• Emily Wilkerson

You're not as awkward as you think.

It's funny because I used to get nervous when someone would tell me they were awkward in front of a camera. I would just hang in there hope they'd loosen up as the house progressed. Maybe there would be some lucky natural moments. Often, they did not loosen up and the whole experience was uncomfortable for both of us. We probably both walked away from the session relieved that it was over.

Today I'm sharing photos from Aubrey & JP's evening sunset photoshoot in an apple orchard! I am telling you the truth if I say I now wear waterproof mascara because of these two and all the laughing we did that day. JP's parents own Cherry Hill Orchard in Aspen, PA so we had the run of the place. I learned more about apples that day than I knew in my whole life so be watching for me to knowledge bomb you with all my new fun facts about apples.

Fast-forward to now: when someone tells me they are awkward in front of a camera I just straight up don't believe it anymore. True, they might not be a model. True, they might have bad angles. That doesn't mean they are awkward. So far, nobody I've shot is actually truly awkward in front of a camera, despite what they think about themselves. They just need a crash course in one or two small things to rock the camera and some guidance along the way, and suddenly their heart is on their sleeve, everyone is laughing, and there's just no awkwardness anymore.

I got tired of coaxing people to "just relax" or "think of a time you felt safe" because that has the reverse effect and only makes people feel more uncomfortable. Men, particularly, are often very uncomfortable being photographed. They may feel like it is a waste of time. They may feel like an accessory to the photoshoot but that it's all about their lady. All of these are valid feelings, and I am always very focused on the man during a photoshoot because the way he feels about the whole experience makes it or breaks it.

I spent a lot of time restructuring the experience I want couples to have when they're photographed to evolve it from something you just get out of the way to something completely different- a guided date with a goofy third wheel- me!).

The best part though, isn't how they feel when they see the gallery afterwards. It's what the gallery reminds them of: Intimate moments together. Hilarious moments of goofing off that show in highest detail the smile crinkle he has around his eyes, the way she tips her chin back when she laughs, and the sparkle in their eyes when they're just so dang in love that all their butterflies are flying loose.

Love isn't like the wind, where you can see what it does but not what it looks like. You can absolutely see what love looks like, and that's what makes this fun.

I've had a lot of time to do a lot of thinking over the past 6 (or is it 8 already?!) weeks and I can't wait for quarantine to be over so I can experiment with all my new ideas on all my couples, to try out all my new ideas and watch them light up and enjoy themselves instead of feeling insecure the whole time I am photographing them.

Any votes for this stellar moment to be the one that hangs above their bed? That bloom tucked so perfectly behind JP's ear is a "king's bloom." Five flowers on a branch tip, and they're all blossoming at once!

At the end of the night, we were walking across the field to our cars, and right next to our cars in the middle of a field that used to be orchard, we stopped and grabbed a few special moments in the last bits of light.

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© 2018 by Emily Wilkerson because she is too fussy to let someone else do this. Proudly created with Wix.com

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Lifestyle photography, documentary videography. Authentic, unposed storytelling.