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From the author of #4: Connect with Your Subject

#4: Connect with Your Subject

Creating photos is more than just pushing the shutter button on your camera—many times we're interacting with or reacting to the subjects we photograph. This realization is crucial when photographing people—you wouldn't just pick up your camera and take a few photos at a portrait session without ever talking to your clients, would you? No! You would introduce yourself, ask questions, and direct the subjects in the scene so the shots turn out better. You're communicating that you care about how the subjects look in their portrait, just as they care; and the more connection you have with your subjects, the more natural your photos will look (see Figure 4).

Figure 4 When I'm photographing people, I try to connect with them, get them to laugh—when someone is truly having a good time, it results in a nice smile.

It's easy to connect with people, but what about other subjects? Can you connect with landscape, wilderness, or even products? Of course! It's just on a different level. It's not about what you're seeing or doing at the time of the shoot, but what you know about your subject and how you feel about your subject. Wildlife photographers can research their subjects, get to know them better, and be better able to anticipate the subjects' actions. When photographing landscapes, you can learn about the terrain, weather, seasons, and local wildlife, in order to understand what to expect. During those types of shoots, just taking a moment to reflect, breathe in the air, and look at the environment without your camera might be all you need to make that connection—that's what pushes your style and vision into your photographs for others to see.

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