Advice on starting a project

Discussion in 'All questions are good questions' started by Steve Davies, Sep 2, 2015.

  1. Hi,

    I'd like to start a photo project that basically involves some key figures in a particular field of interest. I already forsee that task of catching these people to get a portrait along with working a 9-5 job, but I would also like to ask them some questions, something about the person that can be included.

    Does anyone a suggested process / workflow of starting a project like this and how to get good content to go along with the photographs?

    Many thanks

  2. Hey @Steve Davies,
    Yeah doing it with a day job is always the real hard core task here. By the sounds of it, what you are describing is a 'Humans of New York' project, right?

    If that is the type of thing you are after, I did see an interview with that guy and they showed him going from person to person asking questions. It was very much a psychological thing rather than a photography thing. If that is what you are after I'll see if I can find the video again.
    Steve Davies likes this.
  3. Hi, thanks for responding so fast. Yes I suppose it would be quite similar to HONY project. If you have that video that would be great.
  4. Hey @Steve Davies

    This may give you some idea of how Brandon does his shoots, note that his camera is always out of the way to avoid people freaking out at a huge camera
    Steve Davies likes this.
  5. Hi @Steve Davies. Do you already know the people you want to photograph? Or can you start with some people you already know?

    I am strictly an amateur (thankfully) but some things I try to do are:

    • Consider who it is I am going to shoot. What do I know about them? What would I want to capture of them in a portrait?
    • On technical planning - What kind of composition, tight head shots, environmental portraits...? What lighting will I use, natural, one strobe, multiple, constant LEDs...?
    • At the project level, what is the look I want? Is it a celebration of people with smiles? Is it an exploration of those people working in their environments?
    • At the pragmatic level, what do I envision the shoot to be like? A lot of people get freaked by cameras so maybe there is a bit of chat before the camera comes out. If they are busy, maybe you go to the site, set up and borrow someone to refine the composition and lighting before your subject comes out.
    • What is your project output - a book? A blog? A small number of 6 foot prints? A 6 foot face is quite intimidating!

    I hope that list is a little helpful. Much of my stuff is relatively spontaneous in the planning so I often use maybe just one light and see what happens. When I get asked to do group shots or environmental shots though I do try to plan it a bit more.
    Adam and Steve Davies like this.
  6. Hello @Steve Davies, not got much to add to all the thoughts of the clever types, my only suggestion would be to perhaps seek out an occasion that is likely to bring many of the people you would want to shoot into one location. WIthout knowing your field of interest, this may be a non starter, but many professionals attend conferences and the like, maybe that could present an opportunity to get hold of multiple people in a potentially more relaxed environment than the workplace.
    Steve Davies and Chris like this.
  7. I never thought of the event angle. Good idea!
    Steve Davies likes this.
  8. This is great, thank you for your valuable advice!

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