How do we keep growing once we are labeled professional photographer?
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There are a few children in my life whom I have had the exquisite pleasure of knowing long enough, and photographing long enough, that they are now MUCH more grown up than when I first met and photographed them. I cannot fully explain why that is so awesome, but I will try.
Meeting a little person when they are small, you don't have a huge sense of who they might be. What they will find humorous, what will delight them or frighten them, what they will grow an obsession with.
You just think, oh...aren't you adorable
But then, they grow and develop all their little quirks and show off all their personhood. They are suddenly complicated, and you get to watch the transformation, in snippets and timelapse.
And then suddenly, 3 years is gone by and they are a person, funny and weird and with opinions.
You meet and they are shy; you are a stranger.
Time goes by, you become familiar. They show off their new tricks, new skills, new jokes.
And then, they are suddenly, sitting in front of you like a family member. Your heart is tangled up with love and pride because you also got to share in their childhood.
Lifestyle Photography. What does it even mean?
Lifestyle is a type of photography that is a blend between documentary photography and studio portraiture. We get beautiful natural looking images but with all the thought and preparedness of portraiture.
There's no family in a row and CHEESE! There's no; ok let's try that again. and there's definitely no, Alright, 1,2,3 SMILE!
Really great lifestyle can look like the most amazing snapshot you've ever seen. In some ways, it is. It's a snapshot of daily life; the love, the interactions, the tears and hugs. It is defined largely by the skill of the photographer to be able to capture the right light, the right pose, the right frame and still make it look effortless.
Lifestyle photography is for you if you want images that reflect how you are really living your life; you want the fleeting moments of childhood caught in a frame on your wall to look back on. You want all those moments of toe-kissing and chubby cheeks, first bike rides and 3rd birthdays, blowing bubbles in the summer heat and eating popsicles on the back steps. You want to see those perfect memories of your life with your children in an album as well as in your mind because we know memories can fade and eventually we will be gone and our children will look at our photos and smile to see how much we loved them.
One of the best things a client ever said to me came from a mom who was struggling to balance her work-life with her motherhood. It was her first child and she was desperately in love but also felt that somehow she wasn't cutting it. We spent several hours together; just hanging out and making photographs. It was a few hours of books, lunch, playtime, giggles and of course a few tears. When we went through the images later, the mom cried and told me " These show me as a mother. I can see what kind of mother I am!"
It was a profound moment for me and it sealed in my mind the true power of lifestyle photography.