Few days ago, I was reflecting on how time has changed me. I feel more confident than ever before, and I have an understanding of the world that is far greater than I was twenty. Of course, my figure changed as well, and not always for the best. I have some pounds over my abs, and my hair are growing thinner and whiter. Getting “salt&pepper” has never scared me, but I have to admit that seeing less and less hair is something I hope not to have to deal with.
These personal changes prompted me to see my profession from another perspective, especially after seeing some footage of myself while I was working. The short video show my “weak point” in the foreground, or maybe it was me that was able to see it. It hit me that there is no difference between me and the people I photograph, and no difference with you: nobody wants to see the worst in their photos.
How can you make sure to show the best in people?
It does not matter if you think otherwise, reality is a personal perception
Fabiana tells me that I haven’t lost as many hair as I think, and that I don’t really have a hole on my head. She is right, I know this; however, I am aware of the fact that my hair is thinner than before, and the reality is what I perceive to be the reality. You have to be kind with your subjects, as they were yourself. You should try and understand that what they perceive to be reality, is what their reality actually is. If your subject is aware of her belly, it means that she can see it. Real or not, she will focus on that, as she is afraid not to see herself as she was before. It does not really matter if her vision is true or not: for your subjects perception is reality.
Don’t dismiss your subjects insecurities
One of the things we have repeated more than once is that dismissing your subjects’ insecurities is absolutely wrong. I told you I am concerned about my receding hair, this means that it is a sensible matter for me. Telling me it’s not right won’t change my perception of it. On the contrary it will make me feel not understood and not listened to.
Dismissing your subjects’ insecurities is a speedy way of losing their trust, which is one of the most important elements while photographing portraits or boudoir.
Preparation is the key
In order to avoid showing your subjects photos they won’t like, as they may show what they fear the most, you need to be in the know. You need to know that I am concerned about my hair if you want to make sure to capture me at my best.
To do it, you need to spend some time before the session to get to know your subject. Talk to them, understand what they are looking for and what they fear. Everybody has a part of their body they don’t appreciate.
Hide, Don’t show or Minimise
Once you are in the know of what your subjects dreads about herself, you have many routes to go for. My personal preference is to make sure that something she likes has the attention. I will hide, not show or minimise what she fears. I am not cheating her, I won’t make her different from what she is in post production, I simply make sure to use my skills to photograph her at her best, for the way she sees herself. This is an important thing to remember: it is about what she wants to see, not what you want to show.
You may think my hair is beautiful, but if you are taking my photos for me, what I feel is more important of what you, as photographer, feel. Your customers are the ones that pay you, make sure you give them a good value for the money they are investing in you.