Shooting for Maximum Client Satisfaction
Let us talk about shooting for maximum client satisfaction one thing obviously we did last night we pulled up some images that were pretty good images and then we tried then we spent some time converting them through post processing into more salable images right? You saw that sometimes all it takes is just simply redirecting the crop redirecting the focus one of the things to consider when you're shooting for your clients and presenting images for your clients is how are they going to feel when they view them how are they going to feel like what pointed their eyes meet the image how did they come into the image? Does the subject redirect them out of the image in a very quick way how they composed within the shot how they framed how are you showcasing this family as belonging together or this couple is clearly together or this individual in the best light possible? So much of that isn't necessarily post pressing post processing it's how you're shooting it right so let's talk about how ...
we shoot it for the sake of the fact that I want to talk about simply expression and not post processing this is pretty much a right out of camera exactly at a camera and this is a sort of image where it's a little girl it's sweet she's smiling I positioned her to set her up on the beach I just shot this like a week ago and if I'm looking at this, her face would be considered candid, right? Um a small change in how I am focusing on her how I am eliciting expression, how I'm calling her out brings us from this to this. Do you see the difference? Take a post process completely out of it? Do you see the difference in expression and sail ability? Clients come to me all the time and start out by saying we're coming to you because we want our images to be expressive, to be spirited, I just want you to get their out there and be candid in terms of what you grab, you know, I don't want posed stayed shocks and then I say, wonderful, I pose everything, but not in the way I think you're thinking. I think when you're thinking is and tell me if I'm hearing you correctly, I think what you're saying is that you don't want stayed overly posed shots that are losing out on expression and spirit and fun and interaction is that what is that? What you really are saying? Because most of my shots start from some sort of place from opposed perspective and yes, I'll grab things here and there there just happening around me and hilarious and fun, and I didn't set that up like I didn't set that that's not one of my normal poses. But the truth is, I believe it's far more impactful to start from a place that you already know looks good based on your experience of how people lay in how they put their fingers and where they put their toes and how they cross and how they lean forward and how they look up and other chin is out all that sort of stuff you have some ideas, you also know that if you re direct people a little bit, they can be lit far more expressively their eyes light up, you know, they turn just a little bit right here it's a stronger chin versus a weaker chain versus on and on and on they look thinner, you know? Or they look younger, they look all the words that people keep saying, like, can you bring me to this? Isn't that whatever it is that they're saying? What do they really want? So if I go back to this image, this is kind of if I'm taking a candid shot that's, what it wass that was who she was when she sat down and candidly without any sort of prompting smiled for the camera or smiled at mom are just kind of zoned out dazed I'm hanging out here, I'm going to smile that is what I started with in this case specifically what I felt I was dealing with it again this isn't going to be a whole course right now on how tio work with children of all different personality types that would be the course from two years ago should the children's photography course but we went in detail on how do you deal with various children and their personality styles and how do you draw them out based on what they're presenting to you? But in this case what I was dealing with was the child on the beach he was a little kind of phased out by the wind and the sand and all the stuff coming her way and even though she's trying to do the right thing she wasn't being like overly crazy but she was trying to do the right thing but there was a complete loss of what I saw in her eyes do you see that smile that she's giving reach your eyes at all and in fact her eyes are actually flat and lifeless to the shot and just by the way she turns and crops airhead and this and that we were his own and we see some little catch lights in post processing I draw them out further I work this image into something I really want to sell to my client but I'm gonna have a hard time saying do you love this well all right I love this can you see how we can get to all my baby there she is this is a shot directly from my my brand new days old posing book handbook. This is the before shot. This is kind of how we start, where I'm trying to set them up and get them going. Ah, flash forward to see this is what we end up with, but let's, go back to where we start it's not always like you said it very well. This is hard to do when you're working with children it's hard and you have you start from somewhere and they're very rarely are you starting with magic? You don't just walk out and everybody's like like they're all right let's get going normally when you start out there hiding behind somebody or their glowering at you like I'm not gonna be doing this in this in this specific situation, I wanted an image of mom and daughter together. I set them up. This was on the edge of there. You can see there's a pool behind them, and this is on the edge of a patio off of the pool and they're right on the edge of the light. So the bright sun lights coming in and it's dropping right before this shade, I always bring my subjects to the edge of the light because I want is much of that direct bounce to come up as possible. With