The risk of being dragged off to do a professional photo shoot is never more present than when you have small children. I would say this period of code red extends from 2 weeks to 3 years old. Everyone loves a baby photo, parents, grandparents, even I can admit that since I’ve had my own, I find other peoples professional kid pictures either artsy, cute or interesting. But don’t the studios bloody well know it. They love baby photos the most, because it means they’ll get to drive home in a bright red convertible to sleep on a massive pile of money. They seem to be able to sense the family of a newborn like Jaws can sense skinny dippers, I’ve even heard tales of them targeting their prey whilst they are still stranded in the maternity ward. More on the financials later.
It only seems like 5 minutes since I’d managed to talk Aims down from making me do some kind of naked pagan ritualist shoot in the local forest during her maternity, but yet here I was, sat with a spotlight in my face and two screaming children sat on my knee. A flamboyant chap named Gavin is repeating “gorgeous” as he stares into the view finder of his fancy camera. The flash is blinding, but least that’s distracting me from the awkward face I know I’m pulling as I attempt to pull off my version of ‘happy’.
I can’t even blame Aims for this fresh hell, as despite her being as keen as mustard, this wasn’t her doing – it was my mothers. Grandma Sue had “won” the shoot in Stockport as part of a purchase for a new car. Now Sue isn’t the kind of parent that would ever make me do anything I didn’t want to and I could of easily said no, but I could tell she was excited. One guilty pleasure I did have was that my Dad, an old school mans-man from a tough part of London also had to attend. He won’t admit it to the Mrs, but this wasn’t his thing either x 1000.
I’m not saying that a man shouldn’t enjoy this, it just isn’t for me. Any bloke that does enjoy “working it” on a Saturday morning to a dreadful Radio One playlist should leave some contact details in the comments – maybe y’all can form a boyband or something too.
I wasn’t the only one that didn’t enjoy the experience, our two kids spend the entire hour either crying or trying to run away. They were probably a bit tired from the 3 hour battle we all fought just to get into the car. Dahlia is a placid baby, and all she wants in life is to be fed, changed and then left to sleep. Try sticking her in a plant pot surrounded by spotlights and she’ll let grunt like a pig and you let know full well she’s not happy.
Faith, is 2 and plays by her own rules. You can’t ask her to do something simple like wash her own hands without it resulting in her flooding the kitchen for a laugh. So asking her to sit nicely on a blanket would be the same as politely asking Michael Myers not to hurt anyone. Needless to say, Gavin was being made to earn his money.
The shoot ran its course, and now it was time for the hard sell. Gavin handed out price lists and I fell off of my chair, but he was managing to keep a straight face as he discussed options on which frame finish our thousands of Great British pounds could buy PER PHOTOGRAPH. To be asked to spend that much on a picture, I’d expect the frame to be carved out of fresh meteorite. Then the price points, if we to cheap out and only spend £1000, they’d be so kind as to throw in a USB stick with 10 additional pictures. If were to spend multiple thousands, they’d oblige with 12 photographs on a USB. They could add hundreds to a USB, but why should they if you’re only going to spend the equivalent value of Greece. I’d seen enough, I scooped up the nearest child to head for the exit before noticing that all of the women above the age of 3 were buying this shit!
And here’s the hook. The psychological hook that makes women agree to a 12.9% Apr credit option to buy a photograph of something they see every day; if you don’t buy within 14 days, they will delete the pictures of your babies! To mothers, that’s the same as saying I don’t care about my children, let’s leave them on a train. My mother is in deep, so many wonderful pictures of the grandkids, my only-child inheritance now in serious jeopardy.
Luckily, we’ve got a wedding to pay for, so I’ve managed to talk Aims down for now. But with 12 days to go before the pictures are dragged into the big recycle bin in the sky, the risk of financial ruin remains very, very real.
I’ll keep you posted.