By Kevin Casha
Location and Studio sessions
As one can imagine, there are basic differences between outdoor and studio photography. Location (or outdoor) sessions require a somewhat different approach. Planning is again the key word before the actual session gets underway.
When shooting outdoors, you have to consider lighting conditions. Usually, the best time is either early morning or late afternoon - these sections of the day are most useful for location photography as the sun will be in an ideal, more manageable position. Remember that contrary to a studio, the photographer does not have full control of lighting conditions when working outdoors so he has to try to select the time of day for shooting. For example, it is nearly impossible to get good people pictures when the sun is directly overhead - all one will manage to do is to make the model's eyes look like something out of a horror movie!
Another factor to keep in mind when on location is to travel light. Warn your model that it can be quite taxing to carry half her wardrobe across rough or muddy ground - the photographer will not be able to help out as he will have his own gear to carry. So stick to essentials and guide the model to select just a couple of outfits, blouses, scarves and, of course, a basic make-up kit (including a good-sized mirror - plastic is better!). If the shoot requires dressy high heels, it also makes sense for the model to have a comfortable pair of shoes to walk in.
Once again, pre-planning will pay dividends - a visit to the chosen location before the actual session will enable the photographer to acclimatize themselves with the general atmosphere and useable backgrounds. That way you will be able to select the right clothes and 'looks' to complement the environment.
As regards to make-up, suit it to the photography and mood you would like to create - do not be over-elaborate if you are searching for a natural look. If you are taking black and white pictures, make-up should be that bit heavier than for colour photographs.
Location shooting can also offer its surprises - it will help to have a knack for improvisation. Things might not work out as planned due to unexpected, adverse weather or lighting conditions.
A good sized reflector to shield off unwanted, harsh light as well as to bounce light into the shadows is essential, and, if faced with low-light conditions, a tripod is also a must. Flash can be very handy and the mastering of fill-in flash technique is essential.
During the shoot, background music and a drink sometimes work wonders for obtaining that balanced, friendly atmosphere. If the model, or the photographer, are not relaxed, it will show in the photographs - it will be difficult for the model to strike the right look or pose if she feels nervously stranded on a stool, with a bank of lights glaring down at her. Constant conversation and small talk helps to break the ice and dispel any residual nerves. Punctuality is one matter which must never be neglected. Nothing gets a photo session off to a worse start than arriving late for the appointment.
Studio make-overs have become very popular in recent years and are a good source of income for the photographer. Work out packages where a model can have her hair and make-up done in the studio, allowing for a few changes of clothes and looks. Your choice of make-up artist and hair styling team is important. Do not shy away from trying out newcomers as they are more apt to be available and enthusiastic for this type of work. But do not use your clients as guinea pigs! Make arrangements for backup because if your work increases, you are bound to find members of your team unavailable on particular days. A person who is a good make-up artist as well as having a knack for some hairstyling work is ideal. Do not forget to check that the model will have had a manicure as bad fingernails can prevent you from including hands in your pictures. Avoid today's elaborate nail art - simple, natural manicures work best.
It is foremost that your model feels pampered and taken care of on the day of the shoot. If your client is going to recommend you, the whole experience has to be fun and relaxed.
Good manners, grooming, tact and presentation are a must in this business. The utmost respect for the model is paramount.
There are 229 days to get ready for The Societies of Photographers Convention and Trade Show at The Novotel London West, Hammersmith ...
which starts on Wednesday 20th January 2021