An Awesome Assignment With Local Emergency Services

Last weekend there was a local fund raiser and charity event in the park and it had an awesome turn out. The whole family went along and while I had to work for most of it I had an awesome time. I was asked to provide my photography services to document some of the EMS training and demonstrations. Most of the images I was taking would be used in new EMT and Paramedic Training manuals, so I was more than happy to help out for such a good cause.

There were quite a few challenges, as a lot of the demonstration involved large emergency response vehicles and equipment, which I was not used to as a family portrait photographer ;-)

imagesIt was truly amazing to see the fire fighters, EMTs and Paramedics all in action, and of course the Sheriff’s department was available as well. Most people that watched the demonstrations had simply no idea how integrated the services are when it comes to dealing with all types of emergency. As part of the training documentation that was being revised I spent most of my time with a group of EMTs and I learned an awful lot from them.

We started off with focusing on some of the basic first aid that an EMT has to learn, and I was delighted to be able to get to try out some CPR techniques and learn about the basics of defibrillators. Most of the photos I took I tried to do as unposed as possible. When I looked at the old training material the images just looked horrible and posed and didn’t give a good idea of the situations.

So I got the team to work on different dummies and real people to demonstrate all types of first aid. I then took as many pictures from all angles which will form part of broader training material; and since a lot of it will be digital they will be able to use a lot of the photos.

Then things got really interesting with demonstrations of more serious situations where the paramedics stepped in to show procedures for the advanced EMT training and also the Paramedic stuff. All different levels of EMT require ever-increasing training and this enables them to help more people with all kinds of illnesses and injuries. We covered a lot of ground with burn treatment and different methods for diagnosing heart attacks and strokes.

This was particularly interesting. While I am under no illusion that I could possibly do what those guys do, they did give me a great set of basic diagnostics that anyone can perform to identify someone’s illness. This can greatly help emergency services as a call to 999 with some preliminary analysis of a situation can save time. It also means that when the EMS appears on the scene they are better prepared to help. Every second can make the difference between life and death for a patient.

I have to say that this was one of the most enjoyable days of work I had and I was delighted to see so many people show up with interest and support for these great men and women that we could all become reliant on at some stage.

Baby Stroller Photo Shoot

It has been a while since I last had a stroller for my kids, with our youngest aged 7 now. And even though it had only been about 4 years since we got rid of our “collection” of strollers, I was amazed at how much strollers have changed. One of my recent jobs was a marketing photo shoot for BabyWheels who provide professional reviews for some of the top stroller on the market. As I specialize in all things family and kids, I was delighted when I was contacted by them because of my reputation in the industry.

Kaz / Pixabay

Kaz / Pixabay

I had originally made contact with them when I took photos for new BabyJogger stroller brochures last year. And just a few months later they booked me in order to take some photos for their latest products reviews. Needless to say, the job was a blast and I had so much fun with the parents and kids; even if it was just a few hours.

One thing I took away from the job though was how much easier things would have been if some these new types of stroller had been around when I kids were small. BabyWheels mainly review umbrella, double and jogging strollers. I was only aware of baby strollers and didn’t have a clue that there were such a variety of different functions available now.

For me the most fun part was taking pictures of jogging strollers, as I got a chance to try them out as well. Who would have known that there was a market for people who like running and want to bring their toddlers along? I certainly didn’t, but I was very surprised how great the stroller worked.

I cannot remember what the brand of baby stroller was that we last had, but I remember thinking at the time that it folded up quite neat. I was quite mistaken about this. During the photo shoot I had to spend most of my time on taking pictures for their umbrella strollers reviews, which was being updated for 2014. Those things are truly small and weigh next to nothing.

What surprised me though was how incredibly sturdy they are. When you see these small strollers they initially look a little bit flimsy, but I can say for certain that they are not. Dependent on the price you pay you will see materials common in the aerospace industry, which means they are very light and very strong indeed.

Luckily for us we never needed a double stroller, but there really are some great models available. It was great fun working with a set of identical twins. I was actually contacted by the family later to book some time for family portraits and I am really looking forward to meeting them again.

Overall this was a really great photo shoot, one that I enjoyed immensely. All the people I met were so easy to work with and I hope to get some repeat business from Baby Wheels soon. The stroller industry certainly is incredibly popular with all parents, so I am glad to be able to help out with getting good and honest reviews of the latest products to parents around the country.

A Wedding In Vegas

I don’t do a lot of wedding photography as I get more enjoyment out of family photo shoots and have somewhat specialized in that area. When I got a wedding invitation three months ago for a very good friend of mine I was somewhat expecting the question to come whether I would take the official photos. Of course I would have said yes and I certainly would not have charged for it. But even then it can be difficult to cross friendship with business and wedding photos are a tough business to be in.

Thankfully I got a call a couple of days after the invite arrived saying that the couple would prefer to have me be able to enjoy the day with them, rather than having to work. Needless to say I was delighted, especially since the wedding was going to be in Vegas.

