Something Old, New, Borrowed, and You
I’ve felt inspired to create something different. I’ve used the beloved wedding phrase, something old, new, borrowed, and blue with a slight tweak for my business recently.
There’s a bit of nuance to my perspective of using something old. To me, old is a vintage prop or piece of fabric. It’s an old way I used to photograph. And definitely all the poses that I regularly use (see my Top 10 Favorite Newborn Poses and my 5 Least Favorite Newborn Poses.)
Things that are old feel comfortable. In photography, they create heirloom styled images and incorporate lots of texture and character. Sometimes my clients bring in family pieces which create poignant works of art like this little baby in a FedEx box. Her dad was a FedEx pilot.
Or the newborn baby in her grandad’s tuba. Her dad played tuba in the Anchorage Civic Orchestra (ACO) years ago. (You can see an oboe solo I had with the ACO here at 5:48, 6:44, and 9:43. You can also see me here with the wind octet.)
But in a world where something old is often viewed as less valuable, to a photographer it’s golden.
When I think of something new, I brainstorm how to achieve it in a session. It’s similar to the process of creating a mood board. I do some research and sketch out my ideas. Everything needs to be cohesive with what the parent wants, while also satisfying my need to do something different. I get bored very easily doing the same thing over again.
Session planning starts with what a parent has on their color profile. I match this with what the images they’ve selected as their favorites from my website. It honestly takes me hours to put together a session. For awhile I was ashamed of that, because so many photographers work so quickly. But for me, it’s a long process. A process of pulling exactly what my clients want and the props they requested. From there I stretch myself to create something better…different…more customized.
I start working on my setups generally a few days in advance. It’s not unusual for me to have something completed just to re-do it the next day. I almost always plan my sessions at night. My creative juices flow so much more then. Sometimes, I am re-planning a session up until 2am. I try not to do that. But the energy and excitement I have takes over, and I just find that sweet spot in pulling things together. It is really hard for me to sleep because I’m so excited for what my clients will see in the morning. I love planning sessions!
There are so many ideas that pop in my head. My recent studio maternity session was inspired by the awesome Lola Melani Photography. The way she creates Annie Leibovitz styled maternity images is pretty impressive. I’m also completely in love with the work of Annie Leibovitz. It’s one of the reasons why I created Sanguine Portraiture.
Amongst photographers, there’s lots of discussion between the differences of “copying” someones work and being inspired by it. It’s honestly a fine line. Some take offense to any similarity in an image, while other deem it ok as long as you credit the original creator. I will agree that it is completely wrong to actually use another photographer’s image in any way in your business. That’s a big no no!
In my opinion, sometimes it’s very difficult to credit the “original creator.” Sometimes the person who you think is the original creator really got it from someone else. However for my policy, I will credit whomever I received my inspiration. I’ve done it for Luisa Dunn Photography when I was inspired by an image she did a few years ago. I created a similar image called Mountain Ash to reflect the snowy Mountain Ash trees in Alaska. I reached out to her to let her know what I had done as inspiration, and was thrilled when she commented and said she loved my take on it.
Lots of photographers capture babies on the moon. But don’t think I’ve seen it backlit. (It doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, but I haven’t seen it). So I take something that someone has already done and put my spin on it, by adding a different lighting technique…and of course my favorite…clouds!
Regardless of how people view borrowing, inspired, or copying…I honestly feel it makes people better. The freedom to get goosebumps from someone’s work enough to want to do it yourself would be an honor for me. I honestly don’t feel that anyone does anything exactly the same anyway. But sometimes people just need that spike of inspiration to push them into a new arena of creativity. And from that comes the unearthing of you.
I’m all about my clients. I understand the need to feel special and cared for. I want them to love their experience, ask questions, ooh and ah over their baby photos, enjoy the fully stocked fridge of beverages and all the goodies I provide while they are in my home for their session. That is me!
My clients are like family to me. I think about them, love them, and work really hard for them to have an amazing experience. If the perfect image isn’t there…but in three different photos, I create that image just for them. I love florals, creative setups, and monochromatic simple ones. On my Instagram I state “I find beauty in simple complexities”. Oxymorons have always been my favorite. Lol!
I’ve always been a quiet force in my work. Not the most popular or the least. Not the most innovative, but generally more creative. I’m the kid that got all A’s and one B. Keeping that drive for perfection vigilant, while in my own head feeling that I never can attain perfection. But the older I get, I realize I’m perfectly me. The way God made! Which to me sounds so cliche…and soft…just keeping it real. But it’s true.
There is no one on this earth who is as magnificent as me! No one edits the same, styles the same, creates the same, talks to their clients the same as how I do. There are tons of photographers. Sometimes my voice disappears in the thunder of everyone else. But what I’ve learned is that the people who have ears for me, can hear me. I dunno if that makes sense…but that’s what I’ve learned to believe.
What is for you…is yours! Here’s to creating something that inspires you to be amazing!