this shot I hadn't obviously position my reflector and got my lighting correctly so that I could light the hmas well as possible but I kind of plop them down on this little these two chairs that I brought together to make a love seat what I found was the little girl like many children was done she was done like you can go now miss tambor and what I had to do is basically say ok if I want to stay here right now and put all my energies on the little girl I have max her out oh I need to do is look at mom and say you know what? I want to shift some things with mom she's a beautiful woman she's posing for me well but there's a few things I could do to make her look more comfortable more relaxed, more authentic more authentically laying there and so what I found is that simply by tweaking the pillows and looking at what the lines go you don't ever want things coming out of people's head or like intersections and crosses and I felt like that was just straight across right behind her I said you know what? I'm just gonna work on you honey you get to just sit there and hang out while I worked with mom and then I'm adjusting the pillows at all it's your stuff and you see how much further down she is now I'm scratching her down and screeching, you're down see just mom's head and I'm making that a more attractive shot. I'm not having the little chairs come out of her head anymore, I'm actually separating them a little bit more, and I'm not so worried about how they look as separate chairs because I'm going to crop in, so I'm adjusting, I'm taking care of that and I'm lifting, I'm saying the way you're holding your fingers, I appreciate that they're relaxed in all sort of stuff, but why don't we bring it down? Let's? Make it look more relaxed, it's having settle in a little bit more? I like that she's got her legs like this, but I want to show you show more connection between her and her daughter. I love how their feet go together here like those of those little parts of the image that when you're talking to her later in the sale, you point that out like she could say, oh, I love that. I love that I didn't even notice the job. Oh, that does so what? I'm what I'm saying to the child, I'm telling her you are done, there's nothing else you have to do, just snuggle up to mama. And we're I'm just like your mom and there's nothing you have to dio I'm not saying to her look at me look relaxed look smiley this and that I'm just saying you're done, you're done you're done that's sinking in as I'm working with mom and by the time it's done sinking in that's how she feels and that's how we get to the shot and if you're interested in the metadata on that shot it's one five hundred two point eight s o one hundred one, five hundred the shutter speed two point eight and partial monitoring that makes sense ok here's another one I call this operation containment I have a one and a two year old in my studio and mom really wanted studio shots she was the only one of the family with this dish that she was the only one of all of us wanted these two boys division in the studio they were just they wanted to get out they didn't want to be trapped they wanted to run free they couldn't believe they had to wear suits s and ties and this is ridiculous, eh? So what we did is we took the phone court and basically turn this we got them out of the studio by using their imagination their imagination gets them out of the studio this is now instead of being a phone core you know we're now in a game where dad is in and it's an interplanetary alien operating trapping device and that is managing the hatch which he's opening and closing on them to their delight you know that's all we care about I'm dragging my soft box around I've got my spider light my continuous light system I've dragged it now to be behind this you can do that they've got long boards I'm setting it up right there and all I'm thinking about is in the race to freedom when he's shutting the hatch that I just have to get this I want expression right? I want liveliness everything else I was getting was this I want them to be alive and then later I could go into post and soften any sort of lines or anything that's happening in terms of background and make it something where he's just popping out and I can get I can go on and on like this this was shot at one one twenty fifth of a second two point eight s o two fifty partial bettering realize if kids don't want to be there you can work with them to transport them here's another great great example this little boy he wanted to please he was so sweet I don't know if you know that but he's trying to give me the smile that that he believes is expected in this situation I'm kind of working with him that put his hands together, I'm setting him down and he because he's smiling exactly like he thinks he's supposed to smile right now I'm going to go ahead and tell him he's doing a great job because if I were to say, you know, right then like, do you realize how stiff that looks that's horrible that that could be very crushing and you have to gauge this based on personality styles? There might be another child that if he gave me that look and I said, do you know crazy that looks right now, you know he'd like and I'd get a better expression so it's not like I get asked all the time, what are your expressions that you use? What things do you say to work with kids? And I'm like it varies per my image like it varies for the kid and various what part of the process here in in the beginning you can completely shut them down later they could be just giving it right back to you. In this case, I would have shut him down by telling him that that wasn't what I was looking for, so I took a break and I styled up a bit, you know, I moved his legs all around a little bit and I just kept talking he was very interactive again, I talked a lot about the interactive child. My son caleb is an interactive child when hey came on the show on wednesday for work life balance in the last ten minutes, right before they completely