For a wedding photographer Las Vegas is such a fun place to work, but luckily for me this time I could relax and sit back and just enjoy the day. But I did reach out to some colleagues of mine over at Vegas Photo Artist, and I knew how good a job they would do. It was a little bit difficult to resist getting my own camera out at every moment of the day, but I enjoyed watching how other people go about their work in my own profession.

I arrived in Vegas on the Thursday before the wedding as I really wanted to catch up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in many years. Just spending a single day in Las Vegas would have seemed so short to catch up on year’s things that have happened.

vegas LightsI was so pleasantly surprised that most of my old friends also arrived a few days earlier and we had some really good fun. It wasn’t all about casinos and partying and with quite a few of us either professionally involved in photography or like it as a hobby. So we spent most of Friday heading out into the desert and did some off-roading to try and get some really unique pictures of Las Vegas and its surrounding areas.

The day of the wedding was fantastic and I must say that Brian, the photographer in charge, was extremely professional and very easy to deal with. He had the bride and groom and entire family and friends totally at ease and there was a really great atmosphere. I know first-hand how difficult it is to get people at ease when a camera is pointing at them.

I have since seen the official photos and I think that they have turned out extremely well, they are very artistic and many very amusing situations were perfectly captured in the moment. I must say that I really enjoyed the whole weekend and I was able to enjoy it even more because I didn’t have to focus on taking photos. Sometimes it is nice to let others do the job ;-)

A Day At My Old High School

A couple of weeks ago I got a call from one of my old teachers from high school. I had met him a few times over the years, but I was somewhat surprised by the call. It turned out that the school was hosting a county sporting event around athletics and track and field. As it was a family and kids event he remembered that I had told him 10 years ago that I was now mainly doing family portraits and events. Luckily I was available at relatively short notice and I was more than delighted to take on the job.

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

PublicDomainPictures / Pixabay

It turned out to almost be a reunion with a lot of people I remembered from school now having their own kids go there. My children go to a different school as we are in a different county, so that made it a lot more special. We made a family event of it and on a beautiful Saturday morning I packed up my wife and kids to give them the grand tour of my old school.

Because it was such an event lots of now retired teachers turned up and I met a lot of old friends as well. Thankfully it was an all-day event, which gave me plenty of time to talk to people in-between the various photo shoots. The kids were of all ages and there was a great display of sportsmanship and competition. For the most part I just lingered with my long focal length lens and managed to capture a lot of great moments in the lives of these kids.

I also took the time to offer the kids and their family and friends some group photo opportunities. They will have these to look back on in years to come, and of course is a great way to see how people change over the years. I also managed to get some great pictures of the entire staff and also of the retired teachers that were there.

It was a very busy day and I have not fully finished editing the photos. But I have already got several new clients out of this one job that I offered for free. It just shows how giving back to your community can quickly pay off in unexpected rewards.

Combining Work With A Family Trip

I decided to write up a short post about a travel experience I had with my own family a few years ago. It is one of those trips I do regret, and ever since then I have not mixed business with pleasure again. I had the opportunity to take some photos for a stroller and car seat manufacturer and it required a 2 hour flight to get there. I hadn’t been to California since I was in my early twenties and I thought it would be a great place for a family holiday.

Unsplash / Pixabay

Unsplash / Pixabay

We packed bags and the kids and went on a one week vacation to southern California. It has rarely happened to me, but the day I got back from the vacation I was in the office and thought “I need a vacation!”

We had inadequately prepared for the hassle of the airport and only just made it the airplane before takeoff. Because I had all my camera gear and then there was all the bags for the kids it just took forever to clear security. The flight itself was fine, but when we arrived two of our bags were missing and they didn’t get to us until 4 days later when we were almost ready to go home.

My one day photo shoot turned into 2 and half days, because the client changed their mind about the amount of photos they wanted to have. That meant that my wife and kids had to head off and do some day trips without me.

The last 3 days were really enjoyable. I didn’t have to work and we had our entire luggage back. But unfortunately the return trip got even worse. Our rental car broke down on the way to the airport and despite pleading with security staff they would not let us through the express queue because of some security alert. Because of all the electronic equipment in my camera bags I had to spend 40 minutes unpacking all my gear and demonstrating that it was functioning camera equipment.

We essentially missed our flight and had to wait at the airport for 7 hours for the next available flight. This flight then was delayed by 2 hours. Our children were very upset and tired and us parents didn’t react too well either. If this had all happened on a business trip on my own I would have been annoyed and grumpy, but at least I wouldn’t have put my kids through it.

We arrived home late that evening and it took the kids a good few days to recover from the lack of sleep and rest. A family holiday should not be like that, and we have decided as a family to plan better in future and avoid going somewhere by air if possible. Since then we have been on many family vacations, all of which have been by car.

We usually spend no more than 3 hours a day in the car, and even with that we have managed to cover great distances, but stopping along the way for some sightseeing. The best thing is that we have not lost any luggage again, and any delays are our own doing simply because ewe changed the plans. The kids are also much more in favor of this, as they all remember that trip to CA.

