I just finished up a project where I photographed about 500 people for a church directory. I’ve done this in the past and I greatly enjoy the process.
Here’s a screenshot of Lightroom with just a few of the images from the photo directory shoot.
Click for an enlargement.
A project of this scope requires a lot of planning and forethought in order to pull it off. Every time I photograph a big event, I learn new things, so I thought I’d share seven things from this project that might help you if you ever decide to tackle a project like this on your own.
Because this was for a church directory, most of the people that came into the photo studio weren’t happy to be there. For many, they were there out of obligation, rather than a desire to have their portrait taken.
As such, I had to work hard to calm people’s nerves and make them feel comfortable. I made a point to always be smiling, encouraging, and reassuring. My goal was to make the experience as painless as possible for each of the families while also working very fast to minimize the time spent by each person/family.
One of the ways I was able to make people comfortable was to notice and comment on the little accessories they were wearing. For example, most women would wear some type of jewelry like a necklace, bracelet, or broach. I tried to acknowledge that item and ask about it because it was obviously important to them. Just having that simple conversation took their minds off the process of photography and helped dissipate their nervousness. Bantering back and forth immediately relaxed the atmosphere.
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