The two Hardest Shoots I have done to date – And for VERY different reasons

What will someone think of me?

What will it be like to photography a man that is dying?

First, what will someone think of me?

I think I have stated that one of my favorite authors on photography is Chris Orwig.  One of my Christmas presents is his latest
Book “People Pictures, 30 Exercises for creating authentic photographs”.  Well I knew I was in trouble when the very
first exercise was to take 10 portraits of the same person in 10 minutes with natural light only.

So I am sitting at my favorite coffee shop this past Friday afternoon and in walks this stately woman that I have never seen before.  Immediately
I know she is the one that I must take the 10 portraits of in 10 minutes.  But I just sit there, rooted in my risk, unable to move.  She gets her tea and
starts in on her writing and I know that if I procrastinate long enough she will leave.

Finally I just get up and ask her for a favor and she agrees to have her portrait take by me.  So I run out to the car, throw on my 50mm lens and walk back in and sit in front of her.  By this time I am sweating up a storm but I just start talking with her about who she is.  Even before I took my first shot, I knew she was a beautiful soul.  12 shots later and 10 minutes full of conversation, I thank Jackie for her conversation and head back to my table.

What will people think of me?  Not just Jackie, but all those in the coffee shop watching me.
That doesn’t matter now that my risk paid off in giving me great conversation, in meeting a beautiful soul of a person, gaining great photos and
giving me that much more confidence for next time.

What will it be like to photograph a dying man?

An hour later, I am standing in the ICU of a hospital to photograph a man and his wife as the two of them are anointed before God.
While he knew what was going on, he was unable to talk to us or really open his eyes but for one fleeting moment.

I photographed their children’s baby dedication 4 months ago.  This dedication lead the two of them to study for baptism.  But the cancer cut his time
short and so an improvised baptism was held for the two of them in his ICU room.

Prayer for the two of them is mostly what has been running through my lately.  If you all are willing, I ask that you pray
for them and their three small children.

The two hardest shoots, one built on MY risk, the other built on a losing battle of life.

My risk so pales in the comparison.



  • Lovely post Todd, and good on ya for going out on a limb. Keep’em coming.


    January 8, 2012
  • Beautifully written. Very touching.

    January 24, 2012
  • Our job as photographers is to document life…what a wonderful opportunity you had to do this in ways that were outside of your comfort zone. When we risk things for God’s greater good the end result is amazing, as you’ve clearly demonstrated here.

    October 1, 2012

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