Few people realize how important it is to find a photographer who specializes in their craft. I have specialized as a Utah Child Photographer since 2006.
We think that we want a photographer who can do it all! Right? WRONG.
Would you want a doctor who could do it all or would you rather go to a dentist to get your teeth fixed and a heart surgeon to get a triple bypass surgery? I wouldn’t want a dentist inside my chest. I like that a dentist spends his entire day gazing into disgusting mouths, so that when my mouth comes his way, he can fix it fast and efficiently with all the right tools and experience needed. I would sure hate to come away from my triple bypass surgery with dentures.
Truth is, the SAME is for PHOTOGRAPHERS! It takes a different skill set, equipment, lighting and experience to master being a Utah Child Photographer in comparison to a commercial photographer. I would much rather go to a newborn photographer who does ALL newborns than a photographer who photographs mostly couples but will do a newborn because they need the money.
The needs, atmosphere and experience are entirely different, making the outcome completely different!
Can I photograph weddings? ABSOLUTELY! I can honestly photograph just about anything people related. Truth is, I specialize as a Utah Child Photographer because that is where my heart, passion and joy is.
When I started in photography I photographed anything I could get my camera on because I wanted the experience and every dollar I could get for using my fancy camera.
Early photographers starting out do this because essentially they are in their ‘photography residency’.
Once you get clear on the ‘why’ behind what you are photographing it becomes easy to specialize. It is sometimes SCARY to specialize as a photographer because you feel you are turning away work when you focus on one or two facets of photography.
Photographers see other photographers having wild success in their specialty and so they question if they should too photograph that wedding inquiry that came in because ‘so and so’ is doing amazing and they photograph weddings, so maybe I should too.
The honest to goodness truth is when you specialize and get to be the best in that industry, this is when you become recognized. It is really hard to become the best at more than one or two specialties simultaneously. If you photograph everything, you photograph nothing.
Choose your favorite, focus on it, become the best and watch magic happen. Referrals start to happen. People start being able to recognize your work.
I found my specialty when I finally embraced my why. You can read about my story under the ‘start here tab.’ Families and children are my specialty because I know how important they are from first hand experience.
The only picture I have of all three of my children had to be drawn because my oldest son was in an accident that took his life before his sister was born. The day he died, I knew I wanted to give to others what I wished I could give to myself. More than the perfect portrait but the stories behind the smiles.
It became easy to pass on all the other potential work when I realized the entire reason I do what I do is to stay connected to my son, giving to others this precious gift I so badly wished I could have myself.
If I could go back one more day to get all the good, bad, happy and sad of my sweet Baby James there is no dollar amount I would not pay to capture another day.
Heaven only takes a few children, but time takes them all.
My why was to give to others what I wished I could give to myself. More than the perfect portrait but the story behind the smiles.
By far some of my favorite kids to photograph. Can I say that? I don’t think that is as bad as saying you have a favorite child. But honestly, look at these little ones. Annie is the easiest little girl on the universe to photograph.
1.)Always have a treasure box for kids to choose a toy from to begin your session. This puts you in immediate friend/safe zone.
2.) Get on their level. Talk about their life. Don’t tower over them.
3.)Best way to get a child to smile for photos is to simply ASK them questions! I talk about the most recent holiday and what they did. I ask them about their teacher and best friends and boyfriends and girlfriends. Get them talking and take your camera away from your eye and look at them while they talk. Sneak your camera back to your face and grab a few photos of the cuties before they realize what you are doing.
4.)Bribe. I always bribe. I always have smarties. I don’t hold on to the bribe to the end. I give them little hits of positive reinforcement. For every good thing a kid does I give them one or two smarties with a promise of a whole pack at the end. Works like a charm.
5.)Let the child be boss. They tell you what to do! Kids love this and it gets them in a happy mood. I usually do this at the end as one of my last tactics because it’s hard to turn it back around once a kid feels like they are the boss.
6.) Follow the leader. I follow the kids and then they follow me. It’s just one big playdate.
7.)The minute you put on expectations for a child to behave you officially lose as a child photographer. Let kids be kids. Mom and Dad, let your kids be themselves. If you have a child who is somber or shy don’t expect them to be the rambunctious showoff that hams it up for the camera. We want to capture YOUR child.
8.) Favorite is to ask a kid to tell you a joke in kitty cat or doggy or elephant. It gets them thinking about what the are doing, not what you are doing.
9.)Bring WATER! Super easy to get grumpy when yo are thirsty.
10.)Always start out with a handshake and a high five. It introduces you to the kids. Don’t be a stranger. By the end they should feel like the photographer is their new best friend.
I would love to chat with you to see if we are a great fit to work together. Head over to my contact page to get ahold of me.
We do things a bit differently than other Utah Child Photographers. For every client who hires us we gift a good grief photo shoot to a family who has lost a child.
For more examples of my work, check out my youtube channel:-)
Have a Happy day!