I had such a great weekend, which hasn't happened to me in quite a while. Weekends are usually stress-filled days with jam packed schedules and a very little down time. But not this weekend. My parents and my brother came for Mother's Day. It was so great to spend this weekend with my family, especially since I haven't been able to spend Mother's Day weekend with them since probably about 2002. It made me happy.
However I was required to work about 6 hours this weekend. (2 weeks before Mother's day are Blackout Days which prevent us from taking off work) At one point during the day, I was helping two women, who came in with their children (who were cousins) and wanted to get their pictures taken together. One woman had a one year old son, the other had 2 daughters ages 4 and 7. As soon as I started taking pictures of all three of them, the little boy started screaming. There was absolutely nothing I could do to make him stop crying. I tried every distraction I knew about. He was going to cry regardless of what I did. So I went on. I continued taking their pictures. (We had a tight schedule on Saturday. The day before Mother's Day is ALWAYS busy. We had no time to let them take a break and come in later.) I did some of the poses without him. I finished those and tried again. As soon as they sat him on the stage to take pictures, again he began screaming. I tried my best to get him to stop crying but was unsuccessful. The impatient mother of the little boy, rudely waved at my face, indicating for me to stop. (Of course I WANTED to smack her) She wanted to try to get his attention. So I allowed her to stand next to my camera, and attempt to gain his attention and stop crying. She failed. (of course, duh). So at that point it had finally become clear to the two mothers that happy pictures of all three of their children together was not going to happen today. I did one more pose with the two girls, and we finished. Afterward, I began to show them their pictures so we could narrow down their choices of what to buy. I showed them the first three pictures of the three children. None of them had the happy, smiling boy that they were hoping for. They did not hesitate to show their dissatisfaction. Then one of the mothers spoke up, "Honestly, I think it was you."
"How so?" I asked.
"Well, you were really loud. You scared him"
Now let me take a minute to explain something here. We work in a MALL. In case you haven't noticed, malls on Saturdays aren't exactly the quietest places. The camera bay where we were shooting pictures had a full-length window that opened up into the mall, which allows people to stop and watch the pictures being taken from outside. We also had a studio full of people waiting for their turn to take pictures. We had children running back and forth. We have a playroom with kids playing with toys. Plus we had the parents of the children inside the bay with us. Talk about distractions here. One of the biggest things that the company teaches us is that when taking a child's pictures, we have to be louder than the distractions in order to keep their attention and get them to look at the camera (and believe me, if we aren't loud enough, they will not look at us), and on this particular day, there were more than plenty of distractions. So back to my story. So when she made the comment about me being too loud, I defended myself (politely, of course). "Well, the reason that we are loud is because otherwise the kids' eye direction will not be at the camera."
The mother quickly replied, "Well, the girls are old enough to know what to do, you don't need to be so loud"
So to prove my point, I pulled up a picture of one of the girls looking away from the camera.
The mother replied "Well, that's just because he [the little boy] was crying." At this point, it was quite evident that no matter what I said, they were not going to really listen to what I had to say. They were angry, and they wanted to blame me for their child's behavior. Out of exasperation I answered, "Ok, fine. Whatever." (Probably not one the best responses I could give a person. But I despise arguing, and most of the time, I find it quite pointless. During arguments, when it is clear that the other side is not going to listen to what I have to say, I have this automatic response ingrained inside of my head and quickly comes out before I have time to think, "Ok, fine. Whatever." And that's what happened. My brain went on Auto Pilot, and without any fore-thought, my auto response slipped right out of my mouth.) So needless to say, my response aggravated her past the point of patience. She stormed off and went to the front desk of the studio. "I need to speak to the manager!" My manager calmly said, "I'm the manager." "Well I need to have a chat with you!" She angrily said. "Well, would you like to call me after you have calmed down and we can talk about it?" She agreed, and with that, stomped out of the store. Wow. I find it amazing the way some people blame others for the bad behavior of their children...but what amazes me even more is how childish some adults act when things don't go their way. The lady never called my manager, nor did she call the corporate office. My manager did not get angry with me either, and when my co-workers found out what happened, they congratulated me on earning my first complaint to the manager. Ha ha. I actually find the whole thing kind of funny. I am disappointed in the fact that I did not please my customer, but honestly, I don't know what I could have done differently in order to get the pictures that they wanted, considering the circumstances (busy studio, Saturday, and lots of chaos). I did do my best to get good pictures, which by the way, the rest with out the little boy were great. I feel slightly bad that they were unhappy with their pictures, but my worth as a photographer has not lessened. I know I am good, and I know that I do a great job, and I have a very large percentage of my customers that are more than happy with my pictures. So there.