Successful relationships are crafted after days, if not months and years, of meticulous hard work and nurturing. It certainly does not happen in a matter of hours. However, that is the challenge that photographers are tasked with.
Developing a rapport is instrumental for a successful photoshoot. Having assisted a number of photographers on various test shoots, I have seen methods ranging from an antagonistic standpoint of screaming at and belittling the model to worshipping the ground a model walks on with no real direction or feedback. There is a much better way.
Clinton Lubbe from DPHOG has shared another inside look at what goes into his process when it comes to directing models. Communication is the key ingredient. Many models beginning their career are young and inexperienced, yet they are expected to photograph like grown women. It is our job to make them feel safe and create a comfortable environment.
Ask Questions. Taking the time to get to know a model and inquiring about their fears as well as their aspirations creates a level of trust and establishes common ground. Engaging in an open dialog during the preparation phase taking place prior to the photoshoot is also an opportune time for the photographer to set the tone for the day. This is the time to set expectations and goals.
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Look at past test shoots together in the model’s book and talk about what did and didn’t work. Share curated pieces of your own portfolio as this provides a visual of the type of work that will be captured. This conversation also provides a set of boundaries; a threshold not to be crossed to retain that trust as well as a glass ceiling to push past as a common goal.
There is a symbiotic measure of give and take during a photoshoot. The most spectacular images occur when that trust manifests into a level of intimacy. Be careful to capture models as more than lustful objects of desire. The images should appeal to both men and women alike. Maintaining a positive, upbeat environment on set and continuing open communication throughout the process should yield some incredible results.