Even when I was shooting mostly weddings, portraiture was my first love (well, specifically, portraits of dogs). I never saw myself as enjoying people, especially babies. I just wasn’t a “baby person.” But here I am, a few years later, with an official “studio spit rag” and some bottles of formula in the cupboard.
I’ve been asked recently how to describe my work, and I’ve discovered that I have no idea how to do that. I mean, it’s like writing the 1-sentence synopsis for TV Guide (how they do that so accurately I’ll never know). I can’t just say “kids” or “babies” or “families,” because that’s just so generic, it says nothing about style or perspective. I don’t pose people, so it’s not “classic portraiture.” I don’t use tilt-shift or baskets or balloons, so it’s not really “modern portraiture.” I have a fondness for the wide angle, which is totally not “traditional portraiture.”
See, it’s a stumper.
When I look through my client galleries and try to think of a snappy two-sentence way to describe them, I see one common denominator: there actually is a thread running through these pictures that makes my body of work somewhat cohesive. And “cohesive” is something I’d never thought I’d achieve.
My portraits are the moments that happen between the posing and the smiling. They’re the outtakes, the missteps, the funny little things that families do when they’re eating dinner or telling private jokes or even getting drooled on by the baby. They’re not the ones you’d pick at first glance, but they’re the little things that happen all the time and you think to yourself, “man, I wish we had a camera right now!”
I’d really like to hear some thoughts from you guys. How would describe my work? Seriously, not a play for compliments; I actually do need to submit a short description of my work and I’d love to hear your thoughts. While defining my work isn’t something I can do very easily, I procrastinate very well, and I delegate even better.
Help me out if you can. Here’s a recent session for some inspiration. When I look at their photos, I think Bill Withers’ “Lovely Day.”