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FAQ : First Time Photography Advice

November 4, 2010 - How To, Personal, Photography

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Often times I get asked by photographers what's a piece of advice I'd offer before a shoot. To be honest, I have no idea. There are so many things to take into consideration, so many unknown factors, that I simply can't offer solid feedback besides things like Have Fun! or the ever-profound Don't forget to relax! While true, they're not exactly worth their weight in gold. But things changed a couple days ago when JD asked for advice for his first solo shoot.

Sidenote: JD won't be shooting on his own anytime soon. Our dear friend, Jeremiah, asked for a favor and while I was at first nervous, I remembered Jeremiah was a chef. As in, he regularly makes us amazing meals. If my logic served me right, if JD photographed Jeremiah as a favor, we'd be pretty much guaranteed Le Cordon Bleu meals until Christmas. THEN I SIGNED HIM RIGHT UP.
End Sidenote.

When JD asked for advice for his shoot, my mind raced with everything I wanted to tell him. I felt like an over-bearing parent, teacher, and sensei all at once. And just as annoying. As I rattled off a thousand things, JD calmly held up his hand and said I needed to be logical. Logical?! LOGICAL?! He's shooting on his own for the first time and I'm supposed to be LOGICAL?!

At the end of the day, I shared my advice with him and I thought I'd share it here…

1. Find Natural Reflectors in Advance
When you get to the location, arrive early and scope out the shooting location. I'm a huge, huuuge proponent of shooting using natural reflectors (brick walls, white buildings, terracotta surfaces, anything that reflects sunlight indirectly), so it helps if you find them in advance so you know where to take your subject when he/she arrives.

2. Don't Go to the Good Spots First
People need time to warm up to the camera, and photographers need some time to warm up to shooting. Take your subject to a spot that's fine…just not where you, ultimately, want to shoot. At the beginning of every shoot, use the time to figure things out, then move along to where you want to finish.

3. Focus in Between Every Shot
Now, I know this sounds silly, but it's true. Not only focus each shot, but focus on the shot, what's going on in the frame itself. JD gets caught up in shooting, and I often remind him to see what's going on in between and anticipating moments.

4. Always Keep Your Camera Up
When engaging with your client, always keep the camera in the shooting position. In order to get candid, natural reactions to a joke or conversation, you must be ready to shoot the reaction, not the moment after. When I first started shooting, I'd laugh with my clients, instead of photographing their laugh. It's okay to maintain a bit of conversation behind the lens in order to get the type of reaction you want.

5. Change Your Lens
During a shoot, it's easy to feel stuck, or at a loss creatively. When this happens, don't stress out. Take a deep breath, then change your lens. A small, easy swap can bring new light to a situation and help you see things differently. You'd be surprised how helpful this is in a pinch!

I hope these small tips were a little helpful and when you're getting ready for a shoot, simply remind yourself to Have Fun! Breathe! Relax! Clients respond better to their photographers when they can associate emotion to the experience. If my couple walks away after an engagement session and: 1. are more in love; and 2. had a great time, then I did everything I set out to do in addition to taking photos.

Wow. I think my punctuation in that last sentence was awful.

Happy Thursday!

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FREE PRODUCTIVITY PLANNER

Life is about to get a whole lot easier.  

Desperate for change, I created a Productivity Planner to help streamline my workflow and I kissed stress goodbye. 

[With cherry flavored chapstick.]  

FREE INSTAGRAM GUIDE

Oh, friend, it's time to start growing your business on Instagram.
  
Sign up to receive a free Instagram marketing guide, helpful tips, and free stock photos you can use for your business.  

It’s basically an Instanote sent to your inbox to help push you toward your social goals and help grow your following.

FREE STOCK PHOTOS

You're busy, pulled in lots of directions, and trying to run a business. 

In addition to all this, you know you should be posting on social media, so how do you balance it all? 

I'm dedicated to your success, so download five free stock photos to use online...I hope this empowers you to attract dream customers along the way!

I wouldn’t say we were business nerds but my husband just sent me a Slack message asking me to call him.

If you need me, just follow the trail of empty La Croix cans around my house.

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