It’s interesting how nearly all of my photograph sessions follow the same line of progression.
Just like a great play or movie has three acts, a shoot follows a similar path.
Right out of the gate, most subjects are guarded and tentative. That’s normal because we’re strangers.
We have our respective roles. My job is to get a great portrait but if I can’t put a subject at ease, getting to great is nearly impossible.
In today’s world of high-quality cameras in every phone, if I can’t deliver excellence then there’s no reason for me to be there.
My tried and tested techniques are applicable to any subject. I know when it’s working because I can see it unfold in the viewfinder. Sometimes I need to guide the subject a little more overtly. Not push, but direct.
The real tell is not a facial expression but body language.
This portrait was perfectly suitable but nowhere near the heights that I thought the subject could attain. Her stance was hesitant and her expression tentative.
After a few softly spoken words by me, she shifted her pose and attitude. That little nudge did the trick.
View the finished photographs for yourself let me know if you agree.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.