Baby steps in the journey

I'm pretty sure I won't be winning any awards for these pictures from my last family session. And yet, I LOVE them. They make me ridiculously happy. The reason? Let me explain.

A few years ago when I enrolled in school to study photography, I had no idea the journey that it would take me on. I wanted to learn more about my camera and the art of photography for selfish purposes. I just wanted to take better pictures of my kids.

The further I got into my program, the more I realized how much I ADORE this art. I am passionate about it.

And I am also often frustrated. Now that I have completed my program, I have trained my eye to recognize "good" photography. I can confidently use my camera to consistently create properly exposed and framed photographs. I know many of the rules and techniques that lead to great photographs.

I have figured out much of the technical aspects of photography (Although, of course, there is ALWAYS more to learn...I will never stop learning.) What I have not yet figured out is ME as a PHOTOGRAPHER. The best photographers have an identity...a style. They are confident enough with themselves as photographers that they do not let the rules of photography cramp their vision or purpose.

I have been searching for that missing link that will allow me to express myself through photography rather than just taking good photographs. I have been struggling with how to give my clients what they are looking for--a family portrait, shots to remember their child at a certain age--while still being true to ME. I have been searching for MY style and identity as a photographer.

I realize that this takes years to sort through for many people. I know I have a long way to go. I am trying to be patient and realize that my journey may take longer than many others because photography is a few steps down on the totem pole of my priorities.

But this darling family helped me to take a baby step toward my goal. They allowed me to be ME during our time together.

When I talked with Natalie before our shoot, she expressed confidence in me. She told me how she wanted to get some family portraits, but, more importantly, she wanted some "un-posed," natural shots.

My goal during the shoot was to capture the emotion of this family. I wanted to document their love and connection with one another. I wanted to capture them AS THEY WERE, not as they could be if I posed them perfectly and positioned them so that the light fell beautifully across the frame. I worried less about perfection in the technical aspects of photography and more about the emotion that could be felt.

I was thrilled with the results! Were they perfect? Absolutely not. But I was able to capture Ella's connection with her favorite little lamb, her adoration for her mom, and her playfulness with her dad. I was able to document the love between husband and wife, and the protectiveness of a loving father. I was able to show shyness and laughter and love and REAL-ness.

I hope this little family will be as happy with their pictures as I am.


teresa dunlop photography said...

good girl, D. xoxo

Ricki said...

These pictures are keepers!! I am sure this family is so happy that you captured so much about the emotions they have for each other! They look so happy!

brent and julie winder said...

I can relate to this post. It can be so frustrating to capture exactly what you picture in your mind all the time. Dion, I love these photos because you are so talented technically and you combined that talent so well with your ability to catch the emotion in this family. They have such natural beautiful smiles and it is contagious in these photos. The little girl has gorgeous eyes and it is obvious through your eyes that they adore here and she feels safe and loved in their arms. I love the vibrant colors too.

Natalie Thorpe said...

I am the proud mom in these photos. Dion they brought me to tears. Really. My cheeks are still wet. Thank so much. They are exactly what I wanted but couldn't express. THANK YOU!!!

Diana said...

i really like the cool perspectives you got in these shots. i also really really like the cool comment you left on my blog. i had to pop in here and say thank you and hello! xo, yan

Diann R. said...

Love them! I love your perspectives too in these photos! Love the emotion! Just beautiful!

Annette said...

Photography really is an art and a science. One needs to know how their camera works, how to utilize it to it's potential, and to develop the technical skills that allow for a beautiful photo. But that is only the beginning. A photo, especially a portrait will never be truly beautiful if only the science half is implemented.

The art portion of photography is so individual; it's where we let go of the technical and look for the emotion, the relationships, the action.

To me, in these photos, it seems that you have done a great job at capturing both sides.

Lovely work.

Anonymous said...

I can so relate to this post! I struggle with this in my budding business...who am I as a photographer and what kind of image do I want to portray to the client? I tend to get nervous and start to rush things and miss out on a lot of great images - something I'm really trying to work on. I don't know how long you've been in the biz, but your pictures are beautiful and really seem to capture who the family is. Thank you for being so honest about your struggle!

(Popped over from I Heart Faces)