What people want
I am an advertising and editorial photographer. That’s true - but there are different levels of truth - and like they said in the “ X - Files”…it is somewhere out there.
Leave the editorial aside - think about the advertising aspect - in particular the business of portraiture for - well, for business. Wise people realise that effective pictures of themselves are needed these days to connect with clients.
They come to see me hoping for a number of things.Let’s be frank - people want to look good. They want to see an image on a screen or in print that makes them look handsome or beautiful - they want to look powerful and wise - they want to be seen as rich, helpful, approachable and loveable. They want to stand out from the crowd, but in a way that the crowd approves of.
Now it’s not necessary that they have all of these attributes at once. The photographic sitting can add some of them with the way that we use light, shadow, colour, and position. More can be done in post-processing after the shoot, but that’s not as much fun as getting it right on the set and in the camera.
One thing a client can do is to focus their own mind before they approach the sitting. Recently a client (Andy Lamb) sent me a brief setting out just what they wanted to achieve in their images - detailing where the pictures would be used and to what purpose they would be shown. As the client was a person who helps others to organise their own thoughts for efficient business, he made it easy for me to understand what he saw himself as…and how I might use the facilities of studio photography to illustrate this.
That’s a deliberate word - “ illustrate “. The light that fell on the gentleman as he posed in Friday Studio needed to do more than just light him up - I used it to sculpt his face and form. He looked good to start with, so it was not a shopfloor-up exercise, but any portrait photographer knows that there is a barrier for the client when they see the images of themselves - the lens sees a different face than the one in the bathroom mirror.
You’ll see how we worked in the video - different positions of subject, light, and ambient light. Tethered capture so that both the subject and I can see clearly how the thing is developing. It’s not film days and there’s no need to be in the dark about what we are doing.
There is always a rhythm of a photo shoot - slow start, productive capture, a peak, and then the denouement. It is not hard work, except when it it is hard work…but if the client is honest in what they need, we can have the best chance to give them what they want.
Smile - You look good…