As you know, I normally photograph pets but more and more humans have been popping out of the woodwork these days looking for a photo shoot, so that’s how I ended up photographing the lovely Ms R that you see in the image above. I decided (for the first time) to use the guest bedroom in my tiny Custard Cottage but there is a tad too much direct light in there so I rushed out and bought two metres of voile/sheer curtaining to soften the light for the shoot.
Oh the pressure of a photo shoot! I am really apprehensive before each photo shoot, afraid that there will be no decent images, afraid the subject will think I don’t know what I’m doing and know I’m not a real photographer (not sure at what point one becomes a real photographer), afraid the images will be out of focus, afraid I won’t read the light properly, afraid I won’t connect with my subject – I’M AFRAID OF LOOKING LIKE AN ASS AND FAILING.
I confess, I lied a teeny bit when I wrote the title to this post, “How to overcome the fear of photo shoot failure”, I don’t really know how to overcome it or even if it ever goes away but I DO know how to lessen the terror… BE PREPARED!
BEFORE THE SHOOT…
Practice a mini shoot on location with a stand-in model (like your long-suffering hubby or your friendly neighbour across the road – see image left) poor Terry, the things he does for love. If you shoot in natural light, do your practice shoot at the same time of day as the proposed shoot. Find out what your subject’s expectations are. Do they want head and shoulder shots, full body, indoor or outdoor? What do they intend wearing and what do they want the images for? A gift for mom or hubby, an entry into a competition, a wall portrait for home? Make a short list of poses you want to use, don’t just wing it when your subject arrives. Know the capabilities of your lens and what apertures you are going to use. Give your subject some guidance with regard to clothing, make-up and accessories before the time. Make sure you have a fully charged battery and a card in your camera an extra battery and card is also a good idea. Check you have all the equipment you need with you, scratching around for a reflector, lenses, a hairdryer, face powder and accessories just looks unprofessional.
DURING THE SHOOT…As soon as the tummy butterflies start bouncing around inside your gut, breathe, breathe, breathe. It’s amazing how calming two or three deep, slow breaths are. Breathe in for the count of four, hold the breath for two counts and breathe out for a count of four. Relax, just be yourself and take control of the session. Remember to give your subject feedback and encouragement, “You’re doing great! That’s beautiful.” Show, don’t tell, show your subject what you want them to do, don’t just tell them.
It turned out alright in the end and here are some images from the actual shoot with the beautiful Ms R…
I’m not saying that my way is the best or the only way but it works for me and every time I face my fear and do another shoot, I learn something new. One of these days, if I’m not careful, I might just become a real photographer.
All my love