It is a photographer’s job, or mission if an amateur, to get the best out of their subject, whether a human, animal or an object. So, let’s have a look at how problematic all three could be to a photographer when their final image is at stake, and at the same time, come up with some tips to help.
The relationship between a photographer’s human subject or model is an important one. A good relationship will mean that both know at all times what is expected of them. A photographer that has worked for the same agency before will know exactly what their brief is, and then to encounter the same model again not only puts the photographer at an advantage, and the model at ease, but achieves the desired results quicker.
Excellent communication is the key to directing a model into the poses required to create a certain mood or formality and be right for a certain ad campaign. For instance, is it a formal or casual look that is sought? Is it a moody and dark shot? Perhaps it’s a light and bright one. This does not have to relate to the type of clothes worn, it can be about how casually those clothes are worn.
Wedding photographers should, in the main, let the bride and groom do their thing with minimal direction. It is about them enjoying the day and looking happy rather than being forced to pose a certain way when all that is required is a church background and a happy smile from both. So, all that is needed is a smile of encouragement. You can keep telling them they are doing a good job so that they feel less nervous. A nervous smile is a false smile and it is a natural one that the photographer will be looking for.
Animal or Wildlife Photographs
With wildlife, you are not in control of an animal at all, so it is a case of remaining quiet, as hidden as possible and being patient. However, with pets, you have the option of getting the owner’s help. They do, after all, want the best picture you can take. One they have perhaps struggled to achieve themselves without help.
Outdoors, treats and toys will make you approachable to a pet when it comes to attracting their attention. It is an incentive for a dog to take direction from you when there is that incentive for doing it. Bribery will get you everywhere with a dog and thankfully nowhere with the authorities. Dogs like to be bribed with treats.
So, place a toy near the camera lens but not covering it and get that pet to look straight at you. If the toy has a squeaker then use it because it may well trigger a different facial expression. Dogs can be as expressive as humans when they want to be.
Be prepared as a photographer to take dog selfies. Many owners will want to be included in the photograph of their pet. This then means that you are giving direction to the owner and the dog, as the owner will not be able to be the one distracting or engaging the dog now. It may call for a different kind of shot, where the owner is getting the dog’s attention while also managing to smile for the camera. It is whatever works best, and you can take as many shots with a digital camera until the perfect pose from both subjects is obtained. Invariably when there are two subjects one or the other will be pulling the wrong face which then contradicts with the other. Be patient with both.
Inanimate objects are those that do not move. This makes it so much easier when trying to capture them for a photograph. It is then up to the photographer to decide where to place the object concerning the background. Whether to have the object more distant or closer in focus.
The tip here is to think about shadow and whether you want that as part of the object’s image. If you wish to eliminate or reduce it then you might consider having the lighting in the room as high as possible. Alternatively, you could increase the number of lights in the room to achieve the same effect. Larger lights will create fewer shadows. Then, of course, there are the tools of the trade such as lightboxes for greater illumination and in all the right places.
So, tips for all subjects, moving or otherwise. Humans are no different from animals in that they have to be directed or influenced in some way to become the perfect subject. Consider how it is the professionals do it if you are still learning photography. If you are already professional, then there are always extra tips to be learned to cover different situations you may not have photographed so far.