Baby gender reveal parties: For photographers, something familiar there

Event photography by Abanathy Photography, LLC
Baby gender reveal party

It doesn’t matter if you have 50 years or 50 minutes of experience as a photographer, there is one word that will create some degree of stress in you whether it be fleeting or petrifying. And that word is: Wedding!

And it doesn’t even have to be involve a bridezilla or groomzilla to make it this way. A typical wedding has many inherent stress-causing factors when it comes to those responsible for making it all happen. From the long hours and organized chaos to equipment concerns and one-chance moments, a photographer’s job will likely be at its most stressful at weddings. I have even met some photographers who say they have stopped shooting weddings for these very reasons.

However, before I get too involved on the topic of a photographer’s stress at weddings, I have to note this blog is not about that. Instead I was hoping to use it to preface what I am quickly learning is not far behind weddings on the stress scale: Baby gender reveal parties!

Now, for those who don’t know (and I’ve had some, who didn’t know, become a little wary when I shortened the term to simply “gender reveal party”), a baby gender reveal party is when an expectant couple hosts a gathering of friends and family to share in their surprise of finding out the gender of their unborn child.

There are typically all sorts of wonderful Pinterest-style decorations utilizing the pink and blue palette and a variety of quirky question marks. Then at the end of the party, the couple will find out/reveal the gender of their baby in one of several ways. Some use colored silly string in, others release either pink or blue, helium-filled balloons from a box, while others cut through white-icing on a cake to find either pink or blue on the inside. The list of creative reveal methods goes on and on.

In some instances, the couple already knows and is surprising the guests, while, in others, they have entrusted the party prep to a friend so they might be in on the surprise as well. Either way, one of two distinct colors is going to tell the couple and their guests what they are having.

Now, you say: “Patrick! How can you compare a baby gender reveal party to a wedding? The expense is far lower and the only real stress is more or less anxiety.” Well, I can tell you, for a photographer, there are many similarities.

First you have the decorations. This fast-growing tradition is more than simply pie, cake and ice cream. It is often quite the undertaking. Thanks, in part, to sites like Pinterest, you have a lot of wonderful decorations, pink and blue desserts/beverages and cutlery, and baby gender themed games and activities. And this is to say nothing of the feast typically prepared for guests. Just the effort and smiling faces alone constitutes a barrage of wonderful portraits!

Second (and this is the part that sets these gatherings so close to those of weddings) is that big moment. Not unlike the bride and groom’s first kiss, the moment of reveal is often fast, fleeting, and irretrievable. No matter what method you use, the silly string runs out fast, the balloons fly away, and the expressions of surprise and cheer on the crowd do not last. This is what brings about the photographer’s moment of stress. Once that cat is out of the bag, you have to photograph it quickly before it heads into the bushes and is lost!

Now you ask: “Patrick, if this is so stressful, why do it?” Well, that’s easy: I love it! I love capturing those moments! So much so, in fact, that the stress of making sure everything is set for the big shot is minimized by the happiness the moment brings! Hey, if your job is not challenging, you are not going to enjoy it nearly as much, right?

Recently, I shot a baby gender reveal party where the moment included the popping of a big balloon filled with confetti. You can imagine everything that was going through my mind as the knife was approaching the balloon’s hull. I was poised and ready and, as contact was made, several shots captured the cascade of blue confetti as it fell over the parents and the soon-to-be older sister. Yes, it was in that moment, as I looked through the viewfinder and clicked away in rapid succession that I learned one thing: I was wrong! I had guessed “girl”.

Murray Calloway County Chamber of Commerce Dinner 2014
Some lovely ambience at the Murray Calloway County Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner

But this party was but one recent blessing for Abanathy Photography, LLC. In my absence of blog writing for the past two weeks, I have been grateful to have photographed not only the reveal party, but also the Murray Calloway County Chamber of Commerce annual dinner and a 50th wedding anniversary/vowel renewal ceremony. To the latter, I want to give another quick congratulations to Mr. and Mrs. Byers on celebrating their golden anniversary!

Last, but not least, yet another thing I am grateful for this past two weeks was the opportunity to be a vendor at the first-ever CASA of Calloway and Marshall Counties, Inc. Mom Expo. During the event last Tuesday, we held a promotion for CASA. That is, for every session booked and prepaid that evening, we would donate $25 to CASA. Well, in the spirit of the event, we decided to extend that offer through next Saturday, (Aug. 2). So don’t be shy! Need a family portrait? Have an incoming high school senior who needs their portraits taken? Do you simply need a portrait of “You” for that special someone? Our promotion extends through all of our services! So book and prepay before Aug. 2 and help support CASA of Calloway and Marshall Counties, Inc.!

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