I will be the first one to tell you how nervous I get before a professional photo shoot.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter how much I’m paid or how close to the client I am. If the photos are to be used professionally, I approach the gig professionally. Even if it’s for my sister. Although, I will bring my baby along on those shoots. (more on that later) Approaching the gig professionally is vastly different than not. If you know me in real life, you may know that my camera is not always in your face at parties or outings, even if you want it to be. If you know me in real life, you now know that my Des or my Scarlet or my plate of food are always first and foremost in my mind. If the kids aren’t present and I happen to be (rarely) not hungry, YOU are first and foremost on my mind. Unless you ask for a photo or two, I generally won’t make the first move.
Unless something irresistible happens. And something irresistible happens a lot.
When I’m about to photograph a stranger, I am nervous. When I’m about to photograph a friend or family member, sometimes I get even more nervous. I tell this to my friends a lot. It’s partly because I’ll see them again and I’d be so mortified if I screwed up their photos. And it’s more than partly that I know them and I know their smiles and their laughter and their life moments and their love. And that, is what I want to capture. I’m always more anxious when I know I can do something, and give it my all.
When I’m less sure about that? I just wing it and hope for the best.
It’s always a process. I wake up that morning with jitters. I take test shots to warm up my camera and, mainly, to warm up my hands, heart and brain. This is how I step into the photography realm. It may be just one shot outside on a day in which I’m curious at how similar the light will be wherever I’m going. It may be shots of an intricate spider web, or of Scarlet’s hands.
It may be nine wild turkeys that showed up in our driveway not long after my recent lens rental was delivered.
These shots were taken two days before the wedding I photographed. I needed a long warm up time. Luckily, life was swirling around me as usual.
If I’m using a familiar lens, I don’t need a two day warmup. Two minutes. Yet I had to see what my rented lens could do.
These next shots were taken for warmup the day before the wedding. I was standing in my parent’s driveway and looking out over their pasture. Looks like a nice place to visit, huh?
On the morning of the day of the wedding, we saw a praying mantis in the parking lot of the nursing home/rehab facility when we visited my grandmother.
Test shots. No rhyme or reason, really. Just a bunch of random images and experiences – kinda like my thoughts this week as I decompress off of the heady weekend. I asked my mom today how my Nana is, as I intend to do much more often. Or “more much often”, as Scarlet would say. Apparently my grandmother is a bit pissed that she hasn’t gotten her hair done in awhile. She doesn’t like where she is staying. It’s comforting to know that some things don’t change, even when some things change a heck of a lot. Like my grandmother. There is so much of her heart and mind – totally intact. Her body is less strong and preserved.
Her mind is a gold mine. Diamonds.
Two days of test shots, and I didn’t take her photo. Not this time. I couldn’t use my camera as a shield this time, and maybe that was for a reason I haven’t figured out yet. I hope for more time, but there’s no guarantee.
I just shoot into space sometimes and hope for perfect aim.
I just shoot into space sometimes and hope something sticks.