I can’t deny it, I’m a bit of a “baby-bore” when it comes to my kids. I’m verging on obsessed, if I’m honest, and I tend to assume that everyone else in the family (and I do mean everyone – all the way down to step-second-cousins-twice-removed-in-law) feels exactly the same; both about my kids and their own (where appropriate) for that matter.
So, when it comes to gift-giving time I naturally assume that there could be little the lucky relative could want more than another beautiful picture of their grandsons/nephews/cousins etc. Which is also pretty handy as I have so many pictures they haven’t even seen yet! Fortunately I have my wife on hand to point out what an arse I am (that’s not the actual phrase she uses – I thought I better water it down in the interest of good taste!).
Now I’m absolutely sure that the grandparents, aunts and uncle Andy all want pictures of the boys and I like to flatter myself that they even appreciate the high quality and technical competency displayed in the images I send them. What I’m not sure of is when is the right time and when is the wrong time to give a picture of the kids to a relative as a present. Is there a right time? Should pictures of the kids simply be an ongoing part of the process of parenthood?
In my role of part-time photographer, I mostly shoot portraits of kids. Invariably about half of all the prints I supply are intended as gifts for relatives. The busiest time of all for me is pre-Christmas and many of my clients (that’s pompous talk for “parents of our kids’ friends”) tell me they are getting the pictures taken specifically for Christmas presents. Is it okay to give a picture of the kids as a present if you have a “professional portrait” shot precisely for that purpose? The photos I give our relatives are shot by the same “professional” (sorry, I can’t use the p-word about myself without putting it in quotes!) in the same set-up I use for paying clients, so where is the difference?
Being serious for a moment, I don’t really send pictures of my kids to my wife’s cousins for their birthday (what, you thought I was really crass enough to do that?). However, I do feel (no matter how much my wife protests!) that my mother (or mother-in-law) would appreciate a picture of her grandsons, expertly taken and presented by her son (or son-in-law), as a gift on Mother’s Day. Have I got this wrong?