Shooting an interview subject - before/after/during?


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Jan 16, 2008
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I'm going to be doing some interviews where I'll need to shoot the subjects as well... I've been thinking about all the ways I could get the shots (before/during/after) but I thought I'd see what everyone else thought. I don't want to be disruptive to the interview and I want to get some good shots but my time will be pretty limited...

Any one have any thoughts/experience that you'd like to share?

If you have a tripod, you might try setting it up and using a lens wide enough to encompass the general area where your subject will be seated. If you preset your focus with your subject posing where they will be seated, and stop down sufficiently, you might be able to maintain steady focus. Then, using a remote release for your shutter, you could discreetly snap off shots while conducting the interview. You'd probably need to be in a place with lots of natural light for this to work best, but it might be worth a try. You might also be able to get some good semi-candid shots you might otherwise be unable to get.
I would opt for before or after, During would be distracting. I think that after would be the best, because the person would be more relaxed and comfortable. you will need to budget your time wisely to fit it in at the end.
Conversely, before could be better, just in case the conversation gets going and you run short on time.
I would take the same approach that I do in television shooting. The cover or establishing shot which includes the interviewer and interviewee that is wide enough to include the background, a two shot which is a closer shot of the two of them, a shot of the interviewee from the interviewer's viewpoint (an almost over the shoulder shot) and a somewhat similar shot of the interviewer from the interviewee's viewpoint.

Shooting stills would of course be multiples of these shots and the challenge is to get flattering shots that show or seem to show an interview in progress (depending on how you set it up). I say challenge because a lot of people don't take good shots when they are talking and their mouths are open and some don't take good shots when they are reacting/listening ot what is being said.


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