There was a time when photographing children and families was all I ever did. It was a fun, fast paced and rewarding time of my life. I would often come home wtih countless stories of the cute kids, the personalities, the tantrums and of course the often difficult parents. Since 2006 my work has focused mainly on portraiture, modeling and music journalism. But from time to time I get a call from someone looking for baby or family portraits to which I am more than happy to oblige.
On this occasion I got a reference from a good friend. The woman who contacted me said that she had seen the pictures I had taken of her and loved them. We began emailing back and fourth and eventually came up with a concept, day and time. The day of the shoot it was hot. Like 90+ degrees hot. Along the way they got lost and arrived a good forty minutes late. Throughout the shoot the mother was sweating and seemed to be in an irritable rush. The Father was agreeable, nice and smiled throughout. The baby, adorable and fascinated with everyone around him. Not yet able to walk on his own he used his hands and feet to move with the precision of Spiderman. We shot the first part of the session in the park before going back to the studio. The baby smiled all the while. The Mother seemed beaten by the extreme heat and I felt a strange sense of being rushed.
Before you knew it we were done taking the studio shots and it was time to view the images and burn the disk. Again she seemed unhappy and rushed. She saw the first few shots and rushed out the door without seeing the entire set or getting her disc. I thought she was unhappy with the experience and the over all results. It turns out she was just fixated on getting back to the car and getting out of the parking garage before the hour was up and she had to pay the extra money. Later that night I emailed the pictures and mailed the disc out the next day. Later that week I got the check and a thank you note in the mail saying “Thank you so much. We loved every single picture.” I was both happy and relieved that I had done a good job. The real bonus was when I say the tip which was 50% of the actual charge. Talk about “customer service”.
It brought me back to the days when I worked for Sears Portrait and Marc Gerard. Not a day would go by without a parent or parents saying “My God, I don’t know how do you do this every day. The kids must drive you crazy.” to which I’d always reply. “It’s never the kids. They’re always a breeze. If there’s ever someone that causes me stress. It’s without a doubt the parents. They’re the ones who always bring the drama.” to which they would always laugh.