Why are you passionate about documenting connections?
“I don’t think we looked at you the entire session … I love that so SO much.”
Those were the words from a couple I photographed a few months ago during their in-home maternity session … words that made my heart flutter. They get it… they REALLY get it. I’ve never been a huge fan of “looking” photos … I don’t have them on my walls, and if I’m not reminded … will forget to do them at sessions. So, hearing my clients tell me that was a turning point for me … my target client had found me, which meant my work was speaking for me.
My biggest wish in life is that I had photographs like the ones I create for my clients … photographs that showcase the connection I share with MY littles. Time passes us by far too quickly … in a blink, my girls are nearing 13 & 11. Yes, they’re still little … and I’m working diligently to create photographs of us merely existing and enjoying our time together from here on out, but I find myself longing for the sleepless nights with a toddler and wee little babe, one more game of Candyland, baking together … when a step stool was still required and the messes were ginormous, and falling asleep whilst reading to them. I yearn for visual documentation of the memories we’ve made over the last 13 years, and how our connections with one another have been altered by time, because at some point … my memory is going to fail me. And, since I’ve always been the one behind the camera, my littles will have countless photographs of themselves … showcasing the connection they share with one another, other family members, and so on … but I’ll be missing. And when I’m gone … the visuals they’ll have to remind them are so few and far between. That hurts. SO bad. I can’t even …
When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
A few years ago, I thought to myself … I can’t redo life’s seasons with my littles, but I CAN create those photographs for other families! And so, that’s what I set out to do. I let go of all my preconceived notions of what people want, and opted to shoot from my soul … never having a plan in mind for what I’ll create, but always seeking truths, raw emotions, and strong connections. In doing so, I’ve found that I’m better able to tune in to my clients … I watch them, listen to their stories … read their body language, and talk with them. I use the light to create imagery that speaks … to the mood, the climate in the room, the emotion, the relationships & connections shared, and the season of life their in. There’s something so much more happening than “just” a photo session … we’re connecting … we’re sharing … we’re creating.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
The best advice I could give …
1. Shoot what feeds your soul. If it doesn’t, move on.
2. Shoot as many different relationships as you can! Singles, lovers, new parents, parents who’ve been around the block a few times, kids with their parents, children together, friends … I learn something new each time, and find a new appreciation for life & love with every person I photograph.
3. You don’t need a plan. I don’t EVER have a plan, and that works for me. I don’t want to go in and create specificity … I read a situation, and document what I see as it unfolds before me. Step back and observe … wait … and photograph what moves you.
4. Watch the light, use the light!! I used to have one way to shoot – backlight. Once I let go of that ridiculous idea, I found that I could shape it to help people see what I did … shape it in ways that would help emphasize a mood … emotion … connection.
5. A college professor once told me, “Not every shot you take will be magic, not every shot will be clean – that’s normal!” That made a huge difference for me … realizing that I don’t have to … that I can’t … make magic every time, with every family, at every shoot … and, that’s OK. Just keep on giving your all!
What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
Ooooh, two huge challenges 1 — I’m soooo awkward and shy! In the past, I could go a whole shoot and not say much. I’m an observer … so, learning to vocalize and/or step in to show them what I wanted or needed from them during a sesh was tough! And 2, letting go – of perfection and having a plan. When I did let go, and found my voice … that’s when I found where I was supposed to be … I’ll never look back.
About the photographer:
Hi friends, I’m Jaime Hough — mum of 2, traveling documentary & portrait photographer, based in Ankeny/Des Moines, Iowa, homeschooler, seeker of raw connections and authenticity, lover of life, iced tea, good books & great adventures.