How I plan photo shoots in Ryde
I nearly always start my sessions on steps, stairs, ledges or benches. Being able to relax is key to capturing relaxed smiles. If you ask a new model to stand on a pathway they’ll feel obvious and exposed, which will translate into taut smiles.
You can see this in the photograph below.
Here’s the first image I took of Anna. There’s a hint of caution in her gaze. And it’s my job to make Anna feel confident and relaxed during her portrait session in Ryde. Only then will she allow herself to shine.
Look at my plan above. You’ll see I’ve thought about where my camera will be and what the sun will be doing. By moving quickly I’m able to create a wider range of powerful shots in a relatively short amount of time.
- at the bottom of the steps
- at the stop of the steps
- looking downwards, over the model lying down
I love the way Anna is playing with the leaves in her hands. If a model is looking ill at ease, I’ll often ask them to pick up a flower or leaf off the floor. Giving their hands something to do will add a more natural element to the picture.
I’ve planned to use my favourite area 30 minutes into the session. By now the nerves have dissipated and everyone realises its not going to be hard work after all.
I’d planned 4 key poses I wanted to create in this corner. To ensure success I physically planned the flow myself against the kitchen door. Not an easy feat for someone like me (have you seen my bio picture). I needed to know how the pose felt and what would naturally move so I could describe it successfully.
Things to note:
- I shoot in sequences of 5
- I build up the expressions to a crescendo
- The nail bite shot didn’t work, at all!
- Last row, picture 2 shows the sun is fighting against us, ultimately determining we move onto a new location.
I’ll take lots of photos and share them on instagram (click here to see the rest of the collection). It helps me visualise the light, the backgrounds and the possibilities.
It means I’ll know exactly where I want the model to stand and which direction to face to find the most flattering light.
Change of Plans
I’d anticipated a change of clothes after this point and switched my plan of attack based on the light and location. My favourite spot was available, so I reverted to my original intention for this location in this session here.
Anna did an amazing job in coordinating her outfits to the locations – she has a real sense of style.
I stayed with my favourite location, missing the bench ideas for a second time.
This time I jumped up on the steps to make sure I was higher than Anna. This creates a beautiful angle as the sun bathes the complexion in soft light.
Fighting the sun
Time was running out. I had to move to my final location , so I sat Anna on a wall and shot quickly. These two pictures have a very different feel yet they were shot in exactly the same place.
In the first picture I placed Anna with the sun behind her and bounced light forward with a reflector. Regretfully, you can see it in the reflections in Anna’s glasses.
Afterwards I placed the reflector between Anna and the sun, you can see the edge of the board in the top right of the frame.
I used the staggered wall to create a natural resting place for Anna’s arms. Leaning forward and over the wall created depth and dimension.
Last shot of the day
I purposely finish the session in another favourite location. At the end excitement is high and the model is quietly relieved the session is at an end.
This is were I give one last push. As I was saying goodbye to Anna she adopted this stance, I asked to bring my camera out just one final time.
I only took 1 frame.
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