Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The California Earthquake had Nothing on this. Knowing When to Cut Your Losses.

So you're at a shoot, feeling good, and all of a sudden the baby you're shooting freaks out and starts crying in your direction. What do you do? In my experience, a baby can recover twice from crying, but the third time, pack up, it's over. But what if the baby you're shooting doesn't stop crying, and in fact, is crying AT you?

I had the privilege of shooting a four generation picture of a lovely baby this past week,, with her beautiful mother, ridiculously personable, cool grandmother, who definitely doesn't look like a grandmother, and amazing great grandmother, who was a tremendously good sport hanging around outside in 90 degree plus weather, along with adorable big brothers and an aunt who truly doesn't look like she just had a baby two months ago, and the sweetest little girl cousins. All went really great, until the shoot was pretty much over and I was just taking my last few grab shots, which are usually the best shots of the group, because everyone feels like the shoot is over and finally relax. It's usually the best part of the day...I get amazing shots, everyone feels great...but my sweet little baby started screaming and wouldn't stop unless I was out of sight! Golly, I was totally embarrassed. It felt like the house was shaking. I started sweating. I don't sweat. My husband reveres my sweatless self, because I never sweat, never. But Secret, you failed me that day, because I had rivulets of ice cold sweat dripping down my back as I watched that baby scream. Not to say that people don't scream at the sight of me, but usually it's short-lived? Not vehement enough to cause glass to break? I secretly wanted to take the picture, and indeed, I have done it with my own kids, but, not knowing this client, didn't want to offend further. I tried humor,I tried to sing to the baby. I tried the fail proof peek a boo...nothing. Having nothing but time, I started to think about it. I mean, really, a person comes into your home, does a little itsy bitsy spider and a hokey pokey or two and hides their eyes behind a big black thing, and a child is supposed to look at the black thing and smile? Barbaric. Why would a child smile at a big black thing where a face should be? That kind of thing is a social grace, like using the serving spoon to put the potato salad on your own plate instead scooping from the community bowl with fingers of questionable origin. I get it. I wanted to scream myself. The decibel level increased. The baby was screaming on the exhale AND the inhale. I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to ask for my check, but I had to be paid, and who wants to pay a person for making their child cry? So I did the only thing I could do. I looked at my film, and, gratified to see that I had a enough major winners that the mom will love me later, made a lame joke about how horrid it is to pay a person for making their kid cry, grabbed my check, and made my exit. As soon as I left, the baby stopped crying. I stopped sweating. And bless her heart, the mom made the check out for more than my sitting fee. After I made her baby cry! I don't think I would have been that generous. Good golly I love my job.