I'm in the middle of reading Originals by Adam Grant. I love it. I keep writing things down. I want to interrupt Tom while he's reading on the pillow next to me to tell him things, but I stop myself because I hate it when he interrupts my reading to tell me about his book. So I'll take to the internet to tell a few of my favorite bits.
In one part Grant references a study about architects: "Years ago, Berkeley psychologist Donald MacKinnon discovered that the most creative architects in America tended to be more spontaneous than their technically skilled but unoriginal peers, who rated themselves higher in self-control and conscientiousness."
Another point he makes is the value in acknowledging flaws, citing the founder of Babble who opened his pitch to new investors by listing all the reasons they shouldn't invest in him. Grant assures me that you all will trust me more and think I'm smarter if I acknowledgment what I lack.
Here's what I know: I do not have the technical skills of many photographers.They've been doing it longer. They have better equipment. They *like* the technical side. That's not who I am. That is not the reason to hire me. I'm hoping I am more like the less skilled, more original architects. Original excites me in a way that conscientious never will.
Here's some other things I know*: Your pictures will look like your pictures. They won't look like the family in the picture frame when you buy it off the shelf. They won't look some other set of pictures you've seen in my galleries or on my portfolio. They will feel specific to you and your family. That's what I'm worried about while I'm taking your pictures. I'm worried about finding who you are and exploring your family's dynamic.
I want pretty light. I want perfect exposure, but those things are secondary to the feeling that I want to present to you. I keep saying this, but I want to give you pictures that make you feel something. Maybe one of those pictures will happen to be all of you looking at the camera at the same time, but most likely, it won't. If that's what you want, there are so many talented photographers for you to hire. Even if you are my friend, even if you are my family, if you want those pictures, I will not be mad if you hire a portrait or lifestyle photographer who better suits your aesthetic. My feelings won't be hurt. I promise. It is okay to like different things, wear different clothes, eat different foods. Likewise, it's okay to want different things from your family photo sessions.
Two other things worth noting:
- I am good at making people feel comfortable during a somewhat uncomfortable situation; it's weird getting your pictures taken. I will make it feel as not weird as possible.
- I will get your pictures back to you quickly. I'm usually so excited to edit and deliver that I can hardly sleep until I give them to you.
These are some pictures from earlier this week. Taken in their home and on their family's farm. Pictures of kids playing with their shadows. Pictures of a brother and sister rushing towards me in a game of red light, green light. Pictures of an apple thief. Of parents still in love.