I have always loved a challenge. I love troubleshooting and finding creative solutions. I also love portraiture. Wondering what those two things have in common? People.
I love providing my clients with an experience they love and images they treasure. It is such a fulfilling component of this profession! The ONLY way to do this, however, is to build a relationship and help my clients get to know me and trust me. That, in and of itself, can be challenging.
My favorite clients are the ones who are direct: “Can you slim my arms?” “My prescription glasses are tinted – can you make them clear?” “Can you minimize the bump on my nose?” “Can you clear my skin?” And even the ones that push it further… “It’s really gray out. Can you replace the sky?” Photoshop is limitless and I’ve spent over a decade learning the finest nuances of the program. Yes, give me that challenge and I’ll happily step up and make those changes.
Normally, my retouching consists of adjusting the contrasts, and removing blemishes and distractions in the image. But we can take it as far as you want!
More often than not, the challenge comes from the people themselves: “My daughter is shy.” “My son won’t listen to anyone.” “My teenager would rather scowl than smile.” “My baby is colicky.” “My husband hates having his picture taken.” Seriously, I’ve heard it all. I am blessed with a lot of patience. Folks, I taught middle school for six years and have four kids of my own. I can work with your children.
So, bring it on! What is it that’s holding you back from a having a home with portrait art gracing the walls? Call me and let’s have a chat. No fear, I love a challenge!
When you book a portrait session, you start to plan what you will wear, when to feed the baby, children, husband… and you basically plan your day around making sure that all elements are perfect so you can decorate your home with images of those you love. You spend your time and energy making sure everything is just right. That’s why it is important to choose a photographer who will spend just as much time and effort toward the same goal.
There is a lot of planning that goes into creating gorgeous images. While every photographer has a process, I thought I’d go ahead and share a bit about mine.
I like to meet with my clients before a portrait session. This isn’t always possible, but when it is, that is the best direction. I like to find out what you are like, what your family is like, what matters to you, and what you plan to do with the images. If you’re wanting to decorate your walls, I love to discuss which walls and what you’d like to see on them. It helps me during the session, since I can visualize your wall and I have a feel for your family dynamic. If the session is for maternity portraits, I like to discuss not just the portraits for that session, but also consider what you’ll be wanting from your upcoming newborn session.
A lot of my clients like to purchase an album so that they can put the maternity and newborn images together in one place. They know that, down the line, their child will sit in their lap and want to hear the story about how they came to be a part of the family. And Mommy and Daddy will gently turn the pages, watching those moments pass before them in beautiful detail, as they relate the story to their child.
A lot of planning happens long before we start creating the images together.
The portrait session is the next part of the process and it is a LOT of fun! Whether it’s a family session with children laughing and playing, or an engagement session, full of emotion and wonder, this is where we create those images that convey the stories of your life. During the planning, we’ve agreed on a location for the images, as well as the best time of day for everyone involved. This is the time that we set aside to capture YOU, to tell your story.
Your selection appointment is the next step. You meet me at my office and finally get to see your images, in printed form, displayed and ready. This is the part where you choose which images you want on your wall, which will need to be gifts for those you love, and which images need to be in an album. I have programs in place that make the selection easy. I can show you exactly what the image will look like in varying sizes on every wall you were interested in decorating. The order is placed and we move on to the final step…
Product delivery. I personally check every item and make sure that it is up to standard, from the color correctness to the quality. When I bring it to you, you are guaranteed a quality, archival product that will last for generations.
The whole experience will leave you feeling delighted, surrounded by stunning images of those you love.
Are you ready? Call now and let me tell your story!
I bring the studio to you. It’s that simple. Yes, I pack up my backdrops and supplies, my lighting (if we’re shooting indoors) and my gear, and I bring it all to you. I’m great at finding the perfect space to work with. If it’s too cool, I bring a space heater. If it’s warm outside, we can even shoot outdoors in natural light. Babies need to be very warm so they can stay sleepy for the session (they DID just spend 9 months at a solid 98.6 degrees!). Mom can take her time with her makeup – I’ve got the baby and she can relax. It really gives new meaning to the words “full service photographer.”
When I book a newborn session, I schedule the day. I will be driving, setting up, shooting, soothing, cuddling, cleaning, changing, shooting, breaking down equipment, and driving back. Time constraints cannot be an issue. Because I will get those glorious images and Mommy will love the way she looks and the baby will look the most angelic he or she will look for the next 18 years. And those images will last for generations, long after the exhaustion has worn off.
You see, down the road a ways, you will be watching as your child holds a child of her own. Your heart and mind will be flooded with memories and emotion. You will take your grandchild into your arms and whisper to him how amazing his life is going to be. And you’ll look over and see your child, exhausted and elated and delirious from too many emotions in too short of time, and you’ll hand her that album of when she was a baby.
