by Christopher Azzopardi Published 01/08/2010
How do I approach my subjects?
Besides commissioned work, I take lots of portraits for myself and I'm always alert to finding interesting characters. When I find one, I ask him or her in a polite way if it is possible to photograph them. I always explain in detail what I'm going to use their photographs for. I always keep some photographs at hand so that I can show them what type I take. As soon as they see my images they always accept the invitation to be photographed. We normally fix an appointment that is convenient for both of us. On the day of the photo shoot I spend some time talking and listening to the sitter's stories, as I find this time very useful for a successful photo shoot. At this time I'm building trust in the sitter and at the same time I'm observing their behaviour. It is during this time that I plan the creative shots. All my portraits are taken on location, usually at the sitter's house or workshop. I prefer environmental shots over studio shots because I find them more challenging and interesting. Another advantage that I find in taking environmental portraiture over studio shots is that sitters will be more relaxed because they are being photographed in their own environment.
I start my shoot by taking some snapshots and after a few shots I show them to my sitter and I explain to them the pros and cons in the shots that I have just taken and then I guide them to improve the pose or even use a different location. I also ask them for suggestions so that they will feel more involved in the session. I find that the more I involve my models, the more relaxed and natural the pose will be. Sometimes, they too come up with original and unusual poses and props.
For a successful photo shoot I believe that a photographer should know when to stop. A photo shoot should be an enjoyable time for both the photographer and the model.
So far all the people that I photographed enjoyed the photo shoot so much that they hired me over and over again to take their pictures.
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