Do you possess a particular skill? Of course you do! Maybe it’s directly artistically-related like painting, or a complete knowledge of all the ins-and-outs of a particular software program at work.
And I bet you’ve been doing it for so long that you, yes even you, have forgotten how long it took to master, and are perhaps devaluing what it is that you do.
I have one scenario (and more, but I won’t keep you) where I was suddenly aware that no, not everyone can do what I do (without training), and hey, I’ve gotten so good at this thing that it took someone else not doing it well for me to realize how many years, steps and experience it takes to acquire a particular skill.
The thing? The skill? Photography, of course.
Enter: my husband with my camera
Alright, not to throw shade, I love him dearly and he was a good sport about taking time to photograph my horse and me, but I’m going to point out some of the funnier parts of our “session” together and let you know what it felt like for me, as a photographer, to be on the other side of the lens.
The best part of these pictures is the husband-wife conversation that went on during them.
Photo credit: Me? (gets settings, snaps a few practice shots, hands camera over to C) Button-pusher, and occasional whiner: Calvin (actually did a really good job, thank youuu *kiss*)
Snippets of conversation: C: wow, this (camera) is heavy, gonna have to start working out. (this is funny because he's literally a strength and conditioning coach.)
Me: we have to get Jeri's ears forward C: "Frisbee? Frissssbeee?" (works with our border collie lol, it did not work with Jeri, shockingly.)
Me: you know you kind of look like a bird-watching enthusiast with that camera around your neck C: *mock throws camera* Alright, THAT'S IT!!!
Me: no, you're holding the camera too high, we look super short, can you get down on one knee? C: *glares*
C: snapping an inordinate amount of pictures when Jeri's ears aren't even forward Me: hey, just, don't take so many, I have to go through them and delete them. C: I thought if I did a bad job, I'd get fired.
God love 'em and so do I.
Now, I am not totally allergic to having my photo taken, but if it’s more than a fun cell phone shot, I totally relate with my clients’ nerves, the pressure, and general effort that goes into trying to:
Trying to look presentable yet comfortable yet stylish yet never mind I don’t care anymore, take the dang photo
2. Tilt my head just right so as to avoid the double-chin effect
3. Not smile too big where I know my eyes squint and are un-seeable in the photo
4. Do all of this while trying to keep my horse from eating grass, hitting me in the face with his tail, or forgetting that he needs to stay out of my personal space
It can be a bit much. Can you relate? :p
Thoughts during a photo session:
Are my horse’s ears forward?
Am I clamping down on the reins too hard
Ethereal, try to look ethereal
Scratch that, try to look like your normal, pleasant self
Ug, I smiled too big again and clamped my jaw
Do ANY of these photos look good?
I realized how blind you feel on the other side of the lens. And wonder so the photos look good to the photographer, but will they look good to ME?? You’ve invested a lot of time (and perhaps money), what if the photographer doesn’t care as much as you do!?
I have renewed gratitude for those that put their trust in me to capture their photos! You can look at a photographer’s galleries all day long and think yea, they can totally capture me and my horse looking great! But once you’re in the midst of a session, without any encouragement, your nerves can really start to nag at you!
And you know what? If your photographer isn’t encouraging you during your shoot, or showing you a few images from the back of the screen to prove it to you, they’re really doing you a disservice! You’re left to wonder, and you should never go home wondering, were there at least a few good ones?
I love my husband, but safe to say, I was coaching him the entire time. While also worrying about myself :p
Whew, that being said, just know that I always try to be directing, talking, encouraging and supporting you during a session. It's like my life's mission is to make people feel at ease. We're too stressed in general, I love getting to know people, making them feel cared for, and seeing their shoulders just relax.
A few insights into a session with me:
When I arrive, I leave my camera in the car. We probably have only spoken on the phone before this, so I want to meet you and your pony! I see where you're at in your preparations and take a look around the property to gauge good shooting locations.
We always begin with Black Backgrounds. It's in the horse's best interest, and it's kind of nice for his human to not be on the spot immedately.
Once it's time for Horse & Rider images around the farm, first, we go through some posing pointers. During the session, I direct what to do with hands, where to shift your eyes, which leg to pop. All of this doubly so if I can sense how annoyed a client is with an uncooperative horse.
You would be surprised, but what might feel like chaos (your horse, jerking your arm trying to eat the nearest, juiciest grass), can still really turn into some wonderful photos. I promise there is beauty to be captured. (Though we mitigate naughty pony behavior as much as we can). Sometimes it’s a patience game, or the horse may need to be lunged a little, but that is why my session timeframes are as long as they are.
Ultimately, I never leave until I, and my type A- attention-to-detail-personality, are satisfied. My attention to detail and desire to capture you at your best is the best compliment I've received from clients. They sense that I care, because, well, I do.
Fear not, we've got this!
Thanks again to my wonderful husband, but I suspect a professional session might just be in my future sometime soon! How fun!
All the best!