Teaching Photographers how to Direct Clients
This is how we're gonna do it. What I believe Direction, direction, direction. It's all gonna happen through the way you direct in this environment. So think about this where I shoot in. A very similar. This is my set up in my studio in New York. Right? Doesn't change. It's like this. This is basically the deal. I mean, I changed a little things and we'll talk about that. When we get to shooting up. I'll go over all the technical stuff. I know there's some dude out there that wants me to measure the height of that thing and how far it is from this and all that stuff. We're not gonna do that. But you you know, if he's out there, he's out there, isn't it? He's out there, Um, but this is the way it's set up, so nothing's changing. If I put somebody in there and I don't talk and nothing happens, what's gonna happen? Nothing. Nothing's gonna happen and that nothing is what I call you're not creating an atmosphere. You're creating a flat mus. Fear is gonna be flat. You want plan shots? No. T...
hen you gotta have some sort of action back here to create some life in front of their because in a quiet room, with nothing going on, it's going to be flat, you know? And if you get somebody that owns it, those people you might be able to say, Hey, can you do something for me? You know, do your thing, you know? And they might be all right. But I wasn't. I was a diminished. It wasn't gonna happen. It wasn't gonna happen. So there's a lot of photographers out there these days, right? Everybody down the street as a camera, you know? Now, I know some of you guys were pros. Some of you guys are hobbyists, but the pros get concerned about their income because there's so many photographers out there. How am I going to do it Better? You know, the hobbyist. I think you have a gift to give the people that you get in front of your camp. So I think the more you work at it, you're giving them this gift of photography. What the, um, the retirees So powerful. So I've heard. And I think this is correct, because I was speaking to a firefighter the other day about and he confirmed it, he said. They look for when they go into fires. They look for humans, pets and pictures is like the third thing. No grab as they're running out, they'll be grabbing pictures because they can't be replaced a lot of times, and it's really important people. So it's a huge thing. People stop in their tracks when they get their picture taken. There is nothing more important going on in that person's brain. When I'm pointing the camera at them nothing. You know how hard that is for something for me, like my brain. There's a lot going on up here. You put me in front of a camera. There's nothing more important than that, right? That's where you go. You can get them in that you got them. So I believe if you're going to stand, how you gonna do, how are you going to stand out from the crowd? I believe if you want to stand out from the crowd, it's not gonna be because you have the most amazing camera on the planet, which everybody can buy right. If you've got the money, you can have the most amazing camera on the planet and it's not going to because you have the most amazing lights on the planet. For me, it's gonna be because of your direction. And if you don't, you will never master it. Like I said, we're never gonna met. We're always working on it. I'm a better director today than I was yesterday. I didn't know right? But if I'm gonna stand out from this crowd, it's gonna be because of my direction. I am not standing in front of you because I shoot people on a white background. Am I? Is that why I'm here, right? If that was it than anybody who put people on a white background could be standing here, It's not it. It's not in at all. I want you to sit in that chair. I want you to think about that From now on, whenever you have a person in front of a camera, that's where you need to be. That's where your mentality needs to be. Now here's the kicker. If you technically are bad, I don't care how good you are. Direction. If your pictures don't look good, you got a problem so that 10% photographer, 90% therapist or director as I consider myself, that 10% is crucial. Like you have to get your technique down. But you get your technique down and then, like I have not. This doesn't change. This doesn't Nothing changes. Its doesn't change. I mean, I changed like these are awesome because now it can be on the move, you know, you know, and then then then these change, you know? I mean, they just get better. Everything just keeps getting better, right? But it's that direction. That's what it's all about. So, um and that's what this book is about. Headshots on my platform. But this book is really about yes, it's about taking headshots. It's called The Head Shot Is It is about taking headshots, of course, but I don't think there's a book that I know of out there that teaches you how to direct. And that's what I do in this book. I teach had a direct. So we're gonna go through the book and take a look at some of the pages, and then I'm gonna talk about them. And when a concept comes up, we'll ah well hit it. All right. So let me go to the book. All right. Where's the book? The book is here. Let's go toe full screen mode. Let's check out this puppy. All right? So I'm just gonna go through it real fast. This. Ah, whoops. You just see this. Okay, so this is I dedicated the book to my mom. Um, so I set up my first dark room in my mom's basement. All right. I'm there was there was only two times I was gonna get emotional. This is one of them, but I will be quick. I missed photo week two years ago because my mom was really sick, and unfortunately, she passed away on September 23rd 2013. I'm here two years later with book dedicated to her on the same day, and huh I'm very proud of it. So thanks for having me guys, anyway. So for overlooking every drop of picture that stay in your basement floor and everything that you taught me that I never realized till you were gone for, um I cry in the Ted talk to. So just go watch that as well. Funny like, anyway. Ah, but she she was awesome. And I know she's proud, so that's cool. Um These were some