I Hate Being A Photographer On Holidays

Please do not get me wrong. I do not mind making images, in fact I love it. When it comes to friends and family I like to become part of the background and capture moments. The best images I have ever made are me spending time, a lot of time, with my children and being ready to get the shot. The shot with the right moment, in the right light, with the right composition. Pure photo magic. This is what I like.

When you are the photographer on holidays, especially a photographer that shoots people pictures as opposed to a product photographer or a landscape photographer it is probably a lot like being a dermatologist, or a dentist, or a general practitioner at a party. "Hey Bob, could you take a second and make a picture of us with the girls in their Easter dresses?. We have 14 seconds until we need to eat and we have to change them before that".

The issue here is the subconscious or even conscious expectations that somehow with no prep, no lighting, no background that you are somehow going to magically press that little button on your "good camera" and a bunch of people are going to look fantastic like they do in the images you make for money. You know the ones where you are directing pro models, spent days scouting a location, and have a couple of assistants getting the light just right.

To tell you the truth I just grin and bear it at this point. I do my duty. I don't even try to deal with lights or reflectors. Heck I don't even try to deal with backgrounds. The only thing I do at all is shoot quick and use a couple of my tricks to somehow get the "posed" group to actually interact with each other in some sort of natural way. I let them sit anywhere they want, I let them pose anyway they want. I don't even try to influence some sort of plastered on smile. I be my normal sarcastic self and typically verbalize my inner thoughts about all the horrific things that are going on in the frame at that moment.

Of course I tone these down a bit and in a lot of cases I direct them to the kids in the photo. I may even use hyperbole to make what I see bad even more ridiculous. Sooner rather than later I get some interaction. I get a real and genuine reaction. The kids think I am hilarious. "Uncle Bob, you are silly".

Do your duty.


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