5 Tips for Finding Your Photographic Voice

Winter Warmth by Jordan Brittley

The smell of strawberry syrup fills our house while the oven starts to preheat again. We are celebrating our little baby tomorrow and sharing our gender news!! Oh, I can’t wait to tell you! I took half of the day off to get our house ready for our family and if you run a business, you know that means that you put in those hours another time!

I have been asked on occasion how I found my photographic voice. And while I think that I am continually defining and redefining my photographic voice as I grow, there are definitely some things that helped me to define the photographic vision that you see on the pages of my blog and website! I hope that they help you as you discover the art of business and grow creatively!

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO BE DIFFERENT – Give yourself permission to fall in love with your work. Give yourself permission to be different. How do you do that? Well it’s much more challenging and much easier than it sounds: go be yourself. Let yourself be the derivative of your branding, marketing and entire business vision. It’s terrifying and nerve wrecking because you have no statistical proof that it will work, but it is the only way to stand out. And in this industry, you MUST stand out.

DECIDE WHAT YOU LIKE AND DON’T LIKE ABOUT EACH IMAGE YOU TAKE – So you are looking at one of your images and you just LOVE it. Ask yourself why you love that image? Examine the lighting, the coloring, the composition and the styling of the image. The goal is to continue to produce more and more work that you just love!!

ANSWER SOME CORE QUESTIONS ABOUT YOURSELF AND THE VISION FOR YOUR BUSINESS – I think that diving deep and answering some challenging questions about yourself can really help direct the vision for your business. When I did this, I discovered the core of why I do what I do and I was then able to develop business strategies that reflected that drive and purpose. It’s helped to not only drive my work, but also my branding, marketing and business goals!

If you are looking for a resource to help you get started, I recommend Lara Casey’s powersheets!

LET YOUR WORK REFLECT YOU – Sometimes I hear creatives trying to restrict other creatives with rules or harsh criticism. My senior year of college business was tied up in rules and more rules. I can’t overexpose and I can’t underexpose. I can’t have images too vibrant or too warm. I cant. I can’t. I can’t.

Yes, you can.

Break the rules. Be different. Let your work inspire you and others. Forget about some “perfect” image. Focus on the beautiful that you see and go photograph it in a way that only you can.

TONS AND TONS OF PRACTICE – I remember when I first started producing galleries that really pulled at my heart strings. I was growing by leaps and bounds and finally, FINALLY seeing all of my hard work paying off. Those growth spurts are something to celebrate! Continue to challenge yourself and grow your business/personal vision so that you can continue to grow by leaps and bounds!!

Even if you have a specific vision for your work, you may find that it is hard to get there. If this happens, just take a breath and focus on the one step that you need to take to move forward. Creatives tend to be so hard on themselves and it’s important to

Winter Warmth by Jordan Brittley

Styling and Planning – Alli from Social Graces

Floral Design – He Loves Me Flowers

 

the ultrasound

Winter Warmth - Jordan Brittley Photography

I’m working from the kitchen table this morning. The centerpiece is simple: a little cutting board with three candles and a mason jar with tree clippings from our weekend adventure. This table holds memories of eating good food with good friends and recent candlelight dinners. It’s finish includes marks from where my sisters have slid their plates away declaring that their bodies can’t hold anymore food. I am beginning to learn to embrace the imperfection and value the symbolism behind the less-than-perfect details. People are the “things” that matter. And I am so thankful that Isaac and I have these people in our lives.

Today I want our children’s sticky fingers on this table. I want their crafts sprawled out so that no wood is left to see. Oh, praise God that He has given us a child!

There is a story (and many others) that I have wanted to share with you for a long time. And it seems fitting to share today since Isaac and I will be heading to our second ultrasound in just a couple of hours to check on our sweet baby and find out if we should call the baby a he or a she.

Winter Warmth - Jordan Brittley Photography

Two positive home pregnancy tests, one negative doctor test and then a final positive with a blood test. All within a span of 24 hours. Talk about a whirlwind. Last April I blogged the beginning of a small story after the Lord prompted me in the early hours of that morning. Part of my story involves the Lord telling me what doctors would say and me responding, “But Lord, I don’t believe what man says, I only believe what you say.” I had been praying for months that if there was ever a positive result on that stupid-little-stick-of-sadness that I would believe. And surely when I saw that first positive, I cried tears of joy and Isaac and I were dance-hugging.

I scheduled the second doctor’s appointment and first ultrasound so that, as one nurse put it, we could “make sure the baby is where it is supposed to be because sometimes they are not.” And I clung to Romans 5:5. You might think that it was a little out of context, but the Lord had promised us this child so I was clinging to His words and hoping that any hope that could be mustered would not shame me. I was honest with the Lord and I told Him that even if He were to tell me that my child would survive, I would not believe Him. I wanted the doctors. I told Him that I needed to hear the doctors say it would be fine. I told Him that I wanted to believe what He says. And I told Him that I just didn’t.

