A warm spring day greeted me in Savannah, Georgia last week. Lush grass, flourishing garden and tshirt temperatures.
My daughter Amber prepared all morning for my arrival. Curling hair, accentuating lashes and donning a favorite outfit. Our photo session started at 1:00 and she and Ranger were ready when I arrived. Ranger sported his bowtie and had a bowl of treats at the ready. We surveyed the backyard together looking for perfect locations for her portraits.The weathered wooden fence would make a nice backdrop. Geometric firewood stack would create lovely texture. Shade under the big tree would give us even lighting. Within minutes I was directing Amber. Lean a little closer to the tree, drop your front shoulder, tilt the top of your head the other way just a tad. Perfect! And I clicked the camera. Ranger had his turn too. He laid regally in the grass tilting his head when I squeaked the toy. He used all the patience a 7 month old puppy has to lay still a moment to earn yummy treats. We even managed a few sweet photos of Amber and Ranger together. Amber and I had an absolute blast for two hours in her backyard.
The biggest drawback to our photo session was that I wasn’t physically in Savannah. The entire photo session happened over a Facebook Messenger Video Call (Same as the iPhone FaceTime). She put her phone on a stand and I guided her where to place it. I used all my skills as a photographer from scouting the location, to judging the light, to posing and encouraging. In the app there is a screenshot button and I simply used that to take all the images.
Were the photos high resolution like my Sony cameras produce? Nope. Did I have control over all the camera settings? Nope. Could I zoom my big lens? Nope. Could these photos be enlarged as a big canvas over the mantle? Nope.
Photographers are constantly touting “the experience” we give our clients during a photo session. How fun and easy it is to work with us. The time getting to know each other and hearing your tales. The natural expressions and interactions we can direct our subjects into. The self confidence we help build in shy people. How we bring families physically together for an hour or so. The encouragement, the listening ear, and the sense of belonging.
We don’t need to hold a physical camera for any of those parts of the experience.
In times like these when we are physically far from our clients photographers are feeling lost. How can they earn a living or prove they are any good without holding and working that glass and metal box we call a camera?
For me this Virtual Portrait Session / FaceTime Photos reminded me of all the skills I have acquired over nearly two decades that reach beyond being a camera operator. The connection I had with Amber during our virtual photos felt just like all the other modeling sessions we have done together. We both came away feeling closer, energized and seen.
This is what I strive for in EVERY session.
Of course I yearn for the day I can fulfill that final part of the experience and craft a beautiful print my clients can cherish on their walls or side tables for years.
But in the meantime I will be reflecting on what my mission as a photographer and videographer is. What it means to my clients. What it means for the businesses and causes I support. It extends far beyond the photograph or the video.
My Mission is To Empower You to tell all your Tales with Tails.
And I do that through photography, videography, consulting and teaching.
While we still have a couple weeks or longer keeping our physical distance from each other would you like to have a fun afternoon Virtual Photo Session? These sessions are just for fun, no cost, no pressure. Just a time to connect, maybe dress up, and come away with a few unique digital images. Just call, text or email and we will set a time.
If you would like to wait and have a photo session IRL in the future I am happy to schedule a phone/zoom consultation. Then we will be ready to go when the world is open to us again.
I miss you all and send lots of hugs and high paws from afar.