If you’re an introvert, you may find it very difficult and even exhausting to work with people. Naturally, it makes it more difficult to work as a photographer in certain genres. But there are ways to deal with it. In this video,teams up with fellow YouTuber, photographer, and introvert Taylor Jackson. They share some tips for all you introverted photographers to help you work with people and feel less awkward.
Taylor started his career as a concert photographer, and he says it’s still the most comfortable genre for him. There’s no interaction between him and the band, so he doesn’t have to fight his introverted nature (hmm, this could be why I also enjoy shooting concerts so much). However, Taylor says that he felt uncomfortable when he first started shooting band portraits. He needed to interact with them and direct them, and he found it to be very difficult.
Today, Taylor is a wedding photographer. That means he photographs people despite being an introvert. So how does he do it? He shared a few of his tips with Manny, who also jumped in with some comments and advice from his own experience.
1.Don’t overdirect: the first Taylor’s tip is to give your client general directions and let them take over and pose to what feels natural to them. This way, there will be some space for both you and the clients to feel relaxed. What’s also important, this “underdirecting” will help you to take photos with authentic energy, and they won’t look staged.
2. Use a longer lens: Of course, the choice of lens depends on your style and what you want to achieve. For Taylor, an 85mm lens is his “happy place,” and Manny calls it “the introverted lens.” When shooting with a lens such as an 85mm, you’ll have a nice background compression and get the pleasing look of your portraits. But also, you’ll create a comfortable distance from the client while still being able to communicate with them.
3. Play a role: Manny finds photographing people very unsettling sometimes. The social aspect gives him anxiety, and sometimes he just wants to wrap up the shoot, go home and recharge. So, he has a little trick to help him go through a shoot: he puts on an extrovert persona and “plays a role.” He likes to ask clients about them and how their day was to make them feel relaxed, but also to take the pressure off him.
4. Match your energy with your clients: Taylor believes extroversion can be taught. Or at least you can learn how to act it out. However, doing something the opposite of your nature leaves you burnt out after a while (a pretty short while, if you ask me).
So, if your clients are extroverted, you can play that role like Manny mentioned. And don’t forget to retreat and recharge after it. But if you photograph someone who’s introverted like you, you can relax and be yourself, because both you and your client will feel more comfortable.
5. Don’t give up: lastly, Manny advises you to keep learning and finding different techniques to work with people. Push yourself out of your comfort zone from time to time, and don’t lose faith that it will get better with time. Because it will.
What I’d like to add is in a way opposite to all of the tips above: if photographing people is just too much for you, I’d say that it’s okay to look for another genre that will make you happy. I feel extremely awkward when posing people, and with time I stopped taking up any projects that require me to do so. Instead, I mainly shoot travel photos, landscapes, and concerts. If you see a human in my photos, it will most likely be me because I sometimes shoot self-portraits. All of this is in correlation with my true nature, so photography makes me really happy and fulfilled.
However, if you really want to do any type of photography that revolves around people, I support that too. Just don’t observe your introverted nature as an obstacle. Instead, see it as your advantage.
[Dear Introverted Photographer…. | Manny Ortiz]