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Entry number 25 for the 2022 365 Black & White Challenge is a photograph of the groom from Saturday’s wedding.
This is James. James is authentically himself. James does not like photographs of himself.
James likes this photograph of himself.
Today’s question to be answered is “How do you photograph someone who would rather not be in photographs, but know he probably should, and make them look as if they were born to be photographed?”
It’s as easy as rubbing your hands.
No seriously, it all comes to the fact he is rubbing his hands.
Let me explain…
The reason models (especially good models) are good at what they do is that they can look at a camera and not freak out. They can maintain their expression (or the expression asked for) without an inner monologue going “Oh no he/she/they is/are pointing a camera at me!!!!”.
Young James here was very conscious that I was pointing a big camera with a ridiculously long (obviously compensating for something) lens at him. And it wasn’t making him at all relaxed. That was when I ask him to look up and to his left (getting more light on his face) and to rub his hands together. After quickly following that with “No, not like your sanitising.” which caused the smile, I clicked the shutter and created this portrait.
So, to explain why that worked. When I asked James to rub his hands, it shifted his focus (pun only slightly intended) from “Oh no he is pointing a camera at me!!!!” to his hands, thus removing the “Oh no he/she/they is/are pointing a camera at me!!!!” thoughts from his brain and therefore his face.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this before, but pretty much most thoughts you have running through your brain will show on your face when being photographed.
If you’ve ever been photographed by me (or my beautiful bride) you will know we talk a lot as we shoot. This is not because we are nervous or are just naturally chatty. We do this because it helps us take better photographs of you in a similar way to the rubbing of the hands.
When we talk, you are naturally inclined to listen to hear what we are instructing. When you are listening, you are not thinking “Oh no he/she/they is/are pointing a camera at me!!!!” nearly as much as before and this causes your face to relax. And when your face is relaxed, we go click and in most cases, when we show you on the back of the camera, you go “Oh wow!”.
I was going to continue with the story of the wedding day but this lesson has taken my available time. I sincerely hope it was worth your time to read.
But before I go, yes, I could have straightened his tie (for the fifteenth time that day) but then it wouldn’t have been James, and the centre and heart of my photography is, I photograph YOU.
Have a great day and I’ll see you in the next post.
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Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm 1:2.8G II ED (VR) @ 112 mm
1/1250 | f/2.8 | ISO 640
Saturday January 22, 2022 @ 10:50
Olinda, Victoria, Australia
B&W 365 - 25/365 (6.8% complete)
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