Whenever a potential client calls me, my first and upmost goal is to really listen. To try and understand and connect with what they are looking for. Sometimes it really isn’t even a photo shoot but just someone to listen! Photography is a subjective art and let’s face it, there is not a lack of really, really good photographers. Creating space or a connection where people can just show up and be themselves I think is rare. It’s not secret that I am very laid back and my style definitely caters to those who maybe aren’t going to be the first ones to jump up and say “Here, take my picture!” Photo shoots can get a bad rap. I like to break that rap and watch as the kids open up and take the shoot over. It’s pretty cool actually to watch someone see how beautiful or cool they are by just being themselves.
Today, I want to share a letter or rather email I received from a mama of a Senior girl, who let’s just say wasn’t going to be the first to jump up and want to get the “typical Senior pictures done.”
From: Joyce Gaudette <email@example.com>
Subject: Letter of Recommendation
Date: April 14, 2013 at 12:06:53 PM CDT
My name is Joyce Gaudette. I am the mother of 3, but am writing today about my daughter, Audrey, who is a senior in high school.
As senior year goes, one of the biggest events is Senior Photos. We’ve all seen them; beautiful photos of our young sons or daughters, boldly facing their future head on. For these kids, it’s a right of passage. For we parents it’s another milestone;our children are one step closer to adulthood and independence. Our jobs as parents is changing yet again. This time should be documented and recorded in photographs. I have cherished the photos of my older son’s senior portfolio. I look at them often and love to remember just who he was as a senior in high school.
With Audrey it was different. She herself is quite artistic and her most consuming passion is photography. While the “stock” photos are wonderful for many and are able to be customized to highlight a student’s interests or activities, the idea of doing these type poses was not something she would agree to. She would not have been comfortable, and it would show. Taking those types of photographs would have been a waste of money, a waste of effort, and would have resulted in insincere images. Knowing this, I had reluctantly agreed that Audrey did not have to have Senior Portraits made.
Quite by accident, I stumbled upon Karen McConaughey’s website and spent an embarrassing amount of time there. I called and talked to Karen, hoping she would agree to sit down with Audrey & myself to see if we may be able to work out something agreeable to everyone. She was more gracious than I could have imagined. I was immediately at ease, and when I began talking with Karen about what I had in mind, I found myself literally crying that I may be able to document and share this special time in my daughter’s life. I hadn’t realized how important it was to me until I was talking with Karen. It occurred to me how sad I would be to miss out on this opportunity. I felt like Audrey would eventually miss having the photographs as well.
Karen agreed to meet with us very quickly and we knew within minutes that we’d found our photographer. I can’t really put into words, but there was a trust, confidence and excitement that grew from those first few moments visiting with Karen. And all of those intuitions and emotions were spot on! It must be particularly demanding to work with someone who is artistic (whether or not there is an ‘artistic temperament’), but Karen has just completely embraced the project. She allowed Audrey’s unique personality to show through, encouraged her input about what her photos would look like, and provided professional guidance when she felt it was necessary. It was exciting to share Karen’s genuine enthusiasm for getting the personality to come through the lens. It was also infectious to see her own excitement about the shoot.
The photos coming out of the photo shoot with Karen are amazing. She was patient, insightful, receptive and took the most beautiful photographs of my daughter. She has captured the essence of who Audrey is at this moment in time with photographs that are honest, elegant and classic and will be loved far longer than standard Senior Photos.
Meeting Karen and having her as Audrey’s photographer has been a gift. You can absolutely trust her with your child.