I hear this often from people who are not my clients. Sadly, some of them are photographers. I’m ok with that because I understand that my photography isn’t for everyone. Most of my clients are artist or enjoy art in some form or fashion. They see my photos and “get it” because many of them have studied composition and the great late photographers from the early part of the 20th century. They understand my use of compositional elements to create a quirky situation but at the same time capture the realness of the subject matter. I’m not afraid to photograph a bride brushing her teeth or a baby in the middle of a tantrum. Because these things really happen. The people that hire us usually don’t even request an interview with us…they know what they want and when they see it.
I would say about 80% of our clients continue to use us after the wedding day for various photography needs. Even if they live in a different state they will make the drive to Cincinnati/Lexington to get a session in. I especially love it when their family starts to grow and we begin our annual portrait sessions documenting their lives. These sessions will either take place in their homes or outside somewhere such as a park or in downtown. Many times, my clients will take the trip down here to the Red River Gorge for their photo session…which is always fun! When I first started shooting portrait sessions, I would focus too much on what cool location I could get them to use. Now, after many years, I realize it’s not about that cool building or awesome bridge or pretty flower garden…it’s about the people and the faces and the expressions…and mostly documenting that happiness. Because 30 years from now, they aren’t going to remember that awesome location and they probably won’t be looking much at the background unless it’s the backyard they grew up in or their super cool bedroom with Elmo on the walls. They’ll be looking at the smiles and the eyes and remember how it felt to be there. This is why I don’t mind if the pillow on the couch is a crooked or the pacifier is sitting on the end table…or the baby only has one sock on. Because that’s the reality of it…and that is why my couples choose me to photograph their portraits. Sometimes it doesn’t happen in the first session or the 2nd…but when I’ve been working with my clients for awhile…we start to jive on another level…and so do the kids. They know me and they know what I expect from them…absolutely nothing but themselves…good mood or bad…it all works for me. The parents start to learn to step back and stop directing and to let me do what I do. Sessions are no longer tense and stressful but fun and relaxed…and that shows in the portraits.
Here is a session from last weekend of a previous bride and groom. It was during this session I was reminded of why I do this. The bride took a moment and thanked me for the photos from their wedding day. Her mother passed away unexpected shortly after her wedding. The photos from that day were some of the last photos taken of her. There were many photos of bride and mother laughing together. The brides words and heartfelt thanks meant the world to me.
And now…another story begins with a mother loving her daughter the same way she was loved…