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june 14 2011

The Subject's Comfort

written by: Christian Oth
I have been on many photography sets, be it fashion shoots, portraits or entire weddings. An important aspect of any type of people photography is ensuring that your subject is comfortable. 

So the obvious question is how does one create that comfort? It starts with having the right energy at the shoot. This applies to not only the interaction between the subject and the photographer, but also to the surrounding elements and, in many cases, the team that is involved in the shoot.

Another helpful tip is that a photographer should put him/herself into the subject’s shoes. Most subjects get a bit nervous and self-conscious in front of a camera. Put your subject at ease in every possible way - crack jokes, talk to them about their family, anything that you think will put them in a positive, fun space. 

It goes without saying that having great people skills goes along way when there is a direct interaction with a subject, such as during a portrait shoot or photographing a wedding couple, but it’s equally important is that the setting has the right ambiance. Music is one of the greatest tools for a fashion or portrait shoot. There is nothing like it, especially when in the studio. 

Above all, I’d have to say that the #1 element for a shoot that is that everyone involved has a real positive attitude, is inspired and just really like-able. 

I would love to hear from you, fellow photographers, how you take the “edge” off during a shoot?    
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The above image is of Gary Shteyngart, who I photographed for the New York Times Magazine (who incidentally brought a lot of good energy himself to the shoot)

 


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