Last night at camera club we had a really interesting talk by an experienced lifestyle and commercial photographer – Julia Conway – she shared with the group all sorts of useful photography tips for commercial photography including:
- The best photos have a concept, find the concept … it could be a theme, a feeling but something that links them together if they are for a client.
- Always look for new ideas, new styles, current trends and then make your own images … this is very much what I am inspired to try this year!
- Squint to find the best light (gotta to try that one) apparently you see the contrasts better
- When photographing people think about the background, the props, the clients clothes – (co-coordinating rather than matching colours, nothing with writing on it, check their footwear – avoid black & white clothes if possible)
- Take a whole series of photos – think about filling a whole album, start wide and move in – capture the details – hands, feet, scenery, memories, children’s art work, as well as the bigger picture etc.
- There are some amazing photography props out there, and it is a great idea to check out specialist photography prop web sites .. then find or create your own on a lot less budget!
- Julia mentioned using fill in flash rather than a reflector as it adds fill and catch lights – if needs to be 1 or 2 stops under the ambient light with TTL metering (something to try, and an speed-lite on camera is fine for this). This works especially well with group shots – so I have the try that too!
- She briefly mentioned Photoshop actions for post production processing and that is something else I have never tried, so I will have a look at those too.
Julia then set up a simple shot with props she had … she needed a female model, and cause I am trying to step out of my comfort zone I crazily volunteered.
- First I was asked to take down my hair, she back combed a portion, twisted and tied it up
- I was asked to remove my jewellery and glasses – she added new accessories, a small fur shrug over my shoulders to cover my black top, a tiara, a bold necklace and some 1940’s style makeup
- I was then posed in front of continuous lighting and asked to angle my head this way, point my chin that way, my eyes this way, my hands more like this (she gave a demo) – I was not comfortable, the position felt unnatural, but she knew she what she was doing, she was being watched by a roomful of photographers and she was trying to angle me and make me relax to get the photo right.
I have never been the model, a couple of years ago I would have never volunteered – but I did – and I am glad I did … I have photographed models – who know how to pose, how to look and have took great photos (IMO), they have done all the hard work, I have photographed friends and family and just encouraged them to stand there, I have never really given them direction – I need to look at positions, how and where they should put their hands, where to direct their eyes so that I get a catch light in them, how to make their chins disappear and their face look more flattering and how positions which might feel a little unnatural can make an interesting photo and be better than I imagined. I need to remember the model can’t see what I am seeing through the camera, and I need to direct those moments so I can capture the perfect shot. Most of all I need to become confident at making them feel good about themselves and capture a photo they would like to share.
This is my 5 minute model shoot – the photo was taken by Julie and edited by her – she makes her living from photography, sell lots of her photos (a whole album full of themed pictures to the client) and goes back again to capture more magical moments in their lives. I would love to have the confidence she had – she aims to sell upwards of £1,000 worth of images / time / expertise – per shoot – more for weddings … she offers the whole package, the experience of being photographed, memories of a great day and an amazing edited end project – something I would love to inspire too – maybe one day!