Happy Wednesday everyone! Yesterday was one of those days that I finished paying my quarterly taxes, got the email under control, completely emptied my editing queue and realized that all my to-do’s were done. What that means is I have a few days to focus on some exciting move ahead projects. The only problem is I have about six of them in the works and couldn’t decide which one to start on! So I decide to answer a few reader questions while I was thinking about it. If you ever have a question you want answered that’s related to photography, business, marriage or pretty much anything else, just write it out on our Facebook wall, and we will try to answer it in a post!
Alia asks: You capture such fantastic emotion. How do you “direct” and pose your subjects?
Well, Alia, I think the reason the people I photograph look like they are having fun and enjoying themselves probably is because they ARE having fun and enjoying themselves. When I finish an engagement session the most common comment I always get from couples is “wow that was WAY more fun than we expected”. First off, it makes me wonder if they expected me to beat them with sticks or something. However, aside from having fun, what do I tell couples to get emotion?
I have been super hesitant to release my three secrets on the blog. However, since the last 200 some couples I have photographed all know them, I guess they will need to show up somewhere at some point. So here they are, the three things I tell couples as we walk from the car to the location.
#1 I say “If I have you look into the camera try to engage the lens”. (I then point to the center of my lens) “Look deep into the center, open your eyes just a little wider, lift your chin, and lean slightly forward” (I demonstrate). I then tell them I won’t do that for a lot of the photos, but for the ones I do, it’s something to remember.
#2 Change it up just a little for every photo. Look up, look down, smile with teeth, smile without, shift your weight, move your hands. Keep changing, and if I like something I will freeze you and tell you to do it again!
#3 If I don’t tell you to do something, you are already perfect! (This relieves everyone’s biggest fear that they are looking awkward, and I am trying to figure out how to alleviate the problem but haven’t said anything yet) The great thing is they really don’t look awkward, and giving them the freedom to be natural results in photos that look natural. I go on to tell them that “If I don’t say anything, they are already looking so completely adorable together there is no additional need for directions.” I reemphasize the last sentence and say that “if I’m not giving you direction, you are currently perfect and to keep interacting. Hug, kiss, jump up and down, look deep into each other’s eyes or anything else other than get into a serious conversation.” I know it’s repetitive, but it’s important.
Those are my three basic secrets. Once we get to our ideal location, I will generally just have couples face each other and hold hands and look at one another while I decide on all my camera settings, and we will go from there. I do have a whole array of poses in the back of my mind that I use. However, those really vary from couple to couple and between different locations.
Also, since I don’t know any jokes that every single person finds funny, I have also been known to use the following one liners.
“Look like you are in love”
“Look at me and Laugh”
“Be cute together”
It all sounds super simple, but I guess maybe that’s the key. Engagement sessions and weddings are about having fun, and being in love. If that’s true, than the photos will reflect it!