As a baby photographer for the last 7 years, I’ve come across quite a few myths about being a professional photographer. There seem to be some common ideas out there which aren’t quite accurate so I thought I’d put together a blog post to dispel some of the most common myths I’ve heard. Here are my top 5! I hope they help you better understand what being a photographer is really like.
Baby Photography Myth #1 – “You make a fortune!”
Many people see the relatively expensive price tag of quality professional newborn photography (or most types of photography for that matter!) and assume that we’re raking it in. Of all the myths, this is the one I wish were true! Sadly, once you factor in the high cost of doing business (camera, lenses, studios, lighting equipment, insurance, professional memberships, education, software, products… the list goes on an on!), and the large amount of time not only photographing, but also editing and delivering those images to your clients, the result is not as pretty as the number you started with. The tricky thing about photography is that our clients only see a small window into the image making process. The actual taking of the images and clicking the shutter is the easy part.
Baby Photography Myth #2 – “You spend all your time photographing babies”
Sure, the actual part of my job where I get to photograph sweet little babies is my favourite part. But is it what I spend most of my time doing? Alas, no. A few years back I came across this hilarious graph posted by another photographer friend of mine on Facebook. I think it just about sums it up. In addition to being a photographer, most of us are a one-stop-shop. We are business owners, we do our own admin and marketing, taxes and ordering. We wear many hats. As a result, the actual percentage of our work day actually spent taking pictures is far less than most people might assume. (I still wouldn’t mind a bit more Travelling to Exotic Locations and Partying Like A Rockstar though! haha)
Baby Photography Myth #3 – “Photographing Babies Must Be So Relaxing”
As much as I love babies, and I adore photographing them. It’s no walk in the park! A lot of the session (particularly for newborn sessions) is spent getting the baby happy – fed, content, changed, and hopefully asleep. Sometimes for the average 3 hour newborn session, we spent 2/3 of the time rocking, shushing, feeding just to get baby happy for long enough to get enough photos to make up the gallery. I’m not going to lie. It’s sometimes a stressful job. Babies do what they want to do on their own timeline. It’s physically and mentally demanding and as much as I love my job, there’s no way I’d call it relaxing! Ask any client of mine and they will tell you, when we get baby happy I tend to go into a “zone” where I am so focused on what I’m doing and achieving the best photos I can I stop chatting. No relaxation here!
Baby Photography Myth #4 – “Your studio always looks immaculate”
Don’t let my beautiful studio interior with it’s white walls and pristine presentation fool you. Though it may start out this way at the beginning of every session, by the end of all newborn and baby photography sessions it always looks like a tornado has been through there. I’m talking laundry. Lots and lots of laundry. Blankets and wraps with baby poo. Me sweating like I’ve been running a marathon (often also covered in all sorts of baby fluids). My bin overflowing with nappies, wipes, coffee cups and more. Though the photos I display for the world to see are pretty. The behind the scenes definitely isn’t!
Baby Photography Myth #5 – “You must just have a really good camera”
Of all the myths that I hear. This one is probably the most frustrating for any professional photographer to hear. The idea that the only difference between someone who has spent years learning and perfecting their craft, and the complete novice walking down the street is how good a camera they have. Honestly? It’s pretty offensive. I can’t tell you the amount of times I’ve heard comments like these over the years. Yes, having a good professional-grade camera and lenses does help… but being a good photographer is more about the person behind the camera and their experience than anything. A story one of my first photography teachers told years ago really brought this home to me:
About 20 years ago this lady was commissioned by Qantas to photograph the Taj Mahal for promotional and marketing images. On the train on the way to the Taj Mahal she had fallen asleep, and when she woke up she realised she had been robbed. All her equipment had been stolen. She was on a tight deadline for these images and had no way to source a new camera in time. What did she do? She bought one of those old instant film cameras. The result? Qantas were thrilled with her image. It graced the covers of many travel magazines and was exhibited. All this from an instant film camera.
It’s not the camera… Cameras these days are all amazing. It’s the photographer. So please… stop saying it’s “just the good camera”. Photographers all around will rejoice!
Did I miss any other top baby photography myths? I’d love to hear more! Comment below 🙂