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Better PR Photography: Breaking down the barriers

If you want to make it as a professional photographer there are certain tips you need to know. One is how to make your subject feel at ease as soon as you meet them. This extract from "Better Editorial and PR Photography" shows you how.

Better PR PhotographyIf you are photographing people for a living you have to find a way to break down any barriers between you and your subject – and you have to do this is less than a minute!

I have found that one of the best ways to relax someone is to talk to them about their work. Ask them a couple of open-ended questions like “How long have you been with the company?”, “What did you do before?”, “What do you do in this role?” and “What is the best part of the job?”

I’ll let you into a secret now. Nine times out of ten I don’t even listen to the answers! All I am doing is getting the subject to concentrate on themselves and give me the opportunity to get the camera out, look at suitable backdrops or locations and to thing about lighting.

Without a shadow of a doubt, one of the things I have noticed with novice photographers is that they clam up. They are so engrossed in what they are doing that they don’t talk to their subject.

Meanwhile, the subject is getting more and more uptight, doesn’t know what they are supposed to be doing or where to look, and generally feels very self-conscious.

In my e-manual “Better Editorial and PR Photography” find out a little about your subject before you start the shoot. Web sites often contain biog details of top people and over the years I have photographed people who have been a submarine captain, an ace fighter pilot and a dedicated ocean-going yachtsman in previous lives.

Just knowing this is enough to start up a conversation and it usually impresses the hell out of the sitter that you have made the effort.

In all, it can be an ice-breaker and help give you the shots you want.

Remember, people say they hate having their photographs taken. I think they mean, I hated having my photograph taken LAST TIME. Make sure you leave them with a better experience.

About the author: Steve Nichols is a professional photographer and journalist. His e-manual “Better Editorial and PR Photography” shows you how to take better images for press releases, magazines and newspapers.

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