Role Reversal: Photographer and Client

Written by: Glyn Dewis

Published: November 10, 2014

Category: General

I think as photographers the benefit of occasionally putting ourselves on the other side of the camera is a really important and valuable thing to do.

With the imminent launch of my first ever book The Photoshop Workbook, I thought it was a good time to get a new head shot that would appear in the About Author section; something clean, fresh and well….me.
The question though was who to commission? Well, I’d met David MacKay on a couple of occasions previously when I caught up with my Peter Hurley when he was over in the UK, and then again when David came along to Scott Kelby’s recent ‘Shoot Like a Pro’ seminar in London. I knew his work and knew also that David had recently become a Peter Hurley Associate; one of only a few select photographers around the world who have worked with Peter to develop and create a world class portfolio.
David gave me his card the last time we met up so when the publishers contacted me saying that they needed a head shot asap, I dropped him an email to ask if he was available; it was from this point that I became the client.
david_mackayHaving your photograph taken should be so much more than sitting in front of a camera; it should be an experience…an enjoyable experience and even if you’re someone who initially doesn’t like to be photographed. The skill of the photographer is not only with the camera. It’s obviously incredibly important, but secondary to how the photographer makes the client feel and their ability to show the client/subject at their recognisable best. So what about David? Well…in short..he nailed it!
David’s website is full of valuable information for the client; do’s, don’ts, explaining the process, what will happen on the day of the shoot and beyond…all leaving no doubt as to what to expect. But despite this, we still spoke on the phone to discuss looks, clothing and ultimately to break down any nerves and answer any questions. This time on the phone was invaluable. Knowing the quality of David’s work I was already looking forward to the shoot but after the phone call I really couldn’t wait.
The Day of the Shoot
I felt I’d known David all my life…such is his nature.
The studio areas was all set up and ready to go, I was shown to a room to change in and refreshments were on hand.
It’s kind of weird to explain but although I knew I was there to have photographs taken it didn’t feel like it; it felt more like I was there to chat with a friend…does that make sense?
The room was comfortable, warm and we just chatted and David, whilst subtly coaching me with posing, took photographs.
On occasion David would give me a sneak peek at the laptop screen to see images as they came through. As a client this was a real boost seeing the quality. As a photographer it was initially the lighting I looked at but then quickly turned to myself and seeing with my own eyes how different I can look with such subtle changes was quite astounding and a fantastic learning experience.
What really impressed me was how well David knew me, and what I mean by this is how he understood my public perception. You see I brought along a variety of different items of clothing to wear but when I turned up I was wearing a regular blue T-Shirt. We started off with me wearing the blue t-shirt as a warm up, and then moved on to some clothing changes, however David very quickly said that the blue t-shirt was…well…me. It was really interesting seeing pictures of me wearing the other items and how different they made me look. I like the open neck shirts, I like the t shirt with jacket, but it just wasn’t the look I wanted. I wanted the personality to come across and I was so impressed that David totally got this…
mackay_1Having decided that the blue t shirt was definitely the way to go, we did a few more shots and called it a day rather than doing more and more and more…
We then sat down together and David took me though all the images and explained what he liked and why. What he said made total sense and I think we agreed 100% on what images were the ‘keepers’
Being on the other side of the camera for an official photo shoot is something I haven’t done for a few years; in fact the last time was for a bodybuilding magazine and I was wearing considerably more 🙂
Seriously though this was a wonderful experience and not only do I have a headshot that I am so incredibly happy with, I also learned a lot. I think no matter what we do, we should always be looking to learn and improve and we can learn from everyone because everyone has a different outlook, approach, style and so on.
David is not only a great photographer in his own right but also a credit to Peter Hurley with the photographs he produces, how he gets the very best result aand the whole experience of being photographed.
Oh and I feel it’s worth mentioning that with this photo I insisted on no deals. This is business and I wanted to experience everything as a client and having done so I can hand on heart say that I have received total value for money!
I’ve not just got great head shots, but have paid for an experience and one that I would most defintiely repeat in the future.
I’ve also experienced photography as a client and how the experience and process made me feel and without doubt have learned some valuable lessons.
David…thank you!
David MacKay Photography [Link]
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1 Comment

  1. Christopher Saint Germain

    Thank you for the great review and for having faith in a Peter Hurley Associate. Peter has worked so hard to build his family. I am always amazed at how much energy that man has!


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