people that I thanked in Ah, it was just amazing. The people that that came into my life for me to to do this this book. So obviously my wife, my kids, my dad, I got I got ah, Ramiro Montoya is in here. Bob Proctor, Joe Barn, Joe, plo Z and rolling. Obviously, Zac's in here, the F stoppers air in here, my production team over Kelby and, of course, Scott and you guys and then a little bit about me, which is cool. Um, this was, you know, I just wrote is table contents and stuff. Here's how it started. So I was the model actor, bartender dude trying to make a living in New York headshot. Photographers had pretty much we're making a good buck. I was like, I went through the headshot process and I was like, I could do this is gonna be awesome. I gotta figure out him and they were charging a lot. And I started doing it and here's actually my headshot. That's my wife and that's me. And my head shot one of the head shots that I used when I was a young buck acting, trying to make it. I was just didn't work. Go ahead in this segment. Just just that. Okay. Cool. Um, I'm gonna blast through some of the book. These are my kids. So this is when I started. This is why I have I want to tell you I have no, um, excuses for anybody about equipment. I shot natural light. So this shot, you could see me working natural light. I used I used to sit people on a couch. This one here, let me just go into it. So I used to people This was a Bhutan I rolled down. I put the flats behind it. Now I just used my pro board. That's the white matte pro board that you see over there on the other side of the room, which we're going to start shooting within a second. So these air natural light head shots, which to me, are beautiful. So, guys, if you got a southern facing window, that's how I started. Um, you know, the genetics on these two are unbelievable, though, Had nothing do with me. They look like my wife. But those are my kids anyway. So if you have a southern facing window I plot my butt on the window sill and shot people in front of it just like this. And that's how I started my career And all those images, um, that were at the beginning, which is like, this one was shot that same way. That's the way I did it. I kept a clean. I kept it simple. And then and all this, this was shot the same way. This one wasn't this one. I used lights. This these are some of my beginning black and white images. Um, one of the things that I stress when I shoot guys, I'm a portrait target for two. You know, I shoot headshots and on headshots with actors. I don't like stuff. I don't like a lot of stuff I like clean like It's simple. I like the white background. I don't want something competing with the actor right with the This guy is the painter on the set of loss. That's probably my favorite image that I've ever taken my favorite portrait. It not probably. This is my favorite portrait that I've ever taken, because there's a lot of stuff I like stuff I like the eye to visually go around and then you see the dude sitting there, right? But you have all this stuff to look at for actors. They don't need that for people doing for their for people's profile shots. They don't need that. So I go the I go. I can do a complete 1 80 in my portraiture than what I do in ah, in my head shot work. Here's an early headshot session of me. I don't know what that I'm doing here. Look at this. I'm diminishing up the walls. He'll look at this. It's terrible. Um, this is just some of the This is the diffusion that I'm using over the windows. So I use I have white pro board I black. So this is this woman on black pro board. One of the things that's really important for me is how the black turtleneck pops off the blackboard. So I'm able to light the board. It's got a chalky surface on it so I could get separation off a black. I don't like drum black back there like total blackness. People get sucked into it, and I developed this board the Hurley Pro Pro Board, which will bring out when we're shooting. It comes in that kid's sitting right here, so we'll bring it out. We got the white one up. We're gonna bring them black matte up in a minute. Uh, and then here. So for years, I sat on a window. So when I got lights, I got continuous, letting you could see the set up here. This setup is with Kino. So for years, I shot with chinos, and the setup we're using today is the Flex Kit by West Scott. So I developed this line of lighting with West Scott because I wanted continuous lighting that I could get on the move. My big thing about for Hurley prose that I wanted my products to be able to co with me If I get a job wherever and I got to jump on a plane, I couldn't jump on a plane with Kino flows. It's just impossible. Now, I came here with this entire set up in a little bag that I checked. That's it. No problem. So that design, along with the L. E. D. S, has been phenomenal. And today So this is the square set up. This is the kid is sold with four lights and I use all for all the time, and I sometimes do three. I sometimes do four when I shoot multiple people I'm always doing for, so I get really even lighting When I shoot individuals, I will sometimes do the four, depending on what I'm feeling. But most the time I'm set up in my studio that the the lights are set up as three. I just like the I like to catch late, a little bit better on the three, and I like shooting individuals with the three. But with guys, I go to two throughout the book, it's got all its really is written in my voice because I rewrote it that way. So John Cornish L. Said, when he reads it, you want to get on the mic and talk about it a little bit. Yeah, I've been reading the book lately, and it's like I've known Peter for a while, and it's it's like having him in there in the room. I can hear his voice in my head as I'm reading this. I don't know if that's always good or not, but yeah, he's really, really sounds like you in the book that's cool. So I signed his book last night and, uh, and I'm thumbing through. He said, Disregard all the markings and I was like he had highlighted like I was a disregard. I loved it. I was like, What is he? Highly? He's highlighting, man. Oh, cool. He's highlighting that leg. Do