In an effort to define myself as a photographer, you can see stated on my website and across social media platforms that I am a "seeker of light and shadows. Documenting the authentic and unposed. Capturing life and love." What does that even mean? Light or the absence of light is everywhere, so why am I trying to "find" it? Well, all light is not created equal. Some light is harsh or soft, warm or cool, flattering or unflattering. I look for the right light for the right setting and mood. Oh, and not to mention, I absolutely love shadows. They add immense depth to a photograph. And obviously, I love capturing life as it unfolds and all the love within in. So, what about "unposed?" You either love that word, thinking that all the photographs I take are purely candid. Or you fear that word, knowing that you need direction when your photograph is taken.
Unposed is defined by portrait and documentary photographers in a multitude of ways. Unposed in my photographic process simply means natural moments and connections that are purely documented. I will not arrange your arms, your legs, your head, your posture. I will not force you to look into the camera for every photograph. I will not make you do anything you are uncomfortable with, meaning I will not force you to smile or expect you to display an emotion you truly do not feel. I will curate your session. I will give you actions to keep you moving, distracting you from my camera. I will give you topics, or prompts as photographers say, that allow you to interact authentically with your partner, family members, or friends. I will help you feel comfortable by guiding you through different interactions. I will document you as you are, beautiful and imperfect, loving and true.
Okay, so I've told you, but let me show you! This is intended for clients (and future potential clients) who are interested in what their session is going to look like and feel like! This can also be inspiration for other photographers who may feel stuck in their normal routine or are unsure of how to make their clients feel comfortable in front of the camera! Either way, take a look at the beautiful Lauren and Tucker at Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery in Traverse City!
As I explain each task or question given to my couple, know that the directions of the prompts are not the most important thing, the reaction and interaction that happens because of it is. I always start out with motion because it allows my clients to interact with one another and completely forget about me. The motion helps ease any anxiety they may have!
"Dance like you're at a party and finish by spinning her in towards you."
"Walk side by side, hips touching, trying to knock one another over."
"Walk hand in hand, leading him along the way. Don't forget to look back at him and think about what you love the most about him!"
"Face one another, hands holding... now, flap your arms like wings."
"Hold hands and run towards me like they do on the beach in romantic movies."
"Spin like a ballerina until you can't spin anymore!"
Once I do one motion prompt, I jump right into a fun question! What I love about photographing "prompts" instead of "poses" is that it never gets stale. It is never a repeat of what has happened before, each client is unique in their own way, with their own interactions!
"Holding each other tight, reenact one another's personality, mannerisms, or common phrases!"
"Standing side-by-side, get nice and close, and tell me an embarrassing story about one another."
"Pull each other in close, and in your sexiest voice (or an accent) list off as many ___ as you can!" The fill in the blank can be breakfast cereals, movies, animals, you name it!
And the finally, once the client is clearly comfortable in front of me and the camera, I give them a more intimate prompt. Now trust me, I personally do not like personal displays of affection with my husband! But, I have a photograph, beautifully taken on my wedding day by my dear friend Lindsey, that displays my husband drawing me in close and kissing my nose and it one of my all time photographs. She documented us, as we truly are. Because truthfully, we are intimate with one another, just not in front of others. My goal is to capture how you are with one another authentically, without an audience.
"Move close to one another and go in for a kiss, but pause. Hold still and breathe each other in and out."
"Walk up and grab her from behind. Kiss her in three places that are not her lips."
"Run your fingers through her hair and pull her in tight. Now with your foreheads touching, close your eyes, and think about why you love one another."
"Eskimo kisses while thinking about the moment you said I love you, got engaged, or said I do."
Editor's Note: I did not make these "prompts" up on my own. I have aquired different ideas and phrases from a diverse group of photographers, locally and abroad. I am not claiming that "unposed" or the alike is my genius idea. The wonderful photography community I surround myself with focuses on this type of photography as well. If you're interested in knowing more about my style of photography or process, feel free to reach out!