Trying To Teach My Boyfriend To Be a Photographer: The Mini Shoot

Do you smell that? I smell it. Breathe deeper. It’s the sweet smell of a series, y’all.

 (I never use the word y’all, but it seemed like the most appropriate right now alright?)

I’ve had this idea for a few weeks now. Simply, what would happen if I gave my boyfriend my camera on manual, briefly explained what each setting does and how it affects photos, and then basically had him do a mini-shoot of me. Sounds easy! The two sticks in this plan are:

  1. My boyfriend is not in any form a professional photographer. (What he is, is an amazing musician and entertainer.)
  2. I am not comfortable in front of a camera and will often clam up when I’m uncomfortable.

My boyfriend, Jason, as enthusiastic about everything as ever, agreed to do this when I originally had the idea and we finally did it a few days ago. Here’s how it went!


Before we even got to the location, things weren’t really off to an awesome start. I had been in an on/off weird mood all day, had an incredibly annoying dry cough, it was cloudy and I was concerned about lighting. Then, we hit up Starbucks to take advantage of the BOGO deal they had going on this past weekend and subsequently were in the drive thru for twenty minutes. So, me being paranoid about light as ever, found a location that was eight minutes away instead of twenty. Things started to look up!

And honestly, they looked up almost immediately. I was still incredibly not stoked about this whole reversed situation, but it was also 100% my idea so I only had myself to blame. Before we got out of the car, I gave Jason a quick rundown on shutter speed, iso, and aperture. When I say quick, I mean maybe three minutes.

We walk down a path and are hit with the first problem. Posing.

Jason has never had to pose someone before. Jason’s never had to deal with awkward hands. So, to give some guidance, I pulled up some basic posing ideas on Pinterest! We scrolled through, he posed me and again, things started looking up.

I’m not going to say that being a photographer is easy. Regardless of all the time spent editing, travelling, or when you shoot an amazing shot and then looking back and finding it to be blurry, there’s more behind the scenes stuff that make it a tough job. But, when it simply comes down to framing a good shot, fiddling with your settings, then pressing a button, it is an easy task.

TTTPTMB Nov 2017-1

Canon 5D Mark II, 35mm, Shutter Speed: 1/40, F-Stop: 1.8, ISO: 500

This was in one of the first three or four poses Jason had me do. While I was looking through these photos to edit them for this post, it stuck out. Not only was it not a boring pose, but it was exposed very well and didn’t look crazy in it which was a bonus!

Now, I didn’t go in to this idea with no faith in Jason. Especially since he makes videos, it’s not like he doesn’t have some kind of artistic eye. Really, in the age we’re in now with taking photos all the time on our phones, it’s hard to imagine that there’s many people who would be truly awful at taking pictures. Regardless, as we both got more comfortable, it was easier. Things flowed better.

I told myself I wasn’t going to say anything to help. But, you know when words just kind of come out of your mouth because they’re as natural as breathing? Okay, that’s a vaguely more poetic way of saying, “Because you’re anal about photography and slow shutter sounds make you nervous?”

I did wind up giving input. Jason would say the pictures were too dark, and I would ask if he checked his meter or shutter speed. There’s some things you just can’t help!

TTTPTMB Nov 2017-2

Canon 5D Mark II, 35mm, Shutter Speed: 1/40, F-Stop: 1.8, ISO: 320

This was in the second half of our shoot. Jason surprised me by getting a little more creative with pose ideas and asked me to put my hand above my head, holding on to the bridge. Color me impressed.

Then, we took a short break so I could take pictures of him. This wasn’t in my original plan, but it let me take a step back and realize how far I’ve personally come in my photography journey.

There was a time when I was uncomfortable telling people how to pose, or what will look best. I would get frustrated with my photos and feel self conscious when I delivered them to clients. This past year, all of those remaining self doubts have had to go out the window.

During photoshoots, I have to be assertive otherwise it will run all over the place. If I want good, clear photos, I need to pay attention to my settings while I’m shooting. If I want to stay on track, I have to be efficient, have poses ready to go, and be confident in my ability as a whole. When I was shooting Jason during this challenge, it just reminded me how far I’ve come and that I should take more time to be proud of that.

Once Jason started shooting again, we had both laughed enough and grew more comfortable with the situation, and that made for some of my favorite photos that he took during the shoot.

Something else this taught me was that yes, good photos are about composition, lighting, framing, all the stuff I’ve gone on and on about countless times. But, it’s also about connecting with your client and giving them enough space to be themselves and to feel comfortable.

During this challenge, Jason honestly did really well. As the photos progressed, I could see improvement! He’s one of those lucky people who can learn things fast, so I’m excited to see where this series will take his own artistic eye. He got lucky with the overcast lighting we had, so I’m curious to see how he would handle golden hour light, or even unfavorable light. So many possibilities!

Spread love. Happy Thanksgiving to all my American peeps. xoxo



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