I ALWAYS witness a photographer or art director, maybe the agency rep tell the model to relax. This also happens in any type of shoot whether shooting couples for prenup or a teenager for her pre debut pictures. “Relax lang” is what I always hear hoping the subject would loosen up and project a more ideal result.
Unfortunately, asking the subject to relax never results in a more confident subject. It’s not a magic word that changes the state of mind. I wish it would but it won’t. We encounter this a lot during shoots when subjects would just freeze in the set and you’d wish that they’d relax and show more confidence.
In my many years of shooting models, not even once that asking them to relax changed the mood of the set. To make them relax is to change the environment that made them nervous or uncomfortable. When they enter the set, they have a lot of doubts, a handful of what ifs. These thoughts mess up with what they can really do.
If subjects such as couples, being their first time in front of a camera, you must establish a connection and try to boost their confidence. One way of doing that is to know more about them. Maybe their love story and personal background. Cracking jokes works every time, although it’s different strokes for different folks.
When shooting models, there are those who just deliver even in the most challenging and nerve-racking situation, and there are those who shine only when given the right environment. I even encountered an experienced model, and she was so scared during the shoot that we never got a good shot.
You have to understand that the failure of anybody in the set, may it be the model, makeup artist or just even the assistant is the photographer’s failure. You are responsible for everything that happens in the shoot. Whatever comes out is a reflection of how you performed as a photographer. Yes, managing and directing the set is part of your responsibility.
Creating an environment that removes tension and encourages creativity is your first objective in the list, before you even start clicking the shutter. A photograph is the result of all the elements that contribute to the shot. Light may be the most obvious element, but the people involved in the shoot and the subject matters the same.
So the next time you want to tell the subject to relax, ask yourself if you have created the environment for them to relax. Act on it. The reason they are tense is because the environment is making them tense. You’re probably even part of what’s making them tense. There is no one tested and proven way of creating the right environment; it’s different every time. That’s where experience comes in.
Meanwhile, GRP has a basic photography workshop coming up this Nov. 26 to 27. For inquiries, you may call Jennifer at 0906.024.7718 (Globe) or 0942.487.0385 (Sun). Keep on shooting, everyone!