What is the most important factor in every portrait session?  Perfect light?  Top of the line equipment?  A stunning location?  No, no, and no.  It’s having a great connection with the subject.  Why?  When we’re comfortable and relaxed everything flows naturally.  The poses and smiles are authentic.  We’re able to share ideas and work together.  I’m able to see and capture who they are.  And, most of all, it’s fun!

Great Rapport

Having trust and a connection between the subject and photographer is, I think, the single most important factor in a photo shoot.  I know because I’ve had a lot of shoots where there wasn’t a strong connection.  It’s okay, sometimes the chemistry just isn’t there, and frankly some people just aren’t comfortable in front of a camera (put me on that list!).

On this day I had a great time, I think Paula did as well, and it led to some really great photos.

Getting Started

Paula and I talked quite a few times by phone and email before her Senior Photo shoot to talk about her vision for the session and other logistics.  We weren’t able to meet in person before the shoot but, by the time the date came around, we had a really good rapport.  Paula is very warm and genuine and I knew she would be easy to work with.  We sat down, shared some final ideas, and got to work.


We worked together terrifically from the very first shot.  The location was a countryside park and we started next to a field of natural wildflowers.  We began with some different poses, then we took a quick break to see the results on my camera.  This is a great way for the subject to see what I see, and to give me feedback on  what they like and don’t like.

Some of the poses were a little awkward (which is my fault!) but we had a good laugh over them.  It’s all part of the process of building trust and rapport.


In The Groove

After a few more shots we moved to a nearby nature path.  We were starting to dial in on some favorite poses so there was less trial-and-error and more focus on “getting the shot”.  It helped us both relax because we knew we were getting great shots.

We followed up with some nice shots on a wooden bridge and a nearby bench.  Along the way we continued to pause and look at the shots I was getting.  Paula was great at offering ideas.  Her input and creativity were an integral part of the process.  It was definitely a team effort!

Finishing Strong

We wrapped up with some shots at a nearby farm.

Her natural pose and expression make these some of my all-time favorite portraits!