What's it like behind the camera?
Do I love working as a newborn photographer?
I'll start by saying there's a lot more to being a newborn photographer than clicking the shutter button on a camera! Having a small business means you will likely wear many hats. You're the accountant, the marketing team, the client manager, the sales rep, the founder and CEO, the photographer and so much more! I am one of the lucky ones who has now introduce a trusted friend to the team, so now I wear the employer hat too!
In terms of the technical side, not only do you need to know exactly how your camera functions, but you have to learn the fundamentals of lighting, composition, posing clients, using backgrounds, foregrounds, and colour co-ordination to completely enhance the image and tell a story. The story of femininity for mothers, the story of innocents and purity in children and the dynamic within each individual family.
It took me a while to learn the fundamentals of lighting and camera work, this can take years to understand and perfect, as you need to have a trained eye to see where light is falling and what is correctly exposed within the frame. Learning the camera options really broadens your ability to create something special, as each setting effects something such as focus or what we call depth of field, and overall light in the image which can affect the vibrance in a shot. Getting it right when capturing images is so important as there's only so much you can do in photoshop before it becomes artificial, worse yet sometimes when you make a mistake you cannot undo it. Over the years I have tried to pick up every trick I can get my hands on, as I really believe in this field of work in particular knowledge is a superpower!
Another aspect I wanted to master straight away was styling. This is a whole other world, and there are countless tricks and tips when it comes to colour matching, co-ordination, knowing when to break the rules! I can safely say I have enough props to open a second hand store! And I have to exercise restraint every time I see a cute basket, or fill layer! The trick is to ask myself, do I need it and would my clients really be disappointed if I didn't have it? And the answer is always no, as long as we have some items to work with, memories of their family is the goal, and the props are the bonus! I have a great range of props and styling items to create various looks that everyone is happy with.
WORKING WITH CHILDREN & BABIES
In terms of working with children, I have had some clients and friends say to me, "wow you would have to have a lot of patience to do this job!" I would strongly agree. Being a newborn or family photographer means you have to be extremely patient, you are in a studio for up to three hours at times, with a toddler, sleep deprived parent/s and a newborn! You have to make sure everyone's needs are met, in order to reduce stress and to create a peaceful experience. I would be lying if I said that every session was smooth, the baby was settled, the toddler played quietly in the corner and we left earlier than expected. Sometimes babies have upset tummy's the toddler's snacks have run out and playing with toys isn't cutting it and tensions can begin to run high very quickly. You have to get good at seeing that coming, and finding ways of making sure you can minimize stress and breakdown the issues at hand. It is also healthy to accept that there is only so much you can do. We adopt great tricks and techniques when working with children and babies, but sometimes this simply won't work, and you have to do the best you can. understanding we are working with children and not setting super high expectations is very important. As a photographer I understand many children aren't aware of what's happening, and it is my job to make sure I am on everyone's level, so they feel comfortable.
While we have an unsettled baby in the studio it is often that parents are worried about me rather than myself feeling stressed. They are convinced surely I am becoming impatient and I want to just get it over with and go home, but it is the complete opposite! I have always looked at my session's from the baby's perspective, they have no idea where they are or what's going on, therefore I have to make conscious decisions to ensure they're comfortable, fed, warm and feel safe, in order to proceed without disturbing them! As a parent there is nothing worse than having your child misbehave when you're out, It takes a lot of patience to get through those situations, especially if you feel you may being judged, or you're causing stress for others.
BEING A PARENT MYSELF
I remember having my daughter's 6 month portraits taken and she was not an agreeable party to say the least! The photographers reassured me all is fine, they didn't seem to be bothered at all! Which shocked me. They carried on as if nothing was wrong and capture some adorable shots, looking at them regularly I barely remember how upset she was.
On that note I find being a parent is definitely a key player in my understanding of how children and parents operate. It's not until you become a parent that you understand what it feels like to walk in on your 3yr old son pouring an entire bottle of washing liquid all over freshly washed clothes, standing there with his hands up like oh my gosh I honestly have no idea how this happened, while copious amounts of washing liquid drips off his shirt, or being vomited on more times than you can count while being half asleep, having to go to work in three hours! Thankfully I am used to this, and I am able to understand that kids don't know any better they are just learning or they can't control certain things in terms of their emotion. For that reason I try to always see the funny side (either that or I've gone mad, I'll stick with the first explanation for now).
I often have open conversations with my clients about the stress and joys of parenting, as I think it's important especially for first time parents to know that not only is all of this normal, but it's important not to be scared to reach out and talk about the struggles without feeling pressure to be the "perfect parent".
CLEINTS ARE IMPORTANT
All in all I find the best thing about being a photographer is, you form a relationship with the clients, after all you are capturing the most vulnerable members of their family! I feel a level of trust goes a long way here, being able to show them that they can feel comfortable, and relax is so important, as well as being able to have a laugh. It makes the whole experience better for everyone I believe. Even I walk out with a smile!
Of course this blog would be incomplete without discussing the whole reason we do this, the products! The finished product is essentially the end result of our photography sessions. Understanding that from the moment a client books a session, they value the idea of having these important memories more than words can explain. Being able to have tangible memories of your family is like putting your love in an accessible time capsule. It is a proud moment to walk past the frames hanging humbly in the hallway, or displayed boldly in the living area for all to see, either way it will surely evoke emotion each and every time you catch a glimpse! Every time a client reacts to their gallery and says wow I love it! It truly warms my heart as I feel like I've created something for them that they love dearly.
Like all businesses getting it right is not always easy, and it can definitely be deflating when an issue with a client occurs, however I strive to view these moments as a learning curve and not just as a failure. Often times I say to myself I am glad this has happened now, as I can learn from and I will know what not to do! Overall my experience is definitely a lot more positive as a newborn photographer. I am very passionate and I feel it is extremely for filling. Being able to create a business off the ground is not easy, but I will be able to show my children how to become resilient and to set goals that they want to strive for.
To answer the question, yes! I do.