During a photo shoot I’ll easily shoot around 300 shots. After everyone has gone and all the gear is put away, I’ll pull the card from the camera and begin the post process.
I probably won’t do any editing that same day (maybe a couple), but I’ll import everything from the shoot, then go through them one by one, giving five stars to shots that I definitely want to process; ones that at first glance appear to be real keepers.
What makes a photo a keeper? It can be different things in different photos, but a standard rule of thumb I always filter everything through….
- Is the pose/expression believable to me?
Not Everyone is Comfortable in Every Shot
Being in front of the camera is not always easy. The person definitely has to be in the moment to produce great shots. It helps to be comfortable; relaxed and in character – character that matches the mood of the shoot.
If a person isn’t comfortable, then the expression and pose very likely won’t be very believable. What do I mean when I say, believable?
- does the expression in the eyes match the expression on the lips?
- does the look in the face match the state of the neck and shoulders?
- are the hands and fingers in a position that looks natural to how the person would normally hold them is such a scenario?
These key elements can make or break a photo. If everything works, the photo can be beautiful; powerful. If somethings off, there’s a good chance that the photo won’t convey a strong feeling to those who view it.
I know you’ve all noticed this to some degree. You’ve seen a photo where someone is smiling, but there’s an uncomfortable look in the eyes. That photo doesn’t work.
Or maybe the face/expression looks good, but the shoulders are drawn up and look tense. That photo doesn’t work.
If You’re Shooting with Me, It’s My Job to Help You Feel Comfortable
I love shooting with all the people I’m lucky enough to work with in photo shoots. I haven’t had any shoots in which I didn’t get a long with the model or client.
I start off making sure the environment is disarming and comfortable. I always have music on to set the mood. I’m friendly and make sure things stay light and comfortable so we can focus on the work we all came to do.
That way a woman can be practically naked in front of me, but feel like she’s in a safe environment. She knows she can trust me, and she can relax and get the kind of powerful and beautiful shots she came to get.
What You Can Do Before a Shoot To Get Ready
Don’t feel silly doing this. It can really help to spend a lot of time in front of a mirror and work on poses.
Work on your facial expressions. Are they believable? Are they as soft as you want them to be? Are they as fierce as you want them to be? Are they too soft/bored looking? Are the too fierce, do you look crazy? (maybe that can be cool too 😉 )
By working in the mirror you can come up with looks that work for you. When you do find looks that you like, and this is important….
Remember what it feels like to make that expression!
- remember how your muscles feel
- remember how your jaw and cheeks feel
- remember how your eyes feel
- remember how your shoulders feel
Do anything that can help you pull that expression out at anytime, so that you can produce it even when you’re not in front of the mirror.
Now this isn’t effect or the best look for every photograph, but this video by photographer, Peter Hurley does a good job at showing you the squinch – a technique that can really add a lot of power to your photos.
Anyway, these are just some tips that can help you get ready for your shoot so you can come in, have an awesome time shooting, and get the beautiful and powerful photos that you’ll love forever!
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