“Keep your face always toward the sunshine -
and shadows will fall behind you.”
― Walt Whitman
We were already on our third location and the sun had started to set. In my search for something worthwhile to do while Austin and Gabrielle changed outfits, I walked around and happened to spot a dead tree that has fallen near the edge of the lake. By this time, I had already started laying out poses for them to do in my head and I knew from that moment that I was going to make them climb up that thing. No doubt about it. But knowing Gabrielle, she might have reservations about climbing up this dead tree. So I went down the trench and took a closer look. I noticed that the climb is not that hard and it wasn't even that high off the ground. But if by some off chance one of them were to fall, they'll just hit soft dirt. At worst, they'll suffer a bruised ego. But just picturing how beautiful the photos would turn out with their backs against the sun is too good to pass up. In my head these are all good things I can point out to them to consider. But if for some reason they still say NO. I can always plead my case by bitching and moaning : "But..but it's for the shot!! Waaahhh!!!" Maybe it had something to do with Austin's sister giving them a fair warning about the things I make my couples do. Or maybe it was the beer that we had before the shoot. But nevertheless, I smiled as they proceeded to climb up the tree.
"I feel so liberated!" Gabrielle exclaimed, as she carefully inched her way down a dead tree that I made them climb just a few moments ago. Austin, who was guiding her by the hand didn't even bat an eye. I could tell that they were relieved that we were done with this part of the shoot, but at the same time excited to see how the photos will turn out. I remember them telling me during our initial client meet up that they're not used to being in front of the camera or that they need a bunch of directions. Common uncertainties that I hear my couples say. But all which can be easily alleviated with a cold brewsky 30 minutes before a session. But to their credit, they did a fantastic job in being themselves during the shoot, while at the same time, trusting in the process and allowing themselves to be directed.
In all honesty, I do feel a sense of accomplishment when I'm able to make clients come out of their shell and take risks. And as much as I try to bring the best out of my couples, sometimes the couples can have the same impact on me also. Austin and Gabrielle's fun-loving and relaxed dispositions made me fixate less on directing/posing etc. and just focus on them and how they interact as a couple. So I took a risk and broke out of an old shell also. And in an odd way, I too, feel liberated.