It has been over a week since my last blog …
It’s not that I haven’t got things to write about, but I have been very busy. Christmas can be like that.
‘Tis not only the season to be jolly, ‘tis also the season to spend lots of money, which means making lots of money first. Not something you do very often when you travel, take photos and write about it all for a living.
So to make some money I’ve been … working!
Because I spend so much time alone taking photos or writing, I love getting out and meeting people. It’s one of the great pleasures of being a photographer and travel writer – there are always people keen to talk with you about it.
Sunday morning I was standing in my stall when a woman came up to me. “Are you Kathleen?” she asked. Then “I follow your blog. I love reading it.”
I was thrilled. I don’t have that many followers that I often run into them in the streets.
In a previous life I made a few TV appearances, which meant I was sometimes recognised when I was out, but this was different. And not just because people are less likely to hate me now than previously.
I initially started this blog as a ‘travel blog’ for family to keep up with what we were doing when Doc & I went to the Cape two years ago. Since then it’s grown to the point where I’ve channelled it into a whole career change. Not a very lucrative one yet, but it’s getting there.
So to meet somebody and put a face to one of those statistics I keep on eye on is amazing. It makes it all that much more real.
Thank you Tess, it was a pleasure to meet you too.
The other thing I’ve been busy doing is taking Santa photos.
I can hear the chorus now. “Eeeww. Poor you. All those screaming kids.”
Well, yes, there are lots of kids who are terrified of Santa and scream the place down, and lots of very stressed parents who might be a bit terser than they would be normally, but you know what? I love it. It is far and away better than working in an office all day with miserable people who hate their jobs. Which is what I used to do.
Now, I WORK WITH SANTA!
How many people can say that? And at this time of year, it’s the best place to be. I can make sure I’m on the ‘good’ list so I can get presents!
For all you parents who haven’t had Santa photos taken yet, here are some tips:
- Change your expectations of what is the “perfect photo”. Everybody wants their kids to be happy and smiling, in beautiful clean clothes, looking like butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths. But that’s probably not what your kids are really like. The best photos are those that show their personalities, and the way they really were at the time the photos were taken. I look back on my kids Santa photos every year and remember the stories that went along with them, and my kids are now 22, 23 and 24.
- Keep calm. Kids pick up on your feelings so the more you stress the more they will stress. And that means they’ll play up.
- Don’t say “You’re not scared of Santa are you?” They weren’t, but now you mention it ….
- Tell the photographer what you want. Regrettably some Santa photo places don’t hire real photographers, they hire young kids who can’t even change the settings on their iphone cameras, let alone a DLSR. If they can’t move the camera for you to get a different angle, or even zoom it in closer – go somewhere else. You will keep these photos forever and bring them out when the kids are 21 – make sure they’re photos you are happy with.
- Refuse to be rushed, and in turn refuse to rush your children. The experience for them is about meeting Santa, not just getting their photo taken. If it takes a little time for them to get used to him, so be it.
- If you don’t like the photo that’s taken, ask for another one. Everybody uses digital so it’s not costing anybody anything to take a few photos for you to choose from.
- Try taking a different, creative, photo. If your kids are scared sit them on Santa’s throne and get him to stand behind so they can’t see him, or if they’re the creative type get them to design a photo that they’d like. Most places will have different props they can use to get a great photo that you’ll all love.
- You’re never too old or too cool to get your photo taken with Santa.
Most important – RELAX, it’s Christmas.
And if your local Santa photo people won’t do any of the above for you, come along and see me. I’m at Highlands Marketplace at Mittagong Sunday 15 and Monday 16 December, then again Thursday 19 through till Monday 23 December.