Sunday, January 12, 2014

Are You a Type A or Type B Photographer? (Personality Wise)

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We've all heard the terms "Type A" and "Type B" regarding personalities.  Although Type A and Type B theories have been widely criticized and, in many ways, discredited, I'll still use them as examples of two kinds of photographers I run across.  (I've never let criticism or something being discredited stand in the way of a blog update.)

In a nutshell, people with Type A personalities are often described as being aggressive, ambitious, sometimes overbearing, and often insensitive to the feelings or needs of others.  Type B people, on the other hand, are often described as being more laid back, enjoying achievement but not becoming stressed when they do not achieve, people who are concerned about the effects of their words and actions on others. (Those are the pop culture definitions, BTW. Not the original definitions put forth by whoever first put them forth.) 

I've been around model photographers who mostly bark all their directions at the models. These are the Type A photographers. They do offer some positive feedback while they're shooting, but it often seems like they're begrudgingly offering it. Type A shooters seem to have attitudes regarding models that say, "Hey! If they can't stand the heat, get out of the freakin' fire."  The "fire," of course, being the fire of the light(s) in front of a camera.  I'm generally talking about pro models, by the way, or models who are very serious about modeling for whatever reasons and regardless of whether they're being paid to model or not, not most other portrait subjects who, technically, are modeling for the camera but they're not models, per se.

Conversely, Type B photographers seem to handle models with kid gloves. They are kind, patient, and understanding. Often, too much so. I've seen more than my share of Type B shooters being walked on, i.e., walked all over on, by models; especially more experienced models.

Interestingly, I've seen as many Type A shooters get terrific results as I've seen Type B shooters get them. Go figure, right?

You might be wondering what kind of personality type I am when I'm shooting pretty girls. Well, I've developed the ability to be either of them.  Choosing which I'll be during a shoot depends on the model.  I'm talking in generalities, of course. I'm not either a pure Type A or a pure Type B personality when I'm shooting. Plus, there's plenty of personality behaviors lying in between those two somewhat extreme types and I can be almost anything in between them. (As needed or required.) A lot of photographers are also that way. Still, I've witnessed more than my share of photographers who seem, in general, to be purely one type or the other.

You might be thinking that the more experienced a photographer may be, the more likely he or she is, or becomes, a Type A shooter. That seems logical in many ways. Photographers who are less experienced, especially when working with models who will be removing their clothing during a shoot, may be a bit more timid about being (what they perceive as) forceful or overly assertive. And there's certainly a fair amount of truth to that.

Some photographers seem to think they need to show the model who is in charge. They do this by being something less than a "nice" person with their directions and when interacting with their models. Some photographers go the other way and are too "nice," that is, they're too careful about being or appearing like Mr. of Ms. Nice Guy. Neither of these approaches, IMO, reflect photographer behaviors that are inherently good or bad.  Like I said, either can yield great photos.

What I've found is the best way to be or to act, personality-wise, is "professional."  I know, I know, WTF does that mean? Professional, to me and in terms of shooting personality, is someone who knows what they're doing (or appears to know) and who knows what they want to capture with the photos and knows how to do it and how to get their models to model in ways that best get the job done. They are neither overly friendly and nice, nor are they overly bossy and mean. They are something in between. Where they are in between changes from shoot to shoot and model to model. The more experienced most photographers become, the more they know (or should know) where they need to be between the near opposites of Type A and Type B, and that's how they'll roll when shooting. Unless, of course, they are naturally overly nice or routinely overly mean people and then they rarely adapt their behaviors to various situations and different models.  They simply remain... themselves.  For better or worse.

The pretty girl at the top whose pose and expression looks as if King Kong's hand is about to come through the window is Ally.

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