What Are a Few of the Things Our Listeners Can Do To Improve the Energy of the People in Their Fashion, Portrait and Wedding Photos?

The right energy can turn ordinary fashion, portrait and wedding photos into stunning works of art. How can you improve the energy of your shots? Bruce Smith has some tips.

Free Your Mind

Bruce Smith: To be able to express yourself, you have to be free from blockages. You have to be free from self-consciousness.

If you’re cool, unreserved, and trying to be smart (or don’t want to create a bad impression of yourself) don’t become a wedding photographer Margaret river. To be a photographer you have to be able to express yourself. You have to be a bit crazy — a bit mad and a bit eccentric.

When you’re a photographer who is taking fashion, portrait or wedding photos, you have to be full of energy. You have to be able to draw the attention to yourself make people listen. You have to be able to make people understand what it is that you want in your pictures.

It’s important to be able to express yourself. You must be able to stand up and be the center of attention without stealing energy from people.

More to the point, you have to be the person that gives energy to others. You have to be able to go and stand on a rooftop and shout your head off and say, “I am so-and-so; I take pictures,” and not be shy about it.

I am quite shy and I am quite quiet and quite reserved, but when I’m behind the camera I become more expressive because I have to be. I’ve learned this over the years — that this is the best way to get pictures. Because of this, I’m not shy behind the camera.

I think that’s probably one of the most important factors. Don’t be shy.

Communication is Key

Communication is another important factor. I teach my students to connect with their subjects. This involves being able to communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t get anything into your pictures. Learn how to communicate.
Learn how to express yourself and be a bit loud without being overpowering. Be manipulative, and I don’t mean that in a derogatory manner. Be manipulative to achieve an objective for a picture, but don’t be domineering.

When people look at my pictures, they don’t see me domineering the pictures. They see something that’s quite natural, which is what I want to express — a naturalness and a beauty and a sensitivity for the subject, and a sensitivity for the viewer looking at the pictures. I want them to feel something.

Audri Lanford: Bruce, we’ve talked about a lot of different things today. What’s the one thing that you want people to remember from today’s interview? What’s the one thing that’s going to make the biggest different in their fashion, portrait and wedding photos?

Bruce: I think this last question hit it on the head. You must break out of your shell. It won’t work if you’re quiet and shy.

It’s okay to stay inside the shell — stay quiet and stay shy when you’re not behind the camera. But when you’re taking pictures and you want enthusiasm and you want energy in your pictures, lose your inhibitions and learn how to communicate.

Learn how to communicate, learn how to express to people what it is that you want in the picture. You’re the photographer. You’re in control. You’re in charge. You’re the master of the ship. If you’re the master of the ship, you are the one that’s responsible for everybody. As a bristol wedding photographer you’re responsible for getting great pictures.

Audri Lanford: If people want to learn more about things you have to offer, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Bruce: There are several different things. I run master classes and courses in photography all over the world. I’ve literally just completed a six week tour teaching in America, your hometown, on your side of the pond.

People can check out the classes I have on my Web site. If people go to Bru, there’s a list of my classes there, both location classes and studio classes, two day classes right through to five day location classes.

I also teach at a wonderful institution called the People can actually learn all aspects of photography there. I run an eight week fashion photography course through that site. It includes a series of eight lessons and assignments, which I critique and answer questions on.

Audri Lanford: Thanks Bruce. I recommend people check these out.