Richard Mills psychotherapist

Personal brand photography, Leeds, West Yorkshire

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Richard Mills psychotherapist

A few months ago I headed over for a personal brand photography session in Leeds, West Yorkshire with Richard Mills who is a psychotherapist.  I will hold my hands up and admit that this was the first psychotherapist that I've ever photographed so it was an interesting experience. I usually have a brief before I arrive but Richard didn't want to send me one and instead briefed me on arrival.  His brief was that he wanted one picture that he could use on his website and marketing materials which looked, slightly warm (not too warm), passionate (not too passionate), intense (but not too intense) you get the point.  As I had gone into this shoot completely blind (no brief) I will go through the creative stages that I went through in my thoughts.

Light - My first process is to look at the light.  Is there any ambient (natural) light in the room? or do I need to set up artificial light? I always try my best to work with the surroundings and natural light. I walked in the room and it was pretty dark (I may have pointed this out to Richard) but there was one small window which was letting in a nice stream of light.  As soon as I saw the window I knew exactly where I needed to place Richard for his (one picture that ticked all of the boxes) however, I always give more and I wanted to create lots of variety for him to use.  Whoops, back to light, Although the room was pretty dark apart from the small window I thought that setting up additional lights would ruin the mood, it was essential that I kept the environment as natural as possible.  The room was also quite cluttered so I needed to hide the clutter, so moving a few screens that Richard had sorted that. 

Moment - When meeting someone for the first time I always try to get to know them, I have a chat before taking any pictures so I can help them relax so that I can get the best out of my subject. I'd just actually done a photoshoot with Richard's partner Joanna and we'd built a great rapport so it was great that she'd come with me. I asked Joanna to act as a client and just asked Richard to do his thing. I could see that he was really nervous and very conscious about how he was coming out so I just needed for him to relax.  it took a little bit of patience but eventually, I got him on side and learning to relax.  I did this by finding out a little bit more about what he enjoys doing outside of work and relating to that, all this really helps someone relax. Also showing some of the pictures on the back of the camera which looked good helps build confidence.

Composition - my composition was a little restricted as I was dictated by the small amount of light in the room but saying that I'm never going to be beaten by these limitations.  As previously mentioned I knew instantly where the best light was and exactly what would make the best shot, but I didn't want to shoot that until the end as it was important that I had a good rapport with my client. So, for the first part of the shoot, I just captured documentary-style pictures where Richard chatted and listened to his client. I asked him to change chairs and set up screens so we could create a few different looks and give more variety.  

Finally, once I was happy and had built a rapport I shot the picture that I could have done as soon as I arrived. I just asked Richard to stand next to the window and used the beautiful natural window light to create the picture which ticked all of his boxes. Once I showed him it on the back of the camera he was really happy and I could just proceed to the more fun elements. I wanted to create a whole variety of images and a story, I'd seen that he had a classical guitar in his room so asked him if I could take a picture with his guitar, I also photographed a few of the props that he uses in his sessions. 

It was a very interesting shoot and everyone is happy with the final results.  Give me a shout if you fancy a personal branding photography session.


John Steel Photography
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