Why it’s harder to be your own photographer.

So maybe not every understands this concept, but when you’re a photographer you like taking pictures of everything. You can see it in my work, all of the things around me, whether it’s kids, family, motorcycles, the beautiful outdoors. There’s one problem with taking pictures of all of those things… I like to take pictures of my own, particularly myIMG_6659.jpg and family. Have you ever noticed that your kids never want to pose and smile for the camera when you try? It’s not because you’re not a professional photographer, it is because you are their parent. As a professional photographer, I have tricks to make the little ones smile (even the big ones), and I have toys to make them smile, and I have all the patience in the world when it comes to people. But no matter what I try to do, I fail at getting my own children to put on their best smile in front of the camera.

You’ve probably experienced the exact same thing with your own kids and family. It’s because they are your own! If you’re like me, you probably hear from your child’s teacher how great they are, and how sweet they are. Or maybe the other parents in the neighborhood say the same thing about your little ones. You thank them, and then you are screaming inside your head, they are crazy! Because you know that as soon as you get back to your own home with your kid, there’s going to be a melt-down over a bug flying by, or a few time-outs in a row because they are being mean to their sibling. Somehow these little creatures figure out at a young age to put on their best face for strangers over the people that love and care for them. It’s mind-boggling. But it appears to be nature unfortunately. My point being, even as a professional, I can’t get the best smiles out of my children. So it doesn’t matter how much planning goes into a shoot or how beautiful the outfits are, or even how excited the kids seem to be leading right up to it, it is likely going to fail to some degree.

Knowing this information, why would anyone be surprised that they don’t get the best results when they are trying to be their own photographer in their own pictures? We’re our own worst critic, so that probably doesn’t help either. When I shoot kids and families, I’m shooting non-stop, even between poses, because I know I could catch a tiny little moment of perfection doing that. When I shoot my own family, I’m too worried about my daughter not picking her nose, while I try to get my son to look at the actual camera. And forget it if I’m in the picture with them, because you can see it all over my face that I’m not relaxed for the camera, I always look forced and awkward trying to rush a shot. Sure, I occasionally pull off a great family photo, or great portraits of my own kids, but it’s definitely harder than someone else’s kids.

My Mother said it best after my daughter was born,”Your kids will always be their best in front of everyone else, but that’s all that really matters, that they know when to behave and listen when they’re away from you”. True, but clearly frustrating as the parent.

Even professional photographers have to hire a photographer sometimes, especially when it comes to their own families. If you want to have great pictures of you or your kids, consider the trade-off of “doing it yourself” vs hiring a local photographer to capture them for you. You may be surprised at how much more cooperative your family and kids will be with someone else behind the camera instead of you. And I can promise, it will be a lot less stressful on you during the shoot. Sure you’ll still be worried about what your kids are doing, but the photographer will be able to capture the fun in what’s happening and not just the frustrating parts. The picture on the right above is one of my favorites from my own family Easter photos, because everyone is happy, and that just shows my son’s personality of “I’m going to do my own thing, I’ll be close by, but I’m going to do my own thing, and I’m going to have my binky in and hold your keys while I do it”.

For as many reasons as you can talk yourself out of hiring someone else to take photos of you and your family, even though you may have a perfectly good camera, I can give you the same or more why you can benefit from involving someone else. Sure you have to overcome some possible creative differences, but those can be worked out. And in the end, it’s all about creating a beautiful portrait for you to cherish, and that’s what we’re here to help you do.

-Ronnie Sunker

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