Somewhere along the lines I lost touch of my true passion in photographing people in what I thought were the technicalities of portrait photography. The things I thought I had to do in order to gain respect or be looked at like I knew what I was doing. I spent a lot of time and investment in learning poses and techniques for setting up people to look their best. Positioning them nicely in a park or a beach. I even learned studio posing, for what I thought I needed. Telling my clients to, “Say Cheese!” or “Open your eyes at the count of 3!” wasn’t something I ever felt proud of doing but it’s what I thought I had to do to get ‘that shot’. This is the traditional way of portrait photography and it’s the way most people think it has to be. It’s the way I thought it had to be and what I thought was the ‘must do’ to be a professional family photographer.
Then I had an epiphany one night while trying to select three of my favorite photographs of my daughter for a frame. Suddenly it clicked in my head and I realized that posing and forced smiles or fake emotions aren’t present in any of them. Most of them are beautifully composed, yes, but they are all genuine real moments. All my favorite pictures of my own family and of others’ families have always been the candid ones too. Once this dawned on me I instantly realized why I’ve had a hard time promoting this business. I didn’t believe in what I was doing. I was stoked to be taking pictures of people and wanted to keep doing it but the people in the frames weren’t behaving naturally and it always felt off to me. Who just stands in the middle of a field with their family, all facing the same way, arm to arm, smiling in a certain direction instead of at each other? The answer is no one. It wasn’t what I loved in my heart. I didn’t feel like I was capturing real people and that’s what makes my heart sing. That’s what fuels me to work so hard. I couldn’t bare to take more time away from my family while posing others in ways they would never naturally be.
While I love each one of my clients and the experiences we’ve had shooting, a whole lot of me wishes I hadn’t been so worried with poses and techniques, backgrounds, baskets and props. I wish I could have sat down with my clients, gotten to know them a little better, then accompany them on an adventure or spend a day in their home, capturing real moments between each other, telling their individual unique story.
To me, it’s not the nice park setting with the pretty trees. It’s not making sure to stand in the direction of the wind so that your hair won’t fall in your face when posing out on the beach. It’s not the perfect smiles or the fake laughs. It’s not wrapping up newborns and setting them in buckets. It’s not jingling bells so babes will look at the camera. It’s not about props and backdrops. It’s about the love and the connection – and I let the poses and the technicalities get in the way of that.
To me, it’s about the way a child looks at her mother, or the way a daughter’s hand can fit inside of her father’s just so. It’s about the miracle of birth or joining hands in marriage. It’s about a first trip to the zoo, children wide eyed with wonder. It’s about a carnival date between two lovers, sharing funnel cakes and kisses. It’s about celebrations and parties, exploring and adventures, days spent at home and evening walks on the beach. It’s about tears over spilled milk. It’s about the real moments. Most importantly, it’s about the small little things that we don’t think to get captured but end up missing the most over the years.
The standard posed portrait is the way people think it’s supposed to be, the way they think it has to be. Well I’m here to break the tradition of the standard portraits. I’ve done them and I’ve not done them and now I know I don’t need them. I want to capture real genuine moments. I want to create photographs that will become family treasures. I want people to look at my images and be able to feel something. Those small special moments or special occasions that time takes away too quickly, I want to preserve them forever and that is exactly what we are doing here now. We are telling real life stories one beautiful album at a time.
If you’re interested in having your family’s memories photographed by us send a message via the Book a Shoot page or call and leave a message at (954) 900-9927. Because I am super duper excited about this change, we are currently offering session discounts for a limited amount of time if you let us come along and capture something super fun and unique! Let’s chat!
Those of you that read along or that continue to work with us, thank you!
Owner of Lucky Elephant Photography