My one and only goal when I am taking portraits of people is to give them images of themselves and their loved ones that they will treasure for years to come. I want you to look back at the pictures I took of you a year from now, a decade from now, a lifetime from now, and feel happy to have that time in your life captured for eternity. Although I've been a photographer for a relatively short time, I have certainly learned key things that will ensure that you walk away from the experience with photos that you will treasure always.
It wouldn't be right not to have a little fun with this, so I'm going to set each tip to a song lyric!
1) ASK ME - I WON'T SAY "NO" - HOW COULD I? (The Smiths - Ask) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YyaSQLlS5e8
Are you desperately unsure what to wear for the shoot? Ask me, I will happily give advice. Is there a place you think would be spectacular for the shoot? Tell me about it so we can brainstorm ideal spots for the place! Do you absolutely have to have a picture of you in a certain pose or with a certain person? Please, please let me know so I can make sure that we get it!
No matter the idea or suggestion, I want to accommodate you! I have a variety of photography experiences under my belt. I can guide you on everything from location to timing to outfits. Carli wanted to know if her dog Stanley could be part of their family shoot. I was happy to have him there even if animals can be somewhat unpredictable. What followed was a series of amazing photos with a dog whose face cracked me up at every turn.
2) THERE'S ONE THING THAT I WILL SAY TO YOU. I'M NOT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE. (The Kinks - I'm Not Like Everybody Else) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BFkYoT5Gezo
I can't tell you how much I want you to infuse your personality into any shoot I do with you. Every single person has something unique and special about them. Whether it is a book you adore more than anything, a song you're obsessed with, or a defining moment you and your partner have shared; don't be afraid to make it a feature of your shoot. I often tell my engagement clients to have a drink before they come and have their pictures taken. It loosens them up to be free in their shoot and interact with each other in a more natural way.
Bottom line - do you, be you, embrace you. I certainly will! Scott wanted to take pictures with his welding helmet on during some of his and Elise's engagement photos. I think that was totally awesome and am thrilled with how it turned out!
3) I DON'T ASK FOR MUCH, JUST BE HONEST WITH ME (Jason Mraz - Be Honest) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afdeN2JxhaM
I want you to be as upfront with me as you possibly can be. Set me up for success! If you know your child gets super grumpy at 3pm, then golden hour light be damned. If you know that you would be more comfortable taking photos at your home than traipsing off to the woods or the city, I'd really like to know that. I never want to force something for a photo. Inevitably, the result is disappointment and a feeling of discomfort that is palpable in the photo. I may have met you prior to our shoot. You may be a friend or a prior client. I do not pretend to know everything about you and your situation. For example, if you know there is beef between two family members, please don't let me try and pose them together in a photo. It will result in disaster and is completely avoidable. I do not have a photo to share for this tip. Well, maybe I do, but you don't want to see them and I don't want to share them. Moving swiftly along...
4) GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE, GIVE PROPS TO YOU KNOW WHO (Meghan Trainor - Credit) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU3u2OeHuzk
Ok, so this isn't how to have a successful photo shoot, but I really need to say this somewhere. Every photographer needs clients to have a business. No matter where we are in the process of building that business. Photography is my passion and I love every single moment of it. Whenever I see that you have used a picture of mine for a holiday card, a profile picture, as decoration in your home, and anywhere else, I am absolutely overjoyed. That being said, if you do not give me a photo credit on social media, it is kind of bothersome. It is my work out there for all the world to see. If you love it, please tell others how it came to happen. I know that sounds petty, but it is hugely important to me that my work is recognized. It could mean the difference between me being a fully fledged photographer one day or hanging up my camera and sticking with the day job.
On that point, I cannot stress the importance of high quality images enough. Please, please, please do not take a Facebook image and have it printed. Facebook compresses the images so badly that the quality is very low. When you have them printed from the internet, they will not look anything like the high res images I have taken. I would rather send you the high quality files than see a terrible version of a beautiful photo out there in the world.
(The lovely Jen McLellan is always amazing at this. Thank you for being the fabulous social media icon that you are.)
5) SEEING IS DECEIVING, DREAMING IS BELIEVING (Jessie J - Who You Are) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HCpr_10YzGg
I love Pinterest. I do. I really do. I love seeing all the pretty things, and becoming inspired by the endless creative ideas being realized out there in the world. That being said, Pinterest is not real. Pinterest is Fool's Gold set up to make you look back at major milestones in your life and hating them for not featuring perfectly coordinated chevron details. Here's a secret, about 90% or more of the photos of weddings you see on Pinterest are not real weddings. They are styled shoots that are immaculately curated by a team of event designers, shot by professional photographer in only perfect conditions, with models as the "bride" and "groom". Don't be taken in by it. Pinterest will fade away into a blip in years to come. What will not fade away is a picture that shows true emotion between two people. Love, when captured by a camera, can be infinitely timeless. Don't stress the details so much that you lose track of why you are there. Whatever you do will be beautiful and will be made more so by being present in the moment with one another!
Hey, take us home Colbie Caillat