Come on in, the water’s lovely!
I can’t help tripping over gorgeous guys in Key west – get down here girls, it’s the place to be!
When I first met Terje and saw his home in Key West, I was instantly inspired and reminded of a David Hockney picture of a guy in a swimming pool*, that I’ve always loved – so I spent a few weeks working out how I was going to persuade Terje to recreate something similar!
Check out the video below to see “behind the scenes”.
Terje, 42 (yes, unbelievable!) is a producer/editor from Norway, but lives in Key West for part of the year, and as he’d never had a proper photo shoot before, I started with some simple shots to get him used to being photographed. It’s no good starting a shoot by saying “take your clothes off and get in this pool”!! You have to build up their confidence first!
Whenever I do a shoot, I have some ideas about where I want to go with it, but psychologically you have to let the person catch up with you first, by making them feel safe. Having a photo shoot is a very nerve wracking experience for many people, and it’s amazing how nervous they often look at the beginning of the shoot, compared to how they’ll look later.
They go through a range of emotions including apprehension, self-consciousness, and worrying they’ll look vain. You have to take them through a process, and work with them to get them to trust you. They may feel uncomfortable at first, but several hours later they just won’t want it to end!
- Covered area at front of house
- Outside empty house next door
- Disused road
- Swimming pool at rear of house
As always, I start by finding an area which is private, so the client doesn’t feel embarrassed that someone may walk past and see them. This house has a large covered patio area at the front, which provided perfect top shade creating soft, flattering light. We also put some music on and turned it up quite loud to create a more relaxed atmosphere.
I rearranged the furniture in the background and faced Terje towards the light. At this stage I don’t want to place him directly in the doorway of the patio area, because it is very close to the street, and someone may walk past. As it is slightly dark further back from the doorway, I need the reflector to bounce some light into the shadows.
Once we’ve practised a few shots, and Terje realises he doesn’t have to pose – he just has to follow instructions, he is more confident to venture to the doorway.
I ask him to change his clothes to make the shots look different, even though we are using the same location.
House next door
Next we set off to walk to a disused road, but on the way I spotted a house I liked, which is why the next two shoots are in the same clothes.
As you can see above, anything can be used to prop up a reflector!
Note the difference between the two pictures above (left and right) – lying on the floor and shooting up at someone (right) makes them appear taller – not necessary in this case, but very useful sometimes – its a technique I often use on weddings to make a beautiful dress really stand out.
It’s not often you can run around in the middle of a road! But because this is not a public roadway, we could do whatever we liked. We also chose it because it was so long and straight, fading away into the distance and creating amazing perspective in the photos.
Back to the pool
By now Terje is really enjoying the shoot, and feeling much more confident, so we go back to the house to create the shots that I’ve been waiting for.
Again it’s all about using shapes, so I move the camera around until I decide where the shapes look best together, and how much of each shape I want in the picture – which is how I decide how much of the house to have on the left and how much of the shed on the right. It’s a case of looking, and selecting, and trying different angles – it’s up to you to decide.
Next I asked Terje to stand in the pool, but we had a big problem – it was way too deep! If he stood at the shallow end, the background was not right – I needed him at the deep end, because I also wanted a lot of water in the foreground – so I decided to put the stepladder into the pool and ask him to balance on it!
In all these pictures below he is carefully balancing on the ladder and still manages to do everything I ask him – what a great model!
The most difficult thing for Terje was keeping his hair dry every time he fell off the ladder! We gave up in the end and went for the wet hair look!
Then on to the Hockney style pictures! It took some persuading, as understandably, Terje didn’t want to pose naked for the shots.
Finally, I was inspired by his now very wet hair, so we did a few more pictures to finish off the shoot!
Another amazingly fun shoot – I consider myself very lucky to be able to shoot such a gorgeous guy in one of the most photogenic places in the world.
Thank you Terje!
*I can’t show you the original David Hockney image here due to copyright, so here’s a link to where you can see it if you’re interested to see how I was reminded of it when I saw Terje and his house: Walker Art Gallery – ‘Peter Getting Out Of Nick’s Pool’ by David Hockney
For more photo shoots of men check out:
- Amateur Photographer Summer Workshop
- HOW TO: Select clothes for a shoot
- Teens to Twenties
- Anyone for tennis?
- The Naked Muse