Live Shoot: Interacting with the Client During the Shoot
Okay let's bring the whole family in shall we? And this by the way, this I am going to do very much like a normal shoot, I haven't had much experience with them or a relationship with them I don't really know them and this is pretty normal. Right, this is from scratch. Hi!
How are you guys I'm Tamara.
Nice to meet you, I'm Jessica.
This part has happened before cause we've communicated but let's pretend.
What's your name?
Acsa, Jessica, Jessica, Acsa. I have to do that about 50 times. (laughs) Okay, and who are you people?
Eli? What? Eli and Grayson, Grayson and Eli. Got it.
No, his name is Eli, my name is Grayson.
Okay, Jessica, and Acsa.
No I should have my camera right now. No, okay. Well I thought we'd maybe take some pictures. Do you think Eli and Grayson wanna watch you guys get pictures?
No they're not Eli and Grayson we are. My name is Grayson and his name is Eli.
(sigh) okay, I will nail that, I will get that ...
down. Alright so a couple things, well no, let me start here. Cause I immediately gravitate towards oh my god they're adorable let me photograph them. So I'm going to hold myself back, because I can't tell you how much I want to photograph them right now. And I am so excited to do that. But for right now, talk amongst yourselves, the topic is legos, and I'm gonna go over here.
Legos, like the Lego Movie. Tell me what you guys thought of the last one, talk to each other.
Yes. God they're so cute. So we're about to conduct a shoot. Thank you for coming here, I know it's a lot of work to get here, you usually have to leave work and make appointments and schedule it so thank you. What I would love to do when I'm photographing them is raise all restrictions that one might normally have in terms of trying to keep them in check. You know? And just let them do whatever it is they're gonna do, and if at some point you kind of think, if at some point you kind of think to yourself, "Please stop throwing those rocks at her head,", and you want to interject and stop that, first of all thank you that's so nice of you, but secondly what I'm probably... Oh my god, okay hold on, cause I really want to get to this, okay hold on. Alright back to this, what I'm gonna do in that moment where you interject, naturally because you're raising great humans, is I'm gonna remind you of this conversation. So I might do something like this, we said you wouldn't do that, and then you'll say, right right right right. Okay? So we have this dialogue now, it's been a minute and a half we've had this dialogue. Because they're here cause they've seen my photography, and they want those photographs. I'm here cause these kids are so darn cute I can't wait to photograph them. And we are collaborating on this together, and so if we've had this minute and a half discussion up front, I am not gonna run into those 80% of problems people tell me they have, that I say gosh I don't really have those problems, not that I don't have problems, but I'm setting an expectation up front. So you're not gonna run in, I'm not gonna feel like the energies killed, you know, I probably know how to dodge rocks, and we'll be fine. So the other thing I'm gonna say is as we're shooting we're just gonna talk through the experience. You guys are gonna hang out on the couch, I'm gonna start a shoot, and then we're just going to do that. Okay, good. So as I'm starting to shoot, I am letting them do whatever they want. Have a seat, can I get you a red bull? (laughs) So I'm gonna, do you think I can get like a little something to put my camera on? Oh look at that, it's happening real time. Okay, so, as I'm setting the shoot, they are here, in the perfect pose, what are you doing? (laughs) Come here, come here human, oh what a monster! Okay, oh no, oh no, oh no. Okay so what I'm thinking about lighting. I'm not gonna put a lot of effort into this, this isn't a lighting workshop. But I do wanna think about how do I get the max light on them without like them being distracted by the lights? That's going to help me, if I'm in the middle of a shoot, and it's going super well, and they're like squinting and stuff, but I'm like stick with it. I'm gonna have great expressions. Okay, wait, let's try something, ready? When I get to five, scream. But not, not, don't make any noise til then. One, two, pause, gonna turn this out like this. Three, four, look right at me. Can you see me with no problem? Five! (screaming) (screaming) (laughs) Okay, excellent, great screaming! Alright. Okay I'm getting stuck on the lights. (screaming) Alright, pause. We're gonna try it again. Do you feel like you can look at me and see me well?
Is there any problem with what's going on here?
Oh yeah the light.
