Instagram is already full of threads of jokes about the opinion of the inhabitants about the work of photographers. For many, it is still “Yes, but what is there to do? You just press a button!” or “Will you send in a couple of days? This is not a direct job, just creativity, you can process the shooting in one night.
Depreciation blooms. But okay — such communication can be reduced to a joke, and explained to a person. Another thing is uncomfortable actions during shooting. They directly influence the result. It is about them that we will talk. I tell you what not to do and explain why.
Case 1: asking to see pictures during the shoot
I have encountered this more than once, but almost always I managed to maintain a balance and correctly explain to the person why I would not show pictures from the camera screen.
Firstly, these are raw, unprocessed photos, and even with a selection on the go. A person will see a gray photo, which they may not like and kill the mood of the shooting.
Secondly, it is not a fact that after processing, exactly the photo that the client saw will fall into the final selection. Perhaps the person does not like the way he looks in the picture. Again, everything depends on the mood, which is better to support in every possible way. Therefore, it’s definitely not worth doing this, but you can calmly explain the position to a person.
There are also reverse cases, when even a raw photograph can be useful and this can be a technique to fuel the mood. It happened to me once: a portrait shot, a very closed girl, stiffness in front of the camera … I have already turned on all the tricks to make her more comfortable. Including, in the moment, only with the photo in which I am absolutely sure — I allowed myself to show her how it turns out. The mood instantly improved, and she opened up in front of the camera.
Case two: invite a partner with you
The case is fundamentally stupid and completely incomprehensible to me. Fortunately, I heard about this only from the words of other photographers. At the moment of agreeing and discussing the future shooting, the person suddenly announced that his partner also wants to be present. Cases were both about men and about girls.
Any person on the set will be the third wheel. Portrait photography is always a one-to-one work. Are you familiar with the expression “over the soul”? Here, it’s just about that.
The solution is simple — to explain how uncomfortable it will be for everyone and how this will affect the process. Regardless of which of the two people insists on this. In extreme cases, you can show your portfolio or work reviews, perhaps this will affect the level of trust of a third party.
Case three: look at the camera on a permanent basis
This happened on one of my recent shoots and made the process very difficult. A person can look directly into the lens and that’s good, but I would like to separate “look into the lens when shooting portraits” and “periodically look back at the photographer, turn around, and throw a look,” well, how is it there? Especially if at the moment you are shooting a long shot, asking not to look at the camera.
Solving such a seemingly insignificant problem is much harder than it seems. After all, most likely, it is deeply rooted, and perseverance can again kill the mood. The way out can be a soft wish-recommendation, how best from the outside. If this does not work, then you need to let the person lead his emotional pattern, but shoot this movement / pose a little longer or several times in order to catch him in the moment without looking at the camera. Everyone will be comfortable.
Case four: talk a lot during the shooting itself
Conversations are an important part of the process. This includes coordination, and dating before, and small sense in the process, and feedback after. Communication allows you to be a little more relaxed, increases the degree of comfort and trust in the photographer. Only not the permanent movement of the lips during the targeted shooting, when everyone is tuned in, and the trigger is cocked. Most often this happens when shooting in pairs, when both people communicate with each other. Imagine that you outlined the scene for people, found the angle, stepped back, tuned in and see that the people being photographed are doing everything right, only at the same time they are talking.
The decision should be situational: if this is a comfortable shooting and you feel a connection with people, then it is better to gently ask not to do this. A couple of times if necessary. However, this case was not accidentally included in the list: I also encountered a categorical continuation of this. The way out is to seize the moment if the request did not work. Shoot a little longer, but definitely catch the necessary emotion with a natural facial expression. You can also ask to slightly change the position, move, turn the models: this will interrupt the conversation, the attention will return to the photographer, and the facial expressions of people will again be motionless.
Case Five: Teaching a Photographer to Shoot
The last one on this list, but the most categorical. It will not be comfortable for everyone at once. In no case should you say which angle is better to take, how to shoot, what to do. Only if it’s not a mild situational wish that came to mind. In all other cases, the shooting is discussed in advance, on the shore. Angles, moodboard, style: all this is discussed only before, it is always good to hear specific wishes from the client.
How to deal with this on the part of the photographer, if teaching on shooting starts you? It seems that dialogue is the only correct solution. A soft and polite request with an explanation of why you should not do this.
Dialogue will be the right solution in any of these cases. Communication is always the right way.