Going out for your first few shoots can be a little anxiety-inducing. Heck, I still get butterflies before going out to shoot. Trust me, it’s normal. When photographers ask me for advice on this, I often find myself saying, “just have fun with it” and after some thought, I realised that you are likely going to do that anyway, so I dug a little deeper for a few tips on how you can overcome any anxiety or a creative rut you may find yourself in during your photo sessions.
1. Look for natural reflectors
Natural reflectors exist everywhere, you just need to know where and how to spot them. It likely doesn’t come as a surprise that I love a bright airy photo, and as a natural light photographer, I am constantly on the lookout for ways to leverage the light that is available to me. Natural reflectors can be found by buildings and windows, big white walls, concrete structures, basically anything that can reflect light indirectly. Have a look around your space before your photo subjects arrive so that you have a game plan mapped out.
2. Don’t go to the good spots first
People need time to warm up to the camera, and photographers need time to warm up to shooting too. I often find that the best photos from any session usually come after 20-30 minutes of shooting. Start out by taking your photo subject to a location that is fine, but not your favourite. Save that one for near the end when both of you have loosened up. At the beginning of each shoot, use the time to figure things out – then move along to the money spot.
3. Stay focused in between each shot.
I know this may sound generic, of course, you are going to focus during the photo shoot, you will ensure the subject is in position and that each composition is pleasing. But I mean, stay focused on what is going on inside the frame, AND in between each shot. I sometimes fall into the bad habit of laughing WITH my photo subjects instead of photographing them while they are enjoying a laugh. Holding my camera in the ready position at all times so that I can anticipate and capture those candid moments that happen in between shots as we move from one location to another. Which brings me to my next tip…
4. Hold your camera in the ready position throughout the entire session.
If you want to capture those purely candid moments, the reaction after a joke, or the natural touches between couples, you will need to be ready at any given moment so that you are capturing the authentic moments, not the moment right after or not a recreation of that moment.
5. Switch out your lens
It is totally normal to feel stuck and in some sort of creative rut during a photoshoot. When this happens, don’t stress, instead, take a deep breath and a couple of seconds to switch out your lens. A quick easy swap can recreate the moment, reframe the subjects, bring in a fresh perspective and allow you to see the scene differently.
I hope these tips were helpful, and above all, when you are getting ready for a shoot, remember to be confident, they hired you because they love your work, and most importantly, have fun! Clients will respond more favourably to their photos when they can associate a positive and fun experience when capturing them! Promise.