destroyed the studio. You know, the first question that was asked like I remember you guys asked him, but like, how are you liking this or something? And he said, I have a bear he has a stuffed bear that because he's obsessed with calvin and hobbes he's determined it's bears alive as well, and he brought his very briggs bear everywhere, and the question was about something else. He said, I have a bear that it moved on and then the next question came and he goes, I have a bear, he had a topic he wanted to start and that was what he wanted to be engaged in, and I can talk to about his there for hours he could be in the worst possible. In fact, that's just happened in the night hit head on table is exhausting, wiped out and I said, how's, your hair done great question. So this little boy in this case, all I'm doing is interacting with him and staying on whatever topic he's got because then I will keep them engaged and I'm moving around I'm shooting with my eighty five one two lens on daz I'm backing up I'm realizing that what I want is a better angle for him because this is too straight on I want to move around the side on to keep engaging and in this case is the perfect example of moving the camera away from your face with an eighty five one two lens that's not that physically easy it's a heavy lens to keep steady and so it's a little bit of a careful maneuver from a technique perspective but in that case I could talk to him get him to focus on the jump back behind the camera to take a quick quick split second shot his attention when it jumps right back to the lens looks fresh and natural and I get this I mean this is a completely different shot within the seconds but that is all about just engaging and drawing them out distracting them, finding a better angle position them a little better and then shooting when you have have a nice relaxed expression when I'm sitting there with the parents you know that they already have a bunch of that first shot that's the one thing that always keeping in mind when I'm selling I need to get them something they don't already have everybody is taking photographs capturing life through better photography that was built for the everyday photographer who wants to get better taking photographs it was called that we brainstorm the name capturing life through better in prince sees photography because the assumption was clear you're already capture in your life through photography how do we make it better? I already know that my parents that I'm working with my clients are taking photographs of themselves every day. I know what I'm working with adult couples, they're doing that a lot, they're holding the camera, taking the shot, everybody gets in the same pose when they do that way all know exactly what that shot is. I don't want to take that job because they already have it, so I'm going to think, how do I get him more comfortable, more alive, more focused, more engaged, more genuinely himself. This is not a candid shot. I didn't roll out and just take this. This is very much posed. The other thing I noticed is that working with this child and so many others is that at the end of the day, and this is what you're keeping your mind as you're going to this process at the end of the day when you're sitting there with the clients and you're looking at them together, you start out by saying, what do you love? What do you like? What we cannot do thing right now? What do I want, which piled? I want to be the most filled left, I want them to love it what do I also want a lot of images in like that is the album sales that is the complimentary things that I can put together as campus collages and pieces and trip ticks and all those sort of thing, which we sell a lot, we do not sell mostly just onesie, twosies a lot of these images do come together in some way, so as I'm out there, I'm thinking about the fact all the time if I get something and it's not good enough, I'll still snap it because I could use it, but I keep working towards this that's definitely love and that's very vital to know, because I'm sitting down and editing, I want that I'm not gonna do anything about it right now pile if I have a pile that's full of, I don't want anything to do with these right now, that means that every one of those photographs represents how much time because I finished everything I turn around and also all the time is spending shooting all the effort. I'm getting too to get myself in this angle and use this lens and, you know, clear this shot between that shot, all of that. If I have a stack of fifty not going to do anything about it right now, that probably represents what ours. How long you taking impressing how much time you're spending? Finishing every shot? How much time are you spending? Setting it up? That pile should be much smaller much day should be like all, I'm not going to hear about it right now, but think about that when you're going through post processing and editing, how do you set this up? Not to give them everything you shot or not to be able to say, oh, you know, a lot of people I talked to say, well, what if they come back and save room in that one top shot you got at the alley when you were laying down? I don't see anything from that shoot where those images we ever got in that question, if I don't feel like they were best part of the shoot, I don't show them and then really careful saying that I was only going to give you everything I knew that that we loved and that could go on and on forever, because people say, well, what if they say, I want to see it anyway or show me your well find out this is that I feel really comfortable saying, you hired me to show you work that we're gonna love that's, what I'm delivering. I'm not. I'm not going to go back and say, oh, yeah? Let me show you what it was a little embarrassed. It kind of looks like those right at a camera. Why would I do that? Okay, so that's, just a little note. Keep this in mind because when we go into the shoot in a little while, we're gonna be out there doing