Posing & Lighting: Creative Live Notes With Jasmine Star

As we were finishing the last run through of our dance, I felt a sharp pain near my ankle. I limped off stage and found a perfectly round bruise later that night on that same spot. Apparently at some point I kicked my self with my heel during practice. Ha! So much is going on with dance, Christmas decorating, and my trip to Texas this weekend!!! My first Christmas as a newlywed is something I just have to share with y'all. That's for later! Today is note time!

Hopefully you've read A Wedding Walk Through and Roles of a Second Shooter before we move on to the next set of notes!

But guess what you get to see? I realized I've never shared this video because I didn't actually know about it until I came back from Spain. When I was in Atlanta I worked with Mohka Life in my first experience as a fashion photographer. That was SO difficult to leave because I was working with some really creative people who shared my obsession passion with photography.

Nagib, the creative director, filmed every shoot. What I didn't know is that he was going to actually edit the last shoot I did and create a video. Someone should have warned me! I looked a mess. It was rainy and yucky outside, I was in the middle of moving, and suuuurely -- I wouldn't be in pictures. I wasn't -- but the video actually surfaced publicly!! But it is SO cool that I am overwhelmed with joy to share it with y'all!!



Now let's talk about it.

How do I get my clients to relax?
Jasmine Star- "I don’t have a secret. Like I said yesterday, I make a fool of myself. Just get over it and deal with it because I’m not here to think about how cool I look. I need to think about my clients. I will do whatever I have to. It depends on the couple too though. If you are not confident, you will never get confidence from your clients. If you’re not willing to take a risk, your clients will NOT. If you want your bride to look hot – Can you show her? We are working with people who don’t do this – ever. SHOW THEM. Build their confidence. Tell her 'I’m going to ask you to give me a myriad of looks and I will only choose a few of them. I’m going to show you and you can copy me or personalize it. Can you do this?' People need permission to be honest. To feel beautiful. Remind your clients to let their guard down and build their confidence. It will go a long way."

Actually, I have to include this piece from her blog because it's something that I definitely do and have always done since I first started photographing people I didn't know on a personal level:

"If I want my clients to give me X, I'll set up the story leading to the moment/emotion I want them to give to me. For instance...
...You've just run out of the church, away from everyone throwing rice at you, and you're turning the corner for your first moment alone together...
...It's a hot summer day and you don't care you're hiking up your wedding dress while onlookers stare at you kissing...
...Hold him in a way you might if his momma said she didn't like you... "

I mean, wouldn't that last comment make you want to hold your man tightly?! It's about giving your client a purpose to hold him instead of saying "Okay, now hug him." If it's fashion, that's different because you're pulling partially from emotion and partially from body movement. I always bring a word document with my favorite fashion photos for inspiration. Actually, I send it to the people I'm photographing before the big day so they can get in the "zone" too. And possibly an ANTM episode ;)

Poses:
Jasmine Star- "Depends on environment and how I can utilize it. How can I push myself? Pre-visualization. Think in advance! Some of the best come organically."

Completely agree! Let's look at an example from my session with Tony & Octavia. Here I asked Tony to lightly lean his face towards Octavia's forehead. I had this "visualization" which I loved (and was encouraging by saying "awww" because really -- how cute do they look?!).



Then Octavia looked up at Tony and THAT moment -- the expression in her eyes is not something I could have created. Guided? Yes.



Or check out this looovely one:



First of all, this didn't happen the first 10 minutes. You have to warm them up -- even if you know them. What you might not know is that seconds right before this picture, I had asked Octavia to give Tony a SMOOCH.



Haha. Notice that I said "smooch" and not "gently kiss him." Big difference! That resulted into the laugh. But realize that these photos came one after the other. You have to... ANTICIPATE! Oh, and using words like "gently" and "lightly" is very important. Sets the mood when you don't have, say... Al Green around ;)

Have you ever been in front of a camera when someone said "Okay! Here we go! Smiiiiiile" -- you smile excitedly-- no picture -- 5 seconds pass --- my smile is starting to hurt --- "almost! just a sec! keep smiling!" --- now my smile is looking like a dentist appointment - few more seconds pass- CLICK! I can guess that smile is going to look a bit forced.

I am no expert and this is strictly my opinion. As a photographer with a journalism approach, I DO care about the technicality of my settings, but if that moment is there you better believe I'm going to click away. That's why I adjust my settings first, pop a test shot, THEN start working the 'magic.' This way when I'm getting the emotion and poses I'm looking for, I don't have to make them hold it or suddenly interrupt the flow. Sometimes this results in a shot with one person out of focus or slightly blurred -- but I LOOOOVE those shots too! As long as I didn't miss the moment and have a reasonable amount of sharp ones, I embrace the messy. And that's just part of my style -- not necessarily everyone's.



Styling & Ideas:
Jasmine Star- "What can we do to make an otherwise static environment, come to life? My planning consists of ideas. Of the magazine clippings I’ve saved from the past. Innovative. DON’T tell them “that doesn’t work” because automatically the subject feels it’s their work. Keep going and don’t stop the flow." **YES! Don't ever look at your LCD screen after you've taken some photos and say "woooaaah, no -- not a good one!" Talk about feeling awkward/ugly reeeeal quick.

Putting people at ease in front of camera:
Jasmine Star- “I have seen myself on camera shooting people and I’m absolutely ridiculous. I do whatever I possibly can to make people comfortable. A lot of times it’s at the cost of my dignity. I’m okay with that. I LOVE challenges. Make people work and feel like models. So if I have 2 people who are a little bit uncomfortable, empower them to make them feel beautiful. A lot of the time I SHOW people what I want. Show them. By you showing them, you’re giving them permission to look beautiful.”

And I will end it there. You have the power as a photographer to make people feel beautiful AND capture memories they trust you with. Hopefully one day you can see more "behind the scenes" with me. In the mean time -- I'll just tell you about it ;) We all know how good I am at talking, haha.