I’ve been considering my values and identifying some goals for 2016 this past two weeks. I’ve been asking myself why am I a portrait photographer?
What comes to mind is the couple I photographed in my studio yesterday. When I showed a few of the images on the back of my camera, she exclaimed, “Is that me? Is that really me?” She was amazed at how great she looked. I couldn’t help but smile. It felt great! She was seeing herself in a totally new way!
She reminded me; this is why I do this. It is always my goal to help you see yourself in a new perspective. When things go really well, you might even experience a transformation in the way you see yourself.
A few years ago, when I was first photographing people, a friend and neighbor came to me for photos for her website. Our goal was simple. We only needed two small portrait images. I didn’t have a studio space then, so we went outside and I took lots of photos. The light was good, the background was good, but she didn’t look so good. She didn’t look as good as I knew she could. So we did it again.
The second time we talked about hair and makeup and what color she would be wearing. Then she came wearing a new color and with her hair more natural, bringing several different lipstick choices. We tried them and found the perfect one. I learned the value of planning your session with you in advance.
Our second session created so many great images we had trouble picking just two. I remember her selecting six great images. Her husband said it was the best picture of her he had ever seen!
Even more remarkable, it was the beginning of a change in the way she saw herself. These days, she proudly posts her photos on Facebook and always has a great smile! Our time together pointed her in a new direction. Of course, I do not claim but a small bit of credit, she did the real work of transforming herself. I just know our photo session was part of her moving in a new and positive direction.
I truly believe each of us can look wonderful. The right combination of light and shadow as well as dressing appropriately. My job as your photographer is to help you feel your best, to be confident in front of the camera and lastly to create images which show your genuine attractiveness.
It all starts with a consultation so I can get to know you!
Step into the Light.
Words whispered on the breeze,
Reaching into my soul to inspire and expand,
Growing in understanding.
Be peace, conduct yourself
in Perfect harmony,
a small player in a whole Universal symphony,
with feeling, crescendo, pianissmio
Each, in turn, in perfect placement
creating a work of beauty,
multiple stanza of support
interwoven into a tapestry of
Magnificent, abundant Life and Love.
Full of Wisdom and Strength,
Faith, the fiber holding it all together
with emphasis on Divine Order.
The Lord of my Being
builds with yours and yours and yours.
We cannot yet see what is being created,
The act of creation is pure joy and
I am, we are blessed to be in it.
We see lots of images of women and teens and even children in our media that have been 'altered.' Sometimes it seems they are unreal, but we have become so accustomed to seeing retouched images that we almost believe them.
Retouching is a personal decision at Janne Aubrey Photography. As a woman who doesn't wear makeup, I believe less is more. That being said, I do retouching whenever it makes sense. No need to cancel your portrait appointment because a new zit has appeared overnight. If you are one who sports bags under your eyes all the time, no matter what you do, no need to worry there either. I can remove the zit and reduce the bags to light luggage. As much as I love Lightroom and Photoshop, please know there are things that cannot be done. I cannot remove sweat. Nor can I eliminate that sunburn you got yesterday. Men, if you are sporting a five o'clock shadow - no go there either. Too many tiny hairs to get rid of for the tools available.
The headshot you see of me on this website is retouched. The photographer used a digital paint program to smooth out the age in my face. I am, after all, fifty six years old and this portrait of me would not reveal it. However, you can see a genuine grin and look in my eyes and my hair is accurate. I like the effect, even if I don't currently do any digital painting.
I still believe fine art portraits are best when they reveal something about you as well as show you at your very best. When you look in the mirror, what do you see? When you look at a photograph of yourself, do you see you? Do you see the woman you want others to see?
Linda has graciously agreed to allow this before and after posting of her recent photography session.
Before - without retouching
Now I understand that this can be controversial when done for publication. However, it is important to us as individuals to have the freedom to decide for ourselves how we present ourselves to the world. As a woman, myself, of a 'certain age', it's nice to remember myself without so many lines and wrinkles.
Remember it's Your Choice!
What gives an image power and feeling? Why do we like one image and not another? A great photograph tells us something about the subject and maybe even about the photographer. At least it can tell us about the photographer’s feeling about the subject.
I believe human beings instinctively know what is behind a photograph - the feelings of the subject and the photographer. It is this that gives it power, it is this which ‘speaks’ to us as viewers.
I love the phrase - ‘have a conversation with my camera’ - because it invites both the person being photographed and the photographer to participate in the creation of the final image. The ‘words’ are often not spoken, nor easy to identify. But the non-verbal feelings and ideas can be communicated to us as viewers. We hear people say “it moved me” about an especially powerful image.
It is this that makes for a good photograph and a good photographer. The ability to communicate nonverbally. The ‘eye’ to see when the perfect moment is being expressed through a look in the eye or the subtle expression on a face. It is the instinct to press the shutter and capture that look for all to see.
Photographing children and families then becomes about revealing the relationships between the family members, even those not in the photograph. A child’s smile directed at Mother is one of the sweetest things in the world. A child’s inquisitiveness speaks to our future and the hope for more. A child’s laughter lights us all and warms our hearts. The loving look between a long-married couple inspires us as well. Love lives. A playful family on the floor or ground reminds us of our interconnectedness. Every photographic session offers us so much more than a simple photograph to keep for posterity. It is a joyful experience of hope and love.
I invite you to give yourself and your family this gift. An hour or so in front of the camera and a lifelong image of love and inspiration to treasure.
I had a dream early this morning. I was on a vacation trip with my family. We were stuck, however, and unable to fly to our next destination because I had left my ID behind. As we all know, these days, you cannot go anywhere on a plane without a photo ID. Upon awakening, I wondered what the dream might mean. I felt invited to dig a little deeper, to explore my own identity - who am I, who do I want to be? And what does my photograph say about me?
As you might expect, my DMV photo is not very good. A quick photograph in front of a bare wall is rarely flattering. We don't have a choice for this one and we all moan at our Driver's license photos, wishing they were better. My passport photograph is better. The post office requires we bring our own photograph and I took a little more time, hired someone to do it for me and the results are much better.
What I know I am able to do with any woman is to help her relax and feel her best in front of my camera. It is one of my talents to be shared, to be strengthened. There is a great difference between a quick snapshot and a professionally done photographic portrait. I believe we all deserve to have an excellent image of ourselves.
As I pondered the dream a little more, I also realized how important it is to my personal growth to know and appreciate who I am. As I prepare for a new portrait of myself, I am looking forward to working with one of my peers to create an authentic and beautiful image of me. It's time, I've changed my hair and I'm 3 years older. I wonder what it will look like? I look forward to finding just the right frame and the right place to put it on my wall for me and my family to enjoy. I look forward to further developing my own personal ID.
When was the last time you had a professional photographic portrait of yourself? Isn't time to give yourself this gift?
You can see my last professional photographic portrait on my "About" page here: http://www.janneaubrey.com/about.html
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