Today I had a session in downtown Willoughby, Ohio with a High School student that I have known for a while now. During this time he has been best known to our family as Bobby, Bob, Robert, our sons best friend from childhood, the one on the drums, the quiet one, my back up shooter, just to name a few...
I was honored that his Mom asked me to photograph his senior pictures. I knew he would be a breeze since he has been to weddings with me and knows how I pose, how quickly I work, not to mention he should feel comfortable around me by now! When asked, I already had ideas or what I felt would be a good fit as far as backgrounds however Mom already had her mind set on a location. We set up the time and date for this location , a few times, but Ohio weather being Bipolar, we had to reschedule.
The initial location of the session was to be at a park. I just couldn't see him for an entire session at a park so I started digging in further with Mom as to if this is a must location, why this location, etc... I find out that this is the location that her children grew up playing at and there is a bridge there that has a very special meaning to her. At first, I was like yep, I get it, we will shoot there, no more questions. As I sat on this, I had to think, who is the client? Who am I photographing? Why am I photographing this subject? What is the purpose for this session? The wheels were turning in my head quickly and then I had my Ahh ha moment! ;)
As photographers, it is our job to have the creative eye, to take the lead when the other party has not gone through a session or wedding before, to coach or offer them choices and guidance. Perhaps they have their mind set on a certain image from Pinterest and it is not realistic to get an image like this due to weather, location, body size, etc..., that is our job to be upfront and as artists, we hope you want us to have our own creative ideas to offer. Because of this, it is our job to also be an advocate for our clients.
In this situation, I know Mom wanted a bridge shot, but after knowing that it was more for her, I felt I could offer her something much better while giving Bobby my full creative attention paying special detail to what his interests. are. What I did not want to do was offend his Mom or discount how important the park was so when I returned to her with another choice for his session, I offered to capture the bridge shot and then move on to the other locations in which I felt may suit him better AND/OR perhaps get a nice image of Mom and her boys on that bridge together at a later date;)
We went with the creative option and because of this, Mom will be getting a nice surprise from JWP... her bridge picture with her boys photographed when she is ready ;) I want her to have this special image because this is her memory with her boys and as a Mom myself, I know those memories are priceless!