Wednesday, July 2, 2014

In Photography As in Life: I'm a People Person

"I've never seen you so animated," she said. Coming from a woman with whom I've shared a few cocktails and a lot of laughs, this was something. "You're so happy. You look like a kid." I must have been smiling a lot, because my face hurt by the time I was done.

I was doing a new type of photo shoot, and my smile was mostly hidden behind my camera. My friend Cat is an acupuncturist, and she asked me to take photos for her business website. She needed shots of the office, of her with a patient, and head shots. We got it all and then some. And it was fun.

In one of my early photography classes, the instructor asked each of us what we enjoyed photographing and what we hoped to do with our photography. I answered that I preferred inanimate objects as subjects--buildings, signs, the occasional landscape--and was a hesitant hobbyist. How things can change in a short time.

It's fair to say that I've found a passion. I love photography. More than that, I've learned that I love photographing people. You can't turn a building just the right way to capture the light. You can't make a sign smile. A landscape won't thank you for capturing its beauty.

I'm a people person after all.

At this shoot, the inanimate objects were as interesting as the person because they were an extension of her. Cat's office decor shares the relaxing aesthetic of her patient interaction. The decor was merely more of the same.

Cat's husband had admonished her not to look too serious in the photos, which I took as a personal challenge. We captured the professional photos of her at work and secured the necessary head shots, but I wanted more. I wanted to capture her personality because, while she is a gorgeous woman, her personality is what makes her shine.

Most of the people I've photographed are children. Kids present their own challenges, but they are rarely hesitant to be in front of the camera. They are not awkward. Their personalities shine through everything they do because they haven't yet developed the face to present to the world.

Making an adult comfortable with me and with having her photograph taken is a different beast, but one I've found I enjoy. I love making a personal connection and ensuring that who I see on the back of the camera is the same person I see in front of it.

I have learned so much in the last few years, not only about photography but about myself. Creating images like this brings me joy, and my goal is to make my subjects feel the same joy both during the shoot and when they see the results.

Everyone should see their own beauty, and I love making it happen.

To learn more about Cat's acupuncture practice, see her website or business Facebook page

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