Although I’m not a portrait shooter primarily, there are occasions on which one is required to rise to the occasion – usually for something related to another job. A long time ago, I did shoot fashion. If you have professional models or outgoing, confident people, it’s pretty easy to get a decent headshot. But it’s difficult to capture their personality because they’re always in ‘professional’ mode around a camera – you can’t show them for who they really are, because they’re not comfortable enough to show it around you.
The flip side of the coin is when you have a person who clearly has a very distinct character, but suddenly gets uncomfortable and shy in front of the camera. Steve is a great guy, and very, very passionate about what he does – but completely blocks up and gets stiff in front of the lens. The trick I always use is to fire away a lot of frames until they get used to you; then go in for the stealthy kill: this shot (for a client) was not one of the hundred or so ‘posed’ frames we did; that was my intention all along. It was captured during a coffee break while he was talking to the client’s marketing director. I had the camera by my side on the chair, which I raised stealth-ninja fashion and got off a double tap to the head: bullseye. We landed up using this image for the final selection. Moral of the story: anticipate, and be ready at all times. MT