Shooting your homies

Published by MJR on June 21st, 2008 in Essay, Photos, Technique | 3 Comments »

Shooting your best friends is a hell of a lot different from shooting strangers. Is it easier or more difficult to shoot people you know?

For me…its easier and much more fun to shoot my friends, but for others it isn’t so. Here are some things that i keep in mind when i have a frame full of homies aka idiots.

It is important to remember to not let your friend control the session, keep them at bay and remember that while standing in front of your lens they are subjects, not friends. If they are true friends they will respect what you are doing and respond accordingly. If not, just keep breaking out your camera until they get used to it.

Schutz- This is his quintessential face. Someone told him that it was a costume party and he showed up in that damned hat. Nobody else in attendance wore a costume and schutz never took off the hat.

When shooting, I suspend the fact of friendship and what I do is treat them like models, not the guys you just spent 9 hours drinking with. The camera in my hands gives me a license to be the boss and them the employee. So I direct them as such, tell them what to do and react to their responses. If it isnt working then we try something else and continue to move forward.

Dave- He bought those sunglasses in Venice the day before. I think everyone at the party tried on those glasses and they quickly became the prop of choice during the photo shoot. He wanted to fix the glasses and I stopped him from putting them on correctly. This is the “i know what you are trying to make me look like” face.

Smith- has never been to Brooklyn

The environment and circumstances played a large role when i chose to photograph these guys. All of the images in this post were taken from 6am-7am after a party at a friends house where we all spend too much time. I saw that the sun was coming up and I had 5 of my best friends together all on the same level (which was lower than most at 6am). I grabbed my camera bag with the 6×7 and 35mm bodies and put my friends up against an ivy wall in the yard. We were still drunk and still drinking. It was an overcast morning so light was everywhere and the mood was somewhere between excited and haggard. The setting was neutral place for everyone, nobody was intimidated by their surroundings and my equipment was minimal which made everyone that much more comfortable.

These are the first five images that I shot. It was a little after 6 am and the sun was just coming out behind the overcast sky. There wasn’t a lot of light and I had Velvia 50 in my camera not the best for this situation but i worked with it. The images are a bit dark and grainy but the moments are still there. I think these were taken at about a 15th or 30th at f2. This combination worked because I didn’t necessarily want to freeze the action. The movement in the images adds life to the pictures.

With friends, you are already familiar with their distinct facial expressions and unique behaviors and you know what you can do to get your friends to react in ways that clearly demonstrate who they are. Use that to your advantage, get them smiling or get them looking at you the way they always do. Take the time to freeze them the way they really are.

Dylan- was actually flipping off Morgan

Morgan- was deeply saddened about graduating college. That night he challenged three University of Arizona frat kids to a drinking contest and won. The other three guys passed out hours earlier. One even needed to be slapped awake and put in the shower.

Smith- ?  i have no idea whats going on here but that’s a stale bagel in his hands.

This was fun. it was one of those times where everything just lined up and i was in the right place at the right time. Sometimes thats just what happens.

That is pretty much my process or at least was the way this particular shoot went down. We had way too much to drink and couldn’t laugh enough about it. It was a fun time and well worth the seven rolls of film. Thanks for reading and l please let me know if you have any questions. I promise to get back to you as i’ve been working on my correspondence technique.


3 Responses to “Shooting your homies”

  1. Suzan Says:

    June 22nd, 2008 at 6:48 am

    That was an awesome entry. And the last two photos so fantastic!
    Shooting my friends is kinda like all I do, so I really liked to read about your approach to it.

  2. Harry Says:

    June 22nd, 2008 at 7:54 am

    Yeah, I agree with Suzan, that was a really good post. Interesting to see how you work, actually getting your friends to stand and pose (or not) for you. Most of the time I just have a camera on me and if they see me and react to the camera it tends to be spontaneous, not planned. Rad shots, really nice colour. I like the story about your friend outdrinking 3 frat brothers, haha…


  3. Natalie Says:

    June 23rd, 2008 at 9:06 am

    smith = hahahahhahahahhahahah

    this is a great post jules. cant wait for you to come visit and take drizzunk pictures of MEEEE