It’s interesting working with people from all different walks of life and in my line of work, especially with boudoir photography, I am given a unique opportunity to capture not only a subject’s outer beauty, but their inner beauty, their essence, as well. There is a hidden beauty that each and every one of us has that is related to our hardships and our successes, to our mistakes and our lessons learned, to our failures and our victories in life. And, there is something deep inside of me that tells me we each “choose” our path specifically so that we can learn the things that will have us evolve spiritually, emotionally, even physically, as human beings.
Empathy is defined as “the capacity to recognize and share feelings that are being experienced by another being.” For as long as I can remember, I have always been a very empathic person, sometimes to a fault. When I was younger, I used to confuse how other people were feeling for how I was feeling, and it was not such an easy trait to bear. But, as an adult, I honestly think my empathic nature is one of the main reasons I am good at what I do, and also why I love it! Because I have always been very sensitive to others, whatever energy is present in the space I am in, I can feel. I feel the stress, the excitement, the impatience, the joy, and the anxiety in others- for better or worse- I feel it all. Why does this matter? Well, I think it matters because when I feel what other people feel, I can have compassion for them and make adjustments to my own behavior and energy. When I feel what others are feeling, I am able to to either ‘feed the fire’ or ‘put it out’ with how I react to it. This personal characteristic has come especially in handy as a wedding photographer, but it’s the same thing with boudoir, or any kind of portrait photography for that matter.
More often than not, I find that my people and life skills are more important than my technical background in creating images of people that really shine. Images full of beauty, life and emotion come more from my ability to relate to others, than from any photography lessons I’ve had. Obviously, it is a “blend” of technical skills, creative vision, and people/life skills that has me able to do what I do, but I am convinced that without empathy, my work, no matter how technically perfect, would fall flat. I have learned how to harness my empathic nature, and like my fingers play my camera buttons like a familiar instrument, it comes very naturally, and I rarely think about it in the moment.
I bring all of this up as a preface to the images taken at a recent boudoir session that had the potential to go terribly wrong! When my model arrived for her photo shoot almost 2 hours late after driving all the way from Canyon City-getting pulled over, and lost-she was literally shaking. And even though I had worked out keeping the hotel room a little longer once I knew she was going to be delayed, when I got a load of her and the stressed-out energy bubble she was engulfed by, I knew it was time to start problem-solving! Long story short, she and her friend decided to stay the night in Denver, and we re-scheduled the shoot for the next day. Ironically, because everything went wrong the day before, we moved the shoot out of a hotel room and were able to capture images that are edgier and more appropriate considering my models personal preferences and personality. Instead of soft and sexy bedroom images that are more typical of a hotel room session, I was able to weave in the strong colors from my own house and nature (which I LOVE) to compliment this bold babe in all her bare brilliance. Poetic, right? I think these images are absolutely stunning and I am excited to share them. The moral of this story?? Sometimes in photography (and in life), derailing the plan to go with the flow, is the best plan. And, beyond that, everything always works out exactly like it’s supposed too, even when it doesn’t feel good in the moment. TRUST. The universe has a way of working things out.