Do you take pictures of people? Are they really happy with your work and performance?
There are too many bad pro photographers out there. How do I know? Simple: I talk to customers who had bad experiences and didn’t like what they had to pay for.
This may come a bit strange but expensive equipment and presentation, unfortunately, do not make a good photographer, although many of them like to think so. The main reason they fail to satisfy a client is that they don’t listen to their wishes and needs. Result? You get unsatisfied customers. They’ll be ok with the pictures, but their expectations won’t be fulfilled. Don’t be a bad photographer. They aren’t going to recommend you and although you got your money out of it, you lost in a long term.
Of course, photographers have their own style and approach, and that same style and artistic expression got them to where they are at present point –professionals. Pro photographer doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to be stubborn and do it always your own way. Just talk with people. Show them your previous pictures; see how they react, what they like. Get to know your customer; get to know your model. They are going to be far easier to work with and, in the end, satisfied with the result.
In the process of shooting you should always make a small pause. Use that pause to view recently taken pictures with the client, show them how they look like from the other side of the camera. That will give you both an opportunity to cooperate better and get nicer, more natural and laid back photos. Model will be more relaxed and you’ll get the time you need to play with all the technical stuff. You’re goal is to make them as much as comfortable in front of your dslr. Once you do that, the rest is a piece of cake.
For portraits you may use a telephoto lens like 85mm f1.8. That should give you both the distance from your subject and a nice depth of field but be careful with the f-stop if you wish to go below f2.2 (nobody likes ‘out of focus’ eyes). People have a tendency to get a bit afraid as they see a camera closing up to their faces. That puts them in an awkward position and results in unnatural face expressions etc. If they are really shy you can always use a 300mm f2.8. Just kidding… Or not. Once you get to know them and once they get to trust you, you can approach more closer to achieve some special close up images that you are seeking for. Most of the time I use my canon 70-200 f2.8 and if I wish to get closer to my model I put on a 16-35 f2.8 but keeping it on the 35mm end.
The other, equally important part of every photo shoot is post processing. Saying that, means that a same photo can end up looking like 100 different ones. Let’s just say that you shouldn’t get too artistically carried away and go all Andy Warhol on you images. At least when you’re not told and paid to do so.
People, especially women, tend to be very sensitive about their skin tone and prefer extra post processing work on their face. I can hardly say that I’m a fan of this, and I would always go with a natural look. Despite that, I will listen and try my best to do towards my client’s satisfaction but won’t allow for my final product to become some blurry soft focus image of a person with no skin texture whatsoever.
I personally use a little brushing in Lightroom with clarify set to minus and for some extra work needed I’ll use Photoshop with its numerous options.
Be smart. Learn from others mistakes as well.
Working with people ain’t that easy, I know. There’s always going to be unsatisfied ones, but at least you may try to keep that number as low as possible.
Don’t be a bad photographer; get to know your client!