This is my first blog. Originally I was going to write about how my business came to be but I’ll save that for another day. Besides, this blog seems more appropriate for such an exceptional day.
Today is kind of like any other day except today is “World Autism Awareness Day”. And this month is like any other month except April is “Autism Acceptance Month”. My son Kyle is like any other almost 22-year-old young man except he’s more tolerant and considerate of others, has a great sense of humor, he’s cute (yes, I’m a little biased), he’s exceptionally kind and gentle with animals, and as a young adult with autism is advocating today for autism ACCEPTANCE. Way to go, buddy.
Above is a picture of Kyle at one of my shoots, standing in for my subjects so I can test lighting (he’s a fantastic assistant!). You may not be able to see behind his transition sunglasses, but his eyes are closed. I asked Kyle why he often closes his eyes in pictures. He said, “Why do you need my eyes on the camera for every picture?” That “the camera is ok, but looking at it every time feels… unnatural. And closing my eyes is me in the moment.” So I asked further, “Does closing your eyes make you feel unique?” He replied, “I AM unique.”
That’s an EXCELLENT tip for ANYONE except even more so for one who should know… ME! It’s tough for ME to be “myself” in front of the camera so I know how my clients must feel. During a session I ensure my clients feel comfortable and encourage them to just be themselves. I LOVE LOVE LOVE capturing my clients being spontaneous and in the moment. And I’m good at it. So it makes sense that a good amount of images from a session are NOT of my subjects looking at the camera. ESPECIALLY children. Of course I engage with all of my clients and make them laugh and that’s when they’re most at ease to look my way… in a natural way. But know that if I do on occasion ASK for eyes towards me, I’ll NEVER ask anyone to say “CHEESE!” Oh my goodness, NO! Who says that unless they’re ordering cheese at a restaurant!?
However, traditional family portraits are a little different in that you do want to have everyone’s eyes towards the camera. But even with the best of planning it’s inevitable that when I’m taking the portrait, EVERYONE in the photograph is looking at me… except Uncle Joe. His eyes are somewhere else. SQUIRREL! But guess what? That IS Uncle Joe! That’s exactly his personality. So every time the family looks at that gorgeous printed portrait on the wall, they’re going to smile wide when they look at Uncle Joe.
So remember… during your photo session with me, be yourself. Look at the me and the camera or don’t. Smile with your eyes, even if they’re closed. And above all things, BE UNIQUE. NO EXCEPTIONS.