Portrait photography requires a very special approach. Each photographer has their own way of conducting a photoshoot, their own tactics for breaking the ice with models and making them comfortable on set.
Venturing into portrait photography can be tough for those reasons. Working with real people, directing them and sharing your vision is a big chunk of just some of the responsibilities. Today we had a chat with 3 of our top portrait photographers to find out about their work, their approach to portrait photography and tips that they’d like to share with you.
How do you choose what to focus on, what to depict in photographs and what style to photograph in?
“I was always interested in perfection, in the better version of a person with whom I’m working. The light that suits them better, the makeup that does not change but helps to highlight something special in their face. So I’m trying to get to know my model better during makeup, learn their faces. It makes it easier then to mount the light.”
“It’s simple to focus on the subject of the photo, because I’m fond of what I am doing, I like to communicate with people, make new friends. That’s the main reason why I chose to photograph people. I also like diverse clothes, fashion styling and it’s a real pleasure to have to make all these choices during my shoots.”
Many of your photographs are studio shot, what are some of the benefits of shooting in this environment?
“Control. In a studio I could make like a micro world with ideal lighting and atmosphere.”
“In a studio I like to create lighting conditions like its natural sunlight, it helps my models look the most beautiful. In a studio it’s also cozy to change into clothes and we can listen our favorite music out loud.”
How do you make your models comfortable on set?
“Try to treat them like friends. That’s actually the reason why many of them then became my actual friends. We can talk about anything and have some good laughs.”
“I think my models feel comfortable with me because I like to talk a lot, joke around, tell them funny stories about myself, I pay attention and learn about their life and plans.”
What are some insider secrets to more natural looking photographs of people? In other words, how do you find sincere emotions when shooting in a studio?
“I would say it’s important to be a good person; treat a person the way you would like to be treated. May be it’s a little bit easier because I’m a psychologist (studying for 5 years but not working in the field). Also some good music and a big smile helps to make anyone feel more comfortable.”
“Like I’ve mentioned, I’m interested in the lives of my models, trying to hear them out. I think they liks me a lot as a person and do their best to follow my directions.”
Shooting in a studio environment is slightly different from shooting on location. We asked our notable contributors, the HalfPoint team, to share their lessons in working with models and shooting portraits.
What’s the most important ingredient of a successful photoshoot and some of your insider tips?
“We love to work with people when we photograph. It’s more interesting for us than taking still pictures of country scapes or objects. It’s very important to catch the right feel, the right atmosphere. We try to make models as relaxed as possible. So the photoshoot can be not only work but also a great experience. We cooperate, talk to models. Also show them photos and ask how they feel about them, the certain situation, pose, etc.”
How do you make models feel comfortable on set?
“Group shoots are quite complicated to organise. It’s nice when people in the group know each others a little bit. The best capture is when they experience the real fun, but it’s also important to guide them enough.”
How do you manage to shoot groups of people and/or children? Are there particular challenges that have to be overcome?
“Kids are a special part. We do a lot of shoots with them. They need to feel the activity they do is actually fun. And you need to follow their needs. Stop sometimes, listen them and do something what they want and which is not always the plan.”