I have been privately mentoring a few budding photographers in the last year. One has stuck with me and has grown in leaps and bounds this past year. Last weekend, I stepped outside my comfort zone (WAY OUT) and I allowed budding photographer and trainee, Debbie, to capture me. This took a lot of trust on my part and a lot of courage on hers! Having my picture taken is not a fun thing for me, or at least it wasn’t in the past. I have been behind a camera for 17 years and it was comfortable, but in some ways it was hiding. Prior to being a photographer, I did stage and film work, but when an illness I could not control at the time (took a very long time to get a diagnosis) beat me up pretty good, I fell comfortably behind the camera body and have stayed there, very happily I might add, where I have found much success. When Debbie asked if she could use me as her subject for her styled shoot, it was so hard to say yes because I have not had my photograph taken (beside the usual family shots we take annually) in a very long time, nor had I embodied any characters (it has probably been 20 years!) in so long! Knowing I love and admire Audrey Hepburn, Debbie conceived a styled session with her in mind. I was excited but concerned. Trying to resemble Audrey was scary for me because in my mind, it is extremely challenging to embody both the beauty and sorrow Audrey had with her in all that she did. I decided to go with it have fun and trust Debbie.
Debbie was amazing. She hired the very best make up artist I have ever seen (and that is saying a LOT as I have seen so many). Gabriella, was amazing and kind. She worked quickly, but efficiently and I cannot believe the amazing job she did! Debbie styled every shot- she shopped at vintage stores, provided the vintage car, and borrowed a studio set up from me. She mapped out her locations and planned the day. I am so proud of how far Debbie has come with her photography! Debbie took her vision and put it into action. While I continued to mentor her through the session, it was mainly to help with camera settings, the rest was up to her. I did exactly what she directed me to do and the images below are her creative design.
This photo session was an amazing culmination of a years worth of training and working hard, which Debbie does. Debbie puts her heart into everything she does and it is always something beautiful when she is done. It was lessons learned for both of us and I strongly believe the photographer should become the subject every now and then we can grow more as photographers. For me, I finally came out of hiding and I learned to be in front of the camera and to have fun doing it! I felt what it was like to be a subject which refreshed and broadened my perspective as a photographer. I learned that I LOVE teaching photography. I learned to look at myself in photographs as the subject of design and instead of focusing on flaws, which is so easy to do. Lastly, I learned I finally look healthy and understand I am healthy and I can embrace this without fear. From what Debbie has relayed to me in our post sessions is that she has learned there is so much more to photography then styling, setting up, camera settings, beautiful backgrounds and lighting, but good photography is also about the confidence of the photographer to give direction to the subject so he or she can give you what you are trying to capture. She learned the hard work we put in to make our clients shine.
As a professional photographer, there is so much more then compose and click. Photography is about seeing, feeling, understanding, creating, and capturing. Yes, it is true, anyone can take a picture, but only those who take the time to understand the true depth of photography, can call themselves professionals. I believe Debbie has graduated to professional. Thank you Debbie for being the beautiful amazing hardworking soul that you are and for pushing me to step outside my comfort zone to be more, so much more!