If you don’t know by now, I’m a portrait photographer, specifically to tween and teen girls, and I absolutely, positively, freak-out, LOVE LOVE LOVE what I do.
To me, there is nothing like those last 10 minutes of a portrait shoot, when the sun is setting, the light is golden and gorgeous, the subject in front of my camera is relaxed, she’s authentic, she’s herself. We’re laughing. It’s amazing.
Now… add her friends. Or maybe even just one.
And then watch everything get exponentially more amazing.
This is the joy of the friendship session. Having several girls together in front of my camera does something to the portrait experience unlike anything else.
Here are FIVE reasons why these are my favorite portrait sessions to shoot!
1. GIRLS ARE MORE RELAXED AMONG FRIENDS
I see it every time. Everyone gets a little nervous in front of the camera, and when we begin, it takes a little time to calm those nerves and get to the authentic expressions, the relaxed comfort. It’s a big reason why I shoot in the evenings, when the light gets better with each passing minute.
But a way to speed past those nerves is to have a friend. When friends are together, they help ease the nervousness, and move quickly into the fun part. Perfect!
2. FRIENDS MEAN CONNECTION
I mean this literally. When a girl has her friend taking portraits with her, she has something to do with her hands. There’s hugging, and walking arm in arm. Even high fives or hand holding look great with girls. And the more physical connection between the girls, the less nerves, the more fun.
These make for the most fun, the most lovely, the most real portraits.
3. FRIENDS MEAN I’VE GOT AN ASSISTANT!
Ha ha! I’m super sneaky with this one, but I benefit from the friendship session too, because at some point, I’m going to take solo shots of every girl there, and that means I’ve got at least one extra girl beside me to make my subject laugh, to relax her, to hold my reflector or diffuse harsh light.
Extra girls means extra hands. Win win win for me! (insert evil laugh… mwahahahaha!)
4. FRIENDS MEAN GENUINE EXPRESSIONS
I mentioned this in the previous point, but let me explain that better. Even during our most relaxed, final portrait moments, if it’s just me and my senior, getting her to laugh is going to be hard. Like really laugh. Like genuine “tip-the-head-back” giggles.
Insert good friend, and I’ve got those laughs a few minutes into our session.
And that goes for laughter, thoughtful reflection, joy, smiles, the works. Secrets, private jokes, or simple side conversations bring out all the genuine expressions, which are the most beautiful.
5. FRIENDS MEAN MEMORIES
Did you have amazing friends when you were young? I had a few great ones. I still remember laughing till we cried (and almost peed!), and the deep trust.
I don’t see those friends anymore. Life happened. I moved away. They did too.
Same for you? Perhaps for our girls someday too?
This is why a friendship session can be so powerful. They might not realize it now, but these friends might not be in their lives forever. Capturing these special bonds in portraits gives our girls the gift of these friendships forever.
Ever look at a photo of you and your friends? The moment immediately comes back, doesn’t it? Create that in a portrait session for your girl, and you’ll be giving her a lifetime gift, whether the friendship lasts the lifetime or not.
Friendship sessions are amazing, for so many reasons. And they’re my absolute favorite type of sessions to shoot. Which is why I’ve set aside a weekend this summer just for them.