In a previous article, I discussed some helpful tips for preparing for a photo shoot. It’s important to be ready, but let’s be clear – you have to be able to perform on the day. So let’s talk about some helpful tips you can use to capture a successful collection of photographs on the big day.
Regardless of whether you’re shooting professionally or taking some photos for friends, these tips can help you to ensure you get the best pics. You may be taking photos of your child’s soccer game. Whatever the occasion there are some things you can do to get great photos.
1) Taking care of the people you photograph
This is the single most important thing you can do is take care of your clients. It sounds silly, but your job is to build their confidence, to direct them, to inspire and help them to pose for photos. Anyone with knowledge of camera settings and lighting can take an image that is sharp and well-lit. But to bring out the personality of those you photograph and to make meaningful images requires you to make a connection with the clients. They need to feel safe during the shoot. You’re the one who has to ensure each person involved feels secure. It’s important to watch your models carefully. Are they comfortable? Are they fidgety?
Consider the type of atmosphere you create during the shoot. Are you relaxed? Do you exude confidence in your abilities or are you nervous? If you’re feeling nervous, then so will the people you are photographing. It might be worth thinking of yourself as the father or mother of the folks you are photographing. Be that voice of calm amidst the chaos. Let them know you have their back.
2) Think about the types of images you’re shooting
Depending on the event you’re shooting you need to consider several factors. The last thing you want to do is shoot a whole bunch of images that look the same. So you need to consider several things.
If you’re shooting a portrait session, then you need to think about posing and grouping individuals. How can you make the images look different? Do you change the setting or do you have people arrange themselves differently? You could have them grouped closely together or create a composition in which individuals are more spread out. Perhaps you have a mix of individuals either standing or sitting. There are lots of ways to pose people. If you’re the type of person who needs to sketch out diagrams and have a plan, then go ahead and do that, but remember variety is the key.
If you’re shooting a child’s sporting event, you will want to mix in images that show both the whole playing surface as well as images that capture individual players. Maybe you choose to focus on facial expressions for a while. You can also capture intricate details like a pair of feet dribbling a ball, or the hands of player just before she shoots a 3 pointer. Just try to consider lots of different ways to portray the action.
3) Think about purpose
It’s so important to consider the point of taking these photographs. What do you hope to accomplish with this collection of images? Are you capturing precious family memories? Perhaps you’re documenting the growth of your son’s abilities to play soccer? Maybe the goal is to capture images of a beloved family pet that hasn’t got a whole lot of time left with the family. Whatever the reason, this purpose will guide you to create photographs.
Communicating an idea will dictate how you ask your family to pose. A photograph in which a dog is running happily after a toy or playing with small children will communicate a sense of family, but consider how a shot of an older dog sleeping next to your teenager on the couch may show a different stage of the life cycle.
All too often we jump in with the camera and forget that purpose can be more important than having the perfect exposure. So slow down, think purposefully as you shoot, and remember your goal is to create cohesion. You want a set of photographs that have a variety of compositions but also fit nicely together. Create interest in both the composition and the story told by your images.
Writing out your purpose might be helpful. Create a type of mission statement that you keep in the back of your mind as you shoot. Do whatever you need to do keep the purpose of your photographs front and centre. Don’t hesitate to post the purpose on a piece of paper somewhere. It might even help for the individuals involved in the shoot to see the purpose. If they are aware they can help to maintain the central idea through how they pose for photographs.
So, no matter the subject matter or your photographic expertise, keep in mind how important it is to shoot photographs with a consciousness that accounts for all the factors listed above. It will be hard at first to remember all these different elements but eventually, you will become comfortable, and it will be more second nature to you.
If you’ve got some helpful tips, please share them with us. We want to hear about all the different types of steps you take when shooting a group of photographs. Let’s help each other out.