Randi Baird is a celebrated photographer on Martha’s Vineyard who specializes in environmental portraiture, combining two of her, and my, favorite things – people and the landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. The island is a special place and your vacation on the Vineyard is a special time, something to be savored. I asked Randi to do this interview because she’s the one to capture your moment…forever.
Anne: What are your favorite locations on the island for family portraits?
Randi: I always ask clients if they have a favorite spot. I want to find places that are dear to them, places that bring out their best selves. If they don’t know the island well, I have favorite spots all over the island, so I ask them where they’re staying and I try to absorb and then match their mood with a specific island spot. Of course, I love to use the water, the beaches…
Anne: What is the significance of the Vineyard environment in supporting and enhancing the photo shoot?
Randi: The vineyard is about the environment, the visual space, the beauty…and people enjoying the landscape…they are completely linked. The Vineyard is a special place for people. They come back year after year, it’s family time, it’s down time – away from home and regular life and this creates an opportunity for people to really connect with each other…and themselves. I encourage people to wait 4-5 days into their time on the island before we do the shoot so they can really unwind.
Anne: Have you done portraits anywhere else in the world? and if so, what is different about doing them on MV?
Randi: I’ve worked in Asia, Europe, Russia and throughout the United States, traveling the world photographing life in action. What’s different about Martha’s Vineyard is its natural beauty and the indescribable feeling that people have while they’re here.
Anne: What is your technique for getting people to relax and for getting authentic photos?
Randi: I’m a mom, so I really enjoying working with kids, and I’m in-tune with them. I like when kids are kids and I do my best to just let them be kids. I capture them at play and then get some posed portraits. I’m capturing family time, a day in the life – moments within their lives. I do direct and I like direction and I bring fun props. Primarily, I connect with kids and adults in a similar way – by connecting on a personal level, starting conversations, going with the moment and being warm and friendly.
Anne: What is your ultimate goal when shooting portraits?
Randi: I’m the observer. Whether it’s a portrait I’m shooting for an engagement photo, a wedding or just to capture a relationship or family moment, it’s all about them. Oftentimes, the best photos happen when people aren’t looking at the camera – real life is captured.
Anne: What do you love most about living on the Vineyard?
Randi: We’re so lucky to live here! Because of the diversity of people, the sustained traditions, the farming, the fishing (it’s great to be surrounded by fish), the strong sense of community, the fact that you can create real change, that you can have a voice here…and be heard.
Anne: Many of our readers are lucky Vineyard vacationers, can you give us a quick list of things absolutely not to miss?
Randi: There are so many! Let’s see…
Lobsters at Larsen’s
Dinner and sunset on the beach in Menemsha
Visiting the farmstand closest to the place you’re staying, and buying whatever’s in season
Getting on the water – kayaking, sailing, surfing
Swimming every day
Shopping in Vineyard Haven
A walk through the Campground in Oak Bluffs
Black Raspberry ice cream at Mad Martha’s
Breathing deeply in the ocean air!
To contact Randi, visit her website, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 508-696-5335.