This family photo shoot was a memorable experience for this photographer- and not for the reasons you may expect.
This shoot had kids who were beyond cute, parents who were amazing and friendly and divine final images, but, around 10 minutes before they arrived my worst fears came true.
wildlife warrior (if running away and crying counts)
I’ve been photographing for a long, long time in all sorts of outdoor locations in Sydney and, as any photographer who shoots outdoors will tell you, there is one thing that we are afraid of at a shoot more than anything else. No, it’s not the chance that we forgot the batteries to the camera or that the kids are cheeky, it’s not the risk of rain or wind, those things we can kind of control, this is something I have been anticipating at every session all these years and, believe me when I tell you- it is still giving me nightmares.
I always head to my locations a little before a shoot to scope the area and decide where to set up. Depending on the family there are a few local outdoor locations I like to use and for this adorable family with two very young children, I was planning to use a spot that requires very little walking with good options for sitting down.
I headed to my usual spot and as it was a lovely warm late September afternoon, I was looking forward to the glow of sunset and a cute session with a sweet family. I set out my rug and camera gear and turned around to head back to the car for the rest of my stuff.
At that very moment, across the path right in front of me, my worst fears came true. A brown snake slithered rapidly right in front of me across the path and into the bushes where moments earlier I had been walking and preparing to set up (stomping heavily to scare any potential reptiles obviously).
With my heart racing and my life flashing before my eyes, I grabbed everything and ran back to the car and then, like the mature adult I am, started crying. I knew I only had a few minutes before my clients arrived and I had to get it together but there was no way I was setting foot back in that spot. I managed to get it sorted and we relocated to a spot way more open (so I could see the danger noodles coming of course) and explained the situation to my clients who were beyond lovely and more than happy to do a small hike up a hill with little ones to avoid the new friend I had made earlier.
Although this story turned out to be one of those dramatic tales I will be telling my grandchildren, it could have been a lot different.
I have always been so conscious of the native residents of our outdoor locations and, I guess, to only see one in about 15 years of photographing outside I’d say I am very lucky and it is (hopefully) unlikely I will spot another anytime soon. That being said it is a reminder to photographers and clients to be vigilant when shooting outdoors and maybe try and book a session in the cooler months when all the little snake friends are a little less likely to be out and about.
Behind the shoot
Sunset glows for this session and a palette of cream, tans and neutrals give a gorgeous tone to these gorgeous family photos.