Portrait Scouting with Sophie

A Bulldog,           Looking Resolute and StrongThere is so much to enjoy in being a professional photographer. One thing I particularly enjoy is what I call the “pre-portrait consultation”. This is when I go to the home of the family, or senior, or wedding couple, and spend about 45 minutes visiting with them about their upcoming photography. We talk about what they have in mind for their images, and of course we talk about clothing and other details related to looking relaxed and at their best for their portrait. If their photography is going to take place in or around their home, then I scout out the rooms and the yard, looking for the clearest light and the best angles for beautiful compositions.

All of the details I cover with them contributes to the final outcome—a lovely set of portraits. But, in the midst of covering all of the details, we just have fun! We laugh and talk and get to know each other. Without fail, every time, we connect on a personal level, either by discovering that we have a friend in common, or that we share the same hobby or interest, or that we find ourselves at the same place in life. Does this help the portraits to be even better? I don’t know, I can’t say for sure. But I know that sharing life together makes everything more enjoyable. Which finally gets me to Sophie…

At a recent pre-portrait consultation, Suzi and her family had the coolest dog. Being a big dog lover, I always get down on the floor and make friends with the family dog. But Suzi’s dog was something else. The dog was a broad-shouldered, bow-legged, barrel-chested English Bull Dog named Sophie. She not only had character plus, she was also a lens hound! Whenever I took an image to record what I wanted to remember while scouting, there was Sophie, right in front of me, looking for all the world like she was posing! So, how could I resist? I took a portrait of Sophie right then and there.

Tom Launius
Oak Tree Photography