Why do we love photographs, especially of a personal nature? In a word — Emotion! Visual images evoke a visceral response. A good example of that would be anytime you open the Premium Panoramic Photo Book I personally crafted for you which holds photographs… for instance those precious memories of your then newborn baby, just 10 days old, so cute and cuddly… and in an instant those images transport you to a joyous and treasured moment in your life!
I feel so very fortunate when a client chooses me to photograph their family. It’s an honor I take very seriously and hold in the highest regard. My time spent on the project — collaborating, planning, scouting, shooting, capturing the family dynamic, editing, selecting and delivering the finished products — can be a bit overwhelming, but every minute spent is well worth those efforts. And that’s just a small part of the awesome responsibility I have as a portrait photographer.
The image above, taken several years ago, is of a loving family who’s youngest child attended the preschool where I was Director. It was a difficult session as two of the three children have an autism diagnosis, so looking towards the camera was optional to them. It was grossly hot and humid outside and after a long day at school everyone was feeling hangry and tired. Yet, I managed to capture the perfect moment. Under such trying conditions, I made them laugh! The result was a beautiful image and, in the end, a beautiful day.
A week later this family was in a horrific car accident! Their mini van rolled several times ejecting the middle child from the vehicle. All but the little one were bumped and bruised and suffered lacerations, some requiring stitches. The oldest girl suffered the worst, a serious back injury requiring a brace and several months of painful physical therapy.
Today, I’m thrilled to report, they are all healthy and happy; but when I first heard the news of the accident I was in the process of editing their images. It became one of the most difficult post-production jobs I’ve ever done, realizing that the outcome from the crash could’ve been far worse. It was then that I truly understood the magnitude and obligation I have to my clients to clearly and accurately capture that glorious moment in time when they are expressing their distinct personalities in front of my camera.
A client of mine whose mother-in-law recently passed away, asked me for a portrait I had taken of her that could be displayed at the funeral service. I gladly complied. Attending the service, family and friends remarked that I had “captured her soul”, the essence of her personality in the photograph, a beautiful and emotional reminder of a happier time.
During every portrait session I shoot, looking through the lens and snapping the shutter, I consider the emotion that exact moment and consequent image will awaken in the viewer. Will that particular image move my client? Will that image tell a story? Am I capturing my subject’s true spirit and “soul”? I consider it my obligation to do so.
I explain to all of my clients that special moments in time are fleeting, but imagery has longevity. With photographs I can stop the clock and freeze time by creating and documenting specific moments in their lives with portraits that will last forever.