We've all seen these pictures. The ones where the little boy is sitting in front of a fake pond on a fake dock with a fake bush and a fake tree and fake sky. When done wrong, these photographs are hideous... really cheesy and fake. However, when done right they can be wonderful. There is at least one children's photographer that I know of right here in Tampa that just does incredible work. Really beautiful with fantastic lighting.
So why don't I do it? Well, there's several reasons (and I won't lie, "storage" is one of them). But the main reason is that I think I would feel constricted by that sort of children's photography. I mean, once you go to all the trouble of setting up this elaborate scene, wouldn't you feel like you needed to photograph the entire scene? I work without a tripod, I move around a lot, I zoom in and out. I'm not sure that style would work well with an elaborate set up. Also, I think I would rather just go out to an actual pond and photograph.
Let me just say once again that there are some children's photographers right here in Tampa Bay that do incredible work with elaborate set staging. If by chance one of them were to come across this post I would hate for them to think that I was being critical of their work. There's nothing more idiotic than a photographer who thinks that the way he works is the only way to work. Personally, I like faces more than anything else, especially with children. So I try to keep everything else to a minimum.
One things for sure in this business, if you think that everyone else will always like what you like you're in trouble. Most of my clients come to me because they want something more "natural" then they get from the school portrait or department store portrait studio. You can bet that if the day ever comes when they start asking for elaborate staged scenes... I'll be buying my first styrofoam rock.
Booray Perry is a children's photographer in Tampa Bay