3 Ways to make a photo session a happy experience.
This morning my partner Marjon walked into the room with a shirt and a text so true that I had to write a post about this piece of wisdom.
Not many people like to pose for a picture. You might think otherwise, looking at the millions of selfies appearing every day on social media. The moment a camera is pointed at you, many become shy, self conscious and right uncomfortable.
It’s the photographer’s job to make his subject feel relaxed. There is no need for a portrait session to be stressfull. In fact, with a few simple techniques, the entire experience can range from ‘okay’ to ‘hey, that was fun’.
Before the session, read a bit on your person to be photographed. See what he or she does on the work floor. But also check out the elements in their CV that separates them from the rest. Sometimes this is an interesting hobby, or a role they play in a volunteer cause. When you meet them you can have a genuine conversation about what matters in their life. This creates rapport and trust. So important for any portrait session. And, you may as well learn something you would never know if you wouldn’t ask. This is fun and valuable for both.
Then, be on time. Jonathan Morris, a strategic genious and a great friend of mine once gave me the following wisdom. 'If you are too early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re too late. And if you are too late, you might as well stay away’. There really are no excuses for being late, leaving early is the 'secret'. The advantage of being way early is that at least you don’t feel the stress of getting everything set up. You can check and double check and all is relaxed.
When the subject arrives, be prepared and make sure your equipment works. Don’t fiddle with camera or lighting gear. Once your model, business woman or executive stands in front of you, you can focus straight on them. They are important and valuable. It is your task to make them feel special. This you cannot do when you’re still fiddling with cables and lenses etc.
Finally, but this is an art in it self, coach them with very clear instructions. Most business professionals have no experience with posing. So you have to tell them exactly how to position their feet, arms, shoulders etc. And this must be done gently, with patience and focus. People come in many shapes, sizes, heights, skin complexions so that can be quite a challenge. I recently read a very valuable book by Jeff Rojas; ‘Posing Men’ I understand Jeff is now working on his ‘Posing Women’. I recommend any photographer who feels challenged from time to time to check out Jeff’s website and his style guide
So, there you have it. It’s all about caring about your subject and in general about other people. It’s about how we genuinely and honestly connect. It’s about how we make them feel.