My A-HA moment!
Years ago I was scheduled to photograph a family in their home to take some photos for their holiday cards. I arrived, set up.. the kids were being silly and showing me all their stuff.... All was going pretty good but dad was running behind schedule... no biggie! He came home later than plan, rushed into the door, took off upstairs, the wife followed him, while I chatted with the kids and continued to take their portraits. Everything was running smooth & I was really happy with the flow of the session. Relaxed kids.. easy going smiles.. boys being boys and then it was like someone flicked off the switch..
In fact,someone did flick the switch.. the atmosphere switched from relax to high stress in a moments notice when Dad returned to the living room.. he shot a very specific "behave look" to his boys.. at one point, giving the "squeeze on the shoulder" to the oldest boy to stand up straight.. I was then asked if this would take long.. no.. not at all.. Took the last few shots they wanted and I was on my way.
Out the door went the carefree holiday family session.. to one of a very controlled nature.. The kids stood proper, I took the shots needed, but as I worked through the images back at the office.. I could clearly see the easy going kids vanish from my screen and transform into a very prim & proper crew with their now pasted on smiles! It was all too fake!
The family loved their photos, heard rave reviews, received a Christmas card in the mail but, that was definitely not the session I envisioned. It's not the first family for me where I saw the stress levels change in a nano-second however, I knew that one would be the last. I realized in a moment what a game changer that session was, causing me to go back & refocus my energies on my original business plan. The reason why I loved photographing families was for connection and authenticity, thankful that more than 5 years have passed and my A-ha moment has not changed, that I'm dedicated to photographing authenticity over "poised & proper". What's your A-ha moment as a parent? as a business owner.. I'd love to hear it.