So one day back in December I got a text from our recreation minister asking me if I'd be interested in doing the team photos for the Upward Basketball program. I thought about it for a minute. Team photos haven't really been my thing but I had just done a photo booth for the local elementary school's dance as part of a fund raiser for them and it had been fun, so I thought why not?
After speaking with him a little more I realized that the program had grown a lot since my kids were in it and they had moved beyond a quick snapshot to using one of the local team photo outfits and as always happens - everyone had been disappointed. I remember that frustration and diappointment as a parent and it's part of how I became my own photographer.
So I thought if I'm going to do this, I've got to find ways to make it better. Make it work. Over the next several months I worked on a plan. Developed pricing, compared labs. Settled into a plan.
Picture day came and went off without much of a hitch. My camera failed suddenly in the middle of one team but I had a back up. I had all the right supplies and personnel on hand. I was prepared for the morning to get backed up. We stayed on schedule for the most part and moved kids through at a good clip. One major lesson I had learned from the photobooth was to have them write their name (or have someone do it for them) on a small white board, then I had them pose with it first before I handed them the ball to pose with. We never lost a kids name that way.
Editing was an eye opener. Many teams were too big for the 10x10 backdrop I used so I had to find a way to edit the backgroud to make that work. It added many hours of labor to the project but it was good lesson to learn about team photos and backdrops.
The usual snafus showed up, a late shipment of the magnets got here at the 12th hour. A mug ran late. But nothing that was a show stopper.
Today I handed off the box to him about an hour or so before their celebration party. Everyone seemed pleased, although I'll admit I was a bit worried when he didn't gush like most of my customers do at delivery. I know he had a thousand things going on, it wasn't personal at all. But still I missed the gushing.
This process doesn't give you that validation. I'd like to hand the pictures ot each family personally and talk to them and get their feedback. But team pics don't work that way. You don't get to talk smile and here how good your work was. You don't get to share that you made this tweak here and that tweak there to make it more beautiful.
I find this morning I've been over checking my email to see if anyone has emailed about anything. Was a name spelled wrong that I didn't catch? Do you love them so much you want more? I like being more face to face with my customers.
All in all it's been a great learning experience. And I'm looking forward to doing the soccer team again this Spring. So many lessons were learned! Spring is going to be awesome!