Try thinking of having your picture taken like this so you can stop stressing (or at least, stress less) whenever somebody wants to include you in a photo.


In my studio, portrait photography is about getting wrapped up in the moment of who you are. Not who you used to be or who you hope to one day be – and certainly not who others think you should be. Gooseberry portrait sessions are about reflecting the current pulse and presence of your life – your thoughts, your dreams, your feelings and your perspectives, whatever those may be.

It’s about surpassing the expectations that are planted in us by the steady rush of impossible images from mainstream media and (not always, but often) influencer culture. It’s about usurping damaging beliefs, like the one that tricks us into thinking that a portrait is only “good” if the person’s most glamorous self is present when the shutter clicks.

What makes a powerful portrait isn’t perfection – it’s honouring the integrity of the moment. Your moment, however that presents. And that means choosing to view “as is” as something profound while surrendering to the feeling of the frame instead of trying to control it.

In general, portraits are put under a crushing amount of pressure to capture everything about a person in a definitive way. We slip into thinking they have to say everything about us all at once, when really the true power of a portrait lies in its ability to focus on a person in a specific time and context. 

We’re continually evolving and trying to figure ourselves out. Portraits can help us remember this process in greater detail if we free them from the belief that the image has to say everything all at once. A lot of us think we’re going to remember ourselves clearly, but we don’t. My 21-year-old self, for example, is as much a stranger and a mystery to me now as the future 61-year-old me continues to be. Time clouds memory. But when I look back on honest portraits of myself over the years I can piece together what I was experiencing at the time – be it uncertainty, joy, heartbreak, grief, triumph, hope or whatever – and better appreciate what I’ve lived through.

The most memorable portraits of my career have been those that pierce the veil of preparedness and offer a glimpse of non glossy truth. Like the new mother of two who showed up for the photo completely exhausted or the CEO of a multi-million dollar company who confronted their apprehension about turning 40 by facing the camera. These are real, fleeting, unvarnished moments of a life that can never be repeated… What a shame to forget them because they aren’t deemed “perfect” enough for a portrait…

Portrait photography is intimate, imprecise and forthright – at least, that’s the approach I pursue. And letting go of the idea that a portrait has to be anything other than who you are and what you’re feeling in the moment is where the magic of this genre exists. The only formula you need for a portrait session to take place is this -- wear something you love, be that a gown or a ripped old pair of jeans, and embrace the mood of your moment.

Trust that the beats of your existence deserve to be admired for their ‘as is' beauty – one day you may want to remember more of them than you realize right now.

Keep creating wildly!