Andi Goff believes patience and understanding each child brings out the smiles and fun. This is just one of the many reasons Andi is a successful Teddy Bear Portraits photographer.
As a mother of two, Andi’s love for photography came from photographing her oldest son. She learned quickly that it takes more than just pointing the camera at them, you have to engage the children and connect with them on an emotional level.
She explains, “Sharing a little bit of joy and happiness with the kids is by far my favorite part about working with Teddy Bear Portraits. You can’t just tell the kids to smile or say ‘cheese’ you really have to get down to their level and figure out what works best for each kid.”
“For instance, I have a silly (stuffed) monkey that I take to shoots with me,” Andi continues. “He will fall off the camera, sit on my shoulder and even jump on the children at times. The kids love it. I get them to call me Stinky Feet and they absolutely crack up.”
Andi’s passion for making children smile comes from being in foster care as a child. “You see so many kids who have been through so much and you know, some kids just don’t smile everyday…Getting them to smile and laugh is what I love the most. I enjoy playing and cutting up with them, bringing that five minutes of joy into their life. That is why I love to work with younger children so much. I have been with a lot of these kids since they were infants. I enjoy making memories and watching them grow.”
Besides her enthusiasm, Andi is very patient which is an unspoken requirement when working with small children. The skill of photography can be taught but patience cannot be. Andi explains, “This type of photography is not like your normal, free-lance photography. It is not like wedding photographers, studio photographers or anything like that. You only have a short amount of time to win each child over.”
Andi explains that going into each center requires a level of patience, organization and understanding. Each child is different and there is not one right way that is guaranteed to make every kid smile but Stinky Feet and her silly monkey always find a way to generate the brightest smiles.
“If you love your job, then you will excel in it,” says Andi. “You have to love what you do and your heart has to be in it.” For Andi this formula helps her win over the children and their parents.
Parents are always amazed at the genuine reaction Andi captures. Most parents find it hard to believe that someone gets their child to not only sit still but giggle with the biggest smiles. After 10 years of hard work and devotion to her craft, Andi knows how to make every child shine with happiness.