by Winston Ingram Published 01/06/2000
So, you want more business? You want to know how to attract people so that you get bigger and better reprint orders. But you've been taking the same old thing over and over again. There's your standard background, there's your chair, there are your lights and camera, stick the person in front of it - nice smile - dear me! how many times have you done it? 20,000? If not then business can't be very good. I have a totally different approach, first of all I like to design all my photographs for the particular sitter and I don't take a great deal of photographs just to get one good one.
If I can't see it in my head I don't take it. Admittedly, I have a reasonable amount of backup so that I can put my ideas into reality. I have a room full of props for example, bought slowly over the years. Have you ever thought that every time you see something you like in a junk shop it might be useful for a future photo-shoot? If so, it's worth what is probably only a small investment. Put it on one side and one day a model will walk in who's exactly right for that prop.
Just recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a nice young lady from Malta - Grazielle - who's a singer, a dancer and an actress and who is very good at what she does.
I shot a portfolio for her, and we got on so well that I asked her if she would like to be a permanent model for my students. We have now struck up a very nice working relationship. Going back to what I said earlier; actually designing a shot specifically for somebody. These photos which you see, are ones designed especially for her to show her talents of flexibility as a dancer, her lovely looks and the way that she can not only look good in photographs as a dancer, but also for fashion.
She was kind enough to provide the clothes; all the props are mine with the exception of the cello which was kindly loaned to us by John Young
The picture of Grazielle dressed in the Indian outfit sitting on the vases shows her flexibility and suppleness of movement (that was a very difficult pose to get into) and of course I designed these shots because I can see them in my head, I looked at her, I looked at the outfit and the vases - which I have had for over 5 years and never used them before this session. The vases were very appropriate also being of Indian design but I think she's the first person to sit on them quite like that!
For the other picture and what I think is the "piece de resistance", we borrowed the cello from my student and fellow Society member; John Young, whose daughter plays it. John had very kindly allowed me the loan of it for such a session as this. It would be very impractical to keep a cello purely as a prop, not only expensive but also a waste of a musical instrument. John attended the shoot where I took this picture and as previously mentioned I must thank him also for hiring the outfit for Grazielle.
The end result is my interpretation of a dancer playing the cello, obviously it's a fun picture but also once again shows some agility of movement and posing. Hopefully, looking at these images you will get some idea of what you can design if you really put your mind to it. Just think of the size of the reprint order from this kind of photo session, as against somebody just sitting there, posing, with that sickly grin all over her face.
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