Get the Shot
Tips for Making the Most of Your Next Photo Shoot
Everyone’s milling about on set, your clients are watching your every move, and you’re constantly being reminded that time is money. The atmosphere at most photo shoots is hardly conducive to the creative process of photography. Here are a few tips to help you get the shot, no matter what.
Photo Shoot Tips
If you’re working with a model, introduce yourself and establish a rapport before you start taking pictures. Interact with your subject, giving direction as necessary, and work together to create extraordinary poses. Remember what it is you were hired to shoot. If your client wants to showcase a full-length evening gown, a close-up of a model’s face isn’t going to win you any points no matter how beautiful it is.
You rarely have control over the conditions of your photo shoot, so make it a habit to be prepared for anything. For dark interiors, you might need to rely on artificial lighting and increase your ISO.
Brighter indoor spaces may lend themselves well to using window light and a reflector. Decide
whether you want your subject front-lit or back-lit, and position him or her accordingly. Outdoors,
overcast skies provide great natural light, and you can use a burst of fill-flash to add some natural-looking light to your shots. In harsh sunlight, try to avoid shadows by keeping the sun at yoursubject’s back and using reflectors placed low to angle light back up toward your subject.
It’s important to consider all the space in your shot, not just the positive space, or the subject of the photograph. Negative space can have a huge impact on the overall feel of an image. Whenever possible, avoid shooting in front of backgrounds that are too busy or distracting. Soften the background, or look for opportunities to shoot your subject in front of a wide expanse of beach, against a brick wall, in a pool of water or in an open, green field to be sure your subject is the focal point of the image.
Composing an interesting image is rarely accidental; it takes a lot of forethought. Remember the rule of thirds when setting up your shot, but also remember that rules can sometimes be broken. Try using frame cards to help you isolate a scene, or survey your shot with one eye closed to simulate the two-dimensionality of printed photos. Think about directional lines and dark-and-light contrasts in your image. These can be great ways to draw viewers into the photograph and lead their eyes to your subject.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by people telling you to hurry and concerns about lost light and
other time constraints, but it’s important not to rush your photo shoot. Clicking away in panic mode won’t get you the shot you need. It takes a mere fraction of a second to actually take a photograph; you have plenty of time to set things up just the way you want them to ensure that your efforts won’t be wasted.
Cameras don’t take pictures; photographers take pictures. No matter how expensive your
equipment is or how beautiful the models are that you are working with, if you don’t pay attention to the basic aspects of setting up good shots, your pictures will miss the mark. Pay careful attention to lighting and composition, and remember to look up from your viewfinder every once in a while, and even turn around to look behind you, to see whether there’s anything you’re missing on the other side of the camera.