During the past few decades, the use of technology such as the internet and devices for example (computers and mobile phones); has reached a never-before-seen level – did you know that around 4.79 billion people worldwide use the internet frequently? Never before has the world had such widespread access to developed technologies.
However, as we found ourselves in the midst of the pandemic at the beginning of this year (and one which is by no means over); with almost every industry out there coming to a standstill social distancing and working from home becoming the new normal; Our reliance on these technologies is at an all-time high – especially in the portrait photographs industry.
A profession is known for its constant travel and the need to be physically present to complete the job (physical interactions); photographers around the world have been forced to adapt their working processes to obey new health restrictions imposed by governments. Portrait photographers have suffered more than most and especially when you consider the physical interaction necessary in a shoot portrait photographs.
However, one creative way photographers are overcoming these new travel barriers is by offering virtual photoshoots, over video chat, using Facetime, Zoom or other video calling platforms – and it’s much easier than you may think!
STEP 1: CHECK YOUR EQUIPMENT
The most crucial aspect of virtual shoot portrait photographs; that you must be aware of when preparing for your shoot is the strength of the internet connection. If you have a weak wi-fi connection; most video-calling platforms will automatically reduce the quality of the image; so it is very important to be mindful of this!
Together with your photo subject, decide on a platform. If you both have Apple devices, Facetime may be best, or does Zoom provide better quality? Ensure you familiarise yourself with whichever platform you decide to use for your photoshoot, to guarantee smooth running of the shoot!
If your model is using their mobile device or tablet, make sure they use the back camera of their device rather than the front camera which would normally be used for video calling. The back camera often has higher camera specifications than the front camera, meaning the quality of your photos will be much higher!
For example, Samsung’s Galaxy S10 smartphone has a 10 megapixel front camera, which sounds amazing…Until you consider the three cameras on the back of the device which are all at least 12 megapixels and boast features such as dual aperture and anti-blur software.
It’s worth asking your model if they have a tripod that they can slot their device into as this will make the photoshoot process much easier. If not, it is likely that they will have to craft a make-shift tripod of some sort – a stack of books or water bottles may work! Experiment with it and challenge your model to make those most creative make-shift tripod out of all your virtual clients!
STEP 2: DECIDE ON A LOCATION
As the use of studio space is most likely impossible for most people right now; it’s important for the photographer to examine the area that is available to your model during the photoshoot. Ask your model to take you for a tour around their space so you can decide together which place or room would have the best background to achieve the mood you intend for the photos.
This is also important to consider when planning the poses you wish to shoot. Moreover, If you want your model to do Cirque de Soleil worthy acrobatics, then a small corner won’t be ideal. However, if you are planning a simple, natural portrait, then your location options widen considerably.
When it comes to choosing a location for your virtual portrait photoshoot, it’s extremely important to think about how the lighting in the area will be portrayed in the photograph; which leads us swiftly on to…
STEP 3: THE LIGHTING
When it comes to virtual portrait photography, using good lighting is one of the most crucial aspects of the photoshoot. With low image quality due to poor internet connection; or simply the devices in use being a real threat to the outcome of the photograph; good lightning can turn a bad photograph into a great one.
Consider the time of day of the shoot – if natural lighting is what you want to shoot with then a morning shoot may be the best option. However, if you’re looking for a dreamy ambience to the photographs; You may opt for the very popular “sunset hour”, which is the hour following the setting of the sun.
Beware: although virtual photoshoots may mean more opportunities to shoot models in different parts of the world that you may have never had the chance to work with before; Be sure to consider any time zone differences and the effect this may have on the lightning in the models country before setting a time!
STEP 4: THE SHOOT
Despite being of the virtual variety, this part of the photoshoot is remarkably similar to an in-person shoot. Simply, guide the model with your voice on various poses whilst you take the shots – simple! This is a great opportunity to exercise your directing skills from afar; Try to make the experience enjoyable (for the both of you!). Be sure to take advantage of this unique opportunity to push yourself outside of your comfort zone creatively and snap some great shots!
That’s our quick and easy guide on how to shoot portrait photographs online. Not only is virtual portrait photography a great way to show off your skills (not to mention your flexibility and creativity in suboptimal working circumstances). It is also a brilliant distraction from all the uncertainty in the world right now. Not to mention; this new type of photography may be more simple than you anticipate, so be sure to try it out!
If you prefer to shoot your portrait photographs in person; or you’re a client looking for portrait photographs to be delivered in a no-contact context; Klaud9 offers on-demand photoshoots anywhere in the world, within 24-48 hours. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you achieve your portrait photography dreams!