December 18, 2011

Inside Scoop | 5 Lessons Portrait Series

So now that the year is winding down a bit and the holidays bring us onto a slower pace, I thought it'd be a good idea to make this Inside Scoop more specific. Specifically for portraits. 

When I began developing my technical skills in photography, I was set on photographing still life. I was afraid of having people in front of my camera because, well, because of a myriad of reasons. Mainly one reason. That they would notice that I had no idea what I was doing. And quite frankly, I didn't know what I was doing. This did not mean that I couldn't learn. Being that my major was geared more towards photojournalism, people became an important element in creating compelling photos. A story with in a story. This forced me to flex my skills and now, portraits are one of my favorite type of session.

 There is still a story with a story. My client's story. So this leads to this installment of Inside Scoop: The Portrait Series.



1. Ask questions and don't stop asking questions. 

 This is possibly the best advice I've ever received. It is what made me less nervous. And in turn also relaxes my subjects. It helps alleviate the silence and awkwardness of the session. I ask them how the drive was, if they have ever been to that location before, how their day was and if they feel nervous. Yes, you read right. I ask this question because it helps me pinpoint why they are nervous. This in turn, allows me to make the experience less stressful and more fun. I learned early on that talking and asking questions keeps the sessions light and fun. Plus, when you are first starting out and all wrecked with nerves talking helps to relax yourself. Try it. I bet you'll see a difference in how fun your sessions can be.


2. Keep moving. Keep the energy positive. 

 This is also something that I've learned to keep the nerves in check. Clients don't know angles or if something is just not working. All they know is that they're trusting you to know. So, when you keep moving on, with out making it apparent that somethings not jiving, be it the light or location, they just experience a fluid session. The client will feel like you really worked it. And in conjunction to keeping the fluidity of the session, keeping the energy positive will give your client a positive experience. Because lets face it, getting photographed professionally is intimate. And when your client walks away with a positive and excited energy, then it's a win-win. 


 3. SMILE 

 Photography is one of those things that if you do not love it, then seriously, why do it? When you show up to a portrait session, and any interaction with a client for that matter, it is so important that you keep smiling. No matter what. On the phone, smile. When you meet for a consultation, smile. When you are behind the camera, smile. Trust me, your client can see you. A smile goes a long way. It's the energy you create that your clients walk away with. And you want the, smiling after a session, right? Right.


 4. Be a big kid. It's fun! 

 A couple years a go, I had the privilege to attend Sandy Puc's seminar on photographing children. The biggest piece of information I walked away with was to be a big kid. To not worry about being silly and getting kids to really trust and respond to you. To tap into your inner child and play hi-five. To say "weeeee". To jump and play. Parents will thank you and appreciate that you were fun and made their family portraits such a great experience, rather than a stressful-the-kids-are-crying-what-a-mess experience. 


 5. Prep yourself. 

 This really applies to anything you're about to shoot. Prepare yourself. Go to a location and scope it out if you have to. Send clients wardrobe recommendations. Give yourself enough travel time. Prep yourself with poses. Preparation will allow you to show up with your A game and rock the session. 


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 So that's all for this installment. Next month will be the Wedding Series! And if you'd like to sub,it questions, leave a comment and I'll add it to future Inside Scoops! 

 Happy Monday!