Kallum’s an interesting guy. Far younger than his relaxed and confident manner would have you believe. Already a serial entrepreneur at the age of 24, his real skill is as a connector; he possesses a natural ability to get people together and working well, which will see him go far, of that I’m absolutely certain. This skill is at the fore in his key role at the Acorn Enterprise Initiative, aimed at getting fledgling businesses through the “danger zone” ( most businesses fail at the 3 year stage ). He’s well known locally for the popular Dunfermline Talks Business networking events too, another example of his consummate skill in getting people talking, and working together. On top of that, he runs Audacious Marketing, where ( yet again ) he helps people improve their business. Kallum’s a busy man, it seems.
So with all this confidence, obviously bearing fruit, you’d think Kallum wouldn’t be bothered about a photo shoot. After all, first impressions really count, and online doubly so.
Barring a couple of sitters, almost every client I’ve had has viewed a portrait shoot like a trip to the dentist. Kallum was no different, the scrutiny of a professional eye proving an initially unnerving experience.
He’s in good company though, there are tales on the web of some pretty prominent people, crumbling in front of that unblinking lens. The photographer’s main skill during a shoot, if it is to be a successful one, is to allay those fears quickly, relax the sitter and bring that personality out for all to see. This is not a “one size fits all” skill either. We’re all different, and we all need different approaches.
This takes time, and sometimes, I’m afraid, that can mean the photographer has to be surprisingly blunt. Like telling you to stop smiling. Because it’s making you look daft. Nothing shows nerves like a forced smile. So please for the love of Mike, people… don’t do it.
Kallum had initially said, in our pre-shoot planning meeting that he wanted his cheeky nature to come through in the shots, and in some of the shots I think that comes through very obviously. But there are other, less obvious sides to him too, and I felt it was important to show those too. Once I got him to stop smiling nervously, and relax a little, that started to come through, and I believe that you can see, even in the more serious shots, that there’s a twinkle there. What it took though, was a blunt photographer, to tell him to stop feeling the need to smile. By the end, we were getting natural smiles, and having a lot of fun. I know of few people who could get there in the first few minutes. As I’ve said already, it takes time.
All in all, we had an hour to get the shots we needed. We also had minimal space to shoot in ( a small two desk office, which still had the desks in ). This is fast becoming a major skill of mine. I believe I got studio quality images out of a difficult space, in a tight time frame. I’m really happy with the results.
The biggest thrill though, was watching Kallum’s face as he looked though the images for the first time. A huge smile appeared, unbidden on his face. I should have had my camera ready…
You can view some of the final results here: http://pixelchristi.co.uk/134465/2076389/gallery/my-latest-portrait-shoot-kallum-russell-entrepreneur