Know Your Subject
Following my previous blog on London Fashion Week, I thought I'd talk a little bit about something I think is very important to being a successful photographer... knowing your subject.
It's all very well being able to take a technically good photo, but in order to take great photos you need to be able to capture much much more. The only way you can do this (other than by pure luck) is to know and understand what you're shooting. This can help in many ways. I work with a lot of dancers, and in particular, breakdancers. Now obviously having an interest in what you shoot helps a great deal (why do so many men photograph women! Hehe), but by understanding the movement and the essence of the dance I'm able to compose my shots to get maximum impact and get my timing spot on almost every time.
No i don't breakdance myself (I've tried, but it hurts my wrists too much), I do a couple of the other street dance styles. I also go to events like the UK B-Boy Championships where i watch the best in the world battle it out. Now I'm not saying everyone should start attending dance events, but you should take an interest in the things you shoot. A couple of years ago i was shooting a lot of cars for various magazine features, so I'd often go to car shows both in the UK and abroad.
If you're working for commercial or editorial clients and can show an in-depth knowledge of what you're being booked to shoot, they'll respect your opinion and expertise a lot more, and you'll sound much more prepared... which you will be!