It’s so clear to me now… I am a lifestyle photographer. I capture emotion and connection. I tell your story.
One day I set up a black background, asked a (very) pregnant friend M. to to come over, and had a blast taking posed portraits of her in front of ONE window. These portraits were very much posed as in: “Bring your chin down-tilt your head to the left-one hand here-the other hand there” kind of portrait. But I LOVED every moment of this session, and the images were beautiful. Just one black backdrop, her and me (and a camera, but whatever).
So now you’re asking: wait, didn’t I want to know more about how Nicole went from taking portraits to telling stories??? How is this paragraph on posing the introduction to telling stories?
Please bare with me…
A few weeks later, friends of M. saw the maternity portraits of M. And they said: “We think you’re amazing, we love the maternity portraits. Can you take candid portraits of us? We absolutely HATE posing.”
Um… yeah of course! Because, obviously there’s a correlation between these posed portraits and an unposed family session…
But I didn’t see any correlation. And then… voilà, I fell in love with candid photography – lifestyle photography is what we call it around here.
So there I was, one month into discovering my passion for photographing families, and I was stuck between two worlds. Posed and candid. What to choose? A simple black backdrop OR a family twirling in the sun? It has to be one or the other, because I need to be coherent, right? I was feeling miserable and confused.
And then I GOT it. I didn’t have to choose, because it wasn’t about POSING vs NOT POSING… it was very, very much about emotion and connection. THAT was the missing link!
What this family saw in my portraits of M. wasn’t the pose itself, their friend or the play on light and shadows. They had an emotional reaction to the image, and without knowing it, they hired me for that reason. They wanted me to capture emotion, not just their faces or their smiles in pretty light, or with the perfect backdrop.
This is not a post about how I went from taking flat, lifeless images to capturing movement, life and laughter. I had already been capturing emotion and connection in all my portraits. But I wasn’t aware of what I was doing.
Now, I say it loud and clear: I tell STORIES. I don’t “take portraits”, albeit beautiful sun-soaked portraits. I don’t take anything, and it’s not about my skills, or what I do for you even.
YOU bring the energy and vibe to a photo session – in your own special way – and we create your images together. You move, laugh and enjoy your children, I capture emotion and connection, I tell your story. Period. It isn’t about the camera, posing or the location. It’s about you+me, and digging deep into what makes your family unique.
Family lifestyle photography is about connection, love, emotion and soul. THAT is what makes a story.
“I don’t believe in cheesy smiles” is one of my opening sentences to my page on fine art school portraits. Your child is much more than a cookie-cutter smile. I strive to capture their aliveness (everything I need is right there!), their curiosity, their budding story by creating a connection with them, so that the expressions they offer me are authentic, real. My bold approach is to capture your child’s personality in ONE image.
And by the way… if you hire me for a maternity session, I still offer posed and unposed images, but my promise is that it will be about you taking time to connect with your child while I capture your story.
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