Trust Your Dreams…Trust Your Heart… Trust Your Story…….Neil Gaiman
As a photographer, trust is such an important commodity to have with your model. If a model doesn’t trust you, they won’t relax and do what you ask of them as they aren’t really sure if it’s going to look right.
Most poses don’t feel natural and unless you have that trust, your model will feel silly doing some of them. If you haven’t had a professional shoot yourself you probably need to so you can feel what it’s like on the other side of the camera. Your photographer will ask you to strike a position that feels awkward and you won’t want to because it will feel unnatural and you’ll think it will look that way. In actual fact, some of the most unnatural feeling poses produce some of the most beautiful photos. It’s important to understand that feeling so you can understand your model’s reluctance to do some poses.
I’m not talking about standing on your head with one foot touching your ear kind of poses but getting someone to extend their hand instead of holding it close to them. Or asking them to twist their shoulder to the camera in a way you wouldn’t do in everyday life. While they may feel unnatural, the camera will love them. If there is a good dollop of trust between model and photographer, they’ll be comfortable enough to feel uncomfortable for a few seconds.
And while it’s important to make sure you capture the essence of a person, try to get them to step outside of their comfort zone a bit. That’s where all the exciting things happen. It is possible to catch their essence while doing something that is not natural for them.
My beautiful model Trish is always smiling. It’s very rare to see a photo of her without a huge smile on her face. In this photo I wanted to capture her not smiling and that was difficult for her to feel comfortable with. When you’ve been told all your life, as most of us have, to SMILE for the camera, it’s hard to go against the grain and remain serious. Everyone has a more pensive side and that was exactly what I wanted to capture with this photo. After all, if someone was aiming an arrow at an apple on your head, you would probably feel a tad apprehensive.
Whilst nowhere near as drastic as in the story of William Tell, where Tell had to shoot an apple off his son’s head to save his life and absolute trust was necessary to achieve the result. It’s still imperative to have the trust of your model if you want to get the right shot. I would always suggest not to rush the process, but don’t drag it out either. I always snap a few shots off and tell my model these are just for lighting, not for the photo. It relaxes them immediately and the photos always turn out to be some of the best. When I find the best of them, I show them in camera. Once they see that they really do look beautiful, they relax even more and that’s when the magic starts to appear.
And we all know how wonderful that magic is.