"Photo Shoots: They're More Fun when They're Fun" --------------------------------------------------------------------------
I absolutely LOVE photographing people. Like, love love. Like, I love it more than Nutella with bananas, and there are not words for how much I love that. I think I love this because you can bring out and capture the personality of a person... you can write an "About Me" with one image. It's rewarding and touching all at the same time.
It can, however be really difficult to do this with a stranger or a first time model. I recently worked on a photography project for Sexy Lady Bookworms where we shot a LOT of literary ladies in bookstores. The majority were volunteers that hadn't modeled before, and needed a guiding hand. I jumped right in and learned a few ways to help even the most anxious relax and enjoy the ride. And then I had to go and outdo myself so I started an even more challenging project called Body Image(s) which is a celebration of all shapes, sizes, and shades of female bodies. But guess what...all the models were shot in nothing but underwear. This made it REALLY gutsy for those who were new at posing, and I'm learning a lot about how to make even the most intimate shots comfy. Some professional photographers don't enjoy newbies, but I thrive on it. So, for your reading pleasure I've pondered some of the ways that I jump this hurdle and put people at ease. After all, your pictures will be fantastic no matter what, once they feel like they can be themselves.
2.) Explain the important stuff. I always explain a few things for every session: the feel I'm imagining for the photos, how much I appreciate them participating, and that every photo shoot is awkward in the beginning and that's okay. It always organically gets more and more comfortable.
3.) Shake it out. When they get stiff and awkward ask 'em to shake it out. Of course you should utilize #1 and do it with this. This brings smiles every time!
4.) Give lots of direction and feedback. People tend to love this. There is nothing more awkward than a silent photographer. I also try to not critique but rather offer a different option instead. Every other word I use is something along the lines of "perfect!"
5.) If you can, choose their element. Maybe their home, their bed, their favorite park etc. This familiar space will make it a little looser:) Of course if you cant, give the other suggestions a try.
6.) Make them laugh. This is the most important of all. Do what ever it takes. If you're not too serious, they won't be either. I talk to myself, narrate, make jokes, use voices, do something stupid... anything to liven it up. It also way more fun for me.
If you end up trying any of these tips, you can share your link with me at The Militant Baker. I would love to see them!
Thank you so, so, so much Jes. This post is all about connecting with ourselves and those we photograph...and I really like that! And I love your new body positive movement...can't wait to see more. Everyone should go visit Jes at her blog, say hello and read some of the most enlightening posts you'll find in the bloggersphere. For example, the Womanifesto link will have you transfixed for hours and blown away by the power of the women who wrote one. You'll be so glad you stopped by...