"Just be yourself. Let people see the REAL, IMPERFECT, FLAWED, QUIRKY, WEIRD, BEAUTIFUL & MAGICAL person you are."
- Author Unknown
People are often surprised and delighted that I manage to capture their expressions that are truly authentic. Clients who choose me as their photographer, always stress the point..."I don't want posed shots...I only want natural photos." So I find that the clients who do choose me as their photographer are drawn to me for a reason...
I get them at their most beautiful.
And in beautiful, I don't necessarily mean beautiful as in aesthetic beauty. Though I strive to bring that out in my shots. Talking about 'beauty', I'll let you in on a little secret....
EVERYONE has flaws.
Regardless of how aesthetically beautiful you are, believe me when I tell you that when I get in close and I begin my edits, I can see every conceivable blemish, mark or spot you have! So let's be clear on that...EVERYONE has flaws. It's part of being human.
Part of my job as your photographer is to remove those unsightly blemishes. But I never remove things like a mole or scar or something that people recognise you by. I leave them alone. Why? Because those little things make you who you.
Getting you at YOUR most beautiful, is about capturing your life force...who you are intrinsically.
I aim for the process to be as natural as possible, guiding my client through their session and then letting the session unfold organically.Whether I am doing a formal portrait, an outdoor, natural light family session or a documentary session, capturing your life force is what is vital for me in getting what I call those 'WHOA moments'.
The style of the session will determine the end result of your photos, and I will choose the edit or look and feel, depending on your style, personality and the level of formality or intention of the shoot, i.e. formal portrait, natural outdoor family session, etc.
Those whoa moments are defined as moments when you are seeing yourself at your most beautiful. Sometimes for the first time. Those moments that I see when I photograph you. When I've taken the time to connect with you and my insight leads me to that moment.
So I have a very specific process to leads me to those insightful moments.
It starts from when I pick up the phone or you pick up the phone and call me and ask to have a photography session. For me, making a connection with you straight away is very important. I do that by asking you questions and I will gauge your response. If I find that after talking to someone or even meeting them that we can't seem to connect, or what they are looking for is too 'cliched' in the approach, I do not take on that client. If someone isn't willing to reveal who are they or is too guarded, then I'm not going to be able to find that whoa moment. It will look and feel 'false'.
With all my sessions, it's obligatory that I meet my client first. If I can't meet them personally, then I will at least organise to meet online via Skype, where my client can see, hear and get to know me and vice-versa. I do this with my overseas or distance clients.
Once I've met you and talked to you about what you want from your session and we've thrown around some different ideas about achieving what you want, coupled with my vision, we'll then start working toward the actual photo session. This involves talking about things like what to wear, locations, hair and make-up (if applicable), etc.
We also talk about the importance of you approaching your session as just time together, rather than a photo shoot. Whether that is time together as a family, couple or individual time. It's an opportunity for you to relax and just enjoy the process and do what you normally do when you spend quality time together.
After meeting you at our pre-session planning and consultation, this is when I have a clearer picture of how to approach your session. And this is when my creativity comes into play. Because after that, I can't stop thinking of your session. Ideas come into my head based around my connection with you. The more I get to know you (hence me asking sometimes random and seemingly irrelevant questions), the better chance of me really getting those 'whoa moments' on the day of the shoot. I also am genuinely interested in who you are - I like to know what makes people tick, because I find people fascinating.
Once the day arrives, I have a very specific process to help me relax and 'get into the zone'. It's important that I don't plan too much on the day of your shoot. I will often listen to music. It's like I have a movie reel playing in my head and when I listen to music it's like watching my own movie, but you're the star. I will do this constantly and imagine how I want my movie or session to play out.
Okay... so now the time for your photo session has arrived...
We meet and this is where I also get to meet husbands, partners or other people I may not have had the chance to connect with yet. So the first part of the session, it's important that I put those people at ease and I take time to talk with them. The first part of the session, I will often shoot with my long lens or from a distance, to allow my clients to get comfortable with having a camera present. I've found it takes about 10-15 mins for clients to relax in front of the camera, even shy husbands and/or partners.
This is also when I see how well you've listened to my suggestions in relation to clothing, accessories, etc. The closer you as the client are, to matching the suggestions we've discussed collaboratively, the better the outcome. So it's important from the outset that we are both on the same page and agree about the look, feel and style of your session. I cannot stress how important this it is that you follow these suggestions!
You see...once we've met and we've made that connection, I ask you to trust me. Trust my vision and the possibilities - trust that the process will deliver what you're looking for, and more.
Because often, in most cases, I can see what you can't and I don't always reveal what I have in mind, because that spoils the surprises I might have in store for you. It's all part of the experience that I want you to have.
My aim is not only that you have beautiful photos to treasure, but to give you an experience, not just another photo session. Hopefully it will help you to slow down enough to allow yourself to genuinely connect with your feelings and with your loved ones, in a way that you don't normally get the chance to do.
Believe it or not, going through the process with me will lead you to your own moments of insight. And that in itself for me as an observer is a beautiful thing for me to witness.
And the best part is that you get those 'WHOA MOMENTS', like Dylan did recently. Moments that you couldn't possibly have imagined, that reflect who you are on the inside. And in trusting me and the process can often deliver images that can surprise and delight you!