Anyone who owns a camera and uses it religiously can relate to it as an extension of arm. People who discover that they have a passion for photography become lucky souls which they find it to be intoxicating and magical in every way. If you are reading this, you are a passionate photographer like me. There is one thing that can be said for us: we just can’t get enough!
While passion and creative vision holds high importance, there is one thing that can make or break your photograph or a photo session: an uncooperative subject. Perfect lighting, world class equipment and all the experience in the world cannot even count to anything if your subject is not ready to cooperate with you.
In the beginning of my photography career, I used to get baffled how some people would react when I pointed my camera at them. And it wasn’t like I had abducted them from their houses, tied them to a tree and asked them to say cheese… they hired me to photograph them and paid me. I used to wonder there is surely something I’m missing here. After shoots like that, I used to be terribly exhausted, needing a cup of tea and a hot water bath and dreading what I might find when I upload these photos: awkward poses and tight smiles.
Then there came a time when I decided I need a head shot. I need to figure out why this happens and I finally did. So here are those four tips which helped me like anything and produced those genuine, natural looking portraits that fill a heart with delight, looks brilliant hanging up on the wall and brings in crazy lot of money.
Let the Hands Speak:
People have camera anxiety which can be curbed if something is given to them to hold. So give your subject something to hold so that he can have a cognitive distraction he’s feeling from being in front of the camera. For example, if you are doing a bridal photo shoot, hand, for example, a guitar to her. In this way, not only the picture will become an artistic one, it will also help her feel relaxed and it will turn out a more natural pose.
A Chair Can Do Wonders:
In my time researching why people have a camera fright, I figured out that sitting down while posing is more relaxing than standing up. So I made a point of carrying a stool with me to all my shoots. Every time I find that my subject is one of those nervous kinds, I take out that stool and make them sit for the photos.
The nervous rigidity is ten times lesser sitting down as compared to standing up. This has a natural casual effect on both the subject and the photographer and they feel more at ease. I have a lot of photos in my portfolio which gives a genuine pose and where my subject is sitting.
You Should Love Distractions:
Distracting your subject is one thing that you can learn to do and you will see great results. Make them talk about thing you think they are interested in. Usually these things are about family, pets, music, and movies. Anything that you have felt your subject likes to talk about. You can do so by asking them questions so that they get distracted from themselves. As long as they will stay conscious about themselves, how do they look and stand or stuff, the result won’t be satisfactory. One desperate move to provide some distraction to your subjects is making fun of yourself. This way, a subject feels that he might not be the only one being a piece of ridicule, not that he is.
Getting laughter out of them is one tried and tested trick to make them help relax. It works perfectly for me and for a lot of other photographers. You just need to figure out a way to make them laugh. In keeping with all of this, your job is also to make them stay focused on the shoot. All these little skills add up to form a nice, professional photographer out of you.
Respect Your Models:
One important thing that you need to remember is that your subjects deserve respect. If you find that your subjects are shy or uncomfortable from some surrounding or people, make arrangements for carrying out the shoot in the kind of privacy they require. If you have something in your mind that you want to carry out while your subject isn’t willing to agree with that, drop that idea and move onto something else instead of imposing your idea upon them. It will; just make them more uncomfortable and you will never get the right shoot. Moreover, your subject will think that you’re too bossy and might not hire you again for another shoot.
Your main purpose is not only to get nice pictures but also some nice memories for both the parties. You should think that you have succeeded in breaking down the awkwardness and capturing the real essence once you have made your subject feel that he is understood and respected. If you are trying to get a nice shoot from your kid who just shy away from the camera, the best thing to do is to let them be. Don’t force them to pose for a picture. Try this strategy and you will find him coming to you rather than you asking for it.
Keep the Models Engaged:
One way of releasing their anxiety is to keep them engaged in the results, i.e. show them the photo after taking it, and tell them what looks good in it and what not. Once they know they are doing something right; they will get more confidence and will try to overcome the things they are doing wrong. This is important because there is this disposition whether what are being shot is what we want and what the photographer is thinking about the ones that turned out wrong. So it is always better to make them feel that you are as much a part of the photographer’s job as they are being the subjects.
Shooting non-living objects is a very easy task when compared to what human subjects are capable of. But a passionate photographer is one who takes this as a challenge instead of sticking to photo shooting non-living things and start bringing out the best from the human shoots. The tips mentioned above are nothing out of ordinary, just something that touches the human psychology, learns to make them feel relaxed and not fear the camera.
The work of a photographer is not only to just point his camera in one direction and click. If you want to be at the top of your profession, you should do some homework. Find out where you find difficulties while photo shooting and find ways to overcome them in the best way. You can do this well by understanding your subject a little more closely than the things you need to know for the shoot only.