You said (laughs) What do you think about the lighting? (screaming) (screaming) Alright well he's down we lost him, just you! No, she's gone. (laughs) Alright very good. Alright I'm gonna try doing something.
They look like giant fingernails.
Okay, okay, okay, look at me! Okay perfect. (laughs) Alright, are they coming up for you? Check it out, alright so, I have an idea. That I've got the lights as bright as I want them, and now I'm gonna make sure my settings are appropriate. I'm shooting with the Nikon D850, which as I joked about earlier, you always say it's not about the gear, but maybe it's cause you haven't shot with a D850 yet. It's such a good camera. So I'm shooting with the Nikon D850 and the 105 1/4 lens, and the 24/70 2/8 lens. I'm gonna switch back and forth between those two cameras. Because I want to get some really clean beautiful shots. And I wanna switch back to the 24/70. As I'm progressing through this, what I would love, is for you guys to set up some poses that you think are fun, like jump in, start with something, then I'll mix it up. But just kinda play, and say I think you should be here, you should be here, and just let what they do, get some more interaction pieces. Alright we're gonna, are we in, are we good?
Okay. Okay, so, how bout we take a photograph. But, I'm gonna do nothing. Your mom and dad are gonna come in and make you into a gorgeous picture. You ready? Say come make me into a picture!
Come make me into a picture! (laughs)
Okay, okay you ready? (squealing and laughs) So, what I'm doing here is, I'll wait til you can hear me. (laughs)
Hanging over the back
Like that. (laughs) Head down, yeah. (laughs)
That's just, yup. That's brilliant! Oh my goodness!
Now you get up Eli, Grayson wants to be upside down now.
So what I'm doing here is I'm setting up the shot I want, I'm not even close to the pose I'm gonna land on hopefully. Wait I gotta see you too! Okay, don't move! Don't fall! Watch your head! Okay, it's going down.
I can't see! (laughs)
What I'm actually doing right now, with these kids, is I'm using their parents, to rev them up. We're just being playful, and they're being silly, and none of these, well every once in a while some of these shots will be quite usable. But for the most part I'm not worried about all that sort of stuff. What I'm doing is I am using the very affectionate, sweet relationship they have with them, and I am transmitting it to me. Because they see that we're friends. Yup they see that we're friends, and so when they kinda step back a little bit, I'm gonna jump in and now there's like this whole collaboration thing happening, versus, I'll get it all from here. They don't have to do anything. There's nothing that's required of them, they're just playing, mom and dad, they're just playing. I take over from there, but I'm gone ahead and set that up. So we have that nice flow with the kids. Okay, say, do me a favor, say Mom and Dad, you go sit down!
Mom and Dad you go sit down!
You go sit down now!
You go sit down!
Say go down and think about what you've done! Go sit there! (squealing and laughing) Think about what you've done! Okay, good, good! Can I try something that's ridiculous and super weird?
Great, that's all I want to do in life. Alright, let's have you sit this way, this is gonna be bizarre, ready? So you sit like that, don't fall. You flip around, why don't we try seeing not the bottom. Alright back up all the way here, back up back up back up. Yup, and that's good, that's good. How many feet do they have? You come here, wait wait. It's okay, don't move. I'm gonna try something ready? (laughs) Are you a little ticklish? (laughs)
Yeah I'm ticklish.
Okay, where? Here?
No, no right here!
What about here?
No no! (laughs)
Okay wait, don't fall! Okay listen, I'm gonna go over there, and you guys are gonna stay there, and when I say, now, you're gonna run up and attack mom and dad, but not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, not yet, no no no no no no, go back you have to start from there or else it won't work! Okay? Okay okay nobody do anything, I'll tell you when. How should I say it, should I say like now? Or should I say now? (squeak) Like that?
Okay. How do you think I should say it? Wait, not yet! Not yet, not yet, wait wait wait wait wait, not yet.
No! (yelling) No! Okay, how bout what if I do this, now!
Yeah, yeah do that!
Okay, that's the way to do it?
Okay, and then you're gonna literally just jump over there and attack them, right?
Okay, and you're gonna be friendly?
Are you gonna attack them with love?
Okay, here it goes, ready? Are you ready for it?
Not yet! Not yet! Get back! I did not say now! (laughs) Okay, okay, alright. Should we ask them if they're ready to be attacked?
