Portraits have an important place in our lives, documenting individuals of all natures in paintings and, more recently, photography. A variety of subfields exist in portrait photography, ranging from high-fashion shoots to family portrait photography.
If you are a photographer hoping to excel in portraiture, be it high-end commercial work or local families for their living room walls, here are a few basic tips that will help in all situations.
First and foremost, your subjects should feel comfortable and at ease for their best qualities to naturally show through. Sitting down with the clients before the shoot always helps. This gives you both time to become familiar and friendly with each. Discussing the photo shoot together will also make your client feel like they are more involved with the end product.
Additionally, giving your client some personal information about yourself will help them feel connected to the person behind the camera instead of being intimidated and disengaged during the shoot.
Another tip is to continuously talk to your client during the shoot. Long silences with no feedback from the photographer will make your subject nervous.
Giving lots of compliments, telling funny stories, and reiterating how excited you are to be photographing them will help keep your subject engaged and relaxed. It also helps to have music on in the background that your subject likes to fill in any silent moments.
Posing clients who are not professional models will most often than not make them feel awkward. To avoid this, don’t pose them straight away. Ask your subject to stand here, sit there, or lean against this wall in whatever way they feel comfortable.
Adjustments can be made from there if needed and you, as the photographer, can find the best angles for capturing their natural poses. It also helps to ask for a few funny faces every so often to brake the ice and get the client to feel more comfortable as the shoot progresses.
These are just a few tips for successfully capturing a beautiful, natural, and relaxed portrait of your client, whether it is for a high-end image, family portrait, or for a basic headshot for business purposes.