Sunday 22 October 2017


Much about successful photography is about confidence. Probably as much as experience. And certainly more than the equipment being used.

Three years ago when I decided to become more serious about people photography I lacked confidence in my ability to quickly connect with a person I had just meet. And it's that connection between photographer and subject which can make a photograph. Successful photographers have it. They quickly connect with the subject to steer the shoot in the right direction.

I knew I needed to gain experience in the technical aspects, and in quickly building a rapport. To do that I hired models. I could think about what I was doing, experiment and listen to advice without any pressure. If I came away without a good picture it didn't really matter. My photography had still improved. After a while, as the technical side started to become second nature and I found the initial meeting less stressful I was the one doing the directing. I still listened to the models and learned, but I was confident enough to start to take charge. I don't mean that until then the models had taken charge. Just that they knew how to keep the shoot flowing. Another skill I was beginning to master.

An aspect of a photoshoot I hadn't thought about was keeping it flowing, maintaining its energy.

Now my confidence had grown I could feel myself building and maintaining this energy.

I found it easier to keep the shoot moving. To know when to stick with a setup. How to tweak it and improve it. To know when we had the shot, and it was time to move on.

And just as importantly, move on quickly when it wasn't working.

Anyone you photograph can feel if you aren't in control, and confident about what you are doing. Experienced models cope with it, people not use to being photographed don't tend to. I am the first to admit, I don't really like being photographed. But if it's by someone who puts me at ease, and calmly goes about the task. I relax and that improves the results. So when I'm photographing a less confident person, I know I am better now at putting them at ease. Building their confidence.

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