Photography duo: how to photograph with your partner

 In For Photographers

One of the things that distinguishes us from other photographers, is that we are a photography duo. Being a photography duo means that both me and Faby photograph our customers, and we do it together at the same time. The fact that we are a photography duo is a choice we made long time ago, and it is something that can be a huge advantage from a photography perspective, at least if done right.

The way we are doing it is working well, and it comes a long way. Faby and I have been a photography duo for many years now, and we have discovered quite few things that might help you.

If you want to know the four rules we use to be a healthy photography duo, please feel free to dig in!

Divide and Conquer

Faby’s strengths reside in certain areas of photography, while mine are more focussed on others. I tend to excel in understanding people’s movement and pose people the right way, while Faby is best at correcting details and making sure everything looks perfect. We tend to start each photo session with these strengths in mind, and we try not to do the other’s job. Being a photography duo means having the possibility to use double the time, it is therefore counterproductive to have two photographers doing the same thing.
If I pose our subject, Faby has more time to look at details or take candid shoots. If she is relaxing the customer with chitchat, I can set up the next look. We work in symbiosis, using each other’s strengths.
If you want to succeed as a photography duo, you need to split the work in two, and make sure not to steal each other’s job.

Adapt to your subject

The fact that, as a photography duo, you can focus on a subset of things to do, does not mean you should not know the other photographer’s skills. The key element is being a complete photographer, knowing how to do everything. The advantage is that in a photography duo you can learn from each other. What remains the most important thing, is that you should be ready to switch each other’s role to adapt to your subjects.
If your subject responds more to you, it would be counterproductive to let the other photographer mange the posing, as that is one of the moments in which the bonding between photographer and subject is the most important thing. Be ready to change your roles, and during test shoots make sure you practice doing what normally the other photographer in the photography duo does.

Know where the other photographer is

Knowing where your partner is while shooting is vital, possibly one of the most important skills you should both possess. Knowing it means that you won’t step in her line of sight, ruining her shoot. It also means that you will know that she is taking one specific angle for that pose, so you won’t have to.
I cannot stress this more, as if one of the photographers in a photography duo does not know where the other is, the other will get frustrated. She will lose a lot of good photographs because of the other getting in the line of sight. She will get impatient as she will expect the other to ruin a shot. This will lead the photography duo to break, as the job for one of them will be frustrating.

Respect each other’s timing

Similarly to knowing where your partner is, you should alway be aware of her timing. Is she still looking for the perfect photo? Is she done with that pose? Especially for those of you who, in a photography duo, have the responsibility to pose your subjects, there is the need to check if your partner is ready for a new pose. If you move the shoot on before the other photographer is done, the same frustration described before will cripple the synergy in the photography duo.

In the end, being part of a photography duo is like being part of a ballet. You should circle around each other, knowing the other photographer’s angle and respecting her timing. You are dancing partner, you are creating something together. Being part of a photography duo is not the simplest thing in photography, but if done well will reward you.

If you want to set up a one2one workshop to learn how to make the most out of your photography duo, please don’t hesitate to get in touch in the form below!

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