The thing about photography is that it is so finite in relation to the moment. It butts up against the flow of time…and it wins every time. Naturally, the only thing that can stop the camera from capturing and holding a moment is to simply not allow it to happen in the first place. And the easiest way to justify that is to convince yourself all your ducks are not yet in a row.
“I am waiting for (fill in the blank)” or “I want to (fill in the blank) before I book a session…” I have heard this phrase (or some other variation of it) over and over for just about every type of portrait session. Its presence among missed portrait opportunities is almost on par with the lament of “I wish we had hired a professional photographer for our/our child’s wedding”. The difference, and good news for those clinging to this universal excuse as shield against the camera, is: The ducks are probably not going to get in a row…and that’s OK!
With family shots, it often begins with a grandmother saying “When my grandbaby gets here, I want to book a family session.” This then turns to the parents later saying “When he/she is awake and not crying, we are going to come in for some portraits”. Then “When he is able to sit up by him/herself, THAT’S when we will book!” Honestly, it goes on and on like this with everything from weather to wardrobe being a hang-up until the child is about one or two. True, family portraits are eventually taken. However, when you look back, all you have for the first one or two years are not-so-great images on your phone of your little one being “not perfect” for a professional portrait session.
The real truth is, we do not build time into our schedule to say “You know what?! I need professional portraits done and, come Hell or high water, they are going to get done!” It is like anyone being asked to plan any kind of non-essential happening (yes, I do understand a lack of professional photography in one’s life is not going to kill them. Gasp!). You look ahead and see that the coming month is pretty much booked, but maybe the following month will be better. Then, as that month approaches, your schedule has become fuller and the same excuse is applied until you realize a year has gone by and that happening has yet to take place. However, unlike a gathering of friends or a bowling game, which can be similarly enjoyed from year to year, when those months and years are photographically gone, you cannot get them back.
Another wonderful example of the universal excuse comes with intimate photography. I often hear women say they have always wanted to book a boudoir session, however, as one might imagine, the wait for perfection often stands in the way. In this instance, the universal excuse takes shape in forms like “I want to wait until I lose weight first”, “I want to wait for my summer tan”, or, simply, “I need to wait until I can find time”. Like before the client will want to hold out for that elusive perfection which could leave you with a missed opportunity in lieu of amazing portraits.
If you haven’t already figured it out, the theme here is to hopefully convince you the time for professional portraits is now! Perfect or not, the moment is real and it is now and that will have to do! Believe me, the portraits will later come as a thing of beauty as the feared imperfections fade away.
So what happens when you move from the “I want to wait until…” side to the “I wish I had…” side of the universal excuse and the portraits are not there? Well, when it comes down to it, your little ones are not infants for long and time will eventually find you missing some of your loved ones. However, while the universal excuse applies to just about every type of portrait session, not every one of them comes out the other side as irretrievable.
Well, Once again, I return to intimate photography for this one. See, with this, one must first understand it is more than just smiling for the camera. It is a very personal portrait session that literally incorporates one’s entire being from head to toe. As such, it makes sense that some might believe having a baby or simply growing older might put the kibosh on ever booking a boudoir session. Take it from the photographer: This is NEVER the case!
Truth is: Even when it you think it too late, the time is still now! With family shots, it might not be the most convenient two hours of your life, it might not be the calmest baby, or it might not be the best weather, but it will be the moment that won’t be there again and you will be glad you did!
And with boudoir, it might not be ideal you had in mind when you were 25 and single, but, with modern photo editing techniques, your radiant beauty will still shine through in amazing portraiture. Stretch marks and scars can be removed, curves are beautiful (they actually add to an intimate shoot believe it or not), wrinkles can be tamed and your goal can still be reached! If they are for your significant other, they will find them beautiful in any case and, if they are just for you, your self esteem will thank you no matter your life’s nearest milestone.
There is an old saying that goes: “there’s no time like the present.” In the world of photography, the present is all you have, but can make it last a lifetime when those moments are captured.