I have amazing clients. Authentic, connected people that really matter to each other. In fact, I’m not much a fan of the word clients—their stories and lives are always so much more tangible for me than that, and our connections develop in a way that the word ‘clients’ rarely feels like an appropriate descriptor. But sometimes, there’s something a little bit extra-significant that happens when I’m collaborating with new people. While some (many) folks fear that they aren’t photogenic, occasionally, I end up working with someone who really and truly does not like to be photographed. It’s obviously challenging territory for me (this is what I do, after all), but consider how deeply uncomfortable it can be for the person in question. I think it ends up being a learning experience for us, both. This is where today’s story begins—in lovely Highland Park in LA. Meet Stephanie and Bobby.
When they reached out to me about working together, I swooned just about as much as one woman can swoon—they’re having a private elopement on a winery nestled in the California hills later this summer. That’s tough to beat. Of course, they weren’t initially that enthusiastic about having an engagement session, and I suspect that just having the elopement photographed was already a compromise. So how exactly did I find myself in a gorgeous LA kitchen whilst these two cooked up some magic?
Engagement sessions are incredibly valuable for a multitude of reasons (I’m thinking I’ll blog more about this shortly), but in this case, it can particularly help someone who doesn’t like to be photographed to feel an awful lot more comfortable when the big day rolls around. We get to build a familiarity, a connection. I become less of an intruder, I stick out less like a sore thumb. Frankly, it can help people who do like to be photographed to be more comfortable! We decided to shift away from being largely focused on them and to instead focus on a cooking adventure! With friends willing to share their incredibly charming home, and armed with a beast of a KitchenAid mixer and a bunch of fresh goodies, these two set out to make something delicious happen.
I’m so knocked out sometimes by how incredibly lovely people can be when they cease trying to meet expectations. Expectations suck. So this is what I treasure. When I get to share in the tender moments—the ones where people breathe out, breathe in, smile and let go of being anything other than themselves. Though my focus on them was distinctly diminished compared to my usual shoots, Stephanie and Bobby reminded me that love can be in the details, in the in-betweens, in the cracking of eggs, in the kneading of dough.
So, they tried their hands at making pasta. From scratch, with the help of some nifty KitchenAid attachments. And every part of the process was captivating, messy, and just right. Especially the eating part. Yep. We all sat down to a most marvelous meal. We drank wine and ate homemade pasta from scratch in the loveliest home (yeah, their friends have both style and Grammys) and let goodness abound. I’d say this is the most luxurious I have felt on a shoot!
And when it was all said and done… they even let me steal five minutes of shots all about the two of them out on the porch. A special treasure. That day, I hope I might have helped to start someone on a path of perceiving himself a little differently, even if it’s simply in photographs. This, my friends, is why I do what I do. Why I find it terribly difficult to identify where the end of the day lands. Why I find my clients to be too much like friends to be called clients. I believe people matter. I believe how we see ourselves matters. And I’m on a mission to make sure people recognize in themselves something worth being seen by others.
Thank you, Stephanie and Bobby. For letting me be a part of something special. Something real. Something worth seeing.