Ok, I have to say this is the 4th time I've tried to write this. The last time I accidentally canceled my post without saving.
And, well, it goes without saying that you should always save your work people. Wipe the tears away. Lesson learned. time to move on.
By the way, the original post was going to be about how I photographed new parents and how it was a new experience for me. How they were great clients at an awesome location, yada yada. We've heard this before.
Now, don't get me wrong, they were fantastic clients. Easy going, charming, open to ideas and being themselves. Couldn't ask for a better couple to work with. But What I actually want to talk about is how this shoot was a challenge for me.
"Why?", you may be asking. Thanks for asking. Remember that first time you asked someone to pay you to create something for them? Remember how nervous you were? How low your confidence was in delivering something they would like? Yup, we've all been there.
I hadn't been there in some time until this session. In case it wasn't too obvious, I have never photographed a maternity shoot nor a newborn. Not for fun, not with friends. nada.
This was uncharted territory for me.
Because this was new to me, and new means inexperienced, my confidence level was low. I mean I know I could get great portraits of the couple, I've shot plenty of portraits. But I wasn't sure I would be able to get great shots that didn't make her and her husband look awkward.
Before I continue, I should mention that having clients that are understanding is important.
They knew this was my my first time and we all knew this was theirs, so that brought down the stress factor a bit. They also knew they would get great shots based on my body of work. But understood they may not get the same images if they went with a full time kick ass maternity photographer.
With that, that doesn't mean I didn't want to give them the same caliber of images of those kick ass maternity photographers.
So we shot. I approached the session the same way I would any session. I place them in a spot. Position them in "pose" and then have them do what naturally comes to them in that moment. Then snap away only providing minor direction here or there.
That's pretty much my general avenue to photographing couples. But I'll go further into that in another blog post.
Though, even while doing that, I struggled with positioning her in a way that 1. didn't look silly and 2. showcased the little person growing in her belly. And this is where my confidence kept getting challenged.
I kept thinking, "This would be a great shot if posed her this way on this thing". But I need to see her belly in a way that doesn't make her look, well, unflattering I'll say.
But I keep snapping away. Chirping at the screen. Seeing, what I believe to be "good" photos but nothing I'm in love with. So of course this starts chipping away at my confidence. I want to provide impactful images. That's my goal. every time. always.
If I feel I haven't done that, then I feel defeated. Like I failed my client. They paid me to create something wonderful for them and the worse thing I can do is not deliver on that.
And that's how I was starting to feel.
"Ok Jeff, we got it. Your confidence is low, you feel like you're not getting 'the shot'. What are you going to do about it?".
Man, you guys are full of great questions.
Honestly, nothing. Because as much as I believe a session is going well or not well, I wont know until I get those images on the computer. You wont know either.
So relax. take a breath. trust yourself. even if you don't.
And that's what I did. I inserted, one by one, my SD cards into my computer. fired up Lightroom. Imported. Waited. Finished. Then thumbed through.
Hmmm. Not as bad as I thought.
Hmmm. Not bad at all. These are actually pretty good. Won't win any awards but definitely not what I was feeling I was taking while on location.
I start flagging the ones I think are the best, which are a lot more than expected, and start plugging away.
Fast forward to completing all my images, uploading to the client gallery. Off it goes through the 1s and 0s of the world wide web and lands smack dab in the clients inbox.
The wait begins.
I like the images. I think there are some good ones. Will they?
The confidence starts to dwindle again. You know what I'm talking about. You've been there. You provide the final product. you're not there to see the reaction, to hear their opinions. So you sit there, in your own head.
Waiting. literally, waiting multiple days. This can't be good. They must hate it.
Then I remembered she was due in 2 weeks from the shoot. She probably had the baby.
Did she have the baby? She had to have had the baby.
After not hearing anything for about a week I get an email. She did. She ended up going into labor the week after the shoot. Giving birth to an adorable baby girl.
So all that worrying was all for not. Letting my insecurities as an artist, which comes with the territory as an artist, get me down. To question my skills and experience.
But at the same time that happens, I appreciate it. It lets me know I give a damn about what I do. That it matters to me what I deliver.
There will always be someone better somewhere. I realize this. But there's no one better at giving a client what they need and want at that moment than me, at that moment.
Same for you. And You. And yes, even you.
I'm writing this as a means to show that it's natural to doubt yourself and your abilities from time to time. It happens. All you can do is take a breath and get over it.
Most importantly, trust in yourself. Remember, you booked the client because they like your work. They have faith in you so you should too.