One of the biggest challenge of being a photographer is breaking through a shy barrier. So, we kinda have to dabble a little in psychology to know how to read a person to reach them on a personal level to bring out the best of themselves.
This process for me can take anywhere from five to thirty minutes. I can tell when someone is willing to open up to me and when there is an ironclad wall to break through, but I do get through.
The method to my madness is to look for common ground and ask questions. If that does not break the ice, I look for humor. Mostly about myself, simply because it shows my vulnerability, something that they feel.
To photograph someone or even a moment of something that is important, it is an intimate thing to capture. I feel so strongly on this mentality because I get to see the deeper part of one's soul for a brief second or two. I get to capture a glimpse of their life that could be the pivotal change in their journey's path.
This gentleman posted an ad in a photographer's group in search of someone to take his headshots and simply to have nice photos of himself. I was lucky he chose me!
As I was walking up to where we were going to meet, I saw him pacing a little. I knew immediately that he was greatly nervous. Rightfully so! He doesn't know me nor I of him. I frantically assessed the situation to break through the barrier and was quick to find the solution. His violin!
Every time he held his beautiful instrument, his guard was let down. You could see the joy radiate through him to simply hold his beloved violin! I don't blame him! I love playing the violin and miss it greatly.
I was extremely excited he brought his violin. It inspired me and woke up my desire to play again. One day, perhaps I will!