Become an expert on the topic you are going to shoot. Study the way everything is organized, look at how similar stories were shot before by other professionals. This knowledge will help you to see and capture the subject from the most interesting angle. It will also be much easier to find a common ground with the central character of your photoshoot, as you’ll be able to speak the same language.
Your shoot or photo project cannot start until you or your producer makes the first call to the main character of the photoshoot. Be clear and honest during this conversation. Explain the story you want to tell and your motivation behind it; how much time the shoot is going to take and where the photos are going to be published. Your “hero” has to trust you to let you into his often imperfect world. Just remember that many people refuse to be photographed not because they are hiding the truth, but because they are too stressed about how they are going to look in pictures.
If you have opportunity and time to visit the shoot location in advance — do it. Put together a detailed plan of the photos you are going to make. Such a plan has to include wide and medium angles, as well as detail shots, which will help you tell your story better. While making this plan try predicting the moments when your story will be at the peak of drama and looking most expressive.
If something does not go as planned during a shotoshoot, do not give up. Instead, try gathering as many shots from different angles as you can. It is important to not stop but just keep shooting.
And finally a tip for those just starting their journey in photography. Do not shoot just the objects or people on their own, as they are not really interesting by themselves. Shoot them in the visual context of the story you are telling. Each image you create is a sentence, and it has to contain and express a thought.
Magnum Photos agency
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