The Photographers Child - Survival Guide


The Photographers Child

A Survival Guide

‘Who want to go on an adventure…?’

Have you ever heard this phrase on a ‘less-than-desirable’ weather day?  Well…… if you are a child who shares a parent with a camera, this phrase will instantly fill you with dread.  But you are not alone… there will be other children who relate the word  ‘adventure’ to a day of standing around, waiting, walking as directed, being cold and not smiling.  If you are a child in Scotland anyway….

The bad news is you cannot fight it.  The force is strong.  The good news is that there are certain strategies to help minimise its impact and ultimately turn it to your advantage.

For the purpose of this guide and your sanity, let’s call your parent…  the ‘Obsessed’.

Always negotiate

When faced with ‘adventure’ it is important that you set ground rules right from the start.  Never react negatively.  This will immediately create annoyance and lead to a ‘less-than-desirable’ atmosphere whilst in the car.  Face the reality.  You will be going whether you like it or not, so smile graciously and perhaps ask ‘What colour coat should I wear?’  This will instantly put the Obsessed in a good mood and allow you room to negotiate your own payment terms.  IMPORTANT. If you are still dealing in sweets, you need to quickly convert this to cash! or at the very least, time on your electronic device.
NOTE  All trips out of the house with the Obsessed are potential ‘adventures with the camera’  and can therefore be seen as opportunities for financial gain – Here are  some examples to look out for:


‘Would you like to take photographs with me? Here’s a camera…’ – Don’t be fooled!  The camera is purely a distraction technique which will leave you stranded in front of a lighthouse, probably in freezing temperatures, waiting for some amazing beam of fictitious light.

‘Let’s go to a castle…’ – translation : stand in a cold doorway and look whimsical or moody.  Make sure you getting cake at the cafe is part of the negotiated deal.

‘Who wants to go to the beach…’ – translation : Who wants to collect shells for two hours, pose with a colour coordinated bucket and spade while the rain clouds move in and walk as directed up and down the beach while the sun is going down?  Tip: hide snacks in your wellies.

‘I know a really pretty waterfall…’  – This is a tricky one and usually is combined with a walk in a forest.  Look out for the addition of  ‘Who can find the biggest stick?’  Alarm bells should go off here.  Any trip with water as the main attraction generally means that the Obsessed will throw extra bribes at you.  Why?  Because they are more than likely going to be accompanied by THE TRIPOD!  Any experienced photographer’s child knows what this means.  The Obsessed will quickly become highly irritable and the level of selfish activity will escalate.  BE AWARE.  This is not a trip to fall, injure yourself… or drown.  They won’t notice.  So negotiate hard.  This is a potential goldmine of apps and cash.

Being the ‘prop’

More often than not, you will find yourself the object of vision for the Obsessed to create a perfect image.  Do not treat this lightly.  The longer you resist, the longer the ordeal will be.  Do as directed and you will quickly earn your freedom to go back and have ‘fun’ collecting shells.

Look out for the phrase ‘Santa is watching…’ after you have protested and said no to being a prop for the 57th time.  The Obsessed has no power over you here and certainly is not in league with Father Christmas!  Do however, gently remind them of the hourly rate that you negotiated earlier.


If you are being called for an action shot or asked to hold a prop – look away, down, up… whatever is directed but every so often shout out ‘That’s another £2’.  Remember you are valuable. You are a commodity and they need you!

When you are being asked to pose and show your face, it is best NOT to smile.  If you want to speed up the process, give a thoughtful look or better still.. stare blankly at the camera.  Empty your brain of all happiness (this should be easy).
NOTE: ‘Nearly done…. Five more minutes  or   One more shot….’ are the Obsessed’s way of telling you that you need to toughen up.  You will be there for a while longer.


The Obsessed will often try to lull you into a false sense of security to catch the perfect candid shot of you.  Be on your guard as this can happen at any time of the day.  It is important to be aware but perhaps better to pretend that you are non-the-wiser.  Look out for phrases used under these circumstances  ‘I think that it’s a nice evening for a walk and I won’t even take the camera…’.  You know this is a lie.  For the sake of your favourite dinner or whatever the bribe, just wear the yellow jacket and play along.

NOTE: It is your responsibility to look after the Obsessed.  Use encouraging words of support, but be honest.  When they ask you for your opinion on an image, they are relying on you telling them the truth.  This is because the rest of the world (including perhaps a long suffering partner) will habitually lie and use phrases such as ‘awesome’ and ‘amazing’.  Do NOT use these words.  EVER!  It is not helpful to anyone in the long run.



As mentioned earlier, your safety is your personal responsibility.  The Obsessed will quickly become oblivious to any danger when chasing a photograph.  If you think there is a genuine reason for concern, you need to cry,  make a scene or tell the Obsessed that photography is more important to them than you!  If you feel that you are in imminent peril, playing the guilt card is extremely important and you may even save a life!

*Note  Bring your own snacks.  Those in the camera bag are only for the deer.

** Double Note  Being left in a car, in view of the Obsessed is probably the best possible outcome.  Smile inside with joy – you have been left to your own devices and not going to suffer the elements wearing a totally inappropriate item of clothing for the season.

But here’s the twist

Hard to believe but the Obsessed has something over you.  This is why you need to play the game.   Yes… unfortunate as it seems, the Obsessed is right!   Being outdoors is actually good for you!  The experiences are beneficial and strategies that you learn dealing with their obsession will not only heighten your senses, but over time you will come to realise that our natural world is a beautiful place and needs to be both protected and explored.  You will come to realise that sunrises are worth getting up for, sitting through a rain storm can bring the most amazing light and one day when you are older and least expecting it, the lessons learnt from the ‘adventures’ will be useful and that rainbows are worthy of being chased.

Whimsically yours,


About the Author

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Kristy Ashton

Hi, I’ Kristy…. or some may call me the Koala! That’s because I was born in Australia and social media gave me the tag… well kinda - there isn’t a Kangaroo emoji ! When I moved to Scotland, I realised that I had taken the sun and lifestyle for granted, and missed home. Then I picked up a camera and began to explore this wild and rugged landscape on my doorstep. It took my breath away - the world had new meaning. Scotland made me want to paint my own picture and express how I felt. This was a world I needed to a whimsical kinda way of course! I am passionate about creating emotive images that inspire and tell a story…. and I would love to share that story with you.

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About us

We LOVE our adventures. Being outdoors is elemental to us... particularly surrounded by spectacular landscapes, sharing our enthusiasm and documenting the emotion through photography. Nothing can beat that feeling!

We are Kristy and Richard... come and join us on our journey with Kristy Ashton Photography. Follow Kristy on IG for the full pictorial story or read Richards Blog for the alternative route!