You know how bloopers are sometimes better than the actual show?
Well, it kind of works that way in photo shoots too. Usually when I photograph a traditional portrait session, where I go with the family to a field or a park or a lake or some other pretty public space, my very favorite photos are the outtakes.
Those photos are of the face the kid makes right after he thinks I’m done shooting that pose. Or the sibling running around in the background behind the brother I’m trying to photograph. It’s the daughter that wanders away to play in the grass because she got overwhelmed with all the “say cheese!” It’s the snack break that the 18-month old desperately needs to continue to function. It’s the boy that runs away because he doesn’t want to sit on a blanket in the yard anymore.
So maybe I just like it when kids are disobedient and run away?
I just mean that those moments are when I see the real expressions, the ones the family makes on their most normal day. I love seeing personalities come to life and those fake smiles fall away. It’s so refreshing to capture excitement rather than forced interaction.
At some point this month, I will write about why traditional portrait sessions have their place in the world. I mean that and believe it. But in the past two years, I’ve discovered that both me and my clients cherish these “outtakes.” Because in reality, they aren’t outtakes at all. They are photographs of families being exactly who they are, and isn’t that how we want to portray ourselves?