How to keep your subject comfortable in front of the camera when shooting interviews

Nov 16, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to keep your subject comfortable in front of the camera when shooting interviews

Nov 16, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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There are a lot of great videos out there on the technical side of shooting interviews, but there isn’t really a whole lot out there on the psychology of it. Shoving a camera in the face of somebody who’s not used to having a camera shoved into it can be extremely off-putting and uncomfortable. Anybody who’s ever tried to shoot an interview will tell you that they’ve experienced that shift in their subject’s behaviour at some point.

So how can you overcome this and make your subject feel more relaxed while still getting a good shot? That’s what Simon Cade discusses in this video going over how he shoots interviews. Simon also talks with filmmaker Sebastian Solberg to get some insight on how he tackles interviews and paces them to keep your subject interested and involved the whole way through.

Simon, naturally, goes through the technical side of how he shoots his interviews, but unlike most, this video doesn’t focus on it. It’s quite enlightening, and it raised one or two points that I haven’t ever really considered all that much before – but I certainly will going forward whenever I need to film interviews.

For example, while the lighting setup is important to us as the person shooting it – after all, we want our videos to have a certain look – it can also make a big difference to how the subject feels and their comfort level, too. Big softer light sources that simulate the natural light (like a big window) off to the side and at a bit of a distance from the subject are much less intimidating than a big softbox right in front of their face or directly above the camera.

It’s well worth a watch if you shoot interviews, even if you feel you’re already pretty good at keeping your subjects comfortable. You might pick up one or two tricks you hadn’t thought about before. And if you’re new to shooting interviews, there’s a wealth of information in here.

Do you struggle to keep your subjects relaxed when shooting interviews?

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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