I’d like to think that I get to know my clients decently well. I spend a lot of time with them before, during and after a session – and I get to ask a lot of questions about them along the way that helps me not only capture their families authentically, but helps me get to know them a little bit as people.
But a recent interaction with one of my client Moms made me stop and think about what it actually means to “know” someone… and at what point can you really say you know someone “well.”
It happened like this: We had never met in person… but I felt like our connection was immediate even from the first time she contacted me. We emailed a bunch, we talked on the phone and we did a novel of texting leading up to our 1.5 hours together during the session. Add a little more texting and calling after she got her images … and I had definitely formed an opinion about “who she was” as a person based on those interactions.
But then – in one of our back-and-forth texts about her final gallery – she shared something extremely personal with me about a life event that she went through… and it made me pause. I started thinking about my “opinion” of her prior to her sharing this with me and how “well” I thought I knew her. My thoughts prior were: gorgeous girl, incredible spirit about her, infectious personality, extremely authentic in her interactions, funny, a beautiful family full of a lot of love (proven by the pictures), has it all together. So when she decided to share something that was so personal and so absolutely defining in her life … while my opinion of her certainly didn’t change, my respect for her went through the roof. And more importantly, every part of me wanted to know more about her. How she overcame things. How she made decisions. How it affects her (or doesn’t affect her) today. I wanted to “know” her better … I wanted to understand the “true” her. And I wanted to kick myself for thinking that I had done that previously through emails, texts and a couple hours of photographing.