How to do a remote portrait photo shoot


COVID19 has had a huge impact of pretty much everything. For portrait photography, the 6-feet-apart, no-travelling, use-mouth-mask lockdown had made it almost impossible to do an in-person photo shoot. But every limit is also a challenge, Is it possible to do an interesting remote shoot via the internet? The answer is yes. I will give you some tips on how to do this.

This article only talks about a ‘simple’ remote portrait photo shoot: 1 or 2 models, 1 photographer, with smartphone or tablet camera, no studio lighting, no DSLR, no assistant, no remote triggering, no tethering setup.

Preparing the remote shoot

Hardware: the (phone) camera

In most cases, the model will use a mobile phone (or tablet) to capture the images. This is quite different from a ‘real’ DSLR or system camera, with advantages and drawbacks. Let’s see how we can work with this camera phone.

Hold your phone in your hand

Obviously the easiest thing to do is for the model to hold the phone in their hand, directly or with a selfie stick.

But this limits the distance between model and camera (no full body shots), it limits the movement and makes some shots impossible. So let’s look at how the phone can be positioned so that the model does not need to hold it.

Let your phone stand

There are lots of options to hold your phone up so the camera is pointing horizontally. You can buy a mini tripod (3 static feet, less than 30cm/1 foot high), gorillapod (the feet can bend), a real tripod (up to 2m high), or you can DIY some solution out of a cup or some old credit cards.

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