Friday, 26 March 2010

How Many?

"You're bound to get at least one good one, if you shoot that many frames." Some of us have heard this once, and some of us have heard it more than once. During a photoshoot with a British airline chief recently, he asked why on earth I took so many frames of him. I could have said because you don't look like Brad Pitt (which would have been honest and true, if not a little unkind). No doubt he would have taken it on the chin.

But it is true, and it informs us about something of the nature of being photogenic. Brad Pitt looks great in photographs, and you don't need to take many frames to end up with a great set of shots of him. The same is true of many people, but actors are especially adept at looking good in photographs. So they should be, given that they use their faces to express their work. They know what works well on camera. They probably know what works well with the lighting set up being used. If you've ever sat way up in the gods, and not been able to make out an actor's expressions, then you are missing a whole chunk of the performance.

Combine this professional use of the face with what is often 'good looks' and you have a winning combination in front of the camera. Take someone who may not be so good looking, and who hasn't learnt to exploit their faces to their full potential, and you will soon see that more frames equals a better chance of getting a good shot. Combine that with the vast number of muscles in the human face, with their multiple permutations, and you'll discover that variations in expressions are limitless. The challenge is often to try and get something unexpected from the professional, and something great from the non professional. Much fun can be had in doing both, regardless of success. It was Brian Dennehy I saw (or who I didn't really see) from the gods in Death of a Salesman. A wasted opportunity if ever there was one.

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