My name is Joe St.Pierre and I am a 21 year old photographer from Southern Massachusetts.
I got into photography my freshmen year of high school. I was always drawn to art and was heavily into drawing, painting, writing and making music so naturally photography was the next avenue for me to explore. It quickly after consumed my life as it was the tool I was craving to communicate my ideas and feelings. I just couldn’t paint a picture or write a piece of music that got through how I saw the world as well as simply taking a photograph.
Photography means everything to me. I am not physically or verbally a very emotional person which I think may seem odd when viewing my work. I think I reserve that emotion so when I create it all pours into my photos and I hope the viewer can see more than a pretty face or scene. Photography is something I need to be constantly doing and pushing myself in or I just don’t feel right. It’s hard to explain.
I have really started to dislike catorogsizing my work but I guess I may fall into the lifestyle / portrait scene. I have been actively working on refining my portraiture though but it just isn’t good enough yet for me to confidently put it out.
A large portion of my work is shot with a Canon 5D Markii , 35L and 50 1.4 . I just recently picked up a Pentax 67 and Nikon FE2 and have been dabbling with shooting and processing my own film.
Patience is key. It is so easy today to just snap away and eventually get what you want. I am completely guilty of that myself but am heavily working on getting what I want within 3 frames even if that means 15min of revision before taking a single photo. You also have to have good communication skills and an easygoing personality. If I can’t communicate to my model what I would like them to do I will never get a good frame.
The same goes with if I can’t make them trust me and feel comfortable I will never get a good frame. It’s always your subject first and you second, never let them feel like they are not doing a good job because if it’s not working its your fault and not theirs.
Working with like minded creatives who respect your craft as much as you respect theirs. I love working with other people who have their own vision and see the world differently than me. It’s truly inspiring and always makes me work harder.
The constant battle between head and heart.
I prefer female models because of their natural beauty and softness. I do love the challenge of shooting men though and capturing them in a genuine way. It is much harder but so much more rewarding when you get a captivating shot.
This goes back to ‘what characteristics make a good portrait photographer.’ It’s the energy you put off to make your subject comfortable. If you are soft and kind to them and start with simple shots that don’t require much they will warm up to you.
I always start a portrait session very simply with photo’s I know may not be ‘the shot’ but are just warmups. Also, If you show your model a really great shot you just took of them and really hype it up and make them feel awesome it completely changes them for the best.
This interview was originally published on BehindTheCamera.co.