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The human factor in Shooting the $2million image

Martin Turner (Martin Turner)

Keywords: martin_turner, studiophotography, concept, planning, composition, lighting, shooting, postprocessing, pro, professional_photography, human_factor, working_with_people, studio

This is the third part of the series Studio Photography: Shooting the $2million image - Working with people.

The pinnacle of the studio photographer’s art is concept. With everything set up according to your wishes, nothing will ever be better than your concept. The rest of the work is about making the final images live up to it. Of course, your concept may improve once you start photographing: in fact, it almost always will.

The next factor, though, which can disrupt whole shoots or, equally, turn dross into gold, is what we call in the trade ‘the human factor’. 

One survey across many industries suggested that technical skills only accounted for around 20% of career success. The other 80%? Ability to work with people.

Final eye image © MartinTurner
Click for an enlargement


Let’s look at a shoot I did in 2012 for a business called Marksman Leisure. If you’re based in the UK and want to learn to shoot, or want to take a group of friends or businessmen shooting, then you should definitely look Marksman up. The brief was to put together a set of brand images for a rebrand.

Now, Mark, the owner, is a pretty easy guy to work with. I could come up with lots of examples of nightmare shoots, but what I want to talk about here is working with a good client to get an extraordinary result. 


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Martin Turner (Martin Turner) on December 7, 2017

Expert professional PJ & PR photographer Ribbon awarded for his valuable contributions to the Articles section and the Wiki

Thanks for the comments, guys.

Eric Bowles (ericbowles) on December 6, 2017

Awarded for his in-depth knowledge and high level skills in various areas, especially Landscape and Wildlife Photoghraphy Writer Ribbon awarded for for his article contributions to the community Donor Ribbon awarded for his very generous support to the Fundraising Campaign 2015 Ribbon awarded as a member who has gone beyond technical knowledge to show mastery of the art a

Great article, Martin. I love the perspective you provide - and the fact that the c lient is right and you make the image. That's a great lesson learned. Wonderful images - but better story!

Doug Nickle (fivesense) on December 5, 2017

Great article and exciting subject, Martin. Thank you. The rifle in the photoshoot is a BSA 0.177 Lightening XL high powered break barrel. It is a piston-driven, single shot, hence there is no bolt action.

Ernesto Santos (esantos) on December 5, 2017

Nikonians Resources Writer. Recognized for his outstanding reviews on printers and printing articles. Awarded for his high level of expertise in various areas, including Landscape Photography Awarded for his extraordinary accomplishments in Landscape Photography. His work has been exhibited at the Smithsonian. Winner of the Best of Nikonians Images 2018 Annual Photo Contest

Great article Martin. I also believe details are important. I notice that in the first two images of the right-handed model shouldering the scoped rifle he is using a left-handed rifle - the bolt action opening and handle is to his left and the cheek piece/rest is on the right side of the stock. For someone who is interested in the shooting sports this is a noticeable detail that might hurt the brand. As an avid and life-long gun enthusiast I noticed this immediately. As a photographer I can see how this can be an issue, especially when creating images that will be tied to branding efforts.

Dave Hayford (Patriot Dave) on December 5, 2017

Excellent article, Definitely a number of tips I can immediately apply to my own work. Thanks for Sharing.