Over the years we have definitely learned that there is a science in getting your clients to relax and be themselves. The funny thing is it isn’t as hard as we make it out to be. With our posing we really keep our subject in mind and what makes them feel the most confident. Here are our tips on posing and achieving the most natural looking photos.
We try to find a way to add movement into almost every pose. A static pose can feel stuffy and it also can create nerves for your subject. Having them move in some way distracts their mind and lightens the pressure. Poses we often use for movement are walking, spinning, and swaying. For walking we tell our clients to pretend they are on a tight rope and it gives a nice looking sway.
Most of the time we like to put our subjects in front of the sun and off to the side slightly. This gives us a nice rim light. Having your subject angle themselves at about 30-40 degrees gives a great dimensional light and also has a slimming effect.
So often we think that we have to repose our subjects all of the time when really we need to move our feet and position more. Andrew and I spend a lot of time in one location in one basic pose with minor tweaks and shoot from all different angles and perspectives. For guys we typically stay eye level or lower and never shoot down on them to keep a masculine feel. For girls we typically stay eye level or higher and we LOVE to shoot pointing down.
We always tell our clients to put all of their weight on the leg that is behind rather than forward. This naturally puts their booty to the back and also gives a slimming effect.
If a guy has a button up shirt or sleeves he can roll up we like to have him walk and button his shirt. For a girl we look for a necklace or a jacket that they can hold on to. We also have girls stroke their hands through their hair WITH movement rather than just telling them to hold their hair. If girls have a dress or skirt on you can always add a spin in. BE very observant as to what they are wearing try to incorporate that in.
For this particular session we were shooting our senior reps. Some knew each other and some didn’t. It can be very challenging to get students to relax around each other. One of our favorite things to do is have them talk to us. This works with one student or a group. We will ask questions like “What is one embarrassing memory from your childhood?” or “Show us your favorite dance move!” or “Give us the best impression of Goofy’s laugh.”..Usually they respond kind of awkward at first but talking to them almost always makes them crack up laughing at themselves when they try to answer.
Sometimes we focus some on posing but what we fail to realize is that we are awful at communicating while shooting. Be sure to never say NO but to shoot anyways and then reconfigure. Talk to them the whole time telling them they are doing a great job and using encouraging words even if it wasn’t what you wanted. You can see a clients confidence fade very quickly by the slightest inclination they aren’t doing it right. Some think being quieter is better but it can be even more uncomfortable to hear nothing at all. If you want to see your client confident and comfortable the power of your words and the experience you provide while shooting is a huge part in achieving that.
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We believe that senior photography is such a critical thing because of the season of life each student is in. We see it as a time to help a student figure out who they really are before they take off in their adult life and to represent that. We find it so important to sit down with every senior and really spend time getting to know them. We like to ask what their hobbies are, what they want to do as a career, what college they are looking into, what their biggest dreams are and more. Our favorite thing to ask is “What makes you come alive?” We do our best to plan the session around the things they love. This plays a HUGE part in getting our clients completely comfortable in front of the camera and comfortable with us. Not only have we made a moment of connection with them but they aren’t dragging themselves around their session.. they are excited because it is built around everything they love.
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