Tips for Shooting an Editorial Portrait
Jared and I have been working on a beginner flash guide and will be bringing it to you soon. In the meantime, check out this video I made with tips on shooting an editorial portrait after a recent shoot I did with the chef concierge at New York City’s prestigious Pierre Hotel for Eater.com.
I love shooting editorial portraits. There’s so many variables and always full of challenges. These shoots can be a bit of an adrenaline rush, so it’s good to stay calm, and be resourceful. Think outside the box and be flexible. If something isn’t working, don’t panic. Try something else. Come up with 3 – 5 ideas before you begin shooting. At least one of those is going to work, and may even lead to something else that’s even better.
Some of the challenges of shooting an editorial portrait:
– Limited Time: Be prepared that your subject may not have a lot of time to give you. You’re lucky if you get 30 minutes with them.
– Familiarity: Chances are you’ve never worked with or even met your subject prior to the shoot. That and your location is typically new to you as well. Do your research. Google your subject and your location prior to the shoot.
– Space: Often you are relegated to shooting at your subject’s workspace which typically is open for business. Be prepared for the challenges of working in an an open business with people moving freely through your set can be interesting. That applies to the amount and type of gear you’ll bring on location.
– Gear: Sure it’d be nice to have a bunch of lights and stands and modifiers, but often you have so little time for the shoot. One or two speedlites may be about all the space and your time will allow.
– Your Subject: Hopefully your subject is familiar and comfortable doing photo shoots. However, sometimes you will work with folks that are camera shy. Also, there are times when your subject is overly made up. Don’t get flustered. Your subject will see your panic and take it on. Stay calm and work with what you’ve got.
– Mentality: I highly recommend looking up your subject and location on Google. Learn as much about them and your location PRIOR to arriving on site. Sometimes you may be hired to shoot someone with a non gender-specific name. Look them up. Know in advance you’ll be working with a male or female subject. That may help you to decide how you want to light them so you can be prepared for your setup in advance. Check out the location online. See if you can find places that you may want to shoot and suggest them when you get there. Again, you may have a very short window to get this shot.
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