Thursday, December 19, 2013

They Paid Me; Does that Make Me a Professional?

It was December 2013. Back before I had my Big Dog Lens (70-200 mm). Back before I met Chuck. Back before I had much experience with a camera. 

I had big first ever family photo shoot for a dear friend. First EVER.

A photo shoot? You're thinking, "But Denise, you're not a professional photographer." Well, I know, but whenever anyone asked me what I would be if I weren't a teacher, I always knew the answer. A professional photographer. 

Friday afternoon, I went to visit with a couple of friends who are middle school teachers during their lunch break. Both were busily attaching pompoms they had made to black hats.

"What in the world?" I asked.  They were making the hats "cuter" for the sixth grade to wear during the middle school's annual Christmas program. They couldn't have the kids wear just any old boring hat, so they were laboriously making them FESTIVE. I like festive, too; I'm just too lazy to sew 135 pompoms on knit hats. 

During our conversation, Sisi mentioned the only gift her mother wanted was a family portrait from her. Kimberly suggested I take their pictures, if I weren't busy the next day. 

"I wouldn't mind doing it...but what if they're crappy?"  We all laughed, and then Sisi convinced me to give it a try. The pictures would be better than nothing, and really, it's all her mother wanted.  
"I'll even pay you," she said, and after a moment, she added, "But not if they're crappy!"

"I'm sure I can get you at least ONE good picture for your mom," I said as I left. I was pretty sure. 

We had so much fun. I was a little worried. Their sweet baby is little, and the weather was cold. We tromped through the snow to a shed. We tromped through the snow to some snow-covered pines. The big kids were good sports, and the baby even laughed. Poor husband was missing a big college football game, but even he managed to smile a little. We knew it was time to go when the little one's nose was as red as a cherry.

We spent a little over an hour in the late afternoon sun, and we managed to get a couple of decent shots.

I learned some important things in my cramming before the session, and during the shoot, and after we were done while I was editing. A friend shared that an ISO of 200 would give me good saturation of color; it was perfect! Another photographer friend suggested shooting in the shade. Letting the baby play with something, say, her daddy's toothbrush, kept her happy. Prying it from her fingers turned out to not be a good idea, so we let her keep it. You can hardly see it in most of the shots! After it was all said and done, and we were reviewing the pictures, I realized I have much to learn about taking a group's pictures. Posing groups is a challenge.

When we piled back into the car, I looked over at Mr. Dad, and said, "See?  That wasn't so bad."

He started the Suburban, looked at me with a deadpan expression, and said, "Well, it wasn't horrible." I'll take it!

All's well that ends well.  The family has a picture for Grandma Mary Dell, her only request for Christmas.  I can now say I am a professional photographer. Well, at least I was one, for a day, and that made me very happy.  


  1. You got some really cute shots, Denise!!!

    1. Thank you, Janna! It was just as fun as I had hoped it would be!

  2. Congratulations, Denise! You did an AWESOME job with these portraits!!

    1. Thank you, Carol, for all of your support and help!


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