Friday, April 27, 2012
This is a good example of one of the reasons I love indoor sessions as much as, if not more than outdoor sessions. We are often on the hunt for that perfect soft and flattering, abundant light, no matter where we are. Low light images are something that may not be at the top of our list. I like to move around a lot during a session, getting different angles and lighting and when things like this happen it just reminds me to step back but be prepared and shoot! shoot! shoot! Because little bits of magic can happen when we are not trying to control everything and just letting things be. I love when I get to the point of a session where we feel like we've done enough and gotten what we wanted and then the pressure can just seem to slip away. I so often see what I am really looking for during this time.
I was talking with my friend Tonya other night about how it is a funny situation entering a client's home for the first time and seeing the space, the lighting, the energy, meeting the personalities which more often than not includes large friendly dogs and one or more children and how we go to work in your head about how to put things together to create opportunities for great images -- all the while keeping the conversation going, and feeling everyone out for any , hesitations, concerns, etc.
Calm and collected seems to work for me. There are some photographers who will come in and insert their high energy and excitement to create a roller coaster ride of a session getting the smiles and so on, but that just isn't me. I am certainly not above being silly (feel free to help me with this as I love to turn around and see mom and dad being crazy to get their little ones happy) but I don't want to photograph so much my effect on everyone as I want to photograph their effects on each other.
Of course there is no way around the fact that we have most likely just met and there is that little fact of the big camera in my face, someone may have missed a nap, the baby needs to eat, the clothes don't fit, it's raining and so on. We will deal with this and do all the things that we do to direct the situation, but more often than not, our favorite images have nothing to do with me.
My husband often asks me (or tells me really) that he isn't sure how or why I am doing what I am doing because it can be intimidating and difficult to meet folks and hang out and come away with what they have so kindly paid me to do. I often end up standing on people's beds or lying in the grass or mud laughing, talking about personal things and really being allowed in this bubble for awhile which is kind of unbelievable. I've made lots of friends because of the closeness that can be created in these moments. I've ended session crying happy tears with moms because we "get it" and how important what we just did is.
I am by no means an extrovert or like to control people or situations. There is just something about this kind of an opportunity to be the one to spend a little time getting to know a family with a new baby, or a three year old girl who is the center of mom and dad's world, or a couple that can't help but show the camera how much love is between them. That is what I love the most; the realness of relationships. You can sit side by side and look at the camera and smile, but when I see you looking at each other the way you would were I not there...THAT is why I do this. It's life. It's that little snuggle in the image above of Nash knowing his mama has him; and that is all he needs. It especially gets me with moms because I know we want the close ups of their happy smiling faces, but we also want to remember how much they loved us and them be able to see down the road how much we loved them and cared for them and they will see it in these images.
I could not stress more how great it is when there is a relaxed, go with the flow, and into each other vibe during a session. There are certain tips and tricks to getting folks to be at ease, but if you go into it knowing that "if you build it, they will come", meaning that if you love on each other and interact be yourselves and be real, I will deliver that to you in your final images. You are all beautiful so please try your best to forget about the camera and just feel good about yourselves and your lives. This really is about catching a moment in time. We are all in so many ways the same.
Courtney, Nash's mom from above, almost didn't have this session at 18 months as we had the one year session and she was planning on waiting until he turned two to do it again. I hope she is as glad she did as I am. Another good reason to just let go and relax. You will never have this moment again. I love lifestyle photography.
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