Getting the shot fast

Altebaumer Insurance

Another entry in my occasional series on life in photography.

I do a lot of editorial shooting. Some of it is live events but a good portion of it is portraits for business features like the shot above.

These are almost always challenging because you have to get the shot fast. This was the perfect example of the typical shoot. It was for a small story (which means small photo) and a magazine typically wouldn’t pay a lot for it. Add to that the fact that most of the people being photographed are busy and don’t have an entire afternoon to shoot photos. Most don’t even have 30 minutes.

So the typical shoot like this one takes about 10 minutes. And in that 10 minutes you have to make a compelling photo out of…..a man. And a sign. Exciting. No?

The only way to be able to take photos fast and great is experience. I’ve taken hundreds of photos under these conditions so I’ve gotten used to it. If you look back when I started a few years ago, this would have been a wider shot of a man standing straight up in front of his sign, staring at the camera. Not great.

Over time you learn how to direct people and learn different angles to shoot from. Anything to add a little more drama to what could potentially be a very, very dull photo. I’m proud of the shot above but it’s taken a lot of shooting to be able to produce something like that. And honestly it’s very easy to just do the boring shots because the publications are generally happy with that.

The thing is if you put the effort into learning you can be fast and good. Then you don’t have to be cheap.

A few other entires in this series can be found here, here, here, here and here.


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