Recently, I've been feeling a little frustrated with my photography. I know I've grown a lot over the last couple years, but I'm feeling a little stalled. I think part of it was comparing myself to others instead of just recognizing my strengths. I also had my first official paid session, a bridal shower, (pictures for that to come soon) and even though I didn't charge that much I started to doubt that I was worth it.
Doubt can accelerate fast, so I was glad that a few days before the photo session, ClickAway was streaming video sessions. ClickAway is a photography conference put on every year by ClickinMoms, an inspirational group of hobbyist and professional photographers that I have learned a wealth of information from. I would love to go sometime, but for now I appreciate that they stream some of the sessions so I can learn a few things from afar. Some of the sessions are on location photo shoots teaching tips and tools, and others are on a variety of topics such as editing, messages behind photography, using social media, etc.
This year there were two sessions that stood out to me - in the sense that I was really moved by them (yes, they brought me to tears). One was by Sue Bryce and the other by Jesh de Rox. Sue's session was called Finding Beauty and Jesh's session was Anything is Possible: Intro to the work of Moment Design. Both talked about themes of value in yourself and others, and how to look at the world and people in different ways. They relayed messages that applied to all facets of life and it helped me feel stronger, more confident, and hopeful. There were other sessions that I found inspirational as well. Candice Zugich talked about emotionally driven photography. She taught me about posing people, and inspired me since she only uses a 35mm lens (my favorite). Kate Parker talked about developing an artistic voice - something I've always admired about her Strong is the New Pretty series she has showing young girls as strong, and smart, and varied in their interests.
So when it came time to photograph Lauren's bridal shower I was feeling way more confident. I've never felt great about posing people, but I was able to provide guidance this time and one of the guests even commented that I was a professional. Ha. I was hired by my co-worker, Maggie, to shoot her sister's shower, but she asked if I could take a few pictures of her and her husband, Mike, as well. Of course I would! We only stepped away for a few minutes, but I was able to try out some of the new techniques I learned in the days before. Not everything worked. I'm still not good at simply posing people and getting genuine emotion out of them, but other techniques worked great and I can't wait to try them out again.
We started with some simple facing the camera poses. There were houses surrounding us so it was hard to avoid that, but the first one show a house more than others. Wish I would have caught that, but my husband assures me that it's not distracting and most people won't care. For me it's a reminder to be aware of ALL the details.
Then I tried posing them like Candice suggested. It was awkward and I wasn't sure how to get it to feel more natural. At least Mike gave his wife a forehead kiss and that helped, but again, I need more practice on this.
And then I tried one of Jesh's techniques. He calls them 'expression invites', but really it's just asking them to do something or asking them questions that evoke an emotional response. So you could have your couple stand away from each other and simply walk towards each other with their eyes closed to meet with a kiss. Or you may have one of them whisper something naughty in the other's ear. I had Maggie and Mike face each other and say something about each other using one word at a time back and forth for about 30 seconds. It resulted in this...
And the best part of all of this is I'm feeling that little spark again.