My goal this summer was to take pictures of a different friend every week in order to learn more about portrait photography. For me, summer went from Memorial Day to Labor Day and that means my adventure is over. And you know what? I learned a heck of a lot.
Here was the first post that I did on the first four friends that I took pictures of. I posted about what I learned from each one of the shoots. And even after a total of NINE photo shoots, I still believe that what I learned at the first one was the most important. (How do you like that teaser? Go click the link to find out.)
Here’s how this round went.
Photo Session #5: Karyn
The goal: After the last shoot, I had finally read my camera’s manual – so my goal of this shoot was to learn how to better focus on the subject.
What I learned: Always check the weather. Actually, I did check the weather, but it still surprised us. Karyn and I actually got rained on before the shoot even started so we went to grab brunch and then we took pictures. I also learned that I like having some kind of one on one time with the person that I’m shooting beforehand to get to know them a little better or catch up with them and hear how life is going these days. It’s all about the experience. Also, Karyn’s a musician – so it was great to get her into some poses that mimicked things she would do on stage. Always think about a person’s passions while shooting them.
Photo Session #6: Steve
The goal: Find poses that work for males before doing a photo shoot of Doug. Note: this shoot was on a Thursday night and Doug’s was on a Friday afternoon.
What I learned: Go to poses for men mostly involve (1) arms crossed or (2) hands in pockets with a few variations. Also, if you’re going to photo shoot in the late evening, make sure that the location you shoot in isn’t in the middle of a bunch of buildings and trees blocking all possible light. Also. Goodness gracious, you would have thought I’d have figured this out by now – but if you’re going to back up more than 5 feet, remember to turn the f-stop above 2, otherwise everything will be a hot mess of blurry.
Photo Session #7: Doug
The goal: Don’t mess up. Yes, I know this sounds simple, but sometimes you’ve got to keep it simple. Doug was my professor in college, so I felt like the pressure was on a little bit. Please note that it was actually the chillest shoot ever and we walked around the University of Pennsylvania’s campus and he humored me by trying random photos. Made me feel silly for ever being nervous.
What I learned: If you’re really nervous about something, prepare the best you can. I checked out a lot of websites beforehand about posing and actually showed up to the campus early to scope out possible spots to take pictures in. It made me feel more relaxed and ready for the shoot.
Photo Session #8: Marie
The goal: Make sure Marie knows how awesomely pretty she is
What I learned: When I started this adventure I thought that I was embarking on a skill that involved a camera. What I learned along the way was that it involves a camera, it involves posing, and it involves psychology. There are so many things. Being a photograph subject is about feeling pretty by giving them confidence and the tools to be great. (or handsome, or sexy, or hot, or beautiful, or cute, or dreamy – please see this post if you have no idea what I’m talking about) At the beginning of the photo shoot I found a few key pictures of Marie that she looked stunning in and showed them to her. Definitely gave her a little bit of a pep in her step for the rest of them and made the shoot a lot of fun. Also, direct sunlight can create some harsh shadows, I’m going to try to avoid those from now on.
Photo Session #9: Carly
The goal: Take a professional headshot
What I learned: There are some poses that are powerful and there are other poses that aren’t so powerful. If the pose is something that someone standing in the corner at a party would feel comfortable doing, it’s probably not a powerful pose. Also, this was the first photo shoot where props and outfit changes were used. It was surprisingly easy to go between looking casual and professional with the addition or removal of a blazer. She also brought a really fun hat for some of the more casual shots.
I’ve got a list going at this point. I’m in the process of putting together a price list for photo shoots in the future if you should find yourself interested or in the Philadelphia area. I’ll let y’all know when this service is available. In the meantime, there’s a few more types of shoots that I want to do for free in order to get a better handle on including: newborn photography, family shots, and engagement shots.
Also, I’m going to photo shoot Ryan (my first subject) one more time to see the difference between the first and last shoot to make a total of 10. After I do that, I’ll post about my top 10 tips about what I’ve learned.
I also want to get more comfortable using props and learning about how to better use them.
I also may have signed up for this one-day photography conference on a whim. Oops.