When I think of photographing people I do not think much into it because I do it all the time. I have never really put myself into the shoes of the client so I forget to think about the way they may be feeling about being photographed. In my mind I am just doing my job. I am literally able to do what I LOVE everyday so I do not think of the client perspective often. Let me tell you my friends. TIMES are changing. Here is what I learned by being the client not just shooting the client.
Leading up to the shoot I was wondering what it was going to be like. If the kids were going to complain. If I looked too old. How long it was going to take? How long before I would see what the artist was creating? What I was going to wear? Where did I want these images displayed? I mean the list was just playing in my head over and over. So, I came up with a plan.
- I decided WHERE I wanted my images displayed. My house is FULL of imagery but not many with me in them. I have an entire wall that was created around one piece of art that my step-son had given me and it has the most color in it so I decided to pull some of that color into the rest of my house.
- I decided on WHO was going to be able to achieve what I was going for in my images. Which I knew I wanted a lot of color and a lot of light so I needed to GO to someone who was doing that naturally in their imagery. I had been following Chloe http://www.organicbliss.photography.com for about 5 years. We met online in a Photoshop and Lightroom group on Facebook. She was the ONLY one in the entire group that was ever NICE to me. I remembered that for years and always loved her work so I DROVE 4 HOURS to be photographed by her.
- I decided WHAT to wear. I knew I didn’t want matching outfits because that wouldn’t provide the pop of color that I needed to complete the look I was going for so I planned ONE dress and everyone else’s stuff was planned around that one dress. The orange dress was the color I was trying to pull into my house.
- I decided WHEN to shoot based off of what I could afford. I knew she was worth what she charges but I had to wait until I could afford her. I waited until the DEAD of summer when she went on sale because thats what worked for me. I picked a time when I would have my whole crew and I planned around that. I even UPPED my design by telling my husband to find an off-roading place close to where we were going to be shooting. We made a weekend out of off-roading (doing something they all love) so that I could get them all together to do something I thought was important.
- I had to decide to LET GO and NOT have CONTROL over the day of the shoot! That was by FAR the hardest part for me.
I remember thinking once I decided that I wanted her to shoot for me how long it took for her to email me back. It seemed like an eternity waiting to see if I was going to be accepted. This is something that I have NEVER thought of as an issue and it is one of my biggest downfalls. I email people back when I get to be excited about their shoot. I have never thought that they might just be excited about me shooting them. I promise to be better at this. I am sorry that I have been slow at this as an artist. Time literally ELUDES me when I am creating.
I remember wondering what am I going to get. I didn’t get a whole lot of information about what I was actually going to get. Like, does she sell images one by one plus a session fee like I do? Does she sell just a session fee images included? Does she sell products? Am I going to be able to print myself? Am I going to have to use a printer that she wants me to? These were all thoughts I had that I never asked because I didn’t want to bother her. I didn’t really care a whole bunch because I knew no matter what I was going to get that color that I wanted.
I remember the kids asking me exactly how long it was going to take. Where were we going and what was going to be required of them. All of which I could not answer because I never asked. I didn’t ask because as an artist time eludes me. I assume that all artists are the same and work on a clock of creation and not time. When I say 2 weeks your images will be ready I literally think that is enough time until life starts happening and I go into creation mode. Then I can spend hours with my images LOVING them and editing them with so much love that I don’t want to let them go. It is quite strange to explain here but I will try to because I noticed myself hoping that she would hurry up so I could just see my stuff as a client. As an artist I don’t want to show you my work until it is a masterpiece. If I feel rushed I do not get to love the images like I want to and I don’t feel like they are masterpieces. If I am not able to create at my own pace I am not able to be creative. I am only able to push your images through a process that looks creative. This is why I didn’t want to rush her or ask her questions because I thought that she would feel pressured to push them through rather than create. As the client though I had this level of excitement that I never knew of as the photographer. I didn’t understand until now that my clients are excited to see what they look like. I just thought as the photographer they trusted me to create at my own pace something that they will love. I now understand the client portion of excitement and I will try to do better by keeping you all informed and excited. I am thinking of doing sneak peeks after I choose the images that made it through the culling process. I haven’t decided how to make it work for what I do but I will be thinking of ways to work it in.
I remember the amount of insecurities that I felt during the shoot that I NEVER feel on the other side of the camera. I felt vulnerable and at the mercy of what I looked like instead of who I was. It was a strange feeling. I remember sitting waiting for her to take my picture I wonder what my clients feel like when I am shooting them because Chloe works FAST. She shoots fast, she moves fast. I remember thinking….DANG. I never take this many shots. I don’t work this fast. I wonder what my clients feel like waiting for me. I need to speed up. I also thought of the fact that most of my clients are half nude and how vulnerable that must be. I thought of how I could be better at talking to them and ASKING them how they are feeling and listening for the answer. I often forget to listen to my clients needs because I am doing what I love. I love it so much that I assume they do too.
My plan was not FLAWLESS. Who knew that insecurities would play a huge part in my photoshoot? How was I going to handle all four kids being hot? How was I going to keep my husband calm during the time that it was going to take to shoot. How long were we going to shoot? How was I going to keep all 4 kids being inside of a hotel until 6pm? How was I going to handle all of the noise? I am super sensitive to weird noises so all 4 kids and dog inside of the hotel room was the longest day of my life! We will not even talk about the car ride to the location because OMG all of the kids were too close to each other so they were a disaster by the time we got to the actual shooting location. I was literally SHAKING by the time we got there. So, what I learned by being photographed was that part of my job is about making sure that THE CLIENT feels comfortable about the entire process from the first email until images are delivered. I need to be a better communicator, a better listener, and make sure that my clients know what to expect during and after their session. I also need to learn that time for the client is much different than time for the person creating. The client is excited about getting the images and the creator is excited by creating them. All and all it was an amazing experience and I learned a ton.