I photographed a client recently and as soon as I met her, I could tell she was reserved and a little hesitant to have her photo taken. She had gone to get hair and makeup done beforehand and looked absolutely beautiful but I could tell by her body language that she was nervous. So I gave her a big hug, introduced myself, and told her I was so excited to photograph her. I asked her how she was feeling about being in front of my camera and she said, “I’m a little nervous.” I explained that everyone gets nervous, including myself, and that I would tell her exactly what to do. I always let my clients know that I will pose them but I want them to feel free to move around, sway back and forth, move their hands, change their position, etc. I don’t want my clients to show up feeling that I’m going to be upset if they move slightly. It is my goal to make my subjects feel comfortable and allow them to be themselves because when they are, I know I will capture them at their best.
So we shot for the next couple hours and as the sun set, we finished up and I said goodbye. I went home and was excited to look through the photos and to deliver them because I saw a beauty in her that I don’t think she saw in herself. I knew she needed the pictures for a deadline so I quickly edited them, blogged them, and delivered them. I didn’t hear anything back for a few days so I had no idea what was going through her mind but sure enough, I opened my email a few days after delivering the pictures to an email where she expressed her heart and basically gave me reasoning and reenforcement for why I do what I do. Here’s a blurb of her message…
As you might have already realized, I am not good at modeling and am awkward with my poses and smile. However, your encouragement during the shoot and your photography skills made the pictures turn out extraordinary! I love them a lot. I cannot thank you enough — you revealed another side of me. I never thought I could look good in pictures.
I always knew photography had so much potential to encourage people and help them see their beauty, but it wasn’t until about a year ago when I really started experiencing this and hearing back from clients. It doesn’t really matter how old you are — everyone experiences a lack of confidence, especially when it comes to self-image. We don’t see ourselves like others see us and that’s why photography is SO amazing. I get to capture someone the way I see them and convince them with my photos that they are full of worth. That’s such an honor and I’m so thankful to have found a job that allows me to help people in that way. So often we see our jobs as a way to simply make a living but I think there’s so much more opportunity than that. How can we find a way to be more than just a person at a desk? How can we show kindness to people and push through the hard days with perseverance and a heart of joy?