I recently joined the MeetUp group Studio Creative and went to their Model Shoot last night to see what it was all about. When I arrived I met fellow photographers and we milled around taking about camera gear and photography for a bit. Before the shoot started, I was handed a Pocket Wizard and told which studio setup corresponded to each channel and the appropriate Fstop for the strobes. Easy.
I typically get nervous when I’m directing a model and sort of clam up and say, “do what you do, act natural” but we all know that no one acts natural in front of a camera. Having someone who’s paying me in front of my camera compounds this nervousness and makes it difficult to do good work. As I approached each model last night, I flipped the Pocket Wizard to the correct channel and said, “let’s have fun!” The direction flowed easily and I got a few good shots of exactly what I was looking for. In instances where I had trouble communicating poses, I handed the model my camera and demonstrated the pose or facial expression and asked them to fire a few shots of me to build trust. I even had one model exclaim, “you’re really good at this,” which boosted my confidence. I told him that I had just captured his new Facebook profile pic. I even shot a few of the other photographers for fun.
I don’t think any of my photos are particularly great, but that’s not the point. I learned something new, gained confidence in my ability to direct a client and had fun behind my camera instead of just doing it to get paid.
Always practice and hone your craft.