 

Some Useful Tips For Baby And Toddler Photos

Having photos and portraits done professionally is something I recommend all parents do. Not just because I benefit from the work that comes way; I should mention that I go to other professional photographers to have my family photos taken every couple of years. It is a great way to keep some happy memories alive, and you will get years of enjoyment out of them. Almost on every photo shoot I do, I have parents comment on how much they love the results and would love to be able to afford to do it more often.

Nemo / Pixabay

Nemo / Pixabay

My general answer is that they can afford to do it every day, by learning some basic photography skills. Even with a basic consumer point and shoot camera you can have great results to add your family album. They may not be as good as professionally taken ones, but that should not discourage you from having more mementos.

The very first tip I give parents is to take their camera and get to the same level or lower than their kids. What I mean by that is that you should get the camera lens to the same eye level as the subject of the photo. For babies this can mean lying down on the floor, but this will give you a great photo with a very unique perspective. We always tend to look down at our kids, simply because of the height difference. But this is easily rectified and will result in some really fun photos.

The next thing to do is to just keep your finger on the shutter and take as many photos as possible. Stop looking at them on the camera; sort them out later when you have the time on the computer. The pictures you take the higher the chance of there being a good shot.

Pretty much all consumer cameras these days come with a pretty good zoom. Take advantage of this feature to capture some special moments from further away. Staging and posing very young kids can be really difficult, and you will be surprised how many pictures you will be able to capture by simply moving a bit further away. I love doing this myself on photo shoots with families, where I simply let the family mingle and get set up. While they are doing so I often capture some very special moments as people tend to be more relaxed when there is no camera pointing at them.

Once you have taken a load of photos check them all on the computer. Be very indiscriminate and simply get rid of all pictures where you cannot see all the features of the face. Whether closed eyes or turned away, don’t bother holding onto them. Those that you are left with should be rated, and many photo applications on computers come with such a feature built in. The ones you like best should get the highest rating, and those are the ones you can focus on for prints and enlargements.

You will need patience, and you will find that the majority of pictures will be deleted. On some days you may not even have one good photo, but if you stick to this process then you will capture the odd image that will make it into a frame.

The Joys Of Family Photography

I am a father of three girls ranging in age from 14 to 7. They are the joys of my life and I am incredibly proud of all their achievements. What excites me a lot is that all three of them are interested in photography, which has been a passion of mine since I was a little boy. Being a dad was definitely one of the driving forces behind my move into the world of family portraits.

geralt / Pixabay

geralt / Pixabay

This was not an easy achievement as all of my prior work was related to marketing and commercial photography, mainly in the car and auto parts industry. It ultimately took about 5 years for me to let go of the last of my old clients after having built up a reputation in family photography and found some leads to companies that made baby products.

But those 5 tough years have been well worth it. I now spend about 60% of my time taking pictures of babies, kids and their families and purposely never restricted myself to my studio. I believe that studio photographs can be fantastic, but often an outdoor shoot or at the client’s home can provide a much more personal touch. The good thing was that I never needed to adapt much of my equipment. All I really needed was some toys and treats that I use as distractions.

The other 40% of my time I designate to companies that are in some way or another related to babies and kids. This can be anything from clothing to diapers, strollers or car seats, and also day care centers. As you can see I love working with kids and it certainly is giving me a lot more job satisfaction than my former auto industry clients.

The key for me has always been to try and build up a relationship with my clients before I start pointing a camera at them. For older kids and teenagers it usually works to show them some of the camera equipment, and even invite them to take some pictures themselves and then add some funny filters on the computer. Generally speaking these things help to relax them and reduce the risk of older kids rebelling.

I also try to have a list of jokes on standby. Usually I get my 14 year old to get some of the latest insider jokes, and this almost always breaks down any teenage frown. For the younger children some toys and treats usually work well. They also make a great prop and it often helps if it is not the kids own toy, which gives the prop a bit of a novelty factor.

As mentioned outdoor environments can be a great way to get a whole family in a good mood. I have done these types of photo shoots both in summer and in winter. The cold might be a challenge but you can get some great shots from a snowball fight.

I certainly enjoy working with families the most, and many of my clients come back every few years to have more portraits taken. Parents can get a little obsessed with having certain moments captured and I love helping them out. Kids grow up fast and it is always nice to have lots of photos to refresh all those special memories.

But in recent years I have been getting increasing amounts of work from companies that work in the baby and children’s sector and this has opened up a huge new area for me. I have worked with small retail stores that specialize in children’s clothing and also with large distributors of child car safety seats. These have been very rewarding projects and I have learned a lot in the process.

Family Photography

Hi and welcome to my website.

I am planning tons of new contact about my current projects and workshops. I mainly work with families and companies in the baby, toddler and child photography. I get great enjoyment out of these types of projects and and I try to portray my enjoyment of family life in my images. Stay tuned for updates coming in the next few days and weeks.

Regards,

Didier