This time of year, millions of families flood public parks and scenic areas for an opportunity to out-do the neighbors for that perfect photograph for this year’s Christmas Card. This year as I’ve done plenty of photo sessions with clients lately, I wanted to bring something up as somewhat of a suggestion. As Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa work diligently to find the perfect outfit, perfect location, and the perfect time of day, remember one thing. Things change.
Don’t be afraid of change, it is guaranteed! I’ve shot enough weddings to know that without a doubt. As soon as we can recognize it, and be OK to just let GO and let things play out, the better. Just last weekend I was working with a family to get the PERFECT portrait. I placed Grandma and Grandpa with all the grandkids where I wanted them, my assistant and I were adjusting lights, just testing to make sure the exposure looked good. The family was just sitting there, waiting for us to officially be ready so they could look our direction for the picture. When I got home and exported the files, I realized that the very best picture we captured was during the time we were testing the lights. It was not the perfectly posed shot that the family loved, in fact, it was the one where nobody was doing what they were supposed to.
Why is this OK you ask? When someone asks us to “sit down, shut up, and smile” what do you get as a result? You get a picture of people who are awkwardly at the camera because nobody knows how they actually smile naturally. The candid shots are always the ones that are the most fun.
I had another session with a younger gal and her cat. She and her attending family worked some magic trying to get the cat to look my direction. It was mostly unsuccessful, but during the moments when she was trying to get the cat excited, I got down on the ground to get a different kind of shot, from a unique angle. It ended up to be the favorite shot of the entire photo shoot.
Case and point? Don’t always put so much emphasis on perfection, because you’ll miss the big picture. 🙂