Skip to main content

Meeting Your Subjects

Lesson 18 from: The Ultimate Photo Storytelling Workshop

Finn Beales

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

18. Meeting Your Subjects

In this episode Finn talks about the steps he takes before he meets with someone he is due to photograph, steps that will help him capture natural portraits.
Next Lesson: The Board Room

Lesson Info

Meeting Your Subjects

So we've arrived at Dan's studio which is on the outskirts of Lisbon. We've driven up the coast, left a studio behind for now. I'm gonna meet him for the first time. I haven't seen his face properly yet. He's a bit of an enigma online. I've checked out his Instagram, which is popular but no pictures of his face. He's a really well-known board shaper. Before I meet any model or somebody I'm working with I'll do a little bit of research online. There's a great YouTube video online within which he talks about his life, and his philosophy, and what things mean to him. I often look for something that I can connect with on the same level before I meet someone in that sense. He's got a daughter, I'm a dad. It's a great meeting point from the off. I'll use that as soon as I meet him. So takeaway is to look for something in common with yourself and your subject, because then you can meet on a relatable level rather than just going in blind, just like (imitates engine). You won't get a natural r...

esponse from someone like that. Try and connect with them on something that they can relate to. Not just the surfing, not just the photography, something a bit deeper. My other top tip is when you first meet your model or the person you're working with, despite this being a photo shoot, leave your camera in the car. Don't let them be phased by this from the outset. So that stays behind. I just wanna talk to him as a human. We're both people, gotta relate to each other on that level first. Once we're comfortable with each other, once he's comfortable with me, we can introduce the camera and capture natural moments. So this is day one of our shoot. Today we're gonna meet Dan at his studio. Day two we're gonna jump in an old Land Rover, head down the coast, find some beautiful coves, waves. And day three we'll shoot Dan surfing. This is like a dream assignment, really, isn't it? If you know me from Instagram, you know I have one of these Land Rovers. In the sunshine, it's never very sunny in Wales. It's a dream to be here and to be working with someone who's so well known within the community, knows this coastline like the back of his hands, grew up here, who should be able to take us to some great spots that I would not be able to find without him. So I'm stoked. Let's go meet Dan in his board shaping room. Okay. This is a telltale sign. The truck. I think we're on the right track. Damn. This is super nice. More of that later. (distant music) (door knocking) Yo Dan? Hey man. Hey, how you doing? Good to meet you. How's it going, man? You good? Good. Finally got here. Yeah. Yeah. Have a nice flight? Yeah, it's a bit- Everything okay? A bit warmer here than Wales. (both laughing) (calm music)

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase


Ratings and Reviews

Brent Morris

Fantastic My thoughts on the storytelling workshop. The short is; it’s fantastic. The long is I loved all the details covered, from shot types and the ideas behind them to the call sheets and shot lists, and the whole process. I felt like I had a better understanding of how to schedule a professional shoot and I really felt like I had a much better grasp on many ideas and concepts, and I believe I’ve been able to improve my photography with them, so thank you and Finn. It really is fantastic.

Oswaldo Martinez

A path to better stories Very happy I got this workshop. Finn and Alex do a great job at teaching highly useful methods and specific advice to help you improve your own work, and more importantly, tell better stories that are meaningful to you.

Tommaso Selleri

Simply the best This is simply the best workshop out there on photography and storytelling. Finn is awe inspiring and so real and authentic. A pleasure to watch, a joy to learn from such master. I really hope a volume 2 is coming soon! Thank you for this one!

Student Work