Every time someone new comes in my house I hear the same thing, “Wow, you’re like a REAL photographer.” I want to reply, “what did you think I was lying?” Instead I just smile. My living room has four 36×40 inch prints decorating the fireplace wall. One for each child and one of my husband and I. It sounds excessive until you see the height of my vaulted ceilings or you hear me talk about my family. Family portraits are a way we communicate what is most valuable to us, and my large photos are making two statements. One, I LOVE my family enough to hang life size portraits of them in my home and I am definitely a REAL family portrait photographer.
Too many times though, I tell people, “I’m a Seattle Family Portrait Photographer” and they roll their eyes. I’m positive they are thinking, “Oh she’s one of those moms who owns a fancy camera and won’t get off of Facebook.” So admittedly I’m writing this blog post to help convince the masses out there that I am the genuine article. But talking about yourself is boring, so I thought I’d ask my kids what they thought makes their mom the professional family portrait photographer that families all across the greater Seattle Metro area should choose. Here’s what they came up with.
“Hey Alex, what does mommy do for work? ” I asked,
“Mommy types a lot.”
“Ok, what else? Anything with a camera?” I know, first rule of journalism is not to ask leading questions, but hey, he’s three.
“Yep you do, you take pictures.”
“Of what?” I’m digging at this point.
“Of Malorie, and Hayden, and Daddy, and Audrey, and Tyler.” He retorts. Malorie is my niece, Hayden is the kid down the street, and Audrey and Tyler are his siblings.
“Do I take pictures of you?” by now I’m feeling like I’ve failed as a parent.
“Yep, can I un-pause Mario now?”
I was positive he’d spout off right away “Mommy takes family pictures for people.”
So I tried my daughter next. She’s seven and loves to hear the sound of her own voice, so I was bound to get better answers this time right?
“Hey Audrey, what is mommy’s job?
“Do you know what that mean?
“Taking pictures of people.”
“Why would some want to use a Family Portrait Photographer?”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“It’s a person who takes pictures of families. Mommy is a Seattle Family Portrait Photographer. That means I take family photos of people who live in and around Seattle for their weddings, birthdays, special events, and to help them remember their past. We have a lot of family photos, why do you think that is?”
“What would you say to someone to convince them that your mom should be their portrait photographer?”
She says this part in her best salesman voice, “Would you like my mom to take a picture of you? She’s good because she makes it like your skin has no bruises or dots. ”
Okay, finally I thought I’d ask my eight year old son. He was bound to have some sort of insight into his mother’s livelihood.
“Why should a family choose your mom to be their portrait photographer.”
“Because your pictures are amazing and when I see them they are so sharp.”
“Is there any other reason?”
“Oh come on, think about it for a second.”
“You make kids say silly words so they laugh and pay attention to the camera. Ummm, you’re funny too.”
“If you had to choose a photographer for our family portrait, how would you decide?”
“I would go to their website and look at their pictures. ”
“How do you know it’s a good picture?”
“When it’s really sharp and the don’t have hair in their face. ”
“If a friend of yours wanted your mom to take their picture, what would you say to convince them that your mom should be their family portrait photographer?
“That’s a hard one. Let me think about it.”
“Mom do you give candy to kids that are good at family portraits? Do you?
“I would say to my friend that they could get candy. Yah, that’s what I would say if it was a younger kid. If it was girl, a teenage girl, I would say you could have pictures of you all over your walls.”
He might be on to something there.
So, in summary. My kids think I type on the computer a lot, take pictures of the neighbors, help keep memories, make kids smile, use excessive bribery, and fester teenage narcisism. I would simply add that like me, other moms can’t get enough of their kids sweet faces and would probably move heaven and earth for their offspring. Family is the birthplace of love, and the best part of society. Being a photographer for so many families here in Seattle is the way I get to celebrate that day in and day out. It’s happiness put in a frame and it’s my privileged to call it “My Job,” even if no body really understands what I do.