'm writing a blog on the internet, so I realize the irony.) While I understand the convenience of electronics, I guess I'm "old school" when it comes to certain things, and printing your photos is one of them. A tangible photo that you can hold in your hands and hang on your wall has so much more value than a 3.5" screenshot on your phone. Not to mention a lost phone or crashed computer. All those photos? Gone. Get them printed!!
2. What are some of your all-time favorite photos you've taken?
This is tough because my favorite photos often coincide with my recent sessions. I'm always trying to grow as a photographer and try new things, so when I get that shot that I've been hoping for, I'm particularly proud of it. That being said, here are a few of my favorite photos, some of which are pretty old.
3. When a client comes in, would you prefer they bring their own ideas/props or just rely on yours?
I prefer a bit of both. There's a joke between photographers that always starts with a client saying, "I found this on Pinterest...", and the photographer's hand immediately slaps their forehead. :) While I understand this reaction, I also want to create something that client will cherish, and if they've got something that's especially important or meaningful to them, then I always make that a priority. Do I always love those ideas and props? Nope. Do I know that several things my clients bring in will look bad in photos? Yep. But at the end of the day, these photos are for my clients, not me. That being said, I go into every session with several ideas in my head. In the case of newborn photos especially, I've got several set-ups already laid out by the time the client comes in. One or two of these set-ups are something I'm totally in love with and excited to use. If those set-ups have to get put to the side because the client has brought 5 different things they want to use in the photos, then I'll be a little crushed. So I definitely love the chance to use my creative freedom.
If I have a client who comes into a newborn session and brings nothing with them, I still try to have several color/prop options they can choose from so I don't wind up using something that they don't like at all.
4. Why do you specialize in babies?
I've been doing photography since I was 16. In the beginning, I did lots of sports and nature photography. I'd shadowed a prominent portrait photographer in my town who shot exclusively weddings and high school seniors, and I thought it looked awful. I wrote off the entire realm of "portrait photography" for a long time because of that. As college went on, I tried my hand at several different types, but never found something I was good at, interested in, AND could make a career on. I kept photography as a side gig for over a decade. When my daughter was born, I naturally just started taking photos of her. I fell in love with it. When we moved to Lincoln, my daughter was 1, and I joined a couple Mom's groups to get some friends. I had a "real" job, but decided to volunteer my photography services to those moms to practice my skills. Before I knew it, I was getting kinda good at it, and people were offering to pay me. When I decided to take the leap and start a legitimate business, I knew I wanted to specialize in babies and kids. Hence the name "Genesis Photography".
I love photographing kids for several reasons. They're challenging! Many clients comment during a newborn session, "I can't believe you have the patience for this!" But honestly it doesn't even cross my mind. It's so worth it in the end, and it's a moment that can never be re-lived. And then you move to infants and toddlers, and the challenge gets completely different! :) Another reason I love it is the innocence. I love listening to kids brag about how strong or brave or smart they are. Watching them shamelessly do things that we adults would be way too embarrassed to do in public is so great. :) I love it when those kids say "the darndest things". I still remember asking a big brother during a newborn session if he was excited to have a baby sister. He said, "Yeah, it TOOK long enough!" To which mom replied, "It's not that simple." (Referencing the fact that she had recently gotten married) The son responded, "Well you weren't married to Dad when you had me!" :) That was years ago, and I remember it like it was yesterday. I LOVE going to work, and it's completely because of the clientele I get to photograph. I realize that makes me incredibly lucky, and I'm so grateful. <3
Thank you for reading!!! If you've got any ideas for future blog posts, I'm all ears!! :)