31 Aug Storytelling: A Fellow Photographer, by Willy Wilson of Life Unstill Photography, with Molly Garg of Molly Garg Photography
Documentary photography sessions are always special; they offer an intimate look into the lives of the people we are photographing. I do a lot of work with professionals and I thought it would be interesting to tell the story of another photographer, in this case fellow NAPCP member, Molly Garg.
Molly and I agreed to share the story from both of our perspectives.
Willy: I wanted to follow Molly around through a typical afternoon of sessions. We shot on a weekend day when her doctor husband Sumeet, and their two sons Nayan and Talan were all home. I feel like the story of a professional isn’t just about work, it’s about where work and your personal life intersect.
Molly: Since it’s not everyday we have an in-home photo session, I sort of thought it would seem staged (should we dress up? play a board game?). Willy made everyone feel at ease and simply said, “Do what you normally would do”. That’s what we did. A little snack, a little chatting, and it was time for us to head off to my sessions.
Willy: Molly was doing special sessions with a few of her long-time clients and she was so sweet and genuinely grateful to them for their continued business and support. It was touching to watch her interacting with the families, witness how the kids know and love her, sharing their favorite memories of her.
Molly: I was doing a few short sessions for a few of my most loyal clients (I like to call these “thank you sessions” ) in honor of my 5 year anniversary. I know these clients well, and knew that since we have a strong relationship, having another photographer there wouldn’t compromise our session. I explained to my clients beforehand that I would be arriving with my own paparazzi and they were great about it!
Willy: As a photographer shooting another photographer, I feel like part of the story is in the nuances of the physicality of our work. The most comfortable squatting position, how she holds her camera, the orientation of the strap on her body, whether she keeps her unused eye open or closed when she’s shooting. We are gymnasts and contortionists, cheerleaders and clowns.
Molly: After 5 years in the biz, I finally feel confident in my work. But having another pro watch you work – well, that’s a little nerve-wrecking! Would Willy question my lens of choice? Would she critique my interaction with the families? Would she think to herself, “why didn’t Molly bring a back up card”? (No, no, and yes.)
Willy: From a directorial standpoint, I found our similarities fascinating, our differences edifying. I hope Molly doesn’t mind me sharing a terrific tip for getting young kids to laugh and look up – have dad (or mom) squat down low behind you and then jump up into the air right when you’re about to shoot – SURPRISE! The kids went WILD.
Molly: Once I got in my groove, it was almost like she wasn’t there (no, really!). It really made me realize that my confidence has greatly improved, which likely translates into a better experience for my clients. I could imagine just a few short years ago being so nervous having someone watch me work. Now, no problem.
Willy: After Molly shot three sessions in a row, we returned to her house where Sumeet had prepared dinner and the kids were patiently waiting. I was impressed by the whole family working together to get dinner on the table and cleaned up afterward.
Molly: I wouldn’t be doing this today if it weren’t for my husband. He was the one who suggested years ago that I turn this from a hobby to a business. He has a very demanding job, and having two kids makes our life pretty chaotic at times. He has never once complained when I have to leave early Saturday for a shoot — he just happily makes plans to keep our two boys busy. And after Sunday evening sessions, I know that I’ll come home to a home-cooked meal.
Molly: When I was first starting out, I pretty much said “yes” to any potential client. Now, it has to be the perfect fit to take me away from my three guys at home.
Willy: The most important part of Molly’s story is that she’s a mom first. The love of her family is evident in everything she does.