Working with Self Consciousness
Our next subject is this idea here of working with self consciousness self consciousness this is that awkward uncomfortable what do you want from me? Why are you looking at me? Why are you judging me feeling that we all have? Is everybody here familiar with this feeling? Amy you're ever not felt self conscious about anything ever all right? So this is amazing to me because self consciousness is something that we all share every single one of us have experienced or do experience or maybe experiencing right now on dh certainly will in the future and yet it's one of the things that we don't really discuss a lot with our portrait clients it's not really a common topic is to say are you feeling uncomfortable because I'm feeling a little governable and this is something that I've tended to work into a lot of my shoots and found that I have a pretty amazing results with not only in terms of what the final output is as it relates to expressiveness of subjects but also just how it feels to be o...
n the shoot. Andi I'm gonna ask you guys, have you ever been on a shoot where you've had an experience where it feels like its work the whole time and then it's over and even though you did this for a living because you love it, that was all work? Have you guys had that experience okay, I have absolutely had that experience I didn't want to have it again and I make an incredible intention to not have that and I can honestly say that for years now every one of my portrait shoots are are the experiences where I most get to lose myself and get out of my head and self consciousness will trap me in my head and make me feel worried about all the little details and getting out of my head is the part where it just feels like a release and it feels like a wonderful experience and then if my clients are feeling that too that's where I do get a lot of that joyful experience because the worries are gone I'm going to think about a lot of things when I'm shooting and you heard a lot of that we went right out there on purpose we said we wanted to show you harsh lighting to me when I'm shooting in harsh lighting even if we're correcting for it and making a difference it almost feels like screaming and I don't mean the trains and planes and people but that noise it feels almost like it's additional sense happening that this this light noise where it's crazy bright s o I'm thinking about lighting I'm thinking about composition I'm thinking about framing I have to think about the aperture when I'm moving in and out and have to think of how backgrounds changing but of all those things when taken in its entirety, the thing I care about most is the expression on my subjects faces and I can get everything right, but if they're fake or zoned out or not there are they feel like they're phoning it in I don't feel like I got the shot I want it I really don't and I've seen some beautiful images that air so well exposed so structurally perfect but they leave you feeling nothing you guys had that experience to me it's one of the things I think that matters the most is that connection and that ability to showcase that expression so as it relates to self consciousness there's a few factors that really can help make a difference and I have tried the first is this question how do you put someone at ease it's not one size fits all kind of answer and it depends on a few different factors first of all, it depends on who the person is. In my experience a lot of different people are going to have a lot of different ways to be put at ease and the children we just photographed all had different methods the one boy had a great experience when you move the camera away he got to see you and then you lit up you know denise, when you put the camera in our faces like perfect we're expected it to be and she like nail that you know chalabi goliath e listen you're right um who remembers who could say that could I be when she said her name it was fantastic and she lit up and that's what what you found with her and I will find those spots with my subjects and I'll just return to them again and again and again and I find that they consistently worked for the length of time we need it the next point of course that's pretty valid is how long you need them at ease and this is our advantage as photographers our main advantages of photographers we don't need them at ease for long we need them to look comfortable for literally hundreds of a second a tenth of seth second thousands of a second that's all we need and if you saw when we're out there that's a lot of sometimes what I got when you look that big collection it looks like everyone's happy and having a great time but when you're on the shoot everyone was happy but there was a lot of nerves and uncomfortable what you're going to do and I don't know where to stand that's a big deal and lastly and I think the point that gets missed the most is who you are when you are walking into a subject no matter what is going on you are bringing your own level of self consciousness to shoot, I feel like when it comes tio photographing children, that is the one name that most people would feel like. They have the least amount of concern about, like, I don't have to worry about how you come across to a child and yet there's a lot of fear there and discomfort because you feel like sometimes kids can read you better than humans and you don't know what they're thinking there's a lot of nodding here. Why do you see me so well? When you're photographing a two brothers, for instance, who are very different from each other? We've got one whose silly and playful and is very goofy an app just have a lot of fun and we've got one who's very serious and quiet on dh, soft spoken and doesn't really want to be there it's really hard to come out with, come at both of them with the exact same techniques, because it's not going to work in my experience with trying to set these two children ease so I can get one image that feels very natural uncomfortable of them together. I need to work with them separately and bring it together at the last minute, so that means I'm making the silly jokes and I'm literally here like, you know, uh what time what they gave me these jokes I could make on air there's a kid appropriate but just making some sort of killer it's silly comments with you and then just saying we put your shoulder like that that looks so good I'll come back and forth that if I use that with him it doesn't do anything and vice versa and I'll have a whole conversation going back and fourth and bring them together and you'll find that beautiful magic but I can't come out with that come out both of them with the same technique it won't work. The other thing that it takes is that every single one of these shots and so very many of the shots I've taken is you need that hair, its breath and when I go into a shoot every one of those setups I'm only expecting one or two shots that I'll use from that set up I think that's a really big point to consider I get messages a lot from people who say it seems like you just did all the chutes come out very, very well and you just kind of go out and every time you come back you can post images and and I think that's a huge problem in our industries we all feel like everybody's has has it easier or is doing it better or it has less issues, whereas if we look at the expectations of where we are, my expectation for a shoot when I have a little setup and set up is what I'll call when I just come here, you're on the wall and we'll try this for a while they were gonna move here and they're going to they're I'm looking for a shot for set up, I'll click twelve, fifteen, twenty based on what we're doing, I'm looking for a shot from each and that's all I'm looking for, and if I go in with the expectation that I want all twenty of these to be perfect, I'm going to get really nervous. I'm gonna be very uncomfortable, I have a standard that's up here, and I'm going to translate that to my subjects they're going to pick up on that nervous energy and that that we talked outside about how energy is so much of all of photography, it's all this transfers of energy, if I'm putting out this nerve and uncomfortableness and awkwardness, you're going to give it back to me and that's all I'm going to see in my frame and so my so the answer to me is, my expectations are so low about what I think I could d'oh that I'm gonna have fun, I'm gonna have fun with it and that's going to translate and that's what I'm going to capture it just seems like a simple statement, but I think it's a really powerful one, especially when you're photographing children if my standards for myself are so low that I can't help it achieve them, I'm going to have fun when I'm out there and since I'm having fun when I'm out there, I'm going to get that reflected back and it's going to show up in my image does that make sense to all of you? You see how that could work for you if it's not already the other component is depending on win you're going into the shoot and what's happening what we even saw justin our machine we'll see a lot more parachutes for the rest of the time we're here is that some of the best shots going to get is right in the beginning and some will be right at the end and that's just it's just going to be balanced out that way I'll do a number of family shoots where I'm not getting anything that I love without, you know, maybe some candidacy in there but I'm not getting any great family shots that I love, so we're an hour in so we're our fifteen minutes in and that is not abnormal unfortunately a lot of people shut off their shoots thirty forty five minutes in and it's hard to achieve that which is why I give a lot of time to it thie other thing is sometimes your very best shots. Her right in the beginning, when they're fresh. And they're excited. And they want to be there. And that doesn't last very long. So just being aware to the fact that you've got to just be going, because it may not last very long. And you've got to be ready technically, the whole time.