by Christina Lauder Published 01/06/2015
"I prefer a relaxed shooting environment where my clients ultimately become my friends," she states. "My style is really quite classical in approach and execution. There is directional lighting in my work that lower-end photographers don't seem to incorporate. And to be frank I don't think these lower-end shooters have a proper grasp of lighting at all. They like to have a floodlit room and then just snap away wherever the client happens to be. When I look at some of my competitors' work all I see is flat lighting. Catch-lights in equal and opposite directions on the eyes - and when I see that I know the photographer knows little about lighting. My own strategic approach is to be purposeful and directed. I want it to look artistic. I remember learning that a photograph is OF someone but a portrait is ABOUT someone - and that is so true."
Props are important in a Lauder shoot. "But I am very selective", she points out. "I have no interest in shooting with whatever is considered to be cool this week. When I started out photographing babies I noted that other photographers would be putting them in all kinds of whimsical settings - probably influenced by Anne Geddes."
"But I just think a baby should be photographed in something that a baby would be seen in - a pram, a basket, a bathtub or even a chest of drawers. I have clients who told me they didn't have a Moses basket so they used to put the baby to bed in a bottom drawer!"
And of course, as with all professional photographers, not every single shoot goes the way they intend. "I confess I had a bit of a nightmare with a session last year," reveals Christina. "It was a family shoot - 15 people. I thought it went well; at the time I was delighted with the results. But my delight wasn't reciprocated. The clients didn't really want high-quality work - they just wanted 'let's have a laugh' pictures. They didn't really care about clothing or lighting."
She admits. "I made a mistake and I learnt a salutary lesson from it. And although I did have a discussion with the family before the shoot, from that day onwards I have unfailingly engaged in a full consultative process so both sides clearly understand what is expected."
Christina Lauder Portrait Photography is now a highly successful business but Christina has concerns for young photographers trying to get a break in the industry.
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