I have taken many a portrait of my kids, so I do have some experience photographing teenage girls. It turns out that, although a nice proving ground, photographing my kids did not fully prepare me for my first “real” shoot of high-school senior pictures. What if they don’t like the pictures I take? It’s possible, I guess. I decided on charging nothing for the shoot (as her mother is an employee of mine). I wanted to gain some experience. And, experience is what I got. In the end the old axiom may be true, “you get what you pay for!”
I brought my wife along who is quite an able photographer in her own rite, I figured that she, being a female, could relate to my female subject – Chelsea. And, I desperately needed an assistant. Someone had to carry the bag, no? Trying to be as prepared as possible we arrived 30 minutes early and used the time scouting. We looked mostly for pleasing, simple backgrounds in conjunction with angle of the sunlight. I did a few test shots to evaluate the scene and all looked good. Check!
Next we went through all the equipment to make sure all settings were as I needed. We cleaned the lens (Nikkor 85mm f/1.8) thoroughly. All the camera equipment was in good order. Check!
Now we played the waiting game. The adrenalin started pumping. Anxiety was increasing. I am a good photographer, aren’t I? Self-doubt was setting in. And then Chelsea arrived… with her mother. As you may know, parents can be very tough critics. And this parent is a soccer mom. Not Check!
The shoot got off to a predictably slow start. Chelsea was more nervous than I! We struggled to find a rhythm. After a while I pulled her aside and said, “do you know that your mom actually listens to me?” Chelsea couldn’t believe it and laughed heartily. Click click click – got the shots. We were off and running. I relaxed, Chelsea relaxed, and we all had a great time.
After I got home I selected 15 shots and showed them to her mother, the soccer mom. Her response, “OMG, I LOVE them! Jeff they look fantastic!” I guess she likes them. Now I’m ready for the next subject. Bring it on.
Here are a couple photos from the shoot. What do you think?