The most feared sentence a seven year-old can say to a photographer is, “I HATE getting my picture taken and I will NOT smile!” It is bound to happen at least 5000 times over the course of a career. Those were the exact first words that were spoken by Evalina (affectionately named “Lina”) when I met up with her and her mother, Vanessa. I was thrilled and honored to capture this lifestyles session for them. I prepared mentally with visions of this pose, that pose, them acting cute together and smiling through the fields. But all of these visions evaporated from my mind like snow falling on a flame. The first lesson I always tell my photo students is to have a PLAN B! At the conclusion of Lina’s defiant statement, I could hear my former students mockingly whisper, “Alrighty then, McGregor, where’s your PLAN B now?”
But really, how many kids love getting pulled away from their friends, their hobbies or their summer vacations? I would think that number would be South of zero. The best way to prepare for a photo session is to plan it out. But life does not abide by strict rules or follow a game plan, so why should one expect a “lifetyles session” to do the same? One thing to be certain of is Murphy’s Law waiting to toss a monkey-wrench into your bike spokes. Fortunately, I was trained to juggle and ride a unicycle at the same time (metaphorically speaking, of course)!
Reactions on the fly are a must. You really have to be prepared for all kinds of adversity. Otherwise you will have a terrific portrait of a disgruntled mom placing her rebellious, screaming child into a head lock or its equivalent. The more you force a child to smile, act “normal” or straighten up, the more resistance you will encounter. I always find inspiration in literature, and in this instance, I remembered one of my favorite quotes by Khalil Gibran. “Let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.”
Sometimes photography has little to do with taking a picture, but it has everything to do with the art of capturing the human condition. My greatest career achievements are to present original and creative heirlooms that capture the winds of the heavens dancing between you. I can only hope these photos embody that for Vanessa and Lina. http://www.amcgregorphotography.com/