Twinkling eyes, silky washed hair and outfits in spring colours is my honest advice when meeting non-models for their evening lit session in Seaview.
My superpower is creating smiles in Jasmine’s photographs and all it takes is my supportive approach to inspire a willingness to laugh, be just a little silly and discover the confidence to be the *real you*.
I’m slightly ashamed to admit I had my first photography lesson out of boredom, I wanted something new to make my holidays more interesting. After returning to London, I found I missed the connection I’d enjoyed whilst travelling around South East Asia.
In case you’re wondering, I’m still in touch with my first photography teacher and it’s through his inspiration that I found my calling to show non-models how to shine without trying to hide themselves behind their clothes, make up or overly joyful smiles.
Which is where Jasmine enters our story, a new friend I’m proud to introduce as someone who’s fast becoming my greatest supporter. As the summer weather warmed, I found it impossible to ignore the buttery evening light and the warm light rays urged me to pick up my film camera again.
Watching Jasmine walk towards me with her mum, I was struck by her elegance and confidence, there’s a maturity about Jasmine that I admire (and wish I had at her age). Waving goodbye to mum, I knew immediately Jasmine would shine in my favourite location, the image below is a ‘lighting test’ when I check my camera settings. Capturing simple portraits, creating moments whilst walking along the paths we pause hide from the sun’s rays causing us to blink and watch cheeky boys play on their bikes.
In time Jasmine realised photoshoots are a whole heap of fun and there’s no need to feel self-conscious. With my ability to support, guide and connect with aspiring models I can offer advice on how to step into the modelling world safely. Constantly learning, I sprinkle my magic working on your images as I promise to bowl you over with your photographs.
My biggest hope? That your photographs are a true reflection of your character. It’s a little challenge I set myself, can I make you gasp when you first peek your portrait on the back of the camera. Do your friends go mad when they see your pictures? Will mum (or dad) smile fondly when they see your portrait hanging in the kitchen?
How do I create smiles that really stand out? I sooth a warm cocoon of support, a giggly bubble of encouragement and guidance throughout the two hour session. Making my clients feel like they are the centre of the universe, nurturing flattering smiles that are nothing like static gazes you see in catalogues. I mirror the beauty I see in your personality. It’s my mission.
‘Likes’ on Facebook and ‘hearts’ on Instagram is a bonus, and Jasmine has really supported my business by sharing my page with others, but what makes my heart sing is the confidence boost that a portrait session with me creates. Which is why this natural portrait session in one of my favourite park is a great example of what I do, just for fun.
Jasmine was a little surprised when I found the time to fit her in, my calendar is very full and I’m lucky enough to be selective about the people I’m able to work with. Laughing at my foolish antics with the reflector, we chat about the end of school in three weeks, our summer holidays and my clumsiness.
It’s not easy meeting a stranger, in a park, by yourself. Photographing everyday people who want beautiful photographs of themselves that aren’t too processed is a fine art. I know it takes time to ease them into the session, encouraging natural smiles, showing them how to stand in flattering ways that look natural, teasing out natural smiles that seem genuine. And it’s worth all the hard work.
What are the most important things to create when capturing natural portraits? Personally, I start with the light – the warm, buttery glows of an evening, cool fresh mornings and calm winter light that paints a luminosity over everything it caresses. So, avoiding the harsh mid-day sun, I patiently wait for the golden hour (one hour before sunset). Take a look at the photographs here to see why.
Next, I shoot in locations that are interesting with different colours, texture and backdrops. I often go location scouting, taking photographs at different times of the day and can wait years for the right person to come along. I’m half way through planning a session in a special car park right now, fingers crossed it comes off.
Once I found the right location to suit my client’s personality, it’s super important to match the wardrobe to the location. In fact, my preference is to choose the right colour palette rather than the style of clothes. Look again at Jasmine’s photographs – cool grey concrete is a similar tone to the pale top whilst the joyful red playsuit picks out the warm glow of the sun.
Photoshoots run from 90 minutes to two hours, I’m not greedy with my time and will work without rushing to create friendly, relaxed looking images with the best expressions. Sitting on benches are my go to pose at the start, resting whilst looking into the distance, waving to the ducks, leaning on a lamppost generate happy expressions because the non-models feels secure and comfortable.
The first three clicks on my camera are brimming with doubt, even the most confident person needs a helping hand to get into the groove. I always share the first few images and ask for feedback, asking:
- How do you want to look?
- Do you prefer happy to smiling?
- Would you like to do full length or close up now?
Like a precious gem, everyone is different and I work tirelessly to tailor my approach to your feelings and personality. Some people for happy shots to share on Facebook, others are aspiring models and are looking to create a portfolio, whilst some want photographs to share with loved ones on the mainland.
Most people are insecure about having their photograph taken and everyone admits to feeling nervous ahead of the shoot. It’s the fear of the unknown. How much does Mandy charge? I want a photoshoot, but I can’t afford it. What shall I wear? I won’t take good photographs. What if I don’t like the photos? Can I just order one picture?
Do you know what? It’s actually easy. Drop me a line and tell me what you want. Make an appointment and then let me do the hard work. It’s my job to create carefree moments that make you look good.
I won’t take a photograph if you look uncomfortable or have a rigid smile on your face. I’ll explain where to stand. Show you how to hold your hands. Direct where you look. Take a quick photograph. Share with you and then move on. There really is no magic potion, except my kindness and your growing confidence. We make our own magic.
At the end of the shoot, with a warm handshake, I’ll explain the next steps. Nearly all your images get deleted, I aim for one gorgeous image from each location. In each setting, I craft 5 photographs. The first 4 are our practise attempts leaving the final image where everything comes together beautifully.
Choosing the most flattering image is easy, all the blinks, awkward gurns and hand flaps are vanquished forever. Each picture is crafted to perfection for over an hour – colours, contrast and composition are perfected to suit your vision.
On the evening of the shoot, I’ll post a sneak peek on social media and the proofing gallery follows the next day. My professional pride stands by the quality of my photography and the deep connection I’m able to generate in your photographs.
If you’d like to experience this for yourself, drop me a line below.
Amanda Herbert is the premier headshot photographer in Ryde and the Isle of Wight. Known for the genuine expressions she captures in her portraits of camera-shy women and small business owners looking for expressive portraits. Contact her Seaview homestudio to book a session.
Booking for August, 2018
Amanda Herbert | Isle of Wight