Glamour Photography, Its all about Tone and Rapport
by Brent Burzycki
I began my career in the glamour photo marketplace about four years ago and since then I have learned much, dispelled many more rumors than truths and also learned that in the end there is only one really happy person if you do your job correctly.
Let us start with the only person that will ever truly be happy with your work, that is your model. One of my rules when I shoot glamour is that if I cannot make the model happy with the images we shoot then I have failed as a photographer. My job as a glamour photography is to make an image that shows that model in their best most sensual or sexy light possible. You can accomplish this in many ways and those ways are based on how you implement and plan your shoot, what your subject matter is or simply what the client you are shooting for actually requires.
With those criteria in place it comes down to using your skills as a photographer and as a human being. Lets be frank about it you as a glamour photographer are asking your model to be incredibly intimate with the camera, and to play into a mood and feeling that they might not be fully comfortable doing with their significant other let alone a complete stranger as you could easily be in most shoot scenarios. This is where your rapport with the model becomes so very important, and without it you will never get the results you are looking for in your shoot.
Rapport is a very interesting topic I can talk for hours about so I will try to just summarize my thoughts and feel free to contact me if you have points you would like to add. My attitude when shooting any living human subject is that I treat them as I would want to be treated. That said it is very important to note that there are very important guidelines to not cross, one of them being touching. The rule for most photographers is that there is no touching of the model allowed without explicit consent of the model. I have this rule for a simple reason, for most people touch is equal to trust and trust needs to be earned and you cannot earn trust when you have only known a person for less than a short interview at the beginning of a shoot. The flip side of this is making the mistake of breaking a models trust; this could easily ruin your career as a glamour photographer. You will find it is truly amazing how the internet can ruin you forever when your model leaves the shoot, hops onto Facebook and Twitter and tells all her model friends that you are a creepy untrustworthy photographer. Thank you for playing, your career is done.
Lighting is important, proper technical photo skills are important, but in the end when it comes to glamour the mood of the image is most important. Photos tell stories, mood evokes emotion and emotion will equal the viewer looking at your photo longer. Mood is created by achieving trust between the model and the photographer, having proper rapport with the model to achieve that mood that is desired and simply to be open and honest with the model about the shoot and the content of the shoot. If you follow those simple rules you will find your photography grow and your reputation in the industry to grow along with it.