As a professional photographer I’ve had many photo shoots with couples, families and individuals. Most of the time my clients appear cool as a cucumber, I on the other hand, am incredibly awkward on the other side of the camera (there’s evidence if you care to see it). So, whilst on a recent holiday in Italy, my partner and I decided to have our first shoot together. For so many reasons (excuses), we nearly didn’t go ahead but I’ll get into that later.
As I tried to find a photographer I liked, I kept looking for photos that appeared to capture more natural, genuine moments. It wasn’t as easy as I expected, particularly in Italy, where the style was more posed than relaxed and real. Why? because I wanted to be able to connect with the images, for them to feel like ‘us’.
How I felt before the photo shoot
As I ummed and ahhed over booking, I really couldn’t imagine myself in the photos. Thoughts of ‘Will I look good?’, ‘Will my partner pull that scary face that appears coincidentally at the same time as a camera?’, all of my insecurities came to the surface, my skin, scars, recent weight gain. Trying to sleep that night I was actually nervous.. plus my partner was snoring *ugh*.
Needless to say, when the alarm sounded at 5am for that totally unsociable ‘best light’, I did not look or feel my best and the nerves were real! Here’s the thing, I kinda know what’s going to happen and I still felt that way. I also know that as soon as the shoot starts, the nerves will disperse, and in it’s place you’ll be there, right beside the one you love with all that you are – sweet, silly, happy beautiful.
Why we almost didn’t book
For all of the same reasons I often hear – the cost, “it’s not really me”, “we’re not very photogenic”, “I’m hoping to lose some weight”. Well, here’s the thing, those beliefs are getting in the way of capturing precious memories. I truly believe this and often preach it to others but telling myself was a whole other feeling.
The cost may feel like a barrier, but believe me, you won’t even remember the price. Most people I ask honestly do not recall what they paid. It really does become irrelevant as what you get is beyond worth it!
As for feeling insecure, well, many of us feel that way but what makes it all easier is having someone beside you, relaxing and having a good time, plus an awesome photographer of course! Sure, I see the wrinkles, double chin and tired eyes in some of the images, but hey, that’s part of the story. Above all, I see something I’ve been searching for for a very long time – a genuine, heartfelt smile.
So, whether you think having a photo shoot ‘is you’ or not, doesn’t everyone deserve to have fun, feel good and remember the best times in their life? I sure think so!
How I felt after the photo shoot
After initially clinging on to my partner’s arm, shying away from the camera (he was fine, by the way!), the hour we spent with the photographer flew by. We explored the stunning location we were in, cuddled up, danced, as we often do in (read: in the kitchen, supermarket, or bar if we’re feeling fancy) and made each other laugh. When it got to the end of our photo shoot, we were buzzing – for the time we’d spent so closely together all whilst experiencing the best of the city without a person in sight!
Not only did we love the experience and how we felt (bonus!), we are left with memories of us at a pretty significant time in our lives. I often photograph newly engaged couples, or those on their wedding day, and although there’s ‘not a ring on it’ that smile means everything to me. And now, each time I look back at those photos, I remember exactly how I felt and feel it all over again!
And that, my friends, is exactly why I do what I do.
Have you always wanted to have a photo shoot and there’s something stopping you? I’d love to hear from you.
Keen for a couple photo shoot of your own? What’s holding you back? Get in contact now and let me capture your story.
Photo credit: Stefano for Flytographer, Florence