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Ask Claire: What Do You Look for in a Photographer?

Today I had a day off, so finally had a moment to get back to what I love to do: write! I have about 3-4 posts left, and since things are slowing down a bit, I’ll most likely tackle a couple a day. But first, we have James, who wrote, “I’m a photographer in Houston and looking to really get into the fashion industry via photography. If you have a minute what do you look for in a photographer? i.e. Style,….Clean images….the ability to direct talent to get the right look?”

Great question, James! I’ve worked with lot of photographers in my day. Behold, what I look for in someone capturing the moment.
1. Knows how to get the shot

The first rule in photography is to make the subject look good. It’s so simple. Especially with fashion photography, you have to make details pop, scout locations, and simply take a clear, bright, scintillating photo. Not all photographers are made equal. Study the two pictures below of the same scenario.

Both pictures are fine..but one is good and the other is great! The one from @JayGoGetIt_ is bright and shows the shimmering of my sequins. I look great = He wins. He zoomed in and caught everything in motion, just as I asked him to. Which brings me to…

2. Be Able to take direction

As someone who takes pictures almost every day, I’ve become quite particular about what I want. I don’t want to be posed like Claire ca. 2013…

I want to be in motion, doing what I do, on the go, living the Bomb Life:

Give me what I want. Don’t wait for me to put my hand on my hip and smile to click the shutter.
You also want the photographer to have instincts and anticipate what you want them to do.

Lastly, a great photographer is also able to organize a shot and capture the moment effortlessly.

Yesterday, I was shooting with someone new, and was directing them to basically get a shot that would need to be taken into the middle of the street. They pushed back and after I looked at the pictures and was still not pleased, they told me that they had somewhere to go (basically they didn’t have time to give me what I wanted). Hmph, guess that means they don’t have time to get booked again. Which brings me to…

3. Be Fearless

Pierre and I have stood in the middle of roads in foreign countries with cars barreling down the street to get a shot. Marta has almost laid down on the ground to get a shot. The cars will stop (within reason, don’t get killed). But don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone to give your client what they want.

Do what you need to do to get the shot.
Which brings me to…

4. Be Easy to Work With

In any vocation, be easy to work with. Be cheery. Don’t complain. Don’t make snide comments. Don’t offer your opinion unless asked (and even then, be fair). Don’t say you have somewhere to go. Just be cool. Don’t ask a million questions (please). Be on time. The subject can be late:) If they are late, just be cool. In all things. Be cool! And easy to work with. Also, be able to have fun. But not too much fun. Lastly, make yourself available to your cherished clients.

5. Be Quick

I (and anyone else) will want pictures immediately. Sometimes right then and there. At least within 24 hours. There are all sorts of doodads and cords that can help facilitate this. In the social media world, everything goes fast. So be quick sending over those pix!

6. Price

It’s a competitive landscape out there! It’s real in the field. Price your photo sessions competitively. There is always someone younger and hungrier nipping at your heels, and if they bring the heat at a better price, it’s a no brainer.

I’ve worked with loads of talented folks and love them all. For the subjects, it’s ok to mix things up occasionally to get a different point of view. And for you photographers out there, bring the fire and make it impossible for your subject to rock without you.
Love & Light,

Images above by @VisualsbyPierre @JayGoGetIt_ @Marta_Mcadams @MrVocabTV & Travis Mackall

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  • Val

    Thank you posting Claire and thank you for giving me the opportunity to take pictures at Cocktails with Claire and Ty last summer. It was a reminder to not be afraid to go after what you want. Thank you for the feedback so I can be a better photographer. 🙂