Working with children comes naturally to Neil Stewart who has been capturing smiles with Teddy Bear Portraits for the past eight years. Neil began his career in children’s photography in Northern California before moving to Texas. He quickly realized that he had found his calling in working with small children.
Neil credits Teddy Bear Portraits for fostering such an innovative working environment. “What sets us apart from the competition is our training and our people. We have people in this company who have been here 10, 20, even 30 years. It’s the people in our company. There is a fierce sense of loyalty at Teddy Bear Portraits.”
For Neil, acting silly and capturing genuine personalities come naturally because he loves what he does. He is a true testament to the quality of excellent photographers that work with Teddy Bear Portraits. At the end of portrait day, parents are thrilled to see such priceless portraits that truly capture their child’s personality. More importantly, the children are thrilled to have spent their morning with their favorite goofy photographer.
On portrait day, “I try to get EVERY kid to smile, I try to be a court Jester, to be fun and act like a fool.” Neil continues.
“I am not afraid to look or to feel silly. I think a lot of the kids really appreciate it. I think that it is critical for them to see me as a genuine person. To keep them motivated I play with them, talk to them, and joke around with them. There is no real formula to it. Not everything works for each kid. I am just trying to have a good time with them. I am capturing their laughter, smiles, and personality in the pictures.”
Year after year, Neil’s favorite part about working with Teddy Bear Portraits are the reactions he gets from the children he photographs. He cherishes every hug and every small bond that he develops with each child and describes it as an, “Overwhelmingly positive experience.”
“I remember a lot from preschool so I am hoping that someday, somebody my age who may not remember my face or my name will look at their portrait and remember the crazy guy that took it.”
Neil enjoys watching the children he photographs in preschool grow. “The kids that tell me that pictures are not as fun now that they are in elementary school- that makes me feel pretty good.”
Neil is excited to continue growing with Nationwide Studios and Teddy Bear Portraits. “The whole company has always been very supportive. They help you to learn and grow. Teddy Bear has been good to me, and I hope to keep shooting for them until I am the weird old guy!”
Neil continues, “You can’t do what we do here at Teddy Bear Portraits without opening your mind and your heart. To get every kid to smile, that is the foundation of our company. It is the core of what we do. It is the people who care for the kids who love the kids.”
Being a seasoned Teddy Bear photographer, Neil has nailed portrait day down to a science. His special rapport with the children has helped him refine the ways he gets each child to open up and engage with him. Sometimes he acts silly and jumps around all day trying to coax the brightest smiles out of the shyest children. It’s part of his commitment and enthusiasm of being a Teddy Bear Portraits photographer.
Want to grow your career in preschool and daycare photography?
If you’re a professional photographer who loves to work with young children, visit the Teddy Bear Portraits careers page to find a position in your area. We’ll be looking for your application soon!