Newborn + Kid Portraits Are Not My Jam. And How I Got There.
Babies are the best they said. Kids are so adorable they said. But they didn’t say I’d love taking their photos did they?
But, that’s kinda my MO - no kids. I have kids. And I love my kids. And I love a few other kids out there, but I don’t love all kids. And to be completely honest, I don’t love most kids. Except yours, I’d probably love yours. Probably.
I’ve tried though, really. I had a daycare which I mentioned around here before. It was pretty successful too and remained open for quite some time. The secret? I hired child care providers to actually take care of the kids while I just ran the business side of things. I volunteered at my church for several different youth groups and classes and once, I took “school photos” for a daycare. I’ve taken family photos a multitude of times, a few newborn sessions and I even did a couple of commercial shoots with a whole bunch of kids. I ended up taking a nap right after. A long one. Just like everything else that involves kids, no matter how prepared you think you are, kids can do something to those plans that make you want to crawl under the covers with your laptop and disappear into a Netflix frenzy.
I have a deep respect for teachers, counselors, child care providers, pediatric anything, and anyone else who chooses to be in a profession that involves dealing with, I mean, connecting with kids. It’s hard. My average photo session lasts 30 minutes and sometimes I fit 3 models with 10 outfits in that session. A session with 1 newborn and 1 outfit can take up to 3 hours. Three. Hours.
I’ve found three year old boys have tons of energy they want to share all the time.
Attention spans are about, uh, 30 seconds.
Nap time will always win. Schedule around it. Never try to power through it.
Do not run out of gummy bears before the shoot is over.
Bribery is everything. If you can bring a whole cake, bring it.
Puppets and noise makers make for great attention getters but babies can’t keep their eyes off car keys. Just don’t lose your keys.
Kids are great. Really. But I will stick to working with teens and adults on a regular basis. Less bribery and a little longer attention spans totally work for me. And when people look at me funny when I say, “I don’t shoot babies or kids,” I am totes ok with that.
Knowing your strengths are good. Knowing your weaknesses are beneficial to your business. Recognize them, embrace them, do what you need to do to make sure those weaknesses are taken care of - like hire the child care provider or don’t offer services that involve kids. It’s ok. It’s ok if you don’t like shooting weddings. It’s ok if you don’t like working with models. It’s ok if you only shoot products or street photography. Whatever it is that you like, like that. Do that. You don’t need to do everything, you just need to do what gets you excited about your day. That, my friend, is what makes for a successful day.