Photographer Samantha Merrill-Hicks has been entertaining kids and capturing smiles with Teddy Bear Portraits for the last three years. With a career background working with children and a passion for photography, becoming a preschool portrait photographer seemed like a natural career move for her.
Samantha’s favorite part about working as a preschool photographer is that she gets the opportunity to interact on a personal level with each child. She explains, “I really get to know them, even though they are only sitting with me for a few quick minutes, I can still make such an important connection with them.”
She continues, “It is just a great feeling when they know who I am. I love knowing that I have made their day… I laughed with them, I goofed around with them, I got to spend my day playing around with a bunch of adorable kids… you just can’t beat that.”
Another special part of her job is photographing the same centers each season and being able to watch the kids grow. As a stepmother and aunt, Samantha understands the importance of connecting with kids on their own, personal level.
“It is important to understand that each child is different, they are unique and the same thing doesn’t work for every child.” This is what Samantha feels differentiates the Teddy Bear Portraits staff from other child portrait photography companies. When she trains new photographers she stresses the importance of staying engaged with each child, at all times.
“Working with kids and getting their genuine personality to shine through in a portrait isn’t a teachable skill… it’s just who we are here at Teddy Bear Portraits and it’s just what we do.”
Samantha focus on balancing patience and high-energy when photographing at busy centers. “I am always talking to the kids. When I train our new photographers, I stress that you need to be constantly talking to them to keep their focus and to make them feel as comfortable as possible.”
At the end of the day, after all the portraits have been captured, it’s encouraging for Samantha to be able to see reactions from parents when they see their child’s school portrait. “Parents are amazed that I got their little kiddos to sit still, let alone was able to capture such a special moment in their lives that they can treasure forever.”
“I love my job, and that’s all I can ask for!”
Samantha proudly serves daycare and preschool centers in and around South Puget Sound, Washington. If you are interested in scheduling a Portrait Day with Samantha request more information at www.teddybearportraits.com.