We go to the doctor and the woman takes me to the bathroom, tells me to pee in a cup and says we will start my well woman exam right after that. In an uncharacteristic move I pivoted to face her, “and an ultrasound.” She told me that they only had me down for a well woman exam and that we would schedule the ultrasound for another time. Shocked, I just said “and my ultrasound.” She repeated those dreadful words and I had tears streaming down my face by this point as I stammered through the words, “but the woman on the phone… she…. she told me… that we would do… do an ultrasound…”

I head to my well woman exam and lie on that cold table after nurse and doctor had tried to get me in for an ultrasound. The tears had stopped and I was staring at those florescent lights and wishing I could go home and wrap myself in a blanket. The doctor puts the gel on my stomach and pushes the doppler into my skin… no heartbeat… no heartbeat. In that moment, the one where they couldn’t find my baby’s heartbeat, the Lord’s presence washed over me with an all-consuming peace and I was still. He didn’t promise me life for my baby. He didn’t give me a guarantee for this baby. He just gave me hope in Him… trust in Him.

He is all that Isaac and I have. Because the risks to this child seem even greater after birth. So we put our hope and trust in Him. And it doesn’t mean that we are skipping around with huge grins when devastating things happen. No, it probably means that we are on our knees, pounding our fists on the floor and crying out to see Him. Because He is all we have.

Off to see our little baby!

Winter Warmth - Jordan Brittley Photography

Ali and Brett

St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley

He held her close as they walked through the last of autumns sunny warmth. Her curls swayed back and forth as they made their way to the boat house and then he was buying tickets and they were drifting through Forrest Park. They paddled into the willow tree, he poured her a glass and they toasted.

Ali and Brett are just as sweet in person as they are on camera and their love is something lovely! They know how to enjoy life and each other and their gentleness is so refreshing.

St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley
St Louis Engagement Session from Jordan Brittley

November 19, 2014 - 4:49 pm

Gertrude Gusewelle - beautifully romantic & fun! love these!

5 Tips for Directing Couples

Two years ago I decided I wanted to do something different with my photography business. I decided that I truly wanted it to reflect my personality and I wanted to inspire the people that I meet. My posing changed. My business model changed. My entire focus shifted into what you see today.

And my business is better for it.

In fact, I am better for it. I create from my heart. I love my couples and connect with them and I want to photograph them in such a way that they are left speechless. I don’t want them to even be able to fully put into words what it is that their time with me has done for them individually or in their relationship. But I still want them to try to find the words. I want them to be blessed in every way during our time together and blessed in every way with the images that hold those memories. I want to truly connect with my couples and families.

I have had a lot of wedding photographers ask me for tips on how to direct couples. So today I am sharing with you part 1 of directing! Every tip that I am about to share has one main focus: connection. You must be able to connect with the couple in order to produce images that inspire you and your couple.

1) GET TO KNOW THE COUPLE – There is nothing that can replace simply getting to know the couple before the shoot. I book 90% of my weddings through email, but I still get to know my couple before we get together! Ask questions about what they like to do together and what they want from their time with you. Plus, showing that you genuinely care about them helps to foster trust in their relationship with you!

2) GIVE THEM TIME TO WARM UP TO THE CAMERA – I am always dreaming of new things that I want to try with my couples, but I never start with those ideas! I typically start with a formal/traditional pose because I know that parents and grandparents will love those images. I also know that it is likely that I will forget to take that shot once I get going and am in my little creative place!

After I take the traditional image, I typically have them walk together or hold each other (depends on their personalities). That almost always loosens them up so that I can start creating some genuine images that are full of their love!

Tips for Directing Couples - Jordan Brittley Photography

3) IF THEY ARE STILL A LITTLE NERVOUS AFTER 10 MINUTES THEN PROVE TO THEM THAT THEY ARE DOING GREAT – While 10 minutes can be enough time for couples to warm up, sometimes it takes a little bit longer. I have especially noticed it taking a little longer with couple who have had stressful events to navigate through during the day. If this happens, then I always like to show them an image so they can see why I keep telling them they are doing wonderfully! This is one of the main reasons that I still shoot digital for couple sessions!

4) GIVE THEM PERMISSION TO BE THEMSELVES – After I take the traditional image, I always walk up to the couple and give them a little pep talk. It’s important for them to know that this is going to be such a great session and that I really want to photograph who they are. I give them permission to do something different: “…so if I tell you to kiss her forehead, but you really just want to give her a big kiss then do it!” I want them to know that I want them to disobey any rules that they have for themselves in their heads! Giving the couple permission to be themselves has proven to be huge in taking genuine photographs of the couple!

Tips for Directing Couples - Jordan Brittley Photography

5) ENCOURAGE THEM TO FOCUS ON EACH OTHER – Now that they are letting their personalities really shine, I will direct their attention away from me and to each other! I really think this whole process is one of the reasons that I am able to capture the special love (and different kind of love) that each couple shares. I refrain from drawing attention to myself at all costs! Sometimes the couple wants to talk to me while I load another roll of film, but sometimes I just encourage them to have a moment to themselves. By knowing your couple and their individual personalities you will create images that truly reflect their relationship. And they will be so thankful.

Tips for Directing Couples - Jordan Brittley Photography

Jordan and Katlyn in the Fall

Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley

She is full of this contagious kind of fun and he wears sandals in the winter time. He makes her laugh without trying hard at all and she has the most colorful wardrobe that anyone has ever seen. These two are a delight to be around and it’s no wonder that they find themselves in a sea of friends.

Jordan and Katlyn have been married for a year and a half and I just love photographing them. They are so easy and relaxed and they make my job fun! Plus, I just couldn’t get over his shoes!! These two make fall look REALLY good.

Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley
Bolivar Missouri Portrait Photographer - Jordan Brittley

You might remember Jordan and Katlyn’s rainbow wedding which was seen on Style Me PrettyBuzzFeed & in BRIDES Magazine!