For me, photography is as much about establishing a personal connection as it is about actually taking pictures. The chemistry between a photographer and subject always shows in the final image – mostly in the eyes. There is no way to fake that comfort level.
I try to create a relaxed and uplifting environment; because when you feel comfortable, your energy, warmth and confidence will shine through naturally.
I generally like to meet a person – usually for coffee – before we shoot just to get to know each other. We discuss some of the particulars, but the conversation often turns to life in general.
The point of the meeting is to help you to feel comfortable with me (which will show in the pictures) and to allow me to know you better as well. The better I know you, the better I am able to capture your unique qualities.
The sessions are fairly organic. I don’t rely on specific formulas. Each person is different so I always want to remain open to the possibilities. This is why the pictures all tend to look different. There is no formula to making it work.
I don’t tell people to “smile,” “feel happy,” or “feel good inside,” because it doesn’t create something authentic or real. The mouth might be smiling, but the eyes really aren’t; it looks posed. There’s lots of interaction between us when we shoot, rather than me just spouting directions like, “turn to the side a bit,” or “think happy thoughts.” I give directions sometimes, but most of the time it just flows naturally. In most sessions we’re just talking about life in general and taking pictures as we go.
If you feel like we are connecting, the eyes will be truthful and engaged.
The whole key to good shots lies in feeling good in your own skin. That can only happen if you feel at ease and are having a good time. This is why we meet for coffee before we even decide if we want to shoot together. It’s why we take our time when we work, and it’s what we’re really focused on. It comes from the inside out. Making you look good is easy. Making you feel comfortable is the key to letting the best you come forth.
Phone: (646) 479-8499
Well, after mad scrambling to get in as many shoots as I could – and then try to finish everybody’s retouching before I was to be out, the day came.
What day? Well, those of you who haven’t spoken with me for a while may be surprised to hear that I had surgery recently to have a brain tumor removed. This June 24th was the big day. The recovery was a bit bumpy for a spell, but now things are going well. It’s too early to know if they got the entire tumor, but it looks as if the surgery was a success. My wife always said that I have rocks in my head. Perhaps now she’ll change her tune!
I’m now recovered enough to sit up and do stuff on the computer. It’ll be a bit before I can shoot again – no lifting anything over 5 pounds for a few more weeks at least. (My cameras are all beasts – and the lighting weighs even more.) But after a couple of weeks of not answering emails, I’m back.
My next task is to send a couple of emails to apologize for not getting back to people faster, and for failing to get all the retouching done before I went out for surgery. I got almost everybody’s pictures done, but there were just SO MANY last minute requests that I didn’t have time to finish them all. Sorry! But laying in the bed with my Wacom tablet and my laptop is actually a pretty enjoyable way to do the work!
So I’m reaching out to the people waiting for pictures to apologize for the delay, and letting the world at large (at least as much of the world reads this blog) that I’m doing ok and will be back behind the camera before you know it.
I’m missing the work and especially missing hanging out with the people that come into my life. It’s always been my view that the key to good pictures lies in really connecting with what’s awesome about a person. If I didn’t feel that way about the people I shoot, it would probably show in the pictures – and ultimately I wouldn’t feel passionate about the work. So I feel blessed to shoot such talented and kind people. Having had what amounted to a brush with mortality has reinforced how vital this is to my way of working and to my view of the world. I get truly jazzed about the people I get to work with. Life is too short to have it be any other way.
And if you’re waiting for pictures, I’ll have them soon!