Sunday, March 04, 2007

Why I Shoot People

I know the answer seems simple enough. After all, the vast majority of the people I shoot are sexy, pretty, girls in varying stages of dress and undress. Since I'm straight and have a healthy-enough libido, the answer would seem to be a no-brainer. But it's more than that.

The inter-personal aspects of shooting people is something I find uniquely satisfying and challenging. I'm a people person. As a rule, I'm not shy around strangers. I can strike up conversations with almost anyone and I don't need intros or obvious starting points for those conversations. Instead, I'll introduce myself or simply invent starting points for intercourse... social intercourse! You knew what I meant! Anyway, they might not always be clever and witty starting points but they're natural and friendly and, generally, they serve their purpose. I don't shy from speaking in front of groups and I'm often the first person, in a group setting, to smile, move my lips, make noise, and break the ice. Sometimes I fall through the ice but that can work even better. Everyone loves a clown, right?

Okay, some people hate clowns but you get what I'm saying.

I think these are important qualities for pretty girl shooters. When photographers shy away from interaction, the work often suffers. At a minimum, it probably makes it more difficult. I realize everyone doesn't possess extroverted, people skills, i.e., they don't naturally and instinctively possess them. Frankly, I often wonder how socially-timid, introverted, or generally quiet and withdrawn photographers ply their trade? (That is, if their photographic trade is all about shooting people.)

The other day, when I was shooting for those new producers I wrote about, someone on the set was looking at some images I had already shot. I was currently snapping away with the next model but the guy approached and interrupted me to pay a few nice compliments about my photography skills. I don't usually care for being interrupted when I'm shooting but my ego almost always trumps my concentration and I turned to him and said, "Thanks!" Then added, "But it ain't all about photography, it's more about psychology."

The model, Shyla, smiled broadly and quickly added, "You got that right, baby!"

For the rest of the set, Shyla was model-putty in my hands. That simple, impromptu, comment said more to her than to the person I was speaking to-- It said, simply enough, that I was as interested, make that more interested, in the rapport between Shyla and me than worrying about F-stops, S-curves, and the thrust of Shyla's bust.

You and I, of course, know that's not true: F-stops, S-curves, and Shyla's bust were as important to me as the development of our rapport. But it made Shyla feel like it was more about her... not merely the images of her and her assets, but her herself.

Like I said, model-putty in my hands was the result.

BTW, I've re-thought my position on not posting a single image from that shoot. I'm gonna post just one. Hey! I'm the creator of the image! I might not have commercial-use rights but I have copyrights and posting a pic on this site ain't a commercial-use, it's a promotional use. Plus, I've appropriately watermarked the image. And besides all that, it's a freakin' out-take!

If you haven't already figured it out, the pretty girl at the top, the one with the bust that thrusts, is Shyla.

Image captured with a Canon 5D w/EF 24-70 mm "L" zoom at a focal length of 51 mm. ISO 100, f/5.6 @ 125th. 33.5" Mola Beauty Dish for the main, white foamcore for fill, a Chimera medium strip and a small, silver-lined, umbrella working either side from behind.

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