Artur Zaitsev: Easy Tricks to Help Your Subjects Relax in Front of the Camera
A storyteller from Toronto, who loves exploring the world and does an amazing job at portraying the emotions, atmosphere and mood of a given moment, place and person. He calls himself “an observer, a lover of love, a keeper of moments and an optimist”, loves the challenge, excitement and inspiration that wedding photography and filmmaking bring to him. Each image is so real, vivid and captivating – we got wondering “What’s his secret?”. Artur, was kind enough to share with us a few of his tricks on how to help your subjects relax in front of the camera, and capture their genuine inner beauty. Ready?
Create a Friendly Environment
Right from the very first interaction, be it an email or phone call, try to be a friendly person and set the expectations for the shoot. Tell them what you are going to do, where are you going and how the photoshoot will go. Many of my shoots were in a very remote location so I picked them up in my car and drove for hours and hours to the spot where we were shooting. All that time that you sit in a car is for you to get to know them and get comfortable with each other.
That first meeting at a coffee shop or your studio. Spend as much time with them as you can. Get them a drink, make them feel welcomed and comfortable.
Start with motion. Let them go for a walk or practice a first dance or let them get close to each other and warm up. Any action helps to make the clients feel less tense in those first few minutes of the shoot.
Recently, I started to take a little speaker with me on almost every shoot that I go now. I find music makes a great impact on how people could loosen up. It could be something romantic and intimate or it could be something happy and funky. Play whatever emotions you want them to evoke.
Take breaks every now and then and have snacks. It makes people relax and gives you time to think what to do next.
Bring your Girlfriend/Boyfriend or a Friend
I’ve been very lucky to have my girlfriend to be the most outspoken, friendly, social and kind person. She makes my job so much easier. Even though she doesn’t shoot, she helps me with showing the pose, making the couple mirroring what both of us do. Sometimes, it may look or feel awkward and it is totally normal. Don’t be afraid to laugh at those awkward moments because it can help people feel at ease and feel more comfortable while you are shooting.
Catch the In-Between Moments
Sometimes you might need to change a lens or battery in your camera and you start noticing that your clients become more natural and interact with each other better when you are not pointing a camera at them. Find a way to shoot those moments, they turn out most real. Sometimes as you walk from a shooting spot to a new one, ask them to hold hands or let them help each other crossing the creek. Those are the in-between moments that could turn out fun and real.
Show them the Pictures
Let the clients see what you are getting. Show them a few of your favorites. This can inspire them to give you the best of what they’ve got.
Don’t forget to compliment and praise. I’ve got a lot of feedback saying that it was very important to hear that everything works out great.
Gear – I shoot with Canon 5d Mark 3 and have way too many lenses. My favorite 3 would probably be Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art, Canon 135mm f/2.0 L and Zeiss 21mm f/2.8
Favorite Preset – VSCO Kodak Gold 100- with some tweaks
Favorite Playlist – If somebody would hear my playlist for photo processing they would probably think I’m some kind of a maniac. I like dark ambient. Usually, gets me zoned out somewhere far deep in thoughts.
Books – I might not be the biggest reader but I’ve sure been watching a lot of movies. I find dramas to be my favorites – There will be blood, Blue Valentine, The Banishment, The Return.
Life Motto – Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.
We hope you enjoyed reading this and will be sharing more tips and tricks on this subject from other talented creatives of the industry. Stay tuned!