In the process of cleaning out our attic, I came across the notes I took during an Austin, Texas workshop with portrait photographer phenomenon Chris Buck. I eagerly reread my notes and thought I'd share some of the wisdom passed on that weekend. Interspersed are a few photos I made on the first day, which were unlike anything I had previously made.
His guidance and take-no-prisoners approach motivated me to stretch my creativity. We were provided a model, whatever we could could find around the studio we were working in, and the pithy thoughts of a master photographer.
- Use a light test as a way of manipulating a subject into off-moments.
- Your job is not to make the subject happy but to make great pictures.
- Set the vibe on the set to say "This is MY shoot!"
- I have to follow my instinct. If I want to make dark, introspective photos, I'm going to do it.
- Make your lighting as undistracting as possible.
- Solve problems in a simple way.
- Connection to subjects is overemphasized.
- I love working with props. People relax and engage with props because they have something to do.
- I come in with talking points beforehand and generally speaking, I don't talk about work.
- (To subject) I can ask anything I want and you can say no to anything you want.
- To ask permission is to seek denial.
- Photographers aren't frustrated videographers.