Believe it or not, it took some convincing to pull off this photo session. Ariana’s sister and mother live far, far away in Chicago-land and she wanted to surprise them with a photo shoot while they were in town. I wasn’t a part of the conversation she had with them, but I imagine it went something like this:
“Hey, I bought us a photo session with this really cool local photographer. She’s going to meet us at a park and photograph us for a couple of hours. Isn’t that awesome!?”
And before she could even get to the part about planning outfits and the setting sun, they were like, “Are you kidding me!? I’m not photogenic. This isn’t a special occasion. I don’t want to get dressed up and have some stranger making me feel self conscious for 1-2 hours.”
Which is totally normal, by the way. Even Tina Fey gets nervous about photo shoots. She told me. Okay, I read it in her book. My point is, there’s a lot of pressure when you feel like you have to perform and no one wants to see a bad picture of themselves. It’s like hearing your voice on an answering machine – I do not sound like that.
So I assured them that this was not your typical go-to-the-mall-sit-stiffly-say-cheese experience. No, this would be more like hanging out with your girlfriends; no heavy posing or cajoling. Simply relaxed, stress free and fun for everyone. I asked questions. What do they like doing together? What would make them feel safe? This is the pre-close-up. The time when I start to learn who my subjects really are and what’s holding them back.
“We like to cook and eat together,” Ariana told me. So we decided on a session at home with the idea of sharing a meal in the backyard. Whatever happens, happens. At home, they were safe and cozy in a nest where they were free to love each other and be loved. At home, following a relaxing day at the spa, sitting at an adorably decorated table with mouth watering smells and flavors at each place setting, they found peace. They were connected to each other by things that really matter and shared conversations only they could follow. Synergy.
They slowly opened up and allowed me to see the truth of who they are from deep within. And now they’re exposed. Internet, this is a gift to be allowed to lean in and see. Really see. There is energy, passion, push and pull here. There is vulnerability and power here. There is love and beauty here. See…