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My Workflow For An Outdoor Portrait Session

Updated: Aug 5, 2019


Here is a quick checklist of my workflow for outdoor portrait shoots. 1. Discussion On A Separate Day Prior to Shoot Day. This is must for first time models/crew I work with. As a prior meeting before the shoot would ease off any tension and both parties would be able to discuss and agree on what to expect, this would mitigate any concerns, contracts, limitations, release, etc. Besides, I believe both parties would like to discuss in details ideas that work and agree upon even before getting to the shoot itself. There are two exception though, I have done first time shoots without meeting up prior only for visiting models who were from overseas and have really got very little time - this goes the same when I travel abroad to shoot. The other would be for paid assignments, if the model/client is the paying party, I leave it to their own discretion if they wish to meet prior. 2. Preparation Need I say more? Wardrobe, location recce, MUA, equipment, etc. I usually have a whole wardrobe in my arsenal ranging from dress, tops, bottoms, heels, accessories, themed outfits, weapons, hats, etc. - but I would usually use some of model's own clothes as some of those would be most fitting and bring out her own character. In addition, if the model is too lazy to bring her outfit to show me, she could take pictures of the model in her own outfit and send them over. This is a very normal practice in the industry. However, there are newbies who feel shy about it for reasons unknown. 3. The Shoot Day (Finally!) Most of the models who have worked with me would notice a common trend when I shoot with them for the first time. I would always say vibe and chemistry is of utmost important, depending on the theme they need to be natural and casual in front of the camera. What is most common is that I will ask the model to try to do a few poses of her own and I would take over once he/she runs out of ideas. There is a reason why I would ask the model to do their own poses at the start, what I am trying to do is to try to exhaust the models' 'standard' poses and inject more creativity into the poses that follow. Over the years, I have found my specialty in either getting the most natural or the most bizarre poses. To me as a photographer, I would like to experiment the extremes of both sides - soft or loud. Yes I talk a lot during the shoot, I apologize for being chatty and talkative for models who doesn't like their photographers to be noisy. I believe that helps to break the ice especially for newbies as I just can't stand silence throughout the shoot. I believe in getting good pictures in the end but at the same time, having loads of fun and laughter during the shoot. Okay, that's all for now. In the next entry I would discuss more about techniques, dos & don'ts. - might be pretty dry for some. Till then. Cheers, Jay.C


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