After posting a few of my latest shots on Twitter the other day, a handful of you have been asking how I got them to look the way they do, considering that my boyfriend is far from a professional photographer, and I’ve only had a profeshhhh camera for the last two months (almost).
So let’s say it how it is, I really hope that you guys picked up on the fact that the title of this blog post is just a tongue in cheek joke – replace *boyfriend with whatever suits your partner personally and the whole “training” thing is basically just a learning exercise for both of you. I feel like I need to put this disclaimer in here as some people get touchy about it, but obviously, it’s all down to what works for you as a couple, or as best friends, or as sisters/brothers, or whatever your relationship is – and more importantly what the other person feels like doing.
1. SET UP YOUR CAMERA FOR THE SHOTS
Even though my lovely boyfriend, Alix, takes my shots – I sort out the camera shit. He wouldn’t know where to start, and he already gets a little stressed with my new camera as he’s still getting used to it compared to the easy snapping on an iPhone. As I blog full time I have plenty of time to research and test settings out so it works out well for us this way round. Also, I have a good idea of how I want the images to look which helps when I’m setting everything up.
I don’t have settings that I leave my camera on all the time because it really does depend on a lot of things, like lighting, or even the type of lens I’m using, but I always shoot on Manual (M). Generally, I never go about ISO 1000 as I feel like the image quality begins to suffer. Instead, play around with the shutter speed and f number to adjust the amount of light (exposure) in the shot. Make sure you have the white balance sorted too – it’s easier to shoot on auto when you’re out and about but you can try to do it manually if the white balance is still a little off.
2. ASK YOUR PARTNER TO MODEL SO YOU CAN TAKE “TEST SHOTS”
After setting up my camera, I pop my boyfriend in the space I want to model in and take some test shots. A lot of the time I’ll fine tune the shutter speed and exposure here, so these shots are important so we don’t waste time on taking shots I don’t like or can’t use.
Secondly, get your partner to move within the space so you can take some example shots. These are so important for my boyfriend personally, as he likes to be able to see the look and vibe I want to go for. I can frame him in the shot in the same way I want to be framed and then all he has to do is flick through the photos to see how to capture me within the frame.
SHOP THE YELLOW BLAZER
3. COMMUNICATE AND WORK TOGETHER
Generally, we’ll repeat step 2. for all the different types of shots I want, like full body, walking, portrait, close ups, detail, etc – Trust me, once you’re on a roll it wont take as long as it sounds. A lot of communication happens here, where my boyfriend give me feedback on anything from my body position, or out of place hair. Now that we’ve built up a good rapport, we’ll both just shout out ideas and roll with it. Sometimes they work and other times we both cringe, either way it’s a fab bonding exercise for us both!
4. TRY NOT TO STRESS EACH OTHER OUT
I added this one last minute as I don’t want to seem like it’s always rainbows and unicorns when we’re out shooting. Sometimes I’m hormonal and think I look like a whale in every photo, and sometimes my boyfriend just needs a morning cuppa to pick him up before the shoot and is cranky af. Even though it’s business for me and experience for Al, it’s supposed to be fun – Remember that!
Fun fact – I actually hated these photos (yes, the ones in this post) when I saw them on my camera. It was a mix between being really self conscious and hormonal and it lead to me feeling totally not confident and cutting the shoot short. As soon as we got on the train home and I popped them on my phone, I started playing around with editing and turned round to Alix saying “You fucking killed it, babe wtf was I worried about?”….
SHOP THE LOOK
5. PREP FOR SHOOTS IF POSSIBLE
I follow a lot of #bloggergoals on Instagram and I regularly save images that I love for a little shoot inspo. Before we shoot I show Alix the type of shot I want to go for, the look, feel, and vibe of it. If there’s something in particular that I’m looking for, like where to focus, background, angle, body position – I point it out. Then he knows how to direct me (and the camera!) when we shoot!
I also do the really extra thing of trying on my outfits days in advance before I shoot because there have been many a morning mishap with borderline breakdowns over an outfit not quite working, resulting in a v. serious “I have nothing to wear” moment. For me, prep is definitely key for peace of mind when shooting outfits, especially when they’re for a campaign, bulk-shooting, or if I have limited time to shoot in.
6. TAKE CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM ON THE CHIN
Okay so before, during, and after a shoot I’ll ask for constant feedback from the boyf on my outfit, poses, lighting, etc – Just his general opinion. To be completely honest, I’m not the best at taking it on the chin (especially if I have a spot of PMS, in which I’m like a fucking dragon, my poor boyfriend…) – But I am learning that not all criticism is bad criticism.
Example – I was originally going to pair this shirt with a skirt, and then tried it on with jeans when my boyfriend suggested it might look a little more casual like I wanted it to. Hey presto, he was right and we shot with the jeans.
Sometimes it’s best to take a moment to remember that whoever you’re shooting with wants you to do your best, and wants to do their best for you – Their input is crucial to the shooting process!
Who do you shoot with and how do you nail style shots?
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