Saturday, April 3, 2010

My First Portrait Session Behind The Lens

I've known Vanessa since she was a child and now she is about to graduate college with not one, but two majors (Human Resource Management and Human Development)!

There's nothing like kids graduating college to make you feel old...sigh.  She asked me to take her picture for the ceremony invitations and at first I declined since I usually take pictures of dogs, trees, bird feet and the only people shots are random people living their life and not needing to send the photograph to their entire extended family of 10,000...well, almost.

I said no because I know that there are professionals out there that specialize in this type of photograph and I didn't want to mess it up for her.  I can see it now.  Her family opening up the invitation and saying, "Vanessa is so beautiful!  Who took this horrible picture of her? Let's get them!"  Then at that moment, I imagine an entire town running out of their homes with sticks on fire marching down the street looking for me.

I snapped out of my wild fantasy fear and told her I would do it.  I made sure to give her all of the disclamers in advance.  "I don't know what I am doing," "I don't really take serious people shots." "You and your family might hate me forever if they don't turn out."  You know, rational thinking disclaimers.

I have a new appreciation for wedding and portrait photographers.  I know how picky I am about a picture of myself so I can imagine what a photographer has to go through to make the bride happy.  Not that brides aren't happy, but I am sure there is a lot of pressure for the "perfect wedding day photograph."

Taking pictures of Vanessa was easy.  She didn't care that I had a point and shoot camera.  She didn't mind standing next to the tree (even though she didn't want bugs in her hair), getting in a water fountain, standing next to a shiny sculpture, laying in the grass, sitting on the sand or posing with a bunch of what seemed to be railroad ties.  We laughed the entire time.  I laughed at myself pretending to be a serious fashion photographer giving her words of encouragement like, "mmm humm, work it, yeah...that's it...riiiight...yes, good...beautiful."

In the end, it was a fun day.  It was easy to take Vanessa's picture because she's so beautiful and photogenic.  It doesn't hurt that she has a wonderful smile and an infectious laugh.  Congratulations Vanessa!  I am glad that you were able to see the beach for the first time even though you are graduating at Long Beach State.


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