Hey! It’s time to write about one of my favorite photo sessions of 2018! Xsuela and Jessica brought the heat, the love, and the laughter all rolled into one giant, magical couple’s session! I could not be happier about our time together and how the images turned out; and based on their reaction to seeing their gallery, neither could they! In my experience, there are several elements that have to fall into place for really satisfying results:
- The location needs to be spot on.
- The subject(s) should be comfortable.
- Adequate light is a must, although wonderful light is preferred.
- The personalities among subject(s) and photographer should jibe.
Keep scrolling for explanations of each and enjoy the images while you’re at it!
The location is something that I must say isn’t always important. I know. I know. Only a few lines above I said, “The location needs to be spot on.” Maybe I got ahead of myself. THIS location was spot on. The decor, the vibe, the colors-I wouldn’t have changed a thing. It all made perfect sense for this couple’s session. (To clarify, there are times, specifically when photographing outdoors, that the location doesn’t always matter because of the use of a shallow depth of field and strong focus on the subject. We all know there are different styles of photography and sometimes the location is a little lower on the list of priorities.) To redirect the focus to this awesome setting, The Atomic Lounge did not disappoint for this Birmingham photo session! (If you haven’t been, you have to check out their website and make it your destination next time you go out in Birmingham. http://www.theatomiclounge.com/ ) Next on my list of important elements is “The subject(s) should be comfortable.” There is an opposing theory about this by a famous photographer, but I’m sticking to what I said. I’ve photographed a lot of people and the ones that are uneasy rarely enjoy the process or like the photographs, and it’s not much fun for anyone. I try my best to make those that I photograph feel at ease and it’s proven beneficial. When you allow someone to photograph you, there’s a certain vulnerability in that. You are trusting your photographer and bearing your soul; some might even say, the photograph is stealing it. I like to think of it as you’re sharing it. The word “photograph” actually means “light-writing.” One reason I chose The Atomic Lounge is because of their wonderful, large windows. I am primarily a natural light photographer, meaning I use available light and only use artificial light when absolutely necessary. I know there are ways to achieve a natural look with a lighting set up, but I prefer to keep things simple.
After our time at The Atomic Lounge, we ventured outdoors for sunset photographs and it was perfect! Morris Avenue is just around the corner from our inside location so we hopped in my car and drove all of a half mile just in time for one of my favorite times of the day for photographs.
It almost feels silly to say, “lastly” because there are so many things that go into making a portrait session successful; but for the purpose of this short list, the last item that can totally make or break a session for me is the connection you feel or don’t feel. I know when you hire a photographer, your main goal isn’t to form a lifelong relationship; but you wouldn’t believe how the personalities of subject(s) and photographer can affect a photo session. You should find a photographer that you won’t just tolerate, but that you think you will genuinely like spending time with. You will spend more time with your photographer than you may realize; for example, let’s say you decide you want to schedule a portrait session. You will spend time communicating with your photographer leading up to your session, during, and after. You’ll plan your session together, discussing: location, clothing, the season you wish to photograph in, the time of day, etc. Then you may be together for anywhere from an hour to two hours (unless it’s your wedding day and that’s a totally different ball of wax). You’ll also communicate after the session to see your photos and maybe to order products. My point is, please hire someone that you would like to invest a little time with. If you go to their Instagram stories and they’re constantly at the gun range and you have an “End the NRA” bumper sticker on your car, then maybe you’re not a good match.
Xsuela and Jessica were a dream to photograph. I truly believe we had a great session that produced many beautiful photographs in part to the list of important elements. Their amazing relationship and trust not only with one another but in their photographer was icing on the cake.