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.