quite a lot of kind of little setups. And if you see me kind of running in and engaging and jumping back out, most of that isn't just like, how do I get a great shot? It's also how my delivering what they love I'm thinking about it. I'm not thinking just for me. I want to get this out of pull this off. This is my repertoire. How do I keep delivering what they left? Yes. There's. Quite a few questions in the chat room about this photo and also the girl on the beach. What did you do in between the first one in the second one to get their facial expression? Yeah. So on this one, specifically, what I did was they kept interacting with him. I kept moving about kept saying things that he found interesting. I brought up the subject of my son and the bear because my son will just sit there and say, yeah, yeah, yeah, and then I'll say, how high, you know, has your bear what's he doing today? Is he walking around eating fish what's he doing? And then you go and then I'll get that I have to make him come alive and usually has to do with the topic or exchange interaction that's why I say it's, not ever like that one line I use it's never the one line it's very specific to the situation, some things I do hear myself saying all the time or things like hello, I'm over here, you know, when I lose the kids focus, I'll be very exaggerated about it, but for the most part, it's very specific to those situations and I think I mean just like, ok, this creative live is a great example preparing for this presentation you guys have seen this year. I am writing it to the minutes before we go live because I really when you know yourself, I know that I deliver better when it's very fresh and it's not not very fresh as and I've never done this before and I don't know what I'm talking about, but like I want the dialogue to be very appropriate to this exact situation and I've never had this situation before I've never been here with you guys before I've never talked on this subject on day three to this many people ever so as I have to be that and I've never seen that boy before at this age at this point of beach and so I've got to be able to engage with what I have in front of me and if I roll out a whole bunch of used the lines or things I say every time to make this happen it won't work for me did that answer? But I mean I answered exactly but because there is no easy answer not special yeah, but you know, the easy answer is find out what turns them on and what fascinates them and what makes them come alive and engage them from that spot for a very young child for a two year old you know, we box them in right? We physically went into this imaginary play world if I've done this with hand like, oh, I'm a spaceship, you've been like a lady I mean, you have to make it a property that situation with the little girl on the beach it's a lot more like I am pretty sure I can I could be wrong, but I'm pretty sure I resorted to animal noises with her and just really goofy over the top rolling in the sand you know, and that's what I'll do to, like, look of a turtle, whatever it takes, we have a question in the audience. Yes, sometimes I find that when I'm trying to work with a child or a couple of children together, sometimes when the parents are nearby, they are trying to be helpful and reminding the kids, oh, smile or look at the camera and sometimes that's actually not what I'm going for. So I'm just curious if in shots like these, for example, are the parents right there with you, do you take the kid a little ways away just so you can kind of have that one on one? Like, how distracting can the parents do the parents get for you? Yeah, that's a wonderful question that comes up a lot, and I know you've heard me speak before, and you've heard me say that I am a huge fan of collaborating with the parents, like, how are we going to do this together? Let's go in together that being said, part of collaborating is knowing when they should not be there and then buying into that and understanding that and not being awkward during the shoot for me to say what you just go away. You know so I'm going to talk about that today in my prep and we're going to talk about scenarios not just like this is how it ideally it'll go but let me give you a couple scenarios that play out commonly and let's see you know, just so you know what I'm gonna be talking about in this case specifically we were on the beach and we did go a little bit ways away and I was alone with him and they were you know, within I range but not earshot s so it was just us engaging which is which is perfect for him with the little girl they were right behind me in fact I'm pretty sure that's who she was looking at um here you see how she's not looking at the camera I think she was looking back at her parents and by the way, if I'm man enough and showing this stuff raw at a camera half stuff under exposed which is how I shoot everything before I process it do not come back to me and say did you see tabor lucky shot she needed standing out there have done this all right? So then you mean, did that answer question ok? And I will specifically say to them in some instances will be more helpful but we'll gauge that as we go my voice when it was high they're madder than ever except when you make dinosaur rafter, now primordial bird, came alive again last night. It did. Luckily, again, it didn't wake us at, but steve was just like, if you've been watching us the last couple days, we're in a rental house with a giant, primordial bird with having downstairs and it the sound of it. It sounds like it's, right in the house with us, because it's kind of coming through the airmen, our rafters or under the door, and it's like it's really crazy. I've never heard anything like that way must go down and see the size of this bird before we leave, because they don't understand how that voice can come from it. But last night, steve it's, just like I have to go down there and say, would you burn, possibly escape and eat our children? Just tell me that. Just tell me that.