To pose or not to pose...let's pose that question

The hard part about photographing a person is getting a great shot of a pose that doesn't look like a pose.  It's not easy to do.  Actually, it's damned hard to do and very often overlooked.  And it makes the difference between a great shot and a snap shot.

Now we know the first 30 minutes of a shoot is often a warm up period and little good comes out of it as far as a good shot.  So, use this time to chat with the subject as you are testing gear and getting some lighting ideas.  See how they change when the camera is pointed at them.  If their eyes get bigger, or they put on a pout, or flip their hair back every time...well, that's a good sign you have some work to do.  Subjects who actively change when the camera is pointed at them are not going to look natural.  And it's that natural look that makes a shot interesting.


I think the problem is that some think a picture isn't supposed to echo life.  It's supposed to have the subject looking different somehow.  What makes a great shot isn't an unnatural pose, or a big smile, or some out of place prop.  It's the look in the eyes, the definition of the light coming across their body, and that sense of voyeurism of being able to stare at someone without anyone feeling uncomfortable.

The natural pose should simply say 'you can look at me' and not 'HEY, look at me!" 

So, when I point my camera at my subject I watch close to see how they react.  That's my job to get something special, catch them in candid moments, any split seconds that would be moving enough to stare at for a bit.

I don't shoot smiles often.  When I do they are natural...I never ask a model to smile.  There is a difference.

Like everything else in this or anyone's blog, it's an opinion.  It's the way someone else sees some topic and you can agree or disagree.  Everything can be a learning experience if you have an open mind.