Learning to Embrace the Change

Taylor Ellis, taken July 10, 2016. This photo epitomizes how I'm feeling about the changes in my life recently - racing with open arms. 

Taylor Ellis, taken July 10, 2016. This photo epitomizes how I'm feeling about the changes in my life recently - racing with open arms. 


I study photojournalism. I document people and events from a distance - even when right in the middle of action. I have trained myself to be a fly on the wall, trying my best to be as invisible as possible. This, the invisibility part of being a photographer, is my favorite part. Recently, however, I have had to be a very vocal leader in an unknown territory - portraiture. 

Please do not get me wrong, I love portraiture. Photographers that excel in portrait work astound me. How can they make the subject so comfortable? How do they know just how to pose someone to show their true personality? Questions like these are still unknown to me - but I'm learning. 

I have been shooting weddings, engagement photos, children's sessions, and the like more and more often. I'm not one to normally lead a shoot, but I'm slowly figuring out how - usually by acting out poses myself and feeling incredibly awkward. The most important thing I've learned is to make your subject as comfortable as possible. I used to think that portraiture was empty, less-fulfilling, and void of visual story-telling (sorry, portrait photographer friends). That's all I had ever known. I've come across photographers and Facebook groups and all-around friends who have shown me that there is a creative way to shoot everything. Baby photos do not have to be posed and in cute little outfits - they can be shot in a home with dirty diapers and screaming kids and be absolutely stunning. Engagement photos do not have to include cheesy poses and fake smiles - they can truly capture a couple's love for one another. Portraiture can be beautiful. It can tell just as much of a story as a photojournalism story. In fact, photo shoots that are set up in such a way that they are personal, introspective, and quiet are, I believe, just another sector of photojournalism. 

I love quiet moments. Even when I've been out shooting for Detachment 650 (OU AFROTC), I always search for the perfect quiet moment. The one that doesn't distract the viewer. The one that gives the viewer a different perspective than what they expected to see. I'm learning that portraiture through engagements, weddings, children, and family sessions are full of perfect little moments, as long as you know where to look. 

I used to say I never wanted to be this kind of photographer - I've always wanted to be in the field. As it turns out, "the field" is different than what I expected. That is both okay and good. I'm looking at a brand-new field, and I'm in love with the view.