Posing in Portraiture - more tips
Photography is an exercise in communication. Sure, you need to have some photographic skills and you certainly need the desire for it to work. But how well you communicate with the subject leading up to the shoot and at the time of the shoot is vital to the result.
Avoid trying to use sophisticated equipment or lighting or complicated poses. Keep the process simple. But you do need to talk to and listen to your subject to relax them, to move them from a feeling of fear to a feeling of joyful anticipation. The subject needs to know that you are aware of any concerns they may have.
Robin Hills-Nielsen, 1998 Australian Portrait Photographer of the year says there are two key questions she asks her clients:
"If you could wave a magic wand, how would you like to look in your portrait?
If there was one item that you could bring or have in your portrait that says 'this represents me and my personality' what would it be?"
My approach is along more casual lines. A coffee shop meeting to chat about their music, clothes, purpose of the shoot, favourite music relaxes the subject and provides the photographer with first hand knowledge of the subject. I never shoot anyone I don't know!
A client once admitted to me that she was very vain and the photographs needed to be 'perfect'. I responded by saying that I loved photographing vain women. Although it did take a second shoot and two glasses of champagne to relax quite a tense subject, the end result was very good and she got the pics she wanted.