Women and Children First: slow portraits of my favorite subjects

Portrait of Sarah on film in Sacramento by Rachel Sima Photography

My favorite subjects to photograph are women and children. There are exceptions to this rule (for example, my husband who has posed for literally thousands of photographs and I’ll never have enough.) Generally, though, I gravitate towards women and children because of their exquisite softness. When I spend time with someone, I slowly begin to build a portrait of her in my mind. In social situations it often builds over the course of hours and days until, unless the subject strikes me as particularly camera averse, I typically, finally, come out and ask if I can take her photograph. Or else, equally commonly, I don’t, and wish I had.

Portrait of Sarah on film in Sacramento by Rachel Sima Photography

The process of pre-imagining the portrait is vital, and it is the central reason I prefer full client sessions over mini sessions. I don’t need more than twenty minutes to physically press the shutter release, but spending time with my subject, interpersonally, watching their features and movements, I’m able to plan the portrait based on the specificity of my subject and the resulting photograph is always more vivid and expressive.

Portrait of Sarah on film in Sacramento by Rachel Sima Photography