I had a call from Carmel recently about a possible portrait session with me. She needed some professional strong up-to-date head and shoulder portraits for a new business venture she is embarking upon, and she also wanted some more personal images of herself as her daughters had offered this as a birthday present to her.
How lovely that daughters would think of a portrait photography session for their mother. It’s a great thing to do: not only is it almost always a confidence-boosting experience (despite every woman I’ve ever photographed telling me they hate having their picture taken, I love the challenge of reversing that feeling) but also there is invariably a huge gap in the family archive as most women never celebrate themselves in photographs (apart from the occasional work related headshot) from their wedding day onwards, with the focus naturally defaulting to the children as soon as they arrive. And before I’m accused of being sexist this also applies to men!
Carmel decided to commission me for an extended portrait session which basically means I will shoot more than just head and shoulder portraits of you and include full length and environmental images in the mix.
To help me to conceive the sorts of images a client might have in mind, I always build in time to have a proper consultation with them, sometimes on the phone, often in person, ahead of my preparation for the session and the session itself. It helps me hugely to have a sense my subject generally as a person and what they are about. Often clients will have a firm idea of how they want to present themselves, others want more guidance from me. So ahead of the session we talk about you, the atmosphere and message that you want to achieve in the final images as well as practical things like clothes choices, location and timings.
Carmel and I enjoyed a lovely afternoon and early evening in Richmond working together to get these portrait photographs of her. We used the space, light and quietness of her own home for some of them where I set up my lights and softbox to achieve a slightly more high-key formal effect for her business shots, followed by shooting in various spaces within the house which lent themselves to some fun and more unusual full length images. The nice thing too about the results is that they are personal to Carmel being shot in her world/environment, not the starkness of a studio. Later on, with some lovely early evening sunlight emerging outside, we nipped out to Terrace Walk and the gardens on Richmond Hill to capture some on location pictures – again a location which has meaning and relevance in Carmel’s life.
I was delighted to receive this from her upon receiving the final results from our session:
‘Dear Anna, The process has been extremely professional but great fun. You put me at my ease from the start and because of the preparation you had put in, the day of the shoot was relaxed and organised. Most importantly I am very pleased with the end results. So thank you.’
If you are thinking about getting some up-to-date portraits of yourself, another family member or colleague, please get in touch. You can read more about how my portrait sessions with adults work here where you can also download a pdf giving you more information.
Meanwhile here are some of Carmel’s and my own favourite images from her portrait photography session in Richmond TW10:
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