Tutorial - Connecting with Subjects, part 2

October 04, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Connecting With Subjects, Part II

For Part One, click Connecting With Subjects

In brief, we mentioned that Connecting is like Dating. Get to know the person, put them at ease. Music, Attitude, and more can help.

Continuing on, we can talk about some real strategies.


You Are The Director

For Starters, you are the professional. Your talent, your subjects, all assume you are the professional, so you need to act like it. They expect you to tell them what to do. Not order, but it is OK to be decisive. Be direct, but be polite. You can ask your subject to stand here, or there. To face this way. To turn, just so. To move a hand here or there. To tilt the head back a touch, or to push the chin out a tad more... As the photographer, direct them. It's OK, if they aren't understanding what you are asking for, to show them. Post for them. Some folks are visual, and can look at what you are doing and understand right away. Make the image, don't just take it. 


Things You Don't Want To Hear A Doctor Or A Photographer Say

So, remember, confidence. That means, please don't say "Ooops!" or ever say, "Oh, Sh*t!" That's bad. No muttering. And don't spend forever looking at images in the rear of the camera (or tethered) without being positive. Silence can be just as deadly. Along the way, provide plenty of feedback. "Great. Good job" Or, "This looks good." really goes a long way. Build confidence. It helps. Remember NON verbal cues as well. Don't roll your eyes, or suck in your breath. Poker face when things aren't right. Better yet, paste a smile on and try to "brighten up" the room. People are, for the most part, self conscious around cameras. 


You Are The Professional

And speaking of professional, maintain that professionalism. It's best, if you are a male, to have a female present as an assistant. Never touch a person's hair, or clothing, to adjust. It's OK to point out something and ask them to fix it, or to have the assistant or stylist fix it.  If you must, a casual "May I flick that loose strand of hair off your forehead?" Hands off. Always. Enough said.


Be Present. 

Sounds weird, but be present! Pay attention. No texting or taking another call. Focus on your subject. Being present also means, don’t get stuck behind your camera for the shoot. It’s really impersonal. It creates a barrier and prevents you from connecting with the person you're photographing. That might mean shooting with a remote. Or maybe simply spending some time in between set ups, out front, connecting, posing or directing.




Something To Hold

If your subject is fidgeting or flopping their hands about, give them something to hold or do during the photo shoot. Most folks just don’t know what to do with their hands when they are nervous. Do they put them in their pockets? Hold them on their hips? Stand awkwardly with them behind their back?

Giving them something for their hands to focus on makes them at ease. If you're shooting a portrait, chances are, the hands will be cropped out anyway. If it's a full length, then make the prop part of their personality. A book. A football. A glass of wine. A prop that they feel is part of who they are... 


You're the professional. Take charge. Be professional. But most importantly, build up their trust. 




More on Connecting With Subjects  

Connecting With Subjects, Part I

Posing Techniques

Group Posing Techniques


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