Have you ever felt uncomfortable in front of the camera?
A couple of months back I put out a poll and ask the questions do you feel uncomfortable in front of the camera? And there was an overwhelming YES!
You are in for a treat today we sit down with Spencer Pablo a Cali based photographer that takes amazing pictures of Plus Size men!
First, tell us a little bit about your story? Where are you from? What got you into Photography?
Years ago, I picked up a camera just to relax and escape whatever it was that I was doing. That was back in the days of film--so I had to be very particular about what I shot. Now--with digital photography, I can do more experimentation and that helps me grow.
I have been a photographer for nearly twenty years, and a professional photographer for the past decade. I try and photograph everything--and I think that it helps shape my other photography disciplines. For instance, much of my portraiture show flavors from my street photography. I consider it very similar to what athletes do with cross-training. It also keeps me from getting stale and bored with a certain type of photography.
Many people in the industry know me from my landscape photography (as a Sony Artisan, much of my work that was seen at camera stores ranged from astrophotography to landscape). Local to my homebase in southern California, many know of me from my workshops and portraiture.
My work in the plus-sized space comes from living as a larger dude and knowing how it feels when a lens starts pointing in my direction. As I would photograph families with larger people, I noticed that they would naturally begin to hide behind the rest of their family. I made it a point to change that.
Do you currently work with any brands?
I have worked with several brands in my career. In the consumer electronic space, I have represented brands such as Sony, 3 Legged Thing, ThinkTank, and Freewell.
From the Photographer angle what makes a shoot successful?
At the risk of sounding pompous, a successful shoot will have images that meet my standards.
Let me explain what that means. I think everyone tends to be harder on themselves than they need to be. Whenever I photograph for clients, I am always concerned about how well the client receives my images.
Seeing hundreds of images on a daily basis, images need to really be outstanding for them to stand out. I feel that my clients select me because my work stands out. So I apply that same methodology to my own images--my images need to continue to ‘wow’ me for them to meet my standards. It’s worked so far--but it also means that I need to continue to grow as a photographer.
I could take hundreds of images on an outing and come out with about two or three strong images and consider that a successful shoot.
What makes a shoot extra successful is when a have strong images AND my clients feel great about how it went.
That’s what I love.
Why do you think Chubby people are uncomfortable being in front of the camera?
More than simply being chubby--anyone can be uncomfortable in front of a camera because they may not realize how beautiful they are.
It does not matter if they are chubby or wafer thin--they will be uncomfortable in front of a camera if they don’t have the confidence. My job is to empower them and to pull that energy and have them embrace themselves at any size.
Bigger folks have the extra challenge of not having enough appropriate representation.
There’s that stigma that being fat is an insult--hence why being called “fat” has a negative connotation. It’s an adjective--nothing more than a descriptor-- the same as being called “skinny” or “smart.”
Don’t let size be the reason you don’t have confidence in front of a camera.
Once we get past that point, it’s the photographer’s job to make sure the clients are comfortable and provide guidance for how to pose.
Do you find yourself being uncomfortable being in front of the camera?
So...everything I said above and everything I tell my clients go out the window immediately when the lens points in my direction.
It’s just nerves. I am a regular guy--it takes me a little bit to readjust. I know sometimes when I am being recorded--I can feel myself breathing deeply, letting out a little smile, then forgetting the camera is there.
Give us 2-3 ways we can work on becoming more comfortable in front of the camera?
Laugh. Smile. Be comfortable.
Change poses in between shutter presses. I know it sounds easy--but really, once you get past that, the photos can begin.
If you ever see me photograph my clients, you’ll quickly see how the most important job is to pull that out of them. Pushing the shutter is the easiest job once you get past that.
The hardest part is developing the relationship between the photographer and the client to be sure that we are comfortable around each other. From the client’s perspective--once you get comfortable--listen to the photographer.
For the photographers out here--don’t be quiet. Constantly give the clients feedback.
Make them laugh, smile, and be comfortable. As an aside, once you nurture that relationship with your clients, they’ll continue to come back.
Are there any poses that you feel works best for a Chubby person?
Posture. If you’re fat--don’t hide it. Own it. So don’t slouch.
Shift weight on your legs to find that comfortable pose--you don’t necessarily need to stand with 50 percent of your weight on each leg.
If something on your body can bend, try bending it.
Stand in front of a mirror and see how you look. When you find something you like--remember how that feels. Bottle that feeling up and feed off of it.
See what works.
Note: duck lips never work.
Any other tips you want to give? I know the Chubby Diaries Fam would love that!
Stop asking the photographer to remove 50 pounds in Photoshop--own it.
Also, hire a photographer that knows how to guide the client. Often times, I see new photographers lead a session in complete silence. Very awkward. Very bad.
Also, wear clothes that complement both you and the place you are photographing.
Whenever I setup a shoot--I tailor the color palette to the environment. I suggest wearing clothes that aren’t too tight AND are certainly not too loose.
Finally, how can the people reading this find you? Instagram? Facebook?
My landscape stuff on IG: @spencerpablophotography
My big guy stuff on IG: @howeverchubby