Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My turn in front of the camera

I belong to a few local photography forums on Facebook. We post comments, questions, concerns, share frustrations and successes, and overall are just a support to other photographers in the Fort Meade area. I had one of the photographers in the group, CarolAnn of CA Photography, ask me if I would be willing to stop by her house real quick one day to test out some maternity photo ideas she had been mulling over. I readily agreed as it is not often I get the chance to be in front of the camera, rather than behind it.

I wore my striped dress (that isn't really a maternity dress at all but I stretch it out to make it one) because I think maternity photos are best done in dresses (to show off that bump!) and because I think it's the easiest time to wear horizontal stripes (the point, again, is to direct attention to the bump, yes? Unlike any other time, when you want to draw attention away from your width!). I also packed along a shirt for Axton to wear that would match my outfit just in case she offered to take a few photos with him, too (Yes, CarolAnn, the truth is out!! I planned it!! I was so happy you asked if I wanted one with him in the shot, too!)

As I stood there waiting for her to do a few quick test shots, making sure her settings were what she wanted them to be, I was thrown into the shoes of my clients. Standing there, all awkward hands and awkward face, awkward should-I-be-smiling-right-now-or-not? Waiting for her to instruct me was almost torturous! I couldn't believe how nervous I was getting, especially when it was such a low-key shoot and CarolAnn was so welcoming! I just wanted her to tell me exactly what to do. I needed her to tell me where she wanted my hands, if I should be smiling or serious or fake-laughing. I needed her to instruct me on just how far over my shoulder I should be glancing. I needed her to tell me I was doing a good job and that I looked great! And when she said, "Oh, you've got a stray hair there, make sure to get that!" I wanted to burst out with a chorus of THANK YOU's! Thank you for having the eye of a photographer, for noticing details like that so that when I looked back over my images I wouldn't be so distracted by the one stray hair over my eyes that I couldn't enjoy an otherwise beautiful image. Thank you for preventing that!

And when I got to see a sneak peek merely two hours later, I again wanted to say THANK YOU for posting this so quickly! I, of course, would have waited patiently and been happy to see the images whenever and however long it took for her to edit them (because I totally understand), but it was just that much more exciting to see an image so quickly!

She sent me a link to all of my images just a few short days later and for the third time, I had to tell her THANK YOU. Thank you for the quick turn-around. Thank for making my waist line look like it actually still exists. Thank you for seeing me not as I see myself - but as an artist would see myself. Thank you for making me feel beautiful and all maternity-glow-y. Thank you for capturing my son WITH me, because those images brought tears to my eyes...that's how happy they made me. Within a week, I had ordered a canvas print to hang on my wall.

This experience was SO good for me. It taught me what it felt like to be a client. It reminded me of things that I need to do for people who are entrusting me as their photographer - namely, I need to direct them and make them feel comfortable.  I need to have the eye that notices details like angles, stray hairs, weird shadows, unnatural poses, etc etc etc.  I should post sneak peeks quickly and return their images to them quickly! Because it is fun and it impresses them. I need to provide proof of their beauty to them - I need them to see themselves not as they usually do, but as the rest of the world does: As someone unique and stunning and special. I need them to have an emotional response to their images.

Second, being in front of the camera re-confirmed to me something I already knew, yet needed a good reminder of: that photography, to me, is more than just a fun hobby. These photos make me happy, they capture a time in my life I will never get back. If I didn't have these images, then 10 years from now I would never remember what it looked like to be 8 months pregnant and carrying my toddler around. And I know I will WANT to remember that. I also know that CarolAnn has spent years getting to be where she is now. She did not learn how to take a good photo - as well as how to edit it in post-production software - overnight. She has invested and sacrificed time and money to be good at what she does. She deserves to be paid the money she is charging...and that tells me that because I too, have done the same and worked hard and sacrificed,  I also deserve the money I charge.

Professional photography is worth investing in. Professional photography is special. Professional photography is important, and that means that my job is important, and that what I do can make a difference in people's lives. If I know this and remind myself of this, going into each session I do, then I believe my photos will always be exactly what my client wanted them, and needed, them to be.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness this made me tear up! Thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts. I'm glad to have helped capture this time in your life :) You'll have to send me a picture of the canvas!!!