Headshots and group portraits are my bread and butter. I enjoy doing these kinds of shoots just as much as my more creative editorial work and get a lot of satisfaction from meeting and photographing people in this way, but I don’t share the photos as often because I know they’re not always the most exciting images for the general public.
I do want to share this photo though, because of 2 things: 1) YAY! – this shoot finally happened after having to be rescheduled multiple times because of snow/rain/more rain and 2) it’s a PERFECT example of why we photographers love a cloudy day. I showed up at the docks in downtown Annapolis early yesterday AM and could not have been more happy with the diffused light making everything look soft and glowy.
I have learned to insist on only shooting at times of day when the light is likely to work with what we’re going for. Part of this photo was luck (cloudy day), but even if it hadn’t been cloudy, we had intentionally scheduled our shoot early in the morning so we’d have nice soft light. I’m so thankful that my clients for this shoot were totally on board and very willing to get up early – something that is not always easy to convince people to do. 🙂
I sometimes hear young photographers bemoaning their clients insisting on shooting outside at 1pm, and then feeling like they are bad photographers when those photos don’t “turn out”. But I’m here to say – listen, photographers – be assertive. You know photography is literally about light. Light is the entire point and it will ultimately be the only difference between a bad photo and an ok photo and an amazing photo. Part of our job is educating our clients on this point.
Clients, trust that your photographer knows what they’re talking about – you’re not just paying for them to compose a photograph and press a shutter button, you’re paying for their accrued knowledge and experience.
And photographers, stand up for yourselves AND your clients by not willingly putting everyone in a situation where you’re trying to photograph 12 people in the middle of the day with ugly shadows and hot spots all over everyone’s faces. Don’t try that until you have a team of 4 assistants and a giant expensive scrim to filter the sun…. and clients who are willing to pay for all of that. 😉
Next week I’m going to be posting on what I’m learning about artificial/studio light, so stay tuned! In the meantime, if you need some new headshots I’d love to talk with you. Shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org