Friday, August 21, 2020

Owning Your Photo Session


Once upon a time (i.e. yesterday), there was a girl who owned her photo session.

She said yes to a planning meeting with me, in which I asked her, "What are you envisioning?"

"Flowers!" she replied. "And also, fields."


"Flowers!" I thought. "I love them too!" 

So I suggested my favorite garden, because it has all these beautiful flowers. And also an adjacent field. The best of both worlds! We scheduled it. I mentioned to her that if she happened to be a Pinterest fan, she might start a board with photos she liked and share it with me. Which she did.  It looked like this:

Pinterest Example

Not at all like the garden I recommended.  Rather, wildflowers and a lot of grasses, with glowy light. And also dogs.

I looked hard at her board, and emailed her a few photos of the flowers and fields in my mind's eye. I asked if she thought it was a good match, or whether she might like some other options to consider. And also whether she might want to bring her dog. She wisely chose to shift gears and go for another location option that better fit the vision she was showing me on her board--which called for rescheduling as well. And she did decide to bring her dog, who has been her constant COVID companion.  So he was perfect for helping tell the story of her senior year.


This is a girl who got what she wanted. As I showed her the back of my camera to see what she thought so we could adjust along the way, she said, "If Pinterest showed these to me, I would have pinned them too!"

Lessons learned:

1. Taking time to communicate--really listen, ask questions and dialogue back and forth, increases understanding and yields better results for everyone involved.

2. It's OK to ask for what you really want.

3. A picture really is worth a thousand words.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

In the Garden


I've walked a few gardens with my camera this summer. I can't really think of better therapy.


I was thinking about how you photograph a garden. It's a bit of a tricky subject. A garden is more a collection than a thing, and when you're looking at a photo, your eye wants to know what to look at and where to go. When I photograph a garden from a wide angle, it helps if there is something of interest in the foreground and background (or a path moving from front to back) that helps your eye move into and through the frame. The buildings in these first two photos provide sort of an anchor, and the trees in the second one frame the scene.


Here the garden is playing its favorite role as Best Supporting Actor, providing beautiful surroundings for the star of the show. Gardens are humble like that. This one is in front of the St. Louis Art Museum.



I like to get close up when I photograph a garden.  Often a single blossom or cluster of flowers makes a good subject. There is really nothing quite like a clump of coneflowers.


This yellow clump has some other colors and varieties around it, but it's the clear star of the show because it's in focus, and it's the brightest part of the photo.  They're just so happy.


What's really great is when some lovely creature shows up to tell you where to focus.


The flowers and the creatures that fly love to show each other off.




Same with water, it's like jewelry for the plants.



Next time you're in a garden, be still, watch for movement, walk around and look for a true subject.

Not just "flowers".  Something specific.

All Earthly Things