Yesterday was a great day. I received texts from two friends who wanted pictures taken. I said yes. And, then schedules promptly collided. They both asked for 11:00am. What to do?
I learned a lot from my experience yesterday and if even one 'take away' helps you somehow, my mission here is accomplished.
Don't overbook. I ended up with two shoots yesterday, back to back. It all worked out but it could have been a disaster. Sometimes it just can't be helped and I made the best of it.
Kids. When kids are involved, time must remain fluid. I learned I had better be flexible. Ask your client what part of the day is best for their child and respect that. Look for the moment when the child is done with you. Don't push your luck. I always want to leave on a good note so hopefully I'll be invited again.
Patience. It's one of my best virtues, if I may say so myself. Whether working with kids or difficult adults, patience is a tool that will serve you well in all situations. I'm not just talking photography here.
Listen and Watch Body Language. Don't intrude into other peoples' (even small children) space if it makes them uncomfortable. Yesterday, I watched a 22 month old little person get comfortable with me when I sat on the floor and got down to her level. This works with dogs, too. Be mindful of this, always.
Ask. I realized yesterday one of my shortcomings is asking people what they want. I know what I want when I'm snapping images. I'm always looking for what my husband calls "the money shot". I'm beginning to understand that it is different for everyone. See the look on this little boy's face? I shouted for joy when it popped up on my screen. This session was a maternity shoot and while I got nice pics of the family, this one is my fave. I wish I was better with editing to take the shadow from mama's face. It would truly be my "money shot" for the day! My first shoot mentioned while I was working that she was looking for an image she could use on a Christmas card. I took 128 images and narrowed it down to about 30. I can only hope she finds one that is exactly what she is looking for. Note to self: ask what they want!
Location. This is something I need to learn to talk about right up front with people, before we set a time. I prefer to work with natural light and have yet to pop my flash on anyone. I love to shoot anywhere people are most comfortable and for a majority, it's home. With kids, I don't think you can go wrong at the park. There are many places to choose from around here and today I will start a file so that when people ask, I'll have choices.
What to wear. Last year I did a shoot where the guy showed up with a big grease stain on his shirt. I'm not that great of an editor and I left it in the pics and chalked it up to experience. Another time, I had a woman lean up against a tree and it left bark on her sweater. Oops! Yesterday, everyone had great coordination but not because of me. I'll be adding it to my list of what to talk about when setting up a shoot. Color coordination.
Know when to stop. I never know exactly how many images I'll shoot when I go out. I tell people that we can usually get good images in 20 to 30 minutes. I don't wear a watch but I have an innate sense of time and I have a 6th sense about people and when they are tired of smiling. If I get 20 great images out of 100 snaps, I'm super happy. Knowing when to stop when I get home and start editing is what I need to work on. It can take me 2+ hours to edit a 20 minute shoot.
Enjoy what you do. This applies to photography, writing, washing the dishes, or whatever it is I am doing right now. Be present. Put the phone away. Chisel out the time I need to enjoy the here and now.
I write this today because I was so jazzed up last night after doing what I really love to do that I could hardly contain it and I don't want to forget the things I need to do to improve and make my hobby more enjoyable. I wish I could take people pictures every weekend but the reality is that I might start thinking of it as a job rather than a hobby I enjoy so much.
If anything I've written here has been helpful, or you have tips you can share with me, I'd truly love to hear from you. Leave me a comment and I promise I'll read it!