Some of you may or may not be aware that I have a little photography business going on as well as my Scrapbooker site. I don’t do any major advertising for it and rely mostly on referrals and word of mouth. This works great for me as I get to pretty much pick and choose the projects I want to get involved in.
My youngest daughter attends a fantastic school in Birmingham and my involvement with them on a professional basis has increased over the last 3 years, culminating in a request for me to take their school photos this year. Of course I said yes, but I have to admit, the whole project filled me with fear – their school children range from 6 months to 16 years!
Never work with children or animals, my father used to tell me – bit late for that. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos of children – there is something so captivating about capturing their innocence, naivety and fun; but taking school photos is a completely different animal. You don’t get an hour to play with lighting or angles, you don’t get a arming up session where the children get to know you and be comfortable with you and you don’t get to make the slight adjustments to their posture, pose or facial expression. You get 1/2 hour set-up and about 15 seconds per child, most of that is taken up with seating them correctly, straightening their clothes and attempting to make them smile (of sorts) – they hardly have time to warm the seat!
All things said though, it was enormous fun, albeit exhausting, and has given me a new-found respect for school photographers. We did get some fantastic shots, especially the friendship shots we offered some of the seniors, and the shots of some of the babies and toddlers, although tasking, rewarded us (and the Mums) with some rare photographs of their children actually smiling and not crying. Clearly a result.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! The rewards, both financially and professionally, are well worth it, especially if you are prepared to work long, hard hours and have your patience tested to the max! But I would definitely do some things differently, and that for me is what photography is all about – learning from your experiences and fine tuning them for next time – that is, of course, should there ever be a next time!