I feel in my profession awkward conversation is sometimes a necessity and has become not uncomfortable for me anymore. Telling someone they have broccoli in their teeth or that their shirt is tucked into their undies instead of their jeans is a make or break deal for me. Those things come easily to me, but there are some that just don't. I read an article awhile ago that took the words right out of my mouth, literally! Her opening statement was "I bring you the ten things that pretty much all photographers in the history of EVER wish you knew" and here are mine:
PLEASE let me do my job! I promise you will be so much happier with your pictures if you just let me do what I know how to do. I know that there may be a car in the background that you don't want there but that is so much easier to fix than lighting. If I tell you we need to change locations and switch everyone around after I just got you all situated it's because neither of us will be happy. You also won't be happy with the way an image looks when you look at them on my camera screen so please just don't ask. I assume you chose me because you like what you've seen. I can tell you all of my work has been done by me alone. Those images are from my brain and my heart and I will do the same for you if you just let me!
You're session means alot to both of us. The time I spend with your family is all that matters at that time. I am 100% yours and I pour everything into making it perfect. When I capture a great shot I get just as excited as I would if it were my family. I truly mean that. These images represent me, my company, everything that I've worked for.
Your kids are NOT the worst I've ever seen...but maybe a close second, I'm KIDDING!! You can have the most well behaved kids on the face of the earth and the minute the stranger comes out with the camera all hell breaks loose. I see it time and time again. You also might email me every day for 2 weeks telling me how nervous you are that your kids won't behave and they cooperate like it's nobody's business. I've had to sit down and get to know kids before they would come within 10 feet of me. I've had kids scream and cry at the sight of me, I've seen it all. I'm a mom so if I haven't seen it at work I've DEFINITELY seen it at home. If things go south and there is no recovery then we reschedule and try again. It's as simple as that. It won't be the first and it won't be the last.
Dads- for the love of all things holy, PLEASE pretend like this is the most fun thing you've done in years. I know long before you get there that most of you would rather walk through red hot coals barefoot than be dressed up taking pictures. I hate to give you the upper hand but your attitude can alter the entire session. I've had this happen oh so many times where dad is grumpy and it puts mom on edge and makes everyone nervous, including me. I know you don't want to be doing this, but your here so lets just make the best of it!
Moms- Don't be so hard on yourself and trust that I will make you look beautiful! I promise I won't put you in a terribly unflattering pose, or take from an angle that you think accentuates your double chin (that no one else sees). Remember I"m a mom too, and I have those same feelings. BUT if I listen to my own advise I often find that even I am surprised by how well someone can camouflage my flaws. You are in good hands with me!
Your session will play over and over in my head for days. The first thing I do when we're done and I've uploaded your images is a sorting process. Image by image I zoom in on faces, angles, lighting. The mood of your session is the mood that plays in the pit of my stomach as I'm sorting and editing. The best thing you can do for your session is to be prepared. I can't fix untrimmed bangs, outgrowth on your hair, jeans that are to short, chipped nails, etc. This is the time I am up close and personal with you so the best time to fix those things are before we find them.
I'm still a nervous nelly even after all these years. Every. Single. Time. It's more of an excited nervous as lighting, location, bugs, things of that nature are somewhat unpredictable. Also the kids. Even though I talked about the fact that we can always try again if they've just had it, it still gets my nerves a little jumpy before hand.
There is nothing more uncomfortable for me than when you make sly remarks about my pricing. When you imply that my prices are to high what I hear is that my work isn't worth what you're paying. There are so many costs to running a business that I don't expect everyone to know about. Taxes, a studio, equipment, websight fees, employing a marketing staff, training, etc. So when I hear someone say "this better be worth it because we're sure paying for it." I have to tell myself that you can't possibly know all the costs in running my small business, smile, and keep doing what I do.
I don't make you wait for pictures any longer than I have to. It is said that highly creative people often run late. While this isn't true for my session times it has been known to happen a time or two when waiting to view pictures. Especially in the fall. I try my hardest to be completely honest with you when our session is over as to how long to expect before you see your images. I am usually pretty accurate but unforeseen things can come up in all our lives and I promise I am working as fast as I can to get them to you. I limit my sessions for the week and work exclusively certain days of the week on just editing.
I literally am on pins and needles waiting to hear what you think of your final images. One simple line telling me you got them and you love them is all I need to put my heart at ease. I am invested in you and your famliy. Even if we physically only spent roughly an hour together you have been on my mind so much more throughout the process of getting the images from my camera to your hands. I want you to love them, and I need to hear that you do.
A little disclaimer, none of the customers featured in this post in any way individually reflect the points I was making.