Are you guys ready to be attacked?
Now now now now now now now! (laughs) (roar) They're attacking! (laughs) (squealing) That's all the attacking, it's so cute! (laughs) All the attacking. Now, go back go back go back go back go back!
Eli that wasn't nice!
Oh (laughs) Go back go back go back, he isn't truly fighting you. Go back go back go back go bite the chair! Do you need first aid? Do you need some ointment? Are you good?
Okay, did he smack you?
Yes, (laughs) And then he bit me.
I bit his hand.
I saw it, I saw it.
And then I bit, and then I bit, Ow! And then I bit this.
Hey do me a favor do me a favor, which one of you is Grayson?
Okay, knock my hand, just hit it, nice. Bite my hand, but on the thing, so just in case you're carrying anything, alright ready, oh excellent biting. Alright from now on, you can hit me, no I said hit! And you can bite me, but you can't hit or bite each other. Okay?
Okay. Okay. Just for now, later when you go home, no later, later when you go home, you bite and hit each other all day long. (laughs)
No? Cause you like each other! I told you what you gotta get at this shot right? I told you what you're gonna get when you go home? What'd I tell you you're gonna get? A puppy? Am I? Or am I?
Yeah you're only joking.
Yeah I'm joking, I'm joking. (laughs) Alright, I'm gonna switch lenses, and I'm gonna try a simple, clean portrait of each of them. Just to mix it up. And let's see, one of you come here and help me, the one, who's name starts with a G.
Alright, you're gonna be here, by my side, wow okay, there you go, that's one way to go with it. What if we did, I think I love what you did here, let me adjust it a little bit cause this is amazing. But what if we made it just a little bit more amazing. I don't know where to reach you from. Alright, here, ready, oh. Okay, that's good that's good that's good that's good. Yup, yup, this is perfect. (laughs)
Okay, wait wait (laughs) Okay, I won't tickle you, watch watch I won't even touch you watch watch watch watch yup. (laughs)
Why you walking like that? Why is he so silly? Okay, you tell him, put your left hand down, tell him. Say put your left hand down.
Put your left hand down!
Yup, gorgeous, now say (whispers)
Pull your shirt down a little.
Oh yes it looks like you're loosening your tie, very nice, now say, nope drop your hand!
Drop your hand!
Say drop your hand!
Drop your hand!
Now like this, say this, say drop your hand.
Drop your hand!
I'll kill you!
Okay? (laughs) This might be a time that mom and dad would wanna interject and say let's be moral humans and not threaten other people's lives, so this is, would you say that's an appropriate interjection point?
So what I would say right now is say, how bout instead of saying I'll kill you say, I will hug you, try it, but say it really mean.
I will hug you!
Yes! And say, I will hug you so much!
I will hug you so much!
That's nice. (laughs)
Well that's nice, you wanna go give him a hug? He just said the nicest thing to you.
Ah, get off me!
No no, a hug without showing your booty first. Jump up on him he loves it. (laughs) (yelling) Alright jump up and face me, sit right there, sit right there, see right there, I want that over your fireplace. (laughs) Okay, wait wait, alright. Who, mom or dad, who's gonna be the first that can pick you up the most without tickling you, who do you think?
Alright, mama! Come here mama! Wait no no stay stay! You go back to what you were doing cause it was awesome. No one's gonna tickle you, will you do me a favor, and what I'm doing right now is not only we're working together cause we're collaborating on this shot, but I'm also saying, okay, something's gotta slow this down, and making it less possible for me to get these shots is this extreme ticklishness. I can't even touch him, like watch. (laughs) So now I am to him, a person that's just going to tickle the crap out of him and he doesn't want it, he's literally gone. But, mama, can take care of this, cause mama touches him all the time without it being crazy. Okay, good I'm so glad we gave you those energy drinks. Now sit here, sit up sit up sit up sit up, and then stay, I won't touch you I won't touch you! Alright, so, would you tell me, hey is there a Grayson anywhere?
Yeah, she's right there.
Right there, right there!
Oh alright sit there, let's put a Grayson on you. Let's do it, let's say, oh camera. Alright let's see if we can't (laughs) Are you okay? Are you okay? Do you need some water? Do you need some oh. Okay, okay, okay,
Get off me!
