Key Learnings from a Client Shoot
Written by: Tiffany Joyce
A couple of weeks ago I was hired to visit the home of a client and take photos of her teenage daughter and her daughter’s friends. Doing a photo shoot at a private home is significantly different than a shoot in a studio, so I thought I would share a few key learnings from my experience.
One – Look for the light. Since this was in a person’s home, and not in a studio, lighting was hard to anticipate ahead of time. I asked for a tour of the house, and noted the northward-facing windows. I took a few test shots and reviewed the exposure, and I also requested that some shades be opened to let more natural light into some of the areas in which we were planning on shooting.
Two – Ask permission before making changes. Or, before climbing around on furniture. In a couple of shots I needed to move some furniture out of the way, which the homeowner happily accommodated. In another set of shots I needed to gain some elevation, so I asked if I could stand on the fireplace hearth.
Three – Converse with your clients before you start shooting, and keep up the communication throughout the entire session. The three teenage girls I worked with had specific goals in mind for the shots they were looking for, and were also willing to accept several ideas that I had. We talked about their outfit changes, indoor shots and outdoor shots, and even included the family pets in a couple of photographs.
Four – Rearrange the subjects within the same context of the shot. For most of the shots where the girls were arranged in a trio, I rotated the girls around so that each of them had a chance to be in the center. I also made sure to take several individual shots of each girl. Finally, I took similarly posed shots, one set in which the girls assumed serious expressions, and the other set in which they were smiling for the camera.
Five – Pack your gear in preparation for any circumstances. I packed all of my lenses, my tripod, and my cleaning supplies. Though I didn’t anticipate being more than two or three hours (and I’d fully charged everything the night before), I packed backup batteries. In hindsight, I would have purchased a few reflectors and brought those along as well (this one is on my wish list).
Six – At the end of the shoot, take notes. Write down what worked and what didn’t work. Think about what you would do differently next time. It’s a good idea to keep a notebook or a file for each assignment so you can go back and refer to details you may forget over time.
What tips and tricks have you learned in the process of shooting professionally? Feel free to share them in the comments!
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