*Mother rant alert*
Investing in a professional photographer doesn’t always fall into everyone’s households budgets but over the last five years in the industry I have watch the rise of unqualified photographers and social media platforms play a huge part in the endangerment of our children.
Last week, a male Photographer from Brisbane North side was due to appeared in court for 76 charges related to child assault. My heart stopped when I heard this, WTF and then my mind took over with all the questions a parent asks – who is this monster? How is this possible? Why were the children left alone with him, had the parents not seen the photos he was taking and oh god, what a long roads these children have ahead of them to recover?
Then…..to find out that he was attracting his clients through social media accounts – made my anger burn!
See, a couple of months ago, I was annoyed by the news that once again, another Photographer in Brisbane was outsourcing their editing to an online service due to needing to cut cost to maintain their livelihood and actually create profit. It was becoming a common conversion.
Social media platforms and enthusiasts were feeding the markets request to keep cost in such a cheaper bracket, that things felt like they were having to give.
But, what was starting to be traded off is something I don’t think parents are aware off and would choose~ our children safety, online aswell as in person.
So from one mother (whom happens to be a photographer) to another, here are few good tips you should always keep in mind when using a photographer and questions to ask-
- Under no circumstance should you be asked to leave your child alone with a photographer – it is not necessary. Over the last 17 years of photographing children I have never needed to be alone with a child in my studios. I have never asked parents to leave the room (maybe extra gushing grandparents but not parents). There should always be another person in the studio with them.
- Before you go into a photography session, know your levels of comfort with your child’s nudity, don’t be making decisions on the spot. This will normally be something a professional will talk to you about before you even arrive for your shoot. Majority of our clients love their new bubs images completely nude but around 1/2 years, we would always encourage nappy covers or little rompers to get a similar effect in shot.
- Ask your photographer who will be editing the images and how many networks will your files end up over. As a mum myself this is one of the most important things to be informed about. Signs of a professional studio are they are doing it instudio themselves, the have editing staff which they are happy for you to meet or see around the studio. Or, they are outsourcing to a highly reputable professional editor and can give you their details and direct you to their website.
- Be informed about Outsourcing. Outsourcing in general is not the danger, as it can be a very effective way to keep things in budget and workflows manageable. But not asking the question ‘who’ and ‘where’ is my child image being downloaded too, is!
- You want to make sure your photographer isn’t side-selling the images you don’t purchase in a stock library environment . At the beginning of most photography shoots, there will be a consent form to sign allowing the photographer to photography your child, points of liability and promotion or marketing image use- it is important you read this carefully and that there is no mention of stock re-selling and if so negotiate the terms.
- Ensure that your online gallery is password orientated– this is normal practice these days and is free, so very few photographers should be placing galleries online that are open to the general public.
I have not written this today because I want to slam the social media platforms built around photographers or say “hey, how about hire me”, I have written it because I honestly think that these are things parents could be easily overlooking. Simply not realizing that it is getting more and more unmonitored out there and our children safety needs to be highlighted.
All the professional, qualified and trustworthy photographers I know would be happy and delighted to answer these questions for you, they would recognise that you are interested in their workflow and practise, considering you are entrusting them with the most important thing of their lives- your children .
*mothers rant over*