As a wedding photographer I know a lot about how to make others feel comfortable in front of the camera; but how would I cope when the tables were turned? I needed a few photos for my web site, as (to be honest) the pictures of me that I can tolerate are now some years old and I think new clients must get a shock when they meet me in person, having accumulated a few more ‘laughter lines’ over the years.
It was with this in mind that I set out looking for a local photographer to do some professional shots of me as a 48 year old (gulp!). I am actually 50 in April 2016, what a sobering thought. I found Rory Lewis, a Liverpool based portrait photographer who I noticed had done some great photos of celebrities, and I figured what was good enough for Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart is good enough for me.
I suppose it isn’t that unusual for a photographer to feel uncomfortable in front of the lens, but I truly find it an awkward experience, and perhaps that is partly why I enjoy the relative anonymity of being behind the camera, capturing what is happening rather than being part of the action (This is getting way too philosophical now). So it was with some trepidation that I waited outside the Carlisle Building on Victoria Street, the home of Rory Lewis’s studio (and former law court).
Rory immediately put me at ease as he regaled some horror stories of when he used to be a wedding photographer and congratulated me on my choice of lens I had on the Nikon camera that I had brought with me as a prop. (A 24-70mm F2.8 for anyone remotely interested). There was still time for a coffee and a quick play with Rory’s £10k medium format camera before we got the session under way.
After a few test shots Rory started directing me…… I wanted a few photos without my camera first, but it quickly became apparent that I feel much more comfortable with a camera in my hands, so the bulk of the 180+ photos feature me in full-on photographer mode. Rory was very encouraging, and showed me the photos as we were going along, allowing me to realise for myself that I really need to smile more! Even when I thought I was smiling, the camera kept telling me I wasn’t…… what I thought was a full beaming smile was in fact a wistful half-smile.
Half an hour later my ordeal in front of the camera was done…. and to be fair it wasn’t an unpleasant experience thanks to Rory’s friendly manner and entertaining stories. Maybe I will book Rory again in another 5 years, after I have had my botox and facelift!