While it's true that some of the best portraits are the ones we didn't plan for or expect to capture, that's not an excuse to shoot without a plan. Seize a fleeting moment without thinking. I didn't plan for this shot - I couldn't have!
Notice that the colors are off; the focus is out and it's crooked. If I had taken the time to get everything "right," I would have missed the guilty moment:) I simply picked up the camera to record my mischievous son! Those types of pictures are taken without vision or a plan - and that's OK. We aren't talking about those pictures today. Today we are talking about the times you or I purposefully pick up the camera to shoot. Sometimes you are coming to me for portraits. Before our session begins, we have a purpose and I need a plan. I always have a direction to go in and a priority order of shots to take. But, it's important for you to have a plan as well.
When the S family called for portraits, mom said they hadn't had a family picture taken in a few years, and a new baby had been added to the family since then! She KNEW the 1 shot she wanted was of the family walking away from me. She had a VISION for the portrait she wanted on her wall. As a result, I knew that I needed to spend time at the beginning of our session (before anyone got cranky) setting up that shot! I'm happy to say we achieved her vision and got several great results:
(Early morning sunlight makes me giddy:)
And this one that mom called "the money shot" and now hangs as a big canvas on her wall:
Hi chubby baby cheeks:)
Good vision should also be used when you are taking pictures at home. Are you taking pictures for a special occasion? Are they for grandparents far away? Is it a family tradition you are documenting for a scrapbook? Know your purpose and then have a plan to achieve it. Easter egg dying and you want to take pictures while they do it themselves for the first time? You should probably clear space at the kitchen table so you can move around them, instead of setting them up at the kitchen counter where you'll be taking pictures of their backs!
Not a great pic. because I couldn't get in front of him. So, The next year I was smart and put them at the table:
Do you take the kids strawberry picking every year? Do you want a picture you can put on your mantle, or send to the grandparents? Are you frustrated by your attempts when the kids squint into the sun and the red, ripe strawberries clash with the purple in your child's shirt? Have a VISION for the strawberry patch. PLAN primary-color clothing and arriving first thing in the morning, before the sun is too bright (if you can arrange for a cloudy day, that would be GREAT!)
Good vision means good photographs, whether you are a professional photographer or a proud mom! So, go ahead and plan:)