A little while ago I was contacted by Phaedra Patrick who asked if I could help with doing a portrait photo for her book "The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper." She needed a photo for the cover of her book in America, and after a short chat we arranged a meet to do the session. We chatted a little about possible places to do the shots and I noticed the morning sunshine flooding through her kitchen window which I knew I wanted to use as a back or side light. I had seen an example of what the publisher wanted. It wasn't a great deal to go on, but it was a guide.
The most important part of any portrait shoot is to make your subject feel relaxed and at ease. If someone is tense or feeling uneasy it shows and that can ruin a perfectly good shot. The photo may be technically perfect but if the subject is tense or uncomfortable then the photo will not work. Also a lot of people have hangups about the way they look and that has to be taken into consideration as well.
Phaedra was very at ease and ready to engage and listen as well as ask for and suggest different ways to shoot the photos. When I am doing a portrait session or taking shots of people in general I do like to communicate as much as possible and also I show people what pics I have on the monitor on the back of my camera to show them what I have. The reason for this is simple. I believe if you are hired by someone to do a photo shoot they need to trust you and like what you are doing, so talking and showing the client what you are doing is reaffirming that bond and trust and I believe it gets you the shots you need faster.
This is the photo that will feature on the cover of her book, initially in the US and later here in the UK . The book is being published in fifteen different countries as I type out this blog, but it may well be more judging by the response from the publishers! This shoot was a joy to do and I wish Phaedra every success with the book. I want a copy myself but I am going to wait a little while so I can get a copy with the portrait in it!