In honing my skills and style over the years, I've settled on three key words that I try to keep at the forefront of my mind from start to finish with every client. This helps me maintain consistency and focus on the core of what I offer and why I do it.
My the key words are:
simple, vibrant, and genuine.
While other photographers might tote around a bunch of accessories or set up a little Pinterest explosion background in front of a cluster of trees, I feel that those additions only distract from the real goal of a shoot - to capture personality and connection. I tried that style a little in the beginning because it was just so darn popular, but quickly tired of the whole mess-- it just wasn't me and the images came out looking chaotic and cheep (At least that's my opinion, looking back on them. Sorry, early clients-- there's a whole post of apologies and thank you's coming your way in the future).
Instead of focussing on a playful smile and the shine in your 3 year olds eyes, the viewer is drawn to that vintage globe and the cute little banner draped across the wall and oh right, somewhere in that hodge-podge is a kid staring blankly at the camera like
"what the crap is going on here and when can I move!?" (he's 3 after all).
A few details such as a favorite blanket or lovey, some sweet books, or instruments are great ways to add sentiment and interest without going overboard.
Sometimes it's tempting to over-style-- but I've found my favorite images, and what I'm best known for, are those where it's nothing but the people exuding their true selves. And to do so, you have to remove the clutter and keep it simple.
Vibrance doesn't mean that I encourage clients to dig out their neon glow bracelets. It means bold color, personality that exudes through the image, action and movement that make it come to life. In addition, my editing style is consistent with crisp contrast that makes the details POP. It's easy to get carried away in post-processing with filters and actions and brushes and retouching and so many options - you could edit the same photo 20 different ways and reflect a completely different emotion each time. And different people prefer different styles, which is another reason why I choose to stick consistently with a series of tailor techniques and workflow that I've adjusted to hand edit each image from a client session. By using a specific style that reflects vibrance, color, and the natural beauty of a location instead of working around pre-created templates and filters, not only am I in complete control of the results, but my clients always know what they can expect bold, bright, impactful images from their session.
- Getting ice cream together and laughing at the chocolate chips stuck in dad's mustache.
- Twirling in tall grasses to show off the pretty spin of a princess dress.
- Cuddling a newborn baby in the nursery you just spent all night in, rocking and singing lullabies.
These are the moments worth capturing. True, real, and genuine. No babies curled awkwardly in baskets or propping themselves on their hands (honestly, babies don't DO that!). No frozen postures or forced cheesing.
We play, we run, we laugh, we sing, we talk, we jump, we run, we tickle, we capture life.
In addition to how I shoot, I try to live genuinely in my interactions with clients from how I present myself on this blog, to our planning conversations, to ordering the products for their homes. I genuinely care and want to provide the service that truly fits their needs.
I run the filter of these keywords through every stage of every session with every client. The strategy of choosing a word or words to brand a business, mindset, home life, or just life in general, is a powerful way to stay focussed on what's truly important.
Do you have a word or words that you use to focus on in your life or business? I'd love to hear in the comments!