Headshots - The Love Affair and Relationships / by Christian Webb

The relationship with clients begins as soon as they contact you with an inquiry. From there, it develops and hopefully grows...all the way through the shoot. It's so very, very important to have good energy with who you're shooting.  It can’t just be a business thing.  You need to get to know your clients. You’ve got to be friends with and develop a trust of some kind.  It’s vital to having a truly genuine, productive headshot session.   I got a call yesterday from a young lady who is very excited to be shooting with me.   (my favorite type of calls!)  That of course...makes me excited.  That translates into....."we're going to do DOPE!"  As we spoke, she shared with me some of her previous headshot session experiences and just how MISERABLE they were.  The photographer's lack of personality.  The ultra, business like, factory type approach in their studio. The mechanical, robotic way they told her to pose.  I always cringe when I hear those stories.  How the f—k can anyone work that way?    There must be a relationship! There has to be chemistry.  There has to be an exchange of personalities.   When it comes to my men clients, we have to be cool. We have to be buddies for that brief time. We’ve got to relate to one another on things and hopefully find common interests and beliefs.  With women, it’s the same but there has to be a brief love affair of sorts.  It’s hard not to fall in love with subjects during the time I photograph them.  How can I not? I shoot gorgeous people.  German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh upon being asked whether he falls in love with his models…even though he has a wife and family said“Of course I do!  I’m in love from 9 to 5 and then I go home and am happy to be there!”   Makes perfect sense.  I can’t expect a woman to sit in front of my camera and “be sexy”….”show a sexy expression”….if she’s not feeling…sexy….loved, desired.   It’s a fine line to walk so that it’s not inappropriate but….this is why it’s so critical to develop that relationship early on….andtrust.  People will give themselves to you, to your lens when they feel they can trust you.  Otherwise….they’re uncomfortable and reserved…and the resulting photos will lack their true selves.  You can’t tell someone to physically be sexy.  It comes from the inside.  It’s the same for other emotions as well.  Ask someone to smile and it’s ….ehhh.  Get them to laugh and it’s genuine.     I’ll end with another Lindbergh quote that sums up everything above: 

“What you see on a negative, or a screen these days…Is not the person you’re taking a photo of….or the architecture of that person…or their physiognomy….in fact…it’s the feeling of the two people who were present to create the photo!” Peter Lindbergh.