Unique portrait ideas made easy.
At points, you may find yourself feeling bummed out, unable to come up with a new photo idea.
That's totally normal.
You've seen this person photographed many times before. Photographers have a bank of images that influence us. Sometimes by accident, our final result gets a little too close to that image.
A simple trick that I use to come up with unique portrait photo ideas is... to listen.
Simple as that, though not as easy. When you meet up or chat with your subject, make sure to listen in. What are they talking about? What do they keep mentioning or asking questions about? This will show you their interests and give you ideas for photographs.
For example, I recently visited musician Tom Pearo's house for a photoshoot. I had seen photographs of Tom before and in my mind, I had an idea of what his music was and who he was, though I had never met him.
When we started talking, Tom dove deep into detail on his equipment. Tom told me about all the custom work he had done on his guitar. How his vintage '60s amps are wired in a special way.
I knew we had to include his equipment (and lots of it) into the photographs we took. When we toured his house to look for a good scene, I loved the large living room with natural window light. Better yet, there was a staircase that gave me an elevated position. I proposed the idea of laying Tom's gear out on the floor and him lying down in the middle of all his gear. He was all for it.
By listening and chatting with Tom, I was able to hear the hints I needed to create a unique photograph. The end result was something different from how others have photographed Tom before.
Did you hear the news? No? Too busy listening to music? Ya… me too. Anyways, check out this newsletter for photographers and artists looking to take the next step.
Ben M. Collins is a music, portrait, and documentary photographer inspired by the rhythm, harmony, and mystery of life.