The picture above is one of my favorites from a shoot that I did a year ago. After the portrait session, when I presented keepers from the shoot to the subject for her selection, I observed that most of my personal favorites from the set didn’t make her cut. And it has seemingly been the case with a number of different subjects since then.
At first, I cast some doubt on my personal selection, but I came to realize that photographer, subject, and the unattached viewer will most likely have varying views of the same picture. As the creator of this image, I know why I framed it as such, lit it a certain way, and even processed it to achieve a certain look. However, I don’t know why the subject herself ‘passed’ on it.
I could dwell on the fact that it didn’t get selected or I could have a meaningful discussion with the subject on the reasoning behind her choices. I chose the latter and I was able to get a wealth of information that helped me become a better portrait photographer. Learning as they say is a two-way street.
Whether you shoot, draw, or paint portraits, I believe that if one is perceptive and humble enough, there is much to be learned from the different subjects that cross our path.