This is a blog from my website www.alansmithers.co.uk/section…
So a typical shoot with me, what is it like?
Well first I have to clear a space in my room I have a 6ft pop-up background which is white or black depending on which side but I have a grey cover as well this just helps when deciding which backdrop will complement the model and fashion style. I also have a selection of lights to choose from, currently 2 soft-lights and an off camera flash with lighting umbrella. I’m faving the off camera flash at present, in the closed space I have to work with this just offers a bit more flexibility and takes up less room. And having one light to work with adds more depth to the photo. I also have a reflector but hardly use this due to not having an assistant on shoot but when I have it has really helped the shot.
As my photography is a hobby I tend to be very laid back in my approach, I don’t dictate how I want a shoot to go I’m happy to see how things progress and try to include what the model wants to get out of the shoot. My mind set is very much just turn up and bring some changes whatever you want and I’m sure we will get some great shots. Some photographers will go into a shoot with a plan, a concept or that killer shot that they want to do, however I have found that an idea for a shot doesn’t always suit the model and that it can be something completely different that gets the best shot.
As shooting can be a bit awkward, I like to chat throughout the shoot, it helps relax the model and helps me understand what shots might be the best. I’m not one for awkward silences either so I always have some music on, I love music and at present I tend to put on one of Zane Lowe’s shows from bbc iplayer, great selection of music and some great interviews.
While shooting it’s been pointed out that I have a habit of smiling away behind the camera, I didn’t realise I was doing this to someone pointed it out. I guess its instant feedback on how I feel the shoot is going and if the shot I’m doing at that time looks great.
Typically a shoot with me takes between 1 – 2 hours consisting of around 4 – 5 changes and usually around 500 photos. I then go through the shots later and pick out the 10 – 20 best shots to edit in photoshop. When edited I email these over to the model.
As my photography is very much a hobby when I do shoot this is usually TFP (time for portfolio). I don’t charge or pay for shoots. I did try to take photography more seriously the other year but I found that all the fun was sucked out of photography for me as the work people pay for is usually work that doesn’t interest me or inspire me. I then found that I lost my flow and creativity for a while. As I work full time and like to spend time with my friends, I don’t always get back to everyone who wants to shoot with me also as it’s a hobby I tend to shoot with people who interest me and can add something to my portfolio which I am after. I have turned down working with experienced models before and chosen newbies instead as the shoot with them seems more interesting and fun.