And it will be happy tears.
See that roll of skin over your belt? Yeah, I’m looking at mine, too. Four kids will do that to you. My skin is shot and no matter how hard I hit the gym to strengthen and improve my insides, my outsides refuse to cooperate. And that’s okay. When I look at the smiling faces of these four little people who call me “Mom,” it’s more than a fair trade-off.
But not everyone feels that way. I know this by the sheer volume of products marketed toward women who want to look better. Most of the time, the product is accompanied by an image showing a woman prior to using the product, and another after having used the product for a certain length of time. I see it in my newsfeed all the time, these before and after images. Whether it’s a health supplement, a new dieting strategy, a body wrap, or a workout routine, the before and after images really make you think, don’t they?
“Four weeks of pills and you can have the waist, thighs, hips and stomach of a Victoria’s Secret model.” If it was that easy, I’d even sleep with those huge wings. But I’m a photographer, so I’m always a bit skeptical when I see “before and after” images. I know how easily Photoshop can erase a 3 doughnut-a-day habit from your hips. And, truthfully, I LOVE removing things from images-things that distract... things like acne or lipstick on teeth or flyaway hairs. Simple tweaks that make an image really pop. I’ve had plenty of clients ask me to “shop” one thing or another and of course, I do. Hey, this is a Judgement-Free Zone. Let he who is completely without a shred of vanity cast the first stone. I know it won’t be me. Heck, my kids could roll their Hot Wheel cars along the stretch marks on my stomach and pretend it’s a freeway.
I understand about loving one’s body without loving everything on one’s body. But those “before and after” images? Well, I’m not sure they are as drastic as some would have you believe. The before usually features a woman who looks like she hasn’t slept in 12 days. She’s wearing a horrible color that if worn in public would garner a whole lot of “Oh no. Are you feeling okay?” She is wearing no makeup and hasn’t washed her hair since who knows when. To make it worse, she is lit with fluorescent lights to give a sickly green pallor to the skin, kind of like she just ate some bad shrimp. Her posture is slumped, the angle of the camera is bad... it’s pretty much as unflattering as you can get. It’s the way of the BEFORE picture. And then we see the after images. Everything changes. The veil lifts and beneath is a happy, bright, colorful image. Oh and look... it appears she’s even lost weight!
I happen to like the AFTER images. Why? Because I’m a photographer, and those AFTER images prove what I say to my clients every day... Posing Matters. It works. A slight twist of the ankle, a chin pulled away from the body, an elongated frame, a slightly arched back, the sweep of a chin away from the camera...it all matters!
Take a look at the image above. Really look at. Yes, that is me. I figured if I’m going to write a post about the importance of posing, I’d better take one for the team and put it all out there. Notice the changes in each image. They are subtle, but they make a difference. From legs close together with a slumped posture, to a slight lean and better posture, to shoulders angled slightly and the foot moved for a more flattering look to the legs. Tiny little adjustments that bring about huge results.
See, a good photographer knows how to pose a body to make it look its best. When I work with a client, I work with the whole body-moving an arm, or a hip or a foot to get the body to look its best. I’ve never had a client tell me, “You know what? Go ahead and just throw me in any position. If it looks like I gained ten pounds, I’m totally okay with that.” Of course not... we ALL want to look our best. And how we stand and carry ourselves matters.
In fact, for those clients putting off that portrait until they lose 10 pounds, I’ll remind them in the words of a fellow photographer: I can remove those ten pounds faster than you can. So stand tall. Be carefree. Don’t give up. Appreciate your glorious curves and angles because I guarantee you that the right photographer will appreciate them, too.
(PS. Yes, that last photo of me is, indeed, Photoshopped. I softened some lumpiness and smoothed the skin a bit, but I made sure I did it to the image in which I was posed the best. Retouching a bad pose is like trying to disguise a dead fish by covering it in frosting. Ain’t gonna happen.)
***Special Note to my Readers: I wrote this and wished it was written in the writing style of one of my favorite bloggers and one of the few Facebook pages I simply cannot get enough of: Missy MWAC. If you haven't read her, you should seriously go check her out on Facebook or HERE! So if this article seemed particularly awesome, it is because she took the time to add her cleverness, wit, and musings to my article!!! This superfan is stuper stoked! Thank you, Missy MWAC!***
"Lori is an exceptional photographer, and was my first choice for capturing images of my son for his senior pictures!! She made him feel at ease immediately, traveled to the locations he was interested in, and captured who he is perfectly!" ~ Tonia R.
Lori Stead is a fine art portrait photographer in Corpus Christi, TX. She enjoys creating maternity, newborn, seniors, couples, family, children, and boudoir portraits. She is also a wife, mother of four, and adventurer.