What it takes to get a great photo taken of you!

I just had to write something about these photos as it seems they are getting a a bit of attention! They were taken with models Maddie & Bobbi and they have proved to be a great study in what it takes to have a great photo taken!

Shortly after  I posted the photos the comments came in from people who thought the photos were wonderful. One friend said that she wanted one just like it and another wished that I would be able to make her look that beautiful. My response to the last comment was my standard reply!

I didn’t make her beautiful, she already was I just captured it with my camera

The common theme I see so often is that you have to be a trained, experienced model to have the photos look great! Well that certainly helps, experience in front of the camera will be a bonus in any photo shoot, but by no means is it the be all end all!

The true genius behind a great shot is based on the level of communication the people involved have and that communication is based on trust. When I work with a new model the first few minutes isn’t so much about taking a great photo, it’s about learning to talk the same language. I use the time to develop a vocabulary allowing the model to understand what I want her to do when I ask. the phrase “put you hand up” could mean so many things, I try and use the same direction with each model regardless of the experience. When I feel that we have a dialog in place I start the real shoot! I often explain that when I see something I don’t like I will let them know, if I see something I do like I will take the picture.

The models I work with often, trust that Im putting them in poses and situations that will make them look good. They understand that sometimes the feel of a pose has nothing to do with the look. Most people don’t stand with their knees together, pigeon toed and a hand behind the neck. It feels odd and without trust the model will transfer the uncertainly right into the lens.

The models Maddie and Bobbi are at very different levels in their careers Bobbi has much more time working with many photographers, this was the third time we worked together! Maddie on the other hand was really only shooting with a photographer for the third time. She was more tentative, she had a slower response time to direction but when she grasped the concept she was amazing.  Just a week earlier I had been told that I should shoot Maddie by another photographer. Knowing that I was shooting Bobbi, her friend I arranged to have Maddie shoot the same day.

After the first few minutes Maddie and I were able to relax and enjoy the shoot. She was still nervous but it was a beautiful day at a great location and lying in the water was not very challeneging. In fact she made a point of saying the that was the best thing she could be doing at that moment. The shot was not predetermined, it just became as I moved around her in the water. A slight adjustment in her legs and a head tilted back, adjust the angle from high to low and snap! This is what happens when trust, communication and a relaxed set come together!

So what does it take to get a great photo? Once you have chosen a photographer you trust and established a solid level of communication, just relax and have fun! When you stop worrying about you nose, your pose and your clothes! it will happen!


Peter’s Notes _ People often ask, what were you thinking when you took that shot? most time I don’t really recall. This time is do! I was in the water knee deep on slippery rocks and my thaough was
” Don’t drop your camera!! Don’t drop your camera!! Don’t drop your camera!!”
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