Photographing Authentic Moments

Photographing Authentic Moments

Idea Generation

What is this project about?

Looking for more support narrowing down your idea? Try using the idea matrix on this page.

  • research how to skillfully photograph people, both portrait & candid
  • research & reflect on how to take natural, authentic portraits
  • help photography clients feel more comfortable in front of the camera; positive affirmations, help them feel beautiful in their own skin
  • capture candid in-between, unposed moments that capture their personality & unique facial expressions; let the subject’s individuality and emotions shine
  • trial & error: digitally photograph friends, family, strangers, etc.
  • try to capture candid, unposed moments & interactions
  • learn how to use lightroom to color edit and explore what editing styles i gravitate towards

What do you want to get out of this project?


develop my photography and editing skills & explore the world of portraiture

where did the skills go? we are taking skills out of the idea generation process, in an attempt to make projects more career-focused. If you want to get leveled-up for a project, share it with the appropriate guide or faculty member for feedback upon completion.

Guiding Question

Turn your idea above into a guiding question.

Check out some resources on how to write a guiding question here.

What is authentic portrait photography, and how can I achieve natural, comfortable photographs of people?


Use this space to take notes, keep track of your sources, or conversations you have with people about this project.

Resource links:


What will it take for you to complete this project?

Use the table below to set your own timeline for deliverables, keep in mind when your final work product is due at the end of the cycle.

Work Product Deliverables

do research on authentic portraiture & collect helpful resources
March 5, 2021
finalize location scouting for photoshoots
March 5, 2021
photoshoot with maddy
March 7, 2021
photoshoot with mallory
March 8, 2021
photoshoot with marielle & caroline
March 10, 2021
photoshoot with elliot & zoey
March 13, 2021
photoshoot with natalie
March 14, 2021
photoshoot with eli
March 15, 2021
photoshoot with my family
March 25, 2021
write notes and personal thoughts about what i learned and felt throughout this month doing research & conducting photoshoots
March 23, 2021 → April 1, 2021
optional: add in a few of my favorite candid photos that i’ve taken before this month (if i have time)
March 21, 2021
sift through all portraits taken this month + choose favorites + edit them in lightroom
March 27, 2021 → April 1, 2021
make a six website to showcase my photos
March 29, 2021 → April 2, 2021
compile a few examples of the hundreds of less-than-perfect photos that I'd take in order to get one that I loved
March 31, 2021
finish photography website & present to design track
April 1, 2021
final product due: reflection
April 2, 2021

Embed your Work Product Here 👇🏽

Work Product

Was your project deep?


Reflect on this project cycle by answering the questions below.

The act of reflecting allows you to highlight the accomplishments and applications of your project. (questions courtesy of Powderhouse Studios)

Was your project meaningful?

Did this project matter? In what ways did it further your knowledge, force you to grow, or provide something useful?

For me, this project was a struggle between patience and perfectionism. It forced me to grow a lot in the sense that I forced myself to let go of controlling every little thing. As a bit of a perfectionist by nature, I often feel like my photos are not exactly how I want them to look. My goal with this was release the need for perfection and just create portraits of people that felt natural and authentic, rather than stiff and uncomfortable. I wanted it to feel like you could get to know the heart of each person in each portrait. My main photoshoot strategy was to just bring a camera wherever I went, and when doing photoshoots with friends and family, I tried to approach it as a “fun time hanging out where I happen to have a camera with me as well” rather than a formally styled or posed photoshoot. The setting was a big part of capturing genuine moments, so most of the photos were taken on nature hikes or walks through town. I did my best to balance taking photos and being present in the moment with loved ones, so that the lines would blur and I’d be able to get some good candid shots (and have lots of fun along the way). This strategy helped people automatically feel more comfortable to be themselves while I snapped pictures of them. I noticed that playing music and hyping them up never failed to help people feel more comfortable getting their picture taken, too! It feels wonderful to help people embrace their unique beauty. I did notice, however, that when doing a photoshoot and not directing the client as much as a traditional portrait photographer would, I had to come to terms with the fact that I could take hundreds of photos during a session and not end up getting the “right” shot that I’d wanted. People (and pets, as I did some pet portraits too) are unpredictable! So, often I'd just take a burst of many photos and hope for the best. Patience was key when I’d sift through hundreds of photos after a shoot and hope to find at least a few that I loved.

Was your project ambitious?

Given what you already know, did this project challenge you in meaningful ways?

This project ended up being a combination of going through & editing old candid photos as well as conducting new photoshoots through the month with friends and family. With the photoshoots over the month, it was a challenge for me to focus on people. I've never been a portrait photographer— I began photographing places and things and fell in love with doing that before I ever considered photographing people. In fact, I used to dislike portraiture. This project forced me to grow through that discomfort and push myself to learn more about portrait photography, and I ended up really enjoying it. Even during photoshoots when I'm focusing on capturing people, I am inspired first and foremost by the setting, and secondarily how people interact with it. It’s been really fun to integrate those two types of photography, and it was a fun challenge to focus more on people than the environment in this project.

Was your project deep?

Did you project engage with powerful ideas or tools? Additionally, did you engage with the material in a deep sense (i.e. did you develop ownership over the ideas or tools)? Can you utilize these skills independently now?

Yes. I didn't anticipate how emotionally and creatively moving this project would feel for me. I love this quote that I stumbled across while doing research for this project: “Every person has a story, and every picture should tell part of that story.” I love this idea that portrait photography can help people feel seen; important, safe, and truly seen for who they are and what their story is. It also fosters connectivity and collaboration, and it was so lovely to notice how much closer I felt to the friends and family that I photographed.


Use the pages below "QR Partner Feedback" and "Faculty Feedback" to find places for improvement.

QR Partner Peer Feedback
Advisor Feedback

Coming up with an Idea
What is a guiding question?