(laughs) Alright we're gonna have your sister, no no I won't get you, I won't get you. Alright sit up sit up, actually you know what? Can you come here for a moment?
Alright so what I would love for you to do, is we're gonna bring Grayson in, and I'd like for you to scooch him back just a little bit in his chair. And without tickling him, no tickling!
No no there's no tickling there's no, by the way this, super normal. Alright we're not gonna tickle anything.
No tickles. (laughs)
Nobody's gonna tickle you. Ready?
Yeah, no more tickles.
Alright, no tickles are allowed. Do you wanna watch tickles go away? Okay, go tickles, yell at it, say get outta here. Yell at it. Yell
Get outta here!
Yell at the tickles.
Get outta here!
They're done, they're gone, nobody can tickle you. It's all done, so now we're gonna gently, in a completely non-ticklish way, slowly calmly with no problems, have your sister Grayson come really close to you. She can't tickle you, I can't tickle you, mommy can't tickle you, daddy can't tickle you, and this camera definitely can't tickle you. So we're just gonna slowly bring. (laughs)
Eli ninja bread.
Okay that was hilarious. Wait wait I have an idea. Eli, you come over here, jump on the couch. Grayson you sit down for a second. So two things are happening. And by the way, you guys are so awesome. (laughs) You're so good.
Let's have mom over here, watch, look. Come here mama, watch watch Grayson this is gonna be funny. Look at your mom, she's gonna come right next to me but over here and then just look at her like, I love you so much mother, ready give her that look. Ready? Can you see her? Can you see her? (laughs) Can you see her? Ah! Okay, so what a couple things I'm doing here, is I am making sure that he feels safe. Cause it's a flood of stuff coming in from an energy perspective, there's a lot going on. And he is so cute, but we also need to let him get some energy out and we need to take him off the hot seat. Cause we're just gonna cycle down if we do that. And he wants to be photographed, and he loves it, but he needs a break. Do you want some water? No, okay, so why don't you go and hang out with him for just a second and make sure he's feeling comfortable. (laughs) And then we're gonna try this over here, and we're gonna take turns, go back and forth. Where it comes so in handy to collaborate with the parents is say you guys take a break it's good, actually I need you back in the game. Alright go back and take a break, like to have that flow be really comfortable. Okay, and meanwhile the energy has come down a lot. And we're gonna keep it down here, so you're not gonna see me jump around and race around right now cause we need to change the energy. So I'm gonna present this, I'm reacting to what they need. They're gonna respond to me, and we'll get the shots we want that are different than the run around chasing ones. Okay. Do me a favor, can you tell me which button I should push? Okay, we'll see if it works, come back here. You said the red one right? Do I push it like, fast or really slow? Okay fast. Like this? Did that work? Did it work? (gasp) it did work! Can I try something where I'm gonna change things just a little bit? I'm gonna come change my frame, and then do I press the red one again? Or the green one? Green one? Alright is your finger going inside your ear?
Why? Cause you want it? What if your one finger touched your other finger? See if you can do that. Nope. (laughs) Okay, you did exactly what I said, thank you. So what if we tried this, put one finger down here, yeah, and this finger down here, and then have them just have a nice little conversation. Maybe the topic is cookies. And then scooch your booty back, scooch your booty back, and then lean forward a little bit like this like on this, like this, yes yes yes yes yes but up like that, oh my good, good, now how amazing does she look? (gasp)
Gorgeous Grayson. Don't, change, anything, you are doing such a good job. Lick your lips, nice. Oh you look so, okay come back to me now. No no, literally come back. (laughs) So one of the things I never do, when I'm photographing children or families is have a big tethered screen. Cause it's really hard to not look at yourself over and over again, especially when you are so beautiful. Am I right?
Yeah and I just drank some cola so I'm self energized. (laughs)
That's right, that's right. And I also don't show the kids the images all the time. Like here and there I will but otherwise it pulls away. Let's try getting you back in the game. Can I help? I won't tickle you in any way, I won't even touch you. Let's get, wait mom let me try on thing. I shouldn't say mom I hate when I say mom. I should call her Grayson right?
