Home Forums Let’s Talk Photography Little things to make us Better! Reply To: Little things to make us Better!


For those who don’t know me, I do portraits and sports action photos, so interacting with people is key to my business.  I am a people person, with the exception of those people surrounding me on the freeways and cutting me off because you missed your exit, the hell with you.

I digress.
I will split the two into separate groups so not to confuse, the second to come at a later time to shorten the post.

P o r t r a i t s :
There are a few things I consider to be part of my personal toolbox when shooting for portraits, no matter if they are single person, family portraits or professionals to use as head-shots. These are in no particular order as they can develop over time.

Confidence – no matter if your are a beginner or a seasoned pro, the persona that you project can influence others around you or at least give them the impression that you are in charge and have everything under control, even if you don’t.
I recently hired a friend to help with an event full well knowing that he was fairly green at event photography, but I knew from his images that he had the know how to pull it off. I gave him some suggested settings and instilled the confidence within him to pull it off, and he did.  At first he was slightly nervous and after telling him to own the scene and become the director, he was golden.  His final shots turned out great, all he needed was that boost of confidence.

Quickness – Not the type of quickness you may be thinking of, but the type where you have to adjust on the fly when everything turns to poop.  Anyone can shoot in perfect lighting situations and perfect settings, but what happens when all that changes in a matter of seconds? Knowing your camera and gear and knowing how to adjust quickly in unfavorable lighting and/or scene conditions is what separates the men from the boys or women from the girls if your of the X chromosome variety.

Taking Charge – A second part of the confidence part of the equation really. In very rare situations is it beneficial to let the model or subjects take charge and run the show, unless it is of course, their show. In most cases, the photographer should be running the show, just as the director runs the show on a movie set, not the actors. Taking charge doesn’t mean bossing everyone around, it just means that you are directing the actor [your subject] to get the best shot(s) possible. Now the subject[model] may know what side or pose works best for them, that is fine for them to convey, but you see how the lighting affects that pose and in turn can affect the final image results.  This is why it is very important for you to “own” the session, besides that, it is your name that will be attached to those final images, not matter if they are bad or are awesome.  You want to be remembered for great photos, not the the few that end up here on YNAP.

Promptness & Efficiency – The main thing in working with people is timing, more exact being on time and delivering on time. Efficiency affects your timing and so in essence being more efficient saves you time. Promptness can affect what your clients or future clients think of you. If the shoot is to be on location, I like to be bit early so I can survey the scene and look for anything that may interfere with the session. This also affords you some time to start setting up any gear that you may need before the client arrives so that the session can start right away. This is where efficiency comes into play. Waiting for the client to arrive or arriving late and then having to set up any gear can take a toll on a client’s patience, unless of course they have to get ready as well. Having your camera ready to go or getting it set up while your client is finalizing helps you to save time. Remember, especially shooting on location, the light can change by the minute, every minute longer it takes you to get ready is another minute of missed opportunities to shoot.

The second part of efficiency can take part after the shoot is done. Finding a workflow that works for the type of photography you do can really help you get things done faster and return a better overall final result. Instead of going back and forth tweaking and re-tweaking, a good work flow will help in your post production time and help you to deliver your images to your client on time and leave you at ease knowing that any returns will be for basic retouches and not major modifications to the images.

Know your surroundings – I really don’t mean that you should know where you are and whats around you unless it is going to affect your shots.  Just as you should never fire a gun without knowing what is downrange, you should never shot your camera without seeing what is in your background.  It is your job, as the photographer, to see what may be wrong in a scene before you shoot it.  You shouldn’t rely on post production to make all your corrections, unless you really like being stuck inside working on the computer and not shooting your camera.  If that is the case, by all means, shoot away.

Remember, that you should get everything as close to what you think is perfect in camera and make final tweaks later in post, not the other way around.  Post production is a great way to make a good photo better and in some cases save a mediocre photo from being trashed.  Seeing distracting items in your background and knowing what is going on around you that may end up in your shot or at the least affect your shot, will definitely help you to get that better shot.

I know most of this should be common sense, but I have found that common sense is not as common as it used to be. I hope that is serves you well.

BTW, my spackle is dry, lol. now it’s time for painting…