This week's blog has been written by Jo Wood, who runs Turtle Tots in Bristol & West Wilts. Jo started her Turtle Tots journey as a customer with her gorgeous baby Seren, and has written this fantastic blog about her underwater photoshoot experience as a parent.
Underwater baby photos ‐ do you have one? For some of our customers getting the ‘Nirvana’ shot was one of the main reasons they started swimming with us in the first place. Others decided they wanted a photo at a later date after seeing how comfortable their young baby looked under the water and wanting to capture this amazing moment in time.
We have always assumed that every customer who books (and pays for) our photo shoot session does so with the intention of buying one of the images.... So we were curious as to why a small but significant number of customers do not purchase anything. It just didn’t make sense to us when we looked at the photos of their babies, as they were gorgeous!
So we asked the parents who didn’t buy, why not? We were really surprised to hear that they were disappointed with their photos.
Of course there are occasionally babies that we don’t manage to get a good photo of, either their eyes are shut in every picture, or they decide they don’t like the photographer and refuse to go anywhere near him! In this case we always offer the chance to come along to the next shoot for free, but this is the exception rather than the rule. The vast majority of customers who attend our shoots get beautiful shots of their little ones doing their thing under the water.
This is my key point ‐ ‘doing their thing’. Every baby is unique and they all react differently underwater ‐ some float serenely, some kick like crazy, some put their tongues out, some put their hands on their heads, some turn, some go head down bottom up! There is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ shot but every underwater shot is beautiful and unique as it captures your baby swimming underwater, which is a much harder thing to do than taking a cute shot of them on dry land.
At this point however I should confess that I was one of those parents. I went to my first Turtle Tots photo shoot as a customer in July 2011. We were pretty hard-up financially at the time as I was on maternity leave, but felt that we didn’t want to miss the once‐in‐a‐lifetime opportunity to get that amazing underwater image; Seren was four months old.
I really enjoyed the photo shoot, and couldn’t wait to see the photos. I eagerly awaited the email and when I received it my husband and I sat down together to view the images. ….we were distinctly underwhelmed.
Seren looked a bit funny, she didn’t look anywhere near as cute as she did in the photos we had taken of her ourselves on land. She had her tongue slightly poking out, and she wasn’t looking directly at the camera. I also didn’t like how I looked in the mum and baby shot, easy to say “just go underwater and smile” not so easy in practice!
I wanted a photo like the promo shots I’d seen – baby looking directly into the camera, in the perfect swimming position, no funny faces, maybe faintly smiling.
None of Seren’s were like that so we didn’t buy anything. We didn’t think spending any further money was warranted, and just cut our losses and chalked it up to the luck of the draw.
Thankfully at that photo shoot I had also seen the advertising banner with the words ‘talk to us if you are interested in running your own flexible and rewarding Turtle Tots business’. I was interested, and we talked :)
When I became a licensee I was given the photos of Seren from my underwater shoot. I’d totally forgotten about them. Seeing those images again, many months later I couldn’t believe I had been disappointed with them, they are amazing!! Seren is now four years old, and swimming confidently. I LOVE looking at these photos, and so does she, she shows all her friends when they visit and says with great pride “that’s me swimming when I was a tiny baby”.
I was moved to write this blog when I heard from those customers that they didn’t like their photos. I want to say “but that’s your baby and she is swimming underwater. It might not be the cutest photo of her you have ever seen, but.... she is swimming underwater” (did I stress that enough!)
All I can say is, if you take part in the photo shoot and aren’t over the moon with your photos, try to imagine you are looking at it in in five years time when your little one is at school. I promise you will love it, so don’t miss out ‐ just BUY THE PHOTO!
(Our photographers keep all the images that they take, so if anyone who took part in a previous shoot and didn’t buy an image wants to look at them again, contact your Turtle Tots office with the date you attended and we will get in touch with the photographer who will dig out your photos for you).