Get Back to School with Redbubble – Shop Here! or Win Stuff Here!

Photo Tips - Communication

Have just completed the August 21 workshop and the theme was direction direction direction. However I have felt it better to emphasize communicate communicate communicate in this piece. I believe that so few humans are open and aware in their communication. We have little trust especially in strangers. Further we have been heavily influenced by political correctness to not communicate or act in any way that may have another feel uncomfortable.

In my photographic career I believe that much of my success has been the communication I have with my subjects. I believe that when a camera is placed in someone’s face that many people disconnect from the moment and instead go to the perceived result. I think in life many of us also fall into this unconscious trap. We have such little security that we are forever connecting to results and things we need rather than relaxing into and respecting the activities and people of the moment. In this way we are living under pressure and not being fully present in our own lives. I further believe that both our physical appearances and our material achievements are greatly improved when we are present.

For this reason I think it is so important for photographers to communicate openly with their models. The model cannot see from the camera’s perspective and as such cannot be fully aware of how their body and face is appearing in the lens. Further they cannot see how the light is falling on them. If a photographer notices something that doesn’t look right and does not communicate this to the model then the resultant shot will lack visual impact. Further if the photographer senses that the model is not composed in their emotional presence the shot may look ok but have little passion and soul.

Whilst it is natural to not want to communicate negative things we notice in others as a photographer it is our job to present as perfect an image as possible. A model will not thank you if the photograph presents them with unattractive aesthetics. Further they will not be inspired by shots that lack emotional freedom and strength.

There is little magic in life and I believe that this is because we protect rather than communicate what we really feel. If we are prepared to calmly communicate awareness with each other we will create a vastly different material reality. As photographers if we communicate honestly and calmly with our subjects we will create images that can motivate people to live with an empowered sense of self and of life

Currently unavailable for purchase

I believe that open and honest communication is the key to great relationships and great photography.


creativity, workshop


  • Maxoperandi
    Maxoperandialmost 4 years ago

    Wise words my friend and it is easy to spot the images where communication with the model has not taken place. I always tell my models way before we are even in the studio what I am trying to achieve. I use crib sheets of images of master photographers regarding the poses I want and even demonstrate this to them…I also try to show them images on the camera screen as I work. This reassures them about lighting and poses!…such a shame we don’t live nearer!

  • Thanks very much for your words. As you know I love your work and am very honoured that you have taken the time to read and respond.

    – EmpoweredBeauty

  • Zane Paxton
    Zane Paxtonalmost 4 years ago

    Wise indeed.

  • Thanks very much Zane. You have some amazing photos in your portfolio.

    – EmpoweredBeauty

  • BillCMartin
    BillCMartinalmost 4 years ago

    Very good advice! I photograph lots of musicians. Fine when I capture them in their natural state – performing – but they can be I’ll at ease in a portrait situation, casual or more formal. What approaches would you use to get them in the right frame of mind so their personalities can shine through?

  • Hi Bill, I find that many musicians and artists are very sensitive people. Not necessarily sensitive acting but born with a gift to feel energy deeply. Hence they are very reactive to the energy in their environments unless they are secure people. As it is being hyper sensitive makes it harder to be secure so for me I work on being extra self aware when I work with them. If I sense discomfort in any way I acknowledge it and then calm myself down. From here I often talk to them about energy and sensitivity. With most it engages them but with others just gets them even more defensive. However overall I just try to be aware and honest. These people have such amazing essence power and to my mind being open rather than manipulative is most likely to bring this essence out in the photograh.

    – EmpoweredBeauty

  • Lenny La Rue, IPA
    Lenny La Rue, IPAalmost 4 years ago

    Priceless words of wisdom. I have only just begun to shoot models and most of my communication has been non-verbal. Then I asked a model to pose just for me and the magic was suddenly present.

    For someone trained in communication, I’m realizing I forget to use it when it’s most needed.

    Bill, until this year, I performed on keyboards for most of my weekends per year. I learned how to shoot my Nikon D80 with either hand while playing with the other. Shooting the same musicians I performed with rarely worked offstage. Personally, I was a being other than myself while playing, having a stage persona radically different than my own. I could do almost anything in front of 1000 people and couldn’t pose for a decent photograph while mingling with the audience. There was never a time in 48 years I was comfortable sitting for a photographer without a keyboard between her/him and me.

    Tony, you can’t know how true-to-life your thoughts are to me and my performance career. Sensitivity was the key to playing with a group of musicians: feeling what they were feeling, allowing it to be co-mingled with what you were feeling, and transforming both into sonic cohesion in less than one second. People used to wonder how we knew what we were doing so well that we could do it as if we were one person playing alone. We never practiced. We didn’t even get together for conversations about gigs other than email. Yet being sensitive to the extreme was so natural be didn’t even need to know how to play some songs; we just felt each other playing.

    Your entire concept of empowerment is the ONLY way to get hypersensitive people comfortable. And when even that doesn’t work, acknowledging it to yourself as photographer will always work. There are times you just can’t get into the turmoil of a musician’s mind and wouldn’t want to. Being aware of those times is sometimes the only way to get a shot when a musician isn’t being a musician. As bar band musician, I was pretending to be larger than life. Empowering someone as naturally shy as me can be a master key to opening up and capturing the person inside the performer.

  • EmpoweredBeauty
    EmpoweredBeautyalmost 4 years ago

    Hi Lenny,

    Thanks very much for your feedback. Found what you mentioned about your band becoming connected as one particularly interesting. I have experienced this in so many aspects of life. In intimacy when both of us are surrendered to the moment, on footy fields where I have watched teammates pass the ball to each other perfectly without any physical communication and in so many other areas of life. I believe that we are all connected at an energy level but that for the connection to be communicated without chaos we need to be open and humble. With the music sounds like a group of people connected through the joy of music. Think in life if humans were more dedicated to enjoying life rather than winning and surviving that life would be materialised in such a more empowering way. At least in photography we have an opportunity to create images where the protective walls are dissolved.

desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait