Shannon was one of my models at Texas School, where I teach and demo techniques for an entire week with a small group of photographers. And like most of my models I only got to photograph her for a few minutes. It’s more important for the photographers in my class to practice the various techniques and fulfill their assignments than for me to photograph the entire time. But I still need to photograph every model for a few minutes in order to demo procedures and to get images to turn in.
The challenge is to incorporate a number of systems at once: Lighting, Posing, Expression. That means (1) lighting amazingly well and moving the lights to work with the pose and moving the pose to work with the lights, (2) working on posing and body positions that flatter and are creative but also change from client to client, and (3) getting real, believable expressions – no canned smiles.
For practice, I like using high school senior type models. From there we grow and talk about couples, groups, and even family groups. But nailing these three things first on one model is important before moving on to couples and groups.
As you can see in just a few minutes, I have lots of wonderful choices with Shannon. In looking through my images, I noticed I had a series of fun images that show flow and movemnet. These worked great together as a series. I thought they’d be good either as a set of 3 or 4. Here they are as a collage of 4.
From there I have a lot of wonderful images that are great as standalone images. When I photograph a a high school senior, I want a lot of variety quickly with one outfit before changing outfits and backgrounds. I shot this short series of images as if it was our first outfit change, and as you can see in just minutes we have lots of variety that would be great as wall images or album page designs.
Once you know you’ve got some great stuff, you can increase the motion and action of the photoshoot. You can’t start off with action, because it causes you to overshoot. I explain why in detail at these weeklong workshops. It has to do with how the mind works creativity. So here I’m having Shannon spin around, having fun with her hair.
And to end our fast 5-minute shoot and let other photographers practice with her, here’s a quick selfie together.
If you’d like to come take a full weekend workshop, my full schedule is here. Texas School has just opened their registration too. Though that event is at the end of April, the classes fill up quickly so take a look. And of course check out the other events coming up in 2020.
And until next time, America.