Rachel is 2 years old. She seems so much older and mature, and I guess that is why she is able to start modeling at such an early age. Rachel's Mom is also a photographer (she specializes in weddings), and as we talked, it became clear that what I do (the whole Studio photography thing) isn't as easy to replicate as I thought (because, hey, it's kinda easy for me). Even though I don't have any super-complicated equipment or setups, just having a dedicated space, a good light source, and the extensive experience with Studio portraits makes a big difference! And as Rachel's Mom said that "Weddings are easy", all I could think is "Not for me!" Even as an incredible talented photographer, her specialty is photographing weddings (and she does it oh-so-beautifully!), not Studio portraits.. just as mine is Studio portraits and definitely NOT weddings.
You see, it's not just important to select a photographer who is GOOD. It's also important (and sometimes even more so) to pick one who specializes in the genre or the look you want. If someone has beautiful black and white photographs, and you absolutely love color, you might not be happy with the result if you hire that photographer.
Even within the Studio portrait genre, there are so many variables.
Do you want a stylized session with lots of props or do you want a simple one-color background? Do you like dramatic lighting with strong shadows or something that's more like natural window light? What about retouching? Do you want your images un-retouched, retouched naturally, or retouched stylistically?
And then there's also experience. Working with children is a specialty in itself. Photographers who work with kids on a consistent basis know how to make them feel at ease.. and there are different approaches to that too. Some people are playful and excited around children. Some are calm and observant. I, for one, like to wait for kids to warm up to me and feel strongly about not pushing them.. while others jump in and try to make that connection right away. There is no right or wrong way.. but every approach is different and will work well for some families and not as well for others.
And that's why Rachel's Mom came to me. Photographing a 2-year old is never easy.. but to get a clean headshot for her modeling career is even harder. And that's why you go to someone who does exactly what you're looking for. ;)