The Portrait Photographer – Facing The Biggest Challenge

In the Studio

Jolene - Portrait Photography in Studio
Jolene – Portrait Photography in Studio

The studio can be a little frightening for some people. Try and keep the area as open as possible. You don’t want the lights too close. This is sometimes difficult for photographers.

My studio isn’t huge. I use my studio for portraits and product work so there are a lot of lights and it’s pretty dark. So I have to be extra vigilant to make sure that I am not overwhelming my client. That means moving unnecessary equipment out of the way and putting on some fluorescent lights that will not affect the strobes.

Keep the connection you have with your client but talking, keep talking. Ask question and get some candid shots of them thinking about the answers. Tell a couple more jokes and catch the real smiles. Ask your client to change their positions using your lights as reference points like, “turn your body to face the left light”, “face the camera” and “give me your best thousand yard stare towards the light”.

Avoid saying, “hold it!” and definitely don’t say, “say cheese”. Your job is to capture the natural character of your client. By letting them know that you are about to take a shot will cause them to tense up just enough to look a little unnatural.

Use portraiture techniques to mask imperfections like double chins, big or small noses, high foreheads, etc. I will do a follow up on these techniques at some point. You can also use props if you need to. They give the client something to do with their hands.

If you are lucky enough to find a natural model that just does the right thing enjoy the heck out of it. Portrait photographers pay for experiences like that.

I tether my camera to the studio computer. If you do the same, turn the screen away from the client or you are going to end up with a tense client and lots of extra shots. When the shoot is done show your client the results but you will save yourself a lot of heartache and pain if the client doesn’t see the shots during the shoot.

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