Without a doubt the prevailing notion is that your photographer shows up on shoot day with his/her awesome camera, tells you where to stand, presses the clicky thingy a few times, and voila!... beautiful images are ready for consumption that night. Now, I know that you know it's not that simple (most of you, anyway). But, if I have done my job the way I plan it for each wedding, family, senior, birthday party, bar mitzvah, or corporate head shot then that's what it will seem like to you. No bride or birthday parent of mine needs to fret about what goes into making their image event a success. You don't need to fuss over the who, what, when, where, why, and how. That's what you have me for! But, if you've ever wondered...
"That was a beautiful location and the light was perfect. You're a genius!" Well, maybe, but the truth is I'm prepared. Waaaay before picture day I was there... at least once. I was there during the time of day that our session was to take place. I was checking for scenery, finding the light, looking at angles, minding the shadows, reflections, and background clutter. I was taking light meter readings and comparing natural color pallets (remember when I asked you what everyone was wearing?). I was taking notes so I wouldn't waste your valuable time during our session fiddling with the camera. I was ready.
"I look awesome in these pictures! How did you do that? You're a genius!" Well, maybe, but the truth is your beauty has always been there. It's my job to know how to display it properly. Most of my clients laugh, roll their eyes, or look at me cross-eyed throughout the session when they hear me say things like "Give me ballet hands, girls." Or "Take a deep breath and do some photography yoga." Or "Give me game face." Or the ever popular "Stick your tongue out!." On one recent family beach shoot I couldn't get the guys to relax and just be themselves. I thought about the look I wanted for a moment, then out of nowhere I yelled "Gap commercial!" They looked perplexed so I said, "Give me a Gap commercial." They got it. What followed was the most perfect image of six dudes chillin' on the beach I could have ever hoped for. I've spent years studying bodies, faces, hands, feet and how to photograph them, not to mention the psychology of photography. I'm going to find the light, put you in it, make sure that all of your parts are in flattering places, evoke the emotion, and start clicking. It's all you. I just know how to arrange it.
"Hey... what's with the ladder and that giant, silver, oval thingy?" Sometimes I need to manipulate angles and light for maximum flattery and I bring the tools to do it. There are certain angles and lighting situations that compliment the faces and bodies of males and females differently. During a session with me, odds are you'll see me up on a ladder, down on the ground, in a tree, tightrope-walking a dock rail, knee-deep in the river... who knows. Anything for the shot. My goal is to create unique images for you that you'll be proud to show everyone.
"Why does it take so long to get my pictures? Can't you just upload them from the camera to my gallery?" Most clichés are bromides for broad brush painting, however I have found that there is one cliché that can't be replaced for its brevity and summation. It is what it is. Whether it's a wedding, a family beach session, or a child's birthday party there are many challenges involved in producing your image gallery. I'll spare you the tiresome minutiae of light temperature, 18% gray, image noise, and chromatic aberration. Let's just say it takes a little bit of time and expertise to get from a to z. The digital darkroom can facilitate the speed of a photographer's workflow, but there are still only 24 hours in a day... no matter how much I try to bend physics. A little bit of patience will always bring great rewards.
I hope you've enjoyed this little peek behind the scenes of your photo shoot. Have fun on your day in front of the lens and remember that photography tells the story of your family.
Until next time, find your joy. Creating beautiful images for you is mine.