Shh! Can you keep a secret? This may come as a surprise, but the camera we always recommend to people who are looking for the key to getting great portraits is the Fuji Instax camera. For those of you who aren’t familiar with this camera, think of the old Polaroid camera, which produces instant photos, but more modern-looking.
Yes, Fuji Instax. You read that right. Don’t get us wrong. Nikon, Sony, etc. are fantastic cameras with fantastic lenses, and they are the ones that ultimately get that killer shot. But, there are so many times when you will see a face you have to get, and yet, that person turns out to be extremely shy, or doesn’t know what to make of you and your bulky camera equipment. This is especially true if your subject is a child.
The solution? Grab your Fuji Instax. Ask your subject (via their language or hand signals) if you may take a picture of them using the Instax camera. They may look at you with confusion, or still won’t smile for you, but take the photo as soon as you can… Then, watch the magic begin. Soon, the Instax will print out its image, and while you wait, you can take the printed image and move towards the subject a bit. And even though you don’t need to, you can shake the photo, and show them how their image is mysteriously appearing before their very eyes. Then, hand them the photo. They may stare at it. They may shake it. They may touch it. Just watching their reaction is wonderful.
But, note this: When we said, “magic”, we didn’t just mean the magic of the instant photo. What we meant is the magic of what that one photo does to your subject.
We can’t tell you how many places we’ve been where this has been the ice-breaker. The key. The portal to souls. When subjects see their image in front of them, something happens to their shyness. Their friends may even gather, and point to it, and may want their photo taken, too. Just remember: Your goal was to break the ice with your first subject. Your first love. So, now that this person has become your best friend, take as many pictures (with your DSLR or mirrorless camera) of him/her first. You’ll be amazed at how much more light you’ll see in their eyes. Magic.
When you’re satisfied with your images, then by all means, turn around and take pictures of their friends, if you wish. As for taking any more Instax photos, well, we’ll leave that up to you. We feel this is our secret weapon on our photo tours. So, we don’t give away Instax photos freely, and use them mainly as ice-breakers or gifts.
Finally, you may argue that showing them their photo on the back of a digital camera would be enough to break the ice, but trust us when we tell you that there’s something about gifting a person with a photo that they can physically hold in your hands that evokes a human connection.
So, there you have it. Our secret weapon. We hope it’ll become your secret weapon, too.
Let the magic begin!