Even as a successful animal photographer, every session gives me more opportunities to reflect on my successes, and sometimes each session allows me to expand my horizons and learn new things.
I recently had a photoshoot session with Gabriel, who is blind, and the time I spent with him enabled me to grow even more as a professional photographer. Gabriel works for Natural Balance, and I met him during a previous photoshoot for the campaign: I Believe. I learned through this experience amazing and effective ways to capture ideal images with a client who is blind, and I would like to share my tips with you.
Before the Session
Before any session, it is important to get to know the person. Building a relationship with the model before the big day is beneficial. With this particular person, I was introduced to him so he would know my voice and found a commonality between us. He was from Argentina and I found out he could speak Spanish. Since I speak Spanish, the boundaries were broken down, and it was very easy to connect and communicate with him. We also found out that we love the same football team!
Communicating During the Photoshoot
Ask many questions as they come to your mind with your client. Since Gabriel couldn’t see anything between scenes or what I was doing, I wanted to fill the silence with conversation. Gabriel had a guidance dog named Volt, a black Labrador, and he was most definitely a conversation starter! Because of my love for animals and my animal photography business, Volt allowed us to connect even more. I, naturally, asked questions about his dog, that’s for sure! I was curious to know where he came from and how they both got to know one another. This allowed my client to open up with me even more and the emotions he portrayed when talking about his friend were priceless.
How to Get Genuine Emotion
Making connections and building a relationship with your client can really go a long way. Using many analogies in order to get his expressions on point helped immensely. For example, I had Gabriel imagine certain images in his mind to get the perfect expression upon his face. I would ask him specific questions about where he lived and experiences he has enjoyed in order to invoke emotions that were genuine.
Being comfortable with laughing and light conversation will provide the opportunity for natural expression from a blind client, as make them feel at ease, as it did with Gabriel. It is okay to not be too serious to get amazing images. Capturing images of genuine facial expressions and body language can come with a relaxing and happy environment!
Every photoshoot is different. That is what makes my job so exciting. If you are a photographer and are in the process of expanding your business, understanding that each session is unique and may present a few challenges is necessary. However, these challenges can be completely overcome by being creative and before you know it, what you thought were “challenges” are, in actuality, a reward. No matter how successful you are in your business, every session is an incredible and fulfilling learning opportunity. When the images come back to you, you will gain satisfaction knowing that your talents created such wonderful images that immensely show the purpose of your shoot during every moment!