Captured Moments – Out of My Comfort Zone

Lately, I have had several opportunities to take family portraits of friends and friends of friends… In just a few sessions, I have developed a newfound respect for people who do this to make a living. It is hard work! These sessions were just casual family photo shoots done for a few friends and my stomach was in knots.  I can’t imagine the pressure of being responsible for someone’s wedding photographs.

There is so much to consider with every shot. When I am shooting a sunset, or a wave careening into rocks, nature makes everything perfect. But, if I neglect to see that my subjects hands need to relax, that one is on me. In the case below, my focus was entirely on capturing the expression of her eyes and I missed noticing her hands.


The one below is the same pose, but somehow better because of the placement of her hands.   edit51


In the case of portrait photography, I have to be on top of these things in order to improve the photograph. I am learning that subjects not only need, but also expect direction. It takes a lot of confidence to take charge of the situation and I am not there yet. Getting people to relax, strike a casual, but flattering pose, and see every detail in the shot is either natural ability, or a learned skill and right now, I am short on both.


Add kiddos to the mix and look out!


I love the cute photo on the left, but baby peeking down her dress is not exactly the photo Mom wanted. The one on the right is okay, but had to be cropped because someone stepped into the frame. There are so many moving parts!!

I imagine getting used to all of this comes with experience, but wow, what a confidence buster it is to miss a shot because of something simple.  Like, for instance, the 25mph speed limit sign between the couple below.

Thank goodness for Photoshop

Portrait photography is a challenge that takes me out of my comfort zone. At times I feel awkward and uncomfortable, but I am learning and moving forward – it feels pretty good.

17 thoughts on “Captured Moments – Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. Like you, I can’t imagine the pressure I’d feel if I was a wedding photographer… no thank you. At least with portraits, espouse done as a favor, you can request do-overs. If you haven’t already looked, I think you can find posing suggestions on Pinterest. Btw, I think you did a great job.


    1. Thanks Janis, I am constantly studying Youtube videos and Pinterest for posing suggestions. Putting it all together with settings, and dealing with wind, sunlight, etc. is such a challenge.Thanks for the compliment.


  2. Retirement Reflections

    Wonderful shots, Suzanne! I especially like the second portrait. It is not only the placement of the subject’s hands — it is also the closeness of the shot and the slightly different expression in her eyes. Your friends are very lucky to have you as their photographer!


  3. It’s not easy is it? 🙂 . My husband was a fashion photographer and he did model portfolios. So many things to think about, especially hands and feet, look, stray hair. After moving from L.A to Houston, he added weddings and that has a whole new set of headaches :-). Once he was checking image and missed the kiss! haha..lucky l was hi second shooter and l caught it. Phew! No do-overs with those. All in all, I’m glad he doesn’t do that anymore but he still itches to do more portrait work.. Good job you did though :-).


  4. It is fun, just so nerve wracking! I was at the beach this morning and found this great piece of driftwood that had floated up during high tide. It was just sitting on top of the rocks, looking beautiful. I was so tempted to ask a couple of strangers to sit there and let me take their picture! Thanks for the compliment, especially from a “second shooter.”


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