What to get Better in Photography….then Practice on People that don’t look like MODELS!

How can you improve the photography you offer to clients by practicing on people who are perfect and look like models.  I have to be honest, when I was young I did this too.  Let’s face it, it fun photographing beautiful people, but you don’t learn how to photograph those who are not beautiful, which is about 75% of the clients we see on any given day.  While the majority of clients don’t look like models, these photogenically challenged people have a great deal of money to spend on photography when the photographer knows how to make them appear to be thinner and more attractive in the final portrait than they are in person.  As a matter fact, people who look like models are typically photographed more than their less attractive counterparts and will generally spend less, as a portrait and/or portrait session is much more common and much less special to them.

Over my 27 year career, the times that I remember most and will never forget are those times that I made someone who was just “ordinary” look “extraordinary”!  The pride I felt in these images, as well as the tears of joy, hugs and praise I received from the clients, I will always look at as the best part of being in this profession.

While beauty inspires us as photographers, finding the hidden beauty and bringing it out in a final portrait not only is inspiring it affirms that we are as good as we think we are!  There are people who are so beautiful, any first year photography major could take a salable portrait of them, but there are only a handful of photographers in any area that can show the beauty in a client that is significantly overweight or just un-photogenic.  These are the men and women who are artists. These are people who have perfected their craft to a point they can provide a client a version of reality that their egos can handle and are typically well paid for it.

So next time you set up a training day or test session, don’t look for the perfect person, look for the person that will make you work for it…..you will learn so much more of what it takes to be successful in this profession.


~ by jeffsmithbooks on June 12, 2012.

One Response to “What to get Better in Photography….then Practice on People that don’t look like MODELS!”

  1. It is this one attribute I believe that has garnered my respect for this profession more than any other. This is something that fashion model photographers don’t have to deal with. They would be totally lost in this environment; one in which the client not only doesn’t know the slightest thing about posing, but is usually shy and timid in front of the camera. You literally have to take complete control and direct them so they can achieve their 15 minutes of fame that they will never forget. This is why I look at your videos and book images over and over until I see these poses in my sleep. I’m convinced now it’s imperative if one ever wishes to be successful in this profession. Thanks again.

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