You never know. You just never know. Sometimes, during a portrait session, the family warms up quickly to the camera and your best portraits are among the first images you capture. But, at other times, for reasons you can never quite explain, the portrait session evolves more gradually, and the best images come at the very end. This is why I always arrange my portrait sessions like a pair of bookends: a major family pose at the beginning and another, different pose at the end, with lots of variety and fun in between. That way, whether the family is quick off the mark or if they gel to a rhythm all their own, I’m sure to get a spectacular portrait. With Wes and Gina’s family, we had taken a series of solid portraits, but, right up to the end of the session, we hadn’t gotten that special something, that wow! shot. So, I quickly set up one last composition and pose. It had been a warm evening, and the family was tiring. Stella, the baby, in particular, had just about lost it. She was beginning to cry. But knowing that even a fussy baby can still find a way to smile, I urged the family to hang in there with me. From the look in their eye, I could tell they weren’t quite sure! But as I interacted with them to bring out their expressions, Bam! there it was—the portrait you see at the top of this post. When they came to my studio office in the Belvidere Mansion to view their proofs, this is the image they gravitated to at once. Without hesitation, they knew it would become their wall portrait. Which, to be honest, is a good thing—if the final images had turned out badly, I would have been in the doghouse for having pushed them at the end of the session. But, my instincts were on target, and the portrait now hangs proudly in their home. Good things really to do come to those who wait!
Tom Launius, CPP