One of the most frequent questions I receive from clients at the beginning of a photo shoot is: “What ideas do you have for the shoot?” or “How will you photograph me?” I won’t lie, during the first few months of TopTia, those questions shocked me. I was going to ask the same exact thing! Including my client’s ideas has always been a top priority for me. The first time I encountered an unsure client, I was excited to flesh out some ideas from my back pocket or to try something new I’d learn previously. But in the end, I was terrified that the client wouldn’t like it.
15 years ago, a photographer told me a story of how he took this spectacular photo of an older lady. He considered the photo technically sound and well lit, yet his client hated the photo. She said the photo simply didn’t look like her. He took the negatives and tried altering the photo to no avail. She still did not like the photo. Finally, he thought to inverse the image to replicate the woman as if she were viewing a mirror. What do you know, it worked! The woman loved the photo because it best represented how she saw herself.
This story is a bit extreme but it highlights something about models and clients whom I’ve encountered these few months. I’ve noticed that there are 3 types of clients:
Each type of client brings a different energy to the photo session. This realization dawned on me just a few weeks ago when four lovely Italian students came in for a photo session. I had some fantastic color gels that I wanted to dust off and use and luckily these ladies were open to the idea of a few lighting experiments. I realized each woman represented one of the types of clients I mentioned before.
Diana had an open mind to trying new poses. There wasn’t anything she was keen on creating in her photos. She seemed more excited at being a part of the experience and took directions with ease. Donning her green eye shadow and avocado shirt she was eager to create some funny poses of her own. She was a Client Type #3.
QUESTION: Which photos above were more guided versus the ones Diana came up with on her own?
Ines Really surprised me in a Client #2 kind of way. The second she sat in front of the camera she took command of the space between the camera and subject. All the ladies in the room were fascinated with the fiery and feisty energy presented. We did lots of photos of executing Ines’ ideas and poses and made some minor tweaks to get the perfect shot.
Federica was the third to be photographed. As I photographed Ines and Diane, I noticed her watching the scene with a keen interest but a bit unsure of what to do. I asked her the same question I often ask, “Are there any ideas you would like to try for our session?” She replied honestly that she didn’t like having her photo taken and that she was quite shy about it. Thanks to the clothing she wore and her tattoos, I knew exactly what kind of photos I wanted to try. My challenge was directing her in a way that made her comfortable and at ease to be able to pull off the look. With clear instructions and praise from her photographer, we able to take Federica out of her shell and into some amazing poses! Definitely a successful Client #1.
Alice waited patiently as her friends were photographed before her. At times she made jokes and commented on the photos taken. After having her makeup completed she sat in front of the camera with a simple idea of what she wanted but was very open to trying a couple of new things. A Client Type #2. To get her into the groove of her photo session, I thought it would be great to execute some of her ideas first. We took a photo and tweaked positions and lighting a bit to get the perfect light.
In the end, it was such a pleasure having these ladies come over to have their photos taken. As far as an approach to achieving a look and photo they would be proud of, no woman was the same. The photo session was a success and each of these lovely ladies enjoyed their experience.
In terms of my current and future clients, I can wait to offer them a high level of confidence in our photo sessions as I did for Diana, Ines, Federica, and Alice.
Thank you ladies!
For the most part, I do the photo work for other entrepreneurs, artists, and models in the Kanto area. My work involves me photographing models in skate parks, photographing delicious Mexican-Vietnamese fusion burritos, and yes, upgrading many LinkedIn profile photos.
I love my job.
It allows me to hear the stories of individuals I wouldn’t have had the chance of meeting back home. I am grateful for the life photography has given me. One of the best parts of this new life of mine is the ability to take a break from my work –on any day of the week–and photograph subjects artistically.
I had a chance to participate in a photo shoot with the lovely Mutz Ishizawa, a fellow photographer, as well as Candy Akira, an energetic deco make up artist, and five talented models, Rodolphe, Yoshie, Alex, Maye and Catty. All from five very different parts of the world.
Having a team of amazing fellow artists gave me the chance to really venture out and explore the joys of artistic expression.
Take a look at our wonderful photo shoot!
Once again, I love my job!
Day #10: W00t! Challenge complete!
ALRIGHT! We made it to the end of the 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge!!! It’s just such a rewarding feeling to start something, follow it through, and finish it. Many thank yous to Helen Iwata from Sasuga! Communications for encouraging me to participate in the challenge. Also, much appreciation for those who helped with my Day #4 challenge. Writing that blog post really allowed me to understand who I am, what I am good at, and use it to help others. Below are some of the questions from Natalie’s final post for the challenge:
What you enjoyed most about your experience of taking part in the blog challenge
I enjoyed asking myself the questions that came from each challenge. Some of them were difficult and some were simply questions I had never asked myself. Once I had answered the questions, I could feel my inner flow and carried that feeling around me throughout these past two weeks. As of now, I have a new and better sense of self.
Your favorite challenge day and why
First and foremost, I need to make it known to myself that I want to continue the benefits I’ve already received from this Freedom Plan challenge:
I want to continue the benefits from this Freedom Plan Challenge so that I may live a fruitful and selfless life from this day forward. I hope to establish meaningful contributions to my peers while catering to my own happiness and well-being.
There will be days where I will fail in these action steps. But please know, I will get up, brush myself, and try again and again again.
To Natalie Sisson, thank you so much for creating the 10 Day Freedom Plan Challenge. I have learned so much about myself in these past few days and look forward to the journey ahead.
Tia K. Haygood
PS: If you have been following my blogs from the 10 Day Challenge, please do continue to follow TopTia in the future blog posts to come! I’ll see you all soon!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 10
Day #9: Do I Wish to Be “Location Independent?”
For this challenge, we consider the benefits of being “location independent.” I hadn’t heard this phrase before but, I have been enjoying this sort of independence since I officially launched TopTia. To not be tied to a desk or cubicle–not that that is a bad thing–is rewarding for an open-minded person such as myself. To be able to work here or there or anywhere and take a nice break when I can…freely. Sounds good to me.
One of the best things about living in Tokyo is that there is never a shortage of something to do, people to talk to, or something tasty to munch on. There’s also never a shortage of photos to take around the city.
As long as my phone, camera, and tablet are attached to my TopTia utility belt, I can be pretty flexible with my location. It’s kind of a must for me. Seriously, kudos to those who can work out of their own homes without being distracted. I, on the other hand, would struggle between cat videos, dancing to my favorite tune or cooking an extravagant lunch. No, being out and about keeps me focused and allows me to feel the feeling of the freedom lifestyle.
The Break Between Jobs: Exploring the Tokyo subjects around me. Essentially, taking to the streets and photographing or connecting with whomever I meet. I want to be more bold with my approach to capturing this massive city.
For example. One day I was coming home from a photo shoot in Omotesando and an interesting looking man boarded the train. He had an elongated face with short brown hair and sported a standard pair of glasses. He look a bit like the popular American comedian, Stephen Colbert. From the neck up, he looked kind of ordinary. From the neck down, this mid-40s man wore a black Godzilla T-shirt and both arms covered in tattoos. I thought the odd juxtaposition between normal and badass was unforgettable and photo worthy. I felt it was important to take his photo. I had the time and was already free to myself, so I asked him if he would be willing to be a model for a photo shoot. He said, “Sure,” and I was beside myself. My random encounter with the man on the Toyoko train kicked off an adventure.
Now, I’m sure I could be a photographer in just as many countries as Natalie has travelled to (69 countries, by the way). However, because of TopTia’s commitment to businesses and clients based in Japan, I am very much content with being location independent in this massive city.
See you in the final post!
This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 9