Some time ago I gave you a few photography tips (here), but I’ve got a couple of more tips up my sleeve… here they come!
Connect with your subject
Taking pictures of a person can be tricky. Often they act very naturally up until the moment you get your camera out… then they start to act goofy, they put on a funny smile, they keep saying that they don’t look great on a picture,…
Try to put your subject at ease: talk to them, try to connect with them, let them do natural things,…
- Count very slowly to 3 and take the picture just after you said 2 (this will only work once of course 😀 ).
- Let your subject look down and when you say yes they must look up.
- Let your subject do something with their hands: let them hold a drink, a book, a purse,…
- Don’t let your subject just stand up: let them lean against something, let them sit down,…
- When you’ve taken a couple of pictures and there’s a good one, show it. It gives your model more confidence.
- Talk to your subject whilst taking pictures. Ask about the things he/she loves and the things he/she’s passionate about. Talk about his/her kids, partner, pet, hobbies, parents,… it will give your subject emotions in the eyes.
- When taking pictures of kids, squat down.
- When children don’t want to cooperate, let them take a picture of you first… and then it’s your turn!
- Make sure to have a little reward for children: a lolly pop, a bubble blower,…
In the picture above you see my daughter Elizabeth in a time she still was a willing model… I let her walk in front of me and when I said ‘yes’ she had to look over her shoulder. I think it turned out quite naturally and I love how the wind plays with her hair!
In the picture above you see Kathleen, from Jaka Bijoux. I had taken some pictures in her jewellery shop for my ‘exploring my neighbourhood’ column and when I said that I wanted to take a picture from her as well, she suddenly changed from a spontaneous woman into someone who didn’t know what to do with herself… I took some pictures, but she really looked awkward so I stopped taking pictures of her and focused on her shop again. Then a customer entered her shop and as she helped out the customer, she looked so spontaneous and passionate again, I just took the shot, a slightly odd angle perhaps, but this image of her really shows her as she is: a friendly and helpful woman with a beautiful and unforced smile on her face.
Leave room for imagination
I guess you’ll have to look twice at the picture above. It’s a picture of an advertisement for the English National Ballet and in the window you can see the reflections of buildings and trees.
Images shouldn’t always be straightforward. Challenge your viewer and let him guess what he’s looking at 🙂
The picture below is a detail from a sun-lit wedding dress.
Let your picture tell a story
I like it when a picture tells a story or leaves the viewer guessing about what happened at the moment the picture was taken. Who are those people? What are they doing? Where are they? Do they know eachother?
In a story-telling image it’s all about point of view, timing and composition. When an image is manipulated or put into scene, it will show. It will look fake and unreal.
Story-telling images aren’t easy to make. When an image I take tells a story, it’s often a lucky shot! It takes a true photographer to tell a story through images. I’ve taken thousands of pictures, but I only have a couple of story-telling pictures in my collection!
Let your mind wander freely and create a story about the picture below…
And that completes part II of my photography tips! I hope you find these tips helpful. If you’ve got any more, please share them in the comment below.