For many years we individually photographed children receiving their portraits, which we called the “delivery photos.” However, we ultimately stopped taking delivery photos because of the following complications:
1) Limited which children we could involve
We regrettably declined many opportunities to create portraits for children in very difficult situations simply when we thought that their locations, the timing, or other factors might make it logistically challenging to obtain a sufficiently high number of delivery photos. In other words, if we weren’t so focused on getting delivery photos, we could have involved those children.
2) Created a negative experience
Children who felt shy or self-conscious sometimes felt very uncomfortable when we took delivery photos, as there were usually dozens of other children crowded around watching, laughing, and shouting out comments. Letting the children receive their portraits without the requirement to pose for photos turned out to be a much more enjoyable way for them to take ownership of these special gifts.
3) Conveyed the wrong message
Children and teens who felt shy and self-conscious when we took the delivery photos often looked solemn or discontent in the photos. Seeing those solemn expressions in the delivery photos then caused many art students to mistakenly assume that those particular children didn’t like the portraits.
4) Unfair for some art students
Children living in challenging conditions sometimes get moved around from place to place, so it was impossible for us to get delivery photos of every child receiving every portrait. That was unfair for some art students, and it led many to mistakenly assume that certain children did not even receive the portraits (when in reality the portraits eventually reached them at their new locations).
5) Internet safety and child protection issues
Just as how child photography policies have become quite strict in the USA, the same has happened in countries around the world. Many of the organizations we work with therefore became increasingly uncomfortable with us taking delivery photos, because once we sent those photos to our participants there was no way we could control where they were posted online.