you have it with? You know, I don't have Oh, man, your book is all marked up. I love it, Peter. Folks very much appreciate both your humor, but also vulnerability. So thank you. Do we have time? Can we do some questions before we celebrations? So, Robin, Mike, if you have questions in here, I think you probably get this question a lot, Peter. But one of the biggest questions that has come through is if people don't have the Peter personality. If people are more shy, what are some of the things that you you teach folks to dio to be able to turn it on and and direct? I think the first thing, that's a great question, and I kind of tinted on it with this Victor Velasquez story that's in the book. I think the first thing you have to do is really know your technique, so want your techniques down? What you have to do is you have to get that person to feel like I think people or they should. If they don't already should feel special for being in front of my camera. They should feel special for being in front of your oars. So once they're in there and they know that you're if they've seen your work in your work rocks, they should. I feel like this is an event that's gonna happen. So you want them in the palm of your hands, even if you're gonna be quiet and closed off about it and not be is outgoing. What you can do is get your get your technique down in terms of what I call direct direction and anything that you directed them that makes them look better. Will get make them more putty in your hands. So if you say, turn your face this way because of this, this, this, this and this and I'm gonna take the picture and it's gonna be whatever. And that's all you say and you take the picture and they look better than they ever did in the picture. What do you think's gonna happen for the rest of the shoot? All you need to do is have a couple little tidbits information like that to use at your disposal and then you'll figure out you'll gain your way. The most important thing is that, um, To tell you the truth, I think that once you get what I call your stick, which is your the way that you roll. If you were gonna put somebody in in front of a camera right now, what would you say? What would you start out saying? How would you behave? What would you do if you had in your if the room was empty? Wherever you are out there, If you were photographing some somebody right now, you had your everything set up. What's the first thing you're gonna say right when I started? One thing that's really helpful is having a game plan that does not change per person. I change per person now because I've got that ability to lighthouse in every second. But but people, if you don't, you just go by routine and you get it down so that you know you can perform for them when they're in front of a camera and then you will grow it as you go. But feel comfortable. Don't say anything you don't believe ever. If you don't believe it, don't say it. Don't feel like you have to talk. If you If you don't feel the need to say something, you have to find your own way. You really d'oh, it's not. There's no distinct answer for that. But once you get that person believing that you know what it is that you're talking about, then you can be as quiet as you want, and they'll just believe it will be like the pictures are amazing. You don't have to say much so And anyone? Any questions in here? So what do you do on the flip side? This is from Victoria Lundbeck. Um, when do you ever have Who's in Sweden, by the way? Hi, Sweden. How would you? How would you if people don't like the images that they don't like themselves in them? No matter what? Do you ever experience that and that all the time? So what you have to do is you have to create a portfolio that is your work. It's your work like if somebody comes to me, they know pretty much they're gonna get shot on a white background, they might get grey and they might get black, but they're definitely getting white, right? It's not like I'm gonna take him outside and start doing head shots, you know, on the streets and you beat with a brick wall behind him is not gonna happen, right. So I do what I do. I know my life the best they've ever been in. There's no way they've been in better light. That's what makes my job so easy. Like you set these up, you pointed at somebody and it looks amazing. We're gonna show you what, but that's the point. There in gorgeous light. I've got a great camera system. If they don't make an expression at all, and I take the picture, it's already gonna be better lit than anything that they've ever had, or at least match anything that could be any worse than anything they've ever had. If it matches my work, if it's just their expression that were lacking and everything else is finding it matches my work, that means that they're not taking my direction. So if they're not taking my direction. I'll tell them Hey, you know, and I've done this and it's to get in front of my cameras. 1200 bucks. So when I say this to somebody, I'm giving up bucks. So I say to them, I say, Look, I don't know what when they give me that, That kind of I don't like anything. What is it? I was like, Well, I don't know how to help you. I mean, you're not really listening to me and I don't And this is my work. This is all I do like, Look at my website. This is I don't know how to do it any better than this. I think you need to find another photographer. I'm not your guy. And I will say, I'll give you a deposit back. You take your money, go find another star, for if it gets that point, that's like, That's like once every usedto happen once every maybe six months. Now it happens once a year or something. I don't know. It doesn't happen that often, but it does happen. So every time I've said that, I said, Look, I'm happy to work with you but you better start listening me. Otherwise, I think you should go like I should say that in running a business is horrible, Nobody's ever left. They've always listened after I've said that. And not only have they listen, they've gotten great shots and the champion me out that out there and sent me people afterwards. So as long as you have a portfolio that's consistent, you can say that.