One of the friends I had met a while back was set to return home, to Japan, today. I wanted to spend the time and get a few shots of her before today arrived. I've always looked at these opportunities as just that, they are chances for me to work with friends, people who have a unique look and style and at the same time give them a chance to make some memories and record some of the experiences in their travels and times here.
It's win/win for everyone involved.
We ended up getting lucky that day. We had warm temperatures and a lot of interesting falling snow. An evening set was perfect. It gave me a chance to experiment with some speedlites, something I haven't done much of in the evening and set out to change this winter.
From a photographers perspective these situations can be a fun challenge. You tend to work with people who are not used to modeling. Beyond just giving you the chance to practice your technique it also lets you spend the time to refine guiding people for creating a comfortable working environment and helping them with such things as posing.
Working with people, you have to be able to create a comfortable situation and that involves being personable. Sure, you can snap away and get a bunch of shots but if you can see the discomfort in the person's body language then it tends to ruin any sort of magic you may have caught in the shots. I'm finding more and more that there is a huge amount of value in spending the time getting to know the people you're working with before even picking up the camera. It will show in the personality of your shots if you do so. It's not always easy and at times the situation or times limit how good we get to know a person but you roll with the punches and work with what you can in those situations.
This involves being a person, being a friend and creating confidence. You have to believe it though. Don't put on a fake show of interest, be interested in that person and be genuine and professional about it.
I do however want to take this to a more personal note and issue I've experienced recently. If in your personal life you are involved with an individual who gets easily jealous in your interactions with other individuals, it will effect your progress. There is a world of difference when you do not have to sweat and analyze every interaction you make with your subject in the fears of it being misinterpreted by others. Nothing will put a damper on your creativity faster.
Such situations prevented me from doing such shoots in the past. It wasn't worth the inevitable damage to my personal life, even though I've always been professional on my shoots.
I learned as of late that you end up sacrificing a lot more than just a few shots with friends though.
In the end, I had a chance to create some new memories with friends, both for them and for me and being a photographer aside, that's something I value greatly in my life, even more so when I know I may not get a chance to see them for a long time.
As an aside, it is not my intention to bring in personal matters onto this blog, there are however at times exceptions, especially when those exceptions can be a learning lesson for others. At the end of the day we all have different goals and values in life. Decide what's right for you, mine is just one experience of many.