Catching the Laugh

I recently had the pleasure of photographing a friend and fellow creative professional for the promotional materials for her upcoming one-woman show in San Francisco. Meghan is a classically trained opera singer and musical theater performer who teaches and performs in the Bay Area.

Whether it is a reserved corporate headshot or an unconventional artist portrait, I always try to capture the experience of meeting the person in their portrait. Meghan is energetic and full of laughter. We covered all of our bases in the first part of the photo shoot, getting reserved and sophisticated portraits against a black backdrop. At the end, though, I wanted to mix it up and try to capture some of that humor and energy.

The “put your hand on your face” direction usually results in a hack-y and contrived image (because people don’t do the Thinker pose in real life). But when I momentarily asked Meghan to put her hand to her face, and then promptly critiqued the folly of my direction, she burst into laughter. The result was our best shot, and the one that captured the experience of knowing Meghan.

Winning shots often come from unexpected moments.