Look I can't tickle you at all, there's nothing here, grab hold the edge of it. Come with me, come on, I'll show you where to go. Come here, yup, that was nice and calm. And I'm gonna try this, without tickling you in any way. What I would love is for you to just see if you can see me over the other side of it. Can you? Nope, that's not you. (laughs) There you go, but you know what you can't do? Look at me. You can't flip it forward.
Watch, see where dad is real quick. Go up there, come over here and when I tell you it's time, I want you to do two things. Ready? One don't pick your nose, (laughs) that's one of the things I don't want you to do. Oh gosh you can't help but look at yourself right? Look how beautiful you are, it's amazing!
I can't stop looking at myself.
I know! (laughs) Trust me that's the entire Instagram right now.
Look at that look at that!
Alright, sit up sit up, don't look at you, cause when I take this photo I'll say now look. Okay?
When I say now look, look at my face!
I'll look at your poop!
Look at my poop. Come back up come back up, lean forward, and oh my goodness, alright now what you're gonna do, is you're gonna lean all the way down so I can't see you. And I'm gonna tell you to pop up, but not until I tell you, okay?
Pop up! (laughs) Not yet, not yet! Okay, now we're having neck issues. Alright, what if you pop up as slow as possible? Like do a slow pop, ready? Wow that is so slow, yup it's a live broadcast. (laughs) Yes, yes yes, oh my goodness. The slowness, lean forward, lean forward, are you being a puppet, okay now live it! (screeching) Okay, excellent, great slowinging! Would you mind if we threw all of you together for one shot real quick? Alright. We're gonna try something where we put you all in one chair, cause there's no way there's gonna be any problems with that.
Let's flip it around. You know what, Eli you're gonna be last. You go over on the couch and I'll call you in. Yup, just jump and jump and jump and jump and jump. Just jump, jump, jump. Alright. Let's have can I grab you for a second? How bout this part? I'll just grab this part. Yeah, perfect, just this part. Alright tell your mom and dad, say sit in the chair. Sit in the chair! She's down. Sit in the chair, however you want to. It doesn't matter, we're gonna sit in the chair. And then you are gonna get see right there that little kinda little size for Grayson? Can you get in there? Go go go, scooch in. Nope that's not, oh I told you to go. Very good, and then so maybe what we could have is this happening, huh, huh, that's good. Super comfortable am I right?
One chair, one family. Alright, you're turn, so what I'm gonna have you do, is see where mom's left arm is? Lay down right there. Do you want me to lead you over or can you do it? I'm gonna switch lenses. No problem with this, everyone looks super comfy. I'm having a feeling, what if, Grayson come here real quick, just for a second. Could you two scooch in that chair just a bit? How bout this, put your leg over that way, cause that just looks painful. No problem here. Could I just move a chair around real quick? Could I move, can I move this couch real quick? Yeah, let's move the couch in, cause I can't flip the lights that way. Okay, let's try, let's just do it, no, forget the chair, move the chair, I don't know why I didn't think about this. Say Tamara, that's my name, think about this. Now plop on the ground, plop, yup, good plopping. Come on over, come on over, excellent.
You gave me electric shock!
No you gave me electric shock. Alright, good, and then... Can you try, throwing your legs over there and sitting back that way and so like this, I'm you. And then you scooch back scooch back, okay.
Come here cheesy.
Okay, and if this were a real shoot, where I had a lot of time and I wasn't worried about anything else, I would adjust all the lights to go a bit lower so we wouldn't have it going kind of a top down lighting, but this isn't a real shoot this is an awesome shoot. Look where Grayson's going. She's just down, she's so down. Would you mind turning the lights up a bit for me? So I have more people in this scene, I've got to add a little bit more light. Just a little brighter, thank you so much. Good, okay, wait no let her be as is. So all I want from you two is to completely ignore these humans.
Alright. Come here, come here. Alright so, you guys are just with me. You are so with me, there is nothing going on here that's weird. You're gonna lean in a little bit close together, beautiful smiles, my goodness. Whatever you did with your beard today is amazing. (laughs) I love it, right? Yup you keep doing that, I'm gonna throw this creature in, I'm gonna flip her and you're gonna grab her. Okay, you can flop down, but give me three seconds. Go one two three and then flop okay?
But when I flop you and I turn you you're just gonna look at me, and then I'm gonna say one two and then you're gonna flop down okay? Here it comes, here it comes, here it comes! Alright you're gonna do three seconds, one, two, oh my goodness, three. Come back! Should we do it again, okay, one, two, scooch her back, pull Grayson back, this times the flop's on seven! Okay good! Good, pst pst I know, stop staring at that! You two go towards each other like a triangle, yes. And look at each other and say, oh baby I love you this is all worth it. (laughs) This is what we signed up for. Wait wait come back! Talk about your credit card interest, there you go! Talk about the latest mortgage. Alright you two come back here, I'm gonna have you race in. Come come come come come come come come come come. Okay lost you completely, your hair is amazing. Amazing. Okay, one, two, go get 'em go get 'em go get 'em go get 'em just the one, turn, flip, yes, excellent! Grab her, grab her, both of you together. There we go okay, I actually love that. It's awesome! Life her between you and just, lift her up. There we go. She's got her tongue sticking out doesn't she. Alright everyone give me tongues go, one two three. Done. That's the shot right there. Perfect, perfect perfect perfect perfect I know I said I wasn't gonna but we're done! We're done we did it! Thank you guys! (applause) Please, please, take a bow.
I mean, amazing looking children, very cool family. Do we need something? No we're good. And the parents were so, like, yup I got it but could you see the strain on their face, a few times, like, I kinda think we need to correct for that. One of the things you saw happening with the flow of that shoot, is, first of all the stimulation. Did you see how the stimulation was adding up? Happens a lot and different people feel things in different ways. If we have a child who's exceptionally shy, you have a whole different interaction with them, than you do with someone who's like a superstar. But sometimes people walk in and they seem like a superstar, but then you see they're the child who just feels more. Or the adult, when they grow up to be adults who feel more. And you have to kinda gauge how it's going at the time, so even though I might be treating the kid who's a superstar one way, when they start kind of you can see it in their face, you can see it in their expressions, you can see it with the way their actual voice is, like it's just all coming in too much, and let's pull it back. And if you saw there, both mom and dad knew too. They immediately changed their energy levels right away. And so now we're all kinda working in tandem. But given that that was chaos, which is so normal, which happens all the time, on nearly every shoot I do. Give the fact that was chaos, do you see how setting those expectations up front made a huge difference? I mean I met them a second ago, we don't have a history, I haven't photographed them forever. But we had a few minute talk at the beginning about how this should be handled and they not only said yes, but they were very respectful of it. They clearly just said okay, I said I would, and I'm just gonna step back here. And I utilized their connection to the children, quite a lot. So I have photographers who tell me, like, as soon as the kids come in I send the parents away. I just don't want that element I don't want them distracting them I don't want this and that and I just I don't want them to mess things up. And I'm like, the parents are the ones who are buying the prints, they're the ones who hired you, those are your clients. These little clients are awesome, and you can get some amazing photographs of them and have fun, and figure out how you solve all these problems as you go, but the clients are the people you're collaborating with. How do you work together to utilize their connection to the child as well as get the images of them separately, together, two groups, all that. Obviously we weren't shooting in a situation where I would be able to do what I do at a normal shoot, which is like let me pull in the couch, let's move this, let's move the lights down and everything. Cause that's not what it was about. But you can see, that we framed it so we got the kids separately, together, with the parents, if we had more time I would do the kids with each of the parents separately, cause I'm thinking not only how is this experience going and how are we building a relationship, this was what, 20 minutes, this was about 20 minutes. A normal shoot for me is 2 to 3 hours. So we have a lot of time, we can take a break to sit down and say so you left work early, what do you have when you get back? Like, let's talk, let's connect, we discuss things, I mean you always find common things with people, and at the end of the shoot these are your friends. And that's awesome. And so when you sit down for the sales meeting it's like a little reunion. How's it going, oh my gosh, you love the photos I love the photos, they're hilarious. It's just a natural, organic conversation. That stems from there. But on the shoot itself, you need to be cognizant of that. I'm not gonna block them out, I'm not gonna ever, ever compete with them or fight with them or get frustrated with them, they're my clients, I'm collaborating with them, I'm grateful for them, and we're gonna use this whole thing together, to make something happen.