It’s a Monday morning. You have to get ready for work or to take your children to school. You arrive in a flurry and decide to skip breakfast again. Someone asks if they can grab a photograph of you for the corporate news sheet or school notice board. You grimace, jaw locked in a smile, and hurry along muttering to yourself. It’s a common refrain, “I don’t photograph well.”
My approach to photographing people is a little bit different, if you’re the type of person that hates having your photograph taken, then I hope this article puts your mind at ease.
Step 1 – read books, magazines, and kindles
It might sound silly, but browsing for inspiration is a great way to choose what photographs you want. Tear out pages from a magazine, take a snapshot with your phone or send a screenshot to your photographer. We learn a lot by doing, but collecting ideas ahead of time from a diverse range of sources increases the chances of success. Ask any photographer if they have a style book, posing guide, or lookbook of favourite poses that flatter female bodies.
Step 2 – talk to your photographer
The world is a noisy place – radios blaring, phones ringing and people chattering. Hopefully, you’ve chosen a photographer that will listen first and offer solutions later. Call your photographer the day before your shoot and just have a natter. Emails are not for conversations. Most people enjoy talking about themselves – so share your hopes and fears for the session. You’ll have more confidence in your photographer and feel reassured they’ll capture your true personality.
Step 3 – have serious fun
Most photographers pride themselves on their ‘fun, relaxed sessions’. But what does this mean? A successful photo shoot takes patience and understanding. By talking with your photographer, you’ll help them understand the minds and needs of your family. And when they know your hobbies and interests, they’ll easily craft a more focused session to reflect the fun you have in your family.
Step 4 – be sensitive
A great portrait is one that reveals your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Let your true personality shine through. During the shoot, talk to your photographer, let them know your passions – you might just surprise yourself with how much these photographs mean to you. People love photographs with heart and emotion. It’s what makes the world go round – not static poses and taut grins.
Step 5 – ask the photographer to step back
People are drawn to clear, creative, and deep portraits. You don’t want a silent photographer snapping away in your face. Shy people will appreciate the space afforded by photographers that can create beautiful images by working in the background. Call your photographer and have a conversation, do they inspire you with trust and confidence? Choosing a style that doesn’t reflect your dreams and aspirations is an injustice to yourself, you deserve quiet, contemplative, and gentle portraits that portray the very best of you.