Insider Perspective: How You Can Ace Working with Talent on Your Next Shoot
Being in front of the camera is a lot of fun. When the chemistry between the photographer and the talent is right, magic can happen. However it does take flexibility, patience, and a few other things to get it right.
My name is Tammy Christina and I am a content creator, presenter, journalist, model and everything in between. Having almost 11 years in the industry I have collaborated with countless photographers, film crews, and creatives, and have learned how to work best in team settings with lots of strong personalities and visions.
There are a few things to keep in mind when shooting talent that may make the creative process easier, more enjoyable, and successful.
Shooting with a team that encourages you to push the boundaries and add your own creative flare, as well as involve you during the whole process of shooting, is key in producing not just good, but great work.
CREATE A POSITIVE ATMOSPHERE
Firstly, show a little enthusiasm for the shoot! It makes the model feel appreciated and excited to be there as well, which translates great into the content. Facial expressions and body language are huge in a shoot setting, so the overall atmosphere is a big contributor. Having a photographer vocalise that they just want the day to be over might actually make the day feel longer, with the talent having to work harder to overpower the energy and block it out.
MAKE THEM FEEL AT EASE
Another tip to keep in mind is to find out early on in the shoot if there is anything the talent feels uncomfortable with. They are vulnerable in front of the camera, and how they look in the images is just as much up to the photographer as it is up to the talent. Being shot from an angle or in a way that makes the model feel uncomfortable is likely to show up in their facial expressions or body language.
For me personally, I always prefer to be shot at an angle rather than directly front on, and a lot of the time closer up images allow for a stronger focus on the outfit or myself. For a more efficient and successful shoot, either observe or ask these questions early on.
COLLABORATE WITH THE TALENT
If asking straight out is not possible, remember models love to see the shots as the day goes on. So where possible, giving them a sneak preview of the images allows them to not only feel more involved and invested in the project but also allows them to make any adjustments that they may pick out and deem necessary. This could also get the talent excited for the final product, and encourage them to share across their socials.
Being open to suggestions is a great way to make the most out of a shoot. Regardless of whether the model has participated in thousands or zero shoots in the past if they have an idea as to how they could look good, hear them out. It might end in some unique magic!
PATIENCE IS KEY
If you have a vision, explain it and be patient. There is nothing worse than a photographer frustrated with a model. They are vulnerable and trying their best, so being patient is key. This will gain their trust which is particularly helpful when photographing emotive brand campaigns, as they will feel more at ease to show expression and emotion during the shoot. This goes both ways – the model being patient in understanding what is being asked of them, and the photographer being patient in explaining.
Last but not least, remember that word of mouth is everything in the creative industry. Although the client is usually the one hiring you as a photographer/videographer, models and talent are often asked if they have a preferred photographer, makeup artist, or even the whole creative team. Friends own brands, work in music and film, and the list goes on. Everyone needs creative videographers and photographers, so in a saturated market, reputation is vital.
When shooting, keep in mind that shooting the talent in a way that they feel best represents them, and in a way that makes them feel comfortable and happy about the outcome, will more than likely lead to many more jobs in the future and expand your client network. More often than not, they will also reshare your work if they like the images. So creating images that not only the client likes, but the talent also likes, is more important than it may seem.
Tammy Christina, also known as W By White Wolfe, is a lawyer-turned-influencer and presenter based between Australia and Los Angeles with a prime focus on the fusion of luxury fashion with sport, lifestyle, travel and entertainment since 2012.
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