I will never forget how kind and giving Dawn was during our time together. She's a talented photographer herself, with years of work behind the camera. In my experience photographers (myself included) usually make terrible models. The reason is we are way too in our own heads. It was clear Dawn was initially uncomfortable in front of my lights and camera, but what was amazing is that Dawn swallowed her uncomfortableness and jumped in, head first. She understood my intentions with these photos and how much I wanted to learn and grow and she made a decision to really show up. She even volunteered to take her top off (still covering the goods), so that I "could see how the lights would fall off her naked shoulders." I am so glad she did, because one of my favourite photos of the entire 20 portraits was her "topless" photo. (It's the first photo below.)
ONE LESSON FROM THIS SHOOT:
Take the time to speak with people before you get them in front of your camera. Yes, another obvious lesson, but what I discovered with this shoot is that we don't need to restrict that to small talk. We can actually dive deeper. I had to fight the urge to "start" the shoot and take a breath and genuinely connect with this amazing human being, standing right in front of me. I needed to really care, listen and share and all of this needs to happen before a single shot is taken.