Last week I shared my thoughts about Preparing Mind & Body for Seen Today, with the help of some recent client reviews, and some context of my experience as a professional who has been on both sides the camera I want to share what Seen feels and looks like. I’m so grateful that a client candidly asked, “What is the session like? Like, I don’t really know how to pose and I get really nervous in front of the camera.” To answer this question adequately, it is important to share and show how what collaborative portraiture means and is while giving previews into what Seen feels and looks like.
s u p p o r t
Communication matters. You are making an investment that is, at its heart, vulnerable and a little heart-quickening despite its empowering experience and outcomes. To be seen in a world that dictates unrealistic, broadly prescribed standards for beauty and value, requires individualized support that considers the singularity of you.
Beginning with the booking and payment process, through to my communication and direction during the session, I promise my support, respect and connection by way of communication and consent. You are not a “subject” for me (or any other artist) to cast idea(l)s upon, but a living, breathing, human worthy of celebration and the honest documentation of you, as you.
If you have questions I haven’t answered or insights I should consider, please ask. Every time you ask me a question my vision and consideration of my clients, both present and future, broadens as do my services allowing me to create with increasing intention.
Posing, Interaction & “What do I do with my hands?”
I believe that the best images are made when a photographer dissolves the imposing camera’s presence by connecting with their subject. By asking questions and working to know a bit more about you, by earning your trust and creating a space of safety and reverence for who and what you are. My camera is an extension of my eye, a reflective tool to record your presence. It will take a minute to get comfortable and enter the space we are making together, but we will get there.
When we begin we will talk and share and slowly as comfort comes, I will interrupt our conversation to take a portrait. If we need quiet, we will both ask. If we need a different angle, I will move. With consent I will make adjustments to your hair or earring or shirt.
In my 10 years experience, I have become quite good at discerning “natural”. With direct and pointed directive, I will provide postural, posing, and breathing prompts to help you feel at ease. My goal while we are working together is to create an environment of safety, to witness you at ease, and to document it. My client Keira shared this review which embodies my approach to posing and direction within the context of collaborative portraiture,
“Ms. Thalman is well-versed in neutral and respectful language and full consent on any adjusting, touching, or poses. I have appreciated her attention to details like asking for input in the creative process, respecting body autonomy, and sharing images as the art/property that they are.” - Keira
No two clients are the same but I love what Keira (again) and Errin shared about how they felt after their session:
“(I felt)…a little drained because I’d shared so much of myself.”- Keira
“I felt empowered, and like I had done a lot of work. Creating these images was a collaborative process, and it felt good knowing that I was part of making something beautiful.”- Errin
Seen can bring up a myriad of feelings and thoughts, inspirations and concerns both before, during, and after the session. I have been on both sides of the camera, and I feel it important to show up as a subject regularly to remember the excitement, worry, insecurity, and joy that comes from being documented.
Editing, Photoshop, & Post-Processing
If you show up with a scratch, bruise, or zit have no fear, I use Photoshop. I use it to remove dust on my lens, and I use it to carefully edit out that one stray hair in your line of sight in the portrait that reflects you best and of course I will zap the zit but I do not use it to manipulate the human form. I will not obstruct you, edit your features, erase, or smooth you. I will not “take off 10 lbs” or remove “chins”. I have never learned how and I do not employ my editing team for such work.
So what else? I’m happy to answer any questions you have about my process in the comments below.