Okay – I realise I have not posted any images for a while and I can understand why someone might wonder – after all this is a photographers blog, right?
The answer, I am committed to engaging more effectively with my potential and existing clients in the hope that we can all see and sing from the same hymn book. This is a particularly useful thing to do as it will improve the client experience, my efficiency and result in a satisfactory outcome for all.
My business is all about providing great photography – both in the final image and the experience of being photographed. The truth is that it is not entirely down to me. Great photography – of any kind is the result of collaboration between the photographer and his or her subject. This is even more so in the field of portraiture. What does this mean? Allow me to illustrate.
A great artist may possess fantastic skills but unless the subject of their work is captivating, then the power of their ability is lost. Imagine for a moment – Leonardo Da Vinci or Rembrandt making a painting of the bushes along the sides of any of our modern motor ways – it is hardly ever going to be a master piece’ is it. THE SUBJECT CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD.
My abilities as a photographer can be enhanced or hampered by my client or subject. Often this is the effect of poor planning or preparation – on the client’s or photographer’s part. A consequence of the photographer not taking the time to educate themselves or the client enough, on what is required on both sides to achieve a successful portrait shoot that guarantees the results both sides want.
Effective communication or engagement between client and photographer is very important and that is why I created this Useful Bits category for the blog. My first rule is to find out as much as is possible what the client actually wants from me and why.
I have come to realise through experience that if a client can tell me the ‘why’ of what they are asking me to achieve, then we are good to go. My most common challenge is that a lot of people who enquire about a photo shoot do not actually have a specific thing, target or goal in mind – this is a very big issue and quite important for me because I am immediately handicapped by this.
The literal equivalent is meeting someone that wants to buy a property but has not determined whether they want a flat, house or bungalow. How many rooms they want, garden or not, a garage, or a drive way or not etc.
So TO GET GREAT PORTRAITS – a few things need to be considered – here are a few to start with.
1. Decide what type of shoot you want – life style (almost anywhere else but not studio location).
2. Who will be in the shoot – the whole family, the kids only or just the baby?
3. Decide what kind of shoot it is you need or like – maternity, newborn, boudoir, makeover etc.
4. Decide what style of print finish you like or want. Canvas, Acrylic, Framed or Unframed display.
5. Be sure about what you like – black and white, Sepia or Colour prints
6. Choose what you wear very carefully. Ask your photographer for advice on what works best. For example – ladies should avoid outfits with bare shoulders and or arms because shoulders and arms often appear much larger in pictures (due to lens distortions) than in real life and can be quite unflattering.
7. Don’t use radical new hairstyles, glasses or fashion – if you change your mind later you will hate the photos.
8. Take some samples of images, frames or print finishes you like with you when you go to the studio and show the photographer what you are after – unless there ‘style’ is specifically what you want.
9. Decide how much you want to spend or can afford – and be firm with yourself. The pictures will be great and you may well want them all but don’t order what you can’t afford – it’s not clever.
10. Listen to your photographer, they’ve been doing this for a while and hopefully you chose them for that reason.
11. The poses your photographer suggests may not ‘seem’ right and may feel awkward at times – persevere, the best poses don’t appear great when you assume them – I know I practise them on myself also.
12. Select clothes and outfits that flatter you – the ones everyone tells you ‘you look fab’ in. Try for different looks; you get more variety in your collection of images from the shoot that way.
13. Have your hair done, make up ‘tight’ and nails clean, filed and painted (this three are super important). You won’t look great otherwise – Photoshop or not.
14. Most importantly, RELAX. Try to have some fun; it’s not a job interview after all.
Finally – remember that we are not perfect body shapes and features (even celebrities have issues), the little quirky bits are what make us unique. PHOTOSHOP is great – BUT DON’T let it be the first thing you ask about. If you do all the things listed above here, you will have little reason to have to rely on Photoshop to ‘improve’ yourself.