In my job as a photographer, I generally see people at their very best. Kids are scrubbed shiny with new clothes, parents are smiling, and no one has a care or concern in the world at least for the split second it takes for the shutter to snap. I love watching the kiddos grow up and am always amazed at the changes in such short times between photos. It is great.
But... Why is it that Christmas can bring out the worst in some people? Saturday at the photography job was utter and complete chaos. That is pretty par for the course this time of year, but people seemed extra grumpy on Saturday. The kids didn't want to smile, the parents were screaming at the kids to smile or threatening to spank them (by the way, to those who are parents who might be reading this, that tactic NEVER EVER EVER NEVER works to make the kids smile) and the photographers were trying very hard to remain upbeat and cheery through the entire process. For the most part, in front of customers, I succeeded including when I was being berated by a customer.
Said customer felt I was not capturing the "essence" of her child and proceeded to tell me how much of an awful and untalented person I am. I went to my happy place in my head, got my most peaceful look on my face, and pretended to be listening. Another customer who witnessed the tirade commented later that he didn't know how I handled that kind of treatment with such grace. I had to laugh as I admitted to him that in my head I was asking if the "essence" of her child was spoiled brat because that is what she is raising. (I had enough tact to not admit to the gentleman that I was also imagining her head exploding as she berated me.)
Not all parents and kids were bad and my rather odd sense of humor tends to put folks in a decent mood. For example, when taking pictures of entire families, generally the father is not really thrilled with being there. I try to joke around as I put them in uncomfortable positions and say things like "no complaining, she actually is the one who had to give birth!" I often tell Mom to snuggle up to Dad and pretend to like him at least for the picture. I also threaten to use our "tickle stick" on him to force a smile. That has a two-fold effect of making Mom and kids smile, too. I got some really great shots and made some people really happy on Saturday. That is the point of my job really.
After I delivered pictures to the gentleman who had witnessed my serenity at the berating, he wished me Bah Humbug. As he left, I waved and wished him a very Bah Humbug, too.
On Sunday, the weather cooled off considerably (like to the 30s from the 80s on Saturday) and people were in a much Christmasy-er mood. Thank goodness....