As I was waiting for this evening’s clients to arrive at our location, I had the chance to observe another photographer. I always arrive early for any shoot by fifteen or twenty minutes which gives me time to mentally prepare, and to scout the area for light – because even if you shoot at the same location three days in a row at the same time, the light will be different each time. I’m always surprised at just how different my approach is… For me, what I do is normal, it’s natural, it’s just how I am. And I can, and do, forget just how different the experience I provide is.
When I first arrived on the scene, I knew the family gathered there weren’t my clients. The ages and number of people were wrong… but it was clear they were nervous. So I laughed with them a little about how popular this particular spot is with photographers, and how it’s unusual to find less than two or three there at any given time. They invited me to photograph them if my clients failed to show. LOL It was casual, easy going, and fun. We all shared some smiles and laughs – which made everyone feel better. That’s when the patriarch of the family pointed out their photographers, saying “They’re supposed to be taking care of us.” The two photographers, or photographer and assistant (their relationship wasn’t clear), were off on their own standing and talking secretively with their backs to the family.
From the moment my clients arrive, it’s my job to help them relax, to put them at ease. It’s an odd situation – trying to look and act natural in circumstances that are anything but. If I can help make my clients feel better about things, especially if I can get them to trust me enough to laugh and let go of their fears a little, it makes a world of difference. Not just when it comes to their experience, but for their photos as well. Not every photographer does this… and sometimes I can forget that.
After a while I watched the photographers call the family over and begin setting up their posed shot. Now, I don’t do posed photography, but many many photographers still do. It’s a personal preference, and there are clients who feel more at ease being posed. It certainly requires less effort from your subjects. Working with me is about give and take, you have to be willing to put yourself out there a little. Share a little with me, and I’ll give it back to you in a beautiful and amazing way… it’s exhausting though. Most of my clients end up pretty tired by the end of a shoot, we’re busy and engaged, a shoot goes fast and by the end you’ll be tired. Posed shots are easier, they don’t require anything of you. Just hold a pose and paste on a grin. But when you don’t give of yourself, the finished product won’t be personal either. Take a look at the snapshot above, it took the photographers fifteen or so minutes to set it up – and while it will likely be a nice keepsake, it doesn’t tell you anything about the family or their personalities. There isn’t anything wrong with it, but it’s not a style I can understand or would ever emulate.
When my family arrived, and I say “MY” family quite purposefully, we got the necessary paperwork out of the way but then it was all fun. We were laughing and sharing. I get to know their quirks, and how they relate to one another. I watch the dynamics present, and do my best to capture those quiet moments of knowing. Sure, we get the portraits where everyone is looking at the camera – the ones for the holiday cards… but even those share a whole lot more about who each person is. Their individuality shines through in a big way.
I love my clients, I love working with them. I love that a photo shoot is about sharing, and supporting one another, creating together. That is what portrait photography should be, at least in my eyes.
If you ever walk past a family I’m working with, you’ll hear laughter, see people being silly with one another, people being honest and having fun. The couple of times we walked past the group above it was quiet, I sensed a lot of apprehension and nervousness. My clients may feel those things at the very onset of a shoot, but in the end? They are MY families. I do my very best to take care of them and make them feel great. It’s not just about creating photographs, it’s about creating memories, it’s about photography as legacy… and that just means so much more.
Sooo… who wants to win a FREE PHOTOSHOOT???
Well, you could very well win yourself one. I’m giving away a session of choice (limited to my “a family affair”, “sweethearts”, “it’s all you”, “pawtraits”, and “headshots” sessions) to one lucky Facebook fan. All you have to do to enter is pop on over to FB, like my page if you haven’t already, and then share both my page and this note: https://www.facebook.com/notes/td-photography/win-a-photoshoot-with-td-photography-saskatoons-photosmith/422511161133793 Make sure you pop back over to the note afterwards to let me know you shared and to claim your entry. You can get yourself as many as FIVE entries by simply sharing in a variety of places in a variety of ways.
The give-away is open to both new fans and past clients. So hop on over to my FB fan page at http://www.facebook.com/tdfoto and start sharing your way to a free session!
Not too long ago I had the privilege of getting to know Lindsay and Daniel, a charming couple who (I’ll admit) remind me quite a bit of Damon and myself… And not just due to their physicality (us gurlz are both 5’0″, the boyz are both six foot or taller. us gurlz are blondes, the boyz have dark hair). LOL I enjoyed watching them interact with one another, and seeing the same dynamics I find in my own relationship. I have a very strong feeling that this couple will still be making time for one another, and making each other laugh in forty years.
Lindsay and Daniel, thank you for choosing me to do your engagement shoot. I really did enjoy our time together, and hope it was memorable for you as well. I wish you nothing but the best. May your love continue, strong and steadfast, for a lifetime together. I hope you enjoy the preview!
I’m pretty lucky, as far as dealing with weather conditions as a photographer. In all my years as a professional photographer I’d only ever been forced to reschedule a session due to inclement weather twice. Scratch that. As of this evening it’s now thrice.
Still, I shouldn’t complain. Three times during my professional career? That’s less than once every two years. I’d say it’s a darn good track record. Seems Mother Nature is generally on my side.
These winds though, WOW! While they’d be fabulous for a glamour shoot – a woman wearing a gauzy dress, with flowing hair, and a big wide brimmed hat? How much fun would that be??? But a couple looking for some relaxed and romantic, quiet and calm captures? Not so much. So we rebooked for another time.
I love working in the open air, you simply won’t find a studio environment that can offer even a tenth of the qualities you can find out in nature. The light, the setting, the amazing effect both can have on your subjects… Nope. You’re not going to find that in a studio. Heck, I used to have one… and I didn’t use it.
Yep, given me the real world any day. Real people, enjoying themselves in a real situation. Loving themselves and the experience. It just doesn’t get any better!
Ugh. Just realized I’ve got bug guts on my screen. Ewwwwwww……….
Gotta love Summer! (and yes, it’s from something getting squashed earlier while I was working outdoors – because even when I’m processing an image, if I can be outside? I’d rather be.)
When I first received the booking form filled out by Reche, I knew hers was going to be a fun shoot. You see, the two of us have a past connection. Her brother and I were very good friends back when we were still teenagers and young adults. It seems like a lifetime ago now, but good friends never really stop being friends – even when they lose touch. So getting to see Reche, meet her family, and work with them all really was a treat.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again… the best family sessions, are those when the kids are allowed to just be themselves. Let them play, let them show off their personalities. Sure, it’s nice when everyone is looking the same direction, but those captures that really show how a family is together, that shows those connections? It really is SOOO much better.
Thanks for the chance to work with your family, and reconnect with you Reche. It really was a treat!
I’ve begun the long process of updating my online portfolio. Today I’ve already put in six hours – and I’m not quite half way through pulling images from the last years worth of shoots. I shouldn’t have let it get so far behind, but what can I say? I love shooting, I love editing… but pulling photos for my portfolio? Not my idea of enjoyable. So I let it slide. Which is why it’s now such a large undertaking.
I’ll admit it, when I first set up my photography website I didn’t go all out when putting together the portfolio pages. Which is part of why I’m now in the conundrum I’m in. Do I keep them as is? Or is it time for a major revamp? I’m seriously looking for thoughts here.
When you browse through my portfolio in the future, how would you like to see things arranged? Do I keep things as they are (weddings, people, animals, and things)? Would you like to see things sorted by the type of shoot each image represents (couples, individuals, families, animals, weddings, events, and other)? Or is there some other way you’d prefer to browse? How would it be easiest for you?
Please take a minute to let me know your thoughts – even in just a couple of words. My online portfolio is there for YOU, so I want to ensure it’s set up in such a way that you find it as easy as possible to use. And thanks in advance. I really do appreciate your willingness to share.
So, I’m all caught up and am able to resume running my photography business how I’m happiest. Only a few shoots a week – which means I can edit those shoots in the same week. I am decidedly a much happier photog when I don’t have to keep my customers waiting on their photographs.
Today I got to work with a delightful Mom and her two daughters. We really did have a lot of fun. Belinda was a little nervous about our shoot, and had been stressing a little during the week leading up to it. But I can safely say that shortly after getting started she hit her stride and did fabulously. Her and her girls were a blast – and the resulting photos are evidence of that.
So Belinda! Thank you for the wonderful afternoon. It was a pleasure working with you and your girls.
I met up with Diane and Katie in one of my favourite “go to” spots. It’s unusual for a client to beat me there, but these two did… and got to watch a wedding shoot that just happened to be scheduled prior to ours. I had a lot of fun working with this adorable mother, daughter team so when Diane asked that I not hand off these edits to another photographer, I was only too happy to oblige. So, here we are. Say hello to Katie and Diane:
Sorry for being so brief… just kinda tired today.
I wanted to take a second to brag about my clients. I really do get to work with some of the best folk around. I love what I do, working as a photographer, seeking truth, love, and beauty in all things? It’s pretty freakin’ awesome. And then an email like this arrives in my inbox and it reminds me that I am doubly blessed. First I get to capture so many amazing people, and then I get to enrich their lives with those captures. It’s am amazing thing, and I am truly, truly blessed.
Hi, I just wanted to thank you for taking such great photos. We love them and were surprised to find so many of them were great photos. We thought we would be happy with 10 good photos and we have 50 that we love!!!! Thanks again you are very talented and we had such a great time doing the photo shoot. You made us feel relaxed and that we were just out playing with Zay not posing for a camera. Thanks again we will refer you and use you again.
Warm regards, Marla Janzen
Thank you Marla, for such a wonderful email. You didn’t have to take the time to write, and I appreciate that you did so. You touched my heart.
I believe this is the third time I’ve blogged about Jen and Martin’s Sweetheart Session. To bring up one particular photo shoot three times is unheard of for me, so I believe it speaks to the impact this couple had on me. I really did love working with them. Their feelings for one another were so evident in every interaction, they made my heart glow. I truly believe theirs is a love that will last through any difficulties they may encounter – and in today’s temporary society, that’s saying a lot.
I took Jen and Martin to the East side of the University Bridge here in Saskatoon. It’s not a spot I hit very often, so it remains an adventure every time I go. We shot on the lookout platform on the South of the pedestrian walkway, under the bridge itself, and along the path that extends under the bridge and through the University Campus on the North side of the bridge. In spite of relatively grey skies, we had a lovely time and created some beautiful images in celebration of this gorgeous couple.