The Intimacy of Portrait Photography | Goleta Beach | Alison Photography Santa Barbara
Taking someone's portrait is very different from seeing and interacting with someone in other contexts. It is an intimate act, and one I am always grateful to be asked or permitted to engage in with my clients, family and friends.
It is usually not socially acceptable to really look at another person with intention and presence (unless you're a baby or toddler!), and truly see him or her. Though the camera acts as somewhat of a buffer, making the experience less threatening to both subject and photographer, I always (no exceptions so far, and I've photographed a fair number of people now!) find beauty, both internal and external, in the person or people I am photographing because of this intimate shared experience of seeing and being seen. [Most times when someone criticizes some aspect of his or her appearance in my photos, I am shocked, because I just don't see it, or, if I do, it's inconsequential and doesn't seem to have the impact he or she thinks it does (really!)].
Though I'm not always able to do it, one of my aims is to show each person I photograph the beauty I see in him or her. I hope that my photos help people see themselves as beautiful and worthy, not because I've 'Photoshopped' the heck out of them, but because they see themselves from my perspective, through my lens. I do minimal retouching (or 'Photoshopping') because I have come to believe that unrealistic, idealized, overly-processed images can actually be harmful to people's self-esteem (and I don't just mean the individual who's been 'Photoshopped'). (Another reason is that I didn't become a photographer to sit in front of a computer liquifying people all day and night! But that's for another post . . . ) I didn't realize this when I first started taking portraits, and I am guilty of over-processing (badly, no less, because I was new to professional photography at the time!) photos of myself and others.
So, all of this has been leading up to my sharing my deep joy at receiving these comments from this client: "you made me look how I always wanted to look . . . it's like I've discovered my self-esteem for the first time . . . I see myself in a whole new light now". I can't tell you how happy it's made me to read and know that!
Even if you don't need portraits right now, you may want to consider having some done for the therapeutic benefits :) Have a great weekend!
Keywords: Goleta Beach, Lifestyle portrait photography, Photoshopping, Santa Barbara, Southern California lifestyle, beach, beauty, headshot, headshots, intimacy, portrait photography, self-esteem, surfer, surfing
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