My process – Portrait Photography Pt. 1

September 5, 2018
I’ve been shooting for little over a year now. My work consists mostly of portraits with awesome people I got to meet along the way. With my last shoot, I realized that I managed to develop a workflow process… a set of guidelines before, during and after a shoot that seems to make the process more enjoyable and efficient.
When it comes to workflow, there’s no “right” way. It can differ with each tog but just like I’ve learned from others’, I trust that my process will be of benefit to you.
While I was writing this, I quickly figured out that it would be one out of a series of posts. There’s just a lot to share. So to start off here’s PART ONE – My pre-shoot process.
Scout – I follow some brilliant togs on Instagram. I’m talking about those who call SA their home. I’m sure if you’ve checked out some local feature pages, you’d agree. Check out @dopeportraitssa (shameless plug)
But photographers are only half the talent when it comes to portraiture. I’ve seen some models out there who’s fashion sense are to blame for serious jaw-drops on my end. If they’re in my city, I make contact and propose a collab.
(Sidenote – collabs works best when it’s mutually beneficial. I’m happy to say that in all my shoots thus far, an effort has been put in from both parties and it worked out perfectly.)
If you do score yourself a collab, be clear about what you expect from the model AND about what you’re offering.
Plan, Plan, Plan – If you’re serious about using your time efficiently, you need to plan. There’s no way around it. I’m talking about small things.
Got a shoot date? – research the weather for that day. Got a location? – research the time of day when you’ll have the best light in your location.
This will prevent you from entering into a frustrating guessing game after realizing that the look you had in your mind isn’t working out or that the safety aspect at a particular time of day is too risky.
Moodboard – Talking about looks, create a mood board. I usually ask the model what she plans on wearing or if I have a specific mood in mind, I’d send him/her examples. Once you’ve got the outfit(s), share a mood board. It can be on Pinterest, Instagram (bookmarks), Google photos just to name a few. The importance of this is to get on the same page with whomever you’re about to create photos with.

Communicate – The more contact you make, the more comfortable the model/fellow creator gets with you. I try and stay in communication regularly. You get a sense of the model’s personality and you get to show yours too. In case I need to say it, BE YOURSELF. It’s the only way this can work. If you put up a front, you’ll have to maintain it. Don’t you get tired just thinking about how much work that is? If you’re an introvert, be an introvert. Don’t hush. If you’re still learning something, be transparent about that in your communication. You get the idea.

β€œTo work well with other people, you need to understand their personalities and they need to understand yours.” – Adam Grant

Leave room – To end off the pre-shoot process, I wanna talk about spontaneity which is almost equally important as planning. Make a conscious effort to leave room for that. I’m a conservative shooter, so I’m always around 70% planning and I give spontaneity a generous 30% during the shoot. Some of my unplanned shots worked out to be the best.
That pretty much sums up my pre-shoot process. Let me know if you gained something from it or if there’s something you think I can try in this phase before heading out to my next portrait shoot.
If you enjoyed this one and don’t want to miss the rest of the series, consider signing up for my mailing list and I’ll keep you up to date.
Thanks for reading! πŸ™‚
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  • Karin Roman September 5, 2018

    Thank you for this share Mav. I really enjoyed reading this. You are such an inspiration. Keep doing what you are doing bro. Much love. K

    • admin September 5, 2018

      Thank you very much for reading and for the kind words sis. Keeoing uo is a MUST at this stage. Hope you enjoy the next one just as much

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