Facing the facts

There are many reasons that people spend time and effort having their portrait taken. For the essence, I understand it as a way to landmark one’s personality and display some feelings and experiences from within. It is a story in one shot as to who you are, a smile or a frown can say a lot about a person. Other reasons for portraiture are for a vanity of some kind, either displaying the aging process of the body, as one changes from an adolescent to and adult, to a mature older being. Another is the procreation cycle from pregnancy to newborn, those first symptoms that will change one’s perception and appreciation of for life forever. Finally, there is the balance of us requiring the “everyday type image”, either from a work perspective in the form of a social or corporate profile, or from the commercial side, such as an actor or model needing to capture their look, character through expression to present for job related opportunities in that industry.


Identifying a photographer to meet your needs

One of the most important decisions you need to make is choosing a photographer that you believe meets your requirements and taste according to the style and overall look of the final presentation. Lighting, location or studio preparation, as well as composition and final editing is key. Relationship building is needs to be factored into the shoot. Many people tend to overlook this point, but it is just as important in establishing the end result. If you are comfortable with the photographer, you will get the shots. It is all about expression and what the image needs to illustrate. From models to actors, from family to corporate, the look needs to be encompassed in the photograph and needs to be displayed across all the various looks for each image. Not being at ease at the shoot will deplete one’s confidence as well as your ability to perform naturally or in a professional manner to suit the brief.

Preparing for your photoshoot.

Again, a good and experienced photographer should assist you in in each of the steps to prepare you for the shoot. An initial meeting prior to the shoot is normally necessary to assess and introduce a “flavour” to the shoot. Communication and understanding are critical in this initial process.

Models, performers and the rest…

For people who provide their services in these fields, their CV is displayed through visual representation which in turn will secure work and roles in commercials or on the stage. Planning your shoot is important. Understand where you fit within the big picture. As a model are you a perfect fit and an “all-rounder”, based on your looks, or do you have a specific attribute like your hair or eyes that make you marketable and stand out from the rest. Decide if you are a seasonal model in terms of where you wish operate or work, as this will affect what you are planning to in terms of seasons. Remember not all countries share the same season at the same time, so be on point in this regard. Choose your looks and the style carefully. This will be your wardrobe choices, as well as make up and styling for the shoot. This needs to be communicated with the photographer before the day, so necessary planning can be implemented to ensure a smooth and successful flow during the shoot. Your make up must fit your look, so choose a MUA that meets your taste and comforts, there are many freelance MUA out there with lots of experience that do fantastic work, ask to view their books before hand to make sure you are 100% sure in your decision. Be selective in your choice of clothing, from head to foot, make sure the clothing and accessories fit the looks you are after. Poor choreography leads to poor and mixed results that do not make sense and will end up just being a waste of time. If you don’t own the clothing, hire or purchase on credit. then return them after the shoot… Most importantly look the part.

Portraiture and personal everyday people…

Your responsibility to satisfaction from a photoshoot is slightly different. It is more about you as a person, either image related from a corporate or social media point of view, or from a more personal side. Either way you still have homework to do in order to get those perfect shots.

Again, communication with your photographer is important. The photographer will need to understand what you are wanting from the shoot, the look, the feel and the expression. This will normally involve the same steps of preparation like clothing, make-up artists, as well as backgrounds or studio set ups and props to meet the brief. A good photographer should be able to assist you in both the thought process and the planning to produce the results you are wanting. It is also the photographer’s job to assist you with your poses, expression and ensure that you are comfortable and ready to perform in front of the camera on the day of the shoot.

What should you be paying a photographer for your shoot

This will depend on the requirements and description of the shoot as well as the experience and credibility of the photographer. Good photographers are not cheap, but you get results. Rather spend the money and get good results, rather than be disappointed and know that you have wasted your time and money and will need a reshoot. Note that rates will always differ depending on your requirements and the instruction of the brief. Models and actors will have different rates to individual portraiture and again, to those requiring corporate mugshots. When you are shopping around and comparing rates, I can only emphasise that your attention should be focused more on previous work, the reputation and the portfolio of the photographer as this will in the end bring satisfaction.

I trust that the little bit of advice will be well received in making the right decisions in planning your photo shoot.