Met up with Omar at a local coffee shop downtown. It was nerve-racking because this was my first time meeting up with a stranger at a public venue. We’d been initially introduced via phone by a mutual friend, so it wasn’t completely random… but still a first.
Our friend wanted us to met up because Omar needed head shots and I wanted to learn more about Middle Eastern culture. Having lived in various of these countries, Omar provided me with insight that one could seldom find online.
Then it was picture time
Since Omar needed to evoke various emotions within the head shots, I used a technique from film school. Essentially, the model is thrown into a mental scenario and their emotional response is captured on camera. Interactions with the model depend on what kinds of results are needed. Depending on how much is known about the subject or how they feel about certain things, situations can be mentioned to trigger the required mindset. For example, if the photographer knows that the model is dying to visit Hawaii, the photographer needs to describe sun, sand, waves…. and have the model imagen themselves sun bathing, surfing, ect. This would trigger the model to appear genuinely content during the next couple shots.
However, it is important that the model understands what the photographer is doing. Once, I needed a somber expression and the model was not cutting it. I pretended to receive a text from the model’s sibling that their dog had runaway and been hit by a car. Let’s just say that although the shots turned out, they refused to speak to me for the rest of the week.
Anyways, I explained my technique to Omar after he told me what kinds of photos were required. After a couple shots, we would compare facial expressions and converse over the emotion that these may convey to the audience.
Though it came naturally to him, Omar was very much aware of his facial positioning throughout the shoot. Because of this project, I have come to pay closer attention to models expressons and what these convay.