The shoot with Marita started just like any other by talking, breaking the ice, getting to know each other. In fact I would say it's more important than working on lights and settings, that can come later.
During the getting to know each other part the conversation turned to fitness, not just because of a general interest from all involved but also because Marita is the Director and Founder of Lotus Fitness Academy, a local fitness boot-camp group and personal training service. (more on this later)
Now this conversation was great as it breaks the ice and everyone on set starts to get to know each other & relax a little, me included. In my experience everyone needs to warm up and get in to the mode of shooting.
After the introductions and talking it's time to start working together to make photographs.
Remember no matter who you have in front of your lens and lights (model, client, family, friend) the whole process is a collaboration and it's a process that has to involve both you and your subject... Ideas get formed and discussed, direction given, poses set and images made.
Most shoots I do will start with one light to keep it simple and get warmed up, the only exception is white seamless, which I did not shoot on this day...not sure why as it's my go to.
Another reason for starting with one light is it is less intimidating for your subject if they walk on to a simpler set with one light instead of 4 lights and fill cards, booms, stands etc.
Portraits are about creating what a subject, client and you want but also about capturing the real person and moments... a genuine smile, laugh or reaction to something I say or that happens. These things come from conversation and not having a huge set-up in the way from the get go.
Start simple and build up from their.
Some photographs from the shoot can be found below where you will see a mix of studio and location images but also notice the change in poses, feel and tone of the images.
Directing is something that has taken me years to start to feel comfortable with (it's a constant learning process - I'm no Sue Bryce yet), you can go from a calm/soft look to a serious one and then break it up with a laugh or smile.
Some of that comes from directing but a whole lot of it comes from just talking, having some fun and sometimes me acting like a prat. It's also good to watch what your subject does naturally from how the sit/stand to which way their head leans or that thing they do with their hair or hands. We want a mix of posed and natural images and those two things can cross over sometimes.
A fake smile form an actor/model can look real but it's still fake.. a real one is worlds apart and in my opinion gold.
[Please click images for a larger view,I am trying a different layout for galleries in blog posts and would love to hear any feedback in the comments]