De-constructing your photo shoot

April 03, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Today we look at some humour on the various photo shoot styles. As with any shooting technique it is always best to go with the style that gets you the best results or maybe this is the time to branch out a bit and try something else.

As you drive down the road in your car with the stereo blazing away to your favorite tunes; a thought pops into your head. What would it be like to meet a rock star? What are they really like? Do they snap their fingers to music in the car like you do? Do you play the drums or guitar as well as they do?

What actually happens when you meet that photographic rock star? That famous photographer that you revered and thought highly of when looking at gallery showings, publications and reading those in-depth interviews in a photography magazine.

Do you wobble at the knees, stammer a question, break into a cold sweat or freeze with fear. Probably none of the above. Your shyness has probably held you back as you listen to others pose a few questions. As you listen to your rock star you realize the differences are not as great as you think they are. What is it that differentiates some of the great photographers and how they construct a photo shoot? It mainly comes down to different styles. You need to find your own style. Identify where you are and expand beyond it.

As we look at photo shoot styles there three predominant types. 1. FUBAR  2. Anal Technophobe 3. Crocodile. Each method has merits or drawbacks. Let’s examine these in more detail from a tongue and cheek perspective.

FUBAR

Far more wide spread than you think. Some of the camouflage techniques that a FUBAR uses is to disguise themselves in modern accoutrements and technology. Yet basic photography technique may elude them. You may recognize them as MWC (Mom with Camera), DID (Dentist in Disguise) or the revered Uncle Bob at a family wedding.

The warning signs that a FUBAR is close by and conducting a photo shoot may be the steady staccato of a camera shutter, sounds of anger when chimping the camera display or outright hostility when their subjects do not pose correctly.

A FUBAR may bang off an occasional good frame which may make the pedantic masses happy and extend their dreams of a photographic livelihood. What is missing from the FUBAR technique? Keep reading about the other styles to find out.

Anal Technophobe

This is a category that is unique and is more obvious than others. You may have seen it before; but you often walked past because you thought the photographer just had a passion for art. There are obvious signs in this category. This is what you need to look for:

  • Tends to exhibit a sour puss look which shadows their views on life. This quite often transcends into their photography and they cannot understand why they cannot capture the joys in life.
  • The excessive looks at Liveview, recomposing, then Liveview and chimp again.
  • Expressive looks and frequent utterances of the F word.
  • Quite often misses the real moment in portraiture and sports.
  • Cannot understand why they score so low in photo competitions.
  • Often dismiss other photographers as incompetent.
  • Occasionally they proffer up an image that shows photographic brilliance.

As a general rule of thumb they do not offer constructive advice or provide commentary on their images or technique. Their feedback directed at other photographers can quite often visceral and exhibit troll like behaviour. Life is too short to deal with the verbal abuse. Move away quickly when you encounter this.

The Alligator

This is often what you miss when you watch other photographers. It is often portrayed as the quick shot or the re-examination of a particular look. They recognize the shot and then move in to explore this in more detail. A lot of photographers will dismiss other photographers merely because they did not see what the other photographer saw. There are some telltale signs to recognize this shooting style. Look for these obvious signs:

  • The re-examination of a particular look and specific direction to the model to “rewind”.
  • Putting down the camera and announcing that it is a “wrap”.
  • A sense of confidence displayed when the shot was nailed.
  • The final image conveys a sense of emotion and feeling. Sort of like that feeling you get when you watch an Oscar nominated movie. It transports you to a time and place and makes you feel like you are there almost like an innocent bystander.

 

If you really wish to improve your shooting style the best advice is to invest time and money in formal photographic education and good quality photography workshops. You may have heard of the concept of mentoring in the business world. Give it a try. Seek out a more experienced photographer and work on a mentor/mentee relationship to improve your game.

Watsonphotography.ca creates unique images of fashion, models, travel, people and racing sports by the Toronto based photographer Peter Watson.


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