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I had only really taken photos of my brother once before (not counting grad photos and such) and I was never really happy with the images. With him living in Toronto and me in Moncton though it’s always been hard, time wise, to be able to set something up. I knew he would be coming home for Christmas and so I began planning how I would do the shoot, how I could make him more comfortable in front of the camera. The title of this post is a bit mis-leading I guess. It’s not so much that I tricked him into coming for a photo shoot, as he knew I wanted to do some photos, it was more of how I worked during the shoot. Read on to see what I mean… 

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I had received some new modifiers and a few other things for Christmas so I told him that I wanted to do some tests with them. I asked him if he would be willing to help me out, that he just basically had to sit there while I shot. He knew I was up to something, as I had always told him that I wanted to photograph him again, so I kind of had to trick him into it. You see, my brother and I are very close. Well… we are now, although we hadn’t always been. Being 6 years apart (me being the older one) we had some times growing up where we didn’t get along at all. Now that we have both matured though, we’re best friends (he was my best man at my wedding). We have a lot of common interests, and are able to talk to each other about things we can’t talk to others about. But the issue with our last shoot was that it was kind of awkward for him, which was totally my fault.

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In the first 2 images he is playing with Garageband on my iPad. I brought it along on purpose to keep his mind occupied (I also downloaded the Garageband app the night before as I knew he would be interested in it). You see, at the start, I told him I was just testing things, not to worry about me and just play with the iPad while I tried to get the light right. This was, of course, a complete lie as I was shooting the whole time. I had already done my tests. The above image, and the next 2, were when I said “ok let’s try some posed stuff”. Where he already had my camera in his face for the last 20-30 minutes (with all the flashes firing) he was more relaxed and I was able to get some good shots.

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I was really excited to get this post up, especially after I received a really nice email from him. He said how he had seen, in the shoot, my progression as a photographer. He said when I was doing all the “tests” (he thought they were tests, but they weren’t) how I just kind of moved with what he was doing while still doing my “tests”. I told him I couldn’t wait for him to read the blog post…

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I shot for about 15-20 minutes posing him and moving him around a bit. Then I said I wanted to do some more tests so he could just play guitar and I would adjust things and shoot. This, again, was a complete lie. I knew exactly the lighting I wanted to use, and didn’t need to test anything.

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My brother is an incredible musician. He plays a few different instruments, with the guitar being his main one. I have seen him progress from the very first time he picked up the guitar, and it’s just amazing to see him play now. We used to play in a band together, he surpassed my playing ability a long long time ago, and he just keeps getting better every time I hear him. I knew putting a guitar in his hands and just letting him play would keep his mind off the fact that I had a camera in his face. Allowing him to relax a bit more.

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Every now and then I would ask him to bring his head up, but I pretty well just let him do his thing and stole moments when I could. I wish I could get a personal concert on all my photo shoots. I could listen to him play for hours.

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I’d never used the hardwood floor in the studio before this, and I do like it. I would change how I rolled the background next time, or maybe use a black. I’m trying to experiment with all the different options that my studio gives me. In these cold winter months I am quite thankful I have a space where I can shoot at any time. I want to make sure I’m utilizing all aspects of it.

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At times he would ask me if I was ready to shoot again, or if I was ready for him to pose or anything. I would always say “no, don’t worry about it, I’m just testing some stuff… keep playing, don’t worry about me”.

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The above image was taken at the very end. This was the only time I got him to pose again. I just asked him to keep his head up a bit while he was playing (to keep it in the light). I know the next time I get to photograph him he’ll be much more comfortable, although he may think I’m always trying to trick him after reading this. I was very happy with these images, as always there a few things I would change but that’s the way it goes. I’m looking forward to printing the above image 40″x60″ to put in my studio. I’m very proud (and lucky) to have him as my brother and I really wanted to get some good images captured of him. Plus he said he needed a new profile picture, so hopefully he can find one in here.

You can follow him on Twitter here

You can view a few videos of his band Spectre Hearts playing an acoustic show here

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