There’s a long tradition in portraiture in which the subject is photographed looking off into the distance.
This type of pose predates my 19th-century camera/lens medium and originated with painting and sculpture.
With the right subject, turning away can render a heroic look. At the very least, it offers a view of the person that might not occur naturally.
Some subjects are better at this than others. The ones that take to it usually do so in a positive way.
I have a directorial shortcut to get a subject to look away from the camera. I just hold my hand in the place where I want the focus of their gaze to land. If it sounds simple, you’re right.
I’ll let you decide if I hit the mark with this portrait from Ladue, Missouri.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer with more than 2500 completed sessions in all 50 US states.