Monday, August 2, 2010

A beautiful Couple

Several months ago, my cousin contacted me about possibly doing some portraits for her. She lives in Germany with her fabulous family, and would be in my neck of the woods this summer. She had already thought everything through, and knew that she wanted some family photos done at the beach. I relunctly said, "Yes." Now I know many of my loyal readers, and most stanch supporters will be upset that I even hesitated, but I did. If you aren't in the mood to hear my reservations, and my excuses, do yourself a favor and just scan through the images I'm sharing in this post. On a whole, I'm THRILLED with the results of this project. I posted a few of the entire family recently as well.


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The weeks leading up to this photo session, I got myself worked into a frenzy. You see, I hadn't taken photos for someone other than myself in a whole year. While, taking portraits can be much like riding a bike, it can also be very difficult to jump back into if you are.....ummmm....well, ME! On the outside, I appear to be outgoing, on the inside, I'm a pretty shy person. I get uncomfortable around people I don't know very well. I hadn't seen my cousin in years, and years, and hadn't actually met her family before. Believe it or not....I'm shy.


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On top of that normal anxiety, all you have to do is add the element of EMOTION, and MONEY....and you have a recipe for a Corey all tied up in knots. You see, I have a really hard time taking those two things lightly. When the photos I'm taking are REALLY important to the person, or if they are giving me their hard earned money to capture said photos.....it jacks the whole experience up like 100 notches for me. My cousin made it perfectly clear that these photos were extremely important to her, and that she trusted me whole heartily to capture them for her. I dare say, she believed in me WAY more than I did, and that scared me.


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It is times like this that really make me feel like, no matter how many people support me, or think I should....I'm just not cut out for a portrait photography business. While I have not actively pursued this endeavour, I have more than once been encouraged to do so. Personally, I feel that I have A LOT more to learn before I have any business being trusted with this responsibility.
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YES, I know that my photos don't stink.....and often they can be pretty darn good, but on a whole, I feel like I need to be comfortable that in ALL situations I can get folks the photos they are wanting. Right now......I don't feel like that. This particular shoot had me all worked up over the location. The weather has been CRAZY this summer, and I was completely unsure what it was going to do the day of the shoot. The NOT knowing drove me insane. In the end, as you see, it was nearly perfect weather, but as we were leaving the fog and wind came right in. We are so lucky, and I am so grateful.

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My cousin and her family love the results, and they were amazing to work with. It was a perfect jump back into the game, but I made tons of mistakes. Yes, I am tough on myself, but a person can't grow if they can't see their shortcomings.

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This particular session had a lot of firsts for me. I had NEVER done portraits of more than 4 people. Shooting a couple....that was a first.....and I've only done beach portraits once before. Everything felt so new to me. It is really hard to have confidence in a situation like that.

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Most of my photography experience has been children....young children to be exact. It is a joy to follow a toddler around and capture them in the element doing what they naturally do. Posed shots are a different story. There is sooooooooooooo much to learn about posing. A good posed shot doesn't look posed....it looks natural. To achieve that......takes knowledge, and good people skills. You give the people a prompt, and let it go from there, all the while watching for issues.

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I'm not there yet. There is so very much to look for in these situations. Your mind has to be on at least 20 different things. How's the light? How's my settings? How's the pose? How's my angle? Is there anything distracting in the foreground....or background? Am I cutting of important body parts? ........and so on.

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I made several mistakes on this shoot, but the important thing, I feel, is that I have a pretty good idea what I could have done differently. I learned a lot. I'm grateful for the opportunity to grow.


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It is pretty obvious to me that I need to either start saying "NO", or start saying "YES" a whole lot more often. Letting a year go between shoots is not the solution.

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I just haven't really let myself grow when it comes to "people" photography. My Kitty Project has given me plenty of opportunities to grow in creativity, but working with people is a whole different ball game.


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I want to say "yes" more, but it is so time consuming. I have a full time job.....and a young child....a house to keep, and a husband and friends. Photography can suck up all your free time if you let it...if you love it!


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I have to admit that there is a HUGE fear that if I start taking photos for people more often, I'll start looking at it as a JOB....or WORK....and lose some of my love for it. I don't ever want to feel like I "have to" take pictures. I always want to "WANT TO".

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After this session was over....I was on cloud nine....I felt fantastic because nothing horrible happened. The weather cooperated....the equipment worked....I didn't totally bomb the poses....and the company was delightful.

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Now several weeks out....I've lost that feeling, and if someone asked me TODAY to take pics for them TOMORROW, I'd have a heart attack. While I know that practice is what I need....it is obvious that taking photos of Sugar Bear isn't the practice I most need. I have to put myself in situations I have never done before. I have to extend myself, and really put it all out there, even if I never end up making this into a business. I was under the impression that if I didn't intend on starting a business, I really didn't need to do portraits for other people very often, but I do see that I'm wrong.

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There will be times when I want to say, "yes", and if I have not practiced....I will not be ready....I will not have the confidence....and I will have extreme anxiety. That is no fun for anyone, and I'm not doing myself any favors.

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I am so grateful for my cousin, and her wonderful family for pushing me into new things, and for giving me the opportunity for self reflection. I learn a lot about myself while working on this project, and while I know this post is very much a rambling mess......I wrote it very much for myself. I have so many thoughts rolling around in my head these days, and getting a few of them out is likely to help.

I appreciate so very much the support I have recieved via my blog, and I hope my readers will understand that I'm not making light of my successes.....but trying to learn something from each experience. This photoshoot was a SUCCESS. My cousin is so very pleased, and that is what it's all about, in the end.

6 Live It or Love It:

Autumn said...

Oh Gosh I am so proud of you! You did a fabulous job. I completely understand your feelings about money and expectations. But I'm fully confident that you delivered exactly what they wanted for far less than you deserve to receive in return. I may be contacting you for a practice session.... I have some ideas. If your interested that is. :)

Jeanette said...

They are fabulous!! As for the nervousness, I get all nervy every time and I'm convinced the photos will be crap and they'll hate them. You just have to get past it... you're good!

Gayle said...

Some of the shots were just so natural and I loved them. I would find it very educational to hear what you find "wrong" with the shot. It would be a lesson for us all. I take horrible photos...in a hurry, with distractions and blurry. Plus my camera needs cleaned (it has spots on the sensor), but I can't afford it. Kind of frustrating. In my mind I want to be an awesome photographer, but in real life I'm unwilling to learn and take it off Automatic. LOL. You are awesome as always.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I think you did a great job! It's always good when we leave our comfort zone!

Marcelle said...

Great photo's and enjoyed reading your entry as I put u on a pedestal, thats its good to read you like so many of us...
Thanks for sharing with honesty...xx

Andrea said...

a very honest post punctuated with wonderful photographs - you aced this one and I am sure when word gets out the pressure to "practise" is going to mount - have faith in yourself, you work is beautiful and even with mistakes a hundred times better than 90% of the population can accomplish - God gave you an amazing talent girl